‘Surround yourself with the right kind of people’ is a wisdom which holds for all walks of life. Whether you’re an employee, entrepreneur or a parent advising a child or teen, there is always a level of personal interplay at the core of any successful endeavour.
But for business owners, choosing the right person to help you manage your business’ growth, and achieve its goals, it’s crucial.
In the very early stages of any small business, a support team holds a relatively minor role – especially if it’s just you, yourself and well…you. Your accountant simply needs to help you keep accurate records, reporting and offer basic tax compliance advice. This might be all your business ever needs.
However, if you’ve plans for (or your business is already experiencing) considerable growth or change, it’s important to recognise this dynamic shift and assess the existing support roles you’ve got in place.
Many small businesses and their owners are stunted by failing to recognise this point. The basic accountant role, which is only ever historic in nature, can only take your business so far. If you’re undergoing change, what’s likely to be needed is someone who can look forward, help predict, problem solve, contribute to major decisions regarding the direction of your business, and to play the part of trusted advisor.
What makes a good strategic advisor? What makes him or her so vital to your business? Here are four reasons why the right advice from the right person can change your business for the better.
You can’t do it all
The initial success of many SMEs can be attributed to the dedication and expertise of its owner/s. However, there often comes a point where one person’s expertise and skill set cannot conquer the many-headed list of tasks needed to maintain growth. A good advisor can offer a fresh perspective. They can often point out the things that you just can’t (or won’t) see. Sometimes they’re blindingly obvious. Other times less so. He or she can also point to the most beneficial use of one’s resources (time, money, assets). Plus they might even be able to put you in touch with others who could partner your business or benefit your business in some other way.
Not afraid to be the bad guy/girl or play devil’s advocate
Asking your partner, friends and/or mum or dad sounds good. But often they’re only going to tell you what they want you to hear. Or possibly worse, something that fits with their own agenda. More often than not, the right advice can make you feel a little uncomfortable, and it’s important to find an advisor willing to challenge you, particularly on issues where you’re stuck. Someone who requires that you be specific about your plans, and holds your actions accountable to them (and can review the numbers in the least emotional way). While it’s nice to hear that you are an awesome business owner, a good advisor is primarily tasked to advise; not flatter. And they should always be moving you forward – not allowing you to rest on your laurels.
Someone who is interested in you and your goals (not their own agenda)
It’s important to find help in someone who sees you as a human (not just the next invoice). In order to see your business reach its full potential, there must be specific consideration for you as an individual. Working with an advisor who gets to know you, your dreams, knows what you’re after for your family, etc means they’re invested in your path. They will want to understand your motivations, empathise with your cause and/or ambition. An advisor who can relate to you on a personal level won’t just go the extra mile, he or she has buy-in to your business and personal goals.
Steady the course
A trusted advisor can live on a different plane than an owner. He or she is able to take a step back and observe, while you might be caught in the deep web of running your business and fixing an ever-changing list of tasks. Having the right person to help you means having someone you can trust to grasp the larger picture; someone who wants to see the business grow as you do, but can view things from a less emotional distance. So that if you ever get bogged down, spending disproportionate amounts of time and resources on something that’s not delivering the necessary return, a good advisor can step in to remind you of what matters most and help get you back on track.
If your business is experiencing growth or change or you’d like a better, more proactive relationship with your accountant, we’d be more than happy to chat further. You can give us a call on 02 6023 1700 or drop us a note via the form below.
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If you've got financial or business questions, or you just want to run something by us, we'd be delighted to really talk to you – in person, over the phone - call us on 02 6023 1700 - or you can use the form below and we'll get back to you.
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