Advisors come in all shapes and sizes
Many owners and managers tend to manage by ‘gut’ feel, which can cause unnecessary problems, frustrations and stress. Statistics show that up to 80% of business failures could have been avoided if they had used advisors. Why would you be any different?
Traditionally we looked to the accountants, solicitors and specialist advisors to provide a range of services to assist in profitable growth and sustainability. Unfortunately, they were usually too expensive. Many were concerned more with tax avoidance, government regulations and their self-interests, with little concern for start-ups and the growth and development of their clients. Start-ups were more nuisance than they were worth.
In regional, rural and remote areas, it was particularly challenging to find advisors with sufficient practical experience and with a cost structure to suit. However, new information technology and communications are starting to facilitate an improving situation in these areas.
In the 2000s, with the emergence of the Internet and global competition, old ways started to change. Business today has and is becoming more sophisticated and can be too hard doing it by yourself unless you have the right advice to guide you. Many advisors today know how to implement successful plans and strategies from start-ups to mature organisations with a minimum of costs. They realise little businesses grow up if they are looked after during the start-up phase; they will be the right clients for life.
Business advisors generally fit into several quite distinct categories.
- Facilitator – A facilitator is experienced in processes that can relate to specifics; planning, relationships, health, and so on; they facilitate ideas and opportunities for individuals and organisations.
- Coach – These are the people who can be best summarised as general practitioners. They have had good practical experience in running a business; they act much like a coach in a sporting team.
- Mentor – Where an experienced person is assigned to an inexperienced person and assists in training or providing a general support role. Mentoring is about dealing with individuals to guide them with problems they may have.
- Advisor – These people have well-developed skills in one or two specific areas such as marketing, human resources, accounting, law, finance, workplace health and safety, construction, engineering etc. These are the people who can be best summarised as specialist practitioners.
- Broker – A broker is an individual or party (brokerage firm) that arranges transactions between a buyer and seller and gets a commission when the deal is executed. Examples include finance brokers, business brokers, real estate brokers.
- Counsellor – Counselling is a highly specialised helping process, used by professionally trained and certified counsellors. It involves working with people individually or in small groups. These specialists are used most often used, where there are personal and family relationship and health problems.
“Before you spend a penny on engaging an advisor, ask yourself if you’re ready, willing and able to listen to the person you engage”. Peter Sergeant
“Advisors and facilitators can make things easier, more profitable, more sustainable and more fun”. Peter Sergeant