Experienced advisors help business owners avoid pitfalls.
Business advisors help you dodge mistakes that are avoidable.
Do you know the number one factor for ensuring business success? You may think it is having a unique idea, the best marketing strategy, or the most dedicated employees. Although these are all very important, a critical component is a great business advisor.
Why Experience Matters
You may be wondering why a great business idea is more important than other pieces of the business puzzle. It comes down to experience. A study in the Journal of Business Venturing in the early 90’s found that entrepreneurial experience, especially the number of previous business startups, is the most compelling indicators of success. In fact, the number of previous undertakings is more important than your team, your age, or your years of general business experience.
But how can someone with little experience get the experience they need? The best way is to find a great business advisor. As your mentor, this advisor will be able to provide feedback and answers based on their own personal experiences that can lead to your ultimate success. In addition to leading by example, a great business advisor can also connect you with others, tapping you into their extensive network.
The Qualities of a Great Business Advisor
When looking for a great business advisor, there are many qualities to consider. Here are just a few.
Ability to Coach: Just because someone has the right experience does not mean that they know how to teach someone the ropes. You will want someone that doesn’t come in and do everything for you but teaches you the skills you’ll need for the future survival of your business. Essentially, you are looking for someone to be your partner rather than just a consultant.
The Right Background: A great business advisor will have a background in business ventures similar to your business. You’ll want them to know the types of challenges you’ll face, as well as the necessary components such as marketing, competition, and hiring.
Long-Range Thinking: The right advisor will be someone who thinks ahead and works to help you achieve a long-term plan. This includes big goals as well as all the tiny steps needed to bring the goals to fruition.
Comparable Values: Finally, a great business advisor for you is someone that shares your values. It would be very difficult to work with someone who believes the ends justify the means if you value integrity. This does not mean that your business advisor needs to think just like you, but it does mean that their methods mesh with your ideals.
Finding a Great Business Advisor
Finding a great business advisor does not have to be difficult. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Networking Events – Talk with people during in-person networking events. As you do so, you will begin to find those that would make potential advisors. Keep in mind that you are not likely to find the perfect advisor at your first event. Instead, use networking events as a place to start the process.
- Hang Where the Entrepreneurs Hang – This works well for those living in big cities. Look for such things as startup incubators, brainstorming meetings, or other entrepreneurial locations.
- Social Media – Both LinkedIn and Twitter are great ways to make professional connections. It is easy to look for those who are located near you and are within your specific industry.
- Small Business Development Centers – These organizations provide resources for those starting a business. Many of these independently operated SBDCs offer free consulting.
- SCORE – This organization has 320 chapters across the US and will provide a free mentor to discuss your business. Although the time with the SCORE mentor is limited, you may be able to parlay this into a long-term relationship.
- Industry Specific Events – Look for conferences, expos, and other events directed at your specific industry. Here you will find experienced individuals that know what you are trying to accomplish.
- Volunteer – As you volunteer, it is easy to meet retirees who have experience running a business. You’ll also be doing double duty by giving back to your community.
- Family and Friends – Don’t overlook those you already know. Even if your immediate friends wouldn’t make a great business advisor, they may easily know of someone that could.
In actuality, you have the potential to find a great business advisor anywhere. Simply keep your eyes and ears open to the possibilities as you look for someone that meets your unique business needs. Once you’ve found someone, use their experience to your advantage, create long-term goals, and watch your business become more successful.
Want to learn more about finding a business advisor or other small business tips? Give us a shout, you may be surprised at what’s available.
Give us a call at (310) 817-0376 or fill out your contact info to the right if you’re interested in learning what we can do for you. Our team is standing by and looks forward to working with you!
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