Article How to Find a Business Adviser: 10 Savvy Strategies for Success 5 September 2023 Read time: 4 min In a world filled with self-proclaimed business “gurus” and “coaches” peddling dubious wisdom, finding a qualified and capable business adviser can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. You’re not alone in your quest for a trustworthy guide to steer your business toward success. To help you navigate this challenging terrain, we’ve pulled together a list of ten novel and effective tips on how to find a top-notch business adviser. How to find a business adviser – 10 tips: Start with the basics: Tap into your network Seek advice from your Financial Adviser Google your shortlist Check out reviews and client testimonials Cross check accreditation and awards Attend industry events Clarify your goals Interview multiple candidates Evaluate communication skills Discuss fees and contracts 1. Start with the basics: Tap into your network Begin your search by turning to those you trust most. Your professional network can be a goldmine of referrals. So reach out to colleagues, mentors, and industry peers to inquire about their experiences with business advisers. A trusted recommendation from someone you know and respect can be a game-changer. 2. Seek advice from your Financial Adviser Not all business advisers are created equally. So ask a finance pro you know and trust. If you already have a financial adviser, start there. They won’t be able to provide you specific business advice, but they might know someone who can! They may also already have an existing referral partnership. In the event that they recommend someone, they *should* disclose any benefits or incentives they receive for referrals. This helps to avoid any perceived conflicts of interest. If they don’t mention it, don’t be shy. Ask them directly how they’re compensated for recommendations. 3. Google your shortlisted business advisers Once you have a referral or two from your trusted network, do what we all do in the digital age— Google them. Compare their businesses, deep dive into their websites and see what they’re saying (and not saying) about who they are and what they value. Does their brand reek of lone-wolf renegade? Is their website the tech-world’s equivalent of a dead-fish handshake? Keep looking. If you’re going to take business advice from them, it should be evident that they’re professionals and are themselves successful. You should see signals of their growth and a culture of re-investment – in their people, their clients, their own brand and technology. 4. Check out reviews and client testimonials Moreover, what are other people saying about your chosen firm or business adviser? Search for recent news and articles online. Scour their social media. And, don’t forget to go through their Google Reviews. Reputation speaks volumes. So look not only for the number of client testimonials on the adviser’s website, but also the reputations of people and businesses who give them. Real feedback from satisfied clients can provide insight into an advisers’ effectiveness. 5. Cross check the business advisers’ accreditation and awards A legitimate business adviser should have credentials to back their claims. Look for advisers who hold recognised certifications like Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or Chartered Accountant (CA). These accreditations ensure a level of professionalism and technical expertise. With so many self-proclaimed “award-winning” advisers and business “gurus” out there, it’s important to do your research and look beneath the hood of any credentials. Be wary of high-cost, low-credibility “awards” that are used to puff resumes and sell to undiscerning clients. 6. Attend industry events Industry events, conferences, and seminars often attract seasoned business advisers as speakers or panellists. Attending such events not only offers valuable insights but also provides an opportunity to connect with potential advisers in the flesh. This can give you a really great sense of who they are in person and what they might be like to deal with professionally. 7. Clarify your business advisory goals Before contacting your shortlist or signing an adviser, it’s important to get clear about your business goals and objectives. Having a set of goals will not only guide your search but also help prospective advisers understand your needs from the outset. It also helps you avoid being roped into programs or services you don’t actually want or need at the moment. 8. Interview multiple business advisers Whatever you do, we suggest speaking to several business advisers / firms before making your decision. Take the time to interview multiple candidates. This will help you assess different service approaches, communication styles, and figure out who is likely to be a good match for you and your business. We cannot stress this enough… if you’re wondering how to find a business adviser, make sure you interview a few people first. 9. Evaluate communication skills Business is tricky enough; you don’t need to add to the confusion with poor instructions or badly-written advice. Effective communication is key to any successful adviser-client relationship. So look for an adviser who can explain complex concepts in simple terms and is responsive to your needs, questions and concerns. If they struggle with active listening or are slow to call you back before you’re even a client, it’s unlikely things will get better over time. Best to cut your losses and find someone more in sync with your needs. 10. Discuss fees and contracts Last but not least, make sure to discuss fees and contractual terms upfront. A transparent adviser will be willing to provide a clear breakdown of costs and the scope of services offered. Be wary of anyone who’s hesitant to provide this information. Summing it up: How to find a business adviser In short, finding a qualified business adviser amidst the sea of self-proclaimed experts can be a daunting task. However, by following these ten savvy strategies, you can increase your chances of selecting a trustworthy guide who will help propel you and your business forward. Remember, in your quest to find a business adviser, knowledge is power, so arm yourself with information, ask the right questions, and don’t settle for anything less than excellence. Good luck on your journey to business success!