Finding, hiring, and developing a relationship with a good business advisor can be tricky work. We want to make sure we're entrusting ourselves and our business to the right person or team.
That's why we've put together a list of important questions to ask your potential business advisor before getting in too deep. These questions are a great starting place to finding out if the potential hiree will be a good fit for your business.
1. Are you collaborative?
In asking this question, we discover if the business consultant will explain choices they make and include us in any potential decision-making. As a business owner, we may want the option of being more, and sometimes less, involved in certain decisions. We may feel comfortable allowing the consultant to do what they do best and sitting back OR we may want to have the consultant to provide reasoning behind the actions before we undertake any projects.
2. Do you know the industry?
Certain industries may need more or less specialty, especially depending on why you're bringing in a consultant. Business advisors come in all packages- some dedicated to working in very specific industries and some that are multi-talented and have the ability to adapt to a variety of industries. But don't forget, sometimes getting a fresh perspective can also bring new life into your business!
3. What is your work process?
How the advisor works is key to understanding if y'all would work well together. Do they work in a whirlwind of to-dos or do they keep you abreast of the items they are working through? Do they take weeks to get a project done? Or are they quick and efficient about getting tasks done? Some business owners might not care how it gets done, just that it gets done, but that's up to you!
4. What is the biggest challenge a small business like mine might face in the coming year?
This demonstrates how up-to-date the consultant is on changes in the environment. They should be able to let you know if tariffs are going to impact your company or if the changes in Google's advertising algorithm is going to set you behind the competition. If you're hiring someone to help run your business, they should know how to help!
5. How do you determine success?
Benchmarks, metrics, goals- knowing what the consultant will use to guide the company and decide the level of success is important. If you value different things, that could mean disconnect between you and your advisor.
6. What is your payment structure?
This is a super important question, and it speaks for itself. Are they getting paid no matter what the success rate, or does their pay depend upon the level of achievement? Are you paying per hour, or per project? Finding out this information before you hire them will help you avoid any issues down the road.
7. What happens if we wish to terminate our contract?
Another important question that will help you avoid trouble, is what happens if you want to end the relationship with the consultant? Are you locked in for a certain number of years, or is it a monthly contract? It might even be an amicable ending of service, but knowing what happens in the end is certainly important in maintaining good working relationships, should future projects arise.
8. Why should I hire you?
Last, but certainly, not least, is why should you hire this person? What can they offer you and your business?
Overall, finding the perfect business advisor can be tough and tricky work, but it doesn't have to be! Out of the Box Advisors offers a free preliminary consultation, if you're ready, schedule a chat- the coffee is on us! Don't forget to check out our other blog post on how a business advisor can help save your company time, money and sanity, here.