Insights

Business Advisors: What They Are and Why You Need Them

December 5, 2018
Business Advisors: What They Are and Why You Need Them

Looking to grow your business?

Working with an expert business advisor will help you accomplish that goal.

They're the person that will tell you what you don’t know that you don’t know.

Not only do they provide you with the answers to key questions about your business, they teach you what questions to ask.

It’s important to regularly meet with your business advisors. Business conditions continue to change and the advice you get changes with them. You won’t know who a good advisor is until you’ve worked with them for a while under different and often difficult circumstances.

Decide if you’re more comfortable working with one or several advisors. I’ve been a member of a CEO peer advisory organization called Vistage for over ten years. The combination of people, processes and resources within a community of results-driven leaders has been invaluable to me.

According to a 2017 analysis of Dun & Bradstreet data, Vistage member companies grew 2.2 times faster than average small and medium-sized U.S. businesses.

I feel that I’m in good company when I meet with my group of fellow CEOs on a monthly basis. My Vistage chair is Mark Taylor. He’s been my business advisor for over ten years, but so have the rest of the fifteen or so members in my group. We talk candidly about the day-to-day challenges of running a business or a team. Mark guides the discussions so we can best advise each other.

We also get subject-matter experts who visit regularly and give us formal three-hour presentations on every aspect of corporate life. Topics as varied as creating a good work-life balance, improving communication, marketing, sales, and human resources.

In fact, the reason I joined Vistage in the first place was because I was one of those speakers (and still am). While travelling, I became exposed to many different Vistage groups. After deciding to transform my business from a sole-proprietorship to a corporation, I decided to join Vistage—largely because of my experience seeing the process in action for hundreds of CEOs.

I should also mention the Vistage has non-CEO members in a variety of key executive leadership roles.

What is a Business Advisor?

Now, let’s explore what you should look for in a business advisor.

A business advisor is typically an individual or an organization that is committed to supporting you as a leader, manager, senior executive, or business owner. A good advisor has walked in your shoes and has the scars on their back to prove it. They’ve overcome many of the same business challenges that they later advise their clients on.

Very often an advisor can anticipate problems and solutions before they even hit your radar.  This special breed of advisor is straightforward, honest, and not afraid to challenge you. They also give you positive reinforcement and recognize your accomplishments.

My advisor, Mark, is not only an advisor, but a coach and mentor. In many cases, he’ll make recommendations before I’ve asked for them. He’ll coach me through a problem by asking questions instead of providing all of the answers. More often, he’ll allow me to discover them for myself.

He’s also told me in no uncertain terms where I screwed up and where I need to clean up a mess, such as with an employee or client of mine.

Bottom line: Mark has consistently pointed out my blind spots and in many cases, pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Why Are Business Advisors Valuable?

Why should you go outside of your organization for business advice?

It’s good to get an impartial, open-minded perspective from someone who has no hidden agenda. There are times when even our own capabilities are insufficient for the task at hand. It could be a combination of lack of experience and our own insecurities. A respected external advisor can provide good counsel while also side-stepping company politics.

Sometimes an advisor is there simply to validate decisions and to make small tweaks so that things remain on track. I may not want an advisor to create radically changes every time.

Or, you may lack the resources to develop new strategies or lead certain initiatives. This is where you might want to hire someone with a particular set of skills to come in and augment your team where needed.

Invest into Your Success

As a leader, you’ve got a lot on your plate. You’ve got the business, the people, and the solutions to worry about.

That’s why we’re bringing in Mark Taylor, Master Chair & CEO Coach of Vistage NYC for this month’s webinar! Mark is passionate about growing leaders and as a Master Chair for Vistage, manages 20 NYC groups of CEOs, executives, and business owners all focused on growth.

In this webinar, you’ll discover:

  • Why coaching and peer groups are so powerful
  • How to leverage collaboration and triads to grow your business
  • Examples from our very own CEO, Charles Bernard, on the power of collaboration and peer-level coaching

The live webinar is on Tuesday, December 18th at 2PM EST. 

Click the here or on the image below to sign up.

Webinar - Personal & Professional Development: How to Accelerate Your Growth by Leveraging Coaching and Peer Groups

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