How To Hire A Business Advisor

How To Hire A Business Advisor

First, determine your needs and do some research.

  •  Know your business. Know your current operations and your financial picture.
  •  Determine the specific need(s) you want an advisor to address and if you need “hands-on” or “hands-off” assistance.
  •  Get referrals from business associates.  Ask questions about skills, performance, and results.
  •  Research. Get more information about potential advisors from their websites.

Interview the candidates.

  • Set up appointments to learn more about advisors and their services.
  • Look at the advisor’s credentials. Ask about their training, employment, and consulting work. Has the advisor successfully handled issues that relate to our objectives?
  • Ask for, and call, references.  A few specific questions may help you find the best match.
  • Consider chemistry. Your relationship with your advisor must be one of trust, and you should be able to work closely and comfortably together.
  • Presentation. Is the advisor well prepared and confident?  Does the advisor look and act professional?
  • Discuss your needs and expectations.  A capable advisor should be able to understand and “frame” your issues, but should not be expected to have a solution before digging into the data.
  • If you need help in various areas, does the advisor have access to any specialists you may need?

Review proposals and fees carefully.

  • Proposals should outline achievement of clear business outcomes, not simply tasks. Training is a task. Improving sales results is an outcome. 
  • Does the time-frame for the project appear to be well thought out and achievable, or is it unrealistic?
  • How does the advisor charge?  Fixed-fee rates are optimal, but be sure to evaluate services covered under that rate. Hourly rates might result in a “running meter” attitude or result in a “never-ending” project. If the fee is not fixed, you should consider a cap on hours.