My Advice on Getting Advice
“I don’t need advice.”
“I cant afford advice.”
“I didn’t like the last advice I got.”
“How do I know the advice will work?”
These are all thoughts that you might have at one stage or another when your friend suggests you get a coach or help with your business. And who’s to say you may not be right, sometimes?
I can assure you that in this fast changing market having trusted advisors and experts supporting you with a different perspective isn’t just good to have, it is essential if you’re going to grow yourself and your business at anything like your potential.
What makes a good advisor is as much about their integrity and your trust of them as it is about their expertise and opinions. When you have a good advisor they will continue to be absolutely relevant and have an uncanny skill of being able to ask the right questions, regardless of your circumstances.
Any number of people can give you advice, but often it is polluted by their preconceived ideas and their own needs. You need to get advice from someone that is independent, that understands how you feel, that can relate to your world view yet at the same time see past all of it. You need support from someone that is honest and direct yet gentle and patient enough to be able to help you trust them on the stuff you are finding hard.
The ability to harness a hunch or a gut feeling is often heralded as part of someone’s success. A hunch about something can be great to help you establish the general parameter of an answer or opportunity. Some people will act impetuously on a hunch as an end answer and make significant decisions purely on their gut feeling, while others will ponder on it for weeks and talk themselves in and out of it a dozen times.
Over the years I have learnt that a hunch or a strong gut feeling is a gift but seldom good enough to mortgage the farm on. Better that it is followed up with 3 questions before further evaluation and then action. My first three questions are:
Will this significantly contribute to where I want to go or is it another distraction?
Is the likely value sufficient to justify further evaluation?
Are there any obvious down sides?
If the answers are all positive, get more information and ask some further questions. Likely best and worst case result, effort and time to do it, how much does it excite me? After which I would ask the opinion of one or two trusted advisors and then sleep on their opinions. At the end of the day it is your decision so the final answer is always yours so once you decide everyone involved needs to get behind you or part company. There is never room on the team for someone waiting round to say I told you so.
All this can be done in less than two days if the opportunity has urgent time constraints but be aware often these are not real and have been artificially manufactured by someone wanting to create an urgent decision. There is immense benefit in writing down your thoughts as a mind map or written summary which also helps when you need to explain it to your confidant/advisor.
My advice to you, don’t wait until you get a hunch or face a disaster before you look for an adviser, whilst that is the norm it is much better to cut your teeth with an advisor when you aren’t under any pressure. Get them to review your 2017-18 business plan, or your budget, have them to run a SWOT on your business or facilitate a review of your personal goals. These are great ways to invest in yourself whilst at the same time develop a relationship with someone that might become an important advisor to your success.
Don’t underestimate the value of staying in touch with an advisor through the periods where you don’t need their help, at the very least it helps keep them involved in your progress and enables them to look out for opportunities for you. Good Luck.
Mark Collins is a business advisor markcollinsnzltd.co.nz
Read more of Mark’s columns here.