Being your own boss and running your own business can be exciting and invigorating. It’s freeing and allows you to focus on your passion. However, it can also be lonely and daunting. This is particularly the case if you are a sole trader, or don’t have partners to use as sounding boards.
Even when you are sharing the load with others, small businesses can quickly become introspective and fail to benefit from outside influences.
The benefit of small business input and advice
Using external sources for support, guidance and advice has a number of different benefits. The value of this advice will depend on where it is coming from and how in tune with your business it is. However, this is simply an argument for taking care choosing your advisors carefully.
You need to select advisors who are genuinely vested in the success of your business without causing hurdles to decision-making.
How to find the right small business advice for your business
The best place to start is honestly appraising why you need advice and what you are hoping to achieve. Being insightful in to your own areas of inexperience will allow you to seek out the advice which will make the early days more secure.
Often, pinning down advice at this level is a result of your network. As an entrepreneur your network will become increasingly important to you. It can be a good starting point for seeking advice. These connections can bring added benefits of expanding your business reach. It may open the door to investors, or beneficial supplier relationships for example.
However, don’t just think about what you need. Also take care to think about what a potential business advisor can offer you and vice versa. Can they be a formal director and therefore have an authentic interest in the business and its success?
Do they have the right experience and skills to truly benefit your business and help you achieve your aims? Such directors, especially if they invest funds themselves, can be the very advisor your business needs to thrive.
At this stage however, you may want to keep your business to yourself. In this case, the best advice you can get will be from doing your own research. Read as much as you can on starting a business, perhaps consider business coaching, and don’t be afraid to use friends and family as sounding boards.
As you grow, your needs change
As the business grows, you will likely find that your need for advice changes too. Hopefully as this occurs, you will be in the position to cherry pick and pay for the advice you need.
For example, you may quickly discover you need financial advice and choose to get an accountant on board. You may need particular IT knowledge or skills which you can outsource to a consultant or freelancer.
Using a mentor
Another way of getting small business advice is arranging a mentorship relationship. Often mentorship is a term reserved for those of designated career paths within big business.
However, hunting down your own mentor can really benefit a small business. A mentor will challenge your thinking and help you direct your own progress and decision-making. They can also become an excellent cheer-leading squad and support.
Who or what have you found a useful source of small business advice? Please share your thoughts below.