How to employ the 5 qualities of a good business adviser

What’s in a name? Business adviser, mentor, coach or consultant – when you need effective business advice, it’s far better to focus on attributes rather than labels. But what are the key attributes of a good business adviser? And how can you make those qualities work for you?

Whether you’re looking for a business adviser for the first time, or reviewing your existing support, the following list will help you get maximum value from the relationship.

1. A good business adviser is experienced. Your adviser should bring a wealth of business experience, in many different functions, business situations and industries, and a proven track record in delivering strategic advice.

Making this attribute work for you: Whatever stage your company is at and whatever issues you’re facing, a good business adviser has probably been there already – either in their own business or through their experience with other clients. Utilise their knowledge to help you prevent common business issues and solve problems.

2. A good business adviser brings an independent perspective. With unbiased opinions and a fresh point of view, a business adviser will help you see situations in a new light, or spot previously unseen opportunities.

Making this attribute work for you: Use your adviser as a sounding board for untested ideas, queries and thorny issues. In response, they should challenge you with questions that lead to a clear way forward, driving business growth and profitability.

3. A good business adviser is forward-thinking, with one eye on the horizon. Supporting you with strategic thinking and goal-setting are important parts of your adviser’s role.

Making this attribute work for you: Work with your adviser to clarify your vision, develop long-term strategies and define the goals and milestones that are critical for achieving that vision.

4. A good business adviser will hold you accountable. Setting goals is one thing, achieving them is another. Together, you need to make sure words lead to action in a timely manner.

Making this attribute work for you: Set your adviser the job of keeping you focused, motivated and productive as you work towards your goals. For example, you could ask them to help you identify and regularly review key business indicators, to ensure you don’t lose focus amid the many day-to-day pressures of running a business.

5. A good business adviser is connected. This means they can help expand your network of relevant contacts.

Making this attribute work for you: Ask your business adviser to make mutually beneficial introductions and connect you with other business owners. They could even help you seek out potential sales opportunities and business partnerships.

These five attributes together form a great profile for a business adviser. But ultimately, you will choose and relate best to an adviser when you have chemistry – when they listen to you and really understand your ambitions (personal and business). Getting the right adviser for you and your business is far more important than their title.

At Henchards, the independent business advice we provide isn’t limited to one name. Our clients variously describe us as their business mentor, coach, consultant, adviser and non-executive director – we’ve even been described as their marriage guidance counsellor and a ‘rock’!

Whatever the label, we’re continuously deploying these five qualities to help business owners across Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire and Berkshire successfully plan, lead, grow and exit their businesses. Discover how we can add value to your business today.