Ronnie Patton, senior lecturer at the University of Ulster, explains why businesses may be better off looking for a CHEEP adviser than a cheap adviser in the following article from Ireland Business News.
Recently I noted that many SME owner-managers have a limited relationship with their accountant or business advisor. This led to some enquiries about the kind of relationship that is likely to maximise the chances of success. So what qualities should you look for in a business advisor?
The first is CONTACTS. Seeking finance is a complex, and sometimes lengthy, process. A good advisor will be aware of the factors on which an application for funding will be judged, and the kind of information that needs to be provided. As this can vary according to the type of finance and even between providers of similar funding, the advisor can ensure that an application is tailored to the provider’s criteria.
Any provider of finance will want to know about your track record. It’s therefore reasonable for you to consider your advisor’s HISTORY. Have they been successful in assisting other clients in the past? If not, your chances of success are diminished.
It’s often said that entrepreneurs, need loads of ENERGY and ENTHUSIASM. The same is true of your advisor. Often it can take several attempts to finalise a proposal, followed by long, hard negotiations. It follows that you need someone who can match you in terms of these qualities. You’re in this for the long haul – so you’ll need an advisor who is prepared to go on the journey with you.
And that leads to perhaps the most important quality of all. If you’re going to work with someone long term, and you expect them to contribute to the success of your business, it’s far easier to do so when there is ‘fit’ between your PERSONALITY and your advisor’s. That doesn’t mean you have to become new best friends, but it does mean that you need to be comfortable with each other – and to be able to build a good level of trust.
Limited relationships often arise because, understandably, many decisions are heavily influenced by cost. That can mean that SMEs may look for a cheap advisor. My point is that it’s better to look for a CHEEP advisor.