Why do my mentoring clients see me as their trusted friend? I’m sure they all have their own friends, and don’t need to pay me to be their mate, but the relationship between a business advisor and her clients is very much that of a trusted friend.
How to choose a business advisor
There are lots of things to think about when choosing a business advisor. You want someone who has direct experience of business, who knows how the world of business works. I would advise you to find someone who is up to date and modern in their thinking, and is open to new ideas. You don’t want a business advisor who will tell you what worked well in 1987, or even 2007, because things have moved on from then. This is especially true when you want advice about new business models or online marketing.
You need someone who will come up with new ideas and challenge you to move forward faster than you think you can. And you need someone who will have your back, even when they’re saying the things that are difficult to hear.
That’s why you need a business advisor as a trusted friend
If you think about the people in your life who have been the most help to you over the years, they may not be the people you’ve spent the most time with. They’re the ones who have stuck around, the ones that you can have a serious conversation with, and the people you are most likely to phone up when you’re in trouble. They might be the people who are best at listening when you’re upset about something, or they might be the kind of people who know how to do things.
My friend Phil is like this. He’s always full of good ideas of what to do in a given situation, and when I told him over lunch that I was thinking about getting a bike, he asked me if I had thought about getting an electric bike. Two hours later, he’d found me a bargain electric bike, and I bought it straight away. He’s not a business advisor, but he is a trusted friend.
You want a business advisor who is like Phil – someone who can listen really carefully to your problem, discuss a potential solution and then give you the resources to put that solution into action. In this case, Phil literally got me going much faster, as I can get up a great speed along the cycle path on Brighton seafront.
Video – why being a business advisor is like being a trusted friend
The kind of business advisor you might want to avoid
There can often be a grey area between business coaching and life coaching. I suspect that this is because a lot of the people who have trained as life coaches have found that their potential customers don’t want to pay too much (or at all) for life coaching, but will pay for it if it’s called business coaching and they can put it the through the company’s accounts.
You might want to avoid this kind of business advisor. They probably would be a trusted friend, but they are not likely to have the experience of business to be able to give you the resources and advice you specifically need to move your business forward. They lack the “Phil effect” I was talking about above. And there is a risk that you can spend a lot of time identifying goals and dismantling your unconscious barriers to success, without getting into action on what your business needs to get going.
If you feel that you need some help on getting clear with what you want to do with your life, working on your confidence levels or any of those naughty self limiting beliefs, I would recommend doing a life coaching programme first, and then finding a great business advisor to help get you going with the specific things you need to do for your business.
A checklist for how to choose a business advisor to be your trusted friend
I’ve put together a little checklist of these points (and some extras) for how to choose a great business advisor. If you pop your email into the form below, you’ll get the checklist, plus every week I’ll send you some great tips on how to move your business forward even faster than me on my electric bike.