How to Find a Trusted Advisor

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Who is Jacob Aldridge, Business Coach?

“The smart and quirky advisor who gets sh!t done in business.” Back independent since 2019.

Since April 2006, I’ve been an international business advisor providing bespoke solutions for privately-owned businesses with 12-96 employees.

At this stage you have proven your business model, but you’re struggling to turn aspirations into day-to-day reality. You are still responsible for all 28 areas of your business, but you don’t have the time or budget to hire 28 different experts.

You need 1 person you can trust who can show you how everything in your business is connected, and which areas to prioritise first.

That’s me.

Learn more here. Or Let’s chat.

Transcript

Do you have a trusted advisor in your business? My name is Jacob Aldridge, I’m the Director of Advisory at businessDEPOT and since 2005, I’ve worked with more than 300 business owners around Australia and the world. Many of them view me as their trusted advisor. What does that mean? It means that when they’ve got a question a drama, something that’s keeping them up at night, bothering them during the day, they know that they can pick up the phone call me and we can have an important conversation to help them resolve that issue. There are a lot of other business owners who would like a trusted advisor, or who may be feel that they’ve got a trusted advisor who isn’t quite helping them enough. I wanted to share this to give you the six criteria that I see a trusted advisor brings to your business and to give you some tips about how you can go out and find individuals that may fill that role for your business, and more importantly for you.

A trusted advisor is somebody who brings guidance and understanding to your business. We break it down and get these six categories. So guidance is where the advisor part really comes in. Guidance around the content—they understand the stuff in your business. They’ll never know your business as well as you do but they’ve got some idea of the industry and how the business works.

More importantly, they also understand the power of context in business. Context sits around the content. It explains why stuff happens. It’s critical to your decision making as a leader—did you spend time in the context and less time in the content? A trusted advisor will help pull you into that context to make better decisions faster.

Lastly, they will bring solutions. There’s no point having an advisor who is just a business coach who sees their role is coming in and asking you all the question. You don’t know what you don’t know, and you need somebody who can come in and help fill the gap in that, who can bring solutions even if they still go through and make sure that those solutions work for you.

Trusted advisor also must understand you and your business. They need that knowledge—knowledge about what’s going on, what’s going on to the team, what’s going on for you personally, and in many situations, I build real friend relationships with my client because you get to know them on such a personal level.

They need to have empathy. They need to really be able to understand what you’re going through to stand in your shoes. Again, they won’t know your business as well as you do but if they can understand and feel what you’re going through, they’re going to be able to help you a whole lot more.

The last one is presence. They do need to be involved in your life and your business. You can’t have a trusted advisor that you just call up like a bank manager once every three or four years and ask them a question because they won’t know what’s going on. They need to have an ongoing presence in your life.

For many small business owners, their accountant is the closest they get to a trusted adviser. Great accountants can certainly fill that role. A lot of accounts end up there by default. They have some knowledge about your business because they have the numbers, they have a presence because they do your bags every quarter or your tax return every year, and of course through their experience they know some of the content the solutions that go on in business.

One thing very few accountants have ever been accused of is having an awful lot of empathy or sitting in a contextual space and thinking about the big picture rather than the details. They’re a great account out there who can do that but there are many who don’t and therefore those businesses to use them as a trusted advisor struggle to get the full value out of that relationship. So how do you find a trusted advisor for your business? Well, the best thing you can do is talk to other business owners that you know about who they have helping them. If there’s a business owner that you like, and they have a great relationship then chances are you will have a great relationship with that individual. It’s such a personal connection and it’s not something you can just jump into the yellow pages and deliver.

These days there’s more business content out there than ever before. Great websites, blogs, video series here on YouTube, and websites you can find a whole lot of information, and sometimes that can be a great way to find a trusted advisor. Instead of just looking for a trusted advisor, go looking for some of the solutions to the problems you’re having and see who out there you can find that has experience in that regard. You can get a feel from them through their presence online, then at the very least you’ll know whether it’s worth having a conversation with them about whether they could be the trusted advisor you need.

The last thing I’ll share is that presence does not need to be physical. Gone are the days where it had to be the local bank manager in your town just because that was the only person you could see. I work with clients all the way around the world and there are other great business advisors, coaches, consultants, all around the world who work with business owners here where I’m based. Presence doesn’t need to be physical anymore.

You can find the right person who brings content, context, solutions, knowledge, empathy, and presence to your business. Wherever they happen to be in the world, then you found the trusted advisor—someone you can call, someone who can help you when you need it most. And that, almost more than anything else in business, is worth its weight in gold.

Next Steps

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