While you might be the owner of your own business, you may recognise that you lack some of the business or management skills required to ensure your business reaches its full potential. However, while you don’t want to give away the management of your business to someone else, you do know that you need help to ensure that your business is being well managed.
Often an owner will use their accountant to help with the financial management of their business, and this may work well in some situations; however not all accountants are able to offer advice on other key areas of your business such as: marketing and sales; strategy or business planning etc. So if you don’t want to be solely reliant upon your accountant for advice, and your business is not large enough to warrant the employment of specialist management expertise, then another solution might be to consider contracting the services of an experienced Business Mentor or Business Coach.
An experienced Mentor or Coach can offer you independent advice regarding the overall health of your business, and they can identify areas which may need a greater level of oversight. They can also provide you coaching or mentoring in a whole range of management skills to help you become more proficient as well.
A Mentor or Coach will likely suggest convening regular Management Meetings (which may include all the Directors of the business as well as selected staff members). These meetings are to review the financials and all other key operating areas of the business. Timing for these meetings would ideally be after the preceding monthly financial reports have been completed, so the meeting includes the most up-to-date financial data. This is also when the wider trading environment can be discussed, including developing plans or strategies to respond to competitor activity.
Regardless of the level of expertise of the Mentor or Coach, it is vitally important that the business owner does not abdicate total responsibility for the management of their business to them or any other third party. The owner(s) always remain responsible for their business and its overall performance. Who-ever is selected to be an advisor for a business (e.g. their Accountant, Mentor or Coach), it is important the advisor also appreciates their position of trust within the business and operates with appropriate due diligence as well. The advisor may not be legally liable for the activities of the business or the business owner(s) themselves, however they do have a duty of responsibility within the limits of their authority, and they should ensure they are up to the task of providing timely and relevant advice, and/or provide referrals to other experts as required.
Finding a suitable advisor may take time – interview them as you might a new employee. Attitude and team fit is vital; and you must feel they have the right level of industry knowledge and expertise to be able to help you with the development your business, and with yourself as business owner. The relationship must be able to include candid and forthright discussion on all aspects of the business and the decisions being considered. If you are not able to accept constructive feedback or participate in robust discussions about you or the business performance; then I would urge you to reconsider your objectives for contracting the services of an external advisor in the first place.
To ensure you get the best performance from your new advisor - a previous blog “How to get the Most from your Business Coach” (10 July 2017) might be useful reading…
If you want some help to work on your business, give me a call!