They are kinda like a coach and partner. They can motivate and steer you. If they have been in your industry, you benefit from their already making mistakes you would make without them.
You have to decide whether to pay them in equity which means they make money if you are successful or hourly. If you can't think of them as partners, it probably isn't going to work.
Most are hourly or on monthly or yearly retainer. They may ask for a nonrefundable deposit prior to meeting to lock in the time (to meet with you as time is their product).
SCORE and the US SBA (1) provide free general information (2) certify your readiness for funding (3) provide funding sources, regulations, and application processes.
SMALL BUSINESS ADVISORS (1) create, implement, execute, and adapt the business plan to competitive challenges (2) create, implement, and execute the deck plan (3) provide other business and management services that grow and expand business in domestic and foreign markets (4) negotiate fees and/or installment payment arrangements.
Many people who provided answer here are good advisors and can help you. Somethings you may consider:
1) contact the advisors here by google hangout, skype or any communication tools - to discuss further
2) contact advisors around your area
3) look for evaluation template, tools or others to evaluate the advisors objectively.
4) select one for help.
"Even Tiger Wood needs advisor" , this phase is used many times and still valid. it is not just small business need advisor, but everyone need advisor. Getting a very good advisor will save your life.
Normally, I prefer a small business advisor to be a very experienced and all rounded person with multiple disciples. Yes, this may means very costly, but advisors at this level normally have high pride and your investment normally gain much more higher return. If you decided to choose less qualified advisor at lower cost, there is a very high risk that you will not able to get what you want and all your investment will down to the drain.
I'm going to give you a different solution. If you are a small business and are looking to grow your business find a business owner in your area that does the exact some business that is successful. It might take you a few phone calls to get the right person, but find an owner you can take out to lunch to ask them about their business, their challenges and successes.
Now here is the key, if you go to this lunch as his competitor then you wouldn't be able to get much information. But if you look how real business is run in today's world and go to the lunch with a co-operative approach that you want to work with him to build the industry. You are not looking to take their clients but to get clients for both of you. Then you can pattern up and they will be more open to working with you. You have to stand by this as well, I have seen to many people screw each other over and it's not pretty.
Now the approaches I am recommending is a new way of doing business and for most people. Most people don't realize big businesses have been doing this behind close doors for decades. Companies who we would thing are direct competitors have mastermind groups they meet up with and talk about industry trends...etc
For you this could mean joint marketing efforts, sharing suppliers, the list goes on and on.
Remember business advisors are great, but someone who has done it can tell you their real life experience from being in the trenches and if done correctly can be a WIN/WIN/WIN for everyone.
That is my advise,
Best of luck Tony
Hi, Tony. As an advisor to businesses of all sizes, I can tell you one of the main benefits of having an advisor is that you have someone you can go to that can help you reach the goals you want to achieve in your business.
A good advisor will have knowledge and contacts that you may not have, which you can tap into. They will also be honest with you, and can provide you with an objective view of your business. Above all else, a good business advisor will have only your best interests in mind when working with you and planning the steps to take that will help to grow your business. They genuinely want to see you succeed.
As for fees, all projects are different. The advisor should be able to talk with you, determine what your needs are, and the two of you should be able to work out an arrangement that suits both of you, based on the project being taken on.
I hope this helps!
Experience in your business category and proven successes is tough to beat. talk is cheap. reputation and references will guide part of this answer for you. Not all advisors are 'best' for you. Your strengths and weaknesses have to be baked in. Ultimately you get what you pay for. By all means search out for what can help you or your current need.
A well experienced advisor can evaluate the business and marketing strategies and other things which, perhaps you may or may not know. We all have a blind faith in many areas and outsider would view with a different perspective which may be effective or not depending upon the situation. Open communication and team work is one of the keys to succeed in every situation. There is no end to the knowledge. Pradeep Berry
Tony, in the end there are no wrong advisors, there only wrong choices for an advisor.
There's no advisor with a magic staff. Before you hire one, first know what your real question is. Not just what you feel it is. But first look into it yourself defining what you really want. This will help you to lower down the costs. A well asked question shortens the time you have to hire an advisor.
So be wise before you give your "business"life into the hands of someone else.
Whether selecting SCORE, or a business advisor, you will want to exercise the same scrutiny and caution. Two things [of many] to look for:
• Do they quickly demonstrate understanding of your business & challenges? Too many advisors begin by talking about themselves with the misguided belief that others need to hear all about themselves to establish credibility. Credibility is more quickly established in how they demonstrate understanding of YOU as the client. Those that begin with the focus on themselves often serves as a precursor for how the relationship will function going forward.
• When initially consulting with them, establish quickly whether anything they say suggests they can produce consistent, and repeatable results. Simply claiming they have done that isn't enough. They need to understand how, so that they can teach you to do the same. You can't afford to be paying for someone else to experiment with your business.
Word of caution with SCORE – The requirements to become a member that counsels others is hardly discriminating. Here is an excerpt of their filters they "suggest" for candidates:
"SCORE suggests that candidates for Membership meet the following guidelines:
• Management, administrative, business ownership or professional business experience
• Knowledge of contemporary business practices"
Following is the link that shows the very short list of what they "suggest" members' experience includes. http://www.score.org/statement-of-understanding
While they do have a 90-day training, it is general in nature to the function (completion of forms, compliance, etc.) ensuring conformity to the bylaws of SCORE, but does not scrutinize members for competence in creating success for other start-ups. Don't get me wrong – You can find some great members within SCORE, but not all are equally qualified.
Find someone that can meet your needs and that has experienced it themselves. Not read about it or can suggest alternatives. Someone that has lived it like you are doing.
Accountability and measurable goals are needed for both sides of the table for it to a successful partnership to achieve your goals.