5 Things to Look for in A Business Expert

How do I choose the right advisors for my business?


There are some things that a small business owner shouldn’t go alone. For instance when it comes to getting the financial and legal aspects of your business right you really should call in an expert.

There are also other parts of your business that can benefit from professional. Whether it’s marketing, Human Resources (HR), workplace health and safety, general business consulting, accounting or legal matters, you will want to find the right expert. That is where the challenge lies. The right expert for you.

Here are the 5 things you need to look for in a business expert.

1. Qualifications and experience

Straight up, an expert can’t be an expert unless they have qualifications and/or experience relevant to the area they are advising in.

Are they members of relevant associations, for example you may like to engage an accountant in Australia who is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) or something similar.

2. Reputation

What is the expert’s track record? What clients have they worked with in the past? Can you see testimonials? Could you speak to a previous client? Do they come with a recommendation from someone you know and respect?

3. Are they on the same page as you?

When you brief the expert on your needs, do you get the impression they understand and appreciate these needs? For example, you may be asking for an apple and they are clearly telling you they will give you an orange. Sometimes an expert may have a good reason for suggesting an orange, so you should ask them straight out why they are recommending an alternative approach.

Sometimes though experts like to push their own agenda and focus on an approach they are more comfortable with or is more profitable to them.

It’s also possible that the expert you’re speaking to may not have the exact experience you’re looking for. Let’s say for example you want marketing advice for your social media, but the marketer’s experience is mainly in managing advertising campaigns. Perhaps they’re not the right expert for you in this instance.

4. Do you click?

You relationship with your business advisor is as important as the actual work they’re doing for you. Your advisor may do good work and understand and deliver on your needs, but if you just don’t click, working together may become a chore.

When screening them, try to determine if they have similar values and ethos to you and your business.

5. Ts and Cs

Once you’ve narrowed down your choice of advisors, you need to get down to the nitty gritty.

What exactly are they offering you and how much will it cost?

Are they suggesting a retainer agreement and if so are they specific on their agreement about what they will deliver?

Would you be better of engaging them on an hourly or project basis initially to try out their services?

How and when will they report to you, and how do they track their time and deliverables?

Is anyone else, delivering on their behalf such as a sub-contractor?

Do they have the insurances you require?

If you’re not 100% sure about the agreement, this is the time to get a second expert’s pair of eyes over it.

Remember good experts can help protect and/or grow your business– it’s worth taking the time and effort to get the right advisors on board.

Don’t forget to check out our 5 Steps to Starting a Business.