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Small Business Tips

How to find small business advisors who can help

Manasa Reddigari

Need help planning, launching or growing your business? Small business advisors can offer the strategic expertise you need to achieve success. But what qualities should you look for in small business advisors? And if you find one, what should you pay them? Read on for tips for finding advisors for small business.

Recruit from reputable organizations

You don't have to conduct your search for a small business advisor alone. Organizations SCORE, WABC and boast thousands of small business advisors around the globe. It's easy to identify a qualified small business advisor through one of these vetted networks. Once you pick an organization, use the search function on the website to locate a small business advisor near you.

Look for a specialty in your niche

Financial and operational considerations are different for small businesses than for larger businesses. This is why you should look for advisors with a track record specifically in small business. Then, pinpoint advisors with a specialty in your business niche.

For example, let's say you run a business flipping houses. It will be advantageous to find an advisor with practical knowledge of the real estate market. Extra points should go to advisors who have actually owned or managed the same type of business.

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Factor in credentials

In business as in life, it is often said that experience is the best teacher. But experience combined with credentials can make for a truly formidable combination when finding advisors for small business. An MBA, CPCP (Certified Professional Coach Program), MCC (Master Certified Coach) or other coaching credentials can help boost your confidence in your advisor’s opinions.

Seek complementary talents and traits

Small business advisors are valuable because they provide the fresh eyes you need to see your business in a new light. For this reason, it is wise to work with a small advisor who has talents or traits you do not already possess. For example, let's say you are a technology guru who is not confident when it comes to sales and marketing. You can complement your skills by finding a small advisor who specializes in these knowledge gaps.

The same goes for personal traits. If you consider yourself to be an impulsive decision-maker, you can benefit from an advisor with a more methodical approach. At the same time, ensure that your personalities mesh well so that the relationship thrives in the long-run.

Small business advisors: How to pay them

Unrealistic expectations can be the undoing of many business relationships. This is why it's important to establish up-front how your small business advisor will help you achieve your business goals. Identify which of your advisor's coaching services will be used and how often correspondence will occur. Then, come to an agreement on the price of these services.

Does your advisor prefer compensation or an hourly or retainer basis? And will you be compensating him or her for overhead such as travel and other business expenses? Rates can vary significantly based on an advisor's reputation, experience and location. But you can refer to websites like to estimate what business consultants charge.

Be sure to capture the services, frequency and compensation in a formal contract. This will help avoid payment issues and ensure a smooth financial relationship with your advisor.

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