What is a Trusted Advisor?

An entire book has been written on what a trusted advisor is, but basically a trusted advisor is a person you might trust to be in the inner circle of your business or someone you might rely to help you run your company in an efficient and effective manner.  You may need more than one trusted advisor, for instance, you might want to have a trusted advisor for accounting, legal, financial advising, banking, insurance, and coaching, among others.  Your accountant or tax attorney will keep the financial piece of your business in check; your attorney should help you build a solid legal foundation by helping you choose the right entity by which to operate your business, assist you in finding any holes in your foundation, and put proper procedures in place to minimize any legal risks; your financial advisor should be able to help you effectively plan for your future; your banker should be able to recommend the best products for your business be they the best bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit, or loans; your insurance agent should help you have the right lines of insurance in place and should help you determine what the correct policy limits as well as the best deductibles are; and your business coach should guide you in growing your business.

How do you choose your trusted advisors?  That comes down to your comfort level with each of these people.  Let’s face it, if you’re not comfortable and don’t respect the ideas and suggestions of those you rely on for your business, your company may not grow in a way that you would like.  You also should think about choosing people who are interested in learning about your operations and how you go about your daily tasks because those people will have the best insight and therefore be able to provide the best direction when you seek it.  In some of these trusted advisor positions, you may want to choose those who are entrepreneurs themselves rather than an employee of a larger corporation because they may be a little bit more in touch with your needs.  That said, however, in some of these areas, specifically banking and financial advisors, someone who has a large corporation behind them could be most beneficial to you.

When you are establishing relationships with your trusted advisors you may want to ask them how they work with their clients, what kinds of time frames they usually work within, what benefits they provide, and the services they may be able to offer you.  You need to be sure that those people you are choosing as your trusted advisors are intent on building a relationship with you that will last throughout the lifetime of your business, not just be interested in the one off, one time transaction.  Yes, building these relationships with the trusted advisors will take time and often it’s time you don’t have while you’re an entrepreneur starting or building your business.  However, as tough as it may be, building these relationships when you don’t really need your trusted advisors will save you when you do need their advice.

You probably will also want your trusted advisors to be able to refer you to people with specific as expertise that your team of trusted advisors does not have.  Therefore, you might want to determine how deep their connections in your community are.  Chances are, however, that your trusted advisors surround themselves with those who are much like them and so if you feel you are in good hands with those advisors, you should be comfortable with those they would refer you to.

Choosing the best team of trusted advisors may take a while, you may not get it right the first time however as you build your empire you have a better understanding of what you need and who you work well with and in time you will have a team of trusted advisors that you can go to for any of your business concerns.

Do you have at least one trusted advisor that you rely on?