Why business owners don't ask for advice

FINANCIAL Wisdom representative Sam Carroll knows the value of taking advice – having helped transform the business with the help of a business coach – but he is worried about how so many Australian business owners refuse to counsel financial advice for their companies.

“For someone who gives advice for a living, I feel it is important to understand what it feels like to take advice,” Mr Carroll said. “We sought the advice of a business coach to optimise our systems and processes, our sales function and ultimately our long term business valuation and attractiveness to potential investors. 

“We’ve learned that there is discomfort involved – an initial daunting realisation of the size of the task in front of you.

“In retrospect this is one of the best decisions we have made for our business to date.”

Mr Carroll said while he observed most business owners had developed sound and often thriving businesses based on their own expertise or skill sets, few then went on to focus on expanding those skills set to encompass other vital business development areas.

“If you look at the typical business owner, we are experts in our field,” he said. “This doesn’t automatically grant us business acumen or the skills to run a successful business…and it’s okay to admit this.

“You don’t have to be good at everything, in fact I’ve learnt I can make more money and enjoy the journey more by outsourcing the stuff that gives me heartburn.”

Mr Carroll said the experience of Financial Wisdom consultants had been that business owners tended to face a few common problems: no clear strategy, no protection of assets, no rainy day insurance and no retirement plan.

“Issues they’ve no doubt thought about but perhaps haven’t known where to go to get the right advice,” Mr Carroll said.

“I often ponder why we (people) don’t seek advice – is it stubbornness; wanting to do things our way, fear of looking bad or incompetent, or having been burnt by bad advice in the past?”

Mr Carroll said people in business rarely extended their strategic planning beyond their business operations – but it was vital that they consider building wealth and planning for exit or retirement.

“One of the first steps in taking advice lies in education… finding out what you don’t know,” Mr Carroll said.



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