Why do companies use advisors?
One of the most common is a knowledge or experience gap, where a company has encountered a situation that it can’t address on its own. This could include developing a business plan, conducting market research, or undertaking a transaction (i.e., sale, acquisition, etc.). Advisors can also be a resource when a business lacks capacity and help resolve difficult situations.
Experienced advisors have “tried and true” approaches that can fast-track solutions and implementation, getting to better results much more quickly. Advisors who have “been there” and “done that” understand what works, and what doesn’t; this is truly the value of experience.
What is a significant mistake that you see companies make?
Waiting too long to seek advice (often due to underestimating the impact or complexity of a particular situation), and not being receptive to advice. Both can be very damaging to a company.
What type of advisory work do you like best?
Working with business leaders who truly want to get things done; those who are driven to seize opportunities, work hard, and partner with the most talented people they can find. There’s nothing like it.
You have a venture capital background; how is this helpful to being a business advisor?
Venture capitalists invest money in young companies and actively work with them to move their business plan forward. These companies are typically emerging and focused on accessing particular market opportunities. As a result, venture capitalists generally have good ideas about how to build companies (and what doesn’t work!). Experience has taught me that building a company is a disciplined process, and I bring this unique perspective and approach to my advisory work.
Is there such a thing as an advisory process?
Yes! I learned the advisory process while working in international consulting firms earlier in my career, as well as by completing my Certified Management Consultant (CMC) designation, the consulting profession’s only international certification. The advisory process includes areas such as knowing how to identify and understand client needs, developing (and following) workplans, and identifying, completing, and presenting project outcomes. This ensures that the proposed approach fits what the company actually needs, as well as that the process is kept on track. Being an advisor is much more than just having technical business knowledge.
You have practical and educational experience in accounting, marketing, and human resources? Is this typical?
Lots of advisors specialize in a particular area, while some have experience and education in more than one. Having held an executive role, I recognize that managing a business is a holistic process, as all of the parts impact both each other and the company as a whole. My clients find it helpful to work with an advisor who understands this and it can also be very efficient!
If you weren’t a business advisor, what would you be?
In the category of “unexpected”, my childhood career goal was to be an astronaut, and I still love anything to do with space!
Do you have a business philosophy?
Anyone can make something sound complicated; taking something that is complicated and making it simple is of real value (in other words, simple is good). I’m very much a builder, and using tools that become part of how a company functions is a great way to simplify and fast track progress.