Good advice from trusted advisers is a real asset both to business owners and holders of high office. However, recent events in the UK political scene, and in particular the role played by Theresa May’s ‘special advisers’, highlights that not all such relationships work out.
I’ve written previously on the circumstances when the adviser should bring the relationship to an end, but when should the client call it a day?
Here are five signs your relationship with your business adviser is on rocky ground:
- When the business has outgrown its advisers. This might be a factor of scale, complexity or change of market focus. I’ve advised clients who have experienced rapid growth, and expect further growth, to review the support from their accountant. The relationship may have been fine at start-up, but with time and change in the business, a new relationship might be appropriate.
- When the spark and energy is no longer apparent. As in many relationships, the early days are full of promise, ideas and energy but this can fade. It’s important that, as a business owner, you view your adviser relationship as something that should always create a spark.
- If you sense that you’re no longer getting the attention you once did. Advisers are looking to grow their businesses and, in the early days, you may have the attention of a partner, director or owner of the advisory firm. As they grow, their business model may mean that you get passed to someone new or more junior. If that doesn’t suit you, move on.
- If the advice and service you’re getting appears compromised, conflicted or no longer appropriate then the relationship needs to be reviewed. This might occur if the adviser is working for another firm in your sector. On the one hand, industry knowledge may be an asset, but on the other, you may sense you’re not getting the best or earliest attentions.
- When you look in your calendar and see an upcoming meeting with your adviser and your heart sinks. Enough said!
We may never know the full story of how Theresa May’s special advisers worked, the influence they had or how much of the Conservative Party’s manifesto and campaigning was down to them. It is clear, though, that something fundamental went wrong.
In running your business, of course it’s a good idea to seek advice, but it’s vital you do your due diligence beforehand and keep the relationship under review. If it’s no longer working for you, it’s time to look elsewhere for the support you need.
Why not tell us what you’re looking for in a business adviser? We’d love to hear from you.