Using Advisors Successfully

This article ran last December  in Country Guide, a farm business magazine.  While aimed at the farming community where time frames are long and consequent risk greater, the advice within it is applicable in any business.

The Best Farm Advice

The key points.

  • Plan ahead and know if your advisor intends to stay with you for a long time.
  • Values have changed and even though the operation has not, there may be options and problems not previously available.
  • Broaden you advisor base
  • Define a strategy and share it with the advisors
  • Many complex businesses have not moved past informal advice structures.  They should.
  • Advisors should provide tactics not strategy
  • Advisors can help with implementing
  • Learn to network
  • Treat professional development as a priority
  • Beware of false fee savings
  • The price of advice is a false indicator of value.
  • Buy what you need and expect to pay a price that represents the value you receive.

People with businesses are busy and because of that they sometimes never discover time and cost saving ways to get to their goals.  Sometimes goals are confused and contradictory.  Little good come from that.

Advisors add meaning to some of the details that confound the people who deal with them only rarely.  Packaged solutions address common circumstances and an advisor can add the minor changes that make it suit a particular situation.

Many business people rely on the rugged individualist approach.  While it looks cheap, it sometimes fails for want of some tiny piece of advice.  Try to be more expansive in your thinking.


Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.

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