Year after year we come the same things business owners need help with. They’re often looking to improve their business. Sometimes a pressing problem they want to solve. The situation changes from one business owner to another. But the underlying themes often don’t. It doesn’t seem to matter whether the business is turning over $600,000 or $20 million – it’s the same old reasons every time.
1. Don’t Know How To Fix A Problem Or Who To Ask For Advice
Most business owners who come to us don’t know how to fix their problem issue, or who to go to for advice. Some business owners we come across also don’t know what the problem is. This is even trickier. It’s harder to know how to fix “it” or who to go to for help.
They’ve already tried the usual brand of professional advisor. An accountant or a solicitor. Dependent on the problem they may have tried a business coach or consultant. These advisors will usually address the issue from their profession’s perspective. They won’t look at the whole picture. Most NZ business owners have intertwined business and personal affairs. So without looking at the bigger picture, putting a band-aid over the problem is the best one can do.
For sure this tactical approach could very well solve the pressing problem. But without a strategic view it’s likely to cause a problem to pop up in some other place which is even harder to fix.
2. Alone and Isolated
“It’s a bit lonely at the top …” as one client said. Despite how many people they have around them business owners are clear on one thing. The buck stops with them. That can make even the most hardened business owner lose sleep at night. Being a business owner can often be a very lonely job. Often there’s no one that stands beside them and backs them up. No one in their corner. No one prepared to go the hard yards with them.
3. Stuck In The Morass
Overwhelm is a major issue with many business owners. They’re trying to keep their head above the water and it’s a struggle. It can make you feel helpless and sometimes even hopeless. Business owners are often looking for clarity. To be pointed in the right direction. Shown a way to escape the quagmire and start moving ahead.
Good advice from an expert will help. So too will a little forward planning and strategic thinking.
4. Business Succession
Half our business owners worry about what’s going to happen to their business when they don’t won’t to, or can’t, be in it any more. Will they sell it to an unknown 3rd party? Will one of their family members take over and how will that work?
Business succession isn’t the first thought when you start in business for yourself. But there comes a time when all your hard work has to amount to something. It pays to have your exit strategy planned well before you need it.
5. Ineffective Professional Advisors
There are some great professional advisors out there. So don’t settle for 2nd best – not when you’re working hard to have your business succeed. Make sure you get top notch professional advice and don’t settle for anything less.
Make sure you’re asking the right questions, and persevere until you get an answer to your question. Don’t be put off and don’t feel humbled.
We’ve had the experience of confronting a professional advisor. And yes, it was uncomfortable. We told them they’d put the document together wrong. They took great offence. They told us that having spent 6 years at law school, they knew exactly what they were doing. But we didn’t give up. We got the advisor to see that they were in fact wrong. That didn’t go down so well either. But pointing the errors out saved our client around $50,000. Our client was very relieved and happy.
6. Excessive Bank Securities
It’s not unusual for banks, over time, to end up holding wholesale securities. The business loans more for extra equipment, to replace vehicles etc. Each time the bank takes more security. The size of the securities soon becomes disproportionate to the size of the loan(s). Bankers say “It’s no problem to leave the securities in place in case you want to borrow more money in the future”!
7. Inadequate Life, Trauma & Disability Cover
Rarely do we come across business owners who have enough life insurance. Their insurance advisor has come along and only insured them for part of what’s required. They may have looked at the business owner’s personal needs. But they’ve completely ignored his business needs. Sometimes the reverse is the case. In one instance the advisor didn’t even know enough about his client to know he owned a business.