There are a number of ways of finding professional advisors for your business:

  • Word of mouth – being a professional advisor myself, this tends to be the most common route for new clients to find advisors throughout my industry. Speak to successful business owners that you know, and trust, for an honest opinion of their advisors, and if they are keen advocates of their advisory team, ask for a recommendation. If they are already in your industry, this recommendation is even more valuable for you.
  • Local networking groups – most towns have a variety of local networking groups that you can attend to meet business owners and professional advisors. This is a good way to meet the individuals before discussing business, but be wary of those who attempt to sell on the first meeting during the coffee break!
  • Industry networking groups – it is very possible that your industry has a networking group within it, whether a trade association, or just a network set up by individuals within the industry. If you find an industry group, be sure to attend and find out a little more about the advisors who specialise in your field.
  • Online – generally, advisors who advertise on generic PPC (pay per click) key words via Google are aiming at a volume of clients, and might not give you the necessary service that you require as a start up. However, the online business community is strong, and by entering some of the business forums and social media sites, you will undoubtedly get to know some advisors through this route. Be conscious that any advisor can make their firm look bigger than it is online, in the same way some people promote a perfect life on Facebook! So, be sure to do your research.
Professional associations – most professional associations or institutes have a list of their members, that is available either on their website or by post.

By Carl Reader, author of The Start Up Guide and The Franchise Handbook