It’s not hard to find a relative or friend willing to offer a personal opinion on a professional problem. There is really no cheaper advice than that coming from your neighbor. But with the discounted price, one risks listening to uninformed advice from a possibly sophomoric source.
Every month, I consult with business owners who have received wrong, incomplete and sometimes catastrophic advice from friends or relatives who happen to be professionals, albeit with the wrong kind of experience. Often, such advice is simply unfit for the specific business or situation at hand. Advice that is irrelevant to you and your business, although well intended, is more harmful to you than harmless.
For example, let’s say that you had a good fiscal year and need some additional accounting assistance. Your Uncle Joe has volunteered his services since he used to own his own small business and had to file tax forms for years. What your retired Uncle doesn’t know is that tax laws have changed drastically since he was last in business 20 years ago and filing these principle forms wrongly would result in damaging consequences.
One of the great truths I have learned in my 20 years of experience counseling businesses is that paying for quality advice is never a mistake. Professional consultants are experts in their fields and have built their businesses and reputations on giving solid, experienced guidance in their areas of expertise. The time and expense it can potentially cost to correct any problems caused by misguided advice is an unnecessary one. Consulting with the right person from the beginning will save you time and money.
When you are sick, don’t you go to a doctor? When you have a toothache, don’t you go to a dentist? Reputable specialists are so for a reason. If you have a legal matter, consult a respectable attorney as you would consult a brain surgeon, if needed be. Your business is important and the counsel you seek to nurture it should reflect that worth. Consult with the right people: professionals with experience directly relating to your business.