When and why you should get an adviser
Business owners will wear lots of different hats as they look to grow their business but there comes a time when it’s in your company’s best interest to speak to someone with specific experience.
Usually, that someone has been there and done it before, and they usually come in the form of an adviser. And there are thousands of them out there.
We look at the most frequently asked questions about advisers and how they could help your business.
What is an adviser?
An adviser is someone who gives you help or advice in a certain field.
What does an adviser do?
An adviser uses their experience and expertise to help you. Usually they’ve been through something similar to what you’re going through so they can draw on their own experience to offer advice and guidance.
What types of advisers are there?
There are lots of advisers available in the UK, including financial advisers, business advisers and marketing advisers.
While they may have a speciality, advisers tend to be all-rounders and have expertise with broad fields and subjects.
Someone who offers advice on a specific task and the best way to tackle it is more likely to be a consultant.
How can I use an adviser?
Advisers can be a useful sounding board if you’re entering a new phase of your business, there’s an important decision to be made or you’re making a major change to the way you’re running things.
Ultimately, if your business lacks expertise or experience in a certain area, an adviser can help you make more informed decisions, especially if they’ve got first-hand experience.
For example, if you’re seeking external finance to help your business grow, an adviser who has used finance to successfully grow a similar business could prove useful.
What are the benefits of an adviser?
As well as help and advice, there are lots of benefits advisers can bring to your business:
to their network
their reputation could help yours
for the market and how other businesses operate
they’ve been there and done it so can draw on their experience to help you
How much does an adviser cost?
Advisers charge varying amounts depending on the role they’re asked to fulfil, the amount of time they spend working with you and the experience and expertise they have.
For example, an experienced adviser, with a proven track record of improving global companies or helping them get investment is likely to charge more than someone who has only ever advised smaller, local companies.
The way advisers charge also varies. If you’re looking for investment and want to hire an adviser to help you, they will usually expect a retainer however often this is only payable if the fundraising is successful.
Others may charge an hourly rate, a set fee for a piece of work or a monthly fee. It depends on the adviser and how you want to deal with them.
When should I get an adviser?
Most growing businesses could benefit from an adviser but a lot depends on your senior management team and where there are gaps within your experience or where you need additional support.
If you’re raising finance advisers can play an important role throughout the process, from preparation through to finalising the deal.
Where can I find an adviser?
A good way to find an adviser you trust is through your business network and particularly by asking similar companies how and when they used an adviser.
If that’s not possible there are lots of business adviser websites and directories online, including a gov.uk resource for business advisers.
How do I choose an adviser?
Advisers can play an important role in your business’ development so choosing the right one for you can be daunting, not least because of all the different factors you need to consider.
A good place to start is their experience and expertise and making sure this is aligned to your business and its aims. If you’re a small business looking for £30,000 of funding an adviser who specialises in finding finance for global corporations may not be the right fit.
How do I check an adviser?
If you've chosen your adviser it's worth checking with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to see whether they're regulated and approved.
The FCA aims to make financial markets work well so consumers get a fair deal. Their Financial Services Register shows details of the firms, individuals and bodies that are currently or have previously been regulated by the FCA or The Bank of England's Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA).
If you use an adviser that is not approved by the FCA, you will not be covered by the Financial Ombudsman Service or the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Both schemes allow you to seek compensation if things go wrong.