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The Truth Will Set You Free! Your Advisor Relationship Will Only be as Good as Your Ability to Listen!

Facing the truth is at the foundation of every good advisor relationship for entrepreneurs and small business owners. And if you aren't going to listen to it, or aren't willing to change, save yourself a lot of aggravation and don't even think about hiring an advisor!

Strong words, but the ability to listen, especially, to the truth, is the most critical element for any successful advisor relationship for an entrepreneur. It's the entrepreneur's ability to consider the advice given and determine how to best use it in their situation that really makes the relationship work and gives it real value.

Having been an advisor and been part of many advisory boards and boards of directors, I have, frequently, been frustrated by small business owners who seek out advisors and their advice and then ignore it!  They will spend countless hours researching the best advisors they can find, interviewing them and structuring a relationship that makes sense for both.  But then, when the advice is given, the entrepreneur either doesn't agree with it, or worse, doesn't even consider it.

The corollary to this mistake is to hire an advisor or establish a board, that will only tell the entrepreneur what he/she want to hear. Same results...bad! And two sides of the same coin: the unwillingness to face the truth!

Typically, entrepreneurs and small business owners bring in advisors for a specific reason.  They might be embarking on a new strategic initiative, either market or new product driven, and need advice and counsel to help them negotiate some uncharted waters.  Or, maybe their growth has stalled and they need a "new set of eyes" to help them better understand where they might have lost their way.

In either case, the given would be to bring in an advisor or advisors who have experience in those particular areas.  But of equal importance, good advisors are truth tellers!  They should have the maturity that drives the courage of their convictions and the ability to deliver their advice with candor. I have always viewed my role as an advisor like the story of the little boy at the parade who pointed out how the emperor had no clothes on. Entrepreneurs, who seek advice, should invite this kind of candor. It's like the medicine we took as a kid. The stuff that tasted the worst, usually did the most good.

But at the end of the day, the small business owner has to not only be able to "take the medicine" (listen),  but to either embrace the changes the "new lifestyle" (strategic initiatives) might require, or change the habits that caused the "illness" (stalled growth).

If you bring in advisors, be open to listen to the truth they deliver and be willing to make the changes that their advice might require, before they ever come in.  Otherwise, you just end up wasting their time and your money!

The Entrepreneur's Yoda knows these things.  He's been there.  May success be with you!

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