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The Kingsford Team, May 14 2019

Why strategic advice from professionals can be sub-optimal for business owners.


At a recent event organized by Peter Jaskiewicz at University of Ottawa and the Ontario CPA, the above participants each weighed in on a family business case study to provide succession advice based on their expertise. And while each piece of advice was excellent, I couldn’t help thinking about the old adage of  ‘when you have a hammer – everything is a nail’.  

My experience as an advisor to business owners is that the right path forward that actually gets the owner where they want to be, is often sub-optimal if considered in any one discipline.  Sometimes, the ‘most trusted’, or ‘loudest’ voice can inadvertently tilt the playing field the wrong way. The advice required by the CEO of a public company is almost always about the money, and often professional advisors are focused on this type of client.  However, for our business owner, most often the crucially needed advice is not about the money, instead it’s about the strategic goals and core purpose of the owner. 

So, to answer the question - what is often missing in business owners’ ecosystems? It is unbiased, third party perspective and advice. 

Trusted business advisors (or advisory boards) often fulfill this role to help the owner assess the professional advice they are getting against the owners objectives. A successful owner/advisor relationship is possible when the business owner is comfortable sharing their goals for the business, themselves and their families. A truly great advisor can manage the process on behalf of the owner to reduce the time it takes to get to the right outcome.

Who is your go to person for objective advice? What do you share with them? How much more could they contribute if you asked?

Let me know what you think.

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The Kingsford Team

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