If you’re running a business then you’ll have lots of people pitching to offer you (sometimes costly) advice. Turning it all down means missing out on important insights that could make the difference between success and failure for your business. There are few situations where you won’t benefit from advice, but your resources are finite and you need to be able to make firm decisions about when to invest in expert advice and when to pass on it.

Filling a Gap 

One of the most important times to accept advice is when you can fill a gap in expertise or insight. Market Intelligence companies, for example, have access to data and interpretation techniques that you (as a non-expert in the field) do not have access to. It’s well worth paying for advice from a market research firm because they have a perspective that you lack: they can tell you what’s going on in the market place as a whole, whereas you have access to, at best, data on who has already chosen to spend their money with you. The key to growth is finding out why people who haven’t yet chosen you don’t see you as an attractive prospect and learning how to appeal to them.

Get Specific

If you’re partnering up with any kind of consultation or expertise based company, think carefully first and get very specific about what you want to achieve. If you don’t know what you want from a particular partnership you will likely find yourself spending more money than you’re comfortable with, chasing a nebulous success that you can’t easily define. Define what success looks like first, then make an agreement so both parties are working in good faith to achieve that definition of success.

If you’re trying to boost your revenue with input from a sales consultant, for example,’boosting your sales’ isn’t a good definition of success! How will you know when they’ve been boosted sufficiently, and will you agree with your consultant that they have been?

Whether it’s in absolute numbers or in terms of a relative increase on last year or quarter’s figures, set out clearly what you want to achieve and then you’ll have a more productive and likely more successful relationship with your consultant, and spend less on better advice!

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