Business advisors come in many different sizes and shapes. Often, they focus on something specific – a special project, insurance, laws, finances, and so on – helping businesses solve whatever problem they may be facing. It is valuable for a business to do this, but only if they actually know what the problem is that there are facing and, according to Kimberly Dey, any don’t know how to determine what the issue at hand is. This is why the general advisor is so important. They are the ones who identify the actual problem and then identify the specialists most suited to solving that particular problem.

Kimberly Dey on the Importance of General Advisors

Dey believes that all businesses are systems. As such, where there is one issue somewhere inside the system, other elements start to suffer from it as well. What the general advisor does is look at the overall, or the bigger picture. They understand that there are different components and that they all link together, but their focus is more on that link, and less on the role of each component. Finding a general advisor like that can be quite complex, because it can be hard to determine who truly is experienced and competent, and has the required integrity.

Indeed, according to Kimberly Dey, the best way to find such a general advisor is through word of mouth advertising with other partners, such as insurance agents, bankers, attorneys, and CPAs. Based on these referrals, interviews can take place in which you can find out about things such as:

  1. How sensitive they are to the critical importance of confidentiality. They will, after all, be able to learn all there is to know about your organization, so confidentiality must be top of the agenda. They must be willing to sign an agreement for this.
  2. Whether there are happy to sign a non-compete policy, which means that they will not provide advice to anyone established as direct competition during their advisory period and for a set period of time thereafter.
  3. Whether there is a degree of chemistry there. You need to feel that you can gel with your advisor and that they are likeable. After all, they will be working very closely together with you for long periods of time.
  4. Whether you have the confidence to believe that they truly are the most dedicated and passionate person for the job. You need to feel like they really care, after all.

These are the four key things to look for in a general business advisor. They are the ones who will be able to identify where the greater issues in your organization lie, after which you can bring in further specialists to resolve that impact. Taking a more generalized overview, however, will give you the opportunity to see what is really going on in the organization and how it can be improved upon. This, in turn, will set you miles ahead of the competition.