Determine who is best suited and motivated to ask you tough questions
You tie your life to another’s in many ways with that ring on your finger: family, friends, jobs and where you live, to name a few. You also certainly combine finances and attitudes about money. Is your spouse also always the best person to give business advice? Often, yes.
Your spouse often has the most to lose if you decide to make a really boneheaded move regarding money, business or almost anything else. Your spouse might not have as much technical knowledge as others but at the same time they are probably the most motivated to ask you tough questions.
Let’s look at your other options for collecting advice – and the possible limitations of each:
Your accountant. Let’s assume that a really smart accountant services your company. Your first question: How much experience does that professional have owning a company? What training does a certified public accountant get on how to run a successful company?
Most CPAs are employed at a CPA firm. He or she likely never started a business from scratch and doesn’t really know what drives a company toward future continuing success.
A CPA works with history, tracking what happened in your company and not what’s likely to happen.
Key employees. A better choice for advice about your biz than your CPA, your key employees still bring up a problem: If they really disagree with you, you might fire them – and they know this.
Top employees will tell you what they think only up to a point, especially if your managerial history includes pushing back hard on opinions you disagree with.
Consultants. Again, most won’t tell you what you need to hear. Consultants do their best to tell you what you want to hear. After all, consultants are even easier to fire than employees.
A friend not in your business. Your friend might even have experience with the current issue you face in your business. He or she can give you an opinion. It’s just an opinion: remember that if the opinion tanks, it’s really no skin off your friend’s back.
A friend or acquaintance with business success. Advice from a professionally successful friend or, even better, from a successful person you don’t know well, likely contains a more honest and useful answer.
Someone you know who’s been there, done that, can probably think about your opportunity or potential problems like few others. You must remember, though, that another successful businessperson draws from his or her experience and not from yours.
The most to win or lose? Remember that expression, “It matters whose ox is being gored.” In other words, who wins or loses the most in a particular situation?
If your business idea works, your spouse wins along with you and, if the idea fails, suffers just as much (if not more). Next time you face a major decision, talk to your spouse. You might be glad.
And if not actually glad, you might just hear a few words that give you pause before you make a really big business mistake.