“I’ve been in this business for 40 years. No one can tell me anything I don’t already know.”
“I don’t want someone I just met telling me how to run MY business.”
“My business is unique, and no one else does things the way we do, so your ‘standard solutions’ won’t work here.”
As business advisors, we’ve heard a fair amount of sentiments like these, and we’ve discovered that sometimes the best way to articulate the value of a good advisor is not with clever arguments but with a story.
I recently went over to a friend’s house to help him move his couch. The house was a bi-level with a small flight of stairs leading to the front door. We transported the couch down the stairs and were trying to maneuver it through the doorway; it wouldn’t budge. We then stopped for a minute, evaluated the situation, and tried harder. Still stuck. After 2-3 minutes, we noticed his neighbor standing just outside the house, entertained by our efforts. Without hesitation, he said, “move it back up one step, rotate it about 30 degrees and come back down.” With no better options but to swallow a little bit of pride and take his suggestion, we did as he instructed. Sure enough, within seconds, we were out of the house, and the couch was in the truck.
This wasn’t his couch, nor was this his house; in fact, I don’t think he’s ever even been inside the house. He had a perspective we didn’t have that he could use to identify problems we couldn’t see and suggest a quick, simple solution.
I’ve always been terrible at golf, but for some reason, I’ve noticed this year that I’m getting worse the more I play instead of better. I was reading articles on how to improve my swing, spending more time at the range, even shopping for new clubs. None of it mattered. Still no improvement, in fact, the opposite. Finally, I decided it was time for me to seek some professional help, so I signed up for an evaluation with a local professional golf coach.
After some brief discussion about the challenges I was experiencing and what I hoped to accomplish, I was directed to a special room with several cameras, four tv screens, and a giant net to hit into. I was instructed to swing “like I normally do” and hit a few balls into the net. Cameras from multiple angles recorded my swing so the instructor could then replay the video, dissecting my swing frame by frame. Every element of my swing, from the setup to the backswing, contact, and follow-through, was compared to a database of “baseline” measurements generated by compiling the average swing of the top 100 professional golfers in the world. As painful as it was to watch, it allowed me to see how my swing compares to a professional.
I’ve never actually seen my golf swing before, which makes sense as there aren’t a lot of mirrors on golf courses. Within those 90 minutes, I was able to SEE what was causing that awful slice and begin to make a plan to correct some unhealthy habits. There was not one magical fix (unfortunately), but a couple of fundamentals that I need to practice, which will start pushing me towards a path of improvement.
Hopefully, by now you can see where I’m going with these stories…
We need trusted advisors in our business (and frankly, in all areas of our life) because a good advisor can provide a perspective only an outsider can give. They can see things from multiple vantage points (the forest AND the trees) and make comparisons to what the best companies in the world do (a.k.a. “Best Practices”). A good advisor will leverage the decades of experience you have in your business, or within your industry, to help you see things from a new perspective. And seeing things in a new way is the first step to breaking old habits and creating meaningful change.
When you’re ready, we’re here for you — and for the life of your business.