Excuse me Mr Shakespeare, but:

“To ask, or not to ask: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of failing fortune,
Or to take advice about my business troubles,
And by asking, end them?”

We all from time to time face the prospect of having to deal with things in business that we don’t see very day. We also have to face the reality that there are things we can’t do well because we don’t have the level of skill to complete it. There are things we shouldn’t do because we would be better served by actually earning more income. There is also the issue of those things we just won’t do, either because we don’t have time or we just can’t be enthused enough to tackle them.

We probably need help, but how do we decide what help to seek?

A good place to start is through interrogation. Ask these questions of yourself:

What do I know about this subject area?

What is my experience in that field?

Do I know the answer, or do I just think I know the answer?

Am I genuinely ready to listen and learn?

Am I prepared to let someone in who can properly understand my business, my circumstances, my ambitions and my capability?

Can I afford to, and am I prepared to pay for help that adds value to me?

Can I afford not to pay for help that adds value to me?

Be honest with yourself, nobody else will need to know the answer.

Of course, there is another side to the equation. Who do you turn to, and who can you trust to provide you with the skills you need to complement your own or to advise you about those things that are outside your knowledge zone?

There are plenty of “advisers” out there. Many of them have a narrow professional specialist skillset for which they command significant fees. Many of those have a wider (albeit theoretical) general knowledge which they are happy to pass on – at the same level of fee that they command for their specialist skillset.

On the other side, there are advisers who have either an extensive general business knowledge that has accumulated over a lifetime, or a specific talent or skill they are more than capable of, and happy to share. They are often undersold by the first group and consequently ignored by many who could benefit from their wisdom and their hands on experience.

They present superior value for your dollar simply because they know what they don’t know and are happy to seek specialist help from among their network of professional contacts when it is needed.  They don’t ask you to pay specialist fees where specialist skills are not employed on your behalf.

Let’s be clear though. When specialist skills are required, it is in your interest to seek them out and there is value in paying the specialist fees that come with that.

That is value for money.  That is Costs Management.

Kieran May is an experienced Business Strategist and Manager, Professional Bookkeeper and BAS Supervising Agent whose clients are as diverse as is his rounded knowledge of business practice and processes.