Some companies get their start because of one person’s incredible idea, but it will soon need more than a great mind to build and grow a sustainable business. Once emerging growth companies and fast-moving startups establish their footing, they have a lot to consider as they seek trusted advisors to help them achieve greatness.

Why Do You Need a Strategic Advisor?

No one person has all the answers. The savviest of entrepreneurs and the smartest of CEOs realize they need help with figuring out what they don’t know. Strategic growth consultants can fulfill that role because they’ve seen and done it all. They’ve been in the trenches at a wide range of companies, along all stages of the business lifecycle, and they’ll share best practices and guidance.

With a strategic growth partner, you gain access to experts to bounce ideas off of, and the right advice when you need it the most. At the same time, you have a place to turn as you work on developing an ecosystem of partners that you can rely on as the needs of your company become more complicated. This ecosystem becomes a valuable resource whether you’re debating a change to your business model, a strategic growth opportunity, or you’re entering a crisis. If the specialties of their consultants do not match your latest issue, your strategic advisors can quickly put you in touch with the appropriate resources, such as legal or tax advice.

The Qualities of Great Strategic Advisors

Trusted advisors are resources that you know will always be there for you and have your company’s best interests in mind. They can push the company toward its full potential when appropriate—when you are looking for new insights, when your company wants to move beyond complacency, you’ll have a guiding force in the form of your strategic advisors. Here are some of the qualities to look for as you seek such a partnership for growth:

  • Understanding of your industry and quick learners: Ramp-up time is minimal when you partner with strategic growth consultants who already have a deep awareness of the nuances and complexities of your industry and are accustomed to getting up to speed on any type of business very quickly. As you interview potential strategic advisory firms, notice whether they seem truly curious about how your company operates. Are they asking thoughtful questions, or do they seem to be promoting their own agenda?
  • Range of experiences and breadth of expertise: You may have a one-time need for now, such as the development of a finance and accounting function for your startup. That may require one or two consultants to get you going and run the day-to-day accounting. But what happens when your company becomes more successful and its needs evolve? You don’t want to have to start over with finding another firm. With a comprehensive team of finance and accounting pros available, a strategic growth advisory firm can provide expertise on an ongoing or as-needed basis, including interim CFOs, technical accounting expertise and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance
  • Reliability, longevity and proven solutions: How long has the strategic advisory firm been in business? Have they evolved with the times? How has their business performed, in terms of satisfied and ongoing client relationships? How have their solutions met the needs of their clients? Successful firms are full of anecdotes from past client situations.
  • Solutions that are customized to your company: You know your company is unique and has its own set of circumstances. A cookie-cutter approach is unlikely to properly address your current dilemma or need. For that reason, look for firms that are flexible and will adjust their response to your inquiries based on your team’s workflow and how the company operates.
  • Forward-looking and forward-thinking: You need solutions that meet current needs, but you also don’t want those solutions to hamper growth. Look for an advisory firm that uses foresight and consultants with deep experience who can help you think through current needs and next steps, including scenario planning, so that you can make the right decisions for today and for your company’s future.

The Right Strategic Advisors for Your Company

As you conduct research for the right advisor for your company, you can use this list as a starting point. Also learn how RoseRyan’s tailored advisory expertise helps evolving companies overcome their finance and accounting challenges and pursue their next milestone.