Family Business: Trusting Advisors
In my career, I spent many years working for private companies. Seeing entrepreneurs up close was inspiring. I loved being part of their business growth. I loved the glimpses to their own family. It provided me a motivation that I did not get while working for public companies. I like when the shareholder is not anonymous.
I always considered it an honour that they would let me participate in their family business. Invariably, as the finance person, I would be exposed to knowing how much wealth these businesses were (or were not) contributing to the family. I would get exposed to the family's financial goals so that we could plan how the business would get them there.
As I have started my own business, one point is being driven home. It is a HUGE UNDERTAKING to share parts of your business with advisors. Taking that step to share a glimpse in to your family, your financial health and your plans (both strategic business and family financial) requires a great deal of trust -- without the time that it takes to genuinely establish trust.
So, while I have always known this and was able to feel honoured and privileged to be trusted with this personal information, I am presented with a new challenge.
How do you market for this trust?
Rule 1 of business is to Let the world know what product/service you have to offer. I have to get my name out there as an accountant who you can trust to keep your business under control.
But how do you market trust? And, as the person asking you to trust them....how do you do it with authenticity?
For me, writing blogs and sharing a piece of my own family life in my social media is the way I am trying to expose myself the way these entrepreneurs have to. If I trust you to know what my kids look like, or the quirky things that go through my head....well you are getting to know me.
I did not know how equally easy and hard it would be to be this authentic. Easy: I am just being me. Hard: I do not know very much (almost anything) about the people who may read it. In an earlier blog I spoke about sharing your laundry hamper...this is my laundry hamper.
The life of my business is new.
Just like when my children were first born:
I looked forward to finding out what kind of people they would become;
I took time to learn about superheros and video games because it was important to them;
I lost sleep worrying if I was doing a good enough job...
I am going through the same types of things with my business. And I have a greater appreciation for what I am asking other entrepreneurs to do when entrusting me with their finances.
I look forward to watching my business grow into a trusted business partner for other businesses;
I am taking time learning about different industries and business practices because it is important for my clients/potential clients;
I have lost some sleep worrying if I am doing a good enough job.
It is too early to know if the business will be a success. What I can say is that the process I am taking is all about me. It is authentic me. How can I not be proud of that?