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The Core Four: The 4 Skills Every Business Advisor Needs

what makes a good business advisor

As a business advisor, there are four skills every business advisor needs to master. You may wonder,what traits and skills do you need to possess to excel in this role? While every advisor is unique, there are certain traits and skills that are essential to success.

Let’s take a look at what makes a good business advisor, and some of the most important skills that the best business advisors have:


What Makes a Good Business Advisor


Sherlock Holmes-level Observation Skills

To be an effective business advisor, you need to be able to observe and analyze complex situations. This means paying attention to the details, using experiences as guides, asking probing questions, and spotting patterns that others may miss.

This skill entails a heightened sense of awareness that goes beyond the surface-level conversations, extending to the unspoken, the subtle shifts in the business environment, and the silent cues that indicate deeper issues or opportunities. Such an advisor doesn’t just hear; they listen intently, decode hidden messages, and understand the implications of what’s not being directly addressed.

This ability to observe keenly becomes indispensable when evaluating the health of a business. It enables the advisor to pinpoint inefficiencies in operations, recognize the early signs of market shifts, and assess the morale and engagement of the workforce. These insights are crucial for providing recommendations that are not only relevant but are precisely targeted to address the specific challenges and opportunities faced by the business.

These observation skills allow an advisor to grasp the entrepreneur’s vision and the unique dynamics of their business quickly. This understanding is critical in tailoring advice and strategies that resonate with the entrepreneur’s goals and the company’s culture, ensuring more effective and actionable guidance.

By cultivating an acute sense of observation, an advisor can identify potential problems before they escalate and uncover opportunities that might otherwise go unnoticed. This proactive approach can lead to innovative solutions that propel a business forward, helping it navigate the complexities of the market confidently. An advisor equipped with Sherlock Holmes-level observation skills is not just a consultant but becomes a vital asset to any business, providing the clarity and insight needed to thrive in today’s competitive landscape.


Sherlock Holmes-level observation skills


The Communication Skills of Oprah Winfrey

As an advisor, you need to be able to communicate complex ideas in a clear and concise manner. 
Communication prowess cannot be overstated in the intricate dance of business advising. It demands a nuanced approach reminiscent of Oprah Winfrey, where every conversation is an opportunity to bridge gaps, illuminate paths, and foster an environment of mutual respect and understanding.

Advisors who excel in communication know that it’s more than just conveying information; it’s about creating an enriching and enlightening dialogue. They easily navigate discussions, breaking down complex concepts into digestible, relatable pieces, ensuring that their advice is heard and fully grasped.

These advisors recognize the power of active listening – a skill that allows them to truly hear the undercurrents of their clients’ fears, ambitions, and challenges. This level of engagement is critical in crafting deeply resonant and personalized strategies. They are adept at asking the right questions that prompt reflection and insight, guiding entrepreneurs to articulate their vision more clearly.

Moreover, adept communicators are also masters of tone and timing. They know when to push for more rigorous analysis and when to offer reassurances. Their feedback, delivered with candor and empathy, motivates action without overwhelming the entrepreneur. This balance builds a foundation of trust, making it easier for both parties to navigate the complexities of business planning and execution together.

In every interaction, these advisors bring a sense of clarity and purpose, ensuring that communication acts as a catalyst for progress. Through their skillful dialogue, they not only illuminate the path forward but also empower entrepreneurs to walk it with confidence. As practiced by these advisors, the art of communication is indeed a transformative tool, turning visions into reality.

The communication skills of Oprah Winfrey


The Problem-Solving Abilities of MacGyver

Being a business advisor means being able to help your clients solve complex problems. This requires creativity, resourcefulness, and the ability to think outside the box to find innovative solutions.

In business, where challenges can emerge as swiftly as opportunities, thinking on one’s feet and solving problems with ingenuity is paramount.

Emulating MacGyver, a business advisor must harness creativity and resourcefulness to navigate challenging situations. This skill set is crucial when unexpected obstacles threaten a business’s progress. An adept advisor leverages their deep understanding of the business environment to craft innovative solutions that are both effective and efficient.

The hallmark of such problem-solving prowess is transforming seemingly insurmountable challenges into manageable tasks. A business advisor can identify the root cause and strategize a course of action by breaking down complex issues into smaller, more digestible components. This approach often involves unconventional thinking, akin to MacGyver’s knack for improvisation, enabling the advisor to explore solutions that might not be immediately apparent. This creative problem-solving can lead to breakthroughs, turning potential crises into pivotal growth moments for a business.

Moreover, the MacGyver-like ability extends beyond addressing immediate concerns; it includes preparing businesses for future hurdles. By anticipating potential problems and implementing preventative measures, an advisor helps businesses build resilience. This foresight ensures that companies are equipped to handle current issues and fortify against future challenges.

It’s about creating a continuous improvement and innovation culture where problem-solving becomes integral to the business strategy.

A business advisor with MacGyver’s problem-solving abilities brings creativity, resourcefulness, and foresight. This unique combination enables them to tackle challenges head-on, turning obstacles into opportunities for growth and ensuring that the businesses they guide are surviving and thriving.

The problem-solving abilities of MacGyver


The Strategic Thinking of Sun Tzu

To be a successful business advisor, you need to be able to think strategically. According to INC Magazine, a good small business advisor will understand that and strive to help business owners not only identify goals, but set a path of smaller goals to help them stay on track.

Emulating the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu, a proficient business advisor must navigate the art of strategic thinking with precision and foresight. It’s not merely about crafting a plan for the immediate future; it involves a deep understanding of the competitive terrain and an ability to foresee and adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the business world.

A true strategist, much like Sun Tzu, looks beyond the obvious, discerning patterns and potential competitor moves before they become apparent to others.


This level of strategic insight demands a thorough market analysis, identifying both opportunities and threats. It calls for a perspective that balances the current state of affairs with the potential for future developments, allowing businesses to position themselves advantageously in their respective industries. Through strategic thinking, an advisor guides entrepreneurs in the delicate balance of risk and reward, steering them towards decisions that align with their goals and visions.


Incorporating Sun Tzu’s principles, the advisor helps businesses craft strategies that are robust and flexible and infused with the wisdom of indirect approaches and the strength of direct action when necessary. This means recognizing when to engage with competitors and when to avoid confrontation, opting instead for strategic partnerships or niche marketing to outmaneuver competition in less contested spaces.


This strategic acumen involves the capacity to anticipate shifts in consumer behavior, technological advancements, and regulatory changes, integrating these considerations into a comprehensive strategy. By doing so, an advisor ensures that businesses are reactive and proactive, setting trends rather than following them.

Embodying the strategic thinking of Sun Tzu, a business advisor, becomes an invaluable navigator through the complexities of growth and competition, equipping businesses with the vision and strategies to thrive in the modern marketplace.


The strategic thinking of Sun Tzu


Now that you know know what makes a good business advisor, focus on honing these skills so you can become a truly effective business advisor and help your clients succeed over the competition.


Navigating the treacherous waters of the business world demands more than just a keen eye for opportunity; it requires a robust arsenal of skills that only the finest business advisors possess. These indispensable qualities, encompassing observant analysis, masterful communication, inventive problem-solving, and astute strategic planning, set the stage for unparalleled success. 

Entrepreneurs embarking on the challenging journey of establishing and growing their enterprises will find that allying with advisors who exhibit these core competencies can be a game-changer. 

Such advisors are not merely consultants but architects of growth and catalysts for innovation. With their guidance, businesses cannot only sidestep potential pitfalls but also identify and seize opportunities with precision. This collaboration fosters an environment where challenges are approached creatively, and strategic decisions are made confidently, ensuring the path to achieving business objectives is clear and attainable.

In an era of fierce competition and the market landscape ever-evolving, the importance of partnering with a well-rounded business advisor cannot be overstated. Their unique blend of skills empowers entrepreneurs to craft compelling visions, execute strategic plans, and achieve sustainable growth. As businesses strive not just to survive but thrive, the support of a skilled advisor becomes an invaluable asset in turning aspirations into tangible successes.

In conclusion, the journey to business success is complex and challenging. However, the road ahead becomes significantly more navigable with the right advisor—one who embodies the essential skills of keen observation, effective communication, inventive problem-solving, and strategic thinking. For entrepreneurs aiming high, selecting an advisor with these core qualities is a pivotal decision that can profoundly influence their journey toward achieving their business goals.


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