Types of advice you’ll need

Types of advice you’ll need

Whatever the age and size of your small business, it helps to tap into expert advice. People like accountants, business mentors, and connections with your industry can help you:

  • solve problems
  • bounce around ideas
  • improve your skills and knowledge
  • find extra help when you need it.

Here are common topics paired with the types of advisors who can help lighten the load.

I want to better understand my finances

Advisors can help if one or more of these apply to you:

  • I want to see if my idea is financially viable.
  • I need help to manage my cash flow and day-to-day finances.
  • I want to minimise my tax and maximise my profits.
  • I’m interested in exploring where I can get funding to grow.
  • I’m thinking of selling my business, so I want to understand how much it's worth
  • I need help to manage my debts.

Who can help:

  • Accountants
  • Bank managers
  • Bookkeepers
  • Budget advisors
  • Business mentors
  • Commercial lawyers
  • Financial advisors
  • Insolvency advisors
  • Inland Revenue community compliance officers
Even if you’re self-employed, you don’t need to — and shouldn’t — go it alone.

Even if you’re self-employed, you don’t need to — and shouldn’t — go it alone.

Lean on the wide community of business advisors, consultants and support networks available to help you and your business.

Can I turn my idea into a business?

Advisors can help if you want to explore one of more of these questions:

  • Does my idea solve a problem or fill a need? Does it have a point of difference?
  • Who is my competition, and is the market big enough for my idea?
  • How easily can I get my idea off the ground – Do I have the skills and resources to do it?
  • What's the best way to raise the money to get started?
  • Can I cover costs and make a profit?

Who can help:

  • Bookkeepers/ accountants
  • Business advisors (business specialists)
  • Business coaches (action-oriented)
  • Business mentors (general knowledge, guidance)
  • Financial advisors
  • Industry networks

See also:

How business advisors can help

Regional Business Partner Network(external link)

I want to protect my business, assets and people

Advisors can help if one or more of these apply to you:

  • I need to register my business and stay up-to-date with licenses and approvals.
  • I want to protect my most valuable business assets.
  • I’d like to identify, register and protect my intellectual property.
  • I’ve got to keep on top of health and safety issues.
  • I want to make sure I hire the best people and do right by everyone I employ.
  • If I decide to buy another business or sell my own, I’ll want help to get the best deal.

Who can help:

  • Accountants
  • Business mentors
  • Commercial lawyers
  • Employment lawyers
  • Employment mediators
  • Health and safety advisors
  • HR advisors
  • Industry networks
  • Insurance brokers
  • Intellectual property and patent attorneys
  • Recruitment consultants
  • Risk consultants
Don’t underestimate the potential return on investment of getting professional advice.

Don’t underestimate the potential return on investment of getting professional advice.

Advisors can help fill gaps you may have in skills, time and resources. They’ll also help you build and maintain a healthy business to a size that suits you.

How can I grow my business?

Advisors can help if one or more of these apply to you:

  • I want to validate my ideas and strategies.
  • I want to improve my work-life balance. 
  • I want experienced people who have walked in my shoes to be my sounding board.
  • I’m keen to develop my leadership skills and business acumen.
  • I’d like to explore my opportunities to innovate, expand or diversify.
  • I’d like to export my goods and services at some stage.

Who can help?

  • Advisory boards
  • Boards of directors
  • Business coaches (action-oriented)
  • Business mentors (general knowledge, guidance)
  • Incubator and accelerator programmes
  • Industry networks
  • Management consultant

See also:

New Zealand Chamber Network(external link) — Chambers of Commerce

Selling through e-commerce(external link) — Ministry of Primary Industries

Callaghan Innovation(external link)

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise(external link) 

Regional Business Partner Network(external link)

How can I develop my skills?

Encourage your team to learn and upskill so they can contribute more effectively to your business. You could find out about training and get help to choose study and training.

Study and training(external link) — Connected.govt.nz

Free training for Kiwi small businesses(external link) — Digital Boost

You could also ask advisors to help you develop your leadership skills and business knowledge. 

 Who can help:

  • Advisory boards
  • Board of directors
  • Business coaches (action-oriented) 
  • Business mentors (general knowledge, guidance)
  • Incubator or accelerator programmes
  • Industry networks
  • Management consultants

See also:

Callaghan Innovation(external link)

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise(external link) 

Regional Business Partner Network(external link)

How can I put good systems in place — both internally and to build my customer base?

Advisors can help if one or more of these apply to you:

  • I need to set up and maintain some good digital systems.
  • I want to be able to easily resolve any tech issues I encounter.
  • I want to grow my customer base by marketing to the right people, at the right time, in the right way.
  • I’m keen to build my brand’s identity.
  • I’m always looking for ways to make the best use of my time.

Who can help:

  • Branding specialists
  • Business coaches (action-oriented)
  • Business mentors (general knowledge, guidance)
  • Digital strategists
  • Graphic designers
  • IT consultants
  • Marketing consultants
  • Remote tech support
  • Virtual personal assistants
Expert view

Expert view

Getting professional advice

Tax expert John Shewan recommends businesses of all sizes seek professional advice. There are lots of benefits to working with advisors, particularly when it comes to tax, compliance and Inland Revenue.

But working with a professional advisor is a two-way road. You need to prep and put in work to make sure you’re getting the most from your advisors.

“You do that by asking them the right questions, by making sure you’re prepared and willing to be absolutely open to them,” Shewan says.

“My advice to people is spend a lot of time preparing before you go and consult with a lawyer or an accountant. Get maximum value out of the time. Make sure you put the pressure on them to deliver value to you.”

Small businesses and the self-employed shouldn’t count themselves out of large professional service networks just because of their scale. Many accounting companies offer in-depth services to small- and medium-sized businesses.

“It’s a little bit of a fallacy that the big accounting firms only look after big clients, that’s not the case,” Shewan says.

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