Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 2 Feb 2019
A Business Advisor is a consultant providing independent business and financial advice, guidance, support, assistance and to organisations and individuals. They provide their services to companies of all sizes and in all aspects of the business, including starting, growing and scaling up a business.
Professionals working in this role typically work for small to medium-sized organisations or are self-employed.
Day-to-day activities and responsibilities
- Meeting employees and business owner to identify objectives and strategy
- Analysing and drafting business plans
- Analysing business operations and identifying areas for improvement
- Providing advice about investments, marketing and business development
- Helping businesses with their Information Technology (IT) systems
- Analysing financial reports and sources of finance
- Discussing with clients the potential of business ideas and future plans
- Teaching key business skills to entrepreneurs, sole traders and start-ups
- Applying for European Development Fund on behalf of the clients
- Negotiating new business contracts
- Organising and running advice workshops and seminars
- Monitoring client progress
Workplace and working hours
Business Advisors usually work from 9 AM to 5 PM in an office environment. In certain cases, e.g. for travelling, meeting clients or attending networking events, working outside these hours may be necessary. Visiting clients at their place is often required, particularly in the initial stages of the consultation.
Salaries can heavily vary depending on the location and size of the employer. In London, the starting salary of a Business Advisor is around £30,000 per annum. In other areas of the UK, this is closer to £20,000. Relevant work experience is also an influential factor in salary.
Those that are self-employed can charge a fixed fee per hour or per project.
Figures are intended as a guideline only.
Previous experience in the business sector is necessary in order to provide high-level advice to other companies. Many business advisors have the experience of having previously worked in sectors such as HR, finance or business management.
Formal qualifications are less critical than skills and work experience. However, the majority of business advisors are required to have a business-related degree, in some cases, they hold MBA’s.
Skills and personal attributes
- Working under pressure: Tight deadlines are often the norm in this field. You must be able to work with accuracy and adhere to deadlines.
- Problem-solving skills: You will need to have the ability to identify a problem, analyse it and develop a strategy to resolve it. The main aim of a business advisor is to maximise profit for the business and help them achieve their objectives.
- Organisational Skills: You should have high standards for the quality of the service you are providing to customers, personal hygiene and the cleanliness of the work area around you. Multi-tasking skills and the ability to manage different projects at once are also beneficial.
- Awareness: You will need to have a high level of awareness in order to identify issues which may potentially be a cause for concern for the business.
- Excellent communication skills: In order to develop a client base, particularly if you are self-employed, communication and people skills are highly important. Communication is also essential to be able to gain an understanding of the client’s requirements.
- Innovative: You should be able to come up with innovative, clear ideas which can be put into practice.
Job likes and benefits
- Working with a wide range of people: You will have the opportunity to deal with a range of clients from different business sectors. You will also be attending networking events to meet new people and tell them about your services.
- Variety of projects: This role provides you to advise businesses in a range of different business areas. You are also likely to be working with more than one client, further diversifying your experience of working across different sectors.
- The opportunity to make a difference: Particularly when working with smaller-sized businesses, it can be highly rewarding when you see your suggestions successfully implemented and increasing profits.
- Being your own boss: If you are self-employed, you will have a greater control over your working hours and work commitments. You can accept and reject different clients or projects, based on your own preferences.
Job challenges and disadvantages
- Managing workload: Often you will have a range of projects to work on and it can be difficult to manage projects with conflicting deadlines and priorities.
- Travel: In order to identify objectives and areas for improvement, frequent travel may be necessary during the early stages of working with the clients. This may be a disadvantage for some people, particularly if it involves long-distance travelling.
- Self-employment: By being self-employed, you may have greater control; however, you may experience more pressure in trying to set up a client base and marketing your services.
Job progression and career prospects
There are a variety of career progression opportunities available in this sector.
Through training and undertaking further qualifications, such as through the courses offered by the Institute of Consulting (IC) or attaining management qualifications through the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), one can progress to more senior roles within the business sector. There is also the opportunity to develop a client base and become self-employed.
Institute of Consulting