Perhaps sales are lagging for no apparent reason, or your industry is undergoing tremendous changes. No matter what the reason, some small busines advice is required.

But from whom, why, and for how long? Those are the hard questions. Hopefully, this article can help you navigate the small business advice question, giving you more information to make the best decision for your entrepreneurial venture.

What Type of Small Business Advice Do You Need?

You need to know your goal, before you can figure out how to get there. Do you know exactly what you need to accomplish, and what the problem actually is? Are sales lagging, customers not walking in the door, high staff turnover, or your marketing techniques not working?

There are a myriad of rasons why your small business may be faltering, and why you need advice. Make sure you know exactly what is wrong, before you start looking for professional help.

Once you have determined the exact issue you need to address, it sholdn’t be too hard to figure out what type of professional you require, whether it be financial, himan resources, marketing, legal or technical.

What Control Are You Willing To Relinquish to Receive Small Business Advice?

In order to hire someone to review your entrepreneurial practices, improve them and give you fair small business advice, you’ll need to relinquish a fair amount of control. Are you able, or willing, or do that?

Once, I worked for a combination pub and restaurant, who was offered a free small business advice consultation; a complete review of the problems and issues in the business (although any solutions would cost a fee, of course). But the actual review of the business practices was, at times, so invasive, it was difficult to keep the business running.

Make sure you are fully aware of what any busines advisor will be reviewing and why, and then schedule accordingly. Any professional dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a small business will need to see both your busy and your slow periods for an accurate assessment – but first ask what exactly that entails, so that your business isn’t left scrambling.

What is Your Small Business Advice Budget?

Simple, and obvious. But really, really important. Many small business consultants will offer a free consultation, as the business I mentioned in section #2 did. However, actually doing something about any problems will cost money, and depending on the problem, may add up quickly.

Be sure to openly discuss fees, extras and contingency plans with any consultant you talk to, before making any sort of commitment.

Finding Someone to Provide Small Business Advice

The last task on your lsit is to locate a small business advisor, which shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Talk to other entrepreneurs in the area and see who they use. Alternatively, you can contact your local Chamber of Commerce, Better Business Bureau or business networking group for referrals.