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A couple of days ago, I was catching up with a BEE advisor, discussing our product offerings and looking to share ideas and opportunities.

Very quickly, it became clear that he had a high level of expertise but only looked at a project through the lens of his specialization.

When I pressed him on how he looks at it from other perspectives, he said bluntly, “I tell my client what they need to do for BEE; they must go sort it out with their lawyers/accountants”.

This seems to be common practice. South African advisors seem to love structures. Let’s do “A” structure, it will save you tax. Let’s do “B” structure, it will get you to this BEE level. The result is that you end up with a great structure that the business must now try operate within. A defined set of boundaries that can often inhibit growth or new opportunity capture.

Sometimes seemingly good advice is not good advice at all.

What does the business truly need to grow? What will assist in capturing the right opportunities? What will improve profits? After all, aren’t we in business to make profit?

Your advisor should take the time to fully understand the needs of your business, giving you advice that may even mean they don’t get the work. It’s critical that the bigger picture, the longterm view is taken into account. If this in not your advisor, it may be time for a change.