Half of business owners turn to spouse rather than accountant for advice

So it is no huge surprise to us that in a survey of 2,000 small business owners, half said they are most likely to turn to their husband, wife or partner for straight-talking advice. In fact, partners were the number one choice for frank advice - more so than accountants (21%), trade bodies (3%), other local businesses (1%) and bank managers (1%).

The T-Mobile research found that 52% of London's small business owners choose their business advisor based on who they trust to tell them the truth. 29% seek business advice from those most likely to 'give it to them straight'.

Business owners know that to survive, they need to tackle the most difficult decisions and realities head on, un-sugar-coated. You don't need or want people giving you advice to be overly nice, overly sensitive, telling you what you want to hear - you need them to be honest, however bad things are.

Which is the way it should be, because you can only fix problems with your business by knowing they exist, and knowing the extent of any damage a new step of past mistake can or has caused.

That means you need to instil a culture of straight-talking and honesty within your business and throughout your business network. Make it clear to the people you work with you won't be offended or react badly on hearing bad news or criticism. Then prove it by never being offended or reacting badly. Actions speak louder than words, after all.

Only by demonstrating to your team and your wider network that you can take the toughest truths, will you get to hear those truths from people less close to you than your spouse or partner.

And then, once everyone's being honest, you can all get on and get the job done in the most efficient way possible.

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