I never stop learning which is why, no matter what networking event I attend I always manage to learn something. Whether it is talking to another business or listening to a guest speaker there is always some little tip or another which I like to either use myself or to pass on. For example for marketing people they use the acronym TLA which apparently stands for a Three Letter Acronym...so an Acronym for an Acronym; who knew! However, I was listening to a presentation last night by a guy called Owen Conti who is the managing director of Code 56, a Derby based IT company and he used an Acronym called EEE

EEE stands for

Engage

Expert

Early

Now this may seem perfectly logical but it is amazing in business and in the charity sector how often logic and common sense goes out the window. The trouble is that "Experts cost money". Now how many times have you heard that phrase and yet you also hear "I wish I had spoken to you sooner!"

The fact is that by speaking to the right expert early enough and I emphasise the right expert you can save yourself both time and money. You all know the scenario...the client goes to see his accountant with the announcement that he is doing something or selling something tomorrow or he did something or sold something yesterday and are there any tax consequences or VAT consequences; only to be told in no uncertain circumstances that there is a big tax or VAT bill that could have been avoided! Trust me, no matter how many times I told my clients, there was often a scramble to try and undo something at the last minute to avoid that scenario with the resulting very large and avoidable fee attached.

The same is true in both Business and Strategic planning. Why are you encouraged to do a Business Plan or a Cash Flow Forecast? So you get early warning of problems and time to react to them. These are usually 12 month forecasts but for example, if you are looking to retire or sell your business or to try and expand or diversify your charity what makes you think you can do it all yourself and without long term planning?  Then when it is all going pear shaped, that an expert can pull you out of a hole at the last minute. He or she may succeed but it won't be cheap and it will be anywhere near as effective as early engagement with an expert.

So if you are using an HR consultant to get your employment terms and conditions right, isn't it better to do it before you recruit and have a problem with an employee? If you are designing and producing a new product, shouldn't you take advice on protecting that product by patent or other protection from an expert in patents? If you are buying a property you would get it surveyed by an expert so if you are buying a business or merging a charity, shouldn't you get an expert to give  you some advice as to the best way of doing that first?

So if you remember nothing else, remember the 3 E's