Listening to podcasts isn’t going to build your business. Guess what will?

We’ve all been there. Confident Sinek. Determined Sethi. Marketing-savvy Godin. Who hasn’t whiled away hours listening to podcasts?

There’s just one problem. For your small business, the key to your success is not to mimic the pundits.

You need to focus on your goals to build your business.

Your custom needs can’t be gotten from a shelf, nor from an hour-long podcast. Let me state an obvious truth here—nothing replaces a good real-life advisor. A good advisor will guide you through the process of fixing whatever ails your business, make sure you’re completing the tasks to grow revenue and look at how you’d like to tailor your life for your terms of success.

1.  No, it’s not your social media. The tricky thing about being a small business is we seem to think that doing one task is going to turn things around. But marketing won’t deliver without a great product, proper funding, the right audience, good service, ample distribution and accurate pricing. You need to look at the whole picture.

2.  Life teaches us nuances not found in books. One way to vet an advisor is to see if he or she has experience actually running a company (other than just their advising company). Some knowledge has to be learned the hard way. If they’ve hashed it out in real life, they can help your business in real life, too.

3. Your business needs a health checkup. Most of us are diligent about keeping our yearly appointments with our g.p., but when it comes to business, life can seem too frenetic to pause for an assessment. If you want to determine the growth and direction your business takes, you have to do it intentionally.

4. Good businesses attract good people. I recently talked to a 3d imaging dentist who told me that staying on the cutting edge meant he attracts good associates and good clients. Yes. Absolutely. If you’re having a hard time in your current niche or not getting the kind of clients you need, you need to look at how you’re operating and why your business appeals to what audience.

5. Numbers are just part of the picture. I’ve worked with a startup, with a 120-person staff, who has never made a dime. They’re funded, valued highly and building for long-term value. It may not be your dream to garner VC money or sell out, but you need to have a long-term vision about where you want to take your business . . . so you can be sure you get there.

6. Your future plans dictate your daily action. Think of a locomotive engine pulling the cars along. Where you want to wind up as a business determines what moves you make every day and what you prioritize. If you’re not getting to the station, what’s the point? Let an advisor give you a Plan of Action.

7. Wishing won’t make it true. Concrete plans, based on an assessment and forecast, is what makes goals for your business come to life. A good business advisor will help you achieve your projects a step at a time and hold you accountable to deadlines. Think of them as personal trainers for your business fitness.

In short, when it comes to business, there’s always more–making more money, working on more interesting projects, growing with more speed. If you’d like to fast-track your growth, or simply make your business work better for you, an advisor is an investment in your future that pays for itself.

Nancy Benjamin is a Dynamic Business Advisor with Cultivate Advisors. After 24 years running a successful international import business, Nancy knows how to guide small businesses for impressive growth.