Making the most out of your meetings with your marketing team is a lot like going to your doctor’s office.

Have a prepared list of questions

As a small business owner you are going to have regular meetings with a slew of professionals who are all working to make your business the best it can be. Whether you plan a business meeting with your marketing team, legal council or investors, you need to be prepared with a list of questions.

You hired these people, so you need to ask them what they are doing to help you and whether it’s working or if you need to change things up. It’s just like when you visit the doctor and you’re not feeling well, you give them your list of symptoms and then ask why am I feeling this way? Is it strep throat, the flu or am I just a hypochondriac? You won’t get any answers from anyone if you don’t ask questions.

Be honest about how you’re feeling

You shouldn’t lie to your doctor and you definitely shouldn’t lie to the companies you have turned to for help. When a doctor asks you, “So what’s wrong?” you can’t lie and say nothing. Otherwise you wouldn’t be there in the first place.

Trust me, I have done that many times and you will only end up making a second, more agonizing trip back to the doctor feeling extra shameful. The less information you give a doctor, the harder it is for them to properly diagnose you.

The same goes for your support team. The less you tell them, the less they will be able to help your business grow. Be as detailed as you possibly can. Be upfront about your thoughts, opinions and concerns when preparing for a business meeting. If something doesn’t feel like it is going in the right direction, SPEAK UP.  Don’t let it fester.

You have hired experts, but they can’t do their job without all of the proper information. It is still your business, but the experts need to know your opinions as well. You have to work together.

Don’t go on autopilot

Have you ever gone to the doctor asking for their advice only to sit there and be talked at for 20 minutes? It’s not a productive use of your time if you leave wondering why you ever left your house that morning. The worst thing you can do in a meeting with your web developer, marketing strategist, accountant or lawyer is nod your head and say, “Uh huh, sounds great.”

You need to be engaged in the dialog and let your team know when plans change. We were working with a client who decided to open a second office in Cincinnati. It was a smart move from a business standpoint. The problem? He forgot to mention a need for a marketing analysis in Cincinnati, so we didn’t get the opportunity to do the advanced work which would have lead to a successful launch.

The bottom line: Be honest, ask a lot of questions and be engaged in the conversation to get the proper diagnosis your business needs to succeed.