We have access to more information than we ever have at our fingertips. A library full of encyclopedias is now dwarfed with the material we can all download on the internet. It allows us to be much more informed and knowledgeable but does it make us experts in any specific area? Most likely not. Information without a directed relevance in a specific area fails to give us true understanding. Knowledge without hands-on experience through testing, trial and repetition is only “book knowledge” without real world experience. But this differentiation can be confusing to some.
Do you go to your doctor and advise him how to examine you? You might go in and tell him what you feel might be wrong based on your observations and knowledge but you certainly wouldn’t go through their protocol for examination. You might have read tons of articles about what “might” be wrong but you don’t have ten, twenty or thirty years of experience and focused training treating these types of issues.
We often get calls from equipment vendors and customers wanting to know more about the finance process so they are aware themselves and on how to inform their clients. It is great to know multiple areas of your business process but to try to become an expert in each area is self defeating and disastrous. The complexity of many businesses has outdated the idea that the owner had to be an expert in each area of their company. Our office spends countless hours doing one main thing; evaluating financials, creating profiles and structuring programs that fit a particular need. Would you expect to read a few articles on business financing and do what we do as effectively? Even if you were a savvy CFO with years of experience; you would not have spent more than 10% of your time involved with equipment financing because there are various other duties which CFOs are responsible for.
If you engage with an expert (someone that knows more and has more experience than you do in an area) it is a good idea to let them do their job so you can do your job more proficiently. Of course, a key is selecting a trusted professional to service you in the first place. Reading multiple articles from unreliable or unchecked sources, which the internet is flooded with, does not make you an expert; it just increases the awareness of how much you really don’t know.