Who are the people who can really help you to grow your business? It’s likely these 5 key advisors
You’ve likely figured out by now that running a business is challenging. There’s simply so much to learn and do! It can naturally seem overwhelming, especially for newer entrepreneurs coming from a corporate background where there are plenty of people around to help toe the line.
If you’re trying to do things beyond your expertise, it’s no wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed. Tasks like reviewing that 10-page lease agreement or trying to calculate your annual shareholder dividend are best left to professional advisors. You’ve simply got better things to do with your time.
Who do you need to help power your business? Here are 5 must-have relationships any entrepreneur should establish.
I’m always amazed when business owners hide things from their banker. It seems so counterintuitive, considering your small business banker can likely do more things for your business than any other professional advisor. Yet a natural tendency is to avoid the banker when things are going poorly, out of a fear he or she may yank your financing.
Your banker should have an intimate knowledge of your business – warts and all. When you sit down and review your current financial statements, you’re really giving your banker a chance to support your business challenges and opportunities with appropriate solutions. The right banker can help you by sharing business connections, bank tools and resources, information and, of course, supplying financial products such as a line of credit to help smooth a lumpy cash flow, or a credit card with a high limit so you can pounce on great deals for your business.
As the expression goes, a business lawyer can help you to avoid trouble or get you out of it.
You can avoid trouble by doing things like drafting a professional contract template with the help of your lawyer, so your customers know exactly what they’re getting. You can avoid trouble by asking your lawyer to review any contracts presented to you – before you sign! You can consult with your lawyer on copyright, trademark and intellectual property issues to help protect your unique content and branding.
When trouble does find you, the lawyer should be your first call. You’ll likely find he or she will present an easy solution that will ease your worries.
No one knows more about your business affairs than your accountant, so choose one worthy of your trust and confidence. They know where you ate lunch, who was your lunch companion, and how much money you spent on that lunch. There are no secrets here – so make sure you are comfortable talking with your accountant.
The accountant can really help you to make key business decisions, so involve them in discussions about leasing or buying an asset, extending credit terms to customers, taking on a business partner, deciding to franchise or shopping for bank financing. And be sure to talk with your accountant before year-end time rolls around so he or she can suggest tactics to reduce your tax liability.
Looking out for your personal best interests is your financial planner. This is the one individual who can see all of your financial moving parts (business, investments, savings, debt, retirement goals, setting up an education savings program for your kids) and work with you to make a plan to achieve your goals.
For example, a financial planner can run the numbers to show you the impact of buying versus leasing a particular model of car. Or determine how much income your business must generate to meet retirement objectives.
As your go-to person for all of life’s financial decisions, choose a planner blessed with credentials and compassion.
Running a business is hard. Let’s be honest about it! You face tough business decisions every day. A little help and encouragement would be nice.
A business coach does more than that. He or she can help you to set business goals and work with you toward achieving them. A business coach can also serve as a trusted advisor, answering your day-to-day management questions such as "How do I hire someone within my budget?" or "Where can we get more sales leads?" You might meet formally with your business coach each month, but chances are you'll message each other constantly.
Succeeding in business solo is impossible. You simply need help. Build a team of advisors who are passionate, experienced, and accessible. While the advice received will likely outweigh the fees paid to your advisors, perhaps the greatest benefit to working with advisors is the fact you're never alone.