Build Your Business on a Strong Foundation
Get these 5 exceptional professionals every business owner should have in their corner.
Building a business is similar to constructing a building in many ways. One of the most obvious is the need to start with a strong foundation. Most business owners see this as related to finances only. But there is more to it than that. You are going to need the help of certain professional services along the way, and
having them on your side from the beginning could be the cornerstone of your foundation.
This means they are in your service, or on standby ready to jump in when needed. This is different from waiting until you need the services to start looking for a professional. That is a quick fix that is sometimes necessary, but the better option is to have these guys standing like solid beams ready to support your business building efforts in the beginning.
Think of it this way, it is much more effective and efficient to ensure you have all your supports in place before you start putting up walls than it is to realize after you have a wall up that you actually need more support or it will not last long. Adding that support after the fact is much more difficult.
Who are these people? Why do you need them?
5 Professionals Every Business Owner Should Have In their Corner
Duh right? Of course, you need a lawyer. In fact, who doesn’t need a lawyer? Here’s the thing. That attorney that you hire to help you incorporate your business and get things on the straight and narrow in the beginning? Keep that person around. Put him or her on retainer if you can at all afford it.
That way, you have someone who understands your business from the ground up and can jump right in when an issue arises. Yes, I said when. It is possible you will never need an attorney, but highly unlikely.
Even if your attorney doesn’t specialize in the type of law you need for a specific situation, they can help you find the best one for your business that does fit the bill. For example, if you need a tax attorney, your attorney can hook you up with someone if they are not comfortable handling the issue themselves.
Do not wait until you need a lawyer to get a lawyer. It’s not wise.
2. Marketing Specialist
Don’t believe the lie that you can do your own marketing. Especially in this world of social media, ecommerce, and blogs. SEO is a real beast and unless you know what you are doing, you can tank before you ever get the roof on.
The same is true of social media and content. You need people that know what they are doing in these areas. Putting up flyers and buying time on the local radio station just won’t suffice.
Having a marketing person will take a lot of that off your shoulders and in all likelihood, they will do it better than you anyway, unless it is something you really know about. From managing your online reputation to ensuring you get convertible leads from your web page, you need a marketing person in your corner.
3. Accountant/ Bookkeeper
Both perhaps? They aren’t exactly the same thing, though an accountant can do a bookkeeper’s job. Accountants charge more hourly however, so it may be best to save them for taxes and audit work.
Here’s the thing. Most people that start a business know how to add and subtract money, though there are sadly probably a few exceptions. In the beginning, that may be enough. As you grow however, the need for someone who understands the ins and outs of bookkeeping, financial statements, and taxes is going to grow as well.
Your best bet is to find someone to handle the day to day money stuff. You need a person who can write checks, take care of the payroll, make deposits, and record transactions. Then, you need someone to take all of that information and use it to file your taxes each year. It could be the same person, but it doesn’t have to be. In most cases, it is best if it is not.
This is because if you have two sets of eyes looking at things, those unfortunate words such as fraud and theft are less likely to pop up.
Another word you are less likely to hear is “audit.” No no one wants to hear that.
I don’t mean a bank teller. I mean someone who controls your access to funds. You need a trusted loan advisor who can help you make borrowing decisions. There needs to be someone you have a relationship with at more than one lending institution.
When you need to finance something, you can pick up the phone and give them a call. If you already have a relationship, they can give you a quick estimate of what you can get, or let you know there isn’t a chance.
There is still red tape to deal with, but having someone on the inside in your corner can make the process much easier. It takes ways a lot of unnecessary stress, and makes you feel more comfortable with the process.
Need an equipment loan? Give them a call. See the need for a line of credit? Forget searching the yellow pages. Call your guy!
5. Cleaning Professionals
Bear with me on this one. I know it is vastly different from the rest of this list. They are so worth it though. If you are a one man show you probably haven’t even considered this. If you have employees maybe you split the responsibilities. It is possible it hasn’t even occurred to you to clean the business.
The truth is though, even if you do not entertain customers or clients on a regular basis, the cleanliness of the space that your business operates in is important. When things are a mess, productivity plummets, things get lost, and health can even deteriorate.
If you are a small operation you may only need one person coming in once a month to take care of things. If you are larger you may need a whole team. The point is, this often overlooked but necessary job gets done, it’s done correctly, and you have it on autopilot so you do not have to think about it.
Why do you need a professional? It needs to be someone with insurance and someone that you trust. Things get stolen. Objects get broken. Reduce the risk as much as possible by hiring someone with a stellar reputation.
To Hire or To Outsource, That is the Question
If you are heeding our advice and considering adding one or all of these to your business, the next questions to consider is whether you are going to hire an employee or outsource to a contractor. Of course, this doesn’t apply to a banker, but it does apply to the rest of the list.
The answer will be different based on the size of your business and your needs. If you are small it may be hard to keep a dedicated employee busy. A part-time employee is an option also, of course.
As far as an attorney goes, few small businesses can afford to hire a lawyer on staff. In-house counsel is not common. Keeping an attorney on retainer is a great alternative, but at the very least stay in touch with the one you used during the initial business set up process.
If you do not have a relationship with that attorney, find another one you trust. The point is to have a trusted attorney that you can turn to before you need one. Finding an attorney after you have a need for one is not fun.
The accountant/ bookkeeper situation could go a couple of ways. You could hire a part-time bookkeeper, or even find a freelance bookkeeper who has multiple clients. If that is the route you take, then find an accounting firm to do your taxes and to use on an as needed basis for those projects that you cannot predict.
Another option is to use a firm for both bookkeeping and tax purposes. Finally, you can hire a full-time accountant. It all depends on the size of your business, what you can afford, and what your needs are.
Some smaller businesses only require five or so hours a week of bookkeeping, so in that case outsourcing to a freelancer or firm is almost certainly best.
Marketing services lend themselves well to freelancing, and in the beginning hiring a freelancer is probably best. As you grow, you may see the need for a dedicated marketing professional.
Hiring a janitorial service is almost always best when it comes to cleaning, but if you know a trusted individual who can use the work, that is fine too. The point is that it gets done and that it doesn’t take your time away from the business.
Why Do You Need These Professionals in Your Corner?
Because these tasks have to get done, and no one person can do them all. Everyone needs support. One beam cannot hold up a whole building. No one can do everything and do everything well.
Having these folks ready and willing to help your business is essential to success. If you wait until you need them, you will have to take what you can get. The need may be obvious with an attorney. Obviously, it is better to have one than to have to find one after you are being sued.
However, if you wait to find a bookkeeper until after your financial records are in a mess, you are going to find the process much more expensive than if you had a professional handling the situation from the beginning.
The same principle applies to a cleaning person. If you wait until it looks like hoarders are running your business, you are going to have to spend more money and time to fix it. Not to mention, you may very well lose business in the process.
It isn’t always possible, but if it is, having these 5 professionals in your corner is definitely a good thing for every business.
Contact us today for more help with your business, including building business credit.