Is there any one of us that cannot use some advice from time to time? I certainly know some who never think they do, but everyone (and I do mean everyone) can benefit from asking for and listening to advice from the right people.
If you are a small business owner, the right information can save you time, energy, and money. It can improve your process, lower your liability, help you avoid pitfalls, and escape lessons learned the hard way. It can also keep you and your business safe from legal or regulatory entanglements.
The advice you receive needs to come from a trusted small business advisory team -professionals who can fill your gaps in knowledge, experience, and expertise in building and operating a business. These small business advisors should view you as a valuable client while you view them as a partner in your success.
Here are a 5 professionals I believe are critical to every small business advisory team:
1. Fellow Small Business Entrepreneurs
Small business owner peers are particularly valuable if you feel you work in isolation. Solo owners or those without senior level staff members benefit from having other business owners who have the experience needed to give them credible feedback, assist in developing strategy, and play a devil’s advocate when needed.
Choose your peer advisors wisely. Select those that have knowledge of your industry and have experience you can trust. Engage only those that will treat you with respect and keep sensitive information confidential.
2. Small Businesses Accountant
As a small business owner, you may have decided to wear all the financial management hats. You may keep your own books and prepare your own taxes, and this may be fine for the early years of your company.
But as your business becomes more complex, it is important that you have an accounting professional whom you can rely on to assist you in the tasks of budgeting, forecasting, tax advisement and, if needed, representation. Be sure you find a small business accountant or CPA who has experience with and prefers to work with your industry and company size.
3. Small Business Insurance Professional
Many small business owners only think about insurance at renewal time, when they have a claim, or need to fulfill the request for coverage confirmation. Insurance should not just be “nice to have.” Rather, having the right coverage should always be a top priority.
The right small business insurance professional can advise you on coverage that is best for your needs and situation, not just that coverage that is the most cost effective. Proper coverage always saves money in the long run.
4. Small Business Attorney
No business owner likes to think they will ever need a business attorney for more than just business entity creation or contract reviews. In most cases, this is true. But just in case it is not, you do not want to put off forming a relationship until the sheriff is standing at your door or a notification of a lawsuit arrives in your mailbox.
Look for a small business attorney that has experience working with your company size, and even better if they have experience in your industry and are priced for your budget.
5. Small Business Coach
You knew this was coming -everyone needs a coach! This professional should be added as early as possible since they will help you start saving time and money right away.
The right small business coach can help you plan, hold you accountable, share experiences from past clients (confidentially of course), and provide you with resources that you can trust. Skilled coaches help you see roadblocks and obstacles that might keep you from reaching your full potential. They are available to assist you with difficult decisions. Look for a coach that has both coaching and business experience. Ask for references and start connecting with them.
Success is always sweeter when shared. Build a trusted small business advisory team that will not only assist you in building a stronger and more successful organization, but will also celebrate your victories.
Get started today. Form relationships before you need them. You will be glad you did. Contact Sherry Jordan Coach to see if we will be the right small business coach to add to your team.