When was the last time you met with your team of professionals to help you with a key business decision? If you’re like many independent business owners, you may be thinking “What team of professionals?” As a business owner, you probably handle the running of the business yourself. Still, it is possible to run a business more efficiently and profitably by utilizing a team of professionals who can consult and guide you in the management of your company. The trick is to seek out team members for the long term – to build relationships with professionals who will understand your situations and needs on an ongoing basis. Many of these professionals are also independent business owners just like you!
Here are five key players:
Attorney: You may prefer an attorney who specializes in the needs of business owners and can consult with you on topics such as asset ownership, best-choice business form, succession planning, contract review, and employee-employer relationships. A crucial component lies in establishing a relationship with your attorney, so that you can simply pick up the phone when you have a question.
Accountant: Once again, you may prefer someone who understands the needs of independent business people and, if possible, also knows your industry. An accountant should help you “read” your books more effectively, translate raw data, help you effectively plot areas of profit and loss, and –– perhaps most important –– show you ways to manage your tax liability. In short, your CPA could save you money. To really benefit from your accountant, don’t make the mistake of meeting only once a year at tax time: give your accountant the opportunity to work with you all year long.
Banker: Credit is the lifeblood of many businesses. It’s always important to maintain contact with the person who can help you access the cash flow you need at the time that you need it and at a favorable rate. In addition to issuing credit, many financial institutions frequently provide a wealth of other services at minimal or no charge. Regular contact with your institution will keep you abreast of new opportunities that can benefit your business.
Insurance Professional: An insurance agent familiar with the challenges facing independent business owners can act as an effective problem solver. Specifically, a trained, licensed insurance professional can play several crucial roles in your business that address both immediate insurance needs (including often overlooked areas of exposure (such as business interruption and disability) and longer as well as protection for your family (life and long-term care for example).
Financial Adviser: So now that your business is or has been producing a solid income stream for you, you need to invest it wisely and make sure it is safe and continues to grow for such major life events like a child’s education or wedding, your retirement, and even short term emergencies. You worked so hard to make it, you now need a professional to make sure you keep it!
Adopted from an article written by Lenny Sklawer, New York Life