5 Key Business Advisors for Small Business Owners
Here are my top 5 business advisors to add to your small business team
1. Business Advisor
Also called a mentor or consultant, this person is a seasoned professional that can you help you to navigate the many pitfalls of entrepreneurship. Yes, owning and operating a successful business can be challenging, but a business advisor can give you the help and confidence you need to start and grow your business. Below are some key benefits of working with a business advisor:
- You can draw from their experience in many areas – from formation and funding, to leadership and team development
- You receive a neutral, unbiased opinion
- Access to a pool of professional contacts such as CPAs and attorney’s
Think you can do it alone? Maybe you can. But consider this:
According the U.S. Small Business Administration, the chance of a business surviving the ten-year mark doubles for small business owners with a mentor.
With legal rates averaging $200 to $300 per hour, many small business owners question whether they need a business lawyer. You probably won’t need a lawyer for each and every legal issue that comes up in your business. With the help of self aid resources a business owner may be able to hand some tasks like:
- Searching for prior trademarks
- Researching and reserving a business name
- Incorporating your business
- Applying for an Employee Identification Number
But when you do require a lawyer, it’s good to know where to find the right one. If you’re being sued it’s too late. Take some time early on to identify a business lawyer that you call when the need arises. Here are some scenarios that call for a lawyer:
- Defending a lawsuit
- Negotiating or drafting complex contracts
It may be tempting to select a bank based on a “Free Checking” offer, but you’ll want to consider the future needs of your business beyond a simple checking account. Will you need a loan to expand or grow your business?
When choosing a bank for your small business, be sure to consider (among other things) the opportunity to establish a relationship with a banker. Your banker will be able to provide you with insights beyond those associated with day-to- day transactions. Here are some useful services your banker can provide:
- Recommending other financial products and services that would benefit your business
- Business plan assistance; identifying possible risks that lenders and investors may identify
- Referrals to the professional services community
- Industry Insight; have access to industry averages like gross margins and current rations as well as benchmarking information
Accountants and Bookkeepers are NOT the same. You will need both.
A bookkeeper is responsible for recording the day-to-day transactions of the business. It’s not uncommon, however, for small business owners to take on common bookkeeping tasks such as paying suppliers, recording cash receipts, issuing and recording invoices and processing payroll.
An accountant uses the information provided by a bookkeeper to prepare financial statements (such as income statements and balance sheets) and compile tax returns.
When starting a business, an accountant should be consulted to:
- Set up the general ledger and prepare the chart of accounts
- Design financial statements and reports
- Recommend accounting software
5. Marketing Assistant
I know you’re busy supporting your current customers – understand that marketing will bring you new customers. Don’t let this task fall off your plate because you don’t have the time or expertise. Consider outsourcing marketing work to an assistant if you find yourself needed help with basic marketing tasks such as:
- Managing your website
- Running your social media channels
- Light web and/or graphic design
- Proofing content
- Creating client presentation decks