Owning a business comes with unique challenges.
There are a variety of systems, processes, and procedures that need to come together to produce certain outcomes.
As the owner, you probably have the technical expertise to deliver your products or services to your customers. Or you may be a master marketer who knows how to design and present a solution to the challenges that your market endures.
Either way, you’ll need to leverage the skills and experiences of a team of professionals outside of your firm. These advisors can provide ideas, access to their network, and valuable advice to help you operate and expand.
Here are the 4 people that you need on your advisory board.
Access to capital is one of the biggest challenges that small businesses face. Without financing, there are limitations to the business’s growth.
I’d suggest stopping by your local bank branch and introducing yourself to their business banker. Banks want to lend to small businesses. They just want to make sure that you have enough cash flow to service the debt.
Business bankers will show you how to position yourself to become an attractive loan candidate. If you aren’t a fit for their services, a well-connected banker can also introduce you to alternative lenders in their network.
By building relationships with a business banker, you’ve taken the first step towards accessing capital to fuel your business growth.
Numbers don’t lie. And you should know your numbers, cold. Managing your business’s finances may not be the most exciting thing for an owner to do but it may be the most important.
It is crucial that you work with an accountant who understands small businesses. While they may or may not be a CPA, they must be able to help you with budgeting, forecasting, and cash flow management.
A savvy accountant can help you move your financial management processes into the cloud by utilizing QuickBooks online. And they can design a proactive tax plan to help you minimize your tax liability.
To find a small business accountant, I’d suggest using the QuickBooks ProAdvisor search tool. You can also ask other professionals for referrals.
While there are many legal tasks, such as choosing a legal structure of filing business permits, that you can do yourself, a business attorney can be a vital component to your advisory board.
Attorneys, who specialize in working with small businesses, are an excellent source of intelligence when it comes to navigating the legal and regulatory environment. They can review contracts and help you negotiate an acquisition or sale.
He or she can also help you with compliance matters, related to your industry, or refer you to someone who can help.
Entrepreneurs have many needs. A financial planner, who works with business owners, can help you create a holistic plan for your business and personal finances.
A proactive advisor will act as a quarterback and direct the relationship between your accountant, attorney, insurance agent, and other professionals. They’ll help you design and implement a financial plan that encompasses all of your financial needs.
A financial planner, who emphasizes lifestyle design, can add tremendous value to our advisory board. You’ll want to work with a fee-only, registered investment advisory firm. Investment adviser representatives are fiduciaries. That means that, by law, they must put your interests above their own.
When you’re interests are aligned, the more successful they help you to become, the more successful they become.
Having an advisory board to hold you accountable is crucial to your success. Not only can they provide actionable advice to help you grow your business and profitability, they are can also be important community partners.
By developing your network of professionals, you’ll increase the probability of achieving your personal and professional goals in no time.
(Levar Haffoney is a 2016 Network Journal 40 Under Forty honoree. He is a principal with Fayohne Advisors LLC. You can connect with him at www. fayohne. com, LinkedIn and Facebook.)