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Your Business Team

You might ask, “What is a Business Team?” A Business Team is the core group of professionals to whom every business must have access. It includes an attorney, accountant, banker and insurance agent. It is this team that helps you (1) to form your business and (2) to operate your business without falling into the many pitfalls that can befall a business. A business owner should develop an ongoing relationship with each of these professionals so that they know you and your business and you can call upon them when ever the need arises. Your team members should also know of each other so that each knows who to call if a need spans multiple professions.

Imagine you've just got a call from a prospective customer who tells you that they are sending a contract over for your signature and ”Oh, by the way, send me your Certificate of Insurance this morning too.” You want to be able to respond quickly to such a request, but you need a lawyer to look over the contract and you need to get that Certificate of Insurance too. Then is not the time to be looking for a lawyer or an insurance agent. Situations similar to this arise often in any business; therefore, you want to have your Business Team in place.

You might ask, ”How do I find these people?” There are several sources you can use:

  1. Ask other business owners whom they utilize or would recommend.
  2. Ask your personal attorney, accountant, tax advisor, insurance agent and banker if they work with small businesses or can recommend someone who does.
  3. Do a search on the Internet by going to Google Maps and do a search on the phrase “attorney, accountant, insurance agent or banker” near ‘enter your municipality name here’ .

In any case you should plan on interviewing at least three firms for each team member. You want to understand from each one the following items:

  1. How often have they worked with small businesses such as you have or are considering forming? You don't want them learning how to work with your type of business while working with you; they should already have that experience.
  2. What services do they provide? Here you might consider using the checklist you can download by clicking HERE.
  3. How deep are the skills within the firm, i.e. are there people within the firm that specialize in particular areas of service? For instance in the case of an accountant, does some person specialize in taxes while another specializes in bookkeeping and payroll or is there only one person who does everything. If there is just one person, what provisions are there if this person is ill, traveling or otherwise unavailable?
  4. What do they charge for these services?
  5. And finally, would you feel comfortable working with this person or firm. Is their personality one that is a good match to what you would like to work with?

One other person you should consider for your business team is a Mentor. A Mentor is a person with business experience preferably in a business similar to yours with whom you can discuss your business. This person can help an entrepreneur hone your abilities and advise you on navigating new challenges. A mentor can be a boon to an entrepreneur in a broad range of scenarios, whether they provide pointers on business strategy bolster your networking efforts or act as confidantes when your work-life balance gets out of whack. Read this article about finding a mentor ... “How to Find a Business Mentor” from the Inc. magazine. SCORE is a good source to consider when looking for a mentor too. The SCORE Counselors are all experienced business persons and can bring a wealth of experience to the table for you.

So ... this is what a Business Team is. Do you have yours in place?