By Andy Beran, Immediate Past President
Entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses are used to doing everything – from unlocking the doors in the morning to emptying out the trash cans and locking up before heading home at the end of another long day. Along the way, making hundreds of decisions, often with significant potential consequences. It’s challenging, risky, unsettling, and often intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be lonely.
Every entrepreneur and small business owner will benefit from an informal team of advisors that they can call on for advice and help. As you pursue your entrepreneurial journey, seek out and invite an advisory team of business professionals to join you. Your core competency is running the business; theirs is to help you be successful.
Your advisory team should include a Lawyer, an Accountant, a Banker, an Independent Insurance Agent, and a Mentor. In addition, given the pace of technology, adding an IT guru and an On-Line Marketing expert is highly recommended.
Referrals and recommendations from friends and respected colleagues are the best sources of leads to fill out your advisory team. Once you identify one or two members, ask them who they feel comfortable working with and you’ll likely quickly assemble a talented team.
Each member of the team will be able to advise you on the many pitfalls that face small businesses, as well as help you set a firm foundation for future smooth operations. For instance, the Lawyer will counsel you on creating a legal entity for your business, but also provide guidance on the regulatory environment, labor law issues, and review of contracts (before you sign). Ask lots of questions, take advantage of free advice, but always be willing to pay for their professional services.
The Mentor on your team can play a particularly important role. Find a Mentor with relevant experience, a willingness to share, and the time needed to be available to you. SCORE is a great source of Mentors – with over 70 talented business professionals in the Greater Phoenix Chapter – and no charge for mentoring.
You don’t have to be alone in your entrepreneurial journey. Reach out to others and focus on identifying and forming a team of business professionals. Your advisory team will provide the advice and support needed to drive your success. Add this task to your “to do” list today, and then take out the trash.
About the Author:
Andy Beran is the immediate Past President of Greater Phoenix SCORE and has been a mentor since 2008. Andy currently owns a medical transport company in the Phoenix area. Since purchasing the company in 2010, he returned the business to consistent profitability and growth. During his extensive corporate career, Andy held various management positions at a leading Fortune 50 high technology research, development and manufacturing company. His positions included Group Controller and Director of Strategic Planning. He was a proven expert in the areas of Strategic Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions, Strategic Alliances, New Business Development, Operations and Capacity Planning, Finance & Budgeting and ROI / Productivity. Learn more about Andy here.