I’ve recently given up “solopreneur” status. It was both a hard and easy decision. Once I added one team member, I almost immediately needed another. (More on that next week!) But I’ve been thinking about it, and I’ve never really been alone.
Crew. Squad. Posse. Team. It takes a lot of expertise to support you in growing a business.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or well into your CEO-hood, it’s crucial that you have a team of professionals that know you and your business. Who needs to be on that team? Read on…
Finding your “other” team
You may think of the team members below as vendors or “people who work for me.” Big mistake. Big. Huge. These are trusted partners who often become personal friends.
The best ones get you. They anticipate what you want and how to solve for it. They respect your time and do what they say they’ll do.
In the short-term, you may just check the box out of need. The referral will sound like, “Oh, we use this person. I’ll send you the number.”
But what you want to hear is, “I have the best person for this. I totally trust them.” If said by someone you trust, you’ve gotten a huge head start.
Your team needs:
Accountant and/or bookkeeper – If you make more than $50k in revenues, you should not be doing your own books. And you definitely should not be doing your own taxes at any level. It’s a regulatory hot mess out there. Find someone you trust who can be a partner in helping you maximize the personal and cash flow benefits of being a business owner. They often recommend or provide systems that make your operations simpler.
Banker – Walk or wheel yourself into an old-school bank branch and talk to a business relationship manager. Even if you open your account remotely, choose a branch and start building that rapport. Bankers can offer you more services from two years of operating history.
Insurance Agent – The internet is great, sometimes. But when you start to wonder, hey, should I have cyber coverage? Or, what happens if I get sued? Or, how does Toms offer no hassle returns? You’re in need of a human who can help you understand your specific business exposures and what it costs to cover them. They’ll do regular check-ups and proactively reach out on renewals.
Lawyer – the one you need to start is a general counsel. This lawyer is your team captain for other specialties like intellectual property, real estate, or employment. They’ll make sure you’re properly incorporated and have contracts customized to you (even if you start with a downloaded template). Make the effort to establish this relationship before you need it.
Real Estate Agent – If you’re planning to buy or rent space, getting to know a broker is a terrific investment. They’ll keep an eye on the market and available properties and bring you opportunities. Often, they’ll partner with a mortgage broker to help you with financing.
Personal Financial Planner – Business money and personal money are different. A personal financial planner will help you evaluate and prioritize your goals and show you how your choices impact your personal results. That may include a real estate purchase, retirement program, more life or disability insurance coverage, education savings, estate planning, or growth investment.
Business Advisor – most of us expect our lawyer or accountant will give business advice and go in-depth with our business plans. That’s rarely true these days. They’ll often give you choices to evaluate, but usually don’t tell you what to do or how to do it. That’s where a business advisor comes in. We fill in the white space in day-to-day operations, growth, finance, and strategic planning.
If you’re not sure where to start, I’m happy to provide referrals to my personal short list of partners. We can also provide appropriate budget ranges in your planning estimates.