Build a Team of Advisers
When learning a new language, you hire a tutor or attend classes, maybe pick up an audio language program and some reference materials to help. Starting a new business is no different.
Seek help in any area outside your field of expertise, including:
- business management
- human resources
- real estate
- interior design, and
- legal matters
Someone is out there who has learned from the mistake you are about to make. Learning from his or her experience can be the difference between success and failure.
Be sure to get expert guidance for:
Legal advice. Engage a qualified and licensed attorney to assist you in matters relating to the formation of your business, protecting your brand, major commitments like leasing property or equipment and in any conflict that creates a potential liability for you and your business interests.
Don’t guess about legal issues.
Failure to prepare or defend yourself in legal matters is a credible threat to your livelihood. Pick an attorney focused in the area of practice directly related to your concern. For example, attorneys defending a slip and fall injury lawsuit will be different than the one reviewing your lease. Find one you trust and chances are she or he will refer you to other specialists.
Accounting. One must look only as far as the collapse of Bernie Madoff, Enron, MCI WorldCom and others to understand the importance that the role of accounting plays in modern business. Accounting by Generally Accepted Accounting Principals (GAAP) will report the real value of your business and keep you out of jail.
Fun Accounting Fact: Despite years of criminal notoriety, it was a conviction on the charge of tax evasion that put mobster Al Capone in Federal prison.
A skilled accountant can tell you:
- the best way to make use of your income and expenses
- take advantage of tax breaks, and
- plan strategies for longterm goals.
Insurance. Work with a business insurance advisor to determine what types of coverage are applicable to you and your business. The argument, “I’ll bet you $500 that our business burns to the ground this year,” seems unappealing. If it happens, however, you’ll want insurance. An insurance policy has the poential to become the best investment you’ve ever made.
Be aware of the culture of litigation in America. Like it or not, opening the front door makes you responsible for customers’ irresponsible behavior. Your employees too.
Friends, neighbors and customers protect you as well as your attorney, accountant and insurance agent when you need them. Your team of advisers are not just some of your best allies in business. They are your only allies.