Starting a business is an intensely personal process. It is your idea, your vision and your capital at risk. At times it’s a very solitary endeavor. Never forget, however, that behind every successful business launch is a team of Trusted Business Advisors. Anyone can start a business alone, but no business person can succeed alone. Your advisors should all have skill sets that fill in where you are weak, and complement your strengths. They are your sounding board. They are a second set of eyes, a second opinion that can help you guide your company on a path toward success.
Give a big boost to your chances for success by thoughtfully building a team of professional advisors.
I believe that businesses need an attorney with legal knowledge, but also with common sense. It is your investment, your idea, your livelihood that you put on the line. How do you know when, or if you will need a lawyer? What do you do if you are in a tough, or unsure situation, or something just doesn’t seem “right”? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
One of the most important things a good business advisor does, aside from providing sound business advice and offering a fresh perspective, is to take the emotion out of a given situation and get to the facts. Once you stop taking things personally, as difficult as that sometimes is, that’s when you start thinking like a business person.
Coming from a business operations background and having started my own businesses, I bring a unique perspective. When I start working with a business owner or leader, I do a lot of listening so I can pick up on things they should be aware of. I listen with a different ear and look at it through a different lens to identify the common sense approach, business approach and operations approach. When a client has an issue, whether it’s an exciting opportunity or a bump in the road, one of their first calls should be to their trusted advisors. If I don’t know the answer to a particular issue, I know who to direct you to, someone who does. My first mission is to be a valuable resource; I am committed to helping you succeed.
I have seen best friends start a business together and it ends up like a failed marriage in a bitter, nasty divorce. To avoid the ugly part of failed partnership, it’s important to have controlling agreements that spell things out. The agreement spells out how to buy a partner out, how to establish the value of the business, and what to do if one of the partners dies. By having a shared understanding from the beginning about how the end will happen, it is a lot easier for the business survive a breakup. There is an agreed upon road map.
Another process that a trusted advisor can help with is reviewing the job descriptions, employee training plans and setting up policies and procedures. This ensures that all employees know what is expected of them and what rules govern the workplace. Once the company was operational, there are other areas that a trusted advisor assists with like setting up a process for maintaining employee records aligned with state and federal laws. For just about every business owner, these startup events are not part of their daily life. They didn’t know what they didn’t know until they get into it. And even if have been through it before with a previous startup, things have a way of changing.
As an advisor, I often rely on my business background in the Information Technology consulting business where I was involved in office leases, financial analysis, systemizing processes, and more.
I strive to actively listen to my clients concerns and ask questions in order to get to the root of the issue. When we procrastinate, issues can take longer to resolve that if we just bite the bullet and act. Always be prepared.