Small business owners take great pride in their ability to “do it all.” And they should! A willingness to learn new skills and take risks is a big part of being a successful entrepreneur. But, just because you can do it all, doesn’t mean you should. In some cases, DIY isn’t just a waste of time – it opens your business up to unnecessary risk. Don’t be afraid of surrounding yourself with a skilled network of professionals to take charge of essential tasks, from bookkeeping to marketing. This group will form your business “village” and will deliver the support and peace of mind necessary to grow your business.
Who, exactly, should make up your village?
The specific team you’ll need is heavily dependent on your business and your skillset. After all, if you were a bookkeeper in a past life, you might not need as much help with tracking finances as somebody who’s never opened a spreadsheet. Having said that, you’ll almost certainly need the services of at least a few of the following professionals when you are ready for growth.
This is a long list, and it can be overwhelming to realize just how much help you’ll need to support your growing business. Plus, the idea of hiring a marketing team – for example – might seem overly optimistic when your business is just getting off the ground. It’s not optimistic; it’s practical. Your business will eventually outgrow your ability to do it all. Thinking about your support team long before you need them sets you up to act quickly when the time comes.
Financial and Legal Support
The minute you start earning money, you need to start tracking it. And a good bookkeeper will track your money and make sure you have the information you need to understand your business’s financial picture. For most small business owners, a bookkeeper is a day-one need, and the early decisions made about how to organize the books will set a path for that organization for years to come.
Unlike a bookkeeper, you don’t need an accountant immediately. But, you will need one once tax season hits. Outsourcing your taxes to a professional will save you time and save you the stress of navigating complex tax documents and deadlines. Your bookkeeper might be qualified to oversee your taxes as well. The convenience might be appealing, but I recommend using a different person for your accounting needs. People perform better when another person checks our work – and financial professionals are no exception.
There will be small business owners that don’t agree that a lawyer is a day-one need. They’ll claim that between websites promising ready-made legal documents and all the information available online, a lawyer is an unnecessary expense for the average small business owner. I disagree. If you’re dealing with contracts, then find the money to pay a lawyer to create initial legal documents you can use as you grow. While DIY is fine if everything goes smoothly, bringing an expert on board at the beginning of the process will make your life easier when relationships get bumpy.
Marketing and Mentorship
A marketing team isn’t necessarily a day-one need. Most small business owners benefit more from taking some time to identify their target market before bringing a professional team onboard to them market their services. However, many small business owners eventually outgrow creating their own marketing – and it happens a lot faster than you might think. While you don’t need a marketing team immediately, you’ll need one when you’re ready for growth. Be prepared and start your search before you’re facing a marketing crisis.
The function of a business coach might not be as obvious as the other entries on this list. But, that doesn’t make it any less important. A good business coach keeps you on track, holds you accountable, and mentors you as you start your business. For example, you might recognize that your business development strategies need work but struggle with prioritizing that over other tasks. A business coach will help you identify the weaknesses in your sales process and hold you accountable for fixing it. If you can manage it, working with a business coach from day one can make a huge difference in the speed of your growth.
Every small business owner needs a mentor. Sometimes your mentor is also your business coach, but not always. More often, a mentor is a more experienced business owner in your market. They’re somebody that you can come to with questions as you start out – and then go back time and time again. Your mentor will help you with market insight and networking recommendations and give you invaluable advice rooted in experience and proven success.
Down the Road Needs
Web Strategy Team:
Every business has financial and legal needs, but not every business needs a professionally designed website in their organization’s early days. A professional-looking website gives you much-needed legitimacy when you launch your business, but you don’t need an expensive web strategy team if appearances are your primary concern. You can create a basic, inexpensive, and modern-looking site on your own with the help of premade templates. While this won’t work forever, a simple site is a perfectly acceptable placeholder while you fine-tune your business’s offerings. Once you start worrying about SEO and improving your digital presence, then bring in the experts. After you’ve narrowed down your offerings and identified your long-term market, then invest in a professional web strategist. You’ll be glad you did.
How can you find the best support professionals for you?
While there are plenty of online listing services (and good-old-Google), don’t rely on the internet to help you build your support team. Ask around. Other small business owners are your best source of information and recommendations. I’m a big fan of joining professional organizations for many reasons, and word-of-mouth recommendations are one of the best perks. Once you join, you can reach out to other members to see if they have somebody they like. No matter how you search, remember that proven results are more valuable than even the smoothest and most professional marketing campaign.
Every small business owner has a reliable team working in the background. If you’re ready to see the difference a good team can make to your business, get in touch. Office Accomplice will provide the bookkeeping support you need to ensure your business continues to grow.