DO YOU NEED PROFESSIONAL HELP?
The short answer is yes. No person is an island and no one has all of the specialized skills or answers needed to open or run a successful business. Your business represents one of the single biggest investments of time and money that youll ever make. Trying to go it alone is a penny wise, pound foolish decision. Try to go it alone and at best youll be leaving profit on the table. At worst, youll blunder your way to failure. Im not saying you need to blow every spare cent hiring every consultant in town. I am saying that you need to assess your skills and knowledge and plug in the gaps. This is especially important when starting or reinventing a business.
Some of the professionals you may want in your corner include:
� Attorney: All jokes aside, a good attorney can be invaluable make structuring, starting, and protecting your business.
� Bookkeeper: Unless you know the ins and outs of tracking your money, this one is best left to someone with those specific skills. You can see your bookkeeper weekly, monthly, or perhaps even quarterly.
� Accountant: This person reviews the bookkeepers work for accuracy and any signs of fraud, and helps you with your taxes and financial matters.
� Cleaning service: Did you know that a dirty shop is one of the easiest ways to make a lasting bad impression on your prospective customers? This small investment alone will return many times its cost, guaranteed.
� Virtual assistant: Lets face it, the many phone calls, letters, errands, etc. that pile up during the day arent any fun. Dont have enough work to keep someone busy fulltime? No problem. A virtual assistant is like having part of a secretary. They work with numerous clients and are both very skilled and equipped with all the tools they need to sweat the details for you. A good virtual assistant can even help with online and other marketing. Another highly recommended investment.
� Employees/contractors: If the time you are spending working in your business doing day-to-day tasks is cramping your ability to work on the business by focusing on strategy and growth, then you may want to consider bringing on help. Refer to my past series on hiring for more on this topic (copies available on request). Remember, as the captain of your business, your place is on the bridge, not in the engine room.
� Coach: Is your business running as efficiently and as profitably as possible? Should you run that ad? Are you experiencing frustrations or other problems that you just cant seem to get a handle on? A good business coach provides a fresh pair of eyes that can give you just the new perspective you need. Just because you do things a certain way doesnt mean that there arent other and possibly even better ways to achieve the desired result. Even if you think your business is running like a well-oiled machine, you have nothing to lose by making sure.
If you are starting or significantly changing your business, then you should be figuring out which professionals youll need, what you expect from each of them, and how youll budget those costs. All of this will go into your business plan, which I am working way towards discussing in this series.
Speaking of costs, dont let the outlay fool you. Yes, some of the professionals I listed can cost hundreds of dollars per hour. Focus on the cost and youll miss out on the benefits. For example, if hiring an attorney for $1,500 can stop a $100,000 lawsuit in its tracks because your corporation has been properly constructed and operated to shield you from liability, Id argue that was money well spent. If the cost of a bookkeeper an virtual assistant frees you to close even one more deal per month, the profits could far outweigh the investment. And if a coach charges you a couple of grand to find ways of doubling your profits without having to double your business, well, thats not too bad either. No one can guarantee results because every business is unique, but that does not weaken my argument.
No matter where you are in your business, youre probably surrounded by people offering all kinds of advice about every imaginable topic. I know. Im one of them. This begs a very important question: Who should you listen to? That, dear readers, is my next articles topic.