It’s a common (and somewhat cheesy) cliché, but the saying is true: Teamwork makes the dream work. Just like Bill Belichick employs a team of assistant coaches with various specialties to help him draw up winning plays, business owners need a strong team of trusted advisors to help them make sound, educated decisions. Constructing your team means figuring out who’s in your lineup and what role they need to play to help you succeed. We’re offering the following financial advisor scouting report that outlines the four core players you need on your side:
Specialty: Business Plan Development & Adjustments
The very first step any business owner should take is to create a business plan. A business advisor or counselor is a vital teammate in this process because they help you get a strong grasp on what you’re trying to achieve and ensure that your business idea is feasible and profitable. Like any good assistant coach, they look at your plan at the macro level, from nailing down your business strategy to honing in on what each customer is worth and what you can expect to pay in overhead costs.
Diana Patten, vice president for business banking and one of our all-stars, recommends that mature businesses also create and maintain a business plan if they don’t already have one. “A business plan is a living document every business owner should have. Considering expanding? You need a plan. New product line? You need a plan. It also acts as a roadmap during industry, economy and competitive landscape changes.”
Specialty: Legal Advice
Lawyers are another important part of your dream team, and as necessary as a good defensive coordinator. They provide needed legal backup and support should a supplier fail to deliver or if you need help writing contracts.
When you’re first starting out, your lawyer can help you determine the advantages and disadvantages of different legal entities - are you a Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corporation, C Corporation, a partnership or sole proprietorship? A lawyer can also assist you in implementing documentation that helps protect your business should disputes arise with clients or employees, or between partners. Legal protection is important in terms of external lawsuits, but also important in terms of succession planning.
Specialty: Financial Advice
Your accountant or bookkeeper is your right-hand-numbers-person. They will help you keep track of expenses and revenue month-to-month, which let you know how your business is doing.
Michael Tavares, vice president, business banking officer and another one of our MVPs, explained that “figuring out who is going to do your books is one of the most important things for a new business owner to decide. It’s important to monitor how your business is doing versus your projections. Looking at your books at least once a month when you first start your business is important because you’re able to make on-the-fly adjustments.”
Specialty: Lending, Financial Advice
While your accountant is your day-to-day numbers guru, your banker is there to help you with your overall game plan, lending and cash flow. Like a scouting agent, bankers will work with you to map out your goals, future growth and what you need to get there; answering any questions you have along the way.
Future planning in terms of lending is key. Your banker will help you stay on track to make your business goals a reality by explaining various financing options. As Michael puts it, “It’s tough getting an umbrella on a rainy day. Come see us when it’s sunny and we will supply you with an umbrella for those rainy days.”
While these players should make up your core advisement team, there are other areas you might want to consider that can help take your business to the next level:
HUMAN RESOURCES SPECIALIST: A Human Resources consultant can assist you in setting up important policies and procedures, including an employee handbook; to be sure you know how to navigate possibly sticky situations.
MARKETING SPECIALIST: A marketing specialist can assist you in positioning your business. Devising a plan to highlight your message, offerings, and how you differentiate from competition, can help you to better connect with your target audience and generate new customers.
BUSINESS COACH: A business coach can help even successful business owners elevate their business through motivation and accountability.
PEER BUSINESS OWNER: Access to a mentor business owner, who is a non-competitor in a similar industry, can offer wisdom and new ideas that kick your business up a notch.
At the end of the day, many of the decisions will come down to you – however, your team of advisors should be able to point you in the right direction and help make those decisions clear. Need to set up your own team? We’re here for you, reach out to one of our Rockland Trust branch locations to discuss how we can become part of your business advisement team.
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