Create Your Team of Trusted Advisors
Being a business owner can be lonely. But it doesn’t have to be.
“I never had anybody to talk to.”
My dad was a sole proprietor for 35 years. He was the first licensed audiologist to open a private practice in Erie, Pennsylvania in the late 1970s.
He started his business from scratch and learned as he went. He never had a business mentor. He never had a trusted advisor. If he encountered a problem, he figured out how to fix it like MacGyver, just in a business sense.
Like most business owners, my dad experienced very high highs when things were going well and very low lows when the bottom occasionally fell out.
While my dad did fairly well for himself, he always lamented that he never had anyone to talk to when he needed some general guidance or was just looking to vent. He explained to me several times about how lonely being a business owner can be.
My dad’s story underscores the importance of business owners and CEOs to have a team of trusted business advisors to turn to when general or specific advice is needed.
Here are some ideas for how to put together your own team of trusted advisors.
Who should be on my team? At a minimum, you should have the following professionals on your team of trusted advisors:
- Attorneys, Certified Public Accountants, Financial Planners, Business Consultants, Insurance Representatives and Bankers
Your team must work together. Important business decisions need input from everybody on your team. For example, the decision whether to structure your business as a partnership, S-Corporation or C-Corporation can have different legal, tax and risk consequences that need to be discussed as a group by your attorney, CPA and insurance agent.
You must be the quarterback. You can’t assume that your attorney will talk with your CPA, or that your insurance agent will pick up the phone and call your financial planner when necessary. You need to direct your team to talk to each other. Some business owners request an in-person meeting of the entire team once a quarter or twice a year. But you must be the person to initiate the teamwork.
Take each team member out to lunch two times a year at a minimum. Each team member should be intimately involved with your business and know pretty much everything that is going on. While keeping in touch can definitely be done via phone or web conferencing, nothing is as effective for building business relationship than meeting in person.
Creating a team of advisors who have a vested interest in your business take significant time and effort. Chances are you’ll need to cycle through several individuals for each professional slot until you find someone you connect with. But once you have the right group of people in place, you’ll always have someone’s ear to bend – in both the good times and not so good times.