I was talking business with a dentist friend of mine the other day, and we got on the topic of starting a business. In my case I started one from scratch. In his case he bought an existing practice. But we both quickly agreed that regardless of how you approach owning your own business, there are three people you should probably have in your corner before you start: a banker, an accountant, and a lawyer.
Even if you aren’t looking for business credit right away (and unless you are willing to front some serious collateral, you probably won’t, even if you want to), it is always a good idea to speak to a bank. You will need means of storing and managing your funds, at the very least. A bank will also be able to help you plan ahead so you will know what will be needed to secure credit later on.
An accountant can help you find the best way to track the flow of money and inventory in and out of your business so that you’ll have the information you need to make critical decisions. They can help you determine the best business entity to choose. They will know all the appropriate government and tax regulations and can help you avoid certain pitfalls as well as take advantage of opportunities.
Lawyers can also be helpful in helping choose a business entity, especially if there will be more than one owner. They can help draft an operating agreement that will keep things fair and equitable, as well as making sure each partner understands what is expected. They can also help protect you and your business in any agreements you sign.
Far too often the natural tendency is to avoid speaking to these people until absolutely necessary. Sometimes it may be a simple lack of trust. In some cases it may be in an effort to minimize start-up costs, but sometimes it may be from a subconscious fear that they may notice problems with your business idea that you’d rather not know about. If the latter two cases, take time to meet with several of each profession in order to get to know them. You may find that you trust some over others, and trust will be important in choosing who to take on as an adviser. Check references.
Sooner or later you’ll likely need all three of these people to help you with your business. It is better to already have someone you know and trust on your side than to try and find one in a hurry when things are going wrong. It may cost a bit more up front, but it will likely be money well spent.
Are there other professionals you would recommend that new business-owners contact before launching their business ventures? Leave a comment!