If you’re a business owner, you are used to wearing a lot of hats. Still, you can’t be an expert at everything, which is why it’s important to build a network of trusted professionals that you can turn to for help whenever the need arises.
No matter how successful you are, there are plenty of reasons to establish a professional network. In addition to exchanging contacts and referrals, there’s also the opportunity to share ideas and receive free advice from specialists in their field. And, much like getting a second opinion on a medical procedure, your network can act as a system of checks and balances by making sure you weigh all your options.
Ask yourself: Whom should you invite to be part of your network? While the members may vary depending on your strengths and weaknesses, your team should probably include some—or all—of the following professionals:
Attorney: Unless you have in-house council or a legal background yourself, an attorney—especially one with some experience in your industry—is almost a necessity. Among other things, an attorney can help defend you and your company from potential lawsuits, review contracts, and help with succession planning.
Accountant: While most people only use their accountant during tax season, business owners will find that an ongoing relationship can save them money in the long run. Not only can an accountant keep you from running afoul of the IRS, they can also show you how to structure your business and become a more tax-efficient operation.
Banker/Financier: As we all know, cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. And in today’s restrictive lending environment, having a banker in your corner can be a real boon. By providing easy access to credit, or letting you hear about the most favorable rates, a banker can be an invaluable addition to your team.
Insurance agent: A professional insurance agent can help you prepare for a number of critical business issues. Specifically, an insurance agent can help your business overcome the loss of a key employee, enhance your executive benefit package, fund a buy-sell agreement, and protect your family’s future by insuring your business interests.
As you can see, there are a host of advantages to creating a network of professionals with expertise in their field. Best of all, it’s a win-win for all parties, so setting one up may be easier than you think.