As a business owner, you wear a lot of hats, but sometimes it makes sense to take the hat off and work with a professional. While you may be able to balance your books or research insurance options, your business will likely grow to a point where the time it takes to figure something out yourself would be better spent on other projects.
Not to mention, certain projects might require expertise that you, or your team, simply doesn’t have. Instead of wasting your time that’s better spent on high-level business tasks and planning, hire an expert to handle those matters. If you’re not sure which tasks to outsource, or who to work with, start with these five professionals. You’ll be glad to have someone else managing the tedious yet important minutia while you focus on growing your business.
Professionals Every Business Owner Should Work With
Every business, small or large, needs a dedicated financial advisor, specifically for tax purposes. Certified Public Accountants pass rigorous state licensing, which is why it’s better to work with a CPA over a general accountant. The IRS also distinguishes between CPAs (an enrolled agent) and other financial professionals (unenrolled agents) for tax filings.
If you’re ever audited, a CPA can represent you in the matter. CPAs serve as a jack-of-all-trades financial advisor. According to the Association of International Certified Public Accountants, CPAs can consult on:
• Personal financial planning
• Technology consulting
• Business valuation
• Compliance with tax and other laws and regulations, and
• Other areas of business and financial management
Every business has a variety of insurance needs, all of which depend on your business, industry, and location. In fact, you may even need more than one type of insurance agent to manage the various needs. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to know to find the right insurance agent for your business.
• Independent Business Insurance Agents
Independent business insurance agents work with you to understand your unique operations and the types of coverage you might need—for example, property, workers compensation, or product liability insurance. Insurance agents also secure quotes for the appropriate coverage, help you understand and purchase a policy, and ensure adequate protection.
Ultimately, this person serves as one point of contact, so you don’t have to communicate with multiple carriers if you have several policies.
• Health Insurance Agents
Health insurance agents can help you to navigate the tricky task of shopping for and securing health plans for your employees and their dependents. This is critical because there are many regulations and laws to navigate when choosing and offering health insurance—not to mention a wide variety of plans to choose from.
A healthmarkets.com guide called “What Should You Know About Small Business Health Insurance?”suggests that the benefits of working with a health insurance agent include:
• Advice: Figuring out health insurance can be overwhelming, and this person can help you navigate and find the best options for your employees.
• Peace of mind: “Working with a licensed agent offers a sense of security because you know you’re working with someone who meets the state’s regulatory requirements to sell insurance products,” suggests the guide.
• Local help: Get answers immediately, rather than waiting for hours on the phone.
When you first set up any business, you have to choose your business structure, i.e., LLC, S-Corp, sole proprietor, etc. Depending on which route you chose, you may also need help to file articles of incorporation or state registrations. If you’re unfamiliar or feel over your head, a lawyer is the professional to have on your side. If you’ve already formed a business structure on your own, there are many other common business scenarios, that require legal help.
• Contracts: Employees, customers, clients, or vendors—all of these contracts should be written by a legal professional.
• Real Estate: Commercial leases are complicated, and often need to be negotiated.
• Intellectual Property: Any business that has creative assets should register their products or services for trademark or copyright protection.
The goal is to research and find a lawyer prior to actually needing one. “You won’t need a lawyer for each and every legal issue that comes up in your business,” explains FindLaw.com. “But when you do, it’s good to know where to find the right one. You [also] may not know you need legal help until it’s too late, as attorneys can help you stay in compliance with the law and spot developing legal issues early.”
Whether you’ve been in business for years or are new to the startup scene, a mentor can provide invaluable insights and resources, as well as a third-party non-biased opinion. To find someone, look for a mentor in your field that has achieved a high level of success. “Good mentors must be role models and advocates for the mentee,” says Martin Zwilling, Founder, and CEO of Startup Professionals.
He also suggests securing cross-generational mentorship partnerships, which is “an excellent way to exchange and compare time-tested as well as new knowledge.” Find a leader that you admire, with a track record of success and innovation, and reach out to them via LinkedIn or your mutual connections. Many leaders are happy to share their knowledge and expertise with other business owners, but don’t be disheartened if you contact multiple people before you find the right fit.
When you’re expanding or hiring new talent, recruiting is a task that takes a lot of dedicated time and effort. The average interview process in the U.S. takes 23.8 days and depending on your industry or location, it can take as long as 60.3 days, according to GlassDoor. Recruiters are professional headhunters that can reach a network of qualified candidates and pre-screen applicants for you. A recruiter will handle the entire process and save you precious time. As the final decision maker, you’ll only meet with vetted and competent candidates, saving you critical time better spent running your business. Recruiters are also generally paid per position filled, not kept on retainer, so you only pay when you need to hire an employee. For a busy, budget-conscious business owner, this is a win-win.
A business owner can be pulled in many directions, but important projects—like taxes, contract creation, or health insurance—should be handled by a detail-oriented, trained professional. Knowing when to outsource based on your team’s, or your own, lack of experience or resources is a smart business move that can save you time and money and ensure your company runs smoothly for many years to come.