How to Choose Your Professional Advisors
Those you choose to represent and advise you can make, or break, your chances of succeeding in business. Choose them wisely: these are the people you must feel comfortable with in the good times. And, perhaps more importantly, in the bad times too.
Make appointments to meet several people in each professional field. Don't settle for the first professional advisor you come across, unless you've known that person for some time already. Remember that your professional advisors are there to help you at the beginning of your business and perhaps for many years to come.
In the beginning you are likely to need: a bank manager, accountant, solicitor.
A bank manager is likely to be the first professional you meet in your new business. He's also likely to be your most regular contact in future. Look for someone you like and feel you can relate to. If you already have a bank manager and are satisfied with the service you've received in the past, ask for an appointment to meet that person if you haven't done so already.
Most banks have Small Business Advisors who can help with all aspects of starting and running your own business. A massive selection of free business start-up advice is usually available. Meetings with Small Business Advisors are almost always free of charge, the aim being to obtain and keep your future business. Make an appointment to visit your local advisor soon.
What you need from an accountant and what he thinks you need are two very different things. While you expect him to provide basic services of audit, taxation and general accountancy, he's got business planning on his mind, and project feasibility studies, maybe designs on altering your entire business set-up. The message is: there's more to your accountant than meets the eye and choosing the right man or woman to represent you can save your business far more in taxes and running costs than you're ever likely to pay in fees.
When you start in business, preferably before you start trading, it makes sense to engage a solicitor, preferably one specialising in business law. If you can also find a solicitor with knowledge of the business you intend to operate, so much the better.
A good solicitor can help in a variety of ways, including product liability, partnership agreements, drafting legal documents, and much more. He or she will also help you get planning permission if you need to change the use of part of your home to accommodate your business.
Regardless of Specialty, Your 'Ideal' Advisor is Someone who:
* Understands your business. Not just any business: your business!
* Possesses good personal skills and appropriate professional expertise
* Is independent and objective
* Offers good value for money
* Provides continuity
* Is responsive to priorities and deadlines
* Calls you sometimes to ask how things are going, and doesn't always wait for you to make the initial approach
* Consults with you on your premises, not just at his
* Someone you feel at ease with. Your advisor must be a partner, your equal, not someone for you to look up to.
Checklist for Choosing Your Professional Advisors
* Has the person been recommended to you? If yes, how well do you trust the judgement of the person who made the recommendation?
* Does the advisor have experience of how small businesses work? Does he have specialist knowledge of the kind of business you will be operating?
* Is his office convenient to where you will be operating from?
* Has he a reputation for providing prompt, even urgent, attention?
* Do you like him? Do you feel comfortable with him? Is he taking an interest in you? Or is he explaining how his fee structure works? Again!
About the Author
Adrian Kennelly is the webmaster of DirectoryGold
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