Investing in Professional Advisors
Content provided by the Women Presidents' Organization
Growing your business series
Last month we launched a series that will address the characteristics of high achieving women entrepreneurs and fast growth businesses. This article will detail the first characteristic, investment in professional advisors. To read "Characteristics of Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs," the introductory article, please click here.
Many entrepreneurs expect that their personal business expertise will suffice in lieu of professional advisors. After all, advisors are not an inexpensive service and who knows your business better than you? In the end though, this choice will end up costing money, causing complications and limiting growth. The old adage says that you have to spend money to make money and in no other investment does that adage resonate more clearly than in business development. When launching, growing, and selling a company it is imperative to invest in excellent guidance. In fact, the Center for Women's Business Research has found that of fast-growth businesses, a common trait is the use of professional advisors. According to Linda Hamilton, Partner of Linda A. Hamilton, LLP , "professional advisors are particularly important for small businesses because they have access to fewer resources than their larger business counterparts."
Unfortunately, a lack of resources is actually the reason many small businesses refrain from investing. To compensate, start-up business owners frequently look to friends and family as their advisors. In many situations though, seeking free advice or advice from a personal friend is counterproductive. It is too easy to for entrepreneurs to be bogged down by financials and begin to ignore them or begin to work in their businesses exclusively rather than on their business. Further, personal relationships may provide biased outlooks. Both of these results will hinder the growth of the company and force limitations. While you should not shy away from good advice if it is personally related, when looking to invest in a professional advisor, it is important to hire someone who will be able to approach your company with fresh insight.
WPO member Linda Hamilton always recommends that her clients think of her as part of their business team including their attorney and broker. She says, "an accountant can provide useful advice about growing and managing your company, as well as advice on obtaining effective management information. Additionally, it is difficult for small businesses to remain informed about accounting laws and regulations, but an advisor will be able to help you stay in compliance and avoid future problems." Furthermore, an investment in professional advisors allows the entrepreneur to develop more effective procedures and systems .
"Successful business owners recognize the importance of having a team of trusted professional advisors who have the expertise to provide practical and creative solutions to their business problems," according to Meryl Unger, of Katsky Korins, LLP and WPO Board member. "When utilized effectively, the right legal and accounting advisors can not only help protect an entrepreneurs business interests, but they can also serve as strategic partners." Good guidance is always crucial for business, but especially so in the midst of economic downturns. A business woman knows that the services professional advisors provide are helpful, informative and above all, necessary and that their investment will repay itself ten fold from the insights of an honest and trustworthy advisor. The business owners who understand they need help and are willing to listen will accelerate the growth of their enterprise.
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