Welcome to part three of my three-part series on working with advisors. In week one, I discussed How to Find the Best Advisors for Your Business. Last week I shared tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Advisors. Today, I’ll talk about the professional advisors you should consider hiring.
Advisory boards can add a lot of value to your company when the members share their wisdom and experience with you. But to give your business its best chance for success, you’ll need to hire professional advisors as well. Here are just three that your business will need.
Accountant and/or Financial Advisor
You need a numbers person to work with you on your budget and determine tax implications of decisions for growth. A good accountant or financial advisor can also provide analysis of how your company is doing and ways to improve your financial situation.
A good CPA or accountant should also be on the lookout for fraud and ensure you have proper controls on how your accounts are handled. The accountant should also have a good relationship with your banker or lenders and can inspire confidence in them that your funds are being handled correctly.
Business owners and CEOs can, and do, run into potentially damaging legal issues all the time. A good lawyer can advise you on how to handle these situations and set up policies and procedures to prevent problems in the first place.
You will also need to consult an attorney to draft any partnership agreements you may enter into, file a patent, handle real estate transactions and advise you if you plan on buying or selling a business. Of course, if you are threatened with any lawsuits you need to hire an attorney immediately. It’s best to find one that specializes in the particular area where you need help.
A good advisory firm can supplement your skill set and provide solutions to complex business problems. I recently joined the team at GlassRatner, which helps businesses manage through a business crisis or bankruptcy, plans and executes a major acquisition or divestiture and addresses any other difficult business situation. The firm also provides forensic accounting services and litigation support.
Other advisors you may consider include sales consultants, business development consultants and public relations professionals.
My final tip is to hire advisors sooner rather than later if your business is running into trouble. One of my more distressing clients was one whose business could have been saved, if only I had been hired earlier. I talk about this sports bar in the Midwest in my book, “How Not to Hire a Guy Like Me: Lessons Learned from CEOs’ Mistakes.”
This company had a large discrimination issue and filed bankruptcy without proper planning. If I had been involved earlier, I could have negotiated the discrimination issue, negated its demoralizing impact on the employees and advised against filing bankruptcy. We could have salvaged part of the company. Instead, they contacted me too late and they lost it.
Hiring the right advisors is worth the investment. They have the knowledge and experience to handle whatever issues your company is facing. And they are able to see solutions more clearly as they are not emotionally involved in the outcome.