Your Small Business “Team”: 5 Professionals to Help You Grow
So, you’ve set up your LLC with the Secretary of State’s office. Perhaps you worked with an attorney to form your company correctly. Now, you face the daunting task of determining what steps to take next. How do you appropriately file your tax returns? How do you hire an employee? How do you make sure your finances are in order? It’s hard to know who to turn to for such important inquiries. Here are four professionals whose advice and guidance is critical to small business owners.
An experienced business law attorney provides services essential to your company’s success. From determining which type of entity is right for you, to preparing client contracts and services agreements that fit your situation, to ensuring your website contains detailed terms and conditions and privacy policies, an adept business attorney will be able to help shield your business from liability. Many small business owners believe they don’t need an attorney because they have no (or only a few) employees, or because they haven’t run into any legal issues yet. This is a good track record, but as your business grows, so too does your risk of liabilities. If you want your business to thrive, having a trusted attorney who can find the most effective policies and procedures as your company grows is vital.
This may be the most obvious professional for a small business, but one that should not be overlooked! Keeping your business’s taxes in order should be at the top of every small business owner’s to-do list. Do your research, find an accountant who specializes in small business taxes, and meet with them once your business is established. They will be able to discuss the best filing option for you (remember, LLCs can be taxed in several different ways), guide you as you reconcile your business and personal taxes, and help you structure your finances in the most tax-advantageous way. Your accountant will also prepare the necessary financial statements for your small business, including a balance sheet, general ledger, and profit and loss statement.
Bookkeeping and accounting go hand-in-hand. You could take on this responsibility yourself, but as a small business owner it’s important (but difficult!) to delegate. A bookkeeper manages your accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll and expenses, and general data entry. Your bookkeeper can (and should) communicate directly with your accountant – this will make your life as a small business owner much simpler come tax season. A bookkeeper serves a similar function as an accountant, but they are not the same. Your bookkeeper prepares the company’s “books” throughout the year, so they’re ready for your accountant when taxes are due. Keeping track of revenue, expenses, profit, etc. should be a primary function of your bookkeeper.
As a small business owner, your finances are markedly more complex than that of a standard W2 earner. In addition to your personal assets, you also own part or all of a business, and you want to make sure those assets don’t commingle as to jeopardize your business’s liability shield. A Certified Financial Planner (“CFP”), also called a “financial advisor,” can help with such financial quandaries. Employing a financial advisor who knows you and your business can improve your efficiency as owner and operator. They should also work closely with your accountant and attorney to structure any financial decisions in a tax-advantageous way and maintain your accounts’ liability protection. A CFP can also discuss your business’s projected growth with you, helping you prepare for the future. Thinking about bringing on another owner or investor? What are your plans for retirement? Financial advisors have experience in these areas and more. When starting a business, building a relationship with a CFP should absolutely be on your to-do list.
Most small businesses are required by law to carry some type of insurance coverage, whether it be general liability insurance, property insurance, or worker’s compensation insurance, just to name a few. Liability insurance helps your small business succeed in rough times, and it will give you peace of mind knowing that the business’s assets are protected. Once you hire your first employee, you will also need worker’s compensation insurance. If you are unsure of what kinds of insurance your small business needs, don’t fret! Work with an established insurance broker in your area who specializes in the needs of small businesses. As your business grows, so too will your need for additional insurance policies. Getting close with a broker from the beginning will only benefit your business in the long run.
Establishing ties with professionals takes time and energy, two things small business owners often lack. But we can help! We have contacts in all of these fields, and our friends are your friends. G & G Law’s mission is to build relationships with small business owners and, once established, these connections pay serious dividends.
The old adage holds true, “It’s all about who you know,” so contact us today – we (and our friends) would love to meet you!