You generate the ideas for your business. You have the required amount of savvy to run it. And you found the capital to start it. But it would be extremely rare for you to have all the specialized skills and time needed to take care of all the accounting, legal, and technological aspects of your new business. Not to worry. Even if you don’t have the initial funding to hire full-time employees, you can hire a crack team of specialists to take down any task you need accomplished.
Here you’ll find a list of the professionals you’ll likely need to get your new business off the ground:
Unless you’re great with numbers or love bookkeeping activities, you’ll want to hire the help of an accountant to get your books in order. Fortunately, the world is awash in accountants and accounting firms, which means you’ll have no problem finding one. What you’ll need to concentrate on is finding the right one. In all likelihood, you won’t need the help of a corporate tax accountant or a CPA, which will cost you more. A skilled bookkeeper will do just fine. Make a list of the accounting tasks you need accomplished and call around for the best price and options.
The Insurance Agent
Like accountants, insurance companies are not difficult to find, but what you’re looking for is the right amount of coverage. Each business will have its own kinds of insurance needs, but the three major areas of coverage you should focus on are: property insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, and general liability insurance. For more tips on finding the right insurance, see SCORE’s Five Tips on Being Adequately Insured.
Not all businesses will require an attorney, but if you do, make sure you ask these three questions before signing any contracts:
- Is the attorney knowledgeable about your particular type of business?
- Is the attorney licensed to give legal advice in the state(s) where you do business?
- How quickly does the attorney respond to your questions or concerns, and will he or she do so in a way that works with your lifestyle (phone, email, or in person)?
Lawyers will often offer a free consultation (30 minutes to an hour). Be sure to take full advantage of that time if you can.
The Registered Agent
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by paperwork or just want someone else to keep track business maintenance formalities, you could consider hiring a registered agent. When you form a business entity like a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation, you’re required to appoint a registered agent so the state and general public has a reliable way to contact your business. Many small business owners decide to be their own agent, but for a nominal annual fee (usually $50 to $150) you can hire one. A good agent will have a reliable way to track when your business reports are due to the state and will notify you immediately if your business receives any legal documents or notices.
The Web Professional
In today’s business climate, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where a website for your business wouldn’t be beneficial. Unfortunately, an amazing website often comes at price that is less than amazing. If you need a website for your business, you can certainly start searching for a web professional online, but what may be more helpful is to find a website that you like. At the bottom of the site’s homepage, you’ll likely find a link to the web designer’s personal website. You can also talk to other local business owners for recommendations. Prices will vary drastically depending upon who you’re talking to, but you’ll want to make sure you find someone who is knowledgeable in design techniques and search engine optimization (SEO). Also, take a critical look at the designer’s past projects—this will tell you a lot about your potential designer.
Hiring out any of your new business’ tasks can be a nerve-racking decision. After all, a new business is a lot like a newborn and requires much attentive care and nurturing. If you’re unsure about any of your decisions, take some time to talk to a SCORE Mentor. It’s free, and you’ll get to chat with someone who has been in your shoes.