Startups and Small Businesses: Picking your Business Team

April 7, 2015

A business owner’s most valuable resource is time. In order to be able to focus on actually doing business, it is important to pick a team of professionals that you trust to assist you with common issues that arise during the life of a business. These professionals typically include an attorney, an accountant, a banker, an insurance broker and a financial planner.

Often times, issues may implicate more than one of your team members, so for these types of business decisions, calling a meeting or having a conference call to discuss the issues and impacts on your business will be worth the time and effort in the long run.

Picking your team is an important decision and could have significant impacts on your business. So, how do you find the right group of professionals for your business? What types of qualities should you look for in your team? Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Ask Around

Google can be great a great resource, but it may not be the best starting place to find a professional. I suggest utilizing your existing network of family, friends and business contacts to see if someone has a recommendation based on their own experience for the type of professional you are looking for. If you’re a member of a local chamber of commerce or similar business group, that’s also a good starting place to begin your search.

If you know and trust someone in the field, but not necessarily in the specialty you need, that is also a good starting place. For example, even though I don’t handle family law matters such as divorce and custody, I have a network of attorneys either in my firm or that I know from elsewhere throughout my professional career that I will recommend depending on the individual’s needs and circumstances.

It is important to get several names so you have some options to evaluate further.

Gather More Information

After you get a few names, then Google the professional to review their web presence. Does tech savvy matter to you? See how current the professional’s website is and whether they are using social networks. Regardless of how prominently the professional uses the Internet as a part of their marketing efforts, you can usually at least find out some basic information about the professional and their firm such as contact information and the areas of expertise.

Interview and Make Your Decision

If you’ve narrowed the list of names down to a few, send a few emails or set up a call or informal meeting to learn more about the professional and determine whether they will suit your needs.

Consider the following:

  • Does the professional have experience in your industry or in similar industries?
  • Do they seem interested in learning more about you and your business?
  • If they aren’t immediately available, did they contact you in a reasonable amount of time?
  • Do you seem to have a good personal connection with the professional?
  • Do they seem trustworthy?

Even if the first conversation you have seems promising, don’t hesitate to continue searching because you never know whether you will find an even better fit for you and your business.

Ultimately, you’ll need to make a hiring decision based on all of the above information that you’ve gathered. Trust your intuition on this choice and pick the members of your team who give you the best chance to accomplish your business goals.

Matt Landis is an attorney at Russell, Krafft & Gruber, LLP, in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He received his law degree from Widener University and works regularly with business owners and entrepreneurs.