New to owning a business?
You may find the following information valuable, and certainly of interest, even if you’ve already been in business for a number of years.
Every business owner needs advice on occasion. The key is knowing when to ask for it.
If you believe you can make your own decisions without counsel, go right ahead. Even if you do receive a professional’s expert opinion, you can always choose to ignore it and make your own choices. You own the business, so every decision you have to make is ultimately your responsibility. You reap the rewards or bear the blame.
One of our clients was looking to raise more capital. The company was solvent and generating close to $1 million in annual sales. More funds were needed to complete some upgrades, so the owner was curious about options. We discussed the ins and outs of venture capital, issuing stock, private equity investors, and traditional financing options for the investment the company was seeking. We had experience as licensed investment representatives, so we had a grasp of the basics. We continued the discussions as time moved forward and, eventually, the client was able to get some of his better clients to invest in the company and accomplish their shared objectives.
Was it our professional counsel that turned the tide? All the client needed was information to make an intelligent decision, and the right choice for the company’s survival. The client got advice from other sources as well, and used the accumulation of information to choose wisely.
In many cases, the advice is free because of the relationships business owners have with the resources available to them, whether vendors, friends, or business associates. In other cases, the counsel is part of the overall service the business owner is contracted to receive. Is one better than the other? Only the person receiving it and using it to make their business decision can determine that. There are occasions where the more expensive advice is better than that offered without cost, and the reverse can be true, too.
Back to the issue of knowing when to ask for advice. Your accountant should be consulted before you ask your banker to extend you a line of credit, so you know what your cash flow looks like for repaying the loan and other reasons. Your legal counsel should be asked to review legal documents before you sign them, just to protect your assets, if nothing else. There are other professionals and business associates out there that you can ask for opinions about a variety of topics, from buying company vehicles to advertising campaign strategies and from charitable contributions to lobbying legislators.
If you take the time to get the information you need, you are far more likely to make a better, wiser, and more profitable decision for your business. The secret: Knowing where to get the information and being able to interpret that knowledge to gain wisdom.