Most small business owners will reach a point where they need to decide between taking on a partner by giving up equity, or gain whatever that individual has through debt or a large salary. This can happen when a business grows too fast and needs money to fill orders, when a new revenue avenue is opened up and someone with a specific skillset is needed, or when the business owner decides to bring in someone else to help with the business side of running the business. In any of these instances, the small business owners will run into someone who will offer their services or money in exchange for equity. Unfortunately, this can be a costly proposition in the long run. As such, many small business owners avoid looking externally for help, even at the potential detriment of the company. So if you are leery of others offering help, here is a list of 4 partners who will help your business grow without asking for equity.
- CPA – Every small business owner should be working with a CPA. Understanding the taxable implications of a decision can be extremely important for the long-term success of a business. Further, a seasoned CPA will have seen just about anything you come across before and will be able to help guide you through difficult scenarios. A good CPA will be your most important partner as your develop and grow your business, and should never ask for equity in exchange for services.
- Attorney – An attorney will be expensive when needed, however having one who understands you, your business, and your business plan will be extremely helpful as you develop and build your company. This person will be able to review your website to ensure there is nothing improperly worded, will help you to develop favorable contracts, will help you develop HR policies as your company grows, and will help if lawsuits or other legal issues arise in the future.
- Banker – Most small business owners don’t think of their banker as a strategic partner, however, a good banker who understands your business can help in a number of ways. First, a banker can help you secure financing should any credit facilities be needed. Second, a good business banker will likely have seen a business model similar to yours before and may be able to add real value through pointers and suggestions to help you avoid common pitfalls. Third, business bankers generally have a strong network, and can help you find other individuals who can help your business; this can include CPAs, potential customers, or other strategic partners in complementary industries. And fourth, a banker can be an objective third party as you are making an important decision. Bankers generally understand businesses well, understand the concept of growing revenues, and thus can impartially help you make decisions.
- IT Specialist – Whether a web designer, programmer, or blogger, having someone available to help with IT issues is important. There are many freelancers in this space, who can help you build an incredible site that will remain SEO friendly, while also offering evergreen marketing content. While some companies hire a full time IT person, most small business owners prefer to work with someone on an as-needed basis. But by building a strong partnership with this person who truly understands your business, you can see incredible returns through a more thoughtful website and social media marketing plan.
These are just a few of the potential external partners you will come across as you build your business. But by having these four partners, you will know that your revenues, growth, taxes, liabilities, and marketing are all in good hands.