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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 18 October 2021
  • Liam Edwardson

7 Professionals to Consult for Your Small Business

From an S corporation to a sole proprietorship, no one starts a small business by themselves. While striking out on your own does require confidence and chutzpah, you do not want to succumb to Chief Everything Officer syndrome — believing you are an expert at everything. You are sure to need some help and probably a lot of it. That includes advice from people who have been there before: professionals with plenty of experience in other disciplines and people you know you can trust.

You want sources who will answer your business-related questions. For the information they will provide, think of them as mentors. They will save you plenty of time, money, and heartache.

women sitting at conference table

Small Business Mentor #1: Lawyer

The most important professional or mentor to consult before starting your small business — indeed, throughout your entire small business lifespan — is a lawyer.

A lawyer who specializes in small businesses can help you establish your business structure, put together a solid business plan and help register your firm. Lawyers can also make sure you have the proper business license, assist with startup financing, protect your business’s intellectual property, and even help you buy a business. If a customer refuses to pay you, a lawyer can collect money. Perhaps most critical of all, a lawyer can protect you from making costly mistakes and untangle any future legal issues.

If you need help finding a lawyer, there are numerous resources such as FindLaw, Nolo or Rocket Lawyer.

Small Business Mentor #2: Accountant

An accountant may be your second most important small business mentor. Accountants can suggest ways to fund your business, map out a budget, prepare financial proposals and much more.

When your business starts bringing in revenue, accountants can determine the financial health of your business. They can help with instituting employee payroll, handling taxes and other deductions. They can gauge your business’s performance and devise ways to increase that performance.

An accountant can alleviate many of your financial obligations, not only by handling taxes but also by acting as a trusted advisor to your business’s financial health.

According to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), referrals from other business owners are often the best way to find accountants. Also, consider reaching out to your local chamber of commerce, small business development center and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Small Business Mentor #3: General Finance Consultant

In cases when an accountant is not enough, small business financial consultants can act as small business chief financial officers, helping to allocate resources and manage risks. Their responsibilities often include overseeing operating budgets, rent, staff salaries, capital acquisition, internal initiatives, and other expenses.

If you choose, financial advisors can also help with personal finances, including determining eligible company expenses, decisions involving salaries and dividends, and sustainable investment strategies.

Small Business Mentor #4: Marketing Advisor

In this highly competitive environment, a success-minded business must identify and communicate their brand. That is why it is crucial to find marketing advisors and mentors you can rely on.

 Digital marketing consultants help to develop a digital strategy or lead digital transformation initiatives. Branding advisors shape the messaging of the business, slogans, digital identity, the company vision and more.

 The right marketing mentor should be highly attuned to the ins and outs of your industry. They will be able to identify new monetization channels, partnership opportunities and the most effective short-term and long-term strategies to grow your small business.

Skilled marketing advisors are invaluable for getting your product or service seen and considered by your target audience and customer base.

Small Business Mentor #5: Human Resource Expert

An HR consultant can help you to create a company policy for your small business — rules that apply to all employees. This policy will define the basic protocols of employee recruitment, development, and administration. These include guidelines for hiring, training, dress code, harassment, dismissal, resignation, and more areas. The policy will also outline the consequences if the protocols are not followed.

Your HR mentor not only will help implement and enforce your small business policies, but they also can implement training workshops and devise ways to boost and sustain employee morale.

Small Business Mentor #6: Green Advisor

Want to do good by the planet as well as your ledger? Consider making your business eco-friendly. According to the SBA, “Successful green businesses not only benefit the environment but also use green business practices as a means to market their products.” Certified eco-consultants like Green Consultants can help you get there.

Small Business Mentor #7: SCORE and Your Local SBA

SCORE, a nonprofit supported by the SBA, has provided education and mentorship for 50 years and counting. SCORE’s mission is to help small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals.

On the SCORE website, you can search for or request an in-person or virtual mentor with specific skills. You can browse through hundreds of prerecorded webinars on a variety of topics. In addition, SCORE offers low-cost workshops as well as online business tools and templates. They can also help point you in the right direction for more specialized services.

For even more consulting resources, you might also contact one of your local SBA district offices. They may have just what you need to help your small business hit the ground running.

Small business consultants and mentors can help you save time and money, provide specialized advice, navigate changing business environments, plan for the future, and much more. You will want to solicit, listen to, and rely on the best advisors and mentors you can find.

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