You started a business because you have a talent, product, service or some other passion to share. But building a successful small business is going to require knowledge beyond your expertise (It’s ok that you’re not a math whiz, wordsmith, coding geek and creative genius). This post gives a comprehensive look at what kind of support your business may need and where you can find it. The more you’re able to outsource to experts, the more you can focus on doing what you love.
Fair warning: This is a longer post. Skim the headings, think about where you’re needing support/lack the most knowledge and dig in there. You may not require all of these resources now, but they may come up for you later.
Keeping your numbers straight (Finance)
If you have a business, always keep your personal and business bank accounts completely separate. A good relationship with your banker goes a long way. Ask your banker about your credit score and how much interest you pay each year. We love our guy at ATB Financial - he is such a valuable resource.
Accountant (that’s us!)
Not many people think of using their accountant for decision making. We can offer value beyond filing your taxes. We love running numbers for real estate transactions and business valuations. We can create customized financial reports like cash flow statements and forecasts, and ratio and trend analyses. Let me know if you would be interested in financial statements that combine your entire financial situation, business and personal.
Bookkeepers are great if you need help keeping your books up to date on a weekly or monthly basis. They can do payroll runs, pay invoices, collections and track all of your financial transactions. Not every small business needs a bookkeeper that is separate from their accounting firm (many using cloud accounting software). We do bookkeeping for clients that only need their books done quarterly or annually. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed with keeping up with the day-to-day numbers, try Bottom Line Accounting.
Who’s got your back? (Protection)
If you’re not careful, this area can be a black hole of money down the drain. It’s a mystery how these insurance companies determine the premiums. A good insurance broker will keep you informed on the differences between quotes. Is the cheapest right for you? General liability insurance, professional liability insurance, vehicle insurance, life insurance, critical illness, disability, health spending accounts and health benefit plans. If you don’t trust your insurance broker try Dustin Daniels from Deboski & co or Chris Lofgren from Oakridge Insurance.
Managed IT Service Provider
You need someone to protect your data and keep your networks safe and secure. These guys will take care of external monitoring for malware, spyware, viruses, and do daily remote backups. Make them your best friends. Proactis has been awesome for us; I highly recommend them for companies with more than five employees. Chad at Proactis is a wealth of knowledge and will guide you through your IT strategy and help you make the right decisions.
If your business is important to you, use a lawyer. Always use a lawyer to incorporate and anytime you make a share transaction or change directors. We can recommend Ben Hudson from Hudson Law and Matt Olson from Olson Law Group.
Making you look good (Marketing)
Your designer provides logos, brand-themes, marketing materials, display ads, swag, brochures, websites and more. It’s a lot of fun working with creative people and watching their ideas bring your brand to life. Mike Meadus has been so good to work with and we love our new brand direction.
Website and digital designer
We live in a digital world that is constantly changing. Hire someone who understands how make your brand fire seamlessly across all of your digital platforms, be it Squarespace, Hubspot, Eventbrite, CTAs, landing pages, videos, surveys or CRM integrations. They will do it right and make it look good. Hawk Design helps us integrate our website with our CRM and marketing programs.
With everything on your plate, producing consistent content can be a challenge. Cue: copywriter. Mel, from Swagger Communications will take my first draft of a webpage, blog or newsletter, and polish it into something that is ready to post. She writes ads, social posts and tons of other stuff for SEO, like keywords and meta descriptions.
Digital Marketing and SEO
Google is a beast, and getting your business found on it is the goal. It takes a combo of SEO and, for the small guys, some amount of spending. Get someone on your side, like Factor One, that knows how to play the game. To rank organically, your website needs to be user friendly, infiltrated with keywords and backlinks, and be continuously updated.
Social Media Manager
The power of social media platforms is mind-blowing, but it’s too easy to overlook as a business owner. Who has time for LinkedIn and Facebook? If you hire a manager who can run with it, it can be your least costly and most impactful way to get your message out (so I hear). I have learned so much from Kat at Tak Cam and Kelly Doody from The Social School.
Building a kick ass team (Human Resources)
Knowing what questions to ask to verify a candidate has the skills and attitude you require is an art. Putting the right butts in the right seats. Building culture. Measuring engagement. Measuring performance. These are all things we are learning as a business. We get support from Bulls Eye Recruitment, Elevated, and Culture Smith.
Like our clients, we’re a small business. Our community partners help us thrive, and they’re also pretty cool to work with. We learn a lot from each other. If you want to learn more about what we offer, check out our services page or contact me.
Read more about Small Business 101 topics that may be helpful to you and your small business.
Like what you hear?
Are you on the hunt for a more proactive small business accountant? That’s us.