It takes a lot of hard work and luck to get a small business off the ground, but it also helps to have some good people by your side. Expert advice can help business owners through tough times and give honest recommendations when business is booming.
From a financial standpoint, knowing where to turn for business help can make a huge difference. Information about loans, start-up costs and profits can give owners a leg up on the competition. But that helpful hand is not always easy to find.
Here are some things to look for when seeking a financial adviser for your small business:
Short- and long-term plans
A small-business owner wants to survive the rough waves of the first few months and years, then find smooth water to sail on after that. An educated adviser will recommend strategies for both. Questions about small -business loans and up-front costs matter right away to owners, so they they are not deep in the red before they can even acquire customers.
At the same time, a big-picture plan should also be in place. When the time comes to expand, everybody within the company needs to be on the same page as to where things are going. Some advisers only focus on one type of plan or the other, so be sure to work with an expert who fits your specific needs.
Acquiring capital for your business
Raising funds is a necessity for a small business. This can be done in a variety of ways, but it helps to have an expert in your corner to lean on. Many owners take out business loans or use their personal funds to launch their start-up, but those can increase the risk of bankruptcy if things don't go according to plan.
Instead, it is often best to look for investors who share your vision and are willing to help fund the new business.
"A major key is to ramp up initial operations as quickly as possible to get to the point where outside investors can see and feel the venture, as well as understand that you took some risk getting it to that point," according to Entrepreneur magazine .
A smart financial adviser can show you where to look for investment help and secure the funds needed.
All on the same page
Everyone you bring on board, from a financial adviser to minority investors, should have a strong understanding of the company's goals. A cohesive community of people all working towards the same thing will help in the long run. Speak with financial experts about your ideas, and seek out advice to help turn those dreams into reality. If a banking service and planner don't see eye-to-eye with you, then it may not last as a long-term partnership.
The best way to find the right fit is by setting up meetings with different experts in the field. Talk to multiple people and get to know them well before committing to a financial adviser.
"A consultation with an expert needn't cost you much," said a report from the U.S. Small Business Administration . "In fact, any tax franchises will offer you an initial consultation and advice for free. This is often all you need to get started, as long as you come prepared with the right questions."
. The Basics of Startup Financing
. 6 Tips for Avoiding the Common Financial Pitfalls of Being a Young Entrepreneur