At this stage of the game, you already understand the importance of your network. Often, it’s not what you know, but WHO you know.

While having a strong network can be invaluable to the growth of your business and yourself professionally, there is a good chance your network is missing a few very important connections keeping your business from reaching its full potential. I’ve got a short list of professionals who need to be a part of your network.

Financial Advisor

This should have been obvious, this an RLS Wealth Management blog after all. I might be biased, but the consultation of a financial advisor is important not just for your business but also for your personal finances–as I discussed in this video here.

If your network does not include a financial advisor, or at least not one you actually want to work with, that’s not a surprise–there’s good reason. Financial advisors have the reputation, rightfully earned, as salespeople pushing products you may not need. Or, if you managed to find a financial advisor actually focusing on financial planning and advice, there’s a good chance she wouldn’t work with you because your net worth or investable assets wouldn’t meet her minimums.

I have good news, financial advice is becoming accessible to individuals and families regardless of net worth or investable assets. More financial advisors are adopting subscription relationships or flat planning fee engagements to bring financial planning to clients who are accumulating assets, or, as most entrepreneurs find to be the case, have the majority of their net worth and savings in their business. There are no product sales, but advice to help you obtain your goals. You now have options (teaser: stay tuned to what RLS Wealth Management will be offering in the coming months) that did not exist just a few years ago.

As an entrepreneur, it’s likely your personal finances fall second in importance to your business and in my opinion, that is a recipe for disaster. If you’re just starting your entrepreneurial journey, take the time to make sure your personal finances are in order. If you’re beyond the start-up phase but haven’t taken the time to evaluate your plan (or if you don’t have one), consider doing so soon and definitely before you start the next phase of your journey.

Certified Public Accountant (CPA)

You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the IRS; taxes have been the downfall of many great businesspeople. Taxes can be a complicated subject and depending on your business or employment status, they can be very intricate. Sure, you could try to navigate the tax code on your own, but one small mistake could prove to be very costly.

A good CPA is worth their fee and can often lead to tax savings that more than covers their cost.

In addition to preparing and filing your taxes, which is just scratching the surface of the value a CPA can provide, a CPA can help you determine the best way to organize your company when you are getting started–filing as an LLC., S Corp, C Corp, etc. all have different advantages and disadvantages that your personal and business will impact.

CPAs can also help manage your books, run financial reports, and make recommendations to help save on taxes. You may have a large enough business to have this all done in-house, but if not, partnering with a CPA can alleviate the responsibility and stress of bookkeeping. If you’re not tied down keeping records, you can be out doing what you do best–selling, meeting with clients, managing your team, or whatever helps your company grow.

Personally, my CPA has been a godsend–trust me, find yourself a good CPA.

Attorney

Attorneys do more than defend their clients during tough times; if your entrepreneurial journey takes you down the path of founding a business, you’ll definitely want an attorney to help create you founding documents, partnership agreements, client agreements, etc.

As your business grows, you might need buy-sell agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and other important documents only an attorney can draft.

Just as trying to tackle your taxes on your own can lead to costly mistakes, so can trying to draft agreements on your own–or even worse off, not having the proper documents in the first place.

Insurance Agent

Depending on the nature of your business, the type of insurance coverage and amounts needed will vary. There isn’t a blanket amount and type of insurance coverage entrepreneurs need, which is why having an expert with experience working with entrepreneurs is important.

Types of coverage an insurance agent can help you evaluate:

  • Life insurance (both personal and business needs; this can also be an area your financial advisor can assist in, but an agent will be the one to place the policy)
  • Liability insurance
  • Disability insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Umbrella policy

In an ideal world, one insurance agent would be able to take care of all of your needs; however, this may not be the case so you may have a couple of agents to help with accessing all of the insurance you need.

Don’t neglect protecting your family and business from unforeseen events.

A word of caution: Insurance, particularly life insurance, is an area many people get taken advantage of by salespeople pitching expensive high-commission policies that are better for the agent than the individual. Beware and make sure you understand the type of policy being recommended and how it fits your situation.

Mentor

Finding a mentor is not always an easy task to accomplish, but that doesn’t meant it should be dismissed.

Mentors provide wisdom, encouragement, honesty, and perspective from someone who has been where you are going. They can also provide the balance needed to balance your optimism–I’m guilty of being an eternal optimist, which I think is a characteristic of most entrepreneurs. I’ve found having an outsider to keep my optimism in check to be invaluable. This check can prevent moving too fast, going down the wrong path, or a number of other mistakes blinded by optimism and self-belief.

If you identify someone as a good candidate to act as a mentor, ask them. You might be surprised by their willingness to help. Most successful entrepreneurs have had a mentor of their own and are more than willing to pay it forward–just be respectful of their time and balance being a good mentee without being too needy.

Bonus (aka Luxury) Relationships

  • Personal trainer or customized training program
  • Chef or meal prep service
  • What would you add??

How’s your network looking? Are you surrounded by the people you need to help start/run/grow your business?

If you are interested in learning how RLS Wealth Management can help fill your financial advisor need, click here.

This blog is purely informational and designed to get you to think; in no ways should this information be mistaken for financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor to discuss how this could impact your personal situation.