No entrepreneur on the planet can foresee everything that’s going to take place throughout the course of their career. With that said, that doesn’t mean you get to be a passive participant in your business. A little preparedness, foreword thinking, and being saddled with the proper resources are all that’s needed to navigate the wild world of entrepreneurship.
Here are 4 of them that no entrepreneur should live without:
1. A (Well-Versed) Mentor
Regardless of how long you’ve been running your own business(es), you still need to have someone with more experience than you that you can reach out to when you need some advice, introduction to contacts, or outright help to get out of a jam. Failure to acquire this valuable resource means that you’ll eventually find yourself in a situation that you can’t find your way out of.
Imagine if the Toronto Blue Jays or FC Barcelona entered their respective stadiums and had to run practices on their own, without a coach. Regardless of how well regarded their athletes are, and how experienced they might be, performance would quickly fade and each would topple from the top of their respective leagues swiftly.
Choosing to have one (or several, if you’re smart) mentors at your side is not a sign of weakness, it’ll make you stronger. They can also make you accountable for your mistakes, when others in your life may give you too much respect to say anything critical.
2. A Real (and Hopefully Spectacular) Attorney
You just can’t wait until there’s a major legal brouhaha brewing before you Google for local business attorneys. An entrepreneur who values their livelihood (and the livelihood of their employees) needs to have a good lawyer at the ready to solve their problems. If you’re in a particularly “problem-prone” industry, you’ll also want to have them on retainer to avoid any hiccups in them coming to your aid ASAP when trouble starts.
You’ll need a smart, experienced business attorney for everything from giving you legal advice related to your plans or opportunities that crop up, reviewing documents before allowing you to signing contracts, and also to come to your rescue when duty calls.
You can’t put a price on good legal counsel.
3. An Accountant (Who Knows What They’re Doing)
You might try having a go at your own books for the first little while, but as you grow, there’s no way any smart entrepreneur will have the time or expertise to handle their own accounting. This goes double for tax time, where you need an astute, aged business tax accountant to make sure you don’t go broke when Uncle Sam comes a knockin’.
Even if you were an accountant in a previous life, you still have a business to run. Cheaping out on this valuable, indispensable resource means your attention’s scattered and other things are falling by the wayside. Financial statements, tax documents, balance sheets, payroll, and many other detail-oriented tasks are best left to those with the schooling, experience, and extreme eye for spotting and preventing troubles inside the numbers.
4. A List of (Rock Star) People You’d Like on the Payroll
Now that you’ve lined your fortress with a mentor, attorney and accountant, it’s time to make sure you have the right people in line for contingencies and future growth. You need to have a list in place, and not just a list of resumes that were handed in six months to a year ago either. No, you need to keep your eyes peeled, and keep in regular contact with these people; regardless of their current employment status.
Say your super-awesome sales manager leaves for a more lucrative position – how much business are you going to lose in the interim of he/she leaving and you finding and grooming the right replacement?
And what if you get a great idea to launch a new product or service line in your company? Suddenly, you have to scramble for staff, potentially pushing back the launch because you’re starting from ground zero looking for just the right people to help get things moving.
There are hundreds of scenarios where having a relationship with pros that can help keep (or get) your business moving on an upward trajectory. Find them in your Rolodex from past jobs you’ve had or companies you’ve owned. Look for key players in your industry or a given profession on LinkedIn and reach out to them. Make them remember your name and what you do – when you need them, reach out.
Scout’s Motto: Be Prepared
One of the first things a boy scout is taught is to “always be prepared” no matter what the situation. Ensuring you have the 4 key resources listed above is about all you really need to be prepared for any eventuality that crops up in your business.