Advice for Business Owners: The Role of Your Professionals

Christian C.M. Beams

Chris Beams, Managing Partner, Phoenix Office

So we’ve reached the third blog post in a multi-part series on improving your business.  After introducing ourselves and talking about getting your own house in order, the next step is looking outward.

As a business owner, you hire three distinct categories of people:

  1. Professionals: This includes accountants and lawyers.
  2. Vendors; and
  3. Labor: This includes your staff and employees.

Today’s post will focus on the first, and specifically, the sorts of things owners should examine when hiring, evaluating, and retaining the professionals with which you affiliate.

Let’s get the obvious premise out of the way quickly:  professionals are necessary, and their expertise is often expensive.  Thus, it is critical that you have, and remain confident in, the right person.  They are also plentiful.  Hiring an accountant or lawyer isn’t difficult, however, hiring the RIGHT one can be.

Your professional must be communicative and detailed.  Don Henley once sung about “lawyers clean up small details.”  While true, you should have a keen understanding of exactly what your professional is doing for you, why, and how.  Speak to your professional often. Personal communication is key.  Don’t just rely on email and/or text messages. Meet in person and be wary of any professional unwilling to do so.

Lastly, your professional should always have your business interests first. The extent of this becomes obvious by the frequency with which he or she discusses economics.  While your lawyer’s duty, for example, is to zealously advocate your interests, he or she should also talk to you about the costs involved in various avenues so that you can make fiscally smart strategic decisions.

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