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Entrepreneur Mom

with Aliza Sherman

If you own a business - home-based or otherwise - this is the blog where you'll find practical tips and smart ideas about entrepreneurship. I've started and run 4 different businesses so "been there, done that." I'll also invite successful entrepreneurs to share their best advice with you.

To learn more about Aliza, check out her profile on Work It, Mom! and her website, www.mediaegg.com.

Do You Have Your Dream Team?

Categories: Infrastructure, Uncategorized

5 comments

Like many entrepreneurs, I have a company of one. But when it comes to the behind-the-scenes of my business, I’m not alone. Sure, I work solo at my dining room table or sitting up in bed with my laptop on my lap, but I have several key people on my team who take care of the things that I don’t want to handle. Truth be told, I wouldn’t even know how to handle what they do.

So who are the members of my dream team?

First, there’s my lawyer. I didn’t even want to attempt to incorporate my company without her. Paperwork and forms are not my cup of chai. For under $1000, her firm set up my corporation, developed the shareholders agreement, issued stock, and compiled the Corporate Book which is an actual book containing our corporate papers and board meeting minutes.

My lawyer also helped us trademark our company name. I know people who have handled the trademark process themselves, but for me, slogging through paperwork and doing the research on trademark issues and regulations is about as fun as a fork in the eye. All I had to do was review the paperwork for accuracy and sign on the dotted line.

My second team member is my bookkeeper. I worship this woman. While my eyes glaze over at the very thought of numbers, she eats them for breakfast with a grin. Since I brought her on board, the company’s bank register has reconciled perfectly every month. I’m even thinking of hiring her for our household finances. She is truly a miracle worker.

My third team member is my tax accountant. My bookkeeper doesn’t do taxes - her personal choice and one I can truly understand. She is smart to stick to her core competency - bookkeeping - and leave the tax stuff to the true financial geeks (and I use that term lovingly).

My tax accountant is a goddess. She is on hand by email to answer every convoluted question I have about corporate taxes. Then at tax time, her firm submits a 20 page form for us to fill out that guides us through the process of documenting the right financial information. She mails us a packet of tax paperwork with little stickies marking where we need to sign. Voila!

I don’t know what I would do without my business dream team. Keep in mind that these people are not employees of my company. They are independent contractors and what I pay them goes under the line item “Professional Services” in the company check register.

To find your dream team:

1. Assess your business needs. Determine what parts of the company must be handled but are not your areas of expertise - often this includes taxes, bookkeeping, and legal, but this could also be graphic design, marketing and public relations depending on your business.

2. Get referrals. I found my tax accountant at a women’s business networking meeting. She referred me to my lawyer, and I found my bookkeeper through my local Chamber of Commerce.

3. Conduct interviews. Meet or speak with them to see if you like them as people. They have to impress you before you can trust them with your business.

4. Integrate your team. I’ve made sure that my lawyer, accountant and bookkeeper have been introduced to one another and sometimes ask them questions jointly to get their expertise and perspective. They should not operate in a vacuum and have access to each other as needed.

So, who is on your dream team and how have they helped your business?



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5 comments so far...

  • Aliza - any tips for how to find people like a great accountant for your business?

    Nataly  |  August 13th, 2007 at 6:10 pm

  • What about your web guy - or did he not make the cut? ; )

    William Finley  |  August 13th, 2007 at 8:30 pm

  • One of my dream team members is our business coach. She offers an amazing objective perspective on challenges we are facing!

    Danielle  |  August 15th, 2007 at 9:47 pm

  • Mr. Finley - LOL. You’ll have to go under my upcoming blog post about an Essential Virtual Team - the people I outsource work to who make me look good. ;-)

    If you had designed my company site, for example, then I’d say you are part of my Dream Team. Same with a graphic designer - if they are a part of building my own business by providing services for my business - versus for my clients - they are part of the Dream Team.

    Aliza  |  August 15th, 2007 at 9:48 pm

  • Nataly - I mentioned my two favorite ways of finding a great accountant:

    1. Ask a trusted colleague who owns a business for a referral.

    2. Check your local Chamber of Commerce.

    Other ways:

    1. Check with a trade organization such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants - http://www.aicpa.org/ - and conduct a search on their site.

    2. Find a local trade association for CPAs and inquire through them (often they’ll have a searchable directory on their Web site).

    3. Check with your local SBA office (Small Business Administration) or your local SBDC office (Small Business Development Center) for suggestions.

    4. Use one of the general CPA search sites like http://www.goodaccountants.com.

    I’m not as fond of these general searches because they request a lot of information from you upfront.

    I’m even less fond of using the Yellow Pages for something as sensitive as your company’s finances. Referrals seem to be so much more reliable.

    Aliza  |  August 15th, 2007 at 9:58 pm

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