Congratulations! As a new entrepreneur, changing from an idea to a hobby to a business takes a lot of courage. Even if this is a go-it-alone venture you’ll need to establish a team of people who are investing in you and your start-up. This may include family and friends, but you will also need strategic business partnerships. It’s especially important to improve your bottom line and to maintain financial success.
Your new company's financial picture is a personal, sensitive topic. Choose people you trust and who will give you honest feedback. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Does this person have a record of success?
2. Will they guide me down the right path?
3. Will they maintain confidentiality? Should I require a non-disclosure agreement?
4. Will my co-owners/employees/investors be on board with this advisor? Are they a good “fit” for my team members?
5. Will they join my “team” and help me keep my head above water?
6. Will they be completely honest about my business model and help me get back on track if I fall?
It’s best if these advisors can be local and should be recommended by friends and networking buddies who already have your best interest at heart.
Focuses on your taxes and ensuring all tax-related items meet the IRS guidelines, such as your State and Federal taxes, Schedule C or K forms, and adjusting entries for year-end numbers
To learn the difference between an accountant and a CPA, click here. Each state has requirements that must be met to become a Certified Public Accountant.
If you have questions about Tennessee rules and regulations for CPAs, you can call the TN State Board of Accountancy in Nashville at 615-741-2550 or 1-888-453-6150. Find them online here.
Will assist you in filing the correct documents for the type of legal structure you choose and your IRS filings for employee/contractor agreements. They will review any contracts you give or receive and be on hand to disperse legal advice on any business dealings.
Will be an ongoing resource if (further) loans are needed to provide additional capital for your company.
Will oversee your financial picture throughout the year or will work with you to assist in your accounting. Your bookkeeper can provide a wide variety of services, including: forecasting, budgeting, payroll, monthly reconciliations, running reports, and preparing your files for tax season.
If you’re doing your books in-house, we recommend having a periodic third-party review to make sure everything is entered correctly and to check for possible fraud. If your office manager needs training on accounting software or basics of bookkeeping, Find a qualified expert who can properly coach and train you.
To find your local QuickBooks ProAdvisor, click here then type in your zip code.
Someone with social media savvy to give you pointers in minimizing your advertising dollars and maximizing results. Do you want to do this in-house or let an expert do it for you?
Make sure you have a good relationship with someone who can be a sounding-board for you, especially one who has successful experience in business management and organization.
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center network has been around since 1984. According to their 2014 report, a new business is opened by an SBDC client every 37 minutes. The Chattanooga location is on the 2nd floor of the BDC/INCubator building. They’re open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On Thursdays, they offer a 90-minute Small Business Orientation session. Click here for more information on how they can help.
One last tip – did you know that Tennessee has a special department to assist small businesses? It’s called the Office of Small Business Advocate. Here is their FAQ brochure. Small businesses are those with 50 or fewer employees.
We wish you the best in your success!
Lynn Talbott, MBA, PHR, has over 20 years’ experience consulting in the HR and office management capacity, including 8 years for a Fortune 500 company. Her specialty is Office/Human Resource Manager coaching and training and finding practical solutions for bookkeeping errors and HR blunders. She particularly focuses on working with entrepreneurs of small- to mid-sized businesses. Lynn has helped manage over 50 business start-ups and many of those companies continue to rely on her expertise today as they continue to grow. She is a sustaining member of the Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute.