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The 4 Key People Every Service Professional Should Know

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When starting and running a business, it’s easy to get focused on what you need to do.

  • Get more sales.
  • Generate more revenue.
  • Hire more people.

But as a lawyer & business person myself for the past 15+ years, I think it’s equally important to focus on the “who” as well.

As in, who should you form professional relationships with in order to not only get more business…but also not lose your shirt in the process!

Because make no mistake about it: We live in a highly litigious society where someone is always looking to get more than what they have.

And while it doesn’t happen to everyone, I always tell clients that building a business is a balance between building up (sales, marketing, revenue growth) and then protecting the very assets so many of us work long and hard to create.

Hence my list of the four people or key business relationships every business owner should have.

But before we get into that let me tell you a little bit about myself.

My name is Scott Reib and for the last two decades, I have been helping coaches, consultants and service professionals “Shatter Proof” their businesses by implementing specific strategies for structure, growth and protection.

I believe that in today’s highly litigious society, the smart business owner is watching both revenue growth and asset protection, simultaneously. Because in my mind, it doesn’t hurt to carry an umbrella…even if it isn’t raining.

As an official Zig Zigler Small Business Lawyer, I’ve been called “America’s Legal Coach” for the past few years, and I spend my days sharing specific strategies with business owners to help protect and grow their business.

I also have a terrific wife and two lovely kids!

You check out the longer version here, but I think you get the idea.

So, what key business relationships should you have in place to be successful in not only building your business up, but helping it stick around afterwards?

A Banker

This is one I cannot emphasize enough. The right banking relationship can literally be the difference the success and failure of your business.

Between making payroll and not.

Between bouncing a check to a key vendor and not.

Sometimes Service Professionals like coaches, consultants and authors come to me and say, “I don’t have employees. Payroll isn’t an issue. Do I need a banker?”

Absolutely!

What if you want to write your next book? Being an author myself I know those aren’t always cheap. Wouldn’t things be easier if you could get a small business loan to help finance those initial costs?

Or maybe you do decide to bring on some temporary, outside help during a busy season of your practice. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a credit line you could tap into real quick for making that happen until the revenue side caught up with the expenses?

In terms of what to look for, that’s pretty straightforward. You want a bank that offers a large majority of the following:

  • A line of credit,
  • Checking accounts,
  • Savings accounts,
  • Trust accounts,
  • Credit card accounts,
  • Merchant accounts
  • Gateway for credit card processing

In years past, the big commercial banks were the best source for this relationship.

However, working with big banks can be challenging.

As a result, many entrepreneurs are setting their sights on community banks, where "relationship banking" is the rule and not the exception.

Today, community banks are often more competitive than the big institutional banks at making loans that require complicated security, finding third party partners and working with less sophisticated business plans.

Also smaller banks tend to focus more on personal qualities. For example, the fact that a banker already knows the entrepreneur or the entrepreneur’s family and that the entrepreneur has a reputation and history of trustworthiness matters more in a community bank that isn’t tied up in institutional bureaucracy.

Whether you choose a big bank or a community bank, it is important to know and like your bank officer. You should feel comfortable to call, e-mail or drop in for a cup of coffee anytime. Even more importantly, your bank officer needs to care about you, your business and be looking out for problems with your account. A good bank officer will spot a large check coming in that will overdraw your account and give you the opportunity to fix your error and potentially save a relationship with a vendor.

If you've done all of your personal banking at the same bank for ten years and already know the people in authority, you should approach them first for your business needs. If you don't already have such a relationship with a banker, you can begin cultivating such a relationship by attending Chamber of Commerce meetings and networking events that bankers attend.

Lawyer

“What! I need to get to know a lawyer” you might be thinking.

If you want to make sure your hard earned business assets are protected, then absolutely.

But as with everything else, not all lawyers are created equally. First off, when selecting an attorney to represent your business interests and guide you through the pitfalls of business ownership, it is important to select someone you feel comfortable with.

The fact of the matter is, in a lot of ways, an attorney is the business equivalent of your best friend.

Someone you confess your worries and problems to, and bounce different ideas off of.

A good attorney is someone who advises you on how to move forward and get past any mistakes.

For that reason, you must select someone with whom you can be honest and forthright.

Where I find most Service Professionals get into trouble legal-wise is:

  • Business entity formation (Corporation vs. LLC vs. S Corp vs. Nothing!)
  • Copyright and trademark processes. This is especially true for coaches, consultants, authors and speakers who spend a lot of time coming up with great ideas and content. You want to make sure it’s protected as your own.
  • Operating agreements or buyouts.

Your attorney can also handle any legal issues that arise, including reviewing documents, compliance issues, drafting new contracts, litigating and negotiating settlements.

Another important consideration in hiring an attorney is the attorney’s experience in business matters. An experienced business attorney can guide you along the path of business ownership in a way an attorney who doesn’t focus on business law simply can’t.

The most important aspect to having an attorney on your team is the ability to ask him for advice when a legal business issue arises.

If your attorney starts the clock every time you call to ask for advice, you will eventually stop calling and the advantage is lost.

Therefore, you should look for an attorney that will provide you access that is not connected to the billable hour.

Here are the steps I recommend people consider when finding a good business attorney.

  1. Ask for referrals from your attorney, your banker or a business colleague in the same industry.
  2. Determine the services your business needs from an advisor.
  3. Narrow your search to a select few.
  4. Prepare an objective set of interview questions.
  5. Conduct interviews with each potential advisor.
  6. Set clear parameters for your needs and ask for defined cost estimates in writing before you make your selection.
  7. Make a decision and agree to reevaluate these relationships annually.

So there you have it. The first two key people every Service Professional should know.

This article actually went a little longer than I anticipated, so I apologize for that. And as a result we’ll have to wait until next time to talk about the last 2 folks all Service Professionals should know, otherwise this thing could turn into a book!

I know, I know.

But that’s ok.

I’ll be back next time with some more good stuff and thanks for reading.

Scott

Hours

Monday9:00AM - 5:00PM
Tuesday9:00AM - 5:00PM
Wednesday9:00AM - 5:00PM
Thursday9:00AM - 5:00PM
Friday9:00AM - 5:00PM
SaturdayCLOSED
SundayCLOSED

CONTACT US

/ keep in touch

Reib Law

412 S. Carroll,

Suite 1000,

Denton, TX 76201

Phone. 940-591-0600

Email. scottr@reiblaw.com