Pioneers were especially hardy types who had to become proficient in hunting, sewing, navigating, cooking, skinning animals, doctoring wounds, nursing illnesses, fixing wagon wheels, growing crops, taking care of horses, and so forth, and so on. At least, those were the pioneers who moved across continents. Pioneers today are often entrepreneurs.
Like pioneers, entrepreneurs find themselves alone in a vast frontier. If their budgets are tight, and they are, they figure everything out for themselves. Based on interviews with more than 100 entrepreneurs, these pioneers had to learn how to set up a business bank account, get a federal ID number, set up their bookkeeping software, define salaries and benefits, select a payroll system, establish benefits, file quarterly taxes, select business insurance, establish invoicing and payment methodologies, recruit employees, create a prospect database, motivate sales people, negotiate with vendors, create management reports, develop a customer service process, create marketing campaigns, close sales, fix the router, cut costs for a rainy day, blog, tweet, and … the list goes on and on. Imagine an entrepreneur with a passion for baking, architecture, home construction, classic cars, apps or sports. The leap from passion to business ownership means developing expertise in critical business areas without any prior training or experience.
There are plenty of ways to prepare your business with expertise in critical areas, based on the entrepreneurs we’ve talked to. Here are five options.
1. Business Partners
The number one description of a successful business partnership, based on our interviews, is “complimentary skill sets.” One may know everything about the technological aspects of the product, while the other is a great business development person, for example. I met three sisters who started a business together and brought three different skill sets and areas of expertise to a retail shop. One was a designer, another a financial analyst, and the third an operational expert.
Mentors can expand the entrepreneurs’ know how with advice in critical areas. An entrepreneur built an advisory board with a lawyer, a marketing person, and a financial expert and gains advice from them.
3. Coaches and Consultants
I’ve talked to entrepreneurs who have hired sales coaches, marketing coaches, financial management coaches, and business coaches. A coach’s job is to help you solve your problem, and teach you how to do that function. If you haven’t got that experience, a coach may well be the way to go.
Hire a firm to do it for you! There are companies out there that do payroll, bookkeeping, social media, marketing and even sales for you. These firms are experts in areas you may not want to learn. However, be careful to learn enough about these areas so that you can manage your vendors!
5. Specialty Websites
Entrepreneurs also find a great deal of help online, however, sometimes even good help is limited. For example, you can save money by forming a LLC or getting a trademark through an online company rather than by hiring lawyers and accountants, but, as their fine print states, the online companies are not providing legal or accounting advice, merely filling out and submitting forms. How do you know which type of organization is best for you and your company, which one protects your assets the best, and which one will save you money during tax time without the advice of experts in the subject? If you need advice, you need the experts.
Cheers to all you pioneers, your passion and your expertise. And, here’s to your finding the help you need for everything else!
All the best!