As a business owner, you may at some point consider hiring outside professionals to help grow your small business. Whether that’s early on or further down the line, you will better understand the costs and benefits of bringing these professionals on board when you can anticipate who they are and when you might need them.
Here are some outside professionals you may want or need to hire as your business grows:
1. CPA. Some business owners may need to hire a certified professional accountant (CPA) from the start, while others can wait a while before taking this step. You can request that a CPA help you manage your books, figure out your taxes and, in some cases, assist you with payroll. Your CPA should know how to advise you to minimize your federal and state business tax payments as well.
If you are a solo practitioner, you typically won’t need the services of a CPA. But you may think about hiring a CPA if you incorporate your business or hire employees because, as your company grows, your paperwork and finances will get more complicated. While hiring a CPA will add to your costs, you may be able to offset some of those costs through tax savings and bookkeeping efficiencies.
2. Payroll company. Payroll can get complicated, especially when you have a mix of full-time and part-time employees, salaried workers, hourly staff, and independent contractors. A payroll company may be able to streamline the process for you.
Some payroll services may only handle paying employees, while others may have the capability to manage retirement plans. As you grow, you’ll likely want the flexibility an outside payroll company can provide.
3. Lawyer. Whether you hire a lawyer right away or choose to wait until your business has grown, there’s a good chance you’re going to need one at some point. A lawyer can help you with all your business filings and contractual issues, particularly if you are establishing yourself in an industry rife with government codes and regulations.
Beyond that, it’s helpful to establish contact with a lawyer in case any legal issues come up, particularly as you begin hiring employees, signing complex legal documents, incorporating, or organizing your business in your state.
4. Insurance professional. An insurance agent can help you find the coverage that is right for your business and explain what your options and insurance requirements are based on your circumstances and the location of your business.
As you hire employees, you may at some point want to offer health insurance. A health insurance pro can guide you through the process.
5. Media professional. As the news landscape continues to change, figuring out how to get the word out about your business can seem daunting. If this is how you feel, it may be time to consider hiring a small PR or marketing firm as a consultant. Many former journalists and PR professionals have launched their own small PR or media businesses and are ready to help small businesses establish and execute media and marketing plans. You may eventually want to hire your own internal media professional, although that may not make financial sense until your business is more substantial.
Many media companies have Web professionals that can help you create an online presence. If they don’t, you may want to consider hiring a Web design service or Web consultant to work with you and design your site to look professional and attract new business.
6. Business consultant. There’s a lot you can do yourself, but sometimes you need someone with experience, savvy, and drive to grow your business—or take it in a new direction. Typically, business owners hire this type of consultant after a company is established, when business seems stagnant or operations are no longer efficient.
A consultant can look at the whole company, streamline operations, and determine the kind of customers or clients you should be going after so your business can grow.
No matter what your industry, bringing in outside professionals can help your bottom line, take mundane or niche tasks off your to-do list, and allow you to focus your efforts on parts of the business that are more important to you. That’s a positive step for any small business owner.
Michelle Stoffel Huffman is a researcher and staff writer for Think Glink, Inc. Prior to joining Think Glink, Michelle worked for the Chicago Tribune as a daily news reporter and community manager, covering local government, business, tax issues, and crime. She now specializes in real estate industry news, consumer financial reporting, and home design and decor. She is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago.