Posts Tagged ‘business advisory team’

It’s Lonely At The Top …

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

A Business Advisory Board Can Help

Small Business Advisory Board | Ohio CPA Firm

Excellent leaders seek out excellent advisors and the best advisors for your business are those who fill knowledge gaps within your company. They will also not be afraid to share their opinions and offer differing perspectives. You may not always like what they have to say, but you will be a better leader for hearing it.

It’s not uncommon for small business owners or CEO’s to feel like there is no one they can turn for help, advice or validation.

Fortunately, a business advisory board can help. Business leaders who consult an advisory board not only gain camaraderie, they gain ready access to experts in a variety of fields, such as marketing, sales, financing, and others. Not to mention a valuable multi-perspective approach to your day-to-day managerial duties.

Read Also: 5 Best Practices For Taking Your Business To The Next Level

Business Success Is A Team Effort

Not ready to commit to utilizing a business advisory board in all aspects of your business? That’s fine. Start small instead. Many successful boards are originally formed with a very specific goal in mind – such as the implementation of a new strategic plan.

And you don’t always have to look exclusively outside of your business for help. Consider tapping members of your management team for specific organizational reports. Each advisory board meeting could begin with members of your management team providing updates on assigned areas, such as finances, operations/production, human resources, IT, and sales & marketing. This portion of the meeting will ensure that everybody is on the same page and will encourage your management team to buy into the advisory process. Later in your meeting, set aside time to speak confidentially with your advisory team. Doing so will provide everyone with the opportunity to speak candidly.

Say ‘No’ To ‘Yes-Men’

If you don’t trust the members of your advisory board, the initiative will not be effective. You need to go into advisory board meetings ready and willing to share sensitive information about the business, as well as personal information about yourself. If you don’t trust your board, you are unlikely to tell them everything they need to know to provide you with the best advice possible. Your board should consist of the following experts:

  • An attorney
  • An accountant
  • A banker
  • Experts in Marketing, HR and/or IT
  • Other successful entrepreneurs from other industries
  • Potential customers

Optimally, you should try to keep the group small and close-knit. More than six advisors on your board are not recommended as the productivity of the team is likely to take a hit.

Know Your Limitations

Excellent leaders seek out excellent advisors and the best advisors for your business are those who fill knowledge gaps within your company. They will also not be afraid to share their opinions and offer differing perspectives. You may not always like what they have to say, but you will be a better leader for hearing it. You can’t do everything and you can’t be an expert on every topic or every issue that comes across your desk. But an advisory team will help you get there.

Set Expectations

Even though advisory boards are more informal than boards of directors, it’s important to set expectations and ground rules on any time expectations, responsibilities and duration of service. Consider a written document outlining your board’s responsibilities and logistics, such as meeting frequency, expected time commitment and compensation, if any. Quarterly meetings as a group with individual meetings as needs arise is a good framework.

Remember, your business advisory board does not have authority to make business decisions; it will offer advice that you can either take or dismiss. Speak frankly about your business goals are and explain that you don’t expect them to take on an active management role or assume any liability for your company or for the advice they offer. Providing written indemnification for each participant is appropriate.

The advisory board experience should be interesting and beneficial for all involved. Being on your board will expose members to new ideas and perspectives, and also offers mentoring, networking and social opportunities that make the experience worthwhile. At the very least, you should cover any expenses members incur to attend meetings, and provide meals when you get together. You could also consider a per-meeting fee that might range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on commitment.

Email Rea & Associates to learn more ways a business advisory board can help you become a better business leader.

By Chris Roush, CPA (Millersburg office)

Are you looking for more insight into the effectiveness of a business advisory board? Check out these articles.

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Your Secret Weapon: The Business Advisory Team

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016
Business Advisory Podcast - Ohio CPA

On episode 25: the advisory advantage: a left-handed fireball pitcher for your business, Dave Cain, CPA, a principal at Rea & Associates, advises business owners about the benefit of having an advisory team. Start listening now.

If you have the opportunity to get great advice from a team of established business professionals and industry veterans, people who have lived, breathed, touched, and experienced the journey you are about to embark on – wouldn’t you? When you have a business advisory team to challenge and motivate you, you hold the secret weapon to long-term business value and personal and professional success.

But first you have to establish your team. Here are some tips that should help point you in the right direction.

Establishing A Core Group of Advisors

Although the makeup of the group could change or adapt depending on the needs of your business, usually the business advisory group will consist of a CPA, an attorney, a banker and a financial planner. Your advisory team has to be able and willing to have the crucial conversations necessary to facilitate real growth and change – and you need to be willing to hear all their opinions. Even if you don’t agree with some of the opinions that may be expressed, be an active participant in the conversation. Sometimes these dissenting opinions will become the catalyst for achieving some major milestones.

Trust that you’ve put together a strong group of advisors with a wide range of skills and experiences needed to take your business to the next level. The journey may, at times, be a little bumpy, but if you all stick together, the destination will be worth it.

Your Business Advisory Meeting

Meeting with your business advisory team should be more than a scheduled play date. You should have a plan for how the meeting is going to flow.

Remember that this meeting is a strategic session that will focus on the tactics necessary to fulfill the goals you’ve established for your business. This is not a time to look back at your prior year’s financial statements or tax returns. This is your chance to look at the stuff that you don’t get to touch every day because you have been too busy working in your business – rather than on your business.

To ensure that your advisory team leaves the meeting with a concrete action plan, make sure to come to the meeting prepared with an agenda. To maximize your success, everybody should have a clear picture of what their next steps are and what should be ready to the group at the next meeting.

It’s not always easy to stick to an agenda. Everybody has an opinion and new ideas will sprout from seemingly nowhere. Consider appointing an advisory team quarterback who can ensure that the meeting topics and decisions that materialize are consistent with the company’s mission statement, vision statement and core values. Your quarterback can also reel in the team when talks begin to become a little one-sided.

unsuitable on Rea Radio | Ohio Accounting Podcast | Rea & AssociatesWant more? Listen to episode 25: the advisory advantage: a left-handed fireball pitcher for your business on unsuitable on Rea Radio and find out if a business advisory team is right for you and your business.

By Dave Cain, CPA (Dublin office)

Still not sure if it makes sense to establish a formal business advisory team for your company? Check out these articles for further insight.

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Is An Office Relocation In Your Company’s Future?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Office Relocation - Ohio CPA Firm

A common mistake some business owners make is to believe they can coordinate the office relocation themselves. And while it may be possible to manage your daily responsibilities, make decisions about the future of your business and property real estate negotiations, you may wind up doing more harm than good because you aren’t giving any of your responsibilities the proper attention needed to succeed. Read on to find out how your business advisory team can help.

There are many reasons why you may want to move your business to a new location, but if you want to be sure the location you choose is not only equipped to meet your needs, that the price is reasonable and that the location is ideal, consider bringing in your business advisory team for guidance.

When it comes to determining your business’s overall financial wellness, look no further than your financial advisor. These professionals are experts when it comes to helping you determine an accurate cash flow projection, make sense of any tax implications associated with the move and will help you determine if, based on your current size and projected growth, that space you are eyeing makes since. But your financial advisor can really only help you see a part of the picture. I recommend bringing adding a real estate expert to your business advisory team when major relocation decisions are the topic of conversation.

Read Also: Is A Sale-Leaseback Transaction Right For Your Business?

A common mistake some business owners make is to believe they can coordinate the office relocation themselves. And while it may be possible to manage your daily responsibilities, make decisions about the future of your business and property real estate negotiations, you may wind up doing more harm than good because you aren’t giving any of your responsibilities the proper attention needed to succeed. A real estate broker will not only manage the legwork associated with choosing your business’s new location, they will make sure you get exactly what you are paying for while negotiating a deal that builds out time for you to establish yourself at your new address.

I recently spoke with Justin Fodor, a real estate broker with Carr Healthcare Realty, a brokerage firm that works exclusively with professionals in the healthcare industry, about other reasons why a business owner – regardless of industry – should consider working with a real estate expert.

Get Your Money’s Worth

When it comes to understanding the art of negotiation, a real estate broker has the knowledge and experience needed to help you lock in a great deal at favorable terms – regardless of whether you are planning to buy or rent your new property. Oftentimes during this process, the business owner may be a apprehensive about being too forceful during the negotiation process. Justin says this is a great scenario of when a real estate broker would come in handy because they have the knowledge needed to go into the meeting with the confidence of knowing that the “sticker price” is only the starting price.

And if you are worried about sending in a broker to negotiate on your behalf, don’t be.

“Landlords work with brokers all the time,” explained Justin. “In fact, they hire their own brokers. They expect you to bring one to the table as well.”

Location, Location, Location

According to Justin, if a real estate brokerage firm doesn’t specialize in demographics itself, they will work with professionals who do to make sure their clients are getting the ideal location for their business. Whether you want to find out how many similar businesses are in a certain area or whether the local business climate is right for your business to be successful, demographic information helps optimize your office’s geography.

“We can help [our clients] decide the type of environment that’s right for them by taking into consideration foot traffic, visibility, population, and other demographics,” said Justin.

Take The Time You Need

Perhaps one of the best reasons to work with a real estate broker – especially one who specializes in your specific industry, is because they know how to negotiate for terms that matter most to you.

Justin explained that when he works with dental professionals, for example, he always asks for the time needed to move into the space, install equipment, remodel the office and reestablish their client business.

A broker, especially if they specialize in serving businesses like yours, can help you negotiate the time you need to stabilize your business’s cash flow. In fact, Justin said it’s not uncommon to secure a 5-month build-out period and 3-4 months of rent-free office space, which gives you enough time to get your business up and running again.

Are you  considering an office relocation or a major warehouse move, email Rea & Associates to learn more about establishing a strong business advisory team.

By Ryan Dumermuth, CPA, CFP (Mentor office)

Are you looking for more ways to facilitate business growth? These articles should help:

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Don’t Get Blown Away By A Cash Windfall

Monday, September 28th, 2015

4 Tips for Managing Sudden Wealth

Manage Sudden Wealth -  Ohio CPA Firm

Before you make a move with your money, take a little time to think about you want to do with your cash and consider getting some advice from a financial professional and review these four tips for managing sudden wealth.

Congratulations – you just won the lottery! Or, in a more realistic scenario, a significant amount of money has landed in your lap through an inheritance or the sale of property.

Now what?

As many who have been in your shoes will attest, it’s important to pause, take a step back, and evaluate your options before making any big financial decisions. Sure, that brand new sports car would look
great in your driveway, but will you regret spending the money down the road? Significant money creates many opportunities. Some? Wonderful. Others? Money pits.

Read Also: Considering Gifting Your Family Owned Business?

Before you make a move with your money, think it through and talk to a pro. The truth is, there’s no right answer, as no two financial situations are exactly alike. But these four steps will help you decide what’s best for you.

  1. SLOW DOWN. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of new wealth, and the tailspin that can ensue. But don’t allow yourself to lose your footing and don’t be tempted to make excuses for reckless spending. Avoid making any significant or impulsive purchases for at least a month or two. Take a step back from the moment and think long-term … what sort of financial goals do you have for the future? How do you really want to spend this money? Begin thinking about this and write down your thoughts. Writing down goals and thoughts is a proven method of helping you achieve your goals. It’s also helpful to have these things in writing when you meet with your advisors.
  2. FAIL FORWARD. Think about some of your past financial blunders. We’ve all made mistakes – but they’re only truly mistakes if you don’t learn something and prevent them from happening again. You know yourself better than anyone, and you owe yourself this honest examination. Use your missteps to your advantage.
  3. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. If your decisions affect others, talk with them before acting. If someone has an investment idea, consider whether it’s too good to be true. If you are approached to help a charitable cause, ask yourself if it’s something you’re passionate about. And make sure you have an understanding of the organization. You should also find out if they will publicize your contribution.
  4. CONSULT WITH A PRO. Navigating new wealth is complicated, and it’s imperative you find experts to help guide you through the process. Talk with a few people you trust and respect. If an advisor’s name is mentioned more than once, it’s probably someone you should talk to. If you already have an advisor, consider whether or not they are up to the task at hand. You’ll want to work with a CPA, attorney and investment advisor. Be prepared to invest some time meeting with each advisor in an effort to decide who to hire. Each one will play a different, but valuable role. Depending on your situation, you could lose a chunk of your newfound wealth to income taxes, so be sure to talk to a CPA with a specialty in income tax. You will want to know what you owe and when you owe it. More importantly, you’ll want to learn if you can avoid, reduce or defer any of the tax.

Finally, before selecting the advisors you want to work with be sure you understand all of the fees involved with their services up-front. Be prepared to get what you pay for.

 

Whatever the reason for your windfall, make sure you take the time to respect it – and your financial future. Email Rea & Associates to learn more about managing sudden wealth.

By Ryan Dumermuth, CPA, CFP (Mentor office)

Want to learn more about managing your sudden wealth? You may like these articles:

How Can I Make The Most Of My Retirement?
Estate And Gift Tax Exemptions: New Wealth Transfer Rules

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Why It’s Important To Have A Good Banker As Part of Your Business Advisory Team

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

You want the best for your business, so it only makes sense that you surround yourself with like-minded individuals. As a business owner it’s important to get support from business advisors who have expertise in specific areas to help you make your business successful. Your CPA plays a critical role for you, but don’t forget about the others. It’s also important to cultivate relationships with a business attorney and business banker.

Your CPA can make sure that you have systems to capture and report timely, reliable financial information and, if needed, even provide assurance regarding your financial statements. A good attorney can help safeguard your business assets and provide assistance in drafting agreements, contracts and other legal proceedings. A business banker can provide lines of credit or loans to help meet the cash flow needs of your business.

The Importance of Your Banking Relationship

Strong banking relationships are built over time through regular two-way communication. You should be well-versed in upcoming cash needs, such as expanding inventory or the increased needs of personnel cost, and communicate these to your banker. As you keep them informed of business decisions and trends, this helps to build a lender’s confidence in your ability to manage your business. A well-informed and communicative business owner may be given extra consideration when business financial issues arise.

Four Key Indicators That Help Bankers Evaluate Your Ability To Repay

Banking is a low-risk industry and they have one major concern when lending money: your repayment. They evaluate your ability to repay based on these four areas:

  1. Cash Flow – This is a key indicator of your ability to repay the original loan. If you have strong cash flow, the chances are high that you are able to repay your loan.
  2. Collateral – When a loan is originated, it’s never the goal for the loan to be foreclosed on and collateral seized, but it is required as security.
  3. Credit – Another key indicator is your credit history and track record of your past ability and willingness to fulfill prior financial obligations. If you have a good credit score, you’ll be given more favorable treatment in both the receipt of a loan and the amount of interest charged.
  4. Character – Your relationship with your banker allows them to consider your integrity.  It’s critical to let your actions meet or exceed the expectations your words establish on a regular basis.

A good business banker is your advocate – they’re in your corner. Like CPAs, business bankers are exposed to multiple businesses and industries and they can be a great sounding board for ideas and help you strategize on ways to reach your financial objectives.

Business Relationship Help

Need to round out your business advisory team? Contact Rea & Associates. We can provide accounting services and business consulting services to your business, but we can also connect you to other business professionals that can help you complete your business advisory team.

Author: Chris Roush, CPA (Millersburg office)

 

Looking for more information on how to strengthen your business? Check out these blog posts:

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Do Your Business Metrics Need an Oil Change?

 

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