Yesterday I posted a number of financial and investment principles that new entrepreneurs and business owners (including self-employed people) need to consider to be successful over the long run. I’d like to elaborate a bit more on the aspect of professional advisors.

I once met a self-employed consultant who did his own bookkeeping, accounting, tax returns, and GST returns. Needless to say, he was not maximizing his time and value, but also made basic mistakes that ended up costing him dearly.

I’ll start with my own example. I’m an independent strategy and management consultant. I have no employees, but I do occasionally collaborate with other consultants on joint projects. I have:

  • a bookkeeper/accountant who does my company books and assists with company returns, GST and provincial sales tax, and other matters – these can be two different people but in my case I’ve opted for one person
  • another accountant who does our personal income tax returns and advises us on these matters
  • an insurance broker for life and disability insurance (this includes catastrophic illness insurance)
  • another insurance broker for commercial insurance, including commercial and general liability, and errors and ommissions insurance, also known as professional liability insurance
  • a lawyer to keep our corporate records in order and to assist with any legal advice on an as required basis
  • a web developer and web hosting company – these can often be different companies/people, but in my case they are the same
  • my literary agent to represent me in my publishing goals – this person is also acting as my agent to help me secure speaking engagements to go with my book
  • other areas: translator, graphic designer, and I’m sure there are a few others that I can’t think of at this time.

Depending on one’s business activities, this list could easily be amplified: legal advice for export-import, or to work outside the country; PR advice; business coaching or mentoring; copy writing and editing; videographer; IT expertise; etc.

The critical point is this. You’re always better to get sound professional advice for business than to try to improvise or wing it. Business is too important to be flying by the seat of your pants, and your time is too important and valuable to be wasted on low value (for you) activities that are better done by experts.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

  1. I’ve found a lot of value in outsourcing tasks that aren’t in my area of expertise. Taxes are a big done. I would waste so much time and energy trying to do this myself and likely make mistakes, when my professional tax attorney does this for me and instead allows me to put my time toward what I do best.

  2. Trying to do your own taxes is like doing your own brain surgery.

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