When you’re looking for ways to develop yourself professionally, you’ve heard the recommendations to find a mentor or form your personal board of directors. Forming a team, if you will, of individuals who can offer expertise, advice, direction and support is not only helpful for personal development; it’s also an important step in building a business.

Let’s first take a step back. As of the last count, there were 28.2 million small businesses in the United States, which make up 99.7 percent of U.S. employer firms and 46 percent of private-sector output. While the number of small businesses have undoubtedly grown over the past six years, the resources, programs and opportunities for people interested in starting a business have never been better.

If you have been considering starting or acquiring a small business – no matter the type – I encourage you to begin by building a team that provides strength in the areas you need. Here are three recommendations to get you started.

building a team for your business infographic

Start Early

There’s no doubt that businesses are not started alone. You need to find a few key players who will help you make sure everything is lined up and ready for a proper business launch. Determining who these individuals should be and recruiting them to your team is best to get done early. This helps when you start discussing business structure, financing, resources and more, and will ensure you make the best possible decisions from the start.

Find a Trusted Partner

If you’ve been contemplating opening a business for a while, the good news is that you may already know who your trusted partner is. This person may be your accountant, a lender or a business consultant. Your trusted partner plays a role similar to the team captain. This should be someone you have a good working relationship with, you trust to make sound recommendations and who can connect you with the other key players you may need. If you don’t already have a trusted partner, finding a lender is a good way to start.

Build Out the Rest of Your Team

With your trusted partner in place, you are ready to begin filling in the rest of your team. This could include a number of people – accountants, strategic planners, attorneys or a consultant at your local Small Business Development Center. The people who need to be included will depend on the type and complexity of your business and your unique business needs.

Regardless of whether a lender is your trusted partner or another member of your team, this is one person nearly all small businesses need. Lenders serve as your advisor and advocate, so it’s important you find someone who understands your business and has experience in the type of loans that will meet your needs.

Starting a business is exciting, and the right team can help you launch your business smoothly. Whose expertise will help you get up and running?

This article was originally featured in the Des Moines Business Record’s Lift IOWA newsletter on February 6, 2017.

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