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Bob Meyer

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Your Company's Team Of Professional Advisors Should Include A Barter Expert

Independent business owners and entrepreneurial managers both face a common challenge...they operate in isolation much of the time! And that can be frustrating, because one lacks the opportunity to share one's management ideas (or burdens) with others.

After all, you can't discuss your firm's problems with employees regularly, or you will undermine the management authority necessary to operate your business. Likewise, sharing your concerns with a spouse or other family member is tough, because the emotional considerations can easily affect their business advice.

Fortunately, other options exist that can provide you with experienced and objective views from an outside perspective. It's available when you assemble a n informal team of professional advisors. This group can be put together without incurring significant expenses, because most of the time they will benefit from the relationship they have with you.

In the ordinary course of business you will have regular contact with your banker, an accountant and your attorney...the latter two services available through your trade exchange. They will form the beginning core of your team.

No formal meetings between them need ever occur. In fact, you not only gain the same benefits when working with each member independently, but you'll obtain a different perspective than what you might otherwise get in a group setting where they may feel compelled to provide a consensus opinion.

But you shouldn't limit your advisors to a banker, accountant, and attorney, because although important they often don't provide the necessary vision or entrepreneurial experience which you will need to build your business.

Add These Other Valuable Advisors To Your Team

There are four other outsiders you will want to bring on board. The first is an entrepreneur, he or she should be someone who has actually "done it," enabling them to look at your business risks and opportunities with a unique perspective. (Don't choose a friendly competitor, you should not share proprietary information with them.)

Bring in a long term customer as a member of your team, too. He or she will provide invaluable help developing company standards that ensure your firm's continuing success. Some companies form committees of their better customers which meet periodically to discuss your performance. This is easily accomplished when you ask the question, "What can my company do to better meet your needs?"

Additionally, you shouldn't hesitate to ask a trusted supplier to join your team. After all, in helping you better manage your company they can increase their earnings as well! Understandably, they may already be providing you with product or marketing advice in the ordinary course of business. But rarely, without asking, will a supplier go beyond that and give you any additional input.

And the final addition to your team should be a barter professional. Someone from the trade exchange whose advice you value and can rely upon, because building a business these days is a lot like running a marathon. In both cases you will inevitably "hit the wall," going through a period when you need assistance.

In a marathon race help comes from people throwing water at the runners. In the business world hitting the wall requires the infusion of a four letter word: CASH. Invariably, you are going to need additional capital...whether to fund your growth, expand your facilities, or invest in inventory.

Your barter professional is adept at assisting you in making non-cash purchases. Every time they help, it enables you to increase your cashflow. It's that needed refresher that enables you to succeed, just like a marathon runner. Winning companies rely on a team effort, and your professional advisors can play an important role in your company's success.