The problem is is that we think that it’s all sunny and roses and no one out there is gonna take advantage of us. And unfortunately, that’s just not the world we live in. There are a lot of shady business people…
Hey, do you know who your two biggest allies are in your small business whether you’re getting started or you’re already in business?
Today, I’m gonna tell you exactly who those two people are and how it costs me a half a million dollars not knowing who one of those two people were. Got your attention now.?
I’m Coach Carroll, When I started, I had no idea what the hell I was doing. Luckily, I found a couple of mentors and they taught me to start like an LLC or a DBA, a doing business as, but the problem was I should have been getting that advice from the first ally in business and that is a business attorney. That’s right, the people that no one likes, it’s the attorneys. No, seriously though.
I have to tell you this story. I’ve shared it before, but I had a fitness center and I bought this business. I’d been in business probably eight or nine years. I had tried LegalZoom and things like that, even went to the Secretary of State’s website and that’s when I actually registered my LLC. The challenge was I didn’t know that I needed to go get a business attorney. That’s right, one that was specifically focused on business law. And so-fast forward, I’m like seven or eight years in a business and this opportunity presents itself to purchase a local gym. And the guy comes to me, I’m like yeah, sounds great. I buy the business. I actually had an attorney drafted contract and everything was going great. Then I got towards the end, it was about 18 months in and I had a real estate agent that basically took me to the cleaners. Now what would have happened if I would’ve had a better relationship with one of my business allies, one of the people that you need, that attorney? He would have saved me from losing a half a million dollars in real estate! What happened was I didn’t let him review the contract. I just took the real estate agents for his words, thought he was an honest guy, long story short, he took me to the cleaners. The first person-ally-it has to be an attorney. You’ve got to get an attorney in your corner. Now I’m not saying you have to go out and hire the biggest law firm and pay them a $10,000 a month retainer. You don’t need that, but you do need someone that you can call hopefully before you get in the pickle. But if you’re in the pickle, you need somebody to be able to call and talk to. The other thing is you need someone that’s very fluent in contracts, because if you’re gonna be in business, you need someone that can review contracts that can redline contracts for you, and can look for things in there that’s like, oh, you probably shouldn’t have… I wouldn’t sign this DJ because of clause seven. It says X, Y, and Z and here’s what it actually means, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. It’s kind of like an interpreter and a lot of times as entrepreneurs, you get so excited about your business idea and you just want to jump right in. And the problem is, is that we think that it’s all sunny and roses and no one out there is gonna take advantage of us. Unfortunately, that’s just not the world we live in. There are a lot of shady business people. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share dealing with them. That’s why I highly highly advise if you’re just getting started in business, you find a business attorney. This person can do multitudes of things. They can help you start your LLC, which is a limited liability corporation. They can help you write up contracts, they can help you do your employee handbook and things like that and so you want to make sure that you’ve got a really good business attorney in your corner.
The second ally helps defend against the I, the R and the S. That’s your CPA, certified public accountant. Doesn’t necessarily have to be a CPA by designation (I would highly recommend that) but you need someone that can help you prepare your taxes. You need someone that you can go to, to talk to. I’m actually getting ready to go to my CPA here in October. We’re shooting this middle of September and every year towards the beginning of October, we get together. We look at my books and we say “Hey, how is the year going? What are we looking at as far as tax planning? What kind of check am I gonna have to be cutting?” He’ll ask you things like “What’s some assets that you’ve purchased or gotten rid of?” There’s all these little tax questions and it’s just a lot easier for you as a business owner if you don’t have to deal with that on your own. Now, a CPA could possibly do your book keeping and things like that, but the bare bare minimum, you want a CPA so that that person can take your income, your books, your profit, your loss statements, your balance sheets, and do your taxes and make sure that you’re playing by the rules-cause listen-I got audited when I was 24, it was not a fun experience. I actually saw how much of a joke the IRS was, but nonetheless, I was happy to have Troy, my CPA, kind of standing in my corner so that I had somebody that had my back when we had to go up to Cincinnati to the federal office of the IRS.
So if you’re starting a business, those are your two biggest allies. You need a really good business attorney and you need a really good CPA, the best that you can afford at the time. Now I’ve got several business attorneys and I’ve still got my same CPA, but it’s just something that I wish I would’ve known earlier in business that no one really told me about. No one comes up to you and goes “Hey, you’re starting a business? Oh, well, you should get a CPA and an attorney.” It’s also one of those things where a lot of times you would think hey man, I’m just now getting started. I don’t need that, I don’t need that yet. Listen, you can get sued for anything. And I’m not trying to scare you because I really wanna encourage you to go out there and chase your dreams, but at the same time, I want you to be protected so that if something does happen, you have that attorney in your corner so that the likelihood of you going out of business or really losing a lot of money like I did doesn’t happen. So two biggest fans, two biggest people, two biggest allies you need in your corner is your business attorney and your business CPA.
Here’s to your success, until next time.