These professionals do a great job at what we do not do ourselves. Tell them we sent you — more importantly, tell us what your experience with them is and whether you know someone we should consider for our list.
Often when we first meet our entrepreneurial or small business clients, they are deciding what sort of corporate form they should take. Some have been operating as sole proprietorships, and do not understand the legal ramifications of moving to an S corporation, an LLC, or the like. Although one can incorporate for “a few hundred bucks” online, there is nothing like having an attorney and a CPA who specialize in entrepreneurs and small business on your team. It’s my opinion that this is the best way to start out right — and keep going right. Larry is our first choice as that CPA. He provides the sort of accounting that startups, entrepreneurs, and small businesses really need — “big corporation” accounting, but with an understanding of squeezing the worth out of each and every dime!
Most small and medium sized businesses need the services of a Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) to help them plan growth, seek and negotiate financing, work with their attorney (preferably me of course!) and outside CPAs, train and assist their bookkeeper, and make sure that the business owner(s) are getting timely and accurate financial reporting that will facilitate good decision making. The problem is that most small businesses can not afford to hire a full-time CFO. Shane and the B2B CFO network have solved this problem. Shane can be retained for several days per month, or just a few hours, depending on the company’s needs. The hourly rates are affordable – about ½ of what you would expect to pay someone with Shane’s training and experience.
Patricia Olson, Bookkeeper (email)
Patricia’s company is SB Accounting Solutions — the SB stands for small business, which is her specialty. She can work either at her offices, or onsite at her clients’ facilities. By taking control of payroll, invoicing, and all general bookkeeping tasks, she allows clients to leave “the math” in her capable hands, knowing that the details are all handled correctly. She also does consulting in various financial services areas, such as helping match budgets to business plans and forecasts.
Turnover, employee burnout, rising insurance costs, confusing new California employment and HIPPA/privacy laws, messy and incomplete employee files and documentation, injuries on the job, overdue performance reviews…wow, no wonder small business owners lose sleep at night! Penny provides HR support for small businesses who are building, maintaining and managing a team of employees. Penny has 17 years of experience in the human resources / training field in both internal and external roles. She has worked with a wide range of organizations, and knows that a business’s success or failure can rest on good hiring practices, updated employee handbooks, compliance, performance management, safety, and competitive and fair compensation programs. Penny provides HR audits, recruiting, employee handbooks, safety manuals, harassment training, performance improvement plans, incident investigations, status classifications and other HR functions on an incident or project basis, project basis or Penny can be retained as an outsource Senior HR Generalist. You don’t have to do it all!
Charles provides risk and insurance management services on a fee-only basis for clients of all sizes (don’t worry, he doesn’t sell insurance!) Charles has broad business experience and a can-do attitude. More importantly, he can really help clients understand where they are at risk and what to do about it. This includes auditing policies, procedures, insurance clauses in contracts, and the like. After Charles does “archaeology” work on past practices, we can come back to help fix those past contractual issues, too! Charles has kindly allowed us post his informative handout on getting the best insurance broker, price, service, and coverage for your business here.
Without a map, it’s hard to tell the difference between where your business is going and where it has been. Do you know where your business is heading? Are your business operations in synch with your business? Although Operations (like Legal!) is likely at the bottom of your Favorites list, it provides the atlas to keep your business moving forward on the road to success. Without the right underlying operations plan, the business can get sidetracked — or worse. Friedman Consulting Group’s RoadMap to Business Success specializes in grounding strategies and plans in day-to-day activities, to help ensure your success. The RoadMap uses layman’s terms to convey much needed information for navigating the marketplace and decision-making. Large corporations have Chief Operating Officers because they understand the importance of ‘Ops’: Let the Friedman Consulting Group provide that level of expertise and experience to you.
When Mike tells business owners he helps them grow their businesses without driving themselves crazy, they often respond ironically, “Too late, I’m already crazy!” He provides the antidote to the craziness of running and growing a business. His company, The Business Group, leads business advisory groups, each made up of ten business owners – usually in quite disparate market segments — who meet monthly. He brought me in to speak to one of his groups on Registering Your Trademark, and I was impressed by these serious-minded, successful people who were there to tackle their challenges to growth, improve their profits, and help each other succeed. They ranged from one-person operations to outfits with a bunch of employees. His book How to Grow Your Business without Driving Yourself Crazyä sums up all the things he has learned from working with business owners over the last 20 years, and is a useful, fun read.
Brad Warren has been a seminar leader and business coach for over 20 years. He is a certified Corporate Business Coach, and specializes in helping entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and business owners enhance their productivity and effectiveness through structure, support, and accountability. As a seminar leader, Brad custom-designs training programs in the “people skills” arena, including customer service, time management, conflict resolution, negotiations strategies, presentation skills, and team building. A former Fred Pryor Seminar leader, Brad has spoken in front of over 26,000 people across the United States and in 17 foreign countries.
Dan offers a full range of services in the privacy area. He has years of experience in data security, privacy, commercial email, and direct marketing-related consulting. He is our first resource for all the nuances related to doing marketing – correctly! – on the Internet and ensuring clients’ privacy practices.
Can’t make time to get it all done – or even find your desk clock under the piles? It’s time to call in Eve, the only people productivity expert who organizes based on the way your brain works at your personal best. She’ll assist you in eliminating office chaos, saving time, reducing stress, and making more money. Who couldn’t use an ‘extra’ hour each day in their business? Guaranteed.
Sallie provides the support services our clients need, so they can spend more time doing the work you went into business to do! Sallie helps our clients specifically with trademark prep work, as well as research, writing, and “non-programmer” computer issues. A good partner in our SWATlaw™ line, she gets in, gets it done, and gets out – you get the glory for fixing the situation.
Marketing and Branding Services
Jeff Rubin writes, designs and publishes newsletters for companies, non-profits and sole proprietors. He must have good taste, as he asked us recently to contribute to his newsletter! (Check it out here.)
Gary started Pacific Crest Marketing nearly 20 years ago, after seven years on both the agency and the client side of the advertising business. He builds business development strategies, including positioning, sales process and support, new products and market expansion for clients such as Citibank, Del Monte, DHL, Domaine St. George, Hewlett Packard, Novartis and YAHOO!. An innovator in the field of facilitated meetings, Gary has designed and conducted countless focus groups, advisory boards, brainstorming and strategy sessions throughout the world. Gary was recently showcased on United Airlines’ Sky Radio discussing his innovative CEO Gut Check ListTM. Click here to listen to the interview.
Matt Williams, Expert Witnesses (email)
Whether you are looking for an expert to assist you or a means to expand the nature and scope of your business or practice, you’ll want to consider www.ExpertPages.com. ExpertPages was the very first online directory of expert witnesses and consultants for legal matters, and since 1995 it has been repeatedly recognized as “the very best” by publications such as Lawyers Weekly. Unlike other expert witness services, ExpertPages does not share the fees experts earn. That means experts can set their own fees and keep everything they earn, while those hiring experts won’t pay artificially marked-up charges. It even comes with a 100% money-back guarantee for experts who list, plus a guarantee to users that the experts really do have the credentials they list. Be sure to mention you heard about this here, since they offer a discount to our clients!
Gerry Goldsholle, Legal Information (email)
It’s often cost effective to get yourself up-to-speed on the legal “basics” before you seek advice from a lawyer. One excellent place to go is www.FreeAdvice.com. The award-winning FreeAdvice site contains easy-to-understand explanations in over 125 areas of law, most in simple question and answer format. The Q&As cover what clients typically ask lawyers in the first 15-30 minutes of an interview, but with FreeAdvice, the “clock” isn’t ticking! The answers were prepared by leading lawyers nationwide (including Sandy Shepard).
When our clients’ patent requirements go beyond initial discovery and preparation of invention disclosure documentation we involve Hugh, owing to his many years of expertise in this field. He is fast, friendly, and a perfect foil for our inventive entrepreneurial clients. He even quietly pointed out to me (and fixed – without charge!) a mistake one of the “big name firms” had made with respect to one of my client’s patents. With a degree in Electrical Engineering from Rice University, Hugh has represented clients in many technical disciplines, but most notably has done spectacular work for our software and internet clients. Though he gave up wearing a pocket protector years ago, Hugh proudly notes of his EE degree that “It takes two Es to spell geek“!
Heather is a partner in Carlton, DiSante, and Freudenberger, a law firm that specializes in all aspects of labor and employment law . We call Heather when we have a labor issue to handle — from helping smaller companies put together their first Employee Handbooks to handling state-wide labor strikes and massive class action litigation , Heather can do it all . Unlike many other law firms, CDF doesn’t limit its client base , so “Mom and Pops” and Fortune 500 companies alike can benefit from her services.
Maria Schopp, Family and Criminal Law Attorney (email)
When the professional becomes personal and you are in need of legal help, Maria can help. Maria is a sole practitioner, specializing in family law and criminal law. Maria can provide both aggressive and cost effective representation, especially in family law matters such as dissolutions (divorce), child custody, child and spousal support awards and modifications. Maria is also a trained mediator and can assist parties who want to avoid litigation in reaching a mutually agreeable resolution of their family law issues.