5 professional relationships that can help boost your business

As a small business owner, you wear many hats: strategist, salesperson, manager … plus running your business day to day. As you grow, third-party consultants can help you in the areas where you’re less comfortable, without the commitment of a full-time hire. You might even work with them on a seasonal basis, such as bringing on a tax advisor at the beginning of the year. Here are five consultants many small business owners use to boost business, plus ideas for how to maximize those relationships.

A man “elbow bumps” a woman. Both are masked.

1Tax professional

A close-up shot of a person holding tax papers.
 

What they help with

  • Filing your tax returns.
  • Sending tax forms to employees, contractors, or vendors
    you work alongside.
  • Helping minimize your tax liability.
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Maximize the relationship

  • Keep good records and consider online bank statements1 that you can easily share.
  • Check in during the year to avoid surprises in the spring.

 

Next steps: A general accountant may be able to help with tax paperwork, but if your business is complex, or to explore new credits and deductions, consider a tax specialist.

2Accountant

A close-up shot of someone working at a desk with a calculator and a laptop.
 

What they help with

  • Keeping your books accurate and up to date.
  • Helping you find ways to save money or spend better.
  • Building sales forecasts and projections to help you understand how different factors affect profit.
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Maximize the relationship

  • Keep good records, ideally using accounting software that an accountant can access, like QuickBooks® Online2 or Xero® 3.
  • Remember, accountants can’t help if you don’t share accurate information.

 

Next steps: Some accountants can perform the role of chief financial officer, or CFO, until your firm is big enough to hire one, so be transparent about your financials as well as your goals.

3IT support

A smiling man talks into a headset.
 

What they help with

  • Your business’s technology infrastructure (both hardware, like computers and printers, and software).
  • Assessing when you need to upgrade those systems.
  • Troubleshooting tech issues as they come up.
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Maximize the relationship

  • Make a list of all your technology and providers.
  • Run regular software updates.
  • Back up your information on a schedule, plus learn how those backups are stored (e.g., the cloud) and protected.

 

Next steps: You may be able to save money and time by working directly with providers; for instance, Wells Fargo can help you set up the technology for a point-of-sale system.

4Human Resources

A masked woman has a conversation with another woman.
 

What they help with

  • Recruiting, hiring, training, and even firing employees.
  • Managing the paperwork to facilitate your employee relationships.
  • Building benefits packages and vacation policies.
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Maximize the relationship

  • Think about the type of company culture you want to build.
  • Strategize staffing: It’s easier for HR consultants to fill clearly defined roles.

 

Next steps: Working with a trusted banker can help you provide your employees competitive benefits while also protecting your business’s bottom line.

5Marketing

A close-up shot of a man consulting color swatches for a marketing campaign.
 

What they help with

  • Getting the word out about your business.
  • Generating ideas for social media, digital ads, email, and your website to attract clients.
  • Building marketing into your business process.
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Maximize the relationship

  • Document your process for how you develop your products and services.
  • Write down your sales pitch.
  • Ask about key performance metrics so you can evaluate whether your plans are working.

 

Next steps: Marketing includes raising awareness about your business, as well as selling your products and services. Research the “funnel” and ask your consultant to help you generate and nurture leads.

Sources: thebalance.com, Internal Revenue Service (PDF), The Motley Fool, Northeastern University blog, The CPA Journal, Monster.com, Wells Fargo, humanresourcesedu.org, CRF Research (PDF), Indeed (PDF).

1. Online Statements require Adobe® Acrobat® PDF reader. The length of time Online Statements are available to view and download varies depending on the product: up to 12 months for auto loans; up to 2 years for credit cards, student loans, home equity lines of credit, and personal loans and lines of credit; and up to 7 years for deposit accounts, home mortgage accounts, and trust and managed investment accounts. The length of time the specific product statements are available online can befound in Wells Fargo Online® in Statements & Documents. Availability may be affected by your mobile carrier’s coverage area. Your mobile carrier’s message and data rates may apply.

2. QuickBooks is offered by Intuit, Inc. Wells Fargo doesn’t own or operate QuickBooks. Intuit is solely responsible for its content, product offerings, privacy, and security. Please refer to Intuit’s terms of use and privacy policy, which are located on Intuit’s website and are administered by Intuit.

3. Xero accounting software is offered by Xero Limited. Wells Fargo doesn’t own or operate the Xero website. Xero is solely responsible for its content, product offerings, privacy, and security. Please refer to Xero’s terms of use and privacy policy, which are located on Xero’s website and are administered by Xero. For more help, visit Xero support.

QuickBooks and Quicken are trademarks of Intuit Inc. registered in the United States and other countries. Xero is a trademark of Xero Limited.