Building your Business Team

Published on 29 August 2019

Photo of Daniel Johnsen and Elize Hattin sitting in from SmartHub Rockhampton banner

Creating a successful, growing business is not something that can be done alone. It’s important for business owners to find themselves a team to help their business dreams come true. In a recent Hub Live, SmartHub Business Manager Elize Hattin sat down with Daniel Johnsen, founder of ShakeSpot and the SmartHub’s entrepreneur in residence, to learn more about how he approached the creation of a team for business.

As the owner of a business, there are five roles you will need to fill, or relationships you will need to forge to build your business management team. “If you have those five relationships in place, you should be able to just call them up and get their help building your business or solving some complex problems. Working with an accountant, insurance agent and lawyer can save you money, in case something happens. You can get things taken care of before they become a problem,” Daniel said.

According to Daniel, selecting the people to be on your team is kind of like finding someone to date. You need to find someone who you work well with and build up trust and a relationship over time. “You don’t just find a random person in the phone book or on Facebook and say, “Hey, let me entrust the future of my business, my wealth creation, to you, without ever interviewing them.” I have no idea why anyone would do that,” He said. “Just like you would take the effort to find someone to date, you should take the effort to find a lawyer.”

Finding the right lawyer

Something Daniel has seen in the past is people who choose a lawyer though family or friends without considering the way the lawyer will work within their industry. “There’s multiple types of lawyers,” he explained. “You wouldn’t hire a property lawyer to take care of a medical malpractice issue. You would go and find a specialist. You can ask around, go to a trusted resource like a mentor, you can come to somebody that’s started a business before and ask them “Who set up your company? Who’s your solicitor?” and they’ll give you a referral.”

Once you have a referral, it’s important to interview any potential lawyers before you bring them into the business to ensure they are the right fit for your business and that they have relevant experience. It’s also important to find out if they have experience with a startup company if that’s what you’re running. “Make sure they’re in the startup space if that’s what you’re operating, because if they forget what some clauses say in the operating agreement, or the shareholders between two founders, it’s actually pretty expensive to add that in later, and it just creates more problems,” said Daniel.

The most important thing with finding a lawyer is to make sure they have experience in your area of expertise, communicate clearly to them what it is you’re trying to achieve, and don’t just go with the family friend.

The importance of a banker

The role of a banker as part of your small business team can be overlooked, but it can make a huge difference in the operation of your business. A banker can provide insight, advice and guidance that can be hard to come by elsewhere. “You want to have somebody that if something goes wrong, if you’re dealing with fraudulent activity in your account, you can just call up and say, “Hey, what do I do?” And get the advice you need,” said Daniel.

Tech experts and their areas of expertise

These days it’s impossible to run a business without the use of technology. As a result, all businesses will need someone on the team who understands the technology, though the kind of business you’re running and the technology you’re using will dictate what kind of tech person you need – some will need a developer to adapt or create new technology for your business, whereas others will just need simple tech support to keep all the computers and technology in the business running properly.

If you’re creating new technology, you’ll be looking to engage a developer. They should be able to help you research and figure out how your idea should function and then help you either build it from scratch or find another technology that can be adapted to suit your needs. “There’s a group down in Sydney that create marketplaces for businesses using a platform that’s based in Europe. You can create your own marketplace to swap tyres, cars, houses, or create your own Airbnb clone using this platform, but instead of paying somebody hundreds of thousands of dollars to build it from scratch, you get this tech partner in Sydney to use this European platform and for $10,000, you have a marketplace,” Daniel said. “He’s still a developer, but instead of doing everything from scratch he uses existing tools and methods that he’s used before.”

On the other end of the spectrum is the tech support people. These are the kind of people you call when your printer isn’t working, or your laptop won’t turn on. “You wouldn’t go to a code-from-scratch person to ask them to fix your printer, because it’s not worth their time. You want them to help you create that value from what you’re doing, however you will also need to have somebody you can turn to and say, “Hey, the printer died. I need to buy a new one. What’s your recommendation?” Usually the really techy people can go between some of the roles, but they might not go very deep in all the roles.” said Daniel.

If you are looking for support for your technology, there are a number of SmartHub members in the tech industry, such as Phil Martin from Bitplex, who is a software engineer with a team of developers, and Matthew Lawson with Allied Business Group, who can set up your servers, computers and make sure your licences are paid and your backups are done regularly. There is also a company called Digital Dexterity within the SmartHub who can help you find a strategy to integrate technology and increase your business’s efficiency and productivity.

Insurance and Insurance Brokers

Insurance is the thing you get in order to prepare for the things you can’t prepare for, and it is vital that every business be insured. Finding the right kind of insurance is dependent on finding an insurance broker who understands your business. “You should just be able to call up a business insurance broker and say, “Hey, this is what I need.” You’ll fill out some information, and they will take your application, shop it around and show you a couple different options,” said Daniel.

Ultimately, it’s up to you what kinds of insurance your business gets. For example, you might be offered accidental glass coverage by your broker, but if you’re an online-based business there’s very little risk of someone accidentally breaking your window. “You’ve got to think, all right, what do I need to be prepared for?” said Daniel. “If you’re just starting out, you’re probably not going to get business interruption insurance straight away, but it depends on what kind of business you have.”

It’s very important for you as a business owner to be upfront and disclose what equipment you use within your business and to keep records of what things you own for insurance purposes. “Let’s say you’re making deliveries or something like that, and you didn’t disclose that you’re doing deliveries in your Corolla. If your Corolla breaks down and you can no longer work, then your insurer will potentially deny your claim,” Daniel explained. “Document everything. Let’s say your home office goes up in flames and you don’t have the serial numbers or purchase receipts or anything like that. You’ll go to your insurer and say, “I lost seven $3000 MacBooks,” and if you don’t have proof because they were lost in the fire, your claim will be denied. What a lot of people do is set up a reminder every month to take photos of their office and ensure that they have an up-to-date record of all the things they own.”

Finding the right accountant

An accountant is vital to a small business owner, functioning as a trusted business advisor. Finding the right accountant for your business and building a great relationship with them can make a real difference in your success. According to Daniel, the most important part of finding the right accountant is understanding what it is an accountant does. “An accountant is not just somebody that puts in your invoices, receivables and payable and then they walk away. They should be able to advise you on things. You should be able to tell them your plans, and then they’ll tell you how much you should spend and how you can get tax credits and they help you grow your business,” he said.

Many small business owners will opt for a cheaper option and hire a bookkeeper or accountant that uses a flat fee and is based overseas, but this can be dangerous. “I know somebody that lost out on $180,000 of tax credit. They went to an accountant they found through a random connection, they didn’t vet the person, they had never dealt with a startup and research and development tax credits and they missed the deadline to file for the tax credit. That’s $180,000 that could have been doled out over a couple of years, completely lost,” said Daniel.

Within the SmartHub, accountants such as Chris Harris and Evans and Edwards are proud to support the community, offering advice and suggestions to help with the growth of your business.

Forging a relationship

When you put the effort in to build a strong relationship with your team, beyond asking for due dates and things to help your business, both you and your team’s businesses benefit. “Just like you, they’re all trying to build a business network,” Daniel said. “When you start building a relationship with them and inviting them to a luncheon or an event, you may find that they do something interesting. When someone asks them, “Hey, do you know somebody that does this?” then your banker or insurance broker or whoever will say, “Yes, I know who you need to talk to about that,” and they’ll pass on business to you. Yes, they’re a paid extension of your team, but they could get you a lot more business than what you’re paying them for, which is a beautiful scenario.”

Working within the SmartHub

The SmartHub is proud to offer opportunities for business owners to find the people they need for their team in order to help their small business grow within the Rockhampton community. If you’re seeking a referral or an introduction, please reach out to the SmartHub by Facebook private message, by email or by coming down to Customs House at 208 Quay Street, Rockhampton. 

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