It is said of legal affairs: one who represents one’s self has a fool for a client. A similar sentiment is often expressed about matters of health. This runs counter to the do-it-yourself, uber-independent facade of the stereotypical American. We like to think that we can do anything ourselves, as if performing difficult tasks without assistance is some sort of virtue.
Perhaps this explains why so many men, (and from my observation, women) have such a difficult time pulling over and asking for directions despite the fact that they are obviously and hopelessly lost. It is at least partially to blame for the countless home improvement projects involving plumbing, electricity, and carpentry that have been started by amateurs and completed by professionals after being botched up and made more expensive than if the pro had been called in the first place.
It certainly explains why so many businesses go belly up before their time. Entrepreneurs get the notion that the most important thing their business needs to succeed is the particular skill they bring to it. All other matters are secondary, and thus, less important. They tend to give short shrift to other business necessities such as:
In a show of ultimate bravado, they attempt to do these things themselves, believing they can save money by not hiring experts in these critical fields. You can be the best pie maker in the seven counties. But if one of these other critical areas are not handled with the same high level of skill, your pie-making business will fail.
Here are a few reasons why you need outside financial advice:
To Protect Your Personal Assets
So many new business owners suffer this fate because they apply that spirit of independence to the financing of their venture. They spend all their cash, get a third mortgage on their home, and max out their credit cards to get their business off the ground. They grossly overestimate their chances of success, putting the financial security of their family in jeopardy. They are eventually forced to seek the advice of a financial professional: a credit repair specialist.
Commingling business and person resources can lead to some of the worst financial consequences, and may require a higher level of expertise than what the average credit counselor has on offer. A law firm may be a better option as they have the legal expertise to deal with business-specific issues, and specialize in credit repair. When narrowing down the choices based on customer feedback, Lexington Law reviews averaged 4.6 out of 5 stars. It is important to make sure the counselor you choose has a proven track record of customer satisfaction.
Because You Are Not An Expert
A smart entrepreneur knows when to call in an expert. We would not allow some unlicensed tinkerer to rewire our house. So why would we allow some unlicensed tinkerer to handle our business finances? That is exactly what you are doing when you do it yourself.
A real financial expert requires years of education and training. I’m not talking about the tax preparer who takes a six-week course prior to tax season while bagging groceries for a day job. I’m talking about CPAs that require years in school, and more years of practical, professional experience.
The ones with the educational and experiential background to handle your finances can advise you well on such matters as:
What type of corporate status is best for tax purposes
Should you pay business taxes monthly, quarterly, or annually
When is the best time to use a staffing service vs. an in-house service
None of these questions are simple. None should be taken lightly. This does not even begin to address the myriad accounting challenges that await the new entrepreneur. Unless your business is bookkeeping, you really are not qualified to address these issues.
You are Emotionally Compromised
A certain emotional detachment is necessary for tough decisions. In business, a good example of this is knowing when it is time to fold, and when it is time to double-down. Is your business failing because you just need another loan, or is it because you really are not the best pie-maker in the seven counties?
You are too emotionally compromised to assess the situation. You are using your sainted mothers recipe. It has to be the best. You refuse to acknowledge the quality of the competitor’s product, or that they, too, have a mother. You need outside advice. Being emotionally compromised can lead to poor financial decision making.
You do not want to end up with a fool for a client, or a financial advisor. The best way to avoid this is to consult with those experts who can keep your personal assets separate, who have the educational and experiential background, and who can advise you when you are emotionally compromised.
Simon Cambell says
Really good article. Society has become personally independent over the last decade. This has created a whole new set of financial problems. I love the part about mingling finances. I see this in real estate investing all the time. People re-mortgage their house to go buy a rental. But when the tenant moves out and the place is vacant for months, the owner loses his own home.