Cindy Lin, Founder, Staged4more

Hi, Welcome to Our School of Home Staging!

After a successful, 12+ years run as a home staging company in San Francisco Bay Area, STAGED4MORE is now an online school that focuses on home staging education for home stagers, home sellers and real estate agents.

Please take some time and check out all the free resources and tips available on our blog & podcast, as well as our courses selections.

The Dream Team Of Advisors You Need For Your Home Staging Business!

The Dream Team Of Advisors You Need For Your Home Staging Business!

Scott Brookens, Business Law Attorney

Scott Brookens, Business Law Attorney

Today’s blog post on finding the right advisors for your home staging business is written by Business Law Attorney Scott Brookens. Additional comments by Cindy is in italics.

Scott and Cindy will also host a free training on The Simple Legal Framework for Your Home Staging Business on Wednesday, September 11. This is not to be missed whether you are a new home stager or a seasoned one!

Knowing the differences in business structures and choosing the right one for your home staging business is crucial for your growth and risk management for your business. So make sure you join us for the free training!

I’m going to give it to you straight.

I don’t care how smart you are or how motivated you are or how much grit you have…

You can’t go it alone in your business!

At some point in time, you are going to need help with something- you are going to have a question or a sticky situation that Google and Youtube and your neighbor that runs a big business just aren’t going to be able to answer for you or help you unravel. And it is in that moment that you are going to need some solid, professional advisors to walk with you.

I’m telling you that it is inevitable- you will need help.
So find the help now!

So true! Even Wonder Woman needs the Justice League.

Now is the time to build your dream team of advisors that can help you and will be there for you as you build and grow your business.

But what advisors do you need? How do you find them? Are they really worth the money?

I’m glad you asked! Because we are going to dial into all of that right now 😁

FREE TRAINING FOR HOME STAGERS by Staged4more_ The Simple Legal Framework for Your Home Staging Business

Advisor #1: Accountant

Your accountant is the most important advisor for your business.  

Hands down. 

Why? Because accountants understand the numbers (and the numbers are the lifeblood of your business). From taxes to audits to financial statement analysis to “is this an expense or a depreciable asset…?!?”, a great accountant will help you understand the ins and outs of your business. Just by asking a few questions and reviewing a few reports, they’ll help you see what is working and what isn’t working.  

So if you do not have an accountant for your business, take the time right now to find one that would be a good fit. And then, once you have identified who your accountant will be, take the time to meet with them on a regular basis. I suggest bi-annually at a minimum.  They’ll be useless to you if you do not meet or otherwise communicate with them regarding your business. 

Are accountants expensive? Sometimes they can be. But let me tell you what is more expense- going it alone and then paying an accountant to unravel a big mess down the road. So spend a few hundred bucks a couple times a year to ensure you are not creating a big mess! It could save you thousands of dollars and help you avoid massive headaches down the road!

Yessss to this! 🙌 Our accountant is not cheap, but he saved us lots of money by giving us advices on how to structure our business to maximize our tax benefits. We also made a mistake in filing late and got a $1,200 fine by the IRS. Our CPA Andrew called the IRS on our behalf and made it go away! It’s really worth to have one that watches out for you!

If you do not have an accountant right now, find one. If you do have an accountant that you trust, make sure to touch base with them on a regular basis and keep them updated on what you are doing in your business- they are there to help! 

And a bookkeeper as well! A capable one will also crunch the numbers for you.

Advisor #2: Attorney

So I’m an attorney and I know that the reputation of my profession isn’t super great. And I get why (but that’s a discussion for another day). But here’s the deal, like us or not, we can actually help you and your business in numerous ways.  

Need help setting up your business? We can do it in our sleep. Did you get sued? We’ll defend you. Need a trademark? We’ll help you apply. Want to make sure the state or some creditor doesn’t get all your money when you die? We’ll set up an estate plan to make sure that doesn’t happen. Not sure what the word “indemnification” means in that contract you have to sign? We do and we can help you understand what you’re getting yourself into before you sign.

For all the faults of the legal profession, we attorneys are here to help. And no, you don’t need to meet with us multiple times per year like you should your accountant. But keep us in the loop on what is going on in your life and business and be sure to call when you have questions or concerns- we’ll help you get through them! 

Just don’t be afraid to call. If you’re proactive on the front end and get the help you need to do it right, you’ll likely save yourself a lot of time, money, and hassle on the backend. 

You will also get peace of mind. We have an attorney on a retainer where we can email any time with questions. It had helped us a lot to navigate some tricky requests by clients.

Advisor #3: Insurance Agent

Insurance is often viewed as a commodity.  

Price is generally the deciding factor. 

Although the product of insurance may in fact be a commodity, insurance representatives and advisors should not be viewed in this manner. A solid insurance agent or broker is an invaluable asset for a business owner.

Great insurance agents take the time to learn and understand a business and the potential risks the business faces each day. They see the big picture and can offer insurance products that mitigate business risks and protect the business and the business owner from hidden or unseen liabilities. 

You need to find a solid insurance agent that can offer a complete set of insurance products that protect your business!

During 10+ years of staging, not once our clients asked about our staging certifications. But they always asked “Do you have liability insurance?” especially dealing with condo associations. You have to have proof of insurance when you are working with condos / HOAs!

FREE TRAINING FOR HOME STAGERS by Staged4more_ The Simple Legal Framework for Your Home Staging Business

Advisor #4: Banker

Many entrepreneurs and businesses are able to make it without utilizing traditional financing from banks. And if that is you and your business, awesome!

But at some point, many businesses are going to need debt financing of some kind or another (long term debt, equipment loan, working capital line of credit, etc.). A solid banker can help make this happen for you! But the truth is, it’s much easier to get the financing you need if you have an existing relationship with a commercial banker that knows, trusts, and understands you and your business. 

So invest in developing relationships with commercial bankers in your area so that when you need capital, you’ll know who to go to (and they’ll know you!) 

We didn’t take out loans for our home staging business, but we did put extra money into an investment account. Our banker advised us on different options.

Advisor #5: Mentor

Entrepreneurship is tough.  

Starting and running a business is tough. 

There will be hard times. There will be times when you have to make a decision and you have no idea what to do. 

It is in those times, you need someone that you can reach out to for guidance and support. Someone that will be a sounding board when you’re developing your goals and vision for your business. Someone that will be honest with you when everyone else is blowing smoke. 

In times like these, it is awesome to have a mentor that you can call just to chat.

This can be anyone- they don’t even have to have business experience (although that is a plus). But they should be someone that you trust that genuinely has your best interest at heart and will give you honest, wise counsel.

So find a mentor that is willing to walk with you as you build your business- their advice can be the most valuable of all!

Having a mentor can shift your business drastically, but can be difficult to find. You can also look for business coaches. I have had several different coaches, and each made a significant impact on my business in different ways.

How Do I Find All Of These Advisors?!?!

Here are a few strategies that you can use to find solid advisors for your business: 

  1. Friends and Family - Are there any friends or family that own or run businesses in your area? If so, reach out to them and ask them who they use for each of their advisors and why they use these specific advisors.

  2. Alumni Network - Check out business owners in your alumni network and ask them who they recommend as advisors. Or reach out to advisors that went to your alma mater.

  3. LinkedIn - Professional advisors are all over LinkedIn. There are some great search features on LinkedIn that allow you to identify advisors in your area. Check them out on LinkedIn, read their reviews, and reach out to them if they look like a good fit.

  4. Your Advisors – If you find one advisor, they almost always are connected to a network of the other advisors on the above list. So if you find a good accountant, ask them for a referral to an attorney. Or if you find a good banker, ask them for a referral to an insurance agent. They should be able to help you out!

Don’t Go It Alone!

At some point during your business journey, you are going to need help from someone on the above list. So take the time to find them now so when you need them, they know who you are and will take your call when you most need the help!

FREE TRAINING FOR HOME STAGERS by Staged4more_ The Simple Legal Framework for Your Home Staging Business

What do you think about Scott’s advice? Do you have anything to add about building the dream support team of your home staging business? If so, comment below 👇and share your thoughts.

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