7 Players to Include in Your Network When Starting a New Business

Over the past five weeks, I’ve been working hard to get the main components of the newly formed The Leone Company together, and over the past five weeks, I’ve learned that having a strong team in place is absolutely key.

As a small company, this often means knowing who in your own network to utilize.  I’ve found the following are key:

  1. A great lawyer.  For me, this was established lawyer Larry Haber, located here in Central Florida who helped me create my LLC.  He walked me through the (admittedly fairly simple for most people) forms needed to created the company’s LLC, answering questions I had along the way.
  2. A savvy accountant.  I like to have things spelled out before I start; once I know the rules, I’m happy to follow them.  A simple meeting with the accountant I plan to use in the next few months (Howard Mofsen, of Pinchevsky & Mofsen, CPA’s) was incredibly helpful: knowing how much to put aside for taxes, what items I can write off (and what items just don’t make sense) and what I should expect come tax time are key.
  3. A business manager.  When you don’t necessarily need accounting advice (or to be billed the hours for the advice of a CPA), a business manager is perfect.  This person will fill in the blanks regarding billing, invoicing, and all of those “But, just one more question…” moments.
  4. A certain contact who does (more or less) what you do.  You know who that person is; they get you and your business, and do something similar.  Another freelance writer.  Another account executive.  Another fundraising professional in another arts organization.  Another photographer.  (If you’re just that cool… another underwater basket weaver. Okay, but this person is NOT reading this blog post, but I DO know a basket weaver, and he’s just ridiculously cool. )  They’ll have advice, tips and tricks on things that are now second nature to them- how they bill, how they organize their time, their favorite spot to meet clients, an invoice template, that issue they ran up against when they first started… you get the theme here.
  5. A graphic designer to help with a great logo.  Personally, I don’t claim to be a graphic artist.  Sure, I know my way around Paint, and even Photoshop, but that doesn’t mean I have the creative spirit when it comes to coming up with a fabulous logo.  (Give me the task with words or numbers and I’m in!)  Don’t fall into the trap of “making due” with your public image.  I was lucky enough to have the incredibly talented Amanda Armitage with Distinct Expressions do this for me, but I also love the folks at Lure Design, Inc.
  6. An editor.  You know, that friend who geeks out over make sure you don’t, in your excitement, end up with 500 business cards from the incredibly cheap VistaPrint that read “persident” instead of “president.”  One of my best friends, Ani Rodriguez, agreed to be my second set of eyes on future materials and double check my typos.  While I hope to be able to pay her at some point, right now, I’ll be covering her happy hour tab until 2013. (*Note: The Leone Company offers this service!)
  7. A fellow entrepreneur (or dozen) to inspire you… and help you fill in the blanks.  I’ve learned more about what I already know… and what I didn’t know I didn’t know… from having coffee/lunch/breakfast/morning power walks that included my two dogs with others who have changed career paths and gone out on their own.  I continue to build my toolkit and know what tools I still need from these wonderful people, and all for the cost of a cup of coffee/sandwich/pancakes/bottle of water on a hot Orlando morning after that walk around the lake.
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