If you’re an entrepreneur who wants to properly launch and grow a sustainable and successful business, you need to assemble a professional advisory team to help you manage critical aspects of your businesses. In short, you need a BAIL team.
What is a BAIL Team for Small Businesses?
Don’t worry, it’s not what you think–we’re not suggesting you’ll need a team to bail you out of jail. For small businesses, BAIL stands for Banker, Accountant, Insurance Agent, and Lawyer. These experts understand all the nuances of business operations and can provide guidance for your specific business as well. If you’re currently in business without a BAIL Team, we recommend you assemble one as soon as possible.
A Closer Look at your BAIL Team
- Banker – Every business needs to create a banking relationship, preferably with the bank where you maintain your business accounts and funds. It’s crucial that you keep all your business accounts and transactions separate from your personal accounts and keep in good standing. Lenders do not like lending to people they don’t know, which is why it’s important for you to build a good relationship whether you anticipate asking for a loan or not. If you do need a loan, be sure the bank is an SBA lender. SBA lenders have lower risks when lending to small businesses because the loans are guaranteed by the Small Business Administration, making it easier for small businesses to get the funding they need.
- Accountant – Maintaining accurate business records is an essential part of your business success. It also makes life much simpler at tax time. Hire an accountant, bookkeeper or, preferably, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). These professionals can give you advice about the financial management of your business, recommend accounting software, help prepare and submit your taxes, and answer questions throughout the year.
- Insurance Agent – No business should ever operate without insurance. You need to protect yourself, your business, and your customers. Conducting business without insurance is extremely risky and, depending on what you do, may be required by your clients or customers. The SBA identifies six common types of insurance: General Liability, Professional Liability, Commercial Property, Product Liability, Home-based Business, and Business Owner’s. You may also need additional vehicle coverage or want Business Interruption Insurance. Start with your current insurance provider to ask if they provide business insurance. If not, look for a Commercial Insurance Broker to assess your needs and recommend options that offer the best protection.
- Lawyer – No matter the size of your business, you need a lawyer that specializes in business enterprises (or your specific industry) to ensure you’re protected from a legal standpoint. An attorney will help you create the documents needed to legally start and run your business and can also help review documents, contracts, and leases, as well as advise you on employment issues, lawsuits, intellectual property issues, and other important issues that come up. Your lawyer can also help you stay compliant with state and federal business laws.
MWBC Can Help!
We recommend you add one more professional to your BAIL team–an experienced Maryland Women’s Business Center Consultant. We can help you with referrals to local bankers, accountants, insurance agents, and lawyers so you can select the professionals that are best for your business. We can also help you with other resources and guidance you need to start and grow your business. MWBC primarily serves women entrepreneurs and women-owned small businesses in Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties, so contact us at (301) 355-8091 for an appointment with one of our experienced business consultants.