By Lennie Rose, Guest Columnist
Often, business mistakes only show up in hindsight. Had I not transitioned from my last company into my new company, I never would have discovered the thousands of dollars I was overpaying for accounting and insurance. Nor would I have learned the importance of periodically comparing the cost and services of the professional providers I was working with to make sure their offerings were in line with the marketplace.
Good professional services professionals are hard to find. Once you find them, you want to build a relationship that’s capable of evolving with your company. Sure there might be glitches on the road to collaboration. You are learning a new language on how to work together, and you can expect some snags.
A snag is one thing. A pattern of snags indicates there will be more problems. Obvious problems you can deal with. But it’s the silent invisible issues that are tough to spot and often painful to handle.
Case In Point
In my last company, I was working with an accountant with whom I had a long-term relationship. I trusted him, believed he had my best interests in mind and was sure he was worth my faith and fees. As I was starting my next company, I met someone I thought might be even sharper and he offered to give me a complimentary review of my financial books. He informed me my books were set up poorly and said the accounting fees were too high. With some simple fixes, he said he could restore my books to how they should have been structured in the first place and save me enough money to pay for his services.
While he was at it, he offered to review my liability insurance and cross-check it with my household/home office insurance policy. There he discovered duplication in coverage from an agent who I thought had my best interests in mind.
That’s when I sharpened my pencil and started questioning everything I thought I was satisfied with. I found more of the services I chose were not in my best interest.
Compare and Contrast
It’s conceivable that your long-term providers don’t know they are more expensive or less effective than the ones you should be working with. But you won’t know this either unless you routinely compare and contrast. When you do your research, you’re likely to find that all expertise is not equal and that fine companies evolve with the times so that they are equipped to help your company evolve as well.
Fundamentally, this was precisely why I started Big Ooga, so that people could find and work with fine, well-priced companies who had their clients’ best interests in mind. Ironically, it wasn’t until I was building Big Ooga that I discovered I hadn’t been working with companies who had my best interests in mind, either.
Lennie Rose is CEO of Big Ooga, a business community of accomplished entrepreneurs and professionals that plans to add advisory board services and achievement pods to its core networking events soon.