Business Is A Team Game

BY: Benjamin L. Swanson

Football is back! Time for tailgates, crisp autumn air, and untold hours spent following the exploits of Wisconsin’s most vaunted sports institution, the Green Bay Packers. If you’re like me, you’ve been waiting for this all summer, and you can’t wait to see how the new head coach and offensive coordinator are going to guide the offense and leverage the talents of one of the game’s all-time great quarterbacks.

Business, much like football, is a team game, and there are a number of personnel who are critically important to the success of any organization – not just the owner and CEO. Employees, boards of directors, and outside advisors all play crucial roles in keeping the ball moving forward toward the end one. For most of my customers, such advisors include attorneys, CPAs, financial professionals, and insurance providers. Expanding your business’s roster to include these teammates can ultimately improve efficiency, increase productivity, and – most importantly – grow your profitability.

Each of these four advisor types brings a specific skillset to the table augments the strengths of the others, but it’s the little things – the value-adds – that really make them indispensable to your game plan. For example:

  • Insurance providers are able to deliver a comprehensive and efficient package when businesses provide them with in-depth information. 
  • By talking through your business plans and projections with a trusted attorney, on more than a transaction-by-transaction or billable-hour basis, you may gain multiple layers of legal protection, strengthening not only your business interests, but also your personal ones. Legal documents like an operating agreement, a purchase contract, or a memorandum of understanding between yourself and another business partner can help to insulate you from potential exposure/liability.
  • A CPA can provide insights into trends in both expense and earnings categories, viewed through an analytical lens and removed from the day-to-day operations of the business. Such insights can bring new perspective and ideas for profit maximization.
  • The final key advisor should be the banker who provides your company’s financing. They usually will be willing to provide additional perspective on performance and trends, and may able to identify factors impacting your earnings. A regular review of both your depository and loan accounts with your banker also keeps your financial system operating at peak efficiency.

Like any team, yours has goals and benchmarks that it strives to achieve, and doing so necessitates everyone working in concert. Cases in point: Organizing a new or subsidiary entity will involve your insurance agent, attorney and CPA; financial reporting will involve both your CPA and your banker; acquiring new real estate will likely involve all four, as will succession planning. Many of the conversations inherent to accomplishing these goals can be had without incurring any expense, and when considering an alternative that may include legal liability, inaccurate financial reporting, incomplete financial packages, or improper insurance, not having had those conversations can be much more costly.

For Pop Warner and NFL teams alike, the start of football season holds the promise of, and opportunity for, improvement. We’re heading in to the fourth quarter of 2019, and now is a great time to review both your internal processes and your external resources.  Speaking from experience, State Bank of Cross Plains has a network of professionals that we trust and refer to clients, and part of being your financial partner means putting you in touch with the right people – those who are capable of best suiting your needs and individual goals. Whatever may be in your playbook, we are here to help you put points on the board.

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