Good Advice

Service providers from five critical communities (accounting, banking, bookkeeping, insurance, and legal) offer quick thoughts on entrepreneurship.

[Accounting: Ibi Krukrubo, managing partner, EY]
Best advice you would give to a student starting a company?
New entrepreneurs should focus on building the right team early, which includes operators (not just techies). Also, think about how technology could impact your staffing model, given that your workforce could realistically be a mix of people and technology such as Robotic Process Automation and AI.

What question should every future innovator/entrepreneur ask a service provider?
What potential issues do you think our company will be dealing with 2-3 years from now?

[Banking: Jason Hughes, senior credit officer, Silicon Valley Bank]
Best advice you would give to a student starting a company?
Find a real problem to solve and learn everything about that problem. There are lots of great ideas but its execution that determines success for failure.  Perseverance and persistence. Know your strengths and weaknesses. It’s all about the team—so surround yourself with people smarter than you or those who make up for your deficiencies.

What question should every future innovator/entrepreneur ask a service provider?
Entrepreneurs should seek out the best of breed for whatever service they need and ask that provider how their organization can help beyond their area of expertise. Most service providers have relevant knowledge, insights, or pertinent networks that they can tap into to help solve your problems.

[Bookkeeping: Cindy Henderson Magner, founder, Beyond Bookkeeping]
Best advice you would give to a student starting a company?
Don’t fear failure. Expect failure and embrace it. There will be ups and downs, and it is picking oneself up when one wants to quit and feels lower than you ever thought you could feel. Stay true to the vision that gives you character, experience, knowledge—and eventually success. Your growth will come from that failure. People say this, but I can tell you that it is so very true.

What question should every future innovator/entrepreneur ask a service provider?
Ask the service provider very clearly what the cancellation policy is.  Don’t sign any contracts that commit you to paying for a service you are not happy with, seek a 30-day cancellation notice.

[Insurance: Marc Crayton, regional executive, AIG]
Best advice you would give to a student starting a company?
Create a Personal Advisory Committee or mentors and/or sponsors. A PAC will help YOU develop and keep you centered and focused on being the best you. You should also have a Business Advisory Committee to help advice and grow the business.

What question should every future innovator/entrepreneur ask a service provider?
Support and scalability: Find a provider who can grow as your company grows. You don’t want to be over-leveraged to one or a few service providers; instead, you want a group of providers that align with your goals.

[Legal: Annette Barlow, partner, Doty Barlow Britt & Thieman LLP]
Best advice you would give to a student starting a company?
In assembling your team, hire people whose skills are different from your own and don’t be afraid to bring on somebody better/smarter than you.

What question should every future innovator/entrepreneur ask a service provider?
Make sure the service provider knows how to provide services in a cost-efficient manner for a start-up business.


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