16. Business Affiliations and Assistance

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Benefits of Business Affiliations

One of the greatest benefits of small business ownership is the independence and freedom that it brings. However, this freedom has a price. It is sometimes lonely and difficult to make all decisions regarding the daily operation of your company. Moreover, being an independent business owner means that you will have constraints on your time, and it will be difficult to get everything done that needs to be done. To overcome these obstacles and achieve long-term growth, it will be necessary to affiliate yourself with business professionals, business associations and external agencies. This will allow you, as a business owner, to develop a wider network of contacts, useful business information and potential sources of new business. Further, research shows that 70% of small businesses with owners who receive mentoring survive for five years or more, so business affiliation is something worth considering. Here are some of the potential affiliations available to you and your business:

Professional Assistance

At one time or another, every successful business owner needs professional business assistance. The savings accrued by the effective use of professionals can substantially outweigh the cost of their services. Carefully select those who are best qualified to meet your needs. Almost all business owners need the services of an accountant, lender, and lawyer.

A good accountant can read between the lines of financial statements and can head off problems before they start. Having an on-going relationship with a professional accountant who knows your business will probably save you many times the fee they charge.

Lenders should be treated like business partners. In effect, they are invested in your success. Don’t keep your lender in the dark. Alert them well in advance of any potential cash shortfalls. This will lead to the development of trust and confidence in your management abilities.

The services of a lawyer will likely be required, at one time or another. The practice of law is specialized, so having an expert to apply the law in favor could be advantageous. For example, you should seldom sign any contract or legal document without professional advice.

It could also be valuable to meet with an insurance agent, private business consultant, or public business development officer.

Business Associations

Through associations with other business owners, you could gain access to services and support not otherwise available. For example, a group of business owners could employ professionals to carry out training, market research or public relations. Businesses previously regarded as competitors may have complementary products or services, and working together can be mutually beneficial. Finally, business associations may provide other services exclusively to their members.

Government Agencies

Assistance is available to Prince Edward Island entrepreneurs through various institutions and provincial and federal government agencies. These groups share a common mandate to assist local businesses and offer a variety of programs and services, such as: term loans and contributions for capital purchases; investment programs; marketing and financial programs; and counseling assistance. To learn more about the agencies available, please see the New Business Checklist.

Making key contacts early in the first years of your business venture will pay dividends in the future. Your business cannot operate in isolation. Take full advantage of business professionals, associations, institutions, and government agencies to ensure that both your company and customers are best served.

Ready to learn more?

Check out our New Business Checklist to find more helpful resources and considerations for starting a successful business.