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Entrepreneurs: How Do You Create The Ultimate Team Of Trusted Advisors? 

Kathryn Tuggle  |  May 19, 2024

You need guidance… but finding the right people at the right time isn’t always easy.  Here's how to create a team of trusted advisors.

If you own a business, you know exactly how important it is to have the right team in place — but that need doesn’t end with your day-to-day staff and contractors. Successful leaders understand the importance of finding the kind of trusted professionals and advisors who can help navigate the road ahead, a personal board of directors if you will.  

The need has rarely been as great. According to The 2023 State of Women survey from HerMoney Media and Principal Financial Group®, over half (60%) of small and midsize business owners are feeling either pessimistic or cautious about the outlook for the overall U.S. economy over the next 12 months. That’s precisely the sort of scenario that should lead you to look for expert advice. And getting it, in a trusted and timely fashion, can help bring your stress level down.  

Casting A Wider Net 

While nearly six in 10 (59%) small and midsize business owners say a financial advisor is among their top three most trusted sources to learn about investing, 47% say they turn to family and friends. We’re not knocking your family, but experts caution that every entrepreneur needs a bigger, more diverse group. “When you cast a wider net around people’s experience and knowledge base, you learn more things,” says Shea Treadway, senior vice president, head of distribution for the Benefits and Protection division of Principal Financial Group. “You want to get multiple perspectives from people in differing areas of expertise — there’s just no downside to that.” 

It sounds simple enough. But all too often, misconceptions hold us back. Business owners are perpetually time-starved — especially in the early days of getting a business up and running. We put off finding advisors because we don’t believe our companies are big enough, or our questions urgent enough. But, just like investing for retirement, the best time is right now. “If you start earlier with a trusted team, you might have an opportunity to put your business on a better path, better retain your employees, or get out ahead of future needs,” Treadway explains. 

So, Which Professionals Do You Need Most? 

CPA: A CPA is critical. “Business taxes are a completely different animal than normal taxes. There’s a lot of misinformation online about how to navigate taxes as an entrepreneur, and it’s leading to people making horrible tax decisions,” says Brian Preston, certified financial planner, host of “The Money Guy Show” and author of the book, “Millionaire Mission.”  Entrepreneurs need a sound, reasonable voice to help steer you from making the wrong decisions or cutting the wrong corners, who can also help you use the tax code to your advantage, Preston says. 

CFP: Every entrepreneur needs a financial planner, Preston advises. “A good financial planner can be the quarterback that navigates the bridge between your business success and personal wealth-building journey. The goal is to build success within your business, and help you navigate the tough decisions of whether you should keep investing and growing your business, diversify [your holdings ] to build financial independence, [as well as] how you optimize the financial carrots that our government provides with retirement and estate planning,” Preston says. 

The best financial advisors are those who are all about having a good conversation, and discovering what’s really going on with their clients, Treadway explains. When you sit down with them, they can help you figure out exactly what your pain points, hurdles, and future goals really are.

Attorney: An attorney is the professional you need when it comes to protecting your assets. Importantly, attorneys aren’t just for negotiating contracts — they often advise on new projects, hiring and employees, real estate and other issues. And they’re in your corner as a first line of defense if and when an emergency comes your way. “It gives me comfort knowing we have someone in our corner to protect us, and logistically it’s great to have access to get legal answers that you feel confident about from someone who knows you and your company,” Preston says. 

A Professional To Fill In Your Weak Spot:  Finally, here’s a newsflash: You aren’t good at everything. And as you’re building your team of advisors, you’ve got to identify exactly what your weak spots are. “Are you wanting to start a restaurant, but not confident with marketing and SEO? Or maybe you’re strong in sales and have a large social platform, but you need some advice on distribution. Not everyone can be good at everything,” Preston says.  Essentially, you need to find an expert who can plug into your blind spots and help take you to the next level. 

Where To Find The People You Need? 

It’s advice every professional has heard before, but it bears repeating: Networking is everything, Treadway says. “Don’t be afraid to go into a room where you don’t know anybody and say, ‘Hey I’m going to learn something here,’” he says. “Be confident, but be willing to put yourself in the position of being uncomfortable because you don’t have all the resources you need.” 

LinkedIn can be an incredible resource, but when was the last time you really took a deep dive and asked one of your connections to introduce you to someone you’ve never met? The platform is designed for this, so make sure you’re truly taking advantage of it. (Just remember that whenever you’re asking someone for a favor, the offer to take them for lunch or coffee is always appreciated!) 

There are also local and national professional organizations specifically designed for small business owners. “I am a member of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, and it has been extremely helpful to have consistent and structured meetings to discuss current and long-term struggles,” Preston says. “We all work in different business sectors, which means conflicts of interest have been minimized, so we’re able to receive input that comes from a place of simply being helpful.” 

And yes, this is a good time to turn to friends and family — but don’t just ask for an introduction to people they’re close with. Find out if they have more distant acquaintances that they might be willing to introduce you to, even virtually. 

The most important thing? Whenever you meet new people, don’t be afraid to tell them exactly what you need, Treadway says. “People are naturally drawn to people who are willing to be vulnerable and be honest about things that they don’t know, so don’t be afraid to tell them you want to learn and advance. There is no downside of putting yourself in that position. People want to help those who are eager to learn.” 

Learn more about building your team at

This story was sponsored by Principal Financial Group®

About Principal Financial Group®

Principal Financial Group® is a global financial company focused on improving the wealth and well-being of people and businesses. In business for more than 140 years, Principal® helps customers plan, protect, invest, and retire, while working to support the communities where they do business, and build a diverse, inclusive workforce. Learn more about Principal at


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