By Rieva Lesonsky

Now that I’ve been in business for over three years, I can honestly say I have a new appreciation for just how many “supporting players” are involved in the success of every single business owner. Whether your company is just starting out or has been around for a while, here are five of the supporting players you need to enlist:

  1. An accountant. Whether you’ve got an in-house bookkeeper or outsource to an accountant, you need someone to keep your numbers in check. Yes, you should understand your own financials, but even if you’re accounting-savvy, it’s worth it to consult someone else who has an unbiased perspective on how your business is doing and what can help it grow.
  2. A lawyer. There are plenty of do-it-yourself legal options out there, but there are also times when you simply need to talk to a real person. If you’re vacillating between saving some money and consulting an attorney on a crucial question, don’t be pennywise and pound-foolish. Find an attorney you can rely on, and you’ll make better decisions and progress further faster.
  3. IT help. Sure, some of us are born techies. If that doesn’t describe you, then one of the most frustrating parts of being your own boss is also being your own “IT guy.” You can learn to do lots of tech chores on your own—but is that the best use of your time? You need someone who can keep your systems running smoothly, advise you on the best ways to update and upgrade, and just plain take care of problems faster than you can.
  4. A marketing master. Marketing is one of the most important facets of small business ownership. It can make or break your business. Yet, especially with the rise of social media, so many of us feel we can do it all ourselves. Some of us can—but if you can’t, you’d be smart to seek out a consultant who can put you on the right path, teach you how to “get social” and maybe even take some of the heavy lifting off your hands.
  5. A listening ear. Whether it’s your spouse, a colleague from the chamber of commerce, or even another entrepreneur you connect with in an online community, we all need someone to lean on when the challenges of building a business threaten to get us down. Find someone who can listen, absorb and help you work things out.