Angela Crossin is a business lawyer and estate planning attorney with a focus on small business startups, not-for-profits, succession planning and corporate governance and ethics. She teaches at Purdue, Northern Illinois, Trinity College and Valparaiso University in the areas of accounting, law and ethics. Additionally, Crossin holds a master’s in accountancy from Purdue University and is a Certified Fraud Specialist™. She was in banking prior to the law and has worked with small business owners on the personal banking side.
Crossin’s role in her law practice is to work with small business owners to help them set up, efficiently run and manage their businesses, avoid legal pitfalls and develop a succession plan. Crossin sees her role more as guiding her clients toward clear, concise and sound business decisions via providing a healthy dose of legal and pragmatic direction. She oversees a grassroots level not-for-profit, has sat on local and international boards and oversees Business Women United Network, a small women’s networking organization, which allows her to bring a unique level of expertise due to her first-hand experience with the business growing pains.
(Photo courtesy of Angela Crossin)
What are the top five things small businesses can do to be successful in the marketplace?
- Start smart. Do your pre-start up homework, such as choice of entity and the ease of management the various business entities offer. Assemble a team of professionals. Have a working knowledge of the laws that guide your industry.
- Be smart. Acquire enough knowledge to be dangerous, but leave the rest up to your team of professionals — accountant, banker, lawyer, etc. Ask for help. As a wise lawyer once stated, ‘I hesitate not to pronounce that every man who is his own lawyer has a fool for a client.’
- Play smart. Be honest in communications with clients and other business owners. Don’t offer more than what you can provide. Stick to the contract. Only sign contracts in your official capacity. Make sure your advertisements match up to the products and services you offer.
- Read smart. Never stop reading articles and books that can differentiate you from your competition and keep you abreast of legal pitfalls.
- Embrace smart. It takes money to make money. While there are great self-help books available, as well as online services geared toward small business owners, don’t be afraid to ask for help! I work with a handful of professionals who provide low-cost sound services and advice. Your local SBDC is a great place to start; it is a free service, and they can guide you to the right professionals.
This article was written by Michelle Guilbeau for Small Business Pulse