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In the Company of Giants

I've dealt with hundreds of start-ups and established closely held companies over 30 years of practicing law.

Sometimes people are good at asking for help and sometimes not. Good counsel and a good CPA can be invaluable relationships for any closely held business. But what if you can't afford it? There are still ways to obtain the involvement and advice of seasoned business veterans and it is an opportunity too often overlooked.

So here's my brilliant idea (actually it's not my idea, but for purposes of this post, I'll take credit); ask more experienced people, or those with varied experience, to be on your board of directors, i.e people who know more than you (Egad! Giants!). As a general rule, people like it when you ask them for help and to be involved. It's flattering to them and helpful to the business. Besides, with success, relationships can grow.

It's stultifying talking to the same people about the same issues day after day and week after week. Collaborative work spaces are often designed to avoid this very problem. New blood means new eyes, new opinions, new relationships and perhaps, new solutions!

I charge by the hour. Would I agree to be on the board of a small company with minimal or small remuneration? Maybe. But as the saying goes, "if you don't ask, you don't get." Sometimes, you just might be surprised at the answer. David Ogilvy, often referred to as the father of modern advertising, once said; "If each of us hires people who are smaller than we are, we shall become a company of dwarfs. But if each of us hires people who are bigger than we are, we shall become a company of giants." Walk among giants and one day you may become one.

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