Outcomes drive the political business, but process and structure are critical. Important and fundamental decisions business owners make are choosing their structure, accounting management, insurance and a variety of other components that can prevent headaches down the road. Whether you are currently in a business or partnership, a sole proprietor, or dream of one day venturing out on your own – Make sure you’re starting 2017 off right! Check out these tips from political business experts, Amanda Hein Bowen (Juno Systems, Inc.), Harmeet Dhillon (Dhillon Law Firm), Michelle Coyle (BGSD Strategies), and moderator Tim Rosales (The Wayne Johnson Agency).
1. If you want any kind of continued business you should try to move on from a sole proprietorship, as your personal assets are liable. Think carefully when choosing a corporate structure.
2. You can be “Over-insured.” Take the time to find a good insurance broker.
3. Starting a business does not have to happen in one day–break down the important steps and get help early. Additionally, if you have a long-standing business, but do not have tax liability, coverage or a good attorney, make those things a priority.
4. Partnering with another person for a business venture is a lot like marriage. Work things out ahead of time and develop a contract early.
5. You might be better off partnering with a small, local bank as they are more invested in communities and can develop a line of credit much more quickly than a larger, chain bank can.
About Amanda: Amanda Hein Bowen is a true force of nature. From 2008 – 2013, she helped start two political consulting firms, got married and gave birth to two daughters, all while earning a law degree at Georgetown University. Amanda started her own firm, Juno Systems, in 2015 in response to the increased demand from political consulting firms, especially start-ups, needing smarter cash flow, accounting and business management. Juno Systems provides executive-level corporate services, replacing the need to hire a full-time CFO.
1. If embarking on a partnership with multiple owners, each owner should have a lawyer to consult.
2. Protect yourself in this litigious society–everything you’ve built could be swept away with one lawsuit if you are not covered correctly.
3. You might be tempted to do everything yourself when you are first starting out, but outsourcing things that are not your expertise is the most efficient way to save money. Always ask an expert.
4. The AAPC community can be very helpful when trying to find appropriate insurance brokers and CPA’s.
5. In terms of unpaid invoices–get a retainer and insist on your rights. Stand up for yourself.
About Harmeet: Harmeet Kaur Dhillon, is a nationally recognized trial lawyer, trusted boardroom advisor, and passionate advocate for individual, corporate and institutional clients across numerous industries and walks of life. She has been awarded the prestigious designation of Northern California Super Lawyer in business litigation by Thomson/West Publishing, an accolade reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the jurisdiction.
1. You can form a single member LLC pretty quickly, but you should hire an attorney or accountant to advise you for anything beyond this structure.
2. Commission is taxed in the same way as a regular salary.
3. Make sure you are approaching potential insurance brokers with your type of business to allow them to understand that it is not a campaign, rather a long-standing business.
4. The outside help you will need, in terms of attorneys, brokers, etc. do not necessarily have to have direct political experience.
5. In terms of unpaid invoices–make sure to create contracts in the first place and do not be afraid to follow up aggressively if you have not been paid for 30 days.
About Michelle: Michelle Coyle specializes in turning dreams into reality. As the founder and President of BGSD Strategies, a boutique management consulting firm, Michelle guides political businesses and advocacy organizations as they launch and grow. In addition to being a consultant, she is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor, and is currently putting together an early-stage venture capital fund to support woman-founded startups.
A huge thank you goes out to our speakers for sharing their expertise with the AAPC membership!