In the initial stages of setting up your business, a good accountant and a reliable lawyer will be vital to your success. Ensure that they have the necessary qualifications.
A good Certified Public Accountant (CPA) will be accessible to you via e-mail or phone for random questions that arise throughout the course of your business day. How should I document this transaction? Is this purchase tax deductible? These are the types of questions that a qualified CPA will field at no or minimal cost in order to maintain a good relationship with his or her customer.
A lawyer must be available at a similar capacity. Try placing one on retainer so that you can access them on as needed basis.
The best way I've found these professionals is via word of mouth followed by thorough research. Utilize your network - ask other entrepreneurs who they use and why. Then, get other references from your prospects, but bear in mind that they handpick their supporters to help market themselves. Do some online sleuthing to see if there are any complaints published or any bad commentary on the professional's performance.
Most service providers will honor a free consultation for you to feel out the relationship. This is the crucial part of the search. Does he or she prefer e-mail over telephone? Are you comfortable with their business tactics? Are his or her rates reasonable for the work you need done? These are the type of questions that will really decide whether it's a good match. Don't be afraid to listen to your instincts. If your gut says it doesn't feel right, then walk away. Just like dating in the romantic world - there's plenty of fish in the sea.
In these initial stages, don't be afraid to offer an exchange of services rather than cash. I've had a relationship of this nature with two lawyers for some time now. They call and ask me random computer questions, and I call for legal advice. It's a mutually beneficial relationship that also helps market your skills. Not only have I got free legal advice, but I've gotten many leads in this manner.