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Sean Frank of Cloud Equity Group Shares Tips on Scaling a Small Business

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Scaling a small business can be a challenge for entrepreneurs. Most businesses reach a plateau and their growth rates diminish and revenue begins to flatten. In this article, Sean Frank, a serial entrepreneur and founder of New York City-based Cloud Equity Group, offers insight on how entrepreneurs can successfully grow their business.

Cloud Equity Group is a strategic capital partner for tech-enabled business service providers. The firm has operational experience in cloud hosting, managed service, and digital marketing. Cloud Equity Group is a hands-on investor with a long history of scaling businesses with decelerating or negative growth rates.

Motivated and Competent Teams

People are the single most valuable asset of any business, especially when it comes to scaling. As Sean Frank puts it, “It’s impossible to do everything yourself. Working with a group of individuals who are as motivated as you are to see the business succeed improves the likelihood of success tremendously.”

It’s natural for an entrepreneur to have the mentality that they can do everything, or that they are needed to do everything. While this can work for a small company, it’s not a productive mindset and it inevitably leads to a bottleneck in a company’s growth trajectory. It can be difficult at first for an entrepreneur to rationalize paying a competitive salary to offload some of their work, and it can be tempting to try to leverage “cheap labor;” however, hiring strong individuals who add value to the business, and align their interests with those of the founder, is an integral part of growing any business. The CEO of a company doing $1M in revenue is likely running and managing most of the daily operations of the business. In order to grow to $10M+ in revenue, the CEO needs to effectively delegate much of the day-to-day management to managers so that they can focus on strategic planning and growth initiatives. It’s a matter of the best use of the entrepreneur’s time. If something can be handled by someone else, particularly if it does not directly translate into growth or value creation, then it should be delegated.

Constantly Adapt the Produce or Service

Businesses are ever-adapting in response to changes in technology, economics, and politics. It’s imperative to be mindful of these changes and to adapt accordingly. As Sean explains, “stale businesses that don’t adapt inevitably die.”

Cloud Equity Group aggressively seeks and incorporates feedback both from customers and employees on how to improve its service offerings. “In my experience,” shares Sean, “company-loyalty improves tremendously when employees or customers recognize that you care. In competitive industries, where customers can easily switch to other providers, it’s vital to show that their feedback is not only welcomed but also acted upon. These two steps go a long way to keep customers happy and for business growth.”

Partnering with Strategic Capital

It can be very tempting for entrepreneurs to accept capital into their business as soon as it becomes available. On one hand, a liquidity event could be seen as diminishing the success available to the entrepreneur. On the other, it may advance short-term funding needs that will, ideally, project the company forward. Accepting capital from an investor is a long-term commitment and it’s important to nurture a strategic capital partner as opposed to accepting any capital that’s available.

For example, a capital partner that’s willing to offer what seems like a lot of money for 50% of your business may be appealing in the short term, however, if the partner can’t help a business double in size, it’s a net loss. Choosing a capital partner that believes in your business, helps solve inefficiencies, and adds value is key. Sean Frank proposes that “it’s always better to have a small piece of a large pie than a large piece of a small pie — especially if that large pie continues to grow.”

 

Rosario is from New York and has worked with leading companies like Microsoft as a copy-writer in the past. Now he spends his time writing for readers of BigtimeDaily.com

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Business

From Contracts to Counsel: Your Essential Guide to Hiring a Probate Attorney in Chicago

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Like many people, you’ll come across the term probate after a loved one, such as a parent or spouse, passes away. So, what is probate, and why do you need an attorney for it? As defined in Forbes, probate is a legal process that occurs after death. It entails transferring the assets of the decedent (the person who passed) to beneficiaries named in their last will. 

With that in mind, having a probate lawyer by your side is essential. The last thing you want to do is deal with the legal complexities of settling a loved one’s estate while grieving. A probate lawyer oversees the validation of the deceased’s will and the fair distribution of assets among family members. One challenge lies in finding a top-quality probate lawyer.

In this guide to hiring a probate attorney in Chicago, we’ll discuss the tips to identify the right legal professional for probate proceedings. 

Understand the Responsibilities of a Probate Lawyer

It’s difficult to hire a talented probate lawyer when you don’t know what they do: Start by understanding the roles they play. 

When you work with a Chicago probate lawyer, some tasks they might do include: 

  • Act as an estate executor or administrator 
  • Collect proceeds from the life insurance policies of the deceased
  • Identify and secure the decedent’s assets
  • Get an appraisal for the deceased’s estate
  • Pay debts and resolve estate tax issues
  • Prepare and file documents required in probate court
  • Transfer assets to rightful heirs
  • Represent you in litigation proceedings if someone challenges or contests the will

A probate lawyer could also help you and your family navigate state inheritance laws if a loved one dies without a valid will. That way, you can avoid unnecessary taxes or other ramifications of not creating a will, such as losing ownership rights of the deceased’s business or financial support.

Search for Lawyers Online and Offline

You’re probably thinking, where do I find the best lawyer to hire? You could seek referrals from friends or colleagues. Friends who worked with probate attorneys before might provide important details, such as how the lawyers communicate and handle the probate process. 

Alternatively, do a simple online search using the terms “probate lawyer near me” or “probate attorney in Chicago.” Go through various websites or online directories and write names of lawyers with positive ratings and customer testimonials. Then, contact the potential lawyers to set up free consultations. Note that not all legal professionals offer free consultations, so make sure to ask before setting a time in your calendar. 

Ask the Right Questions

A free consultation provides opportunities to ask questions to better understand if the lawyers in question have the qualifications to handle your probate case. 

Four questions you might ask attorneys during the initial meeting may include:

  1. Do You Have Experience in Probate Law? 

When evaluating lawyers, prioritize experience. An experienced probate lawyer is aware of common pitfalls that can result in the probate petition being postponed or dropped by a judge. To feel more comfortable about an attorney’s expertise, ask them if they’ve handled probate cases similar to yours before. 

For example, let’s say the deceased owned a substantial estate or had complicated assets like royalties and mineral stocks. Working with an attorney with a track record of successfully handling cases like that could save you time and money in the long run.

  1. What Do Other Clients Say About You?

Experience alone doesn’t make a probate lawyer perfect for your case. Look for someone with an outstanding reputation. These reviews likely live on Google next to their business profile or are featured on their website. If you can’t find any endorsements, ask for testimonials written by past clients. 

One point to focus on is what reviewers say about the lawyer’s efficiency and speed. Beyond that, does the lawyer offer expert guidance, conflict mitigation, and proper asset management during probate? 

A probate attorney in Chicago, IL, should be an efficient expert in asset preservation. This can be crucial to helping avoid hefty taxes and excessive debt claims. Additionally, if the lawyer receives positive feedback on conflict mitigation, it suggests they have experience in resolving or mitigating family conflicts that tend to stall the probate process. 

  1. How Long Does Probate Last? 

One way to test a probate lawyer’s knowledge is by asking them, “How long does probate last?” While the numbers vary, probate can last for a few months to over a year in many states, including Chicago. When highlighting factors that affect the duration of probate, your counsel might mention things like estate size, family disputes, debt and taxes, absence of a will, and state laws.

A knowledgeable lawyer can explain clearly why your probate case could last a few months or even years. A lawyer that makes too brazen or hard-set of promises might not be the most honest. 

  1. How Do You Want Us To Communicate? 

There’s no hard rule on how you and your probate attorney communicate. You can talk via text messages, email, video calls, or phone calls. More importantly, check that the attorney communicates in simple language to help you understand your case. 

In fact, one essential of a lawyer’s dos and don’ts to gaining clients’ trust is to avoid making clients feel clueless. If a potential lawyer uses complex legal terms or avoids communicating directly, search for probate services elsewhere.

Conclusion: Finding a Probate Attorney in Chicago

Reviewing the will of a loved one after their death and ensuring fair distribution of their assets often involves complex legal issues. For this reason, consider hiring an attorney who specializes in probate law. 

To maximize your chances of finding the right probate lawyer, familiarize yourself with their responsibilities. Next, search online for lawyers within your state or ask for recommendations from people you trust. Then, interview prospects to help ensure they possess experience, a remarkable reputation, communication skills, and knowledge of probate law.

Settling the affairs of a loved one who has passed on can be an overwhelming time. A probate attorney can help lift some of the pressure off your shoulders as you focus on grieving and healing. 

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