If you're an entrepreneur, you've probably caught yourself telling someone that starting your business is like having a baby.  You read all the books, ask for advice from other entrepreneurs, but the day your business goes live, all of that goes out the window and you know the baby's the one in charge.  Just like a baby, your business has its own, immediate priorities that may conflict with your idealized vision of early parenthood.  Parent groups, patient pediatricians, and parent with older children can be useful partners during the adjustment period.

The same goes for your business, responding to growing pains is much easier with the right partners. Partnerships are not only essential for expansion, they are also crucial for sustaining your business model.

As part of Dotcom's EMERGE series, I sat down with Lisa Price, Founder of beauty brand Carol's Daughter, to discuss what opportunities--and most importantly, what hires, helped shape the success of her brand.

lisa price-maria haggerty

Lisa shared which partners were critical to her growth and described why every entrepreneur needs these individuals on their team. 

The Attorney

Lisa admits that when she started her business there was a lot  of legal knowledge she did not have about running a business. "In some ways, it made running a business easier. If I didn't know something--I didn't know... But once I was made aware of it, I couldn't ignore it," she recalled.

Lisa's attorney helped her get the right systems in place so she was eventually able to expand Carol's Daughter to where it is now. While finding an attorney is fairly easy, finding an attorney that is a partner and understands your needs and budget, is not. Not all attorneys have faith that their small-business clients are going to grow to be wildly successful brands. Many lawyers often charge a large retainer which Lisa knew was not something she could afford when Carol's Daughter business just started. Knowing this, she found an attorney who would allow her to pay by the hour. "I was able to get amazing advice when I needed it without having to think about a $10,000 retainer, [so] I was always very efficient and made sure we ended our call within an hour!"

The Accountant

Having been a CPA in my life prior to founding   Dotcom Distribution, I understand first-hand how important this partnership is for any growing business. Working with an accountant means that you have someone to rely on for understanding your profitability model, advising funding decisions, or understanding the inner workings of budgeting for expansion. With 50 percent of U.S. businesses failing within their first five years, it's important to have someone on your team to guide you through making smart financial decisions.

As the Carol's Daughter brand expanded into eCommerce and storefront retail, Lisa's partnership with her accountant became even more critical. The brand faced a new challenge: navigating tax laws, all of which varied by state. Because she was not experienced in this area but understood the importance of avoiding tax penalties, Lisa turned to her accountant who she knew was an expert in this area. "Some people think they can't pay someone $400 an hour for their advice, but if you don't, you might end up paying $5,000 for a stupid mistake," Lisa advised. Once the brand grew, Lisa hired a full-time team member to manage all accounting needs. That's how important this role was to the brand's longevity.

Starting a business without having the right strategic partners might feel overwhelming and may hurt your business in the long run. It's important to find partners that complement your skills and knowledge. Having an attorney to sort through legal issues and an accountant to take care of taxes and other financial obligations will help you delegate business responsibilities and can help ensure  future success, especially if you have little to no formal training in those areas. The key lesson here: Work with partners who are experts in areas you aren't. As seen in my own career, my company is able to help brands ready to take their eCommerce fulfillment to the next level, because they trust our expertise and experience. To date, we've been able to help our clients steadily grow their businesses. To learn more about the fundamentals that helped build the Carol's Daughter brand, click here to watch more videos with Lisa.