Skip to Content







Owning A Business Is An Adventure. No matter how skilled you are at jumping over obstacles and avoiding the hazards along the path, there simply isn’t a shortcut to getting everything right. I would know – I’ve learned more than my fair share of lessons along the way as a business owner. If you’re starting out with your first business or considering jumping in, here are ten common missteps and helpful tips to consider:

1. Be Creative With Financing

Consider grants, loans, credit cards, friends and family investors, and even bartering to get what you need for that ground-level financing.

2. Establish Business Credit Early

Your goal should be to build business credit – not personal credit – because it’s your business that will get you approved for future funding.

3. Be Open-Minded About Hiring

Anyone can look awesome on paper. Keep in mind that you’re hiring the person’s skills, experience, and character, not their credentials.

4. Set Expectations

A good rule of thumb is to treat your friends and family like employees, and your employees like friends and family.

5.  Negotiate

Know your limits, be ok with saying no, or yes – but be clear that it may take longer to deliver than anticipated.

6. Don’t Give Stuff Away

People assign value on an item or service based on what they paid for it. When you give it away, it’s worth nothing to other people.

7. Honesty With Vendors

Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. When you’re a new business owner, you’ll find yourself in compromising situations where you’ll be tempted to say and do things you know you shouldn’t.

8. Recognize Growth

Legacy business is reliable but tends to become baggage because you’re not the same business when you started the relationship.

9. Online Marketing

Not all people are meant to work together. You’ll find yourself with clients that you can’t connect with, who generate frustration or who never seem satisfied. Don’t be afraid to do what you know is the right thing to do.

10. Visionary Mode

So many businesses fail because as owners, we struggle to get out of technician mode. It takes letting go of control to become a leader – a visionary – who is more focused on building the business than executing the business.

Regardless of where you are in the life cycle of your business, it’s never too early to start planning. In fact, the earlier you start, the more innovative approaches we’re likely to come up with to help you maximize your business value and get where you want to go.

Private Ocean is here to help you create a disciplined financial plan that reflects the complexities of your situation—including tax and investment strategies for you and your business and future retirement.

Download the Guide