Advice for First Time Business Owners from Successful Entrepreneurs


Advice for First Time Business Owners from Successful Entrepreneurs

12 successful Charlotte business owners give their best advice to first-time entrepreneurs.

The path to entrepreneurship is an exciting, fulfilling, and sometimes bumpy one as you navigate your way through the world of small business ownership. Every business owner makes mistakes, but what makes a true entrepreneur is the ability to learn from these mistakes and come back even stronger. Managing a business of your very own is a unique opportunity with a plethora of learning experiences but to ease the transition a little bit, we have asked 12 successful business owners in Charlotte to give their best advice for first time business owners.

Jay Offerdahl, President of Viking Mergers & Acquisitions:

“Choose your market wisely and learn it thoroughly. Buy or start your business in a rising metro area with several good attributes other than just location. Of course, I recommend Charlotte. It’s  a great place – one of the top 10 fastest growing cities, great place to raise a family, affordable, small business friendly, scheduled for growth,  and has had fantastic recession recovery.”

Greg White, previous owner of two technology companies:

“The #1 piece of advice I have to new entrepreneurs – buy an established business, never start one! Established businesses already have a location, customers, revenue; a proven model.  When starting a business, you can only guess at these things. When buying a business, you eliminate risk.”

Dan Misali, former owner of a FastSigns Franchise:

“Business owners need to have good relationship management skills. Go the extra mile to build strong relationships with your employees and customers. Without your employees, you’re in trouble as oftentimes, they know more about the business than the owner! Without your customers, there is no business.”

John Bly, Managing Partner at LBA Haynes Strand:

“I think it’s critical that to start with the end in mind.  Whatever it is that you want to get out of your business – flexibility, income, control your own destiny, retirement, quick sale – for both the long and short term.  Then, as you go through decisions for everything you do – keep this lens in focus and make sure that you are making the right decisions each and every time that keep those goals in mind. Otherwise, you will be 5-10 years out wondering how you got there, and probably at a different destination than you originally desired.”

Phil Hagey, former Owner of Century 21:

“Making the decision to become an entrepreneur is exciting! When taking the first steps, my best piece of advice is to choose a business in an industry that you have a passion for. If you love what you do, it won’t feel like work.”

Greg Ponder, former owner of S&P Capital:

“Proper accounting is critical! As a business owner, you’ll want to keep good records of financials on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. Invest in software to help you get organized. Plus, having good financials will help you command a higher premium for your business when you decide to sell.”

Peter Keretsis, former owner of the Pita Pit:

“I’ve always lived by the mantra of ‘It’s not the money you bring in, it’s the money you bring home’. As a business owner, it can be easy to overspend so watching your expenses is critical. The business needs to make money, but so do you.”

Abbie Baynes, President of Baynes Law:

“There are two critically important things to do before buying a business.  First, understand all the numbers.  If you’re an idea person and not a financial whiz, get a CPA or business advisor to walk you through what the financial records say about the business you’re buying.  Then, create a “downside” scenario using these numbers and see if you can live with them in case the initial projections don’t pan out then way you expected.  If you’re going into business with someone else, create a written agreement for how the business will be run by the owners.  Ask the hard questions and look at the what if’s before you close to make sure you will be able to work cooperatively with your business partner and so that you have a written process for dealing with disagreements.”

Dale Gillmore, founder of Make an Impact Foundation:

“As a new business owner, it’s really important to find time to engage with the community. It will help you establish your name and brand and you’re likely to be spending time with good people in the world that you want to work with.”

Brad Offerdahl, founder of Viking Mergers & Acquisitions:

“Finding the right employees is challenging for all business owners, but the challenge doesn’t stop once at hiring. The biggest mistake a business owner can make is not properly training their employees. Constant learning and guidance will determine the employee’s attitude and success and ultimately, the success of the business.”

Jon Payne, CEO of Net Focus Media:

“A strong sales team is also the best source of customer feedback.  Your sales team will know the strengths and weaknesses of your product or service better than anyone internally, and that knowledge is what you need to improve as an organization.  It will tell you if you’ve got the right stuff, or let you know quickly if you need change. I’ve seen far too many businesses focus 100% on product development only to spend all of their cash and then realize too late that what they made won’t sell.  Don’t make that mistake.  Sell early.  Sell often.  And treat sales (and everything closely related to it) as a top priority.”

Jim Hood, Founder of Hood Business Law:

“Determining the type of legal structure for a new business can be daunting for entrepreneurs and small business owners. Deciphering between an ‘S Corp’ or an ‘LLC’ can be tricky but the structure of your business depends on your needs. If operational ease and flexibility are important to you, an LLC is a good choice. If you are looking to save on employment tax and your situation warrants it, an S corporation could work for you.”

список онлайн банков в россии