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We come to the last month in our series of “10 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make.” We’ve covered a lot of ground.
Is there one “mistake” you’ve found most helpful?
Did you make any changes to the way you conduct business?
Have you shared any of your “mistakes” with others to help them avoid making the same ones?
As a review, we’ve discussed the use of oral agreements, having defined rules for employees, not going it alone, choosing the right legal entity, keeping proper business records, clearly documenting the rights of business partners, protecting your intellectual property, planning for the future, and pursuing certifications.
Today, we’ll summarize all we’ve learned with one important mistake – not trusting your gut!
As a reminder, while these are general tips, it is important to consult with an attorney individually if you have specific questions or concerns. The following is not intended to be legal advice.
Mistake # 10 – Trust Your Gut (and Ask for Help!)
Donald Trump, arguably a very successful businessman, shared: “Experience taught me a few things. One is to listen to your gut, no matter how good something sounds on paper.” Mr. Trump’s words are great advice to all business owners. You can read all the advice and tips you want for how to grow your business, but at the end of the day your business likely relies on your reputation … and as many of our mothers told us, you only get one reputation!
- If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you have a “funny” feeling about a supplier or customer, it’s probably better not to conduct business with them.
- If you’re unsure about whether you are keeping a proper accounting of your business, it’s probably a good idea to bring in an expert.
In today’s business world and proliferation of social media, a bad step or a poor decision can be very costly to your business and news of that mistake can spread quickly.
- When you make a decision, ask yourself whether you would be “proud” of that decision if it were advertised on your Facebook or Twitter page.
- Make sure you’re prayerful and careful about all the decisions you make and what the consequences might be!
Are you unsure whether you can trust your gut on an important decision? Get a second opinion/gut involved to test your decision. (This is where we return to an earlier lesson of “Not Going it Alone.”)
There are many entrepreneurs who have paved the way for the success of your business.
You can use them as a resource and learn from their mistakes. Also, be sure to surround yourself with trusted advisors and professionals who can help you “interpret” your gut instincts or help you figure out whether that deal really is too good to be true. There’s no reason you have to take the exciting and unpredictable path of business ownership all on your own – bring your team along for the adventure!
About Leah Barteld Clague, Esq.
Leah Barteld Clague is an attorney with McLaughlin Law Group, a boutique law firm focused on corporate (small business), estate planning, and estate and trust administration, and tax law. McLaughlin Law Group, started by L. Content McLaughlin, serves clients throughout Maryland. Leah started with the firm in August 2012 after graduating from the University of Maryland, School of Law. Prior to law school, Leah completed her MBA and worked as a financial analyst in both the private and public sector.
In addition to estate planning, Leah has a passion for working with small businesses. As a student, she helped grow a program called “The York (PA) Business Academy” that provided brief classes on marketing, management, financing, and legal issues for small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs. More recently, she consulted for a number of for-profit and non-profit clients and developed business plans, financial models, and marketing strategies that were presented to venture capitalists.
Feel free to contact Leah at email@example.com or 410-660-2095.