Dave Clayman on Financial Advice for Small Business Owners
Dave Clayman was a guest on The Small Business Advocate, hosted by Jim Blasingame, in December 2014. The following post includes excerpts from their conversation on financial advice for small business owners.
The challenges of starting a business
Even advisors need advisors for starting and running a business, says Dave. “There are so many things you need to know…it really is amazing. So, planning and knowing, and having good advisors, that’s really the key.” He recommends having an attorney and speaking to an accountant before doing anything else to ensure you have what you need in place so your business is compliant. “You can put yourself out of business if you don’t pay attention to the regulatory needs that you need to follow,” adds Dave.
A common fear of new business owners is appearing ignorant, which means they may not be asking the questions they need to be asking. “So many people see it as a sign of weakness, and there’s a reason why 70% of new businesses fail in the first three years. You need to have that advice. When you walk into our office, it’s a no-judgment zone. Your goals are what we’re there to accomplish. It’s not what we think is right, it’s not what some financial textbook says is right, it’s what you’re trying to accomplish for yourself and your family. And then we build a plan around that.”
Financial advice for the small business owner
“The small business owner really does take care of themselves last,” says Dave. “We find that one of the things they end up doing, especially in this environment, is paying a ton of taxes. They tend to look to their retirement plans and optimizing those for their employees, but forget to look out for themselves.”
Dave advises business owners to work with an advisor to create a financial plan, “even if you don’t have a lot of money. I know that some firms have minimums that you have to have to invest — ours is not one of them.” He feels it’s important to do everything within the context of a plan to account for the cycles of business, the ups and downs, and maintain a healthy work/life balance. According to Dave, the only way to make sure business pays off for you and your family is to plan ahead.
He also believes in creating a slush fund for emergencies. “When I was growing up there were certain rules that you learned in finance,” Dave remembers. “You should have a year’s worth of bills money stashed away…but now bills are so high and people are so leveraged, that most people can’t do that.” He tells clients, “Let’s at least get six months put away, so that if god forbid something happens…you know that your family’s gonna be okay.”