Setting up shop as a small business owner can be liberating and frightening in equal measure—the chance to do things independently, always on your own terms, both a blessing and perhaps a little bit of an impediment. The entrepreneur is faced with daily uncertainties, and one of the biggest uncertainties of all is retirement planning.

Those who work as regular 9-5 employees may not always have their retirement plans mapped out, but they at least have security in their 401(k) matches and in the fact that their financial security is not directly tied to the company’s ultimate success. Entrepreneurs, meanwhile, can sometimes feel like their own financial future is just a big question mark, with too many unknowns for true retirement planning to be viable.

This simply isn’t true; while retirement planning may look a little different for entrepreneurs, it is by no means elusive or impossible. Small business owners looking to map out their financial futures should begin by accepting three basic principles.

1. You Have to Invest Outside the Company

If you end up with a multi-million-dollar business, years or decades down the road, then you can always sell your ownership stake and have plenty of money to get you through retirement. No matter how great your business model, though, this is by no means a guarantee, and as such small business owners shouldn’t count on their business to fund their retirement. Have some investments that are completely separate and independent from your business.

2. You Need a Retirement Plan

Specifically, it is important for business owners to save money in a tax-advantaged retirement plan. The first step is looking into a 401(k), or, if you’re a sole proprietor with no employees, perhaps even looking into a solo 401(k); speak with an advisor from Stonepath Wealth Management for more details on this. Traditional and Roth IRAs are also good options to investigate.

What’s critical to your retirement is saving money and then keeping it in your investment account. Withdrawing retirement funds to help keep your business afloat is bad for your retirement planning, and likely points to something awry with your business as well.

3. Think About Your Business After You’ve Thought About Yourself

We recommend putting your own financial plans into place first—but once that’s done, turn your focus to the future of the company. Make sure you have succession plans in place to ensure your company survives even after you decide to retire. This is especially important if you have employees who depend on you.

For all of this, you’ll likely need to get some expert advice—and Stonepath Wealth Management is happy to provide it. We work with many small business owners, and invite you to call us today to learn more about your retirement planning options.