Douglas Greenberg

Founder of Pacific Northwest Advisory

Douglas Greenberg serves as a fiduciary, working exclusively with business owners providing independent, unbiased guidance. PNWA has created a private company sales process that incorporates valuation, tax planning and modeling of a transaction. Based on an objective view of their needs and incorporating a deep understanding of the business owners’ goals, PNWA creates a customized solution. Prior to forming PNWA, Douglas Greenberg was an Executive Director at Morgan Stanley for 24 years. Douglas Greenberg has been recognized as a top financial advisor by the Financial Times, Barron’s, Forbes and has earned the Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) designation.

Where did the idea for Pacific Northwest Advisory come from?

After spending 25 years at Morgan Stanley and leaving there in 2018, I still enjoyed providing investment advice and helping clients achieve their goals. I created Pacific Northwest Advisory to take my years of experience in financial services and apply it to starting PNWA. I wanted to create a simple, streamlined business model with a continued focus on a niche segment, business owners, business executives and entrepreneurs.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

To start the day, I have a large glass of warm lemon water as I review the news of the day, review client accounts and performance. As the day progresses, I could be working on client portfolios, helping clients with specific issues, have client review appointments, read investment research, tracking the markets throughout the day, calls with other professionals related to clients and prospecting for new clients. I make it productive by varying the duties based on time available and concentration level and by taking breaks throughout the day. I like to keep lists to work on throughout the day as time permits. The day really never ends as after dinner I review overseas markets, read research and plan the next day. My goal is to work out 3-4 days a week.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I spend time thinking through the idea from all perspectives, looking for obstacles and opportunities. Once that process has been completed I implement the idea. Once implemented, I continuously search for a better solution. This process can occur either by myself or in a group.

What’s one trend that excites you?

The trend that excites me the most is the adoption of the connected electric self driving vehicle. Imagine a car that arrives at your house to pick you up at a certain time everyday to take you to work, then after dropping you off heads out on another ride call. When you are ready to go somewhere, you summon a car on your phone app. In all of the rides, you relax in the backseat. By design the vehicles will be connected so that it will reduce accidents and lower insurance expenses. If you wanted a BMW for a client appointment or a VW to just get you to work, you have the choice and flexibility.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

My consistent work ethic and my drive to offer the best solutions to a client. Many times the solution is an out of the box idea that is refined with the clients participation.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more patient, think more before you speak, give more and be thankful for all that you have in your life.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

People have the mindset that you must fall down and have your own mistakes to be able to grow. Although I do find some belief in that thinking, I believe that helping someone think through the problem, not giving them the answers, and allowing them to find their own answers allows them greater growth. It also allows them to jump to the next level faster.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Keep learning and growing your knowledge in all subjects. Read 30 minutes everyday, something, anything.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I was told early when I was hired in 1993, if I could work like no one else would for the first few years, I could live like no one else can for the rest of my life. I took that quote to heart and when I was at work, I worked intelligently and put in the hours to succeed. Even when I wasn’t at work, I usually thought about work and solving client issues.

Another strategy that helped fuel the growth of the business was placing the client first in every interaction. I grew up in a family business and learned early on how important the customer was to the growth of the business. By treating customers with respect, valuing their opinion and providing them with a level of service unparalleled by others, they are your customers forever.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I started a business with a partner and didn’t have an agreement between us. As the business became successful, my partner took over the business claiming it was his idea and effort that made it successful. We settled our disagreement with a small payment and I walked away. I learned that business agreements are important to reduce or even eliminate potential future conflict.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If a fan has a ticket to an upcoming event but at the last minute cannot attend, yet they would be willing to give the ticket away to a charitable organization. That organization would distribute the ticket to the event to an organization that can use it on short notice. It is a software idea, not sure if it would need to run through the event sponsor or if it could be independent.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Ski season is approaching and I just bought lift tickets to Jackson Hole Wyoming for myself and my boys. Very excited about the upcoming ski season. The three of us enjoy traveling together and exploring new places and we have not been to Jackson yet. The feeling of freedom that I have while skiing is unmatched. The fresh air, wind in my face in the search for fresh powder add to the magical feeling of being in the mountains.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Communications apps help me be more productive whether that be email or texting and includes an email service like sendinblue. I like these services because it allows me to efficiently communicate with clients as well as have a record of our communications. The sendinblue service is great to share information with a larger audience.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. We limit ourselves based on beliefs that rob us of happiness, creativity and creates continued and needless suffering. By removing these limitations, we can live a happier and fuller life with considerably less stress.

What is your favorite quote?

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning. Albert Einstein

Key Learnings:

  • Search for solutions that benefit the most constituents.
  • Continue to grow in your profession, continue to improve yourself and practice self awareness.
  • Offer more value than others are expected to receive.