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Measure Results, Not Activity

Measure results over activity is a great core value for any enterprise.  Success is not measured by the number of hours spent in the office, number of employees, number of meetings you conduct or number of marketing leads you engage, even though many wear figures like this as a badge of honor.    Focusing on results takes away the unnecessary conversation on other factors and keeps everyone on task for hitting objectives, be it sales, project execution, bottom-line, expansion roll-out, etc.      This is a great core value to add to any organization.

IRS Liens Are Devastating to your Credit Score

Having tax lien placed upon you can have a massive negative impact on your credit score.  Think foreclosure, repossession, eviction …. these are similar major events that will haunt your credit report for the full 7 years. Even when released by the government, the damage is done …. or is it?   The IRS now has some new, and in my opinion quite generous, alternatives for having liens withdrawn (also known as revoked).  Of course you have to qualify and your request has to be presented in the correct light, but this new program “Fresh Start” could be just the thing for tens of  thousands of taxpayers.   And since the program is new, and potentially the policies haven’t been fully tested through the IRS system, now is the time to make the request before the IRS brass decides to tighten up the ‘nuts’.   You can’t do this with a foreclosure or short sale, but you now can with a tax lien.   Depending on the amount, your credit history, the debt relative to others debts a withdrawn lien can increase your credit score 100 points or more.  You don’t even have to have the liability paid in full to apply.   Very generous indeed.

Oscar

The Concept of Stakeholders

Everyone has stakeholders, whether you own a business, hold a job or run a household.   Stakeholders are beyond your employees, shareholders, partners and include your vendors, your customers, your relationships and every entity you influence.     Stakeholders are everyone that has a ‘stake’ in your activities (and hopefully success).

One approach to business is to make sure your stakeholders succeed, grow, improve and are aptly rewarded.   If everyone around your succeeds, then your goals and success can be reached more rapidly, often in a more emotionally satisfying way .   On the other hand, if you try to minimize rewards or attempt to manipulate your stakeholders to your advantage this can backfire quickly and you will find yourselves facing your challenges from a very lonely position.    “Paying the bare minimum for retention” or “Squeezing every penny out of each contract” or can many times be detrimental to your overall mission.

What kind of strategy do you use?

US companies are doing great while the labor force struggles

They always say its the economy that settles elections.   Is the economy doing that bad?   Ask an unemployed worker, or an employee who wages are stagnating and the answer is “it’s terrible!”.   Ask a Fortune 500 company sitting on cash, increasing dividends and having solid growth with predictable margins from worldwide sales and the answer is a restrained “…we are doing pretty good this year …”.     Just because the doom & gloom is reported in the news don’t automatically think it translates to lack of opportunity for businesses.    Productivity continues to stay up and overall the world economy continues to develop.

Tax Problems Need to Be Fixed Today

It is so easy to ignore the letters.  It is easy not making your tax problem a priority.  Procrastination is a natural human behavior.  Unfortunately this only compounds the problem since the penalties and interest are very aggressive and your debt can DOUBLE before you know it.   There are many alternatives for dealing with the IRS, including getting on an installment agreement, making a one-time settlement or combination of both.   Penalties and interest can be abated (forgiven) in certain circumstances.   Tax returns can be amended to reduce your liability.   However, the total bill will only grow if you wait.   It takes time to solve problems that have taking years to build-up, so the best course of action is to clean up your records, settle with the government and get these affairs in order quickly.

The Importance of Accurate Financials

The importance of accurate financials cannot be understated.   The difference of making $5000 in one month and losing $5000 could easily influence a business owner to be overconfident in his or her team and processes.   Start with the facts and then make decisions.   Common errors in expenses for small business include insurance amortization, inventory recognition, salary accruals, tax timing and more.  Investing in the accounting system will assist management and ownership to make the right daily choices for operations and sleep better at night.   A key to making money is to know much you are making!

Risk Management

Risk management starts with understanding your exposure, including what is the worst that could happen to you and your business. Isolate the dollar and emotional exposure in your daily activities and then decide which require coverage or policies that can minimize the fall-out.

The Next Three Months

Ask yourself, what are we budgeting for in the next 3 months? How did we perform vs. our budget plan in the last 3 months? How much were our profits in line with our forecast last month? If you hesitate to answer these questions because you don’t have the figures, make this a priority project for your business. As the saying goes “..those who fail to plan, plan to fail…

Insurance Strategy

One insurance strategy which can save you thousands of dollars is to make sure you have catastrophic insurance coverage in all key areas of your business. This frees you from all the nickel & dime offers for coverage on items worth less than $5000, including cellphones, heavily depreciated vehicles, extended warranties, minor rental car coverage, low deductibles and others. Imagine you took all those premiums and extra payments and instead deposited the cash into a special bank account for ‘self-insuring’ on all these minor items. How much cash would be in that account today?