Top Ten Small Business Rules

Top Ten Small Business Rules

Small Business Rules… Top Ten.

The Lost Episode. Episode 2.  Long winded -but good.

Top Ten Small Business Start-up Rules
Top Ten Small Business Start-up Rules

Top Ten Small Business Rules compiled from some successes, (I’ve had a few) some failures, (a few more of those) some consulting and watching others walk over a cliff.

If you’re thinking about getting into a small business or taking your side hustle to the next level, learn the rules of the game. Besides the ultra optimistic, deep seated confidence it’s going to take to get past the detractors and haters you’re going to need to keep it real with yourself.  These Top Ten Small Business Rules will help you focus on the important things that are easily overlooked when visionary ideas set in.

Smiles can't get bright enough when you open your own business
Smiles can’t get bright enough when you open your own business

As fate would have it of course, Stitcher was down for the next three to four days! this was damn near unheard of, I could just send the link to the blog page and that’s when I realized I was referencing a Podcast that had been recorded, published and never posted.  This top ten list is and essential list for anyone even considering going into small business.  At least five to seven of these things come up in every conversation I have with someone about getting started in small business.  I searched the web blog and the Stitcher page thoroughly more than once, and it wasn’t posted anywhere.  I can’t explain the amount of second guessing that came out of this. So even after the Stitcher site came back up… still no link to send. Dang.  Stayed up late to record this episode!

I didn't know what happened to this episode?
I didn’t know what happened to this episode?

Okay, here listed are the Top Ten Small Business Rules (and yes it’s actually episode 2).  If you aren’t focused on these, not to say you will fail, but you may damn sure have some serious bumps along the way.

Or, maybe I should put it this way, you don’t learn how to fight by taking punches to the face.

-Miles.

EOY Money Target. Hit or Missing?

EOY Money Target. Hit or Missing?

End of the year roundup.  On Target or No??

Are you on target for the 2015 Goals? There's still time.
Are you on target for the 2015 Goals? There’s still time.

As we approach the end of the year, yes October should be signalling the end of the year, it is th perfrect time to make annual adjustments regarding financial goals, wealth and well being acccordingly.  And these things may range from how much you intended to save, bills you meant to pay down, points on your credit score to improve upon or most important of all, your health and physical well being.

Typically, as far as finances go you should be balancing and rebalancing semi-annually just to make sure you are on
track with any goals from the beginning of the year.  Usually some time around June or so, reviewing your 401k if you’ve got one, 529 plans, IRA’s, annual Christmas Club Saving Plan, (does anybody still do these?) and anything else you can think of that you need to stay on top of during the year.  Make adjustments accordingly, increases, sell-offs, account closing and opening, etc.  Are you headed where you want to be for based on half way through? If not, the middle of the year is a good time to check and correct.  And, it is also a good time to start some of those things that fell off the table during the New Year’s resolution stage, which for me is typically the entire first three months.  It sometimes takes that long to narrow down real reachable goals that I can measure and guide as the year goes on.

Now's the time to measure and adjust to meet the annual goals.
Now’s the time to measure and adjust to meet the annual goals.

During the last quarter of the year, beginning Oct. 1, the same thing should occur with a bit more focus.  Besides
getting caught up on all of the things and statuses of accounts, there’s the reality check for what can really be
accomplished in these last three months.  Let’s say you’ve intended to save $100.00 per month with the intent of getting a stated interest, if you’re not at least half way there can you get there with what’s left of the year?

Readjusting goals is a normal practice and beats letting them go altogether.  If you see you can at best end up with $900.00 for the year, readjust and make that happen. The satisfaction and benefits of accomplishment far outweighs giving up on your goals, even if only you know about it.  If there are any investments or college savings plans you may have intended but never got around to, now is a great time to get ahead of the coming year and open new accounts with even the smallest amount.  Many accounts for IRA’s, College Savings IRA’s and Mutual Funds will waive the initial investment of over a $1000.00 and let you get started for $25.00 to $50.00 if you pledge to make monthly automatic deposits.  Speaking of automatic deposits, it’s been proven people save more with an automatic setup, (direct deposit, pretax, and auto-debit) than making manual deposits and investments. Having these plans and accounts in place already will allow you to follow through easier in the coming year.

For the hustler and entrepreneur in you, the last quarter marks the beginning of the next year as it relates to becoming prepared early.  A true businessperson will need to familiarize themselves with and learn their industry, customer or client.  Forward looking entrepreneurs can begin setting up their legal business structure, (C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC and Partnerships) gathering information on regulatory requirements for their particular business, focus on financing (often overlooked, personal credit is key as an entrepreneur as you may need to rely on this to back up the business as the business will have no history!) relevant credentials, marketing and start building out the foundation of the enterprise whatever that may be. Also, keep in mind that all of the costs and expenses that go into setting up the legal structure, market research, travel, courses, equipment, goods and stock, expenses related to building out or using office space in your home, and any other expenses related to getting the business up an running are tax deductible for the current year.

So being on your grind, you’re set to reduce your taxable income for this year and tax season is in 2 months. Get these started now and keep good records!  Health Regimen. There will be no need to worry about financial prosperity except to pay the medical bills if there isn’t proper focus on health.  Most important semi-annual and End of Year review if that of your health.  Beginning with regular physical to dental and eye check up for the basics.  Then there are the specifics based on your gender, age, race and habits -those dang habits, some good and some not so good. Whether it’s prostate checks or mammograms, get in focus early.  Now’s a good time to start a routine and maybe review or tweak your health practices ranging from what you eat to how often you eat.  I personally don’t believe in crash diets whatsoever, but tweak things as I go.  A regular workout schedule and a decent diet will do for most people. just find what you like out of the stuff that’s good for you and have it often.  Fighting off any preventable conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure that will steal your time, ability to focus on your prosperity and happiness or cost you the same money your working so hard to get is the way to go.  I’d even consider changing my doctor if we can’t work out a plan to avoid a medication for an avoidable condition, he’s not helping me reach my goals.  Also, gym time is a great investment, just don’t get lost paying for a gym you don’t go to although that’s how they make their money.

Health and Wellness is the bedrock of personal prosperity. Annual Checkup and Physicals are key
Health and Wellness is the bedrock of personal prosperity.
Annual Checkup and Physicals are key

Finally, there’s plenty more to discuss but to summarize…  Review what’s attainable and what’s not, be realistic of
course. Cut the losers and keep winners, whether it’s ideas or stocks and in some cases people activities and even jobs sometimes. Losers such as unnecessary medications, banks fees, high interest credit cards, finance fees, depreciating investments expensive cars or appliances with costly repairs, high media costs for cable and movie channels can all be losers, just sucking money away from you that can be better utilized. Winners like free checking accounts, low interest credit cards, (call them and ask, you may be surprised) increasing IRA contributions instead of poor 401k options, increasing retirement contributions with every raise, using money market accounts instead of savings accounts, reducing taxable liability by using FSA options and for eligible expenses are all winning moves.  Quitting Early has an upside and may save lots of losses later on, that’s what reviewing is all about. Equally, Starting Early can give you the leg up and put you in position to prosper instead of trying to figure things out when the time comes.

Here are some money saving  tools and routes to take to get set up for the coming year.

Check out opening a USAA Roth or Traditional IRA

Education savings plans at U-Promise

Fidelity offers Roth and Traditional IRA accounts with no minimum investment

Bankrate offers a great comparison chart for credit card balance transfers

New way to save money on medical procedures AND even get paid to do it.

Check out Discover for a Money Market Account instead of a savings account

What should you get in a health physical and what to watch for from the CDC

An annual physical can cost anywhere from $75. to $200 if you don’t have insurance and is worth it

Some more ballpark pricing for a Health Physical

Invest using a roundup method with every purchase using the Acorns app

Start small and grow Big with Wealthfront.com

Create a budget by tracking your spending and get organized using Mint for Free

Start anywhere with any link above… just get started!

-Miles.

Master the Fundamentals of Prosperity

Master the Fundamentals of Prosperity

The Fundamentals. Stay Focused. Be Prosperous. Make Money.

Master The Fundamentals.
Master The Fundamentals.

In a recent discussion with my son about becoming a better player at the sport of basketball, I explained that to become really good at basketball, other sports and pretty much anything else that the key is in mastering the basic fundamentals of the game. On the Fundamentals page of the blog I posted an ever growing list of fundamentals that are necessary in order to reach a personal level of success and prosperity, the basic profile of sorts. Whether you want to be the best cook or athlete, you are likely to take the same route of “mastering the fundamentals” and applying them with a disciplined approach. It’s what Emeril, LeBron James, Mike Tyson, Dale Earnhardt, Steve Jobs, John Malone, even Bernie Madoff and many others that reached the pinnacle of their game have in common. If you watch them perform that is what you will see, fundamental skills used at the level of mastery.  In his book, “Outliers” Malcom Gladwell discusses the 10,000 hour rule which details the amount of time many successful people typically spend in reaching a “basic” level of mastery.  Mastery of the fundamentals. While the 10,000 hour rule has been debated, it is clear that talented or not, the time spent mastering the fundamentals is directly correlated to higher levels success and greatness.

"The Basics" will take you to the top
“The Basics” will take you to the top

In the age of information it is easier than ever for those of use that want to further ourselves financially to build our wealth and prosperity.  No longer are some of the most basic keys of economic prosperity veiled in some cryptic mystery of “how”, “where” and “who”.  Today all of those questions are answered beginning with “You can” …this and that.  The power of information sits literally in our hands as we wait in the doctor’s office to be called.

Whatever your occupation or area you aspire to be successful in, business you want to be in, field of study or the current corporate ladder which you are trying to climb. It will eventually be the mastering of the fundamentals that will contribute greatly to your success. There tons of ways to give yourself a boost in building and mastering your fundamentals.

Health Physical
Physical checkup
  • As Always, #1 is Health.

Master the basics- Eat well, Eat natural, Exercise. Simple. Doesn’t mean not to enjoy burgers and chocolate cake from time to time, however, don’t let it creep up on you. Being busy all too often gets mistaken for being “active” and they are NOT synonymous! Understand how to manage your weight, your blood sugar and any heart healthy risks such as cholesterol. Everyone that’s a little overweight isn’t unhealthy or in bad shape, that’s another popular misconception. Beware of the sedentary lifestyle, if you’re sitting at a desk or driving all day, you’re at risk. Get ahead of these things if you can, the big ones are high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. These things creep up and let you live on with no issues until it’s too late and you need medication to control them. Regular check-ups will let you know if you’re coming too close to the edge. It will be super difficult to enjoy all of your prosperity if you have heart problems that limit your physical capabilities later in life. A simple commitment to drink a certain amount of water or take a brisk walk daily can be a good start. Find what works for you, broccoli or beans, a walk or a jog, whatever… then keep it up with an eye for tomorrow, today is already here and you’re trying to be healthy for tomorrow. It’s the same concept as saving your pennies -for tomorrow. Not to mention, all that money you save, it isn’t for medical bills and medications is it? Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and risks for your profile. Check out http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/ and http://www.diabetes.org/ and keep an eye on the risks for cancer at http://www.cancer.org/ . As long as you’re healthy, you’ve have a shot to do whatever you want. So get out there and bust a sweat, then you can still eat your chocolate cake.

 

Learn and Understand the Basics of Saving and Investments. Then Do It.
Learn and Understand the Basics of Saving and Investments. Then Do It.
  • Finance: Access to finance literacy and finance management tools are at your fingertips

www.investopedia.com is by far one of the most robust sources of information that will break down financial terms covering everything from basic investment instruments such as what is a 401k to advanced strategies such as the “Iron Butterfly” options strategy. Additionally, you can even start studying the basics for several financial certifications if your interest takes you there.

www.wealthfront.com is like many other brokerages such as Capital One’s www.sharebuilder.com and www.betterment.com which offer an ongoing low barrier to entry investment programs that years ago just didn’t exist for unsophisticated investors to jump into straight from home. These companies allow small investors to become investment savvy and jumpstart their financial futures.

When I was growing up neither I nor my parents knew nothing of 529 plans and savings vehicles designed for education savings. Most folks know about mortgaging their homes, Tap and Pell grants or taking loans. Now, you can sign on to www.upromise.com or www.newyorksaves.org among many other sites that allow parents, guardians, educators or anyone else who cares to set up a savings account, Education IRA for loved ones coming up in the world. Some place to throw those bonuses and eBay dollars. For a general state by state listing of 529 plans, check out http://milesweekly.com/529basics If nothing but nothing, most of us can log right into our bank account and set up a Education IRA right there. Right Now.

Keep the "Marketable Skills" fresh and up to date.
Keep the “Marketable Skills” fresh and up to date.
  • Professional/ Occupational Education and Credentials.

Regardless of where you stand on the employment spectrum, today there is room to invest further into yourself and grow. Further develop your marketable skills and build on your fundamentals. Those that are at the core of your ability to save, invest and build your economic future. No matter what you do for a living including your hustle, it’s contributing to your economic foundation and right now, today, you can step that up much easier than it has ever been. There’s greater access to long distance learning, low cost learning, greater convenience and even free learning. For building out your core fundamentals check out sites like www.lynda.com where you can learn a host of things to increase you level of mastery in areas that range from business to photography.

MOOCS (Massive Open Online Courses) offer free courses and lessons from a universities and colleges around the country that allow you to even take the course online along with the class. There are several MOOCS sites, check out www.udemy.com where they prompt you to just type in what you want to learn! Then there’s the MOOC courses offered by some of the top universities and colleges, all for free! Check out http://milesweekly.com/toptenmoocs to see what is offered in in your occupation or area of interest. So no matter what you do, if you’re a techie, a small business person or both, need to know the latest language or how to build an effective marketing plan you can step your game up at your own pace.

Whatever it is that contributes to the foundation of your prosperity, remember not to lose sight of the fundamentals. I would end the conversation with my son advising that after he gets the basic jump shot and dribbling, then he can focus on his cross over dribbling skills which he’s oh so fascinated with. There’s no need to master the cross over only to miss the shot, it’s the shot that puts the score on the board.

 

-Miles.