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Volume 3 | Issue 4 www.entrepreneursanchor.com


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ublisher ’ s

P Note Dear Readers,

On behalf of the entire staff, we very much appreciate your continued support and interest in Entrepreneurs Anchor magazine. Your input, voices, comments and ideas are the reason for our ongoing push to be an industry leader. We couldn’t have done it without you. Once again, thank you! Over the last weekend, I caught myself gripped in the thought of the paradox of time. I came to a realization that Time is one of the few givens in life that is fairly given to all mankind in the same measure, irrespective of region, race, and social status. Time is a priceless possession, more valuable than anything the mind can imagine. It is the only thing money cannot buy. Peter F. Drucker, acclaimed Austrian-born, American management consultant, educator and author once wrote, “Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” Sometimes I hear people say they wasted their time doing this or that. In truth, we don’t waste time. Rather, we waste ourselves. Time is unrecyclable. We know your time is precious. More so, you have business decisions on the altar of time. Hence, we strive to bring cutting-edge business tools and information to your business door step. We proudly present our latest issue, packed with real-world and real-time information on wealth and money, retirement planning, money savings techniques, and much more. I want to extend my gratitude to our existing and new supporters and advertisers. We embarked on this journey with your support — and need it to continue our successful sojourn. Again, thank you for believing in the future and aspirations of Entrepreneurs Anchor.

The Scottish author and reformer, Samuel Smiles, wisely stated, “Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.” Take care of the ticking seconds, minutes and hours … then our days will be well-accounted. Happy reading!

Ethelbert Nwanegbo Editor-In-Chief/ Publisher

Editor-In-Chief Ethelbert Nwanegbo ethel@brainmediagroup.com Managing Editor Robert Kaye robert.kaye@brainmediagroup.com Senior Sales Diretcor Michael Cobb michael.cobb@brainmediagroup.com Production Management Megan Smith O’Neil megan.smith@brainmediagroup.com Graphic Artist Intern Kareem Brooks kareem.brooks@brainmediagroup.com Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 5


Robert Kaye is an internationally published, national, state and regional award-winning editor/ copywriter and public relations manager. He’s been published over 300 times in numerous print and electronic media (TV, radio and Internet). As a copywriter/editor, he’s contributed to and supervised the creation of numerous publications on myriad topics.

Jeanette Bajalia, founder and President of Woman’s Worth, LLC, (an affiliate of Petros Estate and Retirement Planning where she is also president, has written for national and regional publications and is an in-demand speaker at many woman’s groups. Ronnie Beaman, CPA, handles accounting and taxes for small businesses, focusing on cash management for the health and growth of a business. Her cash management expertise helps businesses to grow and thrive. Gigi Blackshear currently serves as marketing manager and newsletter editor. She is also an established motivational speaker and author of Thank you for the Pain: Poems and Reflections on the Journey to Gratitude and Founder of Conscious Choice Coaching. Jon Castle, CFP®, ChRC® is Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of PARAGON Wealth Strategies, LLD, a Jacksonville-based firm specializing in retirement planning and comprehensive wealth management for successful business owners and retirement-minded individuals.

Michael Cohn is the founder and CTO of CompuKol Communications, LLC. His firm consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, and visibility.

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Contributing

riters W Ethelbert Nwanegbo, has written for a variety of regional and national publications on topics pertaining to taxes, business management, finances, and more. He is the founder and publisher of Entrepreneurs Anchor.

Kimberly Deas is a business broker and consultant with Murphy Business and Financial Services In Jacksonville, FL. Email: k.deas@murphybusiness.com.

Dr. Francis Ikeokwu, Sr., serves as the Chair/ Associate Professor of the Department of Business Administration at Edward Waters College, focusing on in financial management, managerial and financial accounting, state and local taxations, auditing, international business and trade, business administration, forensic accounting, and financial fraud investigations.


Joe Krier, CFP®, ChFC® is President of Krier Wealth Management, a financial consulting and investment firm. He appears weekly on WJXT’s Morning Show and was nominated by Barron’s as one of its top 100 independent advisors and by PEAK for independent Practice of the Year.

Jacquelyn Wheeler-Hale heads up The Business Owners Concierge Agency in Orange Park, FL. She’s a member of FAIA and serves on its “Trusted Choice” committee. She also served as the Foundation Director for OP’s Rotary Club Sunset since 2009.

Teneshia LaFaye has also penned two books, What My Mom Taught Me About Money and Mom’s Money Lessons. She also authors a financial advice blog, www. mytensense.com. Previously she was a sports writer for the FloridaTimes Union.

Richard Reeve is the Education Coordinator at Consumer Credit Counseling Service of the Savannah Area, Inc. He’s counseled hundreds of individuals and families on budgeting, credit, getting out of debt, foreclosure intervention, home buying, bankruptcy, and reverse mortgages.  Peter Roesler is President of Web Marketing Pros has an extensive background in all things marketing, social media, and SEO. His impressive work history includes VP of Development at AppSoft Development, Director of Multimedia at Advantage Services, and Creative Director at Mammoth Technology. Steve Sanduski, CFP®, is a New York Times best-selling author, speaker, business strategist and founder of Belay Advisor.

Contributing

riters W

John Perry is the President and Principal Solutions Advisor at Amalfi IT LLC, a consulting and technology management services company that focuses on implementing cost effective and flexible solutions for growing companies.” Eva Bailey is a corporate accountant CEVA Logistics and a previous contributor for Entrepreneurs Anchor.

If you’re interested in writing for Entrepreneurs Anchor, contact Robert Kaye, robert.kaye@ brainmediagroup.com, or editor@entrepreneursanchor.com. Please submit a short biography highlighting your professional area(s) of expertise. Or visit www.entrepreneursanchor.com and see “Writers’ Corner.” Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 7


Volume3 | Issue 4

CONTENTS

Cover Features

Entrepreneurs Education

34 Businesses Gone Bust 43 Creating True Value in a Business

67 B  uilding Meaningful Relationships with Influencers

Accounting, Finance & Taxes

Money Management

29 Top Tips for Optimal Financial Health

19 W  hat Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Money

10 Understanding Your Cash Flow

17 Are You Making it or Faking it?

14 Conscious Credit Management

26 IRS Audit Triggers & Facing an IRS Audit

46 The Skinny on Fixed Annuities

Ask The Expert

21 Sore About Your Credit Score? 31 Selling Your Business? What You Need to Know 50 Five Tips for Turbulent Times

Business Technology

51 Money Musings

24 Employees’ Attitude in the Workplace

40 H  ow to Build a Dynamic Web 2.0 Presence

56 Is Your Business on Life Support? 60 Money Saving Strategies for Your Business

48 Why Anti-Virus Software Isn’t Enough to Protect Your Office

E-Focus

advertisers’ index

66 E-Focus

Copyright © 2012 by Entrepreneurs Anchor TM. All rights reserved. Contents may not be reproduced without written consent of the publisher.

Disclaimer: E n t re p re n e u r s A n c h o r T M p ro v i d e s g e n e r a l information about business topics. It does not provide legal business advice. Views and opinions expressed herein by all articles and advertisements are solely those of the authors and advertisers; they do not necessarily represent those of the magazine, nor its parent organization, Brain Media Group . Therefore, neither entity accepts any

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23 Entrepreneurs Anchor Mobile App

50 Blade Private Investigations

25 Brain Media Group

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33 Conti J. Moore Law 33 Petros Estate

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58 Masters of the Industry Award Banquet 2013 65 Entrepreneurs Anchor Spotlight Your Business 70 Jacksonville University 72 PowerHouse Anchor


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MONEY MANAGEMENT

UNDERSTANDING YOUR

Cash FLOW

By Dr. Francis Ikeokwu, Sr.

As an entrepreneur, you can’t ignore the adage that “cash is the ruler” in any business setting. Whatever way you may define the word ruler―as a monarch or as a measuring object―cash should be at the top of the entrepreneurs’ list of delicate assets to watch. Cash is an important part of the current asset that helps business stay afloat in that it’s the most liquid of all assets. That being said, cash is a very complex asset that can unexpectedly determine the success or failure of your business objectives. Therefore, cash and its equivalents remain important tools entrepreneurs’ needs to monitor and control for their businesses to succeed. Cash and Cash Equivalents When thinking about cash, one first considers the currencies in his or her wallet or handbag, cash hidden around the house or in the office, locked inside a safe, or money at the bank. Yet “cash” also consists of:

• • • • • • • •

Coins Currencies Savings accounts deposits Checking accounts deposits Customer checks Certified checks Notes Money orders, etc.

Cash also includes such cash equivalents as short-term funds, and high-liquid investments that are readily convertible to physical cash. Since cash and its equivalents are the most liquid of all the entrepreneur’s assets, they can evaporate very easily if entrepreneurs fail to monitor their cash flow properly. 10 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

“Effectively managing one’s cash flow is one of the keys to attaining business success.” Cash Flow As a measure of entrepreneurs’ ability to pay short-term bills when due, cash flow is very important, because of its vital role in the operation of business. Effectively managing one’s cash flow is one of the keys to attaining business success. Entrepreneurs should always be familiar with the movement of cash in his or her company and beware aware of:

• How cash is derived • How disbursements are made • How cash is used to fund the operations of the business

• Authorization of cash disbursement • Amount of cash maintained in the company at all times

• The strategies implement to attract steady cash inflow, as well as control of cash outflo


Cash Inflow This relates to the monies coming in to the business through various channels. All organizations should maximize their company—for profit and non-profit entities alike. For those profit- oriented organizations selling tangible products or rendering services, profit is their utmost goal. Non-profits likewise still require surplus cash to function and achieve success in their objectives. One responsibility of every entrepreneur is to ensure there is constant cash flow in to the business. Incoming funds may take several forms:

• • • • • • • • •

Receipts from customers Interests received from borrowers Selling equity investments Receiving donations Collecting principal on loans Receiving cash dividends, selling fixed assets Selling bonds Receiving bank overdrafts or bank loans Selling equity securities (stocks), etc.

“Slowing down your cash outflow will improve your profit margin and overall liquidity.”

Entrepreneurs may have good intentions to minimize cash outflow. We all wish the term “cash outflow” didn’t exist. Unfortunately, as long as “wants” and “needs” are fiduciary realities, cash outflow will always remain a necessity. The best alternative is to strive to minimize the outflow of cash through effective cash flow control. Controlling Cash Flow In every business setting and based on normal expectations, inflow of cash should always be greater than cash outflow. When this happens, entrepreneurs can create growth potential for their business. Growth potential can only occur if you can attract more cash inflow and decrease outflow. Slowing down your cash outflow will improve your profit margin and overall liquidity. No matter how large or small, businesses shouldn’t measure its success on the number of sales of products or services alone. Hard-earned profits can disappear through your fingers, leaving you wondering what happened to the fantastic sales figures you culled last month. Unbelievably, improper control of cash outflow is the reason most entrepreneurs don’t stay around too long to recount their success stories. Furthermore, most entrepreneurs tend to forget that those fantastic sales figures may include credit sales that could one day become uncollectables. A common mistake is to tie most of your monies down in those credit sales records, also called “accounts receivable.” Another common error is not considering the money you owe others, especially those short-term debts, also known as “accounts payables.” You

Cash Outflow While entrepreneurs seek to accumulate as much cash as possible, in any normal business setting, they can’t avoid spending some cash in its day-to-day operations. Nevertheless, successful entrepreneurs are able to control unnecessary spending. Cash outflow occurs when the company spends monies collected from selling products or rendering services, such as paying for:

• • • • • • • • • • •

Goods and services Salaries and wages Office supplies Taxes and fines Interest to lenders Owners’ withdrawal Dividends Purchasing debt investments dividends Purchasing fixed assets Repaying cash loans Purchasing Treasury stocks, etc.

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mustn’t ignore the seriousness of the money you owe to your suppliers, or to those who rendered services to your business. The amount owed may determine your liquidity and ability to operate effectively. Internal Control Controlling your cash flow requires proper internal control of your cash inflow and outflow. Entrepreneurs should know how to handle and manage money, which includes knowing where the funds are coming from and where they’re going. The reason is to ascertain proper receipt of funds; avoid improper waste, employee fraud, and undocumented accounts receivable; keep accurate payment and record of 12 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

disbursements and proper documentation of bank deposits from revenues. Maintaining appropriate control of your operations sends a message throughout your firm that you’re intimately aware of the daily activities in your organization. This, in turn, helps discourage internal or external attempts to defraud your company. You should always retain a reliable professional accountant, ideally through outsourcing the preparation of your accounting information. Outsourcing will provide you with the ample time to focus on what you do best: running your business.


Reducing Cash Outflow The answer to controlling your cash flow lies in how you approach the control of expenditures, collection of accounts receivables, and disbursement of accounts payables. The speed at which you incur expenses must not outpace the rate of cash inflow. Always seek ways to accelerate cash inflow and decrease cash outflow. Budgeting for both is an effective tool in maintaining control of your cash. Managing Accounts Receivables This is an important step to improving cash management and maximizing cash flow. You should establish a good billing system for prompt collection of accounts receivables. Most entrepreneurs base their collection of accounts receivables on trust. Trust is good, but the main objective is to bring cash into the company as quickly as possible. You should promptly bill your customers and aggressively follow up on overdue invoices. Don’t be afraid to ask for advance deposits before allowing credit sales. Find ways to make your customers adhere to your accounts receivable policies and credit terms. Don’t deviate from your policies, or treat certain customers differently than others in terms of your company’s credit policies.

Allowing Early Payment Discounts One important tool for managing cash inflow is offering a discount for early payments. There are several advantages for offering an early payment discount to your customers, such expediting the payment process, reducing bad debts, improving cash

flow, and promoting a sense of care and trust in the minds of your customers. Obviously, early payment discount can reduce cash at hand, while your sales figures paint a different picture. In addition, your loyal customers may attach too much importance on the discount, and may become disappointed if such benefits vanish.

“Entrepreneurs should know how to handle cash and money.”

Preventing Late Payments Reducing the risk of late payments, as well as avoiding non-payment, are very important in running a successful business. Entrepreneurs should develop clear and concise credit terms and payment policies, clearly emphasizing the statutory rights for payment collection in your agreements. As a valuable document, your billing invoice must carefully contain accurate transactions. Items on the invoice must be complete and designed to reflect all transactions and terms. You must clearly understand the significance of your sales invoice as a sales contract and treat it as such. Another tool for preventing late payment from your debtors is to establish electronic payments. Most successful companies use it as a debt tracking and collection tool. You can send your customers early payment reminders before the due dates. Designing payment and collection timetables is a good reminder and valuable collection tool for accounts receivables. In order to receive timely payment, you must consistently inform your customers of how much s/he owes, how much s/he is scheduled to pay, and at what date payment is expected. As mentioned earlier, lack of prompt payment of customers’ accounts receivables can affect the company drastically because of the amount of money tied up in accounts receivables. Avoid having the majority of your accounts receivables becoming uncollectible accounts.

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C o n sc i o u s C r e d it

manag e m e nt By Gigi Blackshear Credit is a way of having something now and paying for it later. Many of us want to take advantage of flexibility in our spending plans by using credit. However, credit is not free. Credit can provide many benefits when it is handled responsibly. Credit allows you to spread out payments for costly expenses such as computers or pricey office equipment, make purchases and/or pay bills over the phone or Internet, or pay for exorbitant emergency expenditures. Credit can also make it easier to return unwanted merchandise. Credit itself is neither a positive nor a negative thing; it’s a tool that can be used wisely or poorly. Unwise use of credit can lead to disastrous financial problems and have far-reaching consequences. Therefore, it is important to learn—ideally, the earlier in your life the better—the advantages and disadvantages of using credit.

Advantages of Credit: • Manage overall expenditures more effectively • Provides establishment of a good credit rating • Helps improve one’s general way of life • Provides the ability to take advantage of on-the-spot discounts • Enables the ability to purchase larger or more expensive items and amortize or spread out those payments • Replaces the need for carrying large amounts of cash • Helps to handle financial emergencies • Provides a method for keeping savings intact

“In reviewing your application for credit, lenders usually use a point scoring system.”

Disadvantages of Credit: • Provides a false sense of financial security

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 ommits future earnings towards previous C purchases

 romotes temptation to overspend and P making impulse purchases

Decreases cash savings

 ay include paying finance charges and/or M interest, thereby increasing the actual cost of the product or service


Applying For Credit Key things to keep in mind before applying for credit: Do you currently have a spending plan or budget? How much credit can you afford? No more that 20% of your monthly net income should be committed to consumer installment debt. The 20% includes car payments, installment loans and personal loans. It does not include your mortgage/rent payments or utility bills. It’s unwise to take on additional credit unless you’re certain you can afford to do so. Other affordability issues to consider: Is your business/job/income stable? What are the odds of being laid off or experiencing a loss of income?

Character Perhaps the most important of the three, lenders evaluate what has been your responsibility in paying your previous debts. Lenders rely on credit bureau reports to determine your character. They will also verify the information you provide to determine if you have provided them accurate financial information. Any deliberate falsification on your behalf also diminishes your character. Use Credit Wisely Once you have been granted credit, here is additional advice on how to manage it:

• Budget what you can charge or borrow each month,

just as you budget what you spend in cash. If you won’t be able to pay off your bills next month or meet monthly loan payments, you’re over budget and headed for trouble.

Do you currently have adequate amounts of savings? How does obtaining credit fit into your overall financial plan? Will obtaining credit help you achieve your goals?

“Credit itself is neither a positive nor a negative thing.” The Big Three C’s Qualifying for credit and proving that you are credit worthy will involve your ability to repay your charges in a timely manner, your assets that serve as security, and your attitude towards responsibility. In reviewing your application for credit, lenders usually use a point scoring system or more commonly look at The Big Three C’s: Capacity, Capital and Character. Examining these three parameters help creditors analyze their risk when approving applications for credit.

• Keep all charge receipts so you can check them against

Capacity This takes in to consideration your income and your financial obligations to determine if you can handle any additional debt. In other words, whether or not you have the financial capacity to take on the additional credit you’re seeking.

you pay only the minimum balance due on your credit cards, additional interest, finance and late charges will all accumulate. These will add considerably to the original cost your purchase.

Capital What assets and resources do you have? Is there equity in your home? Do you own your car? When evaluating capital, lenders will look for a means of repayment and also seek assurance that a debt could be paid from your assets if absolutely necessary.

your monthly statements. If there is an error on the statement, contact the credit card company and your own bank immediately.

• Pay on time (preferably early) and in-full. Remember, if

Being credit conscious means recognizing credit is not free. You pay for it! If not used wisely it’s paid for by interest, finance charges, late charges, all of which can drive you into financial trouble. The statistics of how many people end up filing for bankruptcy due to unwise use of their credit cards is staggering and emotionally devastating. Conversely, when used wisely and treated as a privilege, credit can help you have more, and enjoy a better, happier life.

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Are You Making It or Faking It?

By Steve Sanduski

“You’re either making it or faking it,” said the shoe shiner to the businessman wearing expensive Allen Edmonds shoes in an old shoe commercial. The businessman looked the part but there was a chance that he wasn’t being the part. Likewise, are you just looking the part of a successful financial advisor but not really being one? Authenticity is a critical component of being a successful financial advisor. Unfortunately, not all advisors fit that description. I had one advisor tell me, “I could be selling anything, but I just happen to be selling financial services.” Clearly, I wouldn’t want to be his client. When you are authentic, clients feel it. They turn more of their assets over to you. They refer more people to you. They heed your advice. And they’re more likely to reach their financial goals because you have a genuine interest in their success and the knowledge of how to help them achieve it. So, how can you be an authentic advisor as opposed to one who just looks the part? Examine Your Motivation Are you in this business because you can make a lot of money? I had a conversation with another financial advisor who said he didn’t like being in the business but he kept at it because he was making a lot of money. And while I’ve lost track of him, it wouldn’t surprise me to discover he was bounced out of the business as his now-former clients realized his heart was in the wrong place. First and foremost, authentic advisors are motivated to help their clients succeed. They put clients’ needs first and receive great satisfaction seeing their clients reach lifetime goals. And guess what? When you sincerely do that on a regular basis, then you can end up making a lot of money.

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Genuinely Like Your Clients Adding new clients can be difficult at times so it’s tempting to bring on anyone who’s willing to work with you, regardless of the fit. Instead, I encourage you to interview your potential new clients just like they interview you. These people could be entrusting you with their financial growth and security for 10 or 20 years. So ensure there is a mutually amicable relationship. If you take on a new client solely because they have a lot of money, but you don’t enjoy interacting with them, or they constantly challenge or disagree with your advice, you’re doing yourself, your staff and your client a huge disservice. Authentic advisors work with clients where there’s mutual like, trust and respect. If you have a client or two that does not fit that description, then it’s time to suggest they take their business elsewhere. Don’t fake sincerity. Continually Better Yourself I’ve been in this business for nearly 20 years and yet everyday I learn something new. Continuous learning is a form of authenticity because it means I’m serious about being the best investment advisor, coach, and writer I possibly can. If you find yourself resting on your

laurels or feeling like you already know what you need to know, that’s a clear sign that rust is setting in and you need to either get reenergized or get out of the business. Authentic advisors — like any good professional in their field of choice — are excited about learning new things. They study, attend conferences, network with and learn from peers, join coaching programs, read … anything they can do to learn more about their profession. They retain more than they forget.

“First and foremost, authentic advisors are motivated to help clients succeed. “

Like the businessman wearing those fashionable and expensive Allen Edmonds shoes, looking the part is barely half the equation — if that. Nobody likes a charlatan, especially when it comes to entrusting them with their hard-earned money. Take time over the next few months and thoroughly examine your level of authenticity. Depending upon what you discover, either get reengaged in the business or get out. If you decide it’s time to get out, there’s good news: there are many authentic investment advisors who’re waiting in the wings to take your place. Bottom line? Your clients deserve only the best from you.

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What Parents Should Teach Their Kids About Money By Teneshia LaFaye

car and live in a big house. They could be deeply in credit card debt. They could be behind on car payments. Their house could be in foreclosure. So don’t go broke trying to keep up with others who are going broke trying to impress you and everybody else. EARN YOUR OWN MONEY The Bible teaches us that “if a man doesn’t work, he shouldn’t eat.”

Most of us have heard the sage Chinese proverb, “Give a man a fish and he won’t starve for a day. Teach a man how to fish and he won’t starve for his entire life.” The same holds true for your children. Teach them how to make money and how to be responsible with their money while they’re under your care. Then they won’t come to you for money all the time when they move out. You don’t want a situation in which they’ve become middle - aged adults and they’re still depending on your handouts, because it will eat away at your retirement. Not to mention your patience and sanity. I learned this from my grandfather who likes to say he should have a million dollars because he made six figures the last decade of his career and still makes nearly $100,000 per year in retirement. But he freely gave large sums of money to his children, grandchildren, siblings and other family members and friends. So now he hardly has any money saved. This is playing out in many American households, where the matriarch or patriarch takes care of the extended family because s/he never taught the children “how to fish.” Here are some financial lessons children should be taught, based on my books, What My Mom Taught Me About Money and Mom’s Money Lessons:

DON’T BE SO CAUGHT UP IN APPEARANCES Even though the grass looks greener on the other side, you should definitely stop trying to keep up with the Joneses. This is because many people don’t have it as good as it appears, even though they wear fancy clothes, drive a flashy

Everyone has unique talents and interests and, in an ideal world and economy, should pursue a career that utilizes those talents and expertise. Children can get paid for their talents by singing or playing an instrument in church, by repairing or cleaning homes or by babysitting. Amateur athletes can strike a deal with family to pay a certain amount for every score made. If a teenager enjoys video games or music, s/he should apply for a job at multimedia retail stores such as F.Y.E. or Best Buy. If the child likes cars, s/he can try to work at a car wash or start a mobile detailing business. If the teen likes to style hair, s/he can get paid by family and friends to do their hair until old enough to go to school and eventually become licensed to work in or open a hair salon/ barber shop. Having your own money empowers you, so people can’t hold things over your head, such as cutting off your cell phone or kicking you out if you don’t follow their rules.

IT’S NOT WHAT YOU MAKE, IT’S WHAT YOU KEEP You don’t need to win the lottery or be an entertainer or professional athlete to be set financially. In fact, many celebrities and entertainers end up broke because they waste all their money on big houses, luxury cars, excessive shopping and supporting their entourage of family and friends. Here’s a statistic to ponder: The average NFL player makes $1 million a year, but ends up broke within two years of retirement. Wide receiver, Terrell Owens, who was second all-time in NFL history for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, went broke within a year of being unemployed last year; furthermore he’s tried to stay out of jail for failing to keep up with his child support payments. Meanwhile, a minimum wage worker at McDonald’s can retire a millionaire because the restaurant chain’s retirement plan is so generous. For instance, McDonald’s gives a 300% match for the first 1% of an employee’s income and a 100% match for the next 4% of a worker’s salary through the 401(k) program. However, the worker has to make regular contributions to the 401(k) for at least 12 years while learning to live on a budget in order to retire with $1 million by his or her retirement. Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 19


YOU DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUT STUDENT LOANS TO GO TO COLLEGE The cost of college is rising, but there are state and federal grants you can apply for to pay for your tuition and books. That’s how I went to college for free while pursuing a fouryear degree in print journalism, and now my oldest son has completed his first year of college with the help of state and federal aid. He even had money left over to buy an expensive watch and to start his own fashion rating social network. You also can be paid by your college, like my son, to be a student ambassador, or you can apply for a work study program on campus, as I did several times while in college. To apply for state and federal aid, you go to www.fafsa. gov (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). It’s best to apply after Valentine’s Day of your senior year of high school and also every spring while you’re in college. As mentioned previously about appearances, don’t try to impress others by going away to college. Stay home and attend the local college or consider getting an online degree (as long as the institution has good reputation; some are better than others). That way you don’t have to worry about rent and food. If attending a private college or leaving the state, someone — probably your parents with possibly you contributing — are going have to pay for your housing, food, possibly transportation, and your tuition will be 10-20 times higher than if you attend an in-state, public college. You also would likely need student loans to pay for private or out-ofstate tuition. Stay away from student loans because you can’t get rid of them should ever have to file bankruptcy; your paycheck can be garnished to force you to repay the loans. A Washington Post article once told about a woman who took out $21,000 in student loans and with interest over time, they ballooned to $54,000. Although she filed for bankruptcy, she still had the student loans and was forced to repay them out of her paycheck and struggled on only making $25,000 a year. DON’T BE IN A RUSH TO MOVE OUT ON YOUR OWN Most teenagers can’t wait to move out on their own. But why the rush to get out when you have to start paying your own bills? Your fun is short-lived when you can no longer stay out late at night because you have to get up the next morning to go to work in order to keep the roof over your head. If you don’t pay your rent, you get evicted. If you don’t make your car payments, the car is repossessed. If you and parents are amenable, stay home if you don’t plan to go to college, and if you do go to college, move back with your family after graduation; at least until you can truly make it financially on your own. To determine when you’re ready to make that big move, make a budget to figure out how much it will cost you for rent, electric, phone, food, car, gas, and other necessities each month and multiply that by six or 12. That’s how much you’ll need to have saved in order to be financially secure enough to move out on your own. You should shoot for 12 months of living expenses, because it could take that long to find a job if you’re ever let go from a current one. But first have three months of savings tucked away, then six, and then 12. Nor do you have to stop there … the more money “in your back pocket” (ideally in an incomegenerating bank account) the better.

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Those are just a few of the lessons children should be taught about money before they go off into the real world. But before the kids grow up, there are also ways for them to contribute to the household. Back in the day, many couples had six or more children in order to have enough help for extensive daily chores and to take care of the family’s massive land. So kids were considered working assets. Now, however, kids can be a financial liability, costing a minimum of $250,000 to raise each child from birth to age 17, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But even though times have changed, children can once again be assets around the house to save the household much-needed funds at a time when most Americans are one paycheck away from poverty. The U.S. government has created a “Help Your Family Save Money” initiative that uses comic strips to teach you children and teenagers various ways to help their family cut expenses:

• Turn off electrical gadgets when they aren’t being

used, such as TVs, computers, printers, coffee machines, toasters, video game consoles, TVs, lights, etc.

• Borrow DVDs, CDs and books from the public library,

but remember to return them on time to avoid late fees. Many libraries, such as our own Jacksonville Public Library, have thousands of free, downloadable digital versions of books, music and movies (visit www.jpl.coj.net).

• Help locate, clip and organize coupons for food, restaurants and events the family enjoys.

• Find and place loose change into a family jar or piggy bank.

• Shop the sales racks to save money on fashionable, but out-of-season clothes. Even better, visit your local thrift shops. It’s amazing what you can sometimes find there.

• Babysit and/or do chores for family, relatives, friends or even an elderly neighbor to help earn money.

So get your children involved—now!—in becoming a valuable contributor to the household. Teach them how to wisely handle money early on, to keep them from costing you more money when they’re adults, needing to be bailed out of a financial jam because they mishandled their own income, or lack thereof. It’s never too late to teach your children how to be responsible with money. Teach them how to budget and encourage them to save for a rainy day. Better yet, many rainy days.


By Richard Reeve The recent credit crunch has impacted entrepreneurs as much as any business sector in the country. With lending restrictions now tightened, business owners continue to look for ways improve their personal credit and increase their ability to borrow money. Not only can better credit help decide whether you can borrow, it also determines how much you pay to borrow that money. As my grandfather always said, “Borrowed money always costs money.” In today’s still-lethargic economy, personal credit can’t help but impact your employment, insurance premiums and housing options.

Once you obtain your report, you need to know some basic tips on how to read it. Start by reviewing the Personal Information section. Ensure your name is spelled correctly and your address is correct. The most common errors usually come in the form of “Jr.” instead of “Sr.,” or “W49th” street instead of “E49th” Street. People often gloss over this section, but no mistake is too small to have corrected. Not only to ensure the credit agencies have your correct name, address, etc., but also because errors in the Personal Information section can sometimes be the first indicator of identity theft. The second section you need to review is Public Records. This section contains negative financial information that goes through the courts. These include bankruptcy, tax liens, judgments, foreclosures and repossessions. Anything in the public record section is a priority debt and should be addressed immediately. Although most negative information stays on your credit for seven years (and positive information for 10 years), there are exceptions: judgments, which stay on for 10 years and are renewed for another 10. Items such as a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may stay on for your credit reports for 10 years, while tax liens and student loans do not disappear until paid-in-full.

Annual Manual The first thing you need to know is how to access your personal credit reports. You also want to obtain them for free, and for that, there is only one website to access. No catchy jingles, no slick advertising on TV, and no requests for your credit card number during so-called “trial periods.” That website is www.annualcreditreport.com. By federal law, you have the right to access your credit report once a year and at no cost from all three credit reporting agencies—Equifax, Experian and Transunion. You may also call 877-322-8228 and have all three agencies’ reports mailed directly to you. Why do you need to see all three reports? Won’t one suffice? No. That’s because there may not be the same information on each of the three agencies’ reports. Why? Creditors are not obligated to report to all three agencies. Strange but true.

The third section to review is Collection Accounts. Once an account goes from credit status to collection status, damage has been done to your credit score. It’s always better to pay an account before it goes to a collection status. Collection accounts can be sold multiple times so, when reviewing your credit report, look for the accounts that have a current balance. The next section to review is Credit Accounts. Here, you will see accounts you’ve paid off or that are currently active. Look for any late payments. Even a 30-day late payment can have an impact on your credit score. The final section to review is Inquiries. Credit inquiries can be made by you or by a creditor trying to solicit you. Only when you seek out new lines of credit does it lower your score, but both show up on your credit report. If you have a lot of inquiries and would like to have fewer, you can always opt out by going to www.optoutprescreen.com or calling 1-888-567-8688. This will reduce your credit card offers and any further inquiries on your credit report. Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 21


A large number of credit reports have at least one error. What if you find errors one (or more) of your three reports? You can always dispute them online with each credit reporting agency. You should know they may ask for additional documentation. If you want a paper trail, be prepared to type a letter explaining your dispute, include photocopies of your report with errors circled, supporting evidence as to why it is an error, and send it all by certified mail to the credit reporting agencies. By law, the agencies have 30 days to reply. If a credit reporting agency still verifies the disputed item, you may want to take your dispute directly to the creditor. The Core of Keeping a Good Score All five sections in the report can impact your credit score. Keep in mind that a credit score is not a personal judgment; but is merely a form of risk analysis. The reality is your score comes only from the information on your report. That means the only way to improve your score is by improving the information on your report. The crucial factors that go into the score are payment history and debt. Those two items make up two-thirds of your score. So if you can pay your accounts on time and keep your debts to below 30% of your available credit, you will probably have a good score. Also, try to keep the same creditors for a long period of time (especially with credit cards, it’s best to avoid frequent balance transfers), not get too much new credit (avoid department store offers to open an account to only save 10%), and have a balance of different types of credit (a mix of installment loans, as in a car or mortgage payment; and revolving accounts, such as credit cards). A coworker of mine who has owned several businesses paid cash for everything for a long period of his life (tough to imagine in today’s world). He was relatively stress-free because he had no debt. The problems arose when he tried to buy a car. Naturally, the dealer went to pull his credit reports. Nothing came back. Zilch, nada, bupkis. So he had to start small by establishing credit. For him, that meant a gas card. He also might have obtained a department store

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card. I prefer a small secured installment loan or credit card from a local credit union or bank. This can be a good place to establish credit for young people or reestablish credit for those of us financially devastated from the recession or other factors. As an entrepreneur, when searching for new lines of credit, be creative. For example, you can use a credit reference letter from a vendor or a business that shows you have a good payment history.

“The only way to improve your credit score is by improving the information on your report.” To review, the best four things you can do to establish and retain a good credit score:

• • • •

Pull your report once a year Dispute errors immediately Make on-time payments monthly Keep your balances low

If you feel you need help, contact a National Foundation for Credit Counseling agency (www.nfcc.org) in your area for a free credit review. Then it’s time to start building it up again … But now armed with this strategic information as your guide.


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Ask the Expert:

Employees’ Attitudes in the Workplace By Eva Bailey One of my clients once asked me, “Should companies worry about employee attitudes?” To which I responded: “Companies should worry about employee’s attitudes only when it has a negative impact on other employees or customer relationships and when it results directly from the work situation.” As HRM literature suggests—contrary to what one would normally think—happy employees are not necessarily always high-performing employees. Similarly, employees harboring negative attitudes are not always low-performing employees. When it comes to employees’ negative attitudes, the company should worry about such attitudes when there is a direct impact on the relations with other employees and customers. Negative attitudes may result directly from the work situation. The employee may not be satisfied with the work environment or conditions. Sometimes, employees may feel that their work is not interesting and challenging enough. Negative attitudes may lead to decrease in job satisfaction and loyalty; as disgruntled employees search for new opportunities outside the organization. Then the company risks losing its talented workforce. In situations where the companies offer similar salary range and benefits in the job market, and high turnover is still prevalent, companies should be concerned about employees attitudes and address the issues that lead to such personal opinions. Another client posited the following question to me. “If positive employee attitudes are an objective, should an organization directly link pay incentives to attitudes?” Organizations should not directly link pay incentives to attitudes. According to several studies, there is no evidence that positive attitudes lead to high performance. At the same time, the negative attitude does not have to result in a weak employee performance. Positive attitude may be a personal trait, unrelated to the job performance by any means. An employee may be very likeable among the others, but may not be as effective or talented as the employee with negative attitude. This case would be analogical to that of an employee with a negative attitude. Such employee would not be the most likable person in the workplace but she may be a high performer, and have the best relationships with the other stakeholders. 24 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

There is no part of attitude that can be measured objectively. If we have two managers in the same group, one manager may prefer the employee with the negative attitude over the employee with the positive attitude and vice versa. The level of an employee’s pleasant attitude to her/his team members or the number of times s/he smiles during the day can’t justify their performance level. Companies should take measures to address negative attitudes in cases where these attitudes obstruct the positive work environment, employee relationships or the quality of customer service. Actions should be taken to investigate whether the attitudes result from the work situations; hence, necessitating changes in work environment. If the bad attitudes are attached to personal traits, the organizations may want to look at its selection process to determine what changes should be made to avoid hiring employees with bad attitudes.


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IRS Audit Triggers & Facing an IRS Audit By Ethelbert Nwanegbo IRS Audit Triggers An IRS audit is used to close the “tax gaps.” The tax gap is the difference between what the IRS expects to collect and what is actually reported by the taxpayer or collected by the IRS. At the close of every tax season, the IRS uses a computerized screening process to select returns for examination. The computer follows a random sampling process or income document matching program. In other words, audits are triggered by patterns or specific “behaviors” on a taxpayer’s tax return. However, the number of samples selected for audit has risen over the years. As the government and state officials fight with the budget crunch, taxpayers should expect to see an increase in the number of audits. Audit letters usually go out 18 months after the filing date. So if your 2012 taxes are to be audited, and you filed your taxes on or before April 15th, (that is didn’t file for an extension of that year) you’ll receive a letter around November 2013.

There are certain items on your tax return that can easily trigger an audit by the IRS. Being audited does not mean that you did something wrong; it is just an indication that your return met the IRS’ audit trigger check. Potential Triggers:

“The IRS could propose a change to your tax return, which may impose additional taxes on or refunds due to the tax payer.”

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 Income misrepresentation – reporting the wrong taxable income

• •

Rounded numbers

 laiming non-legitimate business losses (i.e., C hobby losses)

 Unreasonable business vehicle and mileage deduction

 rrors/ Mistakes – filing status, wrong E deductions, credits, etc.

 usinesses expenses – meals (unreasonable B meal expenses), suspicious home office expenses, etc.

 uge donations – amount of donation vs. H income/budget


The Dreaded Letter: Your Return Has Been Selected for an Audit

You May Qualify for an Offer to Compromise

You cannot stop asking yourself why your tax return was selected for an audit out of the millions of tax returns filed with the IRS. Ruminating about it is useless. Time to focus on action. After the IRS processes and accepts your return, a computer program called the Discriminant Inventory Function System (DIFS) assigns a numeric score to all the tax returns processed. High scores on the DIFS increases the chance that the examination of the tax return in question will result in proposed changes to the income tax liability. Your return may also be marked for an audit due to a conflict in the reported information received from a third-party, such as a 1099, W-2, 1098, and the like.

The IRS may, in certain conditions, allow the taxpayer to pay less than the full amount of tax owed following an audit. The tax payer has to meet the following conditions to qualify:

a.

 ou’re not a debtor in an open bankruptcy Y proceeding

b. c.

An application fee of $150

d.

 our offer must be submitted with one of the Y following payments:

• Lump Sum Offer – 20 % payment or a signed Form 656-A application fee and payment.

The Results of Your IRS Audit A.

The IRS could propose a change to your tax return, which may impose additional taxes on or refunds due the tax payer. You have the right to agree or disagree with the proposed changes. The proposed changes letter will detail other options available to the tax payer should s/he disagree with the proposed amendment to her/his tax return.

B. The IRS tax examination could also lead to an additional refund mailed to the taxpayer, with a letter detailing unclaimed tax credits or errors in the computation of the tax liability. Obviously, this is most advantageous outcome of an IRS audit.

 igned Form 656-A, Income Certification for Offer in S Compromise

• Periodic Payment Offer – The first

installment or a signed form 656-A application fee and payment.

The IRS is more likely accept your offer if:

• •

There’s doubt about the amount the taxpayer owes.

 n economic hardship will result if the taxpayer has A to pay the amount owed in-full.

 here’s a doubt about the taxpayer’s ability to T pay the amount owed based on proof of financial hardship.

C. The IRS examination could also lead to no changes in the taxpayer’s tax return; thus, you will not receive any letter from the IRS. Remedies Act Fast or Lose the Right to Fight Upon receipt of the IRS audit letter, it is advisable for the taxpayer to act expeditiously. Be sure to respond to or call the IRS office to initiate actions, or ask for more time to respond to the letter. Ensure you respond within the 30-day window allotted for your response to the letter. If no action is initiated on the part of the taxpayer within the allotted time frame, the dispute becomes the final assessment and moves on to the collections department (if you end up owing more money to the IRS). Hire a Tax Professional 75% of the IRS audits are conducted by mail. You may choose to handle this case on your own, or engage the services of a tax accountant, or enlist the services of your tax preparer. Sometimes, the IRS may require an in-person meeting with the audited taxpayer. In this regard, it is advisable to engage a tax accountant or CPA to represent you. 0:00 /3:46How to avoid a tax audit by the IRS

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 27


The Suite Life Experience the ultimate Jaguars gameday experience with a Jaguars Luxury Suite Rental Package Treat yourself to a day that you and your guests will never forget by choosing the all-inclusive Two-Game Suite Package or the Single-Game Suite Package.

TWO-GAME ALL-INCLUSIVE LUXURY SUITE PACKAGE

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Select two Jaguars home games, or two suites for one game. Suite sizes available: 20 or 12 person. The 20 person suite includes a private in-suite bathroom. Two-Game Package includes: • 20 tickets and six parking passes per game OR 12 tickets and three parking passes per game, based on suite size booked • Receive four guest passes to invite additional guests, with tickets, to your suite • Game day food & beverage package included • Visit from Jaguars Ambassadors and ROAR Cheerleaders during game • Receive an exclusive Jaguars Suite Owner Gift Bag • Complimentary group photo • Placed on priority wait list for the opportunity to purchase a suite for a non-Jaguars event at EverBank Field, such as the Gator Bowl, Florida vs. Georgia Game, Monster Truck, Super Cross • Option to purchase additional seats for any Jaguars 2012 home game at special rate

Select a Jaguars home game. Suite sizes available: 20 or 12 person. The 20 person suite includes a private in-suite bathroom. Single-Game Package includes: • 20 tickets and six parking passes OR 12 tickets and three parking passes per game, based on suite size booked • Receive four guest passes to invite additional guests, with tickets, to your luxury suite • Visit from Jaguars Ambassadors and ROAR Cheerleaders during a game • Receive an exclusive Jaguars Suite Owner Gift Bag • Complimentary group photo • Option to purchase additional seats for any Jaguars 2012 home game at special discounted rate

20 Person Suite Package = $16,998* 12 Person Suite Package = $12,998*

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28 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com


To p T i p s f o r

Optimal Financial Health

By Jeannette Bajalia

Oftentimes, we neglect our financial health. This is never a good idea as financial well-being directly correlates with our overall health and wellness. Taking the time to improve your financial health will impact every facet of your life for the better, now and in the future. Many factors contribute to your financial health and wellbeing. Utilize these simple tips to ensure you’re on the right track when it comes to planning for optimum financial health and wellness.

If you’ve not addressed these basic lifestyle concerns in your financial plan, then you really don’t have a plan. Remember: “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail!” Maintaining a comfortable lifestyle—physically and fiscally— is the number one financial planning challenge for the aging Baby Boomer population.

Get a Financial Physical Be certain to schedule your financial physical and don’t procrastinate, which we all tend to do. Your financial health is as important as (and can adversely affect) your physical and mental health. Just like when you visit your primary care physician for an annual physical, get an annual fiscal checkup by your accountant or financial advisor. And before you agree to any changes, if necessary, seek a second opinion. Here are the things that should be discussed in your financial physical:

• Even if you currently have enough money saved for

your future and even if you think you are “doing okay,” do you know how much income you’ll need in 10 or 20 years due to inflation?

• Changing your lifestyle in later years due to the loss of a spouse and thus their Social Security income and/or their pension income.

• Loss of principal due to stock market declines or

even another market correction as we saw in 2008.

• Not knowing a way to crash-proof your estate for you and your spouse, or future generations.

• The three different types of taxes that can decimate your IRAs and other retirement accounts

• Paying too much in income and Social Security taxes.

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 29


Secure Your Estate Plan Ensure your estate plan is up to date and all of your legal documents are compliant and still represent your wishes and desires should you pass away. What does this entail? It’s about ensuring your legal documents protect you from probate and estate (death) taxes.  A review of your wills, trusts, general powers of attorney, health care, powers of attorney, and living will is necessary to ensure compliance. Also to make certain that things in your life or in the lives of your heirs have not changed.  For instance, if one of your heirs is (unfortunately) on disability and is getting government assistance, an inheritance could potentially disrupt those benefits, so this needs to be addressed. Far too often these documents are prepared and never revisited until they are to be implemented when a major, sometimes catastrophic life event occurs. By then it’s too late. Also, in the case of trusts, you must evaluate and review them to make certain the trust is funded.  Far too often we see attorneys developing great trust packages, yet the trusts never get funded with proper assets. 

“Schedule your financial physical and don’t procrastinate, which we all tend to do” Third-Party Evaluation of Risk Mitigation Have a third party evaluate all of your risk mitigation policies to see you’re not paying too much, to validate you’re not overinsured or under-insured, and any beneficiaries are recorded appropriately.  Look at such policies and contracts as:

• • • • • • • •

Homeowners’ Insurance Auto Insurance Health Insurance Life Insurance Long-term Care Insurance Umbrella Insurance Coverage Dental, Vision and other Ancillary Insurance Annuity Contracts

If you’ve not evaluated these types of contracts, you may be paying too much, as in the case of life insurance, where premiums have significantly come down and many people holding on to older policies are now over paying for the benefits offered. Align Portfolio with Financial Goals This focuses on balancing your portfolio within the context of your personal life and career goals. When was the last time you rebalanced your portfolio to account for changes in your life circumstances?  For example, if you are nearing retirement, have you rebalanced the risk versus safe ratios? 

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The prudent investor’s rule suggests that as we mature in years, so should our portfolios; in other words, as we get older, we should take less risks and thus a portfolio rebalancing is warranted at two levels: the Risk versus Safe Level, and the Asset Class Level, to ensure you have the proper diversification for your stage in life. Assess Retirement Strategy This tip is oriented toward those who are contemplating retirement. The three greatest threats to successful retirement lifestyles are taxes, inflation and longevity.  When it comes to retirement income, there are three significant risk factors that a prospective retiree must consider:

• Longevity risk comes in to play as you must ensure you don’t outlive your savings.

• Market risk is the probability of portfolio depletion by the age of death. If you exceed 10%, you are courting the possibility of irreversible damage.

• Inflation risk, which refers to the ability to maintain purchasing power.

Your retirement plan must meet all these criteria to be considered well-designed. Other things to consider as you are contemplating retirement: How and when you are going to use your tax-deferred retirement accounts such as your 401(k)s, 403(b)s, IRAs, deferred compensation plans, etc.?  You may need to accelerate your savings into these plans prior to retirement or you may need to evaluate some Roth conversions to optimize your retirement tax plan.  Also, consider whether roll-overs are to your advantage, since many plans allow in-service distributions that allow you to take greater control of your plans, reduce fees associated with your investment choices, and add lifetime income streams to your portfolio, which is not available with plan administrators.    Rebalance Your Portfolio if Necessary For those already retired, evaluate and rebalance your portfolio. Stock market volatility may have resulted in your goals getting off track.  Selling some investments that haven’t performed well and reinvesting the proceeds in other asset classes or good buys in existing asset classes can help improve your portfolio’s overall performance.   Take Minimum Distributions from 401(k)/IRA Remember to take your required minimum distributions from your 401(k)/IRA; the government wants its share!  Failure to start taking distributions in the year that you turn 70.5 could result in a penalty of 50% of what was owed.   In closing, perhaps the best tip for fiscal health and wellness is to seek and implement the advice of a qualified financial planner, as very few people believe they could do better (or can do better) on their own, than they could with the help of an experienced financial advisor.  Shop around and find an advisor that you are comfortable with and trust to develop a plan that’s unique to your needs.


Selling Your Business? What You Need to Know By Kimberly Deas

Will selling your business provide the retirement you hoped for? Sue thought so. She was of the mindset that selling her 30-year old business would provide her the basis for her retirement fund. Like many business owners, she had reinvested in to the business many times over the years and was looking forward to the day when her business could take care of her. Comfortable with doing everything herself, Sue decided she could sell her business on her own. It was a great location and had everything for a new owner to get started. She was confident it would sell quickly. Yet after over a year on the market, with no buyers in sight, Sue began to wonder what was happening. Little did she know the issues might be much larger than she expected.

Sue, like many business owners, made several small errors in judgment that cost her significantly in her goal towards retirement ... All of which could have been avoided, if only she’d known. To ensure you don’t make the same mistakes as Sue, use these four guidelines to guarantee the sale of your business. Start Early and Plan Your Exit An employee may start planning their retirement 20- 30 or even 40 years before they ever make the decision to retire. As a business owner, you should begin planning your retirement early as well. Ask yourself the following: • Who will continue running the business when I retire? • At what age do I plan to retire? • How much money will I need for my retirement? • What do I expect my business to be worth at retirement? Monitor the Value of your Business Because there are many rules of thumb for valuing a business, business owners sometimes adhere to only one rule of thumb and think they know the value of their business. The truth is, many businesses have specific rules for their industry and even more specific rules for subsets of that industry. So even though you hear a business’ value is two times its revenue, or five times its profit, or that a friend of yours sold their firm for eight times their business’ EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization), none of these may apply to your business. The only way to accurately know the value of your business is to Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 31


have a trained professional calculate and carefully assess its true worth. Even so, the value of a business is much like any other material item you’re wishing to sell; ultimately it comes down to what a buyer is willing to pay. Just as any savvy investor would periodically check their retirement portfolio, you need to review your retirement by having a professional valuation done on the business every three to five years. This will allow you to closely monitor the value of your business and adjust accordingly. That way, when the time comes, there are no surprises. Prepare the Business to Sell Less than 35% of business owners have a real exit plan. Most wait until they just can’t do it anymore. Their heart is no longer in the business, or they’re physically incapable of working it (especially true for manual businesses such as lawn care, contracting, roofers and even sound engineers), or they just want out. This is the worst time to decide to sell your business. The business is not necessarily ready for sale nor do you have the heart to prepare it for sale. Jack Garson shares four specific areas upon which you need to focus to assure you’ve a successful business that can sell for the maximum price. This is from his book, How to Build a Business and Sell it for Millions: Profitability – A buyer wants to purchase a consistently profitable business. Business owners often have talented CPAs do their taxes and sometimes it’s advisable to only show a very small profit (only if you can do so legally). This is good if you are minimizing your tax burden, but buyers are looking for profitable businesses. So if you want top dollar for your business, you’ll need to show maximum profit on your books. Also, as a side note, clean up your books. Remove personal or unnecessary expenses (like the trip to Europe every year with the family to order from your supplier). The cleaner your books are, the more confidence a prospective buyer will have in your numbers. Competitive Edge – Define what makes you different and better than your competitors. A buyer wants to know there’s something or many things that’s unique about your business to ensure its longevity. Without a competitive edge, your business can quickly get “dethroned” by the next new business with lower prices or better, more accessible technologies. Scalability – Buyers want to know if the business can grow. Often if you are the business, when you leave so does the success of the business. Your business needs to be built on a solid management team that allows for the scalability of the business, with or without your presence. Sustainability – Should adversity hit, can your business withstand the impact? That’s what a buyer wants to know. Ideally, the buyer wants to buy a successful, growing business. Do you have stop guards in place to protect your business from danger or hardships? Don’t wait until you are ready to retire. Hope is not an effective business strategy. The best time to sell your business is when you still have enough drive to continue building it. Most businesses take 6-12 months to sell—sometimes longer. 32 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

Enlist Professional Help This is your retirement. Possibly the biggest chunk of your future. So don’t risk doing it by yourself. This is the biggest mistake business owners make. Since they’ve run a successful business, many business owners mistakenly believe they can successfully broker and sell it themselves. Numerous business owners quickly find the process overwhelming. They soon realize there’s a vast amount of information and questions that need to be answered by various professionals representing the buyer (such as attorneys and accountants).

“The best time to sell your business is when you still have enough drive to continue building it. “ When selling a business, you need a team of professionals. It starts with a business broker—who oftentimes subcontracts attorneys, accountants, financial planners and tax experts— to help facilitate the process. They’ll ensure you’re maximizing the sale price of your business and netting the largest portion of the sale possible. When it comes to your retirement, you don’t want to leave anything to chance. Hiring these professionals will often garner the most amount of money for your business; consequently, they usually end up paying for themselves many times over. One restaurant owner thought she could do it herself. She found a sweet couple that had always dreamed of running a restaurant and this was their big chance. With little background checking, since they seemed like good people, she let them buy the restaurant. Sadly, six months later she found herself in court evicting this couple for not paying their rent and she was now the owner of the restaurant again. Unfortunately she’d lost more than six months of time. This couple had run off all her long-time loyal clients, destroyed the interior of the restaurant, and had created such a bad reputation that three years later, the business was still feeling the deleterious effects of their poor management. And thus making it unsellable. Selling a business is a very time consuming task. If you’re unprepared, there are many potholes that can quickly create financial and legal nightmares. Good business brokers are worth their weight in gold because not only can they obtain a higher asking price, but they also have access to large numbers of qualified buyers. They can free you up to run the business while they handle the logistics of selling it for the maximum price possible. Remember Sue? Unfortunately, even though she’d owned her business for over 30 years, in its current position, it wasn’t sellable, and she didn’t have the energy or heart keep working it. Sadly, she had to close her business and sacrifice her dreams of a bountiful retirement … all due to errors in judgment and by not enlisting the specialized services of a qualified business broker. Don’t make the same mistake.


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Businesses Gone Bust

NEWSPAPER FOR THE TANK & SINK BUSINESS OWNER

By Robert Kaye

SINCE 2008-

Throughout the history of commerce—yes, we’re taking centuries—there have been hundreds of thousands of once-prominent (and not so well-known) firms that have emulated the organic life cycle of conception birth, growth, maturity, decline and death. Hardly any single industry has been unscathed by its share of business failures—as ubiquitous as death and taxes are for the individuals that built or worked in them. Here are several once very highprofile and successful businesses (some of which once thrived in Entrepreneurs Anchor’s reading areas) that had their days in the sun, but now have faded in to the great Outof-Business sign in the sky.

Bennigan’s Restaurant

Bennigan’s was an Irish pub-themed casual dining restaurant chain with locations throughout the states and in 14 countries and 15 territories outside the continental U.S. The once popular restaurant and watering hole was established in 1976 in Atlanta, Georgia, as part of the Pillsbury Corporation. Its operating company, Bennigan’s Franchising Company, LLC, was headquartered in Dallas, Texas. By the early 1980s, Bennigan’s had become one of the best known of the new style mid-range casual dining franchised eating and drinking establishments in the U.S. Bennigan’s menu featured combined longtime favorites with innovative new American and Irish fare selections including appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and steaks. Among its most-ordered items were the Monte Cristo sandwich, Broccoli Cheese Soup, Broccoli Bites, The Turkey O’Toole and, of course, Death by Chocolate. Blight Beginnings However, the failure of Bennigan’s executives to update and evolve their restaurant concept over 20 years led to significant sales and customer visit declines. Bennigan’s consistently lagged behind its contemporaries, Chili’s and T.G.I. Friday’s. Often times, especially in Jacksonville, the competitor chains were just miles away from Bennigan’s on the same street (i.e., Bennigan’s and Chili’s on Baymeadows Road). Rapid expansion among many of its competitor’s chains led to a lack of distinction in Bennigan’s offerings to its once-loyal customer base and the stores were forced to cut prices. Service and quality concomitantly diminished as well. Bennigan’s ended closing most of its New York and New England locations in 2006. By end of July 2008, all of Bennigan’s 150 corporate locations across the U.S. were closed due to its parent company, S&A Restaurant Group filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Observers state the store closures weren’t handled well at all. Confusion ran rampant. While phone calls went out to many employees on the morning of June 29th ’08 notifying them of their job loss, many other employees reported showing up to work―only to find a “closed sign” hanging on the door. There was word that Bennigan’s was only closing its U.S. stores while its 30 South Korean stores remained open as usual. And, while 138 franchisee-owned initially 34 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com


remained open, a majority of them months and years after the bankruptcy filing. Many formerly corporate-owned stores have been placed up for auction.

Trying to Regain its Lucky Charm In October 2008, Atalaya Capital Management (ACM) announced it would assume the assets of both Bennigan’s and Steak & Ale brands. This included Bennigan’s Franchising Co., which owned the rights to franchise the Bennigan’s brand and was instrumental in keeping franchise-owned restaurants operating during the corporate bankruptcy period. ACM planned to reposition the Bennigan’s by re-establishing its place in the high-margin bar segment and by focusing on sandwiches and appetizers. The company planned to reopen 50 or 60 formerly company-owned Bennigan’s locations by finding new or existing franchisees to operate the restaurants.

A revitalization of the Bennigan’s brand occurred in November 2010, with additional locations opening under franchise agreements. The revamp of the brand featured a total overhaul that included menu optimization, improved operational standards, server training and local store marketing pushes, as well as a new prototype that debuted smaller venues, updated menus and bar offerings, new uniforms, logos and signage.

In May 2011, Paul Mangiamele, Bennigan’s new CEO, expressed his resolve and intent to return the restaurant to its once highly popular standing. New and remodeled restaurants strive to create a menu that features an eclectic American/Irish fare and folkie hospitality. Some of the improvements instigated by Mangiamele include menu optimization and updates, higher quality operations and better staff training, new entrée and bar selections and new uniforms, logos and signage. As of August 2012, therewere 31 Bennigan’s locations in 11 states, a far cry from its once nationally spangled success. Let’s hope the luck of the Irish proves fortuitous.

Circuit City

Circuit City Stores, Inc., commonly referred to as Circuit City, or “the City” was an American retailer in brand-name consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software, and (until 2000) large appliances. It was one of the first consumer electronics chains to pioneer the concept of the superstore, offering a dizzying array of hardware and software for the home, car and portable devices. At the pinnacle of its success, Circuit City had become the second largest U.S. electronics retailer after Best Buy. It boasted 567 Circuit City Superstores nationwide, with stores ranging from 15,000 to 45,000 square feet. With advances in digital technology—including the mass marketing of the new Compact Disc format and rise of analog home TV recording equipment (VHS usurping the once-promising Beta format), and the increasing consumer demand for retail electronics, Circuit City certainly appeared poised to remain the dominant force in consumer electronics. Its all-inclusive superstore forced many once long-established “mom & pop” audio/video and appliance retailers to close in many cities across the U.S. because they simple couldn’t match the giants massive buy-inbulk purchasing power nor come close to matching its treasure chest of marketing dollars. Circuit Bored? By 2000, however, many of once-popular Circuit City stores were perceived as being out of vogue and many were located in what ultimately proved to be bad locations (one need only think of its large store on Atlantic Boulevard, east of Regency Square mall and its westside store, just north of the Clay County line and the Orange Park Mall). Also, it was unable to compete with its up-and-coming competitor, Best Buy. In attempt to regain lost ground, the firm jettisoned its large appliances, introducing “Horizon,” a new, albeit contentious, Big Box-like formant, called business and introduced a more self-serve format called “Horizon.” Ironic that: In 1999, Circuit City had become one of the U.S.’ major large appliance retailer, second only to Sears. Yet its management team cited the emerging competition from other such superstore chains as Home Depot and Lowe’s, thinking it would save critical operation dollars in warehouse storage and delivery expenses if it just focused on consumer electronics hardware and software.

In hindsight, this decision circumvented the company from capitalizing on the residential housing boom of the early to mid 2000s, which saw a significant increase in new appliance sales, also reducing its once king-of-the-hill standing. Attributing Circuit City’s ultimate downfall, such as other once-popular retailers— Linens ’n’ Things, The Sharper Image, CompUSA, Bombay Company, Goody’s Family Clothing, Camelot Music, Tower Records—and many national chains, was the lack of consumer spending and the devastating toll of the overall economic downturn during the late 2000s recession. One cannot overlook the Internet’s encroachment on consumer electronics; that is the (continually) growing trend of consumers to shop and purchase their audio/video equipment online, where they can readily compare prices.

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 35


Lights Out Also contributing to the superstores’ ultimate demise were several highly publicized lawsuits, which started in 2005, some of which involved the California Supreme Court and the U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. Investors, who were now becoming ever more dubious about the company’s ability to withstand its culminated woes, became even more so as the company reshuffled its executive officers. After the company dismissed its CFO, Goldman Sachs pointed out, “This represents the third departure of a senior executive in the past six months, and the second departure of a top-five executive in the past month …” CEO Phil Schoonever’s“… hand-picked team is turning over faster than we would like to see in a turnaround situation.” Employees’ wages were reduced.

Circuit City closed 55 of the stores when it initially filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2008 in an attempt to continue operations. Circuit City began liquidating its remaining stores on January 16, 2009, and all were closed by March 8, 2009 following an approval to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and its subsequent failure to find a buyer. Reportedly, over 30,000 employees lost jobs in the liquidation as well as 45% of Verizon’s Circuit City sales force was laid off with the remainder being reassigned or transferred to Verizon’s own retail locations.

Silicon Graphics

Silicon Graphics, Inc. (SGI), historically sometimes referred to as Silicon Graphics Computer Systems (or SGCS) was a manufacturer of highperformance computing solutions, including computer hardware and software, staring in 1981. Its initial market was 3D graphics display terminals, but its products, strategies and market positions evolved.

Preliminary systems were based on the Geometry Engine, which was the first Very-Large-Scale Integration (VLSI) implementation of a geometry pipeline, using specialized hardware that accelerated the “inner-loop” geometric computations needed to display three-dimensional images. It utilized Linux, a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. FYI: Today’s Android mobile platform is built upon the Linux kernel. The Cameo Computer Computer and motion picture aficionados may recall that SGI’s computers were featured in numerous blockbuster films. During the mid-90s and into the next decade, Silicon Graphics’ numerous high-end workstations were the requisite computing platform for computer animation and high-end digital graphics. Case in point: For eight consecutive years (1995–2002), all films nominated for an Academy Award® for “Distinguished Achievement in Visual Effects” were created on Silicon Graphics computer systems.

SGI’s systems also appeared definitely on screen, making several cameo roles. For example, a SGI “Crimson” system appeared in Stephen Spielberg’s mega-hit, Jurassic Park, in 1993. A hallmark scene was when the precocious character, Lex, exclaimed, “It’s a Unix system! I know this,” as the brave teenager sat down at the park’s IT control room to stave off the ravenous velociraptors. In Twister, Helen Hunt and Bill Paxon used a hybrid SGI “Indy” laptop computer. (The “Indy” was designed for desktop publishing and simple multimedia rather than a full-scale graphics workstation.) Similarly, in Congo, Laura Linney used a hybrid, military grade SGI laptop computer to communicate via satellite from its jungle base camp. Other SGI computers’ on-screen credits include Johnny Mnemonic, Disclosure, First Kid, Jerry Maguire, Junior, How to Make a Monster, The Lawnmower Man, Lost in Space, Mission to Mars, The Peacemaker, The Relic, Silver, Swordfish and Viper (TV series). Encroachment by Gates and Jobs However, once less expensive Microsoft and Apple computers began to incorporate graphics performance close to the more expensive specialized graphical workstations that had formally been the mainframe of SGI’s core specialty, SGI shifted its focus to high performance servers for digital video and the Web. Many SGI graphics engineers left to work at other computer graphics companies such as ATI and Nvidia. This exodus contributed to PCs’ and Apple’s 3D graphics revolution and expansion.

By 1998, SGI announced that future generations of its machines would be based not on its own once-stalwart MIPS-based microprocessors but the forthcoming Itanium “super-chip” from Intel. This proved calamitous, further eroding consumer confidence in the company. 36 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com


A year later, attempting to retool its market position as being more than a graphics company, Silicon Graphics, Inc., changed its corporate identity to the more generic-sounding “SGI,” although its legal name remained the same. It subsequently changed its once highly imaginative, 3D-simulated logo to “SGI.” The firm continued to use its Silicon Graphics for its workstation product line, and later re-adopted the famous gold cube logo for workstations. Despite its software and hardware’s near-requisite usage in the film industry during the mid-90s through the subsequent decade, by November 2005, SGI announced it had been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) because its common stock had fallen below the minimum share price for listing on the exchange. SGI’s once hearty media market capitalization dwindled from a peak of over $7 billion in 1995 to just $120 million at the time of delisting. In mid-2005, SGI sought Alix Partners to return it to profitability and received a new line of credit. It proposed a reverse stock split to deal with the de-listing from the NYSE. In January 2006, SGI changed CEOs but to no avail. Despite its new credit acquisition and change in leadership, in February 2006, SGI lamented it would run out of cash by year’s end. Sign of the Times Like Bob Dylan’s song, “The Times, They Are A’Changin”, so too was the rapidly advancing computer industry with the rise of Microsoft, Apple and other, more affordable and interchangeable software platforms and brands. In December 2008, SGI was also delisted from NASDAQ, because its market value dropped below the minimum $35 million requirement for ten consecutive trading days; it also failed to meet NASDAQ’s requirements.

Knowing its chips were down, in April ’09 SGI announced that it would sell substantially all of its assets to Rackable Systems. After the $4.25 million sale, Rackable announced its adoption of “Silicon Graphics International” as its new global name and brand. The remains of Silicon Graphics, Inc., became Graphics Properties Holdings, Inc.

Global Financial Crisis of 2008

Photo source: www.benbyerly.files.wordpress.com

Many economists, and no doubt businesses and citizens who were adversely affected by it, The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 is considered to be one the worst financial crises since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its broad swath of financial destruction threatened the near collapse of large financial institutions, hundreds of bank closures and their subsequent bailout by national governments, and downturns in globally stock markets. Throughout the country, and Florida in particular, the housing market also suffered, resulting in evictions and foreclosures. Scores of once-robust retail businesses and other firms went bust, contributing to plummeting unemployment rates. The crisis also caused a deterioration in consumer wealth (estimated in trillions of U.S. dollars), and a downward spiral in economic activity that metastasized in to the 2008–2012 global recession, which furthermore contributed to Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis. The active phase of the crisis, which manifested as a liquidity crisis, can be dated from August 2007 when BNP Paribas (with its extensive banking network in 80 countries) terminated withdrawals from three hedge funds citing “a complete evaporation of liquidity.” The collapse of the U.S. housing industry caused the values of securities tied to U.S. real estate pricing to nose-dive, destroying financial institutions both domestically and abroad.

What? Where? How? Why? Several factors contributed to the crisis. One can’t ignore the cost (in dollars and lives) of the U.S.’ near-decade war in Afghanistan its prolonged—and many would no doubt say debatable—invasion of Iraq. Another key contributor to the Global Financial Crises was instigated by a complex interplay of government policies that were legislated throughout the early and middle years of the new millennium. While encouraging many to venture in to home ownership by providing easier access to loans for subprime borrowers and hence boosting the multitiered housing industry, there were bats in that belfry. First, there was an overvaluation of bundled sub-prime mortgages based on the (now proven erroneous) theory that housing prices would continue to escalate. Adding to the eventual quagmire were knotty trading practices on behalf of both buyers and sellers and a lack of sufficient capital holdings from banks and insurance companies to back their financial commitments. Overtime, banks’ solvency, declines in credit availability and injured investor confidence adversely affected global stock markets, causing securities to suffer significant declines in 2008 and 2009. Global economies worldwide decelerated as credit tightened and international trade declined. Governments and central banks responded with unprecedented fiscal stimulus, monetary policy expansion and institutional bailouts. While still reeling from aftershocks, the 2008 financial crisis began to wane between late-2008 and mid-2009. Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In the EU, the UK responded with austerity measures of spending cuts and tax increases without export growth; however, it’s since slipped in to a significant recession. Many causes for the financial crisis have been suggested, with varying weight assigned by experts. The Senate’s Levin–Coburn Report contended it was caused by “ … high risk, complex financial products; undisclosed conflicts of interest; the failure of regulators, the credit rating agencies, and the market itself to rein in the excesses of Wall Street.” Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 37


Banking Towards Trouble The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 led to the failure of a number of banks in the U.S. A bank failure is the closing of a bank by a federal or state banking regulatory agency. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is named as Receiver for banks assets when their capital levels are too low, or they cannot meet obligations the next day.

After a bank’ assets are placed into Receivership, the FDIC acts in two capacities: • It pays insurance to the depositors, up to the deposit insurance limit, for assets not sold to another bank. • A  s the receiver of the failed bank, it assumes the task of selling and collecting the assets of the failed bank and settling its debts, including claims for deposits in excess of the insured limit. • T  he FDIC insures up to $250,000 per depositor, per insured bank, as a result of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which raised the limit from $100,000. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, (FDIC) from 1934 through 2007, there were only two years that witnessed zero bank failures, 2005 and 2006. (The year with the single most failures during that period was 1989, which witnessed the closure of 534 banks.) And while only approximately 25 regional and nation banks closed in 2008, the Receivership of Washington Mutual Bank by federal regulators on September 26, 2008 was the largest single bank failure in U.S. history.

Nevertheless, the worst was yet to come. While the U.S. banking industry began bleeding in 2008, in 2009 the accumulated bank failures witnessed a code red hemorrhaging, which dwarfed the previous year’s figure by 560%, with 140 banks closing (although the assets weren’t as significant).

Still in critical condition from the momentum of the downward spiral, 2010 saw a near-pandemic of bank 157 bank closures, 628% more than in 2008, although as in 2009,none of the losses came close to Washington Mutual Bank.. Not Over Until it’s Over Thankfully, by 2011, with new legislation enacted by both congress and the executive branch, the economy began its recovery (although not as robust as most would like), with “only” 92 banks closing in 2011 (368% from 2008) and to-date in 2012, just 39 banks (156% from 2008). While the economy is improving, it remains to be seen how much newly re-elected President Obama can accomplish given a divided Congress (Democrats maintained control of the Senate while the Republicans kept the House), a scenario that led to political gridlock in Washington under several the previous administrations.

38 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

November’s hotly contested election hasn’t yet quelled some of America’s biggest immediate challenges, including what to do about the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

The U.S. economy still faces challenges of regressing in to a recession, as long as the recovery remains tenuous. The various spending cuts and tax increases may keep the economy growing at its 1.5-2% pace, not an ideal clip for a country that’s eager to resume its place a world economic powerhouse. Concerning the fiscal cliff and the U.S. debt ceiling, another issue that comes to a head by year end, there were various theories circulating on how those might play out. If left unresolved, U.S. economic growth would decline by 3 to 4 percentage points, pushing it back into recession, some economists estimate. Now that the 2012 election is behind us, many across the nation and world are hoping a more conciliatory administration, along with the Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-dominated House, will be better able to reach a bi-partisan agreement on how to avoid the possible debacle. Comprise, not contention will be the requisite watchword if our newly elected leaders in Washington are keep the economy on track.


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How To Build a Dynamic Web 2.0 Presence By Peter Roesler These days, assembling a strong, interactive, informative and engaging website is simpler and less expensive than ever. Anyone who has a business who is not using all of the many economical tools available to build a dynamic online presence — often referred to as “Web 2.0”— is really missing the boat. Not to mention potential revenue. What is Web 2.0? Remember back about ten years ago, when websites contained mostly static content, primarily photographs, graphics and text? Those days are long gone. Today it’s much easier to actively engage with clients and potential clients using some of the common social media applications and techniques. For example:

• Provide the ability for your customers to post

comments on your blog, articles, participate in an online forum, or chat interactively with one of your company’s online representatives in real time.

• “Re-Tweet” content, or share it on your Facebook and/or Google+ pages.

• Show videos on your website that provide

helpful content to users, and also Backlink or post them on YouTube.

• Include quizzes and surveys on your website

about subjects relevant to your market niche.

The key with Web 2.0 is to make your company’s website as collaborative and interactive as possible. When you create a website that is truly engaging and interesting, your visitors are much more likely to stay there, often referred to as a website’s “stickiness.” And ideally buy one, or more, of your business’ products or services. Think of it as channel surfing on your home TV … only in this case, with gazillions of websites from which to choose. A viewer/surfer will usually make a decision in split seconds whether or not they’re going to spend some time on your website or not. So it’d better catch their attention. And fast. 40 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

Why Web 2.0? Creating a great Web 2.0 website has many advantageous benefits for building your brand, increasing your presence in search engines (known as Search Engine Optimization or SEO) and boosting your online reputation. Your Web 2.0 site can:

• Build credibility: Nowadays your business is

frequently judged by its look and functionality. Whether on their smartphones, tablets or PCs, people often check out the website of a company with whom they’re thinking about doing business. The wonderful thing about a good Web 2.0 site is that it truly helps to level the playing field. Your small business’ website can look just about as good as a big company’s, if you have created your site correctly.

• Improve your branding and marketing:

Your engaging, dynamic site can provide a wonderful chance for you to market your company and build your brand. Of course, a very simple HTML site can work for your business, but why would you to have just a basic, no-frills site? Go all the way. Make it great!

• Increase revenue: Your Web 2.0 presence

should not merely be a place for people to chat and interact with one another. It also should be a place where you can drum up more business. You can do this in a few different ways. First, make its content so compelling and interactive that people really want to go to and stay on your website. Or, you can sell your goods and services directly. However you do it, your site will definitely make you more money as a well-conceived and dynamic online 2.0 entity.


Adding Interactive Content Hopefully by this point you’re convinced to make your site more interactive. What sort of features should you add to your site? Video. One of the biggies that many Internet experts highly recommend is having video content on your website. There is strong evidence that if you put an engaging video up on your homepage, ideally near the top of the page, or in journalistic jargon, “above the fold,” it will cause as many as 80% of users to click it … first thing. You should upload the same or a portion of that video to YouTube. Ideally you should have a highly polished video professionally created that is optimized for the search engines; Google in particular. However you use video, you’ll find it will make your site much more interactive and, as alluded to before, increase its “stickiness.” Facebook. Naturally, you should make it easy for people to “Like” your website on Facebook and to also send tweets about it on Twitter, and be interactive with all the key social media sites. Social media is incredibly important tool nowadays to get the word out about your website and your products. Building a strong and interesting page on Facebook for your website also can help grow your client base. A good presence on Facebook can assist in generating strong wordof-mouth information about your business. You also can use Facebook to make good contacts in your own and related industries. If you are launching a new website, you should try to get your foothold in Facebook as soon as possible. Before your competition does, ideally. Google+. While it is true that Google+ has only a fraction of Facebook’s astonishing one billion-and-growing subscribers, Google+ is growing in popularity. You’d be wise to have a Google+ account set up for your web presence as well. LinkedIn. Also, set up a strong LinkedIn profile. You don’t have the profile up for your business, but you do want to have a complete, engaging profile of yourself. You may not think LinkedIn is being as important; after all, isn’t it mostly for resumes and looking for jobs? It’s that; but the website is also an excellent resource for you to network with other business professionals. LinkedIn is a fantastic way to gain many low- or no-cost networking opportunities. Interactive Content. Next, you should make sure you add plenty of opportunities for users to create their own content on your site. This can be achieved by having forums, polls, and make sure you allow readers to post their own comments on all your blog posts and articles. (You are blogging, aren’t you?) True, it will need to be moderated, and admittedly, this takes time. However, you’re far better off by allowing people to interact in real-time on your website. As suggested above, make sure you have a blog on your site; it’s a great way to drive traffic to your site and get better ranking in the search engines. As stated in previous issues of Entrepreneurs Anchor, Google loves to see highly relevant content. The more you have, the more your site will gain in credibility with real people, and with the search engines.

New Content. Another great idea is to add new, interesting content at least once per week. Write, or have written, a lot of short and interesting, timely articles. Maybe put together a downloadable e-book or e-paper that provides a lot of helpful information in your product area. You also can have a free e-newsletter that’s available on your site. Offer to send it to your visitors in exchange for their email address, that way you have a means of data capture.

Don’t Forget SEO Of course, when you’re building your Web 2.0 presence, no site would be complete without proper SEO to boost your search engine rankings, especially on Google. The best SEO companies use cutting-edge, white hat* techniques to push your site high up in Google and other search engines. Strong SEO has many benefits for your dynamic web presence, including:

• Long-Term Benefits. Unlike a short term

advertisement campaign, the results of a strong SEO strategy can last months or years. A good SEO effort is constant and ongoing, and will ensure that you consistently stay high in the rankings.

• Hammer Competitors. If you are not on the first

page of Google in your niche, you’re much less likely to attract visitors. A strong SEO company can get you there and keep you there.

• More Sales and Visibility. The more relevant traffic

that comes to your site, the more sales and visibility you potentially get for your company. It’s that simple.

By following most of the Web 2.0 techniques above, you’re much more likely to build a strong web presence for your business for years to come. Just keep one thing in mind, and it’s especially true for the Internet vis-à-vis digital technologies: nothing stays the same for long. * According to Wikipedia, the term “white hat” in Internet jargon refers to an ethical hacker, or a computer security expert, who specializes in penetration testing and in other testing methodologies to ensure the security of an organization’s information systems.

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 41


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Creating True Value in a

Business By Jon Castle

Ask any business owner what they’d like for their business, and most of them will respond with a very simple answer: “More business!” Look at most advertisements or websites that sell services or products to businesses, commonly known as B2B. It won’t take long before you run across the typical sales pitch hot button, “Buy our product, or use our service, because it will help your business grow.” Apparently, we should now all become Web 2.0 savvy and social media experts, ensure our website is Search Engine Optimized, engage a P.R. firm, talk to the media often, attend every networking event in town, advertise in every magazine ever printed, and use drip-marketing campaigns because it’ll drive more business our way. In the world of business, more is always better ... or is it really? For many small business owners, every new account that’s landed, or every new product that’s created, has repercussions the business owner must deal with down the road. Initially this doesn’t seem to be significant; a new taxplanning client acquired here, another insurance policy sold there, a dozen copiers leased here, a landscaping contract signed there ... all indicators of the growth that we, as

business owners, deeply desire. Each new “win” provides an ego boost that true entrepreneurs are addicted to, and provides the energy that keeps small business owners in the game. An old supervisor of mine once told me that every time a new sale was made, the salesperson that made that sale would drive home with sugar plum fairies dancing in his or her head, already planning on how to spend the revenues from their sale before the ink was even dry on the contract. In many cases I believe he was right. Knot What You Expected But the reality of business is that each new tax planning client requires tax preparation, record-keeping, communications, security measures, continuing education, and face-to-face appointment time. Each new insurance policy requires service, communications, and often annual policy reviews to retain that client. Those dozen copiers that were just leased to that big office across town require periodic service, toners, user-training, and have a nasty habit of jamming or breaking down during the worst possible times — like when our repairperson is sick or the repair van is in the shop. Every new landscaping contract requires Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 43


mowing, trimming, edging, waste-hauling, equipment maintenance, scheduling, hiring, liability insurance, and a plethora of other little “ankle-biters,” which the business owner must juggle in order to remain competitive and keep that hard-won contract.

progress out of this phase. If they survive, they remain “in business” and live out their business under constant strain at this unsatisfying level. Far more often, they close their doors in exhaustion, unable to find the key to unlock the rewards that successful capitalism has to offer.

All these new accounts can create situations that become entangled, not unlike the concepts first espoused by Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, in his book, Knots.

A few small business owners are actually able to transition their businesses from being a job with some helpers to a real business enterprise. Done successfully, the business itself has an innate value above and beyond the technical knowledge and personal relationships of the business

The stark reality of business is that no matter what the business is, the business of a successful business owner, especially as the business grows is—you guessed it—the business OF the business! The logistical train that keeps the business running, in other words, all those administrative functions after the sale, somehow seem to multiply as we become more successful. And thereby creates more stress, worry, and over time, can exhaust even the most stalwart entrepreneurial warrior. That is unless s/he can figure out the complex balancing act of running the business itself. Michael Gerber summed it up well in his book, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It, more succinctly than anyone else I’ve ever run across. I paraphrase liberally, but essentially his message was: The purpose of creating a business is to SELL it. And if you don’t sell it, for whatever reason(s), guess what? You bought it! So the real question to ask is: Would you buy your own business? Because if you’re not, then you’re doing it wrong.

“There is no guarantee of the principal, interest, or the amount of payment in variable annuities.”

Reality Check Many small business owners create businesses that aren’t really businesses at all. Instead, they are small, controlled environments where the business owners, and maybe a few employees, merely have jobs. They work hard and they often make money. But the fact is that they’re merely performing services for whomever they can get to hire them. And the act of getting people to hire them, so they can do another job for that business, becomes, in essence, the business. Their entire enterprise is based upon the never-ending “hustle” of getting out there and winning new clients. Rarely do they take vacations. If or when they do, they’re usually short and unsatisfying, with the business owner constantly checking e-mails and returning phone calls from wherever. Their cell phone becomes a quasi-anatomical part of their bodies. The sad fact is most small business owners never 44 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

owners. The business is inherently sustainable, whether the business owner is present or not. Ultimately, done correctly, the business owner can choose to remain in the business, or could choose to leave on extended vacations without a significant loss of business revenue, or could slowly transition to becoming a “silent partner” while the business continues to grow and flourish, or s/he could sell the business to anyone who wants to buy it. What’s the secret? Ultimately, the journey begins with a shift in the business owner’s perspective. Business owners, at the very core, must think of themselves and the business as two separate entities. They must understand their primary and most important job is to create, refine, and engineer the


business itself. Not to just work in the business. Every day they must spend a little bit of time working on the business. Your New To Do’s Start by analyzing what’s going on inside the business itself. Ask yourself the following questions and document each answer:

 hat’s my primary marketing plan? How do W we let people know we are here?

 ow do we initially engage a potential H customer?

 hat’s the first impression of our sales W cycle? Are we managing it correctly?

 ow do we define our value to a potential H customer or client?

 t what point does a prospect become a A customer or a client? What, EXACTLY, is that transitional procedure? Who does it? (Hint: it shouldn’t have to be you.)

 hat’s the next step in the cycle? Is it W financing? Distribution? Add-on sales? Who does it? (Hint: it shouldn’t have to be you.)

 hat quality control measures exist, and at W what points?

 t what point does the cycle begin again? A Does it ever end, such as in personal service relationships (accountants, financial advisors, doctors, attorneys, etc.)?

 nd probably the most important two A questions of all, especially for those who want to transition their business from a job to an enterprise: “Where is all this documented?” And, “How do we train it?”

Ultimately, it’s the creation of systems—that is policies and procedures that are followed time and time again, by each person in the business—which make a successful business. Gerber observed that if a business relies on great people to do great things, then ultimately it will fail. Great businesses empower ordinary people to do great things. Your job as the business owner is to figure out how to do that over time, so eventually, the business can operate successfully without you being there day in and day out. Once you’ve achieved that goal, you now have a business that you own; not just a job you created. At that point the business becomes sellable. But not until then. Every business owner who has successfully bridged this gap has figured out how to solve this problem. As stated in the successful TV/motion picture series, Mission Impossible, “Your mission, should you choose to accept it,” is to spend increasing amounts of time every day pondering this metamorphosis of your business. Remember, the more time you spend working on the business, instead of working in the business, the more successful the business itself is likely to be. Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 45


The SKINNY on Fixed Indexed Annuities By Jacquelyn Wheeler-Hale As an insurance agent, I’m always looking for ways to protect my client’s investments. Regardless of property or financial investing, the end result is to place your dollars in a sound financial vehicle that will protect your principal and gain interest so at your retirement, you can still enjoy the lifestyle to which you’d become accustomed. Having sufficient income for life—especially once you retire—is a serious matter. It should be on everyone’s mind, especially Baby Boomers. With the threat of Social Security going broke as early as 2018, and since most American’s are living longer … these are just a few of the changes we face individually and collectively today. Inflation continues to climb as taxes are raised. Then there’s increase of long-term, debilitating, or life-threatening illnesses as we age, which can become even more of a financial burden. True, as mentioned earlier, most of us are living longer; but sometimes that comes at a very high cost to individuals and families (screenings, tests, medical procedures, medications, rehabilitation, etc.). All of these factors grossly threaten our “Golden Years.”

The Fixed Indexed Annuity or Indexed Annuity was originally known as an Equity Indexed Annuity. Nonetheless, it still offers the same features and benefits, such as protection of market losses guaranteed by highly rated insurance companies. You still have the protection from creditors and are not subject to probate. You also have guaranteed income growth.

“Having sufficient income for life — especially once you retire — is a serious matter.” Tax-Deferred Growth of $100,000 at eight percent annually for 25 years would grow to $684,848 compared to $405,542 in a 28% tax bracket over the same period. Annuities can be rolled from qualified or non-qualified accounts. Over $230 billion dollars have been deposited into Indexed Annuities since their introduction in 1995. Guaranteed Income Riders can promise the amount you can withdraw for the rest of your life, no matter how long you live. As stated in The Wall Street Journal, how they work is that insurance companies invest about 80% of their funds in bonds. The bond purchases help cover the company’s downside risk exposure, which enables them to offer the guarantees. The remaining funds after bond purchases are put toward stocks market-linked index derivatives called “options.” This covers the upside stock market risk exposure. Fixed vs. Variable Annuities There is no guarantee of the principal, interest, or the amount of payment in variable annuities. The annuitant bears investment risks in variable annuities. Variable annuities are regulated by the state and federal government.

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“There is no guarantee of the principal, interest, or the amount of payment in variable annuities.” Bonuses are offered on some annuities upfront or can be added on a yearly basis. Early withdrawal fees apply if money is withdrawn early; however, you’re still allowed $10,000 per year with no penalty. Stay away from contracts that impose early withdrawal penalties at death. Not all annuities are the same. There are roughly 40 companies that offer Indexed Annuities. Each carrier may have several versions. So when choosing your annuity, make sure you choose features that work for you. Know the “moving parts” of your annuity. You should understand—or have your agent explain to you—what Index Calculating Methods are used and if there are additional fees, caps or spreads. Annuities are not for everybody; you must qualify for them. When shopping, always check for the ability to lock in all the gains against market down turn. Also the ability to take out lump sums when the liquidity charge period has ended. Reality check: Even though we often don’t like to

think about this … You also want to be able to pass the entire account to a beneficiary without risk of probate and protection of Medicaid Spend-Down, if or when nursing home confinement is required. Be able to accumulate and compound your interest without increasing your tax on Social Security income. Be able to withdraw 10% of your account with any fees and that your account is 100% creditor proof. When in doubt, seek out the advice of a qualified insurance agent and/or a trustworthy financial planner that can help you navigate through all the financial jargon, technicalities, rules and regulations, and minutiae. After all, it’s your money. Make it work hard for you and for your loved ones.

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Anti-Virus Software

Why Isn’t Enough to Protect Your Office By John Perry Nowadays every business knows that having some form of anti-virus protection in the office is a must. It can be the first line of defense when protecting your staff against cyberattacks like data theft, malicious intent or down-time. The reality is that anti-virus software should be considered the first line of defense only. While this is necessary, offices can still fall victim to other security threats that sometimes pass under the radar. Hackers and other malicious technologies’ goal is to either steal your data or bring your systems to a standstill. Your goal is to protect that data, which can include valuable intellectual property, and also to prevent down-time. Desktop Protection the Smart Way If your office has more than two computers, chances are you’ll want a smarter way to manage your desktop security. Imagine going to each computer, every day, every time there is a new security threat discovered, and manually updating your anti-virus programs. You probably don’t have the time or the patience. Off-tasking this project to your IT Manager will also just slow things down and take him or her away from more important critical business functions. Using centrally managed antivirus solutions can cut out all the manual labor involved in managing your desktops’ security. Since everything is managed from one centralized system, you can easily update all your systems and instantly contain threats inside your any of office locations.

“Security threats have evolved to the point where they can reside outside your desktops.” Your Network Should Have Eyes and Ears Security threats can still infiltrate your computer and office networks in the presence of anti-virus software, and embed themselves in to your systems, without being detected. Don’t just think about desktops. Think about your network and any other device that transmits sensitive company information, such as scanners, copiers or servers. Your desktops may function fine but security threats have evolved to the point 48 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

where they can reside outside your desktops at the front or end of your networks, sending or transmitting your desktops’ information to would-be data thieves without ever interfacing with the PCs themselves. Not all office Internet routers are the same. Some just provide your office with Internet access with no additional protection. Using smart devices like firewalls means your network can monitor itself for common security intrusions from the inside and out. A firewalls’ main job is to allow or block traffic coming in or out. This means you can control what data comes in and goes out, at what times and to where. Firewalls can also give you comprehensive reports, including where your data is going, what systems are being accessed, and other valuable usage statistics. The Human Element Human error accounts for the majority of security threats. The most common mistakes made are by staff members inserting USB or CD media in to the computer or network systems, or by downloading risky software from completely legitimate websites that don’t even know that they’ve been compromised. USB and CD access on computer and server systems can be the easiest access point to your networks. Consider locking these features down or implementing a server-based environment where you can control what files, folders and computers your staff has access to. For instance, your finance department may need access to your sales teams’ data, but not the other way around. Disgruntled employees that have access to sensitive information can put the company in a tailspin by either stealing or deleting important data. Ironically, while a lot of effort is put into safeguarding against cyber-attacks, little effort is often placed on defining company policies and procedures on how to regulate employees’ access to sensitive information. These policy and procedures are


sometimes totally non-existent in some firms. Your priority should be to dictate who has access to your network what and why. Encryption Isn’t Just For Spies Even if you have budget constraints, when it comes to securing your office’s desktops, server and networks, the good news is that data and software encryption is probably available for your office. Even if you don’t have encryption options, there are many free alternatives out there. Encryption helps protect your data and prevents anyone other than yourself, or your key staff members, from reading it. Only you and/or those you trust would have access to this data by way of a secure encryption key. Common applications for data encryption are your desktops’ hard drives. Encrypting this can prevent data thieves from copying data, because they wouldn’t be able to read it in the first place without your encryption key. Many Operating Systems such as Microsoft® Windows, Linux distributions or Mac OS have built-in file-level encryption. This means you can save your documents in an encrypted format and only you and designated personnel who also have access to the encryption key can read it.

Industry Compliance Legal requirements that conform to your industry are one of the biggest challenges for any office. Translating that to internal technology compliance is even more challenging. Governing regulations such as Sarbanes-Oxley, GrahamLeach, ITIL, HIPAA, etc., all provide general security guidelines and recommendations for your office desktop security. Ultimately, the overall theme of these compliance standards is to control access to information. The majority of these requirements can be easily addressed with software security solutions. The cost of not adhering to these regulations can cost you money—even your business. For example, HIPPA guidelines dictate that if you have a patient record breach or leak, you are legally required to disclose this information to the public. The same goes for most financial records. When your customers hear about this, how likely do you think they will be to do business with you anymore?

Another big concern is email and websites. Just about every business has them. If you’re transmitting sensitive data over the Internet, you should encrypt it. It’s a well-known fact that your email and web traffic is being sent over the Internet in plain text. This means anyone with the knowhow can intercept this traffic and easily read it. Luckily there are Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Certificates that help encrypt this Internet traffic. So even if someone intercepts your traffic they cannot read or decode it. You should also consider enabling passwords. This may seem like an obvious suggestion but enabling this on your desktops, applications or web services will make your life much sweeter. Remember, only give access to the people who require it and keep the ones who don’t out.

“Human error accounts for the majority of security threats.” Vendors and Consultants Outside vendors and even internal staff such as data base administrators, helpdesk or webmasters would have clearance to your business information. When it comes to dealing with this kind of scenario, make it a point to research these companies or individuals’ track records and references. If your business is subject to strict compliance regulations, then you don’t want an additional liability. Include in your vendor, consultant and employee contracts the appropriate legal clauses that hold them liable and legally responsible for any mismanagement of your company’s intellectual property or data. You can also train your staff on these policies and how to handle security situations when they occur.

Trust, but Verify Monitoring your employees’ computer habits also protects your business. By collecting security logs that document computer logins and times, web traffic usage and downloads, you’ll know exactly what’s going on when a red flag is raised. Make sure you or a designated security manager are the only ones who have access to these security logs and make it a point to review the logs periodically. Desktop security is not just about having the right kind of anti-virus software, but ensuring all aspects of your data is protected, from all access points. Protecting your intellectual property and customer data can also mean the difference between keeping your doors open, or a lengthy and expensive lawsuit. Not to mention possible closure.

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Five Investment Tips for

Turbulent Times By Joe Krier

1. Set Ego and Emotions Aside

Remain as objective as possible. Don’t get hung up on one day’s action in the markets. No matter what you own now, ask yourself, “Would I buy this today?” If the answer is no then ask yourself why you are holding on to it. The answer to that question is one we don’t like: it’s often difficult to admit that what we once thought was going to be a sound investment isn’t working any longer. This has been the doom of many an investor and their retirement accounts.

2. Build a List of Trusted Advisors

When watching TV, or the surfing the web, or listening to the financial news on any given day, you are subjected to the opinions of whatever guests happen to be on a given program, have blogged, etc. These so-called “experts” may be good, they may be bad, or they may represent some of the program or website’s larger advertisers. Rather than accepting advice from whoever happens to be writing or speaking, instead, seek out the opinions of people who make sense to you — and just as importantly — have a successful track record. To start with, choose two to five people who are objective and accessible. If you don’t already have their contact information, you can more than likely find them via the Internet. Bookmark their websites and make it a habit to read their columns, blogs, watch their videos and/or listen to their podcasts at least weekly.

4. Have a Buy Strategy

Don’t try to “pick the bottom.” It can only be done by luck. Just like the Sell Strategy, have Buy Rules and don’t buy unless your rules are met. Cash is ok. Patience is the key. Know yourself. Are you a value player? Then buy low and sell high. Are you a growth player? Then buy high and sell higher. Are you an income player? Then cash flow is your ticket to ride. Occasionally an investment comes along that fits more than one of these three styles.

5. Have a Sell Strategy

What amount of financial pain are you willing to endure? What amount of gain is a good one for you to lock in? Have a plan to sell before you buy, then stick to it, regardless of your emotions about a particular investment. This is the secret of most successful investors. If you find that you were wrong about a decision, dump it and move on. In Summary Have a plan. Seek objective advice. Set your rules and stick to them.

3. Watch the BIG Picture and the Small Picture

The Big Picture with respect to investments has three components: • Corporate Earnings – Are they going up or down?

• U.S. Economy – Is it expanding or shrinking? • Consumer/Investor Sentiment – Are people satisfied or dissatisfied?

The best environment for investing is when all three of the above conditions are positive. The Small Picture pertains to the specific investments you own, or are considering owning. Do they fit your philosophy? Do they make sense in the Big Picture? Do your trusted advisors like those areas of the market? What can go wrong? If something does, what is your exit strategy?

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“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.” — Benjamin Franklin “Never spend your money before you have it.” — Thomas Jefferson “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.” — Warren Buffett “The stock market is filled with individuals who know the price of everything, but the value of nothing.” — Philip Fisher “Successful investing is anticipating the anticipations of others.”— C. John Maynard Keynes “Savings represent much more than mere money value. They are the proof that the saver is worth something in himself. Any fool can waste; any fool can muddle; but it takes something more of a man to save and the more he saves the more of a man he makes of himself. Waste and extravagance unsettle a man’s mind for every crisis; thrift, which means some form of self-restraint, steadies it.” — Rudyard Kipling

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“Money is better than poverty, if only for financial reasons.” — Woody Allen “All days are not same. Save for a rainy day. When you don’t work, savings will work for you.” — M.K. Soni “Before you spend, earn. Before you invest, investigate … Before you retire, save. Before you die, give.” — William A. Ward “Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money, but you cannot get more time.” — Jim Rohn “That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.” — Henry David Thoreau “Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” — Franklin D. Roosevelt “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” — Ayn Rand “Wealth can only be accumulated by the earnings of industry and the savings of frugality.” — John Tyler Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 53


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Is Your Business on Life

Support? By Ronnie Beaman

Do you find yourself spending more and more time trying to figure out how to pay the bills? Is money a constant source of stress for you? You’re not alone. The ability of a business to manage its money is the difference between success and failure. Yes, customers are very important; but you need to be able to keep your doors open to take care of those customers. I know what you’re thinking. “Of course my business isn’t in that bad shape! Things get a little tight toward the end of the month sometimes, but we’re making it, we are fine. We’ll be better when the economy recovers.” How do you know for sure? It’s like knowing a friend or family member is sick and in bad shape, but uncertain what to do to help them. Generally, entrepreneurs are an optimistic bunch. We believe so strongly in our ideas and the value we bring to people with our products or services that we often ignore basic business fundamentals. Because we are eager to get going, and (ideally) already have a lot of customers lined up and waiting, we often procrastinate on the tasks we know need to be done for the health of our business. You might think, “I’ll figure that one out later.” We often expect things to just work out. After all, we are getting to live a dream ... doing what we love to do, right? However, after we’ve nearly worked ourselves to death we wonder where all the money is or—perhaps if we were fortunate to acquire it—where did it all go? Know Your Cash Flow One of the most important business fundamentals is the ability to generate sufficient cash. Not only for payroll and expenses, but also to grow your business. Of course, we’d all like to be able to generate more than sufficient cash flow. We want our dream lifestyle for all our hard work and risk-taking. Extra cash allows us to invest and grow our business and, following the advice of sagacious accountants and financial planners, to increase our net worth so we can live a comfortable lifestyle.

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But if you’re not living that lifestyle and you’re always scrambling for cash to pay your bills, having a business becomes a struggle just to get through each day. You dread the constant stress and may begin to hate your business. The problem is not in the business itself, but the lack of monitoring your business’ health. Most everyone has heard that regularly engaging in preventative health measures and lifestyle habits is far less costly than the necessary medical treatment one might undergo after an illness occurs. The dichotomy: oftentimes we don’t think about our businesses with the same mindset. Lack of cash, also known as “working capital,” is an easily prevented illness; yet one that directly impacts the health of your business. And, just like our country’s increasing rate of obesity or pre-diabetes, many businesses are in very poor health right now. The good news is prevention can be accomplished with an up-to-date and easily understood bookkeeping system. Properly tracking your income and expenses creates the ability to instantly know the health of your business. Maintaining your business’ health helps generate tax breaks and better controls what puts more money in your pocket.


Your CPA (you do have one, for financial advice and tax returns, right?) can help set up your accounting system to take advantage of the many legitimate tax breaks available to small businesses. Many tax deductions require careful set-up and timing to get the best advantages. You don’t owe the government anything more than is legally required, but poor bookkeeping will. Getting the most benefit requires accurate record keeping and discussions with someone who wellunderstands tax deductions for businesses. Record Time Your bookkeeping system does not have to be fancy or complicated. If you are small enough, you can even use a well-designed system such as Microsoft Office’s Excel spreadsheets. Or even go the older fashioned route: pencil and paper. However, I recommend obtaining, at the very least, a simple accounting-related software program. That way it’s easier to see your expenses and income in relationship to each other, print out some very useful reports (as in a Profit and Loss Statement). Regardless of which methodology or software program you use, start where you are comfortable. The important thing is to start tracking your business activity. If you want more of something, let’s say cash, you need to closely keep track of it.

“Lack of “working capital” is an easily prevented illness.” The purpose of an accounting system is to provide the business owner with a map. In this case, the map starts with where you have been. But that information is essential to be able to analyze where you’re are going, and how fast you’re getting there. You need to know how much money is necessary to run your business easily yet successfully, and how much you need the business to provide for your own personal financial support. Have you thought about these things? If you don’t know these numbers, it will be very hard to grow a healthy, robust business that can support the lifestyle you’d like to have. Accounting for your money in a consistent, regular manner creates a wealth of information to improve your business. You’ll be able to tell if a product or service is truly profitable, which customers are your biggest, and can you survive if you lose them? You have the prescription. Now it’s up to you to decide how you want to save the patient: your business. Are you ready to take charge of your cash management? If you do, you’ll see your business become stronger and healthier. That makes you wiser and wealthier.

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Money $aving $trategie$ For Your Bu$ine$$e$

By Robert Kaye Businesses earn money by being profitable, but profitability isn’t a measure of whether a company is saving any of its hard-earned cash. Smexy treps (smart and sexy entrepreneurs) develop money-saving strategies to help them build up cash assets. Implementing a wide-range of cost saving methodologies help businesses save money by cutting current expenditures and internal costs. When businesses incorporate cost saving methods in to their organizational strategies, they can gain a financial advantage and can better reach their bottom line. The process of developing a strategy begins with evaluating the company’s cash flow to determine how much money it has coming in and going out each month. It’s possible to change your corporate spending habits. This strategy isn’t just for lean and hard times; even under the best economic conditions, smart companies are constantly seeking costsaving opportunities. Some cost-saving strategies are simple to identify and execute. Others will take more evaluation and perhaps negotiation (i.e., bartering B2B services). If you’re a small business owner, especially if you recently started a business, keep a close eye on costs, as well as investigate and implement as many ways as possible to reduce your expenses. Over time, even doing little things consistently will help your Profit and Loss statement. Prepare a Budget Budgets are an essential part of your money management. Regardless of the size of your enterprise, a budget can help your business become financially viable. Budgeting is the first step in financial planning, and can help spot cost saving opportunities for your business. A budget is a financial plan; the act of budgeting means identifying how much money you 60 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

want to spend or save, based on how much money you are allocated. Businesses (and smart individuals) use budgets to cap their spending allowances and concurrently monitor financial activities to ensure they aren’t spending more than they should. Budgets are most effective when they are reviewed regularly to ensure that the company is sticking to their plans. The good news is that it’s never too late to prepare one. Lean Production When you hear the word “lean” in business, people aren’t talking about the CEOs or workers’ waistline circumferences. Rather, lean is a business strategy that adheres to the philosophy of doing more with less. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), many companies are finding ways to operate with only the essentials to reduce production costs and use capital more efficiently. The EPA supports lean production strategies because operating thus has beneficial impacts on the environment. As espoused by the Lean Enterprise Institute, anything that doesn’t add or create value to your operation is considered wasteful. Operating a lean business reduces overhead costs, eliminates needless expenses, and helps it function more efficiently. The Lean Enterprise Institute sites Kiichiro Toyoda, founder of the Toyota Production System. The manufacturing system he developed was celebrated for its ability to operate and provide quality products without wasting resources. “Lean methodology” was coined by MIT’s Jim Womack to describe Toyoda’s innovative manufacturing concept. In lean office environments employees share resources such as printers and copy machines. Anything that’s considered wasteful is eliminated, and the entire staff is empowered to help identify ways to be more efficient. Consequently, a lean business can be a real money-saver across the board — from the janitorial needs of the company to its executive expenditures.


Cost Leadership Strategy When businesses (and individuals) spend more money than they make, it’s impossible to save. A cost leadership strategy helps companies reverse this financial mess. Cost leadership strategies aim to reduce internal expenses to save money on operational, production, manufacturing and marketing costs. Once these costs are decreased, the company has a higher profit margin after its goods are sold. An example of an effective cost leadership strategy can relate, for example, in your business’ marketing costs. Some companies spend a tremendous amount of money on marketing, thereby needing to increase the cost of their goods to compensate. To save money through a cost leadership strategy, a company might switch from advertising on billboards to employing email marketing techniques, sagaciously using the Internet and other social media platforms more effectively. Strategic Alliances Many firms would benefit by developing strategic alliances with other businesses. A strategic alliance is a reciprocal B2B partnership where each company provides goods or services to the other gratis or pro bono. Instead of exchanging money, the strategic alliance partners exchange resources. Examples include access to each firm’s employees’ expertise, technologies, marketing systems, transportation, supplies, services, etc. By sharing and exchanging resources, the companies save money that otherwise may have been used to pay for these goods or services.

Energy Savings Companies can save by auditing their utility usage. Some utility companies may offer free energy audits. Even without a formal energy audit, you can save by implementing several “green” practices. For example, when purchasing any appliances for your office’s kitchen, ensure they are Energy Star-rated (www.energystar.gov). When you’re through drinking your morning coffee, turn off the automatic coffee maker (heat up your second cup in the afternoon in the microwave or enjoy ice coffee). Replace fluorescent lights with energy-efficient bulbs; savings can be as much as 25% of your utility bill. Turn off computer terminals at night except those that must run for nightly batch processing or similar reasons; you may save as much as additional 50%. Laptops, which consume 90% less energy than standard desktop PCs, can sometimes be used instead (however, laptop keyboards are not very ergonomic for long periods of typing, however). Use fans instead of central A/C, keeping thermostats at 76 degrees in the warmer months. Encourage employees to wear sweaters, etc., in the winter and keep your thermostat at 68 degrees in cooler months. Use scratch paper whenever possible to review internal drafts, layouts, charts, and whenever appropriate. Turn off the hot water in most of the sinks/faucets except where absolutely necessary.

Supplier Consolidation Businesses of every size can benefit from evaluating their purchasing and procurement strategies. Companies often purchase goods or services from other companies. Costsaving opportunities exist in this B2B atmosphere. One strategy that can save money is supplier consolidation. Often companies use multiple suppliers that provide the same or very similar goods and services. Reducing the number of suppliers sends more purchasing volume and dollars to fewer suppliers. Those suppliers that remain typically offer a price break on their goods or services because they now receive increased volume purchasing from you. At the very least, reducing the number of suppliers results in reduced administrative costs — invoice processing, purchase order processing accounts payable activities and the like. Shipping Costs Many businesses ship parcel packages regularly. Unless a company ships a large volume of parcel packages, it pays the standard shipping charges associated with the type of delivery service requested. Before shipping a package for overnight delivery, consider if the same package can ship via two-day delivery or ground delivery. The cost to overnight a package is substantially more than two-day or ground services. Consider the U.S. Postal Service’s Priority Mail flat-rate shipping. With this service, if the product fits in the USPS’ flat rate shipping box, it can ship anywhere in the U.S. or 189 other countries for a flat fee. The maximum shipping weight for this service is 70 pounds; USPS’ Priority Mail typically takes two to three days for delivery anywhere in the continental states. The USPS also provides free packaging supplies and pickup.

Office Supplies Compared to office furniture and equipment, office supplies can erroneously seem like a minor expense. In truth, billions are spent by business every year on pens, pencils, tape, staples, paper clips, sticky notes, business card holders, etc. The more employees you have, the greater need/ demand. If you don’t manage and control your office supply expenditures, these seemingly less expensive purchases can greatly impact your annual expenditures. Necessities vs. Luxuries – Take a look at the office supplies you consistently order. Are any “nice to have” as opposed to “must have” supplies? Evaluate the quality of the items that you are purchasing. Do you need to buy brand name or can you use generic brands? Can you buy requisite items in bulk and save money? A few dollars saved on the most frequently purchased office supplies will add up to big savings. Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 61


Comparative Shopping – Compare prices on the items that you buy most frequently. You don’t have to physically visit each store if they have a website that lists the items they sell. In fact, you can do nearly all your office supply purchasing online. Be careful when comparing online prices by factoring in shipping costs. Some online retailers offer free shipping if you order a minimum amount of supplies. Of course, if you order your supplies locally, sometimes you can save on shipping costs; it depends upon the actual cost of the item and the suppliers’ S&H fees.

Creative Cost Cutting Although especially effective for small business, these money saving ideas are applicable to any size business (they may also give you some saving ideas for your personal life too).

 urchase your office supplies with a rewards credit P card or ask if vendors have a separate customer loyalty/rewards program.

 reate an account with your suppliers. Larger C companies can provide you with a statement of what you ordered over the past month or year. This information is normally used to charge back supply costs in larger firms, but it can also be used to negotiate a better contract with them.

 eview your phone usage and research ways to R reduce this necessary expense. Whether you reduce the number of phone lines, change your plan, or replace your current plan with an Internet-based service such as VoIP, there are a variety of ways to lower your phone bill without adversely affecting your business.

62 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

Bulk Ordering – Look for items you can purchase in bulk. For example, instead of buying paper in 500 sheet packs, consider buying a case of 5,000 sheets. There are two tradeoffs, however: you’ll tie up some money in order to buy the larger quantities and need to store them somewhere. Negotiate a Purchase Contract – If your company purchases a significant amount of office supplies every month, negotiate a purchase contract with your supplier(s). This strategy usually only applies to companies that have over 100 employees. The key to negotiating a favorable contract is to identify the supplies you buy most often (in terms of dollars spent). Concentrate your negotiations on these items and if you have to give in on any others, then you’ll know which ones are purchased less frequently.

 ave monthly fees and statement fees that your S merchant account charges by switching to an online service like PayPal. However, these online plans have specific “per transaction” fees, so analyze your account activity before making the switch.

 rinter and toner ink can often be an extremely P high line item in your annual budget. Investigate different ways to save, whether it’s buying in bulk or using recycled printer cartridges. Also set up your employees to share printers on company’s network, thus reducing your utility expenses while also using less ink.

 se the Internet whenever possible. From sales U calls to business conferences, there are a variety of Internet-based technologies, which can provide low cost ways to negotiate with clients. There are free web-based conferencing tools such as Zoho Meeting [www.zoho.com/meeting], which can lead to tremendous productivity. You can use the Internet to reduce your sales team’s driving and gas


costs to do online presentations to customers and clients. Kenneth Daryl Brown, host of the awardwinning podcast, “The Celebrated Entrepreneur,” is an advocate of Internet-based meetings and conferencing. “By utilizing the web,” he says, “your prospects share their desktop, materials and anything else to help you understand the prospect … It also allows you to share information, knowledge, your presentation … It really makes the sales process more productive and efficient.”

“Operating a lean business reduces overhead costs, eliminates needless expenses, and helps it functions more efficiently.” •

 o you have unused office space? Consider D subletting it. Sharing rent and other expenses while not paying for unused space makes sound business sense.

 hen looking for office equipment and furniture, W consider buying used computer equipment, copiers, faxes and office furniture. Investigate how refurbished computers and ancillary hardware/ software, purchased thought the right channels, can save your business a significant amount of money. Visit trade shows, auctions and even garage sales; look into buying wholesale or even investigate Craigslist before paying retail. Sometimes organizations such as your local school board have annual garage sales offering used desks, cabinets, bookshelves and other useful items at bargain prices.

 re you wasting valuable time and money A re-inventing the wheel? Find pre-made business forms online for free instead of having your staff format new forms.

 ailings are expenses so don’t waste them. M Clean up your mailing list by removing changed addresses, inactive customers, and undeliverable mail. Every letter that doesn’t get sent back or thrown away is money saved. Consider using email and with attachment files whenever appropriate. If you have a large file (voluminous text and or large audio/video or graphics files), you can use wwwyousendit.com for free.

 he best and least expensive form of advertisement T is word-of-mouth. Encourage and reward your pre-existing clients to make referrals and include testimonials on your website and any appropriate external communications. Also, encourage your clients to post favorable responses on your firm’s Facebook page and other social media platforms.

 se the Internet to expand your advertising reach U without expanding your budget. Periodically email newsletters and blogs that keep your customer base and potential new clients aware of new items or discounted services. The return on investment (ROI) can be much higher than other forms of advertising.

 isit sites like www.download.com to try hundreds V of software products at no cost, freeware and limited versions. Some programs, even Microsoft Office, offer free trial downloads.

 ecome active in your community. By joining B trade associates, participating and/or sponsoring (although the latter usually requires an outlay of cash) as well as interacting with others in your community, you can sometimes do joint advertising ventures, learn the latest industry-specific news, or discover new sales opportunities. CEOs and other company leaders should join local business associations to network the company.

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 63


 ross promotion is a key element to any business. C While advertising one item, mention another service or accessory that works with that item.

 efore contracting with any one single business, B request three bids from their competitors. Often times, a vendor will match a competitor’s price to complete the sale, providing you additional savings.

 rder new checks online rather than through O the bank office. Review your insurance coverage. Whether it’s your medical insurance or liability insurance, discuss the policy with your agent to see if there are any ways you can save. Perhaps there are discounts for trade associations or an umbrella plan may be more cost effective. Take time to investigate competitors’ rates. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars per year.

 hen traveling look for discounted fares. See W if there are specials on air carriers through popular travel Internet sites. Ditto with package deals that include room & board and car rental. Use a company credit card that adds points and/or frequent flyer miles to make these purchases. You can often find online discount coupons or coupon codes as well. Seek out and implement sage advice from other business owners who embrace a lean methodology.

I mplementing properly fitted, ergonomic workstations will increase your employees’ efficiency. More importantly, it’ll help prevent work-related injuries and employee downtime due to Repetitive Stress Injuries and similar maladies. In turn, your health insurance costs will be reduced as well employee absenteeism.

As you can see, there are numerous ways you can find to cut requisite business expenses. From lowering your utility bills to recycling, many of the above suggestions can reduce your expenditures significantly, thereby increasing your profit margin. 64 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

When thinking about making changes, always remember to look for ways to improve your business and optimize your staff’s productivity. Engage your staff in this project as well. Their unique perspective can provide some actionable cost-saving approaches. An ardent advocate of lean methodologies is the multimillion dollar sales veteran and author, Julie Steelman, whose former clients include Apple, CBS, Microsoft, Sony Studios, Toyota and Universal Pictures. She advises: “Stop looking for answers outside of the company and use the brain trust of you employees more effectively. Hold regular meetings to let the team brainstorm ideas on how to streamline efforts and bring in more business. When you have their full buy-in they’ll work harder for you, thus saving you time and money.”


Spotlight your business in Entrepreneurs Anchor magazine EAM is looking for companies to spotlight. EAM will spotlight your small, medium or rapidly emerging business with a complimentary highlight in an issue of Entrepreneurs Anchor. Send an email to editor@entrepreneursanchor.com with the company bio, photos and business contact information. This will be a great opportunity for FREE advertisement with Entrepreneurs Anchor. Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 65


eFOCU$ By Ethelbert Nwanegbo

Welcome to E-Focus. I want to focus the discussion in this segment on the global economic outlook and a summary of the U.S. economy. Report on Global Economic Outlook

An assessment of the global economic outlook shows a gradual improvement in the world economy. The major threats and looming economic meltdown that resulted from the global recession in 2006 are easing up with improved activity in the U.S. and better economic policies currently championed in Europe. Let’s not forget other contributing factors, such as the rise of the emerging markets around the world.

I’m appalled to hear politicians who occupy the center stage in the U.S. opine our country isn’t faring better. Some of the directions and economic policies described as a panacea for the ailing economy neglects the impact of other economic powers on the sustainability of our own economic growth. More so, some of the prescribed economic policies, vis-à-vis fiscal and monetary strategies, are akin to a closed economy, hence alluding the U.S.’ economy is immune from the impact of global economy. Most recently, the European market tensions are increasing jitters in the global economy, thus reversing certain improvements in market sentiment and also causing price of risk to spike upwards. More so, these tensions have also impacted the rates of Credit Default Swap (CDS). The ailing recovery of the countries in the Middle-East and North Africa is weakening the speed of the overall global economic recovery. However, emerging markets in other African countries such as and other regions of the world are helping to reverse the global market tensions. Gross domestic products (GDP) in emerging countries are expected to expand 5.3 percent in 2012. A critical look at different economies around the world reveals that several countries are struggling against capacity constraints that prevent significant growth acceleration. According to the World Bank’s Global Outlook summary: “A return to more neutral macroeconomic policies would help developing countries reduce their vulnerabilities to external shocks by rebuilding fiscal space, reducing shortterm debt exposures, and recreating the kinds of buffers that allowed them to react so resiliently to the 2008-09 crisis. The resurgence of tensions in the high-income world is a reminder that the aftereffects of the 2008-09 crisis have not yet played themselves out fully. Although the resolution of tensions implicit in the baseline is still the most likely outcome, a sharp deterioration of conditions cannot be ruled out. While the precise nature of such a scenario is unknowable in advance, developing countries could be expected to take a large hit.”

U.S. Economic Outlook Summary • GDP – 2% growth in 2012, second quarter a bit better than the first quarter of the year.

• Unemployment – Around 7.8 %; projected to

improve much better in the fourth quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013.

• Interest Rates – Little or no increase in 2012. • Inflation – 2% in 2013, matching 2012. • Energy – Oil is currently trading at $85-$95/ barrel through year-end.

• Housing – Uptick in the housing section leading to 8% growth in 2012.

• Trade Deficit – $585 billion in 2012, 5.3% gain. In the next issue of E-focus, I’ll discuss hot topics in the business world and how to become a global manager. 66 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com


Building Meaningful

Relationships with Influencers By Michael Cohn Marketing to influencers is an important part of your business’s success. Strong relationships are at the heart of your professional success. Take it one step further to cultivate and maintain relationships with people who are influential in your industry. “Influencer Marketing” is not a new strategy or way of thinking. It has been around for a very long time. Professionals from many fields, especially in business, have recognized its value for ages. It’s the way in which you use it that determines how successful your business will be because of it. There are many things to think about when it comes to targeting influencers. The first is identifying who the influencers are. The second is determining the best way for you to connect with them so that you can start to build meaningful and mutually beneficial relationships with each other. Bear in mind the people who are the strongest influencers for you today may not be the same people as tomorrow.

Because of the rapid advancement of technology and how that affects businesses today, they are connected to the tools that are being used for business on a consistent and regular basis.

Making Influencer Marketing a Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

You may be asking yourself, “Why would I want to incorporate influencer marketing in to my marketing strategy?” Of course, just as traditional marketing efforts and techniques can have a positive effect on your business (and certainly should), online marketing can have an equally positive effect.

Interacting with Your Influencers Try to get your influencers to write guest blog articles on your website, become guests on your podcast (if you have one) and have you interview them. And vice versa; that is, you should make yourself available to do the very same for them. Reciprocity is the actionable word of the day here. This serves several purposes: • Impresses others to know that your influencers support your business and believe in your products and/or services.

 alidates their business by having V you interact on their websites and social media sites.

 our efforts to continue to bring Y fresh, innovative ideas to the table through your influencers will make other people want to continue to be involved with you and your business.

Increasing Your Online Presence and Website’s SEO If you can get your influencers to speak about you and your business online, through their efforts, you will strengthen your reputation and increase your own business’ and website’s exposure. When it comes to SEO optimization, where you are mentioned is not nearly as important as how frequently you are mentioned (as long as it is in a positive light, of course).  

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Increase Your Website’s Traffic If you can tap in to your circle of influencers’ audiences, the greater the likelihood you’ll be able to increase the amount of online traffic that comes to you. This is highly advantageous for your business and overall exposure. Determining the Value of Your Business and Your Offerings A great way to know how valuable you are to other people is through the communications that others express among themselves. It’s important to obtain honest feedback about how/what others think about your business. Sure, it’s one thing for you to totally understand how valuable your products and/or services are, yet quite another for other people to understand them. While it’s only natural that you sing the praises of your business, it’s even more poignant when your influencers take the lead voice or least enthusiastically join the chorus.

Credibility + Trustworthiness = Selling More

When credible influencers validate your business, it influences others to consider your products and services more seriously. They will value you as being reliable and trustworthy. Most importantly, they will want to buy what you are selling and/or pay for your services. Goal Setting There are several goals you should define for your business before you target any influencers:

Establish exactly what you are trying to gain from your marketing It’s critical to have the goals as part of your marketing plan distinctly in mind before you do anything. Having and abiding by them keeps you more focused and poised to become more successful. Your marketing goals will also help you understand exactly which influencers are right for your business.

Create a Target List It is simpler than you’d think to build a list of influencers. Start by doing an online keyword search and potential influencers will show up in the results. There are several available tools that can also help you to identify influencers. You will need to learn how to use metrics appropriately. It is important to understand that a high score is not the only important determining factor when it comes to choosing influencers. When choosing, you need to look at everything at once and then you will know if that influencer is right for you.

68 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com

Reach Out Don’t expect to automatically form a relationship with a given influencer the first time you communicate with him or her. More than likely, it will take some time (just as it does with any relationship). Remember that relationships require work, nurturing, caring, and a great deal of giveand-take. Listening skills are as important, if not more so, than talking. Always strive for win-win.

Build a Solid Foundation Before you begin the Influencer Marketing aspect of your business, you need to feel secure in the idea that you are doing so with the goal of building a solid foundation when it comes to your business overall. Once you have everything you need and are interacting with your influencers, make sure to work consistently at maintaining those relationships and doing everything you reasonably can to nurture and maintain them.

Conclusion Influencer Marketing is critical to your business’ success. It will help strengthen your online reputation and help you to eventually reach your goal of yourself being considered a major, positive influence in your niche or industry. Remember to listen carefully to the advice proffer; then you can incorporate their ideas and suggestions if and when it works for your business. The relationships you build with your influencers must be real, authentic, and mutually beneficial. Marketing in the most appropriate and effective manner is essential to your business’ ultimate success.


Check, Please !  Pay bills on time to avoid late fees.  Pay more than the minimum on your credit cards.  Read your bank statement regularly.  Build an emergency fund of at least three months living expenses.  Follow a monthly budget.

 If you’re renting your home or apartment, make sure you have renters’ insurance.  Pay any bills you receive each month as soon as you get them.  Avoid using payday lenders and check cashing services.

 Adjust your W-4 annually to make sure you’re not giving the government too much money.

 Identify three long-term financial goals, such as buying a house, paying for your child’s college education, or paying off credit card debt.

 Check your credit report annually for accuracy.

 Always take time to shop around before making large purchases.

 Start a retirement plan.

 Withdraw cash only from the ATMs that don’t charge a fee.

 Write down everything you spend this month to get a sense of where your money goes.

 Teach your children about the importance of saving money.

 Pick a date by which to pay off all your credit card debt.

 Every time you use your credit card this week, write down what you bought.

 Next payday, pay yourself first by putting money in your savings account before spending anything.

 Protect your financial documents from disaster by keeping them in a safe deposit box at a bank or credit union.

 Assess your debt—how much do you have?

 Start investing.

 Write down one financial goal you intend to achieve by the end of next week.

 Buy a home and live in it a long time.

 Diversify your income.

Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 69


What does your signature say about you? Accentuate your signature with an EMBA from JU!

Jacksonville University’s Executive Master of Business Administration is a signature program that is the epitome of the University’s mission for student achievement and leadership. We integrate progressive theory with best practices ready to employ in today’s complex business environment. For more than 20 years, many of Northeast Florida’s most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs have had one thing in common: an Executive MBA from JU’s Davis College of Business. Hone leadership skills that last a lifetime—and the relationships you forge with your classmates may be just as invaluable.

JU’s focused 18-month EMBA program offers: •

Holistic leadership emphasis, including: – Mayo Clinic’s Executive Health Assessment Program – Certified executive leadership coaching program

• • •

Jacksonville Regional Political Leadership Institute International trip to study global businesses Distinguished, world-renowned faculty

Now accepting applications for fall 2012. To discover how you can take charge of your continued education, visit ju.edu/emba or call 904.256.7811. 70 • Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com


Jacksonville University: Developing Effective Leaders

Executive MBA in Leadership Development If you are preparing to join an executive leadership team or launching a significant new venture, then the Davis Executive Master of Business Administration is designed for you. Developing a leader’s strategic mindset, business expertise and creative instincts—all grounded in an ethical and professional foundation—are essential. These are the competencies acquired in this intensive 18-month program.

A Degree with Immediate Payback: With an interactive environment in a state-of-the-art facility, you will integrate cutting-edge theory with best practices ready to employ at work. Emphasizing the practice of business in a dynamic global environment, you will develop strategic leadership skills with the ability to create and work through effective leadership teams; deepen your functional business expertise through practical application; build your leadership presence and style; and design, drive and communicate strategic, positive change. All this with state-of-the-art knowledge and tools, coupled with the very latest personal management strategies— that is the Davis EMBA, unlike any other program in the Southeast.

Mayo Clinic Executive Health Program Grounded in a compelling holistic leadership framework, the program recognizes that sustainable high performance today requires attention to mind, body and spirit. Leader knowledge is critical, of course, but we also know that attention to a leader’s physical, emotional and psychological well-being is equally critical in today’s dynamic business environments. This is why we collaborate with the world renowned Mayo Clinic in providing an executive health assessment and seminars for each of our EMBA students to achieve this goal. The EMBA program is exceptional in its ability to balance focus and development in all of these areas. You’ll receive a state-of-the-art preventative medical

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Entrepreneurs Anchor | entrepreneursanchor.com • 71


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Entrepreneurs Anchor Magazine Vol3 Issue 4  

Entrepreneurs Anchor Magazine Vol3 Issue 4  

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