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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 6 – Poor Staffing Decisions

One of the first things I heard when I got into management in my career is the phrase “you have to put the right talent on the bus”. While I understood its meaning, it took many years to realize how important hiring decisions are to grow an organization the right way. I also felt the pain of making poor hiring decisions, and how much time and productivity you can lose from just one bad hire. No entrepreneur lives in the panacea of having zero turnover as sometimes they might like to make it seem, but certainly making the right staffing decisions by putting people in the right roles can allow your start up venture to get off on the right foot. One of the critical questions to ask yourself early in your venture is what role do you (the CEO/owner) play in your firm. If I was to use a baseball analogy, what jobs are you going to be a ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 5 – You Must Hire Professional Consultants

Since many new entrepreneurial ventures are often started on a shoestring budget, where you spend your financial resources can be a prickly situation. Far too often, I see new business owners who in some sense are really penny wise but pound foolish as the old adage goes. When is the right time to get yourself legal help? Do you really need an outside person to do your books or can you do it yourself? Does it merit having a financial person talk to about entity planning and business structure? Can’t you just figure this stuff out yourself? Even with many years of corporate experience, I faced these same questions when I opened my business. The costs for some of these professional feels like a waste of money when you need those precious resources for things like marketing, staffing, and technology. However, I will tell you that a big mistake in any of the areas below can be a brutal blow ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner

As an entrepreneur starting a new business, you often have to wear the hat of cook, dishwasher, accountant, and general manager.   However, one of the biggest mistakes a young owner will make is not quickly clarify their role within the organization.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs will try to control every aspect of a new business which inevitably slows the growth of the organization.  In some cases, it can make hiring and training new people so difficult it can be destructive to the success of a company. One of things I recommend to new business owners is to draw a T chart with one axis being things you like to do and one access being tasks that you are good at.    What you should quickly try to figure out in the early stage of a new company is to list all of the items that you are good at and those tasks that you like to do.    After figuring out ...

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Entrepreneur Series | Lesson 2: Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition. Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generations of revenue to pay the bills of the business. However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself. If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product or ...

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The Devil Went Down To Georgia

Charlie Daniels won the Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance in 1979 for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia“, which reached No. 3 on the Hot 100 in September 1979. Almost everybody can name that tune the moment they hear it on the radio. Even if the Devil does come down to Georgia, here is one thing they won’t want to do in this state if they are making a smart money move . . . drink beer. But does it pay to be a ‘sin tax’ consumer in Georgia? ‘Sin Taxes’ as we often hear them called are a form of sumptuary taxes. Sumptuary taxes are ostensibly used for reducing transactions involving something that society considers undesirable, and is thus a kind of sumptuary law. Sin tax is used for taxes on activities that are considered socially undesirable. Common targets of sumptuary taxes are alcohol, tobacco, gambling, and vehicles emitting excessive pollutants. Sumptuary tax on sugar and soft drinks ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 1: Being Undercapitalized

It’s always exciting to think about the idea of having your own new start up. You hear about stories where entrepreneurs started with just $300 and a cardboard box and then turned their business into millions. In reality, having worked with many types of business owners, the first mistake made by most is simply not having enough capital or access to capital while growing your business. Undercapitalization really involves the language used when a person cannot sufficiently fund their business venture. An idea alone will not lead to business success. This lack of capitalization not only includes the initial outlay to get the business up and going, but really miscalculating the operating expenses in the business—especially in the first year of operation. Here are three smart things to be thinking about so your new entrepreneurial venture doesn’t fall short financially. Lines Of Credit. Whether it is a true banking relationship or you have set up an arrangement with family and friends, ...

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Is It Time To Call Mr. Handyman?

Like many of you, my home is filled with different types of small appliances. When something major goes kaput in our homes like the air conditioning, the refrigerator, or the stove, we don’t really think twice about the cost of calling a repairperson. Many of us had some type of mini refrigerator in our college dorm rooms or possibly our first apartment, and many homes today carry lots of small appliances, whether in tricked out basements or in the master bedroom. This past week, we had a mini refrigerator die on us and became confronted with this very simple question. Should we get someone here to fix it or just buy a new one? What do mere mortals like us who can’t play Tim The Toolman, nor do they want to on a Saturday afternoon, do to fix the problem? I haven’t written a blog post on this yet, but it has occurred to me that some serious analysis should ...

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Will You Lose Your Home Mortgage Deduction In 2013?

Last Friday, I spent a chunk of my day at the Georgia Regional Financial Planning Association conference. I was a panelist at the event, but one of the reasons I attended was to see a friend of mine Michael Kitces speak on all of the tax law changes here in 2013. He is one of the best tax management advisors that I know of in the industry. As I have shared before in my blogs, tax management will be as important if not more important than asset management over the next decade. With all of the recent fiscal cliff changes, the tax law has become even more complicated and requires a close eye here in 2013 when income to tracking your gross income, capital gain sales, and potentially triggering out things like stock options or selling a piece of rental real estate. One of the main questions taxpayers will face this this year is whether or not their home mortgage ...

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