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Category Archives: Running a Business

How to Save a Retail Store That’s Losing Money Every Month

By | Business By The Book, Business Improvements, Cash Flow Management, Increasing Profitability, Organization & Strategy | No Comments
Avoiding Business FailureQ: I launched a retail store about nine months ago, but I need immediate help. My business is losing several thousand dollars per month and I am not even drawing any salary for me or my family. My revenue has flattened out due to the economy and is around $40,000 per month, but my expenses are running around $46,000. I have an SBA loan payment of $6,600 per month and a building lease of $3,300 per month. I" />

Q: I launched a retail store about nine months ago, but I need immediate help. My business is losing several thousand dollars per month and I am not even drawing any salary for me or my family. My revenue has flattened out due to the economy and is around $40,000 per month, but my expenses are running around $46,000. I have an SBA loan payment of $6,600 per month and a building lease of $3,300 per month. I’m thinking about trying to refinance my SBA loan to get a lower payment. Any suggestions? A: The first thing I would suggest…

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Business Planning in a Down Economy

By | Business By The Book, Buying a Business, Buying a Franchise, Growing a Business, Growth Strategy, Increasing Profitability, Investing in Small Businesses, Planning, Starting Up, Valuing a Small Business, Writing a Business Plan | No Comments
shutterstock_194003438

Q: Should the economic forecast be an important factor in determining the type of business to start or acquire? A: Most businesses that are acquired or started are done so with a long time horizon in mind. Add to that the fact of the typical continuous cycles of any economy: (downturn, bottom out, upturn, and peak). Given that long-term view and the necessary expectation of economic cycles that almost defy the ability to forecast the timing of those trends, it’s more important to pick an industry/market in which you have loads of experience and create a superior offering with a…

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The Perfect Brainstorm

By | Business, Business By The Book, Business Improvements, Leadership, Leadership | No Comments
Startup Stock Photos

  Poet Robert Frost once described the brain as something that “starts working the moment you get up in the morning and does not stop until you get into the office.” Okay, so you can jump start it again with a stiff cup of Folgers. The point is, much of what passes for work in the workplace requires—admit it—very little of your cerebral cortex. The mundane tasks that constitute the average workday are often far from intellectually stimulating—but that’s probably a good thing. A certain amount of routine helps us balance the stressful elements of operating a business. Too much…

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Warning! Don’t Marry an Entrepreneur, Unless…

By | Business By The Book, Ownership & Purpose, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments
shutterstock_191977835

I was in the middle of the dot com crash and the emotional journey from the heady days of preparing my company for an initial public offering to the disheartening task of cutting a massive cash burn rate. The company had chewed up $30 million in the race to be first to market in our chosen space. Not only were we out of cash, but we owed millions more in unpaid bills and our lead investors were refusing to invest additional capital. I felt the crushing weight of 335 employees in offices across the U.S. and Europe (many of whom…

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Nuts and Bolts of Corporate Taxes

By | Business By The Book, Finance, Incorporating a Business, Legal Issues | No Comments
Form of Incorporation

When starting a business, many entrepreneurs wrestle with the question of what corporate structure is business best. Legal pros and cons aside, there are various tax and financial matters to consider when choosing.  (Note that these are general guidelines and in no way comprehensive). The limited liability company (LLC) is a very popular form of business structure and one most entrepreneurs have at least heard of.  It offers liability protection while being flexible in the taxation department. But what many budding business owners don’t realize is that choosing to operate as an LLC isn’t the only decision to make; you…

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Six Tips on How to Choose and Manage an Attorney

By | Business By The Book, Legal Issues, Planning | No Comments
Tips on Attorneys

Q: I am looking for an attorney in my area. Specialty does not matter. Do you have any recommendations? A: My attitude on choosing and managing lawyers is as follows: Specialty is Critical – I would argue that specialty DOES matter. I’d recommend that you use a specialist that knows the area of law that you need advice in very well (so you are not paying them to learn and to insure you are getting the best advice possible). Much like you wouldn’t go to a heart surgeon to deliver a baby, you would not want to use a collections attorney…

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Are Surety Bonds Biblical?

By | Business By The Book, Insurance and Risk Management, Legal Issues, Ownership & Purpose | No Comments
Surety Bonds

Q: I have a lawn care business and I would like to provide landscaping services as well, but in my state I have to get licensed, insured, and bonded in order to do that. When I called the insurance company they called the bond a surety bond. I wonder if that has anything to do with surety in Scripture that we are to avoid? Thank you for any help you can give. A: There are six references to the concept of “surety” in the book of Proverbs (Pr. 6:1, 11:15, 17:18, 20:16, 22:26, and 27:13 – see below), but none…

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Dazed and Confused About Working from Home

By | Business By The Book, Ownership & Purpose, Running a Business, Taxes and Tax Management | No Comments
Home Office

Of all the deductions our tax code allows, the home office deduction should win the prize for “most likely to confuse and frighten.” So let’s shed a bit of light and dispel some myths.   As always, note this is intended to be general in nature and not all-inclusive of tax regulation.   Who can take the home office deduction? You don’t have to be in business for yourself to take the deduction, but it is easier to qualify if you are.  The IRS applies the “regular and exclusive use” rule for the area of your home used for business in order…

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Move, Shoot, and Communicate

By | Business By The Book, Leadership, Leadership and Employees, Running a Business | No Comments
2LT Myers

“Move, Shoot, and Communicate” was a standard phrase I learned as a young officer in the U.S. Army regarding the three essential capabilities to develop, build, and perfect in order to be successful in battle. And the faster a troop leader can perform and lead the soldiers, the more effective he was at gaining ground. I remember a cartoon I saw as a lieutenant that stuck with me: it featured an armored personnel carrier tearing down a tank trail at a high rate of speed with a caption that read “speed is my camouflage”. That resonated with me. While some…

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When Do I Pull the Plug on My Startup?

By | Business By The Book, Organization & Strategy, Planning, Running a Business, Starting Up | No Comments
Pull the Plug

Q: I am at a point where I am starting to think about shutting down my startup operation and wonder if you can share your wisdom on discerning when to persevere vs. when to pull the plug on a startup. Thanks! A: My advice would vary based upon what the issue is: Is it a Revenue problem where you cannot seem to get, keep, or grow customers as planned? Is it an Operations problem where you cannot seem to produce the offering as planned? Is it a Cost problem where no matter what volume of production and sales, your Gross…

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