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The Two Sides of a Successful Small Business

yin-yangWe often encourage business owners to mentally step outside their business. You may find it helpful to look at your business through the lens of another industry.

For example, what if you thought of your business like the real estate business? Real estate has traditionally been one of the greatest creators of wealth.

Of course, there are many ways to make your money in real estate. We’ll use real estate development as our model because it’s the best analogy for start-up entrepreneurs and existing small business owners.

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Development and management

The two sides of the business are development and property management.

The development side is about locating the property, preparing it for construction and actually building it.

The management side is about leasing the property and maintaining it.

Both sides are essential

It doesn’t do you any good to develop a site if you can’t find any tenants. Of course, without the building, you don’t have anything to show the tenants so it’s a moot point.

Wealth and income, today and tomorrow

Development creates wealth in the future.

Management creates income today.

The problem we see with so many small business owners is that they’re stuck on today. Management consumes all their time. They don’t do anything to create wealth tomorrow.

It’s hard to do. We’ve walked a thousand miles in those shows.

We’ve learned that you have to work presently in the future. You have to spend a certain amount of time as a developer. Otherwise, your business will stagnate.

Develop the habit of spending some time today on tomorrow:

  • Start small – maybe 15 minutes a day just thinking.
  • At some point, you’ll find a project – a new market to pursue, a new product or service to create, a new business to start or buy. You may need to find a little more time each day to develop it. That’s okay – you’ll know you’re setting yourself up for more income tomorrow.
  • Of course, don’t forget to keep your current customers happy. You’ll count on this income to help you keep building your business.

It’s the yin and yang of entrepreneuring. Doing two things at once leads to BIGG success!

Would you like some help developing the next phase of your business? E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com or leave a voice message at 888.455.2444.

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4 Types of Free Agents

freedomThis is the final installment of our five-part series on freedom. In the first three parts, we discussed the 3 levels of freedom – freedom of, freedom from, and freedom to. Last time we talked about financial freedom.

Now we want to talk about the freedom to spend your time however you want. If you can do that, we think you’re a free agent. We’ll identify four types of free agents today:

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The Aggressive Passive

Aggressive Passives let their money work for them so they don’t have to work. They make enough money from their investments to pay for their desired standard of living. So they are free to spend their time however they want.

The amount of money you need to be an Aggressive Passive is a lot less if you’re perfectly content not living lavishly than if you want to live large. But it’s life on your own terms, go for what you want.

In our last post, we discussed paths to financial freedom. If you want to be an Aggressive Passive – and you want it sooner rather than later – you’re going to focus on the wealth building path. Maximize income, minimize costs and build Assets – most likely your own business or real estate.

The Passion Player

Passion Players love what they do so much that they don’t feel like they’re working. In many cases, their hobby is their craft and their craft is their hobby.

We have a friend who had built up an incredible business and sold it off. Now he’s back in the same type of business only this time he’s doing it with no employees. He chooses his clients very carefully. He takes plenty of time off, yet he’s still doing very well money-wise. He’s thrilled!

You may choose to work inside a corporation and be a Passion Player. Just keep in mind that, in addition to your work, you must love working for and with the people around you. Since you only have one client – your employer – that may be difficult at times.

Inside or outside of a company, your focus as a Passion Player is building up your personal brand. It may make sense to do this while you have the security of a full-time job. But there’s also some real security – as well as freedom – in moving from an employer (which is like having only one client) to multiple clients.

The Automatic Pilot

Automatic Pilots don’t just sell a product or a service. They don’t just create a brand. These free agents build a business.

In that business, they develop systems and controls. The systems insure a consistent standard of the product or service they offer. The controls allow these free agents to step away from their business without fear of it falling apart.

While they develop their systems and controls, they also train a protégé who can run the business in their absence. Once the protégé is fully trained, the entrepreneur is a free agent!

The Synergizer Bunny

These free agents sit at the hub of a network. They tap that network to bring the best people to the table.

Synergizer bunnies don’t just do projects with others. Bigg success comes to them by creating entire businesses through strategic alliances. Everyone involved is well compensated and the customers receive a great value. It’s a win all the way around.

That’s the key to becoming a free agent of any type: Help others find ways to improve their lives and you’ll be a bigg success.

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Thanks so much for checking in on us today. Please join us next time when we’ll discuss one of the best assets to have today. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Three Levels of Freedom – Part 2

Three Levels of Freedom – Part 3

6 Paths to Financial Freedom

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9 Questions to Answer Before You Make Extra Mortgage Payments

Bigg Challenge
One of our listeners, Randy, is considering making paying his mortgage every two weeks instead of every month so he can pay it off faster. He wants to know if this is a good idea..

Bigg Advice
We can’t give you a direct answer, Randy, but we will give you nine questions that will help you determine if you should make the extra payments.

#1 – Do you have any other debt?
Chances are your mortgage is the cheapest debt you’ll ever find, after taxes are considered. So if that’s the case, you should pay off your other debt first.

#2 – Do you have an emergency cash reserve?
The general wisdom among financial planners is that you should have somewhere between three months to a year of living expenses in an account that’s readily available.

#3 – How good is your credit rating?
The better your credit rating, the better chance you have to borrow in the future at a reasonable cost should the need arise. When you make extra payments, you’re essentially investing in an illiquid asset. So if your credit score needs some improvement, work on that first.

#4 – How do you feel about debt?

Some people don’t like having any debt at all. If you’re one of them, and if you’re happy with the answer to the first three questions, then make extra payments!

#5 – What’s your interest rate?
This question gets you ready to determine your best financial move. There are two things you need to know:

  • the interest rate on your mortgage
  • your tax bracket (i.e. how much you’ll pay in taxes on your next dollar of income, that’s called your marginal tax rate).

Multiply your interest rate by (1 – your marginal tax rate) to get your after-tax cost of interest.

#6 – How disciplined are you?

If you’re likely to just spend the extra money if you don’t make extra mortgage payments, then by all means just make extra payments. If you’re disciplined
(or set it up so you don’t have to be), then you’re ready for the next question.

#7 – When do you plan to retire?

In general, the longer you have until you retire, the more aggressive you can be. So if you plan to retire in a relatively short time, lean toward extra payments. If you have a relatively long time before you retire, you’re probably better off investing.

#8 – What could you earn if you didn’t pay off your mortgage early?
You figured out your after-tax interest cost in Question 5. That’s your cost of money. Now you’re going to look at how much you can make from your investments. That’s your projected return. If the return on your portfolio is greater than your cost of money, that’s a sign you shouldn’t make extra payments on your mortgage.

#9 – Will your current portfolio support your desired lifestyle?

If you already have enough money to keep you happy for the rest of your life, why do anything risky? Just pay off your mortgage and reduce your risk even more.

We’ve offered some general advice here. Find a certified financial planner or CPA to help you with your specific situation. 

Want to read more? Here are the
9 questions you should ask before paying off your mortgage
in more detail.

Our bigg quote today comes from Walter Savage Landor:

“We talk on principle, but we act on interest.”

But you shouldn’t pay down your principal unless it’s in your best interest.

Next time, we’ll share a love story with lessons. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Turn Misfortune Into Fortune: Tips for Starting Over

Last time, we talked about Todd, a young real estate entrepreneur, whose triumph turned to tragedy. Todd’s story comes from an article, in the New York Times, by John Leland, entitled A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom To Bust. We discussed some lessons you can learn from Todd’s misfortune.

Today, we want to go beyond the lessons and offer some advice on how to recover from a devastating turn of events.

Keep your dream alive.
Stay positive. Reach out to people close to you. People love helping people. Let them.

You should also be thankful for your misfortune. Yes, we do mean that. It means you’re one step closer to success! History is ripe with examples of people who failed before they succeeded bigg. Plan on your name being added to that list!

Here’s the first step to starting over:
Assess your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re not going to repeat the past, you have to learn from it. That’s how you fail forward. Learn from it and then forget about it – move on.

In Todd’s case, it’s obvious he is a dynamic young man. His banker said he performs. That’s a striking compliment coming from a banker who has foreclosed on him. It appears that Todd is good with Operations and Sales. Management, particularly financial management, is his weakness. This is common among entrepreneurs.

You want to build on your strengths and get around your weaknesses. For example, Todd may take in a partner with strong financial skills to complement his abilities.

What if you’ve declared bankruptcy (or are deep in debt)?
We’re not attorneys, or financial planners, or anything else worthy of giving you information for your specific situation. Keep that in mind.

A successful business person referred a friend, who had just declared bankruptcy, to a banker. The bank turned him down. The business person called the banker and explained that his friend was a better risk than he was.

“How can that be?” the banker asked. “You have stellar credit.”

The business person replied, “Because if you lend me the money, I can declare bankruptcy tomorrow. My friend can’t do that for seven years.”

We’re not sure if that’s still the case, but the point is to find ways of turning your liabilities into assets. Todd has changed from a merchant-model (i.e. he buys it, then sells it), to a broker-model. Now he makes money without having to invest any capital. Brilliant!

Our quote today comes from the great Dig Hammarskjöld.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top.
Then you will see how low it was.”

Keep climbing. You’ll find that many of your mountains were really just mole hills.

Tune in next time to see what people regret the most, according to a recent study. Until then, here’s to your big success!

Lessons Learned From A Bankrupt Business Owner

Last time, we talked about jump starting your passive income by investing in rental real estate. Today we’ll look at what we can learn from a bankrupt business owner.

We came across an interesting article a little bit ago in the New York Times. It was about a young real estate speculator named Todd.

Back in 1994, after attending a seminar on buying real estate, 20-year old Todd found a property which he bought, fixed up, and sold for a $4,000 profit.

By the year 2000, Todd, now 26, was holding as many as 25 houses at a time. He had perfected his system – making up to $15,000 on every house. Eight banks were in line to provide him money when he needed it. Todd decided to start building new homes because prices had gone up so much on the houses he was buying.

Fast forwarding to May of 2006, Todd was living the American dream at 33. He had a 5,000 square foot house that cost $1.2 million. He had a BMW and a Corvette. An inventory of 89 lots was waiting for buyers. He owned an office building. Life was good!

Now, his marriage has collapsed. Banks have taken back his lovely house; he now rents a small one. His beautiful cars are gone. He’s driving a pick up truck. He’s lost everything else. He sells beverages full-time, and brokers deals to other speculators part-time.

We applaud Todd for sharing his story. And a big salute to John Leland for this excellent article – A Real Estate Speculator Goes From Boom to Bust.

So what can we learn from Todd’s experience? Here are some lessons:

Just because a bank will give you $$$, that doesn’t mean you should take it!
Todd had a banker who did him a favor, if he would have only recognized it. She told him “no”. So Todd went to another banker who kept the funds coming. If Todd had only paused to consider why his first banker said no, he may be in less of a mess now.

When you’re living on borrowed money, you may be living on borrowed time.
Todd was highly leveraged, in business and at home. Being levered in business may be fine. Piling on to that with personal debt is a bad idea. Borrowing money is a two-edged sword – it will make you rich, or poor, more quickly.

When it comes to your standard of living, keep your standards low.
Todd had the best of everything – the house, the cars, and more. Which is fine, if you have assets that will produce the income to pay for everything. But when you’re borrowing to buy status symbols, you’re bound to wind up in trouble.

Know how you’re getting out before you get in.
If Todd had done this, he might have noticed that it was getting more expensive for his customers to buy houses. He could have shifted his business model once – find a customer, then build it. That would mean he was “out” without getting “in”.

Fully analyze your situation by considering a number of situations.
Todd did this once – he shifted from flipping houses to building new ones. He didn’t contemplate how rising prices were affecting his customer’s ability to buy his product. He failed to consider how long it would take him to sell his inventory of lots. Had he done so, he may have prevented the major disaster that happened.

Todd learned the hard way – by making the mistakes himself. Hopefully, you can learn from his mistakes so you don’t make the same ones.

Our quote today comes from Jonas Salk, the developer of the polio vaccine.

“I have had dreams and I have had nightmares,
but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams.”

So shake off the nightmare and rest assured, your sweet dreams will come true.

Next time, we’ll offer some tips for starting over, for turning misfortune into fortune. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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25 Ways to Have More Money at the End of the Month

By Bigg Success Staff
05-14-08

Bigg Success with Money 

twenty-five 

Here are links to five great articles that each offer five great tips to help you have more money at the end of the month. We’ve listed the five points for your perusal along with a link to the actual article.


5 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score

#1 – Get copies of your credit report and make sure the information is correct.

#2 – Pay your bills on time.

#3 – Understand how your credit score is determined.

#4 – Learn the legal steps you must take to improve your credit report.

#5 – Beware of credit report scams.

These five tips come from the Federal Reserve itself. Check out their detailed explanation of how to improve your credit score.

 

5 Tips to Commuting for Less

#1 – Calculate alternatives.

#2 – Improve your mileage.

#3 – Look to your employer.

#4 – Find a buddy.

#5 – Call your insurance company.

Get the full scoop on cutting your commuting costs at CNN Money. Gerri Willis did a great job with this timely article. And speaking of cutting your costs of commuting …

  

5 Ways to Find Cheap Gas

On your computer
#1 – Widgets

#2 – The interweb

On your phone
#3 – SMS text messages

#4 – Mobile web browser

In your car
#5 – GPS system

You can get all the details to find the best price for gas. LifeClever, the place that helps you design, work, and live better.

  

5 Tips for First Time Investors

#1 – Invest with small amounts of money.

#2 – Don’t invest what you can’t afford to lose.

#3 – Try not to let your emotions control you.

#4 – Be realistic.

#5 – Embrace your failures.

Adam Freedman wrote this fantastic post as a guest of the Silicon Valley Blogger. Check out all the full explanation of these great tips for first time investors.

And now some financial tips for all of us …

 

5 Simple Tips for Financial Success

#1 – Don’t pay interest on anything except your home mortgage and other investments.

#2 – No instant gratification.

#3 – Pay minimum income tax and invest the difference.

#4 – Raise financially independent children.

#5 – Convert your salary into securities and real estate.

These are rather self-explanatory, but you can get some more details on financial success at Squidoo.

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Remain Flexible to Sell Your House Faster

By Bigg Success Staff
04-15-08

Life Changes

sold 

As we’ve said before, we highly recommend that you sell your house through a qualified realtor. They will help you sell your house faster than it otherwise would.

As part of listing your house for sale, discuss contingency plans with your realtor. Specifically, discuss “what if”. Here are a few scenarios you may consider, depending on the circumstances at the time you list your house for sale:

  • What if enough people aren’t looking at it?
  • What if it doesn’t sell by a certain time?
  • What if the whole market is weak?
  • What if financing is tough to get?

Answering these questions upfront helps you plan logically. If you wait until you’re into the sales process to think about them, you may respond emotionally and against your best interests.

You should also discuss these alternatives, as well as new possibilities, as part of your weekly report from your realtor.  He or she may suggest that you drop your price, offer an additional incentive to the buyers, spruce something up, and more.

These things may entice more people to look at your house and the more people who look at it, the more likely one of them will buy it. It is definitely a numbers game!

Your house is likely to sell faster if you listen to your realtor’s advice and remain flexible. As you gain new insight into market conditions, you can adapt your offering to find the buyer you need. 

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Insist on a Weekly Report Before You List Your House with a Realtor

By Bigg Success Staff
04-07-08

Life Changes

phone_call 

You’ve listed your house for sale with a realtor. Days, even weeks, have gone by with no apparent interest in your house. You start to get anxious. What’s going on?

So you call your realtor. He or she tells you what’s being done to market your house. You discuss some alternatives. You hang up your phone and you feel better.

But in a few days, you still don’t see any potential buyers so you call again. Is your realtor doing anything? So you call your realtor again. And once again, after talking with him or her, you feel better about what’s being done to move your house.

Then a few days later … well, you get the picture!

There’s a better way – insist on a weekly report before you list your property with your realtor.

4 Pointers for the Report

Short

You don’t need a detailed written report from your realtor. After all, you want him or her focusing on finding buyers, not talking to you! However, your realtor should be able to get you up-to-speed on what’s going on in a few minutes.

Form
Agree to how the report will be delivered. It can be a phone call or an e-mail. See what your realtor prefers. If it’s a phone call, take notes and e-mail them to your realtor for review to make sure you accurately understood what was said.

Activities
You want to know what’s been done to market your product. Get a feeling for the number of times your house has been shown, any comments that were made, and any suggestions your realtor may have now.

Alternatives
Your contact with your realtor should conclude by discussing your alternatives. We’ll discuss this more in our next article on selling your house.

Getting a weekly report from your realtor serves two purposes:

  • It keeps your realtor accountable
  • It keeps you from bugging them too much!

You’ll feel less stress if you communicate regularly with your realtor. You may also be able to make some adjustments as new information becomes available.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

Related posts

7 Steps To Sell Your House … Fast!

Choose The Right Realtor To Sell Your House … Fast!

How Do You Determine the Asking Price for Your House?

4 Things-to-Do Before Listing Your House for Sale

How Will Your Realtor Market Your House?

Differentiate Your Offer When You List Your House for Sale 

(Image by Fanque)

Differentiate Your Offer When You List Your House for Sale

By Bigg Success Staff
04-02-08

Life Changes

incentives_sign

When you’re ready to sell your house, we recommend that you list it with a realtor. They will prove to be an invaluable resource in moving your home relatively quickly for a reasonable price.

A good realtor helps you in many ways. One of those is making recommendations, based on the market at that time, to make your house and your offer attractive to prospective buyers.

So you’ll want to discuss incentives with your realtor. A good realtor will welcome a seller willing to consider incentives because it shows that you are serious about moving your property.

Here are some common incentives for buyers that you may consider:

  • pay for the buyer’s home warranty coverage for a year
  • prepay the buyer’s homeowner’s association dues for a year
  • offer a credit toward the buyer’s closing costs

Of course, what you offer depends on the value of the home you’re selling. You still want to come out ahead, but don’t be afraid to get creative.

For example, if your situation allows, consider a travel voucher (for a weekend away or longer). Buy this house and you’ll get a vacation for free! Would that get your attention?

Another thing to consider is that your realtor’s compensation is negotiable as well. A lot of sellers try to negotiate down. Among other things, this may unintentionally signal that you’re not serious about moving your house quickly.

Consider doing the opposite – give them a higher rate. Instead of that, you may consider a bonus if the house moves within a certain time frame. Good realtors don’t base which homes they sell on what they get paid. However, they may put forth a little extra early effort, and even spend more money, getting the word out about your listing if there is a reason to do so.

In the end, your professional realtor will weigh the options you’ve discussed and make some recommendations about which incentives will be best. The odds are that they’ll direct you to toward buyer’s incentives, if your listing price allows them.

You’ll have to make the final decision. Balance what you need and want from the sale of your home with how quickly you want it to move to create a price with incentives that is likely to meet your goals.

Find out when we post new articles. Subscribe to the Bigg Success Weekly.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

Related posts 

7 Steps To Sell Your House … Fast!

How Do You Determine the Asking Price for Your House?

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Choose The Right Realtor To Sell Your House … Fast!

By Bigg Success Staff
03-05-08

Life Changes

We recently posted an article entitled 7 Steps To Sell Your House … Fast! We’re constantly bombarded with the turbulence of the real estate markets. But real estate is a very local business – you need to understand what’s going on in your market, not the national market.

We think the simplest way to do that is by contracting with a realtor. It’s also the most effective way to sell your house. They are professionals immersed in the market every day.

They will help you get the best price possible for your home, given market conditions. It’s also likely that they will sell your house faster than any other way, short of an auction. In short, they will earn every penny you pay them.

We’ll assume you don’t already know a good realtor, because if you did you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. How do you select the right realtor for you?

Get referrals
This is the single best way to find a good realtor. Talk to friends, neighbors, business associates, and your hair stylist. They hear it all! Ask them who they would use to sell their house. When you start hearing a name over and over, you have a good lead!

Interview them
Now that you have two or three names, set up a meeting to talk with them. Respect their time – good realtors are busy people. Offer to meet at their office or some other convenient place. You may even interview them over the phone.

You’re looking for two things from your realtor – someone with whom you have good chemistry and someone who can deliver the results you want.

You have to feel comfortable with your realtor at the start because selling your home can be very stressful. You have to know they can deliver so you trust them, even if little to nothing seems to be happening. 

Verify their information
The easiest way to do this is to look up their REALTOR® listing. You can see what professional designations they’ve earned. You should also ask for third-party verification for any claims that were made. For instance, did they tell you about a national award or did they show you proof?

Follow-up on references
Good agents will be happy to provide you with references to two or three satisfied sellers. The more recently they’ve sold, the better – you want to talk to people who faced circumstances as close as possible to yours. Contact them to see if they would use the realtor again.

Hire your agent
Pick the agent you think is best suited for the task at hand. Once you made the decision, notify them to get the process rolling. You should also drop a note to any other realtors you interviewed thanking them again.

Choosing a realtor is perhaps the most important decision you will make when selling your house. A good realtor will make the rest of the process much more manageable. Choose your realtor well and sell your house … fast! 

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7 Steps To Sell Your House … Fast! 

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