Innovate Your Business By Doing Less!

If you are an entrepreneur, pastor or executive director of a non-profit, you need to read my article, Innovate Your Business By Doing Less, on my personal blog.

Who’s Smarter than an Entrepreneur?

I write and talk a lot about how the now and future economy will be built by entrepreneurs. Not necessarily Steve Jobs or Bill Gates entrepreneurs, those that create billion dollar companies, but one man or one woman shops that create a phenomenal lifestyles for the owners. In my previous article, below, on how to choose a career, I discuss how one woman businesses are growing because many professionals give up the idea of finding a meaningful and stable job with a firm and because the barriers to entry have been significantly lowered with new technology.

One of my favorite business and marketing writers is Mitch Joel. This is what he wrote today.

Inc. Magazine ran an article titled, How The Rich Got Rich, in June of this past year. The article was based on an annual report by the IRS that provided data on the 400 individual income tax returns reporting the largest adjusted gross incomes and it was written by Jeff Haden. In this article, he deciphers the “watching paint dry”-boringness of this data to uncover some interesting kernels…

  • Working for a salary won’t make you rich.
  • Neither will making only safe “income” investments.
  • Neither will investing only in large companies.
  • Owning a business or businesses, whether in part or partnership, could not only build a solid wealth foundation but could someday…
  • Generate a huge financial windfall.

The future of business is small and entrepreneurial (don’t tell the MBAs and consultants).

The workplace has changed. Economics are funky. The security of a steady job in a big, corporate company has all but dissolved. We’ve spent the better part of two decades watching these monstrous organizations crumble (some because of corruption, while others failed to innovate at pace). At the same time, we’ve seen instances where a company like Instagram comes along, plays by their own rules and – whether we like it or not – is able to be sold for a billion dollars to Facebook with not much more than a hope of future growth, expansion and revenue.

It’s not all about the money.

I’ll be the first one to raise my hand in admission that money is not the only driver for success in business and life. Being healthy, happy and [Read more...]

WIlliam Jessup University

Counsel Protect supports William Jessup University, the Sacramento private university, that is making a positive difference in the Sacramento community at large and in the lives of its students. We encourage you to support its transforming work by participating in their “Because of You” campaign to keep tuition affordable and graduate debt low. My friend, Eric Hogue, says they are looking for 500 viewers to give $10 to $50 today. Check out the video.

Here is the link to participate.

Making Charitable IRA Donations in 2012

Making charitable donations from your IRA is different in 2012. Congress has made life difficult for tax attorneys, accountants, financial advisors and their clients as they continue to give and take away deductions.

In 2011, under the Qualified Charitable Distribution provisions of the tax code, you could make an IRA distribution to a qualified charity and not include the distribution as income. IRA owners age 70½ or older could contribute up to $100,000 of IRA funds to a qualified charity and not recognize income on the distribution. The donation was not tax deductible, but the distribution was not included as taxable income.

Congress let this provision expire on December 31, 2011.

Beginning January 1, 2012, any IRA owner 59½ or older can make an IRA distribution to a qualified charity. But, like other IRA distributions, you will have to report the distribution as income and then claim a corresponding charitable deduction. This will increase your adjusted gross income on your tax return.

The Wall Street Journal had a good summary of the current status here.

Obama Budget – Estate Tax

Robert Keebler has read the president’s 2013 budget. He reports it seeks to restore the gift and estate tax rates to 2009 rates. The 2009 rates were:

Gift tax exclusion $1M and Estate tax exclusion $3.5M with tax rates of 45%.

If this is a worst case scenario for 2013, then maybe it won’t be too bad. As it now stands, the gift and estate tax exclusions are scheduled to drop from $5M each to $1M each if congress and the president do nothing. A $3.5M estate tax exclusion is much better than a $1M exclusion.

Downsizing Better?

This economy has forced many to downsize: less staff, less office, less vendors, less services.  Stepping back – is that so bad, after the initial shock?

I just got back from a doctor appointment and noticed many staff and two stressed out doctors. The doctor knows I’m a business attorney and we spoke about his business model. How many patients does he have to see to pay his large overhead bill? Could he significantly downsize (less staff, smaller office) and see fewer patients and have a higher net profit (and a better life)?

Can you do what you do as well or better if you reduce your costs? Maybe you could spend more time with each customer knowing you don’t need to sling as many as you can through your process so you can meet overhead.

The social media experts and business consultants scream bigger, bigger, bigger and hire staff to do everything but your essential work. The economy is forcing a reset on this thinking. Maybe downsizing overhead is good – better customer service, higher profit margin and a life, even for churches and nonprofits.

Tim Tebow – Game Changer

Tim Tebow has changed the NFL. He can’t do what the great passers, like Rodgers and Brady do. So the league says he shouldn’t be an NFL quarterback. But he wins. Now he has led his team to a playoff victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team with the number one defense in the league.

How does he win? He does what he knows he can do. He doesn’t do what the experts say he should do (they say he can’t do those things.) He and his [Read more...]

What’s Your Sentence?

Daniel Pink produced this amazing video. A great lead-in as you think about the New Year.

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Working for What?

This is my favorite week of the year. I’m usually not overwhelmed by work and have time for big picture thinking.

I’m rereading one of my favorite business books, Live Rich, by Stephen M. Pollan. Published in 1998, but still very relevant. Pollan is an attorney in NYC who advises clients on career,  finances and real estate. He’s also Michael J. Fox’s father-in-law.

His perspective on work is obvious but profound – your time working should be to make as much money as you can in a way that gives you free time to do what you really care about.

Rather than focusing on climbing a ladder or growing a company, you must financially and emotionally invest solely in yourself instead. As an employee or entrepreneur you should try to increase your own skills and do things that increase your income, marketability and most of all, profitability.

Work is to make money, not to find fulfillment. Make as much money as you can while working so you can do the fulfillment stuff outside work.

[Read more...]