Category Archives: From Chaos to Control

Hiring a Tax Preparer Doesn’t Mean You’re Excused from Understanding Taxes.

I’ve seen it so many times. I sit down with a client to talk about finances or taxes. As I talk, the head is nodding, the mouth is saying, “Uh huh, uh huh,” but what they’re really focused on is the pen in their hand. They don’t want to understand, they just want to sign off on the paperwork and be done with it. “That’s what I hire you for,” they say.

Big mistake. I could be sentencing them to time in a federal prison. Trusting someone else to the point where you abdicate all responsibility and have no knowledge of what you’re signing or what is being done in your name is a recipe for a big fat slice of disaster. That’s how embezzlement happens—I trust Mary completely. Bob always takes care of that. And it’s also how business owners end up in trouble—What do you mean he took a deduction for my Chihuahua as a guard dog? Hey, why didn’t I get a deduction for my new computer?

You have to know enough about taxes to be able to read your return intelligently so you know what you’re signing. You also need to know enough about taxes so you know what your tax preparer needs to know to prepare your return accurately and to your best advantage.

And don’t get your education from your buddies. I heard a lot about these “special deductions” you can take. Usually the information is not based on facts or tax codes. It’s a conglomeration of bad information that can get you into tax trouble.

Ready to take the bull by the horns and figure out just why you never seem to have money? In my do-it-yourself home study course From Chaos to Control, you’ll develop your own rescue and recovery plan without the high cost of consulting fees. Find out more and buy it now at http://cashflowrollercoaster.com/chaos-control/.

Surprising Truths About Tax Preparers

Choosing the right tax preparer for your business is a decision best not left until April. As a former tax preparer and small business mastermind, I offer the following insights into the secret world of tax preparers:

1.       Tax preparers are not business experts.

The only business experts in the world are those who are running successful businesses. Tax preparers are trained to understand taxes. They’re trained to know the proper forms and deductions. They’re trained to help you with tax planning. They are not trained to understand how business works.

Now, you may have a tax preparer who is also a successful business owner. Many CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, and tax preparers do run their own businesses.

They’re in a much better position to help you with your taxes because they understand the day-to-day challenges of running a business.

Understand that having your taxes prepared by a big name franchise, although it may ensure that your return is accurate, does not mean that your return is prepared in a way that is best for your business. Only a preparer who understands business can prepare a return that works for your business.

2.     Your tax preparer shouldn’t be the one telling you how your Business is doing.

It hits them hard. They couldn’t be more shocked if you’d hit them upside the head with a dead fish. “I owe how much?!?!,” they gasp. “How can that be? I don’t have any money!” Then the desperation sets in. The tax preparer is accused of not doing a good enough job. “You must have missed something.” Or, they dig deep trying to think of anything, anything at all, that can lower their tax liability. “Did I mention that vacation, I mean, business trip I took to the Caribbean? That’s deductible right?”

If the only time you know how your business is doing is on April 15, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice. If you’re not tracking your tax liability and making plans to satisfy that liability, you’re in for a very long, painful, tortuous lesson delivered at the hands of the Internal Revenue Service. You will pay. You will pay way more than if you’d planned ahead. And it will take you forever to get caught up.

Are you ready to move beyond crisis-mode money management in your business? My step-by-step course From Chaos to Control will guide you through every area of your business with fresh eyes so you can diagnose and solve the problems you may not even know you have. Learn more and buy it now at http://cashflowrollercoaster.com/chaos-control/.

Business Lessons from an Old Prospector

Picture in your mind the Gold Rush years in the American West. Men leaving their families in the east to stake their claims to untold riches flowing down the rivers from the mountains above. Such an incredible promise of wealth awaiting any man with the gumption to live hard and dip a pan into a cold stream.

Gold prospectors moved along streams furiously panning and sluicing, never staying in one place for more than a few hours or days. A fever consumed them. They wanted to hit the big strike and they were always afraid they’d be too late. Most of them were.

Prospectors spent their time chasing elusive riches. They forgot to do one thing, though. They didn’t plan for the future. Winter often found them freezing in flimsy tents, barely surviving on scant rations, and scrounging for firewood. They represented the classic grasshopper personality, live for today, don’t think about tomorrow.

Small business owners are often the Old Prospectors of today.

We spend so much of our time trying to take care of the business of today that we fail to plan for finding future business, steering our companies, and financially preparing for our retirement.

And like the prospector, we often miss money-making opportunities right under our noses.

Think about who really made money during the Gold Rush. It wasn’t the prospectors. It was the people who sold services and products to the prospector market. The insightful people who served as laundresses, bartenders, grocers, equipment suppliers, and “soiled doves” made more money on the Gold Rush than the prospectors did.

Earn more by targeting a hungry market.

Look at the internet market today. The people who are teaching others to make money on the internet add fuel to the new Gold Rush just like the old posters that promised riches beyond the wildest dreams of every would-be prospector. The simple, age-old business truth is that you can sell more by supplying a hungry market than by chasing wild schemes.

Instead of proclaiming, “There’s gold in them thar hills!,” look to your own backyard for markets you can satisfy and find real gold that can be mined for years to come.

Are you ready to move beyond crisis-mode money management in your business? In the do-it-yourself home study course From Chaos to Control, you’ll develop your own rescue and recovery plan without the high cost of consulting fees. Learn more and purchase now at here.

A Day in the Life of a Self-Employed Professional

It’s Monday morning and Connie the Consultant sits in her executive office chair overseeing her business empire. Her desk is strewn with half-finished projects, several weeks’ worth of to-do lists (none of them completed), scribbled Post-It® notes, and permission slip for her daughter’s field trip to the Planetarium that should have been turned in last week. Somewhere, buried deep in the rubble is Connie’s business plan. The last time she saw it was during the Clinton Administration.

The phone rings. She checks her caller ID and groans. It’s Dee Dee Demanding calling again, wanting to make one more change in the project that should have been wrapped up a month ago. Connie scribbles Dee Dee’s current list of demands on yet another Post-It® note. She hopes this will be the end of the changes so she can finally get paid for the project. She sure won’t be making a profit on THIS project.

Connie picks up the Joann Marden file to find the notes from their last meeting. She looks through the entire folder twice—no notes. She starts to dig through the stacks on her desk muttering, “I had it in my hand; where did I put it; I just saw it; where can it be?”

The phone rings again. This time it’s a telemarketer wanting to sell Connie a vacation trip. Connie laughs and says, “No sense calling me, I’m self-employed. I don’t get vacations.”

She thinks back for a minute to when she became self-employed. She actually believed she’d be able to take time off whenever she wanted to. What a joke! Every time she thinks she can get time off, something comes up with one of her clients. Or the check she was expecting to receive didn’t come in. Or, she didn’t dare spend money because she didn’t have any new projects lined up.

Her email dings and she stops to check the new message—a notice that her online credit card statement is ready. She clicks through and signs in. She sits back stunned, “I spent HOW MUCH?! Shaking her head she goes back to work looking for the notes from the meeting with Joann Marden. Instead she finds the estimated tax payment that she should have sent in a month ago. She groans and checks the clock. It’s nearly lunch time and she’s accomplished nothing so far.

Another email comes in. It’s a newsletter from a small business expert telling her she needs to work “on” her business, not just “in” her business. “Yeah”, she says, “I’ve got all kinds of time to learn about working “on” my business. Right after I find the Marden notes, make the umpteenth change on Dee Dee’s project, and get these proposals done that have been sitting on my desk for three weeks.”

She hits the delete key and goes to lunch…

Are you ready to move beyond crisis-mode money management in your business? My step-by-step course From Chaos to Control guides you through every area of your business with fresh eyes so you can diagnose and solve the problems you may not even know you have. Find out more and buy it now here.

Why Chaos Equals Poor Cash Flow

Recently one of my customers told me the chaos swirling through his company was the result of poor cash flow. If only he had more money, his company would run better.

I must respectfully disagree.

Poor business processes produce chaos. Chaos leads to poor cash flow.

Fix the poor business processes and the cash flow problems disappear.

What business processes am I talking about?

  1. Having a clear picture of who your customer is. Here’s what my customer looks like: My customer is a small business owner looking for ways to make his or her business run better. He or she is often overwhelmed by all the tasks that must be completed and often does not have the time or experience for the really important business functions of strategic planning and forecasting.
  2. Using that picture to develop services and products that provide value to your customer. Based on my picture of my customer, I can provide my customer with time-saving services and products that teach them skills or provide knowledge they can use to solve the challenges they face every day.
  3. Developing a plan of delivery. What works best for your customer and how can you deliver that in a way that makes you money? My customers need both general knowledge for running a business and specific knowledge for running their particular business. And they’re short on time. Therefore, I can combine a product like a manual of general information with one-on-one consulting services for their specific situation. If I deliver it over the phone or the internet, they can access my knowledge at a time that is convenient for them.

Think through your business processes to see where the holes are. Otherwise, chaos will continue to swirl and cash flow will continue to suffer.

Ready to take the bull by the horns and figure out just why you never seem to have money? My step-by-step course From Chaos to Control guides you through every area of your business with fresh eyes so you can diagnose and solve the problems you may not even know you have. Find out more and purchase it here today.