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Ed Robinson's Blog

I am always annoyed by the uncaring business owner stereotype who only views people as assets to be managed and discarded as needed.  Every client I work with cares deeply about their employees.  They struggle with termination decisions and often hold on to underperforming employees far too long.  On quite a few occasions, I’ve witnessed leaders get too wrapped up in an employee’s personal problems and exercise questionable personnel management judgment as a result.  Moreover, whenever an average or better employee leaves for another opportunity, they take it too personally and feel a sense of betrayal.  I’ve spent many hours talking to CEOs who are pained by the loss of someone who has worked with them for a while and decided to leave.  In addition, during times of struggle, I’ve seen many CEOs forego their own pay for long periods of time rather than lay employees off because they feel a personal responsibility towards…

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Pocket Perspectives

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Friday wishes and encouragement

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“Friday wishes…”
I just LOVE “Friday Wishes”
generosity, kindness, love, compassion, encouragement,
freely offered and shared amongst many,
happily and gratefully received
rekindling each others’  light

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Friday wishes and encouragement rekindling

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Friday wishes and encouragement and rekindling

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….Friday wishes….
offering and receiving light,
the rekindling of embers that sustain us,
the warm glow emerging from offerings of
generosity, kindness, love, compassion and encouragement,
freely offered, lovingly received,
Friday wishes

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Entrepreneurs, such as myself  keep a lot of the financial details of their business in their heads. Doing so has its advantages: No new software to learn, no danger of a system crash that loses all your data, and you can tweak your budget as often as you need without sitting down at a desk.

But when you don’t have a system and some processes in place, unpleasant surprises can pop up, goals can be easily missed and important paperwork forgotten, which I know all to well.

Getting a better handle on your money can help you to make and keep long-term goals, smooth out the seasonal ups and downs of your cash flow and “maybe” improve your profits. It can also help you to stay out of trouble with the Internal Revenue Service, which is no fun place to be in, trust me…been there and done that!

Here are a few tips for entrepreneurs.

1. Track expenses.Why it’s helpful: You otherwise might some miss tax write-offs and may lose out on others.

What to do: A credit card that you use solely for business can be a basic accounting system.

Most card statements categorize expenses, so you can see which outlays relate to which business activities. If you always use your business credit card for business expenses, you’re less likely to pay cash at, say, Staples and lose the receipts, forfeiting tax-time write-offs. Pens and printer paper can add up.

2. Record deposits correctly.Why it’s helpful: You may be less likely to pay taxes on money that isn’t income.

What to do: Adopt a system for keeping your financial activities straight, whether it’s a notebook you use consistently, an Excel spreadsheet or software such as Quickbooks. Business owners typically make a variety of deposits into their bank account through the year, including loans, revenue from sales and cash infusions from their personal savings. The trouble, is that at the end of the year, you or your bookkeeper might erroneously record some deposits as income, and consequently pay taxes on more money than you’ve actually made.

3. Set aside money for paying taxes.

Why it’s helpful: The IRS can levy penalties and interest for not filing quarterly tax returns on time.

What to do: Systematically put a portion of money aside throughout the year for taxes. Then note tax deadlines on your calendar, along with prep time if you need it, to make sure you actually make payments when they’re due.

4. Keep a close eye on your invoices.

Why it’s helpful: Late and unpaid bills hurt your cash flow.

What to do: Assign someone in your organizations to track your billing. Then put a process in place for issuing a second invoice, making a phone call and perhaps levying penalties such as extra fees at certain deadlines.

“You want to have a plan for what happens if they’re 30, 60 or 90 days late”.

This is extremely important. I started this just last year and unfortunately had some clients not pay their invoices on time, which made me fall short on paying my bills, but I did collect over $2500 in late fees. That is alot of money!

Some entrepreneurs believe that once they’ve sent out an invoice, they’ve taken care of billing. Not so,  “Every late payment is an interest-free loan and hurts your cash flow, unless you have terms set in place to protect you.”

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Ed Robinson's Blog

I am a firm believer in persistence and determination.  Many people give up just before things are about to break their way.  However, it never makes sense to go off a cliff simply because it is there.  Not every strategy is wise and not every course of action is worth continuing.  You need to pay attention to the signals the universe is sending you.  Trends either move up or down. They rarely remain flat.  Sometimes the objective evidence indicates you should try something different.

I work with a large number of business owners.  One of the things I most admire about them is their levels of confidence and self-belief.  Most people are afraid to take the entrepreneurial leap and bet everything on an idea and their individual ability to deliver on a concept.  It’s much easier to leave the professional heavy lifting to others.  However, just because you believe…

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Don’t Check Your Email for the First Hour. Total Waste of Time

Reading e-mails first thing in the morning is not productive. If something urgently needs you, they will call or text me.

Not all of us can roll into the office whenever we happen to get there, but most of us with jobs that don’t require constant on-call awareness can trade e-mail for organization and single-focus work.

If you need to make sure the most important messages from select people come through instantly, AwayFind can monitor your inbox and get your attention when something notable arrives. Otherwise, it’s a gradual but rewarding process of training interruptors and coworkers not to expect instantaneous morning response to anything they send in your off-hours.

Gain Awareness, Be Grateful

Set up an “Hour of Power,” “30 Minutes to Thrive,” or at least “Fifteen Minutes to Fulfillment.”
Part of it involves light exercise, part of it involves motivational incantations, but the most accessible piece involves 10 minutes of thinking of everything you’re grateful for: in yourself, among your family and friends, in your career, and the like. After that, visualize “everything you want in your life as if you had it today.”

Get your Free “Hour of Power” audio stream.

Do the Big, Shoulder-Sagging Stuff First

Mark Twain said that, if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad. Combine that with the concept of getting one thing done before you wade into email, and you’ve got a day-to-day system in place. Here’s how to force yourself to stick to it:

Choose Your Frog

“Choose your frog, and write it down on a piece of paper that you’ll see when you arrive back at your desk in the morning. “If you can, gather together the material you’ll need to get it done and have that out, too.”

One benefit to tackling that terrible, weighty thing you don’t want to do first thing in the morning is that you get some space from the other people involved in that thing–the people who often make the thing more complicated and frustrating. Without their literal or figurative eyes over your shoulder, the terrible thing often feels less complex, and you can get more done.

Ask Yourself If You’re Doing What You Want to Do

Feeling unfulfilled at work shouldn’t be something you realize months too late, or even years. Consider making an earnest attempt every morning to ask yourself:

“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

“Customer Service” (or Your Own Equivalent)

Your own version of customer service might be keeping in touch with contacts from year-ago projects, checking in with coworkers you don’t regularly interact with, asking questions of mentors, and just generally handling the human side of work that quickly gets lost between task list items. Do your customer service on the regular, and you’ll have a more reliable roster of helpers when the time comes.

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You know that card that you’ve been “paying off” with minimum payments every month? The one with the astronomical interest rate? Draft a plan for getting that balance to zero.

You don’t have to put your savings or other obligations in jeopardy. No need to tap your entire bonus or the money you’d stashed for a vacation. You just need to throw more at it than the monthly minimum — preferably the same amount every month.

Figure out how much you can put toward it, and use an online debt pay down calculator to give yourself a payoff date. Play around with the numbers until you find a plan that works for you. Even though it won’t be paid tomorrow, you know you’ve stopped coasting and have taken control.

“When you make the plan, that’s a big step,” says Chris Farrell, economics editor of “Marketplace Money.” “It doesn’t look like much at first. But it’s like the train that keeps getting faster and faster.”

And you may want to buck common wisdom and pay off the smallest balances first, says Winget. Seeing that zero balance sooner “gives you more of a sense of power,” he says.

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Some people believe small expenditures don’t matter. Bach calls this your “latte factor.”

Look seriously at your daily spending of small dollar amounts for such things as coffee, cigarettes or eating out. “You may tell yourself you can’t save $10 per day, but you’re already spending it. If you saved it, you’d have a healthy cash emergency fund or hundreds of thousands of retirement dollars over 40 years.

Save your money instead of spending it.

  • Identify one wasteful daily spending habit and stop it.
  • Determine the monthly amount you will be saving, no matter how small, and pay yourself first through an automatic deposit from your paycheck to a savings or retirement account.

Write down your exact plan to break your bad financial habits so you will be more likely to stick with new positive habits.

“Use a family meeting to determine exactly how each member will contribute to changing the family’s finances for the better.”

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