Are you launching a home-based business? As you navigate the planning process, you might notice that your home isn’t quite fit to accommodate both your business and your personal life. Whether you need an extra room for an office, space to store inventory, a workshop to craft your products, or a client-friendly area where you can hold meetings, moving might be the only way to get what you’re after.
Of course, moving while you launch a business isn’t going to be easy. To help you get through this process with minimal stress—and ensure the home you wind up in is perfect for working and living—check out the following advice from Solve Ur Puzzles.
Look for Properties with Business-Friendly Features
Before you begin the house-hunting process, write up a list of features that your new home must have. Remember to account for the needs of both your business and your family. Getting these necessities down in writing will help you avoid falling for a beautiful home that doesn’t check all of your boxes. Plus, you can share this list with your real estate agent to make house hunting a breeze!
The business-related features you need will depend on the type of business you’re launching, your personal workflow, and a number of other factors. For example, if you’re starting a local service-based business and you need somewhere to meet with clients, look for a home with an exterior building that you can turn into a workplace.
Your real estate agent can help you find homes that meet your requirements within your budget. Buying a home that needs some work is another way to save money on your purchase, as long as you know what you’re getting into. Be sure to consult an inspector and a lawyer before buying an “as is” property. Alternatively, a larger apartment may be in order, particularly if you’re a single person. Talk to your agent or check out local rental listings to find apartments with the square footage you need in the neighborhood you desire.
Keep Your Business Simple for Now
You can spend months perfecting your product, or you can start small and launch as soon as possible. As CodeFirst explains, launching with a minimum viable product—the most basic version of your idea—is a great way to get your product to market quickly and start generating feedback from real customers. This will help you learn what your customers want before investing in a polished, full-featured version of your product or service.
Similarly, avoid spending a lot of time preparing your business for launch. You don’t need a fancy website, a formal business plan, or a major startup loan to launch your business. Build a simple website on a platform like Squarespace or Shopify. Write up a simple, one-page business plan to guide your decisions. Keep your costs under control so you can fund your launch with your savings. Keeping things simple is essential when launching a home-based business on your own, especially if you’re moving at the same time. Once you’ve got your sea legs, then you can then turn to professional help like Solve Ur Puzzles to help you come up with a solid business strategy that sets your venture up for success.
Outsource Your Moving To-Do List
You don’t have time to tackle everything on your moving to-do list and prepare a business for launch. Thankfully, you can outsource all of those moving projects that are taking your focus away from your business. Hire professionals to pack up your belongings, prepare your furniture for transport, load up your moving truck, and transport everything to your new home. Once they’re gone, hire cleaners to tidy up your home for the new owners. You may also want to hire people to deep clean your new home before you get settled. If you have pets, hire a pet sitter to take your furry friends for moving day so you have one less thing to worry about.
Starting a business and moving to a new home are both incredibly exciting events. But they’re also stressful. Put the two together and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! Keep everything as simple as possible so you have the time and energy to navigate both of these demanding projects.
Technology: Using it or Losing it
Technology has different meanings for different people and different uses within different industries. Some examples of technology meanings are below:
In Graph 1 below, the survey results looking at how interaction was made with technology depending on different age groups. A very interesting diversification among the different technology categories was interesting. As expected, older ages used phones more than Face Time or other forms of communication.
However, middle age groups are equally distributed among other categories and this makes it a little difficult for advisers to understand whom to talk to and when. The best way is to understand the different interaction categories and then identify different ways to regularly communicate and interact. Just like in years past if you asked clients and prospects how to communicate, they will tell you, and then you can meet with them in different locations.
Understanding the interaction and the different tools, will help you communicate with different clients and prospects in a way that can help you better communicate. An interesting way of communication interaction was texting, Facebook LinkedIn, and twitter communications. Some of these programs we cannot use in the financial industry as the communication does need to be recorded and companies will not allow certainties, like what’s app or snapchat for those reasons. Looking at that, it might mean we would lose out on communicating with certain groups because of that. However, this is the preferred interaction method, not the only. Thus, we need to do explanations of what we can and cannot use and give options and choices of how to interact and let our clients pick what is most comfortable.
Graphs 2 and 3, show how clients want to interact with individuals and more importantly with us as advisers. You will see Grpah 2 shows pre-covid interaction requests, and now in Graph 3 how clients want to interact and discuss with clients to meet with them.
Graph 2 and 3
More and more clients will want web and face time. Our industry will require some face-to-face meetings and yet as you can see more and more clients want to meet via other means. This is for different reasons including:
Technology can be used in many ways in interacting with clients, plus also marketing in developing new clients. So often our industry relies on old methods like seminars, or referrals. However, cleints, varying by age want to learn about you in different ways, as seen in Graph 4 below.
As can be seen in Graph 4, younger ages want to see and hear about you through their own research. What this means is that you need to have a strong presence on the internet and in videos and other digital tools. The more people can see you, hear you, and have a conversation and build a relationship with you without talking to you. So the more you do webinars and record videos and other ideas and concepts, which give insights, you will attract younger clients. Though, you do not want to forego everything traditionally marketing either, as other age ranges want to connect and learn about you in other means as well.
As can be seen technology can be very helpful, but it can also be complicated. What steps should advisers take to adapt and utilize technology:
Photo via Pexels
As we come out of the pandemic, business owners and prospective entrepreneurs are itching to get back out there. But the world has changed a lot in the past year. Social distancing requirements and lockdowns have created a whole new world of consumer needs. While these changes have forced new challenges on small businesses, they’ve also opened up many new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Building a thriving business in the post-COVID era is all about innovation. How can you fill a new, unmet need in the wake of the pandemic and convince consumers to choose you over your competitors? Take advantage of new market demands, build an engaging brand, and implement the latest and greatest tech tools to ensure your shot at success. Here are some tips from the business strategy and coaching firm Solve Ur Puzzles!
Technology saved countless businesses from the threat of complete shutdown during the pandemic. Thanks to digital tools, online apps, and automation software, many businesses could continue serving customers despite social distancing restrictions. This trend towards digital services isn’t going anywhere! If you want to thrive in the post-pandemic era, embrace tech tools to streamline your business and better serve your customers.
Digital tools can help with everything from marketing to payroll. For example, an online payroll platform will help you run payroll faster and save money on your accounting costs. Look for a platform that offers same-day direct depositing payroll for employees to ensure that your valuable workers always get paid on time.
Meet New Customer Needs
The pandemic forced consumers to adopt new ways to shop, work, socialize, exercise, learn, and more. Before the pandemic, many people were happy doing things the traditional way, like shopping at the grocery store or visiting the gym. But now that everyone has had a taste of quick, easy, and convenient alternatives—think grocery delivery apps and virtual fitness classes—these digital options have become the norm. Jump on the bandwagon! There are still plenty of open opportunities for businesses to create new digital channels.
Prioritize Your Branding
In the wake of the pandemic, people are craving a sense of connection, community, and authenticity in their interactions with businesses. Building an engaging brand around your business is critical for standing out from the crowd. Try to think of your brand as the personality of your business. It’s what makes your company unique and interesting to your target audience. Come up with a brand narrative that defines your mission and values, then use your brand identity to develop your messaging and tone to ensure consistency across all platforms and marketing channels.
Build a Community
Building a community around your brand is a great way to develop a loyal follower base. Sprout Social explains that people in your brand community are emotionally invested in your business and feel a sense of connection with your other followers as well. One way to build a community is to create a social media account or group where your followers can interact and share engaging content with each other. Regularly engage with your community members and keep giving them new reasons to stay involved!
Support Your Team
The pandemic exposed traditional employees to the benefits of remote work, and many are reluctant to return to inflexible schedules and fully on-site employment. Consider the advantages of giving your employees the flexibility to work from home, at least part of the time. As TalentLyft explains, offering remote work opportunities will benefit your business in numerous ways. You’ll save money on office expenses, your team will be more productive, and you’ll face lower rates of worker turnover. You’ll also have an easier time recruiting top talent to support your growing business!
The end of the pandemic is a blessing to small business owners everywhere. While the business landscape has changed significantly over the past year, there are numerous opportunities for entrepreneurs to fill new market needs and make lasting connections with customers.
Looking for business advice? Solve Ur Puzzles offers business coaching services to guide you through everything from business plan writing to strategic development. Check out our website to learn more!
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NAIFA Board of Trustees
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May 10, 2021
Congressional Conference: NAIFA’s May 25-26 Congressional Conference is less than two weeks away. If you haven’t already, please register now for this all-online virtual conference that will be key to a successful defense against adverse tax proposals that could hurt permanent life insurance, investments, health insurance, and employer-provided benefits.
We now know the tax increases President Biden is proposing: an increase in the corporate and top individual tax rates, repeal of step-up in basis (potentially with a rule that makes transfers at death taxable events), and a hike in the capital gains tax rate. We also know that Congress will write the actual legislation and that more adverse tax proposals may emerge from that process. We already see proposals to add a wealth tax and a financial transaction tax (FTT), to tax annual gains in investments (that could include permanent life insurance), whether or not the asset is sold or the gains are otherwise realized, repeal or modification of the Section 199A 20 percent non-corporate business income deduction, and changes to estate tax planning techniques. Any of these could find their way into the legislation Congress will be crafting and considering over the next few weeks.
Tax: Congressional tax writers report considerable push-back on many of the proposed tax increases in President Biden’s “Build Back Better” initiative (the American Jobs Plan/AJP and the American Families Plan/AFP). Among the proposals getting stiff resistance are the 28 percent hike in the corporate tax rate (although at the moment, it does appear that Congress may accept a 25 percent corporate rate, which would be up from current law’s 21 percent), the repeal of step-up in basis (and the likely rule that would go with it that would trigger tax liability on inherited assets at the time of inheritance), and the increase in the capital gains rate (to 39.6 percent for those earning $1 million or more in a year).
Republicans are united in opposition to changing any of the 2017 tax reform law’s rules, but some Democrats are also expressing skepticism over these proposals. And Democrats can’t afford to lose any votes in the Senate and only three in the House.
Plus, we don’t yet know what other adverse tax proposals will emerge (although it’s a very good bet that more will become part of the Congressional legislation). The possibilities are many (and scary): a wealth tax, a financial transaction tax, estate planning (trust) rules, a change in the 199A 20 percent deduction for non-corporate business income, an investment income tax, more rate changes (especially in the estate and gift tax), etc. How extensive the risk we face is should become clearer by mid-summer, if not sooner. Stay tuned.
Worker Classification: Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) officially and formally rescinded the Trump-era worker classification rule and promised vigorous enforcement of the historical multi-factor control test that has governed whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor. DOL stopped short of saying they would initiate a new rulemaking initiative, but Washington insiders expect the Department to do just that—with California’s ABC test (without California’s exceptions, including for insurance agents) as their starting point. We’ll keep you posted as this issue develops.
Retirement Savings: Last week, on a unanimous and bipartisan basis, the House Ways & Means Committee approved H.R.2954, a second-generation retirement savings bill usually referred to as “SECURE 2.0.” The “Securing a Strong Retirement Act” (the bill’s official name) makes 42 largely helpful rules changes to enhance retirement savings opportunities. SECURE 2.0 is now ready for a vote by the full House, but as yet, no date for House floor action has been set. The bill does have widespread bipartisan support, though, and is expected to pass when the House votes on it.
Among the provisions contained in H.R.2954 are:
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Why Disability Insurance is Important:
This chart based on Gen Re Research, tells us:
Marketing in the new digital environment
On April 14th you heard from three fantastic speakers about how they have built their practices in the virtual world. There are many things you can do to run a practice in the virtual world.
First, understand what resources your company has for you and your practice. You will want to utilize those first, and then build form there. Second, assess your practice. Not everyone will want to meet virtually for many reasons. Understand what they want to do, and adjust your practice to that. Third identify your prospects and how they want to meet you and interact with you.
I work a lot with small business owners and millennials. These individuals like to find things on their own and on their own time. Whether it be through groups they are involved in, their own research, or through referrals. Understanding where people will be, will help you in the digital world.
Here is my detailed strategy for marketing. Understand that you may have to clear some or all of this with your compliance department, and that you may have to adjust it to your practice:
What makes a customer a client? What make someone that has never met you, or even may know you for a while, want to work with you? How do you find the right clients, and find the people that you want to work with?
Many advisors/agents have asked themselves these questions but they are doing nothing about it. Maybe they are following the same old process, or no process at all. The world is changing, and we need to adapt.
I think the best way to build a client base is to have a proven process. Through a lot of trial and tribulation, I have developed a 7 step process that can be adapted and can be used to grow your business. While I have used this in an advisory practice it can be used in any practice or business.
The following briefly illustrates each step:
The 7 Step Client Acquisition Process:
1. Initial Contact- The key to the initial contact is to "Create the Puzzle Picture" for maximum results. You want to make sure that you have an effective way to explain your message and help the prospect see why they should want to listen.
2. Needs Assessment- Finding the need and filling it is an important step in the process because without it you are no different than any other financial advisor who is calling. You must show your value by uncovering problems and presenting solutions. This is about identifying the different puzzle pieces and creating a picture in your mind of how those pieces will fit together.
3. Setting and Reconfirming the Appointment-Setting the appointment comes down to simply asking for the order. Prospects are notorious for setting an appointment and not showing up! You need to on the first call identify the puzzle pieces and how you can help them, then in confirming and follow-up bring them back to those puzzle pieces, and that you can put them together.
4. The 1st Appointment- Now that you have the first appointment it is crucial to make a good connection with the prospect. People tend to work with people they like, and people tend to like people who are like them.
5. Book the next Appointment- Always book the next appointment, before you end the appointment. Have a set confirmation process like in #3 and connect the puzzle pieces and the solutions you have described.
6.The next Appointment- If you have made it this far, it is time to
close the prospect. And get referrals. Most advisors think that closing the sale ends with the second appointment but they are missing a very important step which is continuing the prospecting process by asking for referrals.
7. Client Servicing-Client Servicing can make or break your
business. It is easier to keep a client than get new clients, so need to have a service system to keep people involved.
You do need to use a CRM and keep track of everyone, but this is part of the process.
In today’s ever changing world certainty is extremely important. When it comes to portfolio diversification, certainty is even more important. Notice I did not say guaranteed, even though what I will be talking about today is a guaranty strategy, we are looking more for certainty with investments and portfolio diversification. I have talked about in previous articles and I will discuss in future articles life insurance as an asset class. Dick Weber did the research on this showing how in a randomized experiment at a max funding of a 40 year old male preferred non tobacco at 5.15% only 97% of the time did an Indexed Universal life last over age 100. Many people in the insurance industry state that a permanent plan is there to help protect against not knowing when one is going to die. That is why I take Life Insurance as An Asset class to a higher plane and feel it can be used in many situations and utilizing an indexed universal life policy along with a whole life or guaranteed universal life, if you are only looking for death benefit, along with term is a good diversification of the insurance solution.
Today I want to go a little further. In today’s environment, investors are often looking for certainty from their investments, but by doing so they give up something, whether it be liquidity, return or tax treatment. What if I could show you a strategy that may not be completely liquid today but has certain returns and could be a replacement to a bond or unused cash portfolio? This is where the 10 pay strategy comes into play. There are two companies, open to the independent world, which do this strategy really well. There are multiple ways this can be done, through an immediate annuity paying premiums, a premium deposit account, or manually, all the ways you are using a 10 pay life policy, and the premiums are amortized out over 10 years. You earn money on the lump sum and in the cash value of the policy. You also start getting certain returns based on dividend scales and it develops into a larger opportunity for you. The money is also liquid, although you forfeit interest return in the PPIA, the SPIA is more locked but you are getting a set return as well. Both strategies work it just depends on what you and your client want to accomplish.
To learn more check out the podcast page at www.solveurpuzzles.com, or give me a call at 512-428-4145 to discuss.
4 Deadly Advisor Sins
In the day to day world of financial advising and insurance sales there appear to be many mistakes that are made. One that has beocme very popular as of late has been that of huberis. You see many advisors getting punished for being to greedy and too cocky and pulling scams on their clients. In the general scheme of things these afvisors are a minor part of the advisor community but they put a large black stain on our community in general and make the public distrust us even more. However, there are four sins that we do everyday that are much worse but just not as publicised as their immediate cause and effect are not as eggregious or obvious as embezzlement but they are still tragic.
The four deadly sins are:
Rodney Mogen, is the president of solveurpuzzles, a business focused company. Helping Financial advisors and insurance agents solve their case troubles and issues. Rodney is also a small business advisor focused on developing financial strategies for small business owners and helping them develop their own strategy and ideas to grow, sell, develop the way they want. He is focused on creating proper financial strategies for Advisors and business owners to assist them in their day to day duties by solving their financial puzzles. Rodney is also the Director of Financial Strategy for The Evans Group. Check out more information at www.solvurpuzzles.com and the financial strategy work for The Evans Group at www.financialselectservices.com.
What does Disability Awareness mean to you?
May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month or DIAM. What does Disability awareness mean to you? Awareness might mean different things to different individuals. As an adviser disability insurance is not something often talked about. When compared to life insurance and even long term care, individual disability insurance and subsequent products are not discussed or presented to clients as much as they should. Awareness comes in three parts, 1 educating ourselves, 2. Educating our clients, 3. Being able to understand the companies and their languages
Think about when you last presented an individual disability policy? In my seminars and webinars I always ask who has presented an individual disability policy in the last month, 90 days, and 6 months, usually in a room of 20 or more 1 – 2 agents raise their hand for 6 months, 1 for 90 days and usually zero for last 30 days. Thus, awareness needs to start with us, the agents.
I am focusing on individual disability insurance because a lot of workers have group insurance available, although a recent study by LIMRA from 2019, shows that less than 3% of all eligible workers have either group or individual disability coverage, and less than 1% have proper coverage they need.
With DIAM coming up in MAY, what are you doing to talk to your clients about their income protection? Some of you may not have a practice where you work with working age individuals, but those that do should be having this discussion. The second part is educating our clients about their current plans and their missed opportunities.
There are a lot of ways to do this but simply changing the language from disability to income protection seems to be more effective and clients more willing to listen. Making clients aware of the difference in language between an individual contract and their group contracts, as well as some of the limitations their groups contracts might have is important.
Finally, the third part of awareness can be the most difficult. There are not as many Di companies out there as there used to be, but there are still several. Each one has different types of contracts, pricing, and the language in those contracts can be different as well. Thus there is a lot of work to look at and find the right contract for your client. Lets strive in May and before May to be come aware of Disability insurance and identify how we can help make our clients aware as well.
If you have any questions or I can be of assistance to point you to some resources, please reach out to me at 512-680-6851 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Ohio National recently announced that they were being acquired by a Canadian venture firm and would de-mutualize. Ohio national is a strong company with some recognition. Why did this news cause a stir in the insurance industry?
If you have clients with Ohio National, don’t panic. Ohio National is still a solid company, and the products are top notch. However, the promise of their whole life has changed, and there may be a need to look at them. As an adviser here is what I would do with a Ohio National Whole Life Client:
There’s 5 characteristics you need to be a solid business owner/practioner, no matter the industry, or the type of a business.
Guest Authored by: Amy Collett (email@example.com)
Starting your own home-based business takes a lot of work and dedication, and even if you think you have a good idea of the kind of company you want to build, there are always a million details to consider and plan for. Not only do you need to think about the best ways to manage and run your business, but it’s also important to consider how it will affect your life. Choosing a business that you’re already familiar with -- say a hobby like woodworking or jewelry-making -- is a great way to get your foot in the door, but it also makes it is easier to burn out, meaning you’ll lose the joy you once found in your hobby and stress-reliever as well as the motivation to continue with your business.
Taking these things into consideration will help you create a business plan that works for you and will ensure that you can build your company from the ground up without having any issues. Keep reading for some great tips on how to get started.
Think about what works best for you
Starting a home-based business is often advantageous for those who are more comfortable working from home and who have experience with remote work. If this is the case for you, it’s important to think about what will work best for your skill set and schedule. Flexibility is often important, but it can be hard to discern the best course of action. To give you a leg up, look for a business coach for hire. A freelance individual with a business coaching background can easily help you get on track for how to set up your business and a business plan.
Do your research
Knowing what kind of business you’re getting into is half the battle. It’s important to do some research before you make any decisions so you’ll be better informed on how to get started and create a successful company. Look at similar businesses in your area and online, do some homework on business models, and find the best home-based business tools, such as a place to create a free website or create a business slogan or logo. You may also want to look into services that can help you get started by filing the necessary paperwork so you can hit the ground running.
Staying motivated can be difficult when there are all sorts of new stressors and things to consider; it can be easy for burnout to set in, making it hard to focus on the good parts of starting a new business. That’s why it’s important to think hard about the kind of business you want to create; starting with a solid plan will ensure that you aren’t second-guessing yourself a year down the road. It’s also a good idea to surround yourself with supportive people who can be cheerleaders when things get rough.
It’s important that you make a point to never stop learning. Whether that means going back to school or taking an online class, doing some research online, or asking for help from a fellow business owner who can become a mentor, it’s to your benefit to keep learning everything you can about how to run a successful business. It’s especially crucial if you want to become a consultant or a business development specialist, as knowing everything you can about the topic you want to consult on will help give your clients faith in your abilities.
Starting a home-based business takes a lot of hard work, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. If you can start with a good plan and come up with a way to stay motivated, running your own business can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.
The organization of a small business is the most important step in creating the position. Most businesses when they start don’t need a lot of organization, as the business owner is everything for the business, or at least that is what a lot of people think.
When creating a business, organizing the business a critical step, even if it is just you to start. When I started my business, I thought about what I needed to do everyday to grown, and how I wanted the business to look three, five, and ten years down the road. Now every year when I renew my business playbook, I do the same exercise, and check it with my vision from the year before and when I started. As I make decisions for hiring and building the business, I check it with how I wanted the business organized. As you can see organization is important.
What is busines organization. Most people think of busines organization as a the type of tax strategy, i.e. LLC, partnership, S-Corp, C-corp. While this is a type of business organization, what I am referring to encompasses the tax strategy, but that is simply a part, not the overall.
Parts of Organization
These are the four steps to organization of the business, and a good process moving forward. If you have questions, please reach out, and we can discuss.
Developing the business playbook
In the current environment, small businesses have to make decisions, and some are actually braving the new world and starting themselves. Small businesses, defined as less than 100 employees, and less than 3MM in annual revenues, per the US Small Business Administration fail at a high rate, anywhere between 88% and 94% depending on the type of business and how long they have been in business, but all in their first five years.
In times of crisis, more small businesses start, usually out of necessity, start, while many more fail. In a recent study I conducted in 2019, I found there were a few characteristics among successful small business owners that included having a business playbook, strong communication, and a strong vision that was easily communicated and discussed and implemented.
The business play book was considered vital to the business success, and longevity, but what are some things that should go into the business playbook, and how does one create it? There are three strategies to have a strong playbook in place.
Strategy is an animal that everyone needs to have. We use strategy every day in our lives. Whether it is planning how to get the kids from school to karate to gym, to some other sport and how you get work done all at the same time and get dinner on the table. This is an application of a strategy at its simplest form. Strategy can get more complicated as it goes up the ladder, from how you juggle school and work to even more complicated items like developing a financial strategy or a strategy for your business. To describe how a strategy works the example of how the government works and operates will be the guide.
A simple look at how a bill is passed will describe how a strategy works and how complicated or simple it can be. In the 1970’s education series Schoolhouse Rock, How a Bill can become a Law, there was a deep discussion on how a bill becomes a law and the steps it has to take. Schoolhouse rock has been off the air for many years and many people, unless of a certain age bracket, may not remember United States Civics lessons, thus here is a description of how it works.
The Government Structure
There are three branches of the government. The United States Government has the Executive Branch, otherwise known as the President’s office. The Executive Branch controls all executive options like the Cabinet and the different departments that help run the government except for the judicial governments. The Executive branch also has powers to appoint different officials which must be approved by the United States Senate, part of the legislative branch, and they also set the vision of the country. The President has the power to fix any loopholes in the law with an executive order. The executive order does not give them the power to make new laws, but to correct or tighten up an existing law or to honor something.
The President, is similar to a Chief Executive Officer, who directs strategy and vision but truly has no real authority. The board has the ultimate control authority on budgetary decisions and long term strategy. The Chief Executive Officer leads and directs this approval while acting independently to carry out the boards ideas.
This is similar to the relationship between the legislative branch and the executive branch. The Legislative branch consists of two branches, the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. The Senate consists of two senators from each state. The House of Representatives is the house for the people. There are different congressional districts that comprise the house. These districts are created based on population of the different states and some states have larger numbers of representatives than others making it the largest body of the branch with over 400 members which can change every ten years as censuses are done looking at different populations. Think of the legislative branch as the board of directors of a company. While this is a loose connection the board of directors is tasked with taking the vision of the executive and making sure it fits into the budget and into the overall plan. They also pass and put all the laws into place just like the Legislative Branch. The United States House sets the budget and the Senate approves appointments of people to run the different cabinets.
The last branch is the judicial branch. They keep the checks and balances between all the different branches and they oversee the all the federal judicial courts and keeps the law of the land in place. If there is an argument between the two branches, i.e. one oversteps their authority, the judicial branch makes the call on whether or not this is legal and should go forward. This is the loosest connection to business but essentially this might be lawyers who sue a corporation because they feel that their strategy has wronged someone.
The Process of a Bill
Now that there is an understanding of how the branches work, a discussion on how a bill becomes law can be had. This is where strategy really comes in to the process. First there is an idea that is created. This idea can come from the Executive, form someone in the legislative branch or from someone outside. The idea is then strengthened and written down and then sponsored by one or more legislator. The bill goes through a committee who then tears it a part and holds hearings from all sides. If the committee passes it then the bill goes to the floor of the respective chamber that sponsored it. Then there is more debated and the bills goes up for a vote to see if the chamber wants to vote on it. If they decide to vote on it then a simple majority needs to pass it. If it passes then it goes to the other chamber for a vote. The leaders of each chamber call the Majority leader in the Senate and the Speaker of the House made up of usually the most senior leader voted on by their colleagues from the more dominant party, can decide whether or not to bring these bills to the floor for vote, slow even if it passes one chamber it may not come up for vote in the other chamber. If it does pass both chambers then it goes to the President’s office for signature. The President can sign the bill into law or they can veto. If it is vetoed, the bill can go back to the legislative branch where they can override the veto with 2/3’s majority vote if it is something they want to do and can get past part politics.
Connection to Strategy
How does this transfer to strategy in a business? Think of it as an idea one might have as an owner or chief executive officer. The idea then has to go approvals and get buy in from different parts of the organization. If there is not enough support then it doesn’t happen. There has to be sound strategies behind the idea and sound opportunities behind how these ideas will help grow and benefit the organization. In addition, it might take a strategy to get these ideas through the process by identifying who the key players are and what this idea will mean to them and address it with them so that they can support it.
Understand who the power players are, what steps need to happen and have a plan for the strategy. If this is done then there is a higher chance for success and accomplishment of the strategy. How do strategies affect daily life?
In the day to day world of financial advising and insurance sales there appear to be many mistakes that are made. One that has become very popular as of late has been that of hubris. You see many advisors getting punished for being to greedy and too cocky and pulling scams on their clients. In the general scheme of things these advisors are a minor part of the advisor community but they put a large black stain on our community in general and make the public distrust us even more. However, there are four sins that we do everyday that are much worse but just not as publicized as their immediate cause and effect are not as egregious or obvious as embezzlement but they are still tragic.
The four deadly sins are:
There are 7 deadly sins you can do that will kill a deal and hurt your business. They are:
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client’s exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.
A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:
· Think before you speak.
· Give yourself a break.
· Perfect your process.
· Pre-format over-deliverables.
· Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
· Define success.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
Crisis’ will happen, but how you respond and fix them will define your company and interaction with your clients’. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
· Take responsibility and apologize no matter who is at fault.
· Act swiftly and effectively.
· Step in and take control of the situation.
· Never point fingers or place blame.
· Stay in constant communication with your client.
· Stay calm throughout the situation.
· Keep your eye on the ball.
Taking on More than You can handle
When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and highly quality products/services, they don’t know or care about your behind the scenes operations to get those things done.
· Look for these signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:
· Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
· Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a panic.
· You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
· Your current clients are suffering from trying to keep up with new business.
· Profits are going down.
· You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
· Your clients/customers leave.
· Resources are being reallocated.
There are six steps to this plan:
It is common for people to focus one big client as they produce 80 – 90% of the revenues. Even though you may have other clients, this big client might demand extra time and you let those slip. It is not uncommon when this happens that you lose customers and are now dependent on this one large client. What if there is a downturn? These steps can help.
If you’ve ever mishandled a client, you could drive away potential clients as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do.
· These things include:
· Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your fish company.
· Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
· Stay exclusive.
· Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
· Spread your contracts out.
· Price your products/services correctly.
Up Cash Creek without a paddle
Even when business is good there’s still a change of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business.
Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
· Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
· Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
· Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
· Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
· As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
· Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
· Always know which accounts need paid and when.
· Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
· Have a bank contingency plan in place.
· Build your own inventor network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for fish transitions and slow sales. These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.
Don’t treat your employees as employees
You can’t do this alone. As one gets stressed and especially if working with a large client or group of clients, stress will grow. As you work with your employees it is common to think and treat them as employees. Doing this will create animosity and you might lose them to the competition and or ruin your reputation as they don’t feel welcomed and appreciated. A simple steps is to talk to your team in details about he parts they play and show them respect. Treat them with respect and like family.
However, the danger here is getting to comfortable with them and relaxing. There is a fine balance you need to walk and having open and regular conversation is key with your team. If there is a problem then it needs to be addressed openly and honestly without any emotion. I use a tool called the Whole Message Model for this.
Not Planning for yourself.
Finally this is the most dangerous thing that people miss. They don’t plan for their business or themselves. There are six things you should be doing:
By Tina Martin (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Whether you are trying to keep your workers safe or keep costs low, there’s no better time than now to let your employees work remotely. Working from home can give you and your staff the flexibility they need to create real work-life balance, but hiring remote workers can also open your business up to a bigger talent pool for new-hires. Despite these big benefits, you may still have some questions about why and how to put your remote team together. Luckily, you’ll find answers to those pressing questions below.
Are Remote Workers Really Working?
If you’ve only ever worked in offices before, there’s no shame in asking this question. After all, it can be hard to know that your employees are really getting the job done when you can’t check in with them throughout the day. If this is one of your top concerns, you should know that you can use collaborative tools to check in with your staff even when you are all working from your own homes. For instance, you can connect your team via a tool like Slack, which essentially creates dedicated communication channels that can be tailored to teams, projects and other specific purposes. You can even create a company-wide newsfeed so that your team will always be on the same page. Now if you want to keep even more tabs on your workers, you could use tracking tools that will give you a breakdown of their productivity. While monitoring can sometimes be helpful, it’s important to balance these tracking tools with a management approach that includes compassion, empathy and most of all, trust in your team.
Will Hiring Remote Staff Cut Costs?
The answer to this question is a resounding “yes.” That’s because when you hire remote workers, you can forego the added expenses of renting office space, which can result in huge savings for your small business. In larger cities, like New York and Washington D.C., businesses can expect to spend anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per year per employee to procure office space. Even businesses in smaller cities can end up spending tens of thousands of dollars annually on an office lease. So this should be reason enough to consider letting your new staff work remotely.
Of course, the savings of opting into remote work don’t stop there, especially when you hire freelancers to fill your team. Freelancers have the skills to help you with a variety of projects, including developing a website, designing marketing materials, writing content and improving sales. Freelancers usually use their own equipment, which can save your business considerable costs. Though if you really want to cut costs, the best way may be to work with a financial coach.
Can Remote Teams Still Meet Together?
Even though tools like Slack make it easier to connect with remote workers, having facetime with your employees can also be important. If your staff members are all in the same geographical location, you could always find a local meeting space where you can collaborate in person. In fact, you can usually find free meeting spaces in most locations, which can include libraries, theaters, coffee shops or restaurants. Depending on your comfort level, you can also host a meeting in your home or the home of another staff member.
Another economical yet effective option for working one-on-one with your staff members is a coworking space. With a coworking space, you can rent a desk or meeting area on a monthly or as-needed basis, plus you get an opportunity to connect with other small business owners in your community. Finally, if you simply want to be able to see your team members’ faces, Zoom is another meeting option.
Hiring remote staff or transitioning your existing staff to remote work doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking. With the rise in popularity of remote work, there are endless tools to help you manage your team’s productivity and keep everyone connected. Plus, you will be saving yourself a lot of extra expense by allowing your staff to work from home. So really, it’s a win-win for everyone!
The CARES act passed the House and Senate this week, with the President signing it into law on Friday March 27th 2020, and this is the third Coronavirus related bill to be passed and signed by the bill.
With over 1,00 pages there are many different items in the bill, here are some highlights of the overall bill:
Coupling Disability sales with other product sales you do on a regular basis. In this article from NAIFA Advisor today, see some suggestions on how to pair Di sales with other sales to increase your odds.
Underwriting concerns to be aware of with the Coronavirus: