October 2016

There is always a lot of pride in owning your own company, but there is also a great deal of responsibility, work and hassle. Here’s how to tell if owning an insurance agency might have enough benefits for you to outweigh the liabilities.

Every employee has had the experience of looking at their boss and/or the owner of their company and thinking “I could do this so much better than you.” If you find yourself thinking this too often, you may soon find yourself looking into actually starting a business. And if you’ve got experience working in the insurance or financial products industries, as so many people do, then you are probably considering starting your own insurance agency.

Let’s start off with some clarifications. Any small business is either going to be an independent insurance agency (which sells policies from a number of major insurance companies) or a “captive” agency, which sells policies from just one company. To actually start providing people insurance requires something called a “corporate insurance license”, and they can cost $50,000 or more to buy. To actually be able to originate insurance policies requires over a million dollars of capital, just to start, so what most small business people want is to sell insurance, not create the policies themselves.

To sell insurance you will have to be licensed in your state for the kinds of policies you want to sell. There are three major kinds of insurance policies: health, liability, and life insurance. Many insurance licenses also let you sell financial products. Because insurance is so much of a financial product there’s a lot of overlap both in services and licensing.

The pros of having your own shop are that you get to choose which hours you work — but only to a certain extent, because you have to be on the job enough to stay in business. You get to decide how long and when you will take vacations — but again, only to a certain extent, because you have to make sure your business can stay afloat while you are gone. Another major pro is that if the business is successful, you will be the owner and will have a valuable asset that can generate income for years to come. Also, as the owner, you get to decide when and how to hire and fire people. If you are brave, you can even decide which clients and customers you want to fire.

While to pros sound great, here are the cons: you will probably work more than 60 hours a week the first years. If your agency is not successful in the first year or so (and many aren’t) you may end up not paying yourself a wage at all in order to be able to balance the books. Also, until your agency can afford to hire people for different jobs, you will be wearing a lot of different hats — accountant, computer guru, secretary, marketing manager, printer fixer, and many, many more. You …

Have you ever wondered why some small businesses take off and grow very rapidly and others stay the same for years and years?

Small business growth takes strategy and strong leadership. Some new business owners achieve a certain level of success, sit back and fail to do what is necessary to grow the business.

9 Things That Hinder Small Business Growth

1. Lack of Vision

All businesses need a written vision statement to help direct their planning and decision making. If there is no clear vision, a business can waver with no specific direction. Lack of vision is detrimental to any organization. How can you plan, or have a business strategy without knowing where you want to go?

2. No Strategic Plan

Every organization needs strategy and should have a strategic plan to map out steps to achieving the strategy. The strategic planning process helps to keep an organization’s vision fresh and moving forward. Strategic plans need to be updated every few years as the market, environment and focus changes.

3. No Written Goals

Not having SMART Goals, and accountability for achieving those goals, is a sure way to impede the growth of an organization. Goals are what make a strategic plan happen. Not writing goals, and having a structured performance management process to achieve those goals, is an invitation for business failure.

4. No Desire to Grow

Believe it or not some businesses don’t have a desire to grow. With growth comes growing pains and sometimes business owners aren’t comfortable making the necessary changes for growth. Hiring the first employees and dealing with human resource management issues is an example of a growing pain. Other areas of growing pains are delegating and trusting others to do things the way you would do them. Growth requires a commitment from the top of the organization.

5. Not in Tune with Customer Needs

This is where many organizations get stuck. The world is changing at such a fast pace that unless an organization understands customer expectations and puts systems in place to take care of their customers, competitors will do it for them. Ensuring good customer service is critical to long term success. The fact is, customers pay the bills and employee salaries so you’d better find out what they want and give it to them!

6. Failing to Reinvest Back In the Business

When a business is just starting out it is sometimes difficult to reinvest back into the business, but not doing so can affect business growth. Keeping up with changing technology and updating facilities are examples of areas that can consume considerable resources but are important to meeting customer expectations. Clean, updated facilities can have an impact on customer perceptions and customer loyalty.

7. Failing to Delegate

As a small business grows, it becomes more and more important to learn the art of delegation. It is important for business owners to develop employees, delegate and trust others to complete tasks. Small business owners can quickly get overwhelmed with trying …

Quite a lot of people today are turning towards Christian businesses since these are highly targeted niches that receive much success. Starting a Christian t-shirt store online can be a great way to earn additional income. However, you do not really have to spend a lot for marketing your business. If you learn how to promote a Christian t-shirt business at low cost, it is quite possible for you to enjoy good revenues. The marketing tips that have been discussed here will provide you several helpful ideas to start with.

How to Promote A Christian t-shirt Business

• One of the best ways to promote this type of business is to get an article or an advertisement published in your local Christian newsletter or church newsletter. If your local church has a website you can also get your company promoted there so that you would be able to target a huge amount of audience. Provide a few good pictures of your t-shirts along with effective text.

• One of the best, free and the most effective way to market your business is by wearing your t-shirts yourself. If your t-shirts are unique you would certainly be generating a lot of inquiries from everyone. Hand out a few t-shirts to your family and friends so that they can wear them and advertise your business for you without hanging out any money at all.

• If you are wondering how to promote a Christian t-shirt business online then you should know that article marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods. Write articles and get them published on various article directories for free. Include a link to your website and you would be generating a lot of traffic in very less time.

• Join a few online forums for Christians and talk to others. Ask questions, leave comments on the profiles of others and answer questions regularly. Ensure that you leave your signature and a link to your website.

• Create attractive, interesting videos and post them on YouTube. This is one of the best and the most effective ways to market a t-shirt business online. Creating videos is not really difficult. If you make it personal your videos would generate even more interest and would be very effective.

• Offer good discounts and attractive schemes on a regular basis to your customers so that they would be able to take the benefit and save money.

These were only a few good and low cost methods in which you can save money while promoting your business. If you learn how to promote a Christian t-shirt business, you would be able to generate more revenues over time. …

Believe it or not, you are ahead of over 90% of the population simply by your decision to start your own business. Whatever the reasons, it is important that you start right. In this guide I will show you the steps to take to start a storage shed business.

Getting started can begin with simply saying, “I’m starting a storage shed business.”. Now you need to create a business plan to follow. Without a plan you won’t have any sense of direction and before long you won’t know where to go or what to do next. Most new businesses fail within the first two years simply because they didn’t have a written business plan.

Business Plan;

Step 1. Name your new business. Don’t too clever here. Keep it simple and to the point. You want people to know what you do simply by reading your company name.

Step 2. Separate yourself, financially from the business. This involves separate business checking accounts and lines of credit and credit cards. You may want to talk with an attorney about incorporating your business or creating an LP, or LLC. The last thing you want is to lose your home and personal belongings due to a legal matter with a supplier or customer.

Step 3. At this point, you need to decide where you will get the sheds that you plan to install.

A. You can buy a franchise from a storage building manufacturer. This takes a large chunk of money up front, but they will supply you with everything you need to market and sell their pre-built storage buildings and barns. The company will probably require you to have a vacant lot on which to display their models.

B. You can go to your local home improvement center and arrange with the store to install the sheds that their customers buy. This is easy and doesn’t require any selling on your part. But you are stuck with waiting for the store to call you with work.

C. You can buy the materials and, using customizable storage shed plans, build the exact storage sheds your customers want. This will take more time, of course, but will give you the most satisfaction when the job is done. Also it gives you complete control over your new business.

I hope this answers your questions about how to start a storage shed business. Just remember, before you ever start building and selling storage sheds, you need to have a business plan.…

Etiquette is in essence about proper conduct and presenting yourself favourably. Demonstrating good etiquette is important if one seeks to be successful. An area in which this is essential is the business phone call.

Millions of business phone calls are made every hour and day. Business people that interact solely over the phone yet never meet still form strong opinions of one another. Practising good business phone etiquette helps encourage clear lines of communication, build rapport and avoid misunderstandings.

Most of us can recollect a phone call that left us feeling frustrated or irritated. How much of this could have been attributed to poor phone etiquette? Here we explore a few simple examples of areas within business phone etiquette that should be employed when making or receiving calls.

All successful business interaction needs preparation. The phone call is no exception. It is important to know who you are calling, the most convenient time to do so, the reason for your call and what you can do for them. Be structured, short and sharp.

If the caller is not known to the receiver it is important that the purpose of the call and the caller’s credentials are established immediately. A simple introduction followed by a sentence or two not only shows good phone etiquette but allows the receiver to set the forthcoming information within a context.

Particularise your intention behind the call. Do not assume the receiver understands why you are calling them and what you expect of them. Expand upon information and specify the purpose of the call.

Pass on information that the receiver will understand, appreciate and find useful. Waffling and speaking generically will lose attention and generally reflect poorly on the caller.

Good business phone etiquette demands professionalism at all times. When speaking to someone you do not know avoid informal speech or personal questions. Once a relationship has been built it is considered polite to enquire about weekends, children or other non-sensitive personal matters.

Privacy and security around furtive issues must always be borne in mind on the phone. If it is imperative that sensitive discussions take place over the phone, business etiquette requires that you confirm with the receiver whether this is appropriate.

Be patient. Demonstrating good business etiquette relies on your staying calm, cool and collected under pressure or when facing a testing situation. Your ability to stay patient earns respect and avoids rash actions or decisions.

Although there is much more to business phone etiquette than the above 7 P’s you will find they can go a long way in contributing to an improved understanding of how to use the phone effectively in the business world.…

SEO is the acronym for Search Engine Optimization, and it includes all the strategies and techniques that will lead a certain website to a higher rank and a better position in the search results of a certain search engine. Nowadays, SEO and marketing are inseparable concepts. This means that you need it in order to make your business more profitable and successful.

This is the time when, no matter the field of your business, you certainly have a pretty strong competition there. In these conditions, many business owners are happy to just keep their head above the water, but this is definitely not the key to success.

The question is how can you make noticeable progress and be successful if you have a small business? We will offer you an answer that has already been tested by a multitude of small businesses: hire an SEO agency.

1. SEO is not a piece of cake

After you read a few articles on the Internet, you may think that SEO strategies are not such a big thing. In fact, who can not deal with keyword density, put out links and things like that? The truth is that SEO strategies are a lot more complex, and a successful one requires a lot of time searching the right ways to increase your website ranking.

Moreover, it is important to understand the previous SEO techniques and know why they failed or not. This will help you understand the actual and future SEO tactics. Concepts such as keyword density are history now.

2. Save time

SEO can not be learned overnight. If you want someone from your company to understand the technique and be good at SEO, you have to provide him with a lot of time for research and study. Taking into consideration that your employee did not know too much about SEO before, he will probably be overwhelmed by the multitude of old strategies that are no longer actual. If you convince all of your employees to do some research about SEO and apply some SEO strategies, this is nothing but a waste of time and money. Let your employees do their jobs, and hire an SEO firm.

3. Save money

A wrong strategy will fail and all the time and money you have invested will be wasted. Moreover, you will need some SEO software tools that may seem quite affordable at a first glance, but they are expensive if you calculate the costs. Even low-cost SEO software tools are pricey, and they can not do the job of an SEO expert. Not to mention that you will have to learn how to use them on your own.

4. Search engines' algorithms are always updated

If an algorithm is updated, this means that, most probably, some of the ranking factors have changed. This happens very often. An SEO agency will always be aware of these updates, and they will change the strategies and techniques according to every new update. Keeping up with all the …

Meet Amy, City Girl that became a small town resident upon her marriage to George. The stark difference between living in the very center of urbanized civilization and township dwelling was somewhat of an adjustment for Amy. Sure she loved the sights and sounds of nature exposed: the lake, the trees, grass, flowers and the vibrant color of winged birds. Nonetheless, how she missed the hustle and bustle and – yes – even the noise of what she had always recognized as the center of commercial shopping, auto and bus traffic – honking included – and life as she had been bred to appreciate!

Though noise has always been the core of her existence, the incessant pecking on the side of her roof in small town America where she currently had set up residence did absolutely no good for her nerves. Five o’clock in the morning, you see was far too early for a woman of the world such as she to be rudely awoken from her slumbering state. And the fact that the pecking was coming from a fine feathered ‘friend’ known most commonly as the woodpecker did little to placate her uneasiness.

Then came the crunch that really threw Amy off. It appeared as the bothersome woodpecker had begun to incur damage on her lovely home! But nothing could appease Amy when she discovered that her standard homeowners insurance policy did not even cover the damages and losses she now suffered!

“You see, Ma’am,” explained the nice insurance agent, “insurance companies simply do not cover general home liability that has been wrought through negligence. In fact, they view woodpecker damage as something that could have been avoided through proper home maintenance.”

If only Amy had known! She most certainly would have confronted the little peril with a vengeance. Now it appeared that it was too late and she and her husband would have to bear the losses through out of the pocket expenditures.

They say life is a great teacher. Amy knows better than most.

“Learn from me,” says Amy, former city dweller. “Don’t let pests get the better of you or your home risks will!”

How does one tackle a woodpecker problem? There are a number of hands-on methods:

• Go out and purchase a tool that’s on the market in regard to woodpecker deterrence.

• Surround outside home spots that connect to the roof with wired fencing.

• Attach colorful tape below roof and around the roof’s gutters.

• Seal attic holes and house siding with caulk or other materials.

• Hire a pest eliminating firm to take care of the problem.

• Explore your own creative to tackle the nasty wood-pecking problem.

Ask Amy. She’ll tell you forearmed is indeed forewarned: speak to an independent insurance agent about your homeowners insurance policy to make sure it is tailored to your needs.…

TARGET CORPORATION ANALYSIS

The purpose of this memo is to evaluate Target’s recent performance and compare Target’s five proposed capital budgeting projects.

The first SuperTarget store opened in Omaha, Nebraska in 1995. Target differentiated itself from Wal-mart by focusing on their customer’s shopping experience. The company had been highly successful at promoting its brand awareness with large advertising campaigns and as additional enhancement to the customer shopping experience, Target offered credit to qualified customers through its RED cards.

I. Target’s Recent Performance Evaluation

Wal-Mart Revenue= $315.7 billion Wal-Mart Debt Rating= AA Wal-Mart Beta= 0.80

Costco Revenue= $52.9 billion Costco Debt Rating= A Costco Beta= 0.85

Target Revenue= $52.6 billion Target Debt Rating= A+ Target Beat= 1.05

Table 1: Retail Company Financial Information

Table 1 shows that Target’s total revenue is the lowest as compared to Wal-mart and Costco but it performed better in relation to its company’s debt management. Target’s debt rating of A+ outperforms Wal-mart’s or Costco’s debt rating. This indicates that Target has very efficient debt management system in its company despite the fact that they need to acquire more funds to undertake their capital budgeting projects and the risk of them defaulting on their loan payments is very low. However, Target seems to be the riskiest company with a beta of 1.05 which is higher than the other two companies. I believe that Target’s beta of 1.05 is not a very big issue as the total beta of the retail industry is 1.96 and Target’s beta is still much lower than the overall industry’s beta.

II. Target’s Financial Ratios Evaluation

Net profit Margin (2005) = 6.89% (2006) = 4.58%

Return on Assets (ROA) (2005)= 5.84% (2006)= 6.88%

Return on Equity (ROE) (2005)= 24.55% (2006) = 16.95%

Asset Turnover Ratio (2005)= 1.44 (2006) = 1.50

Inventory Turnover Ratio (2005)=5.84 (2006)= 5.98

Table 2: Target’s Financial Ratios

Table 2 shows that Target’s net profit margin has decreased since 2005. ROE has also decreased since 2005 but ROA increased since 2005. Target’s net profit margin decreased since 2005 because they decreased their interest expense in 2006. Target experienced a growth in sales and a decrease in interest expense from 2005 to 2006 which is a good sign for the company even though this resulted in a decrease in net profit margin. This decrease in net income also led to a decrease in ROE. The decrease in ROE is not a bad sign for Target as the total shareholders’ equity actually increased from 2005 to 2006 which also caused the decrease in ROE. ROA improved from 2005 to 2006 which shows that management is really good at managing Target’s assets to generate earnings.

Asset Turnover Ratio and Inventory Turnover Ratio improved since 2005 which indicates that Target is becoming more efficient in managing their assets and inventories. Turnover ratios are very important in the retail industry to ensure that the company is able to keep their costs low and generate significant profits. The improvement in inventory turnover for Target shows that …

“It’s not the blowing of the wind, but the set of the sail that determines your destination” — Jim Rohn

“If you learn to set a good sail, the wind that blows will always take you to the dreams you want, the income you want, and the treasures of mind, purse, and soul you want.”–Jim Rohn

Have you ever stopped to consider why you get the results that you do? Do you wonder why some people seem “lucky” and are able to glide through life always achieving more, while others toil daily just to make ends meet? Do you know where you want to go in life?

Where you end up in life is predominantly the result of the little choices you make each day. Small, seemingly inconsequential, decisions can have a major impact on your life later on. Imagine you were on a flight from Phoenix to Chicago. If the plane was off course by just 1 degree, where would you arrive? I don’t know exactly, but I do know it wouldn’t be anywhere close to Chicago!

When Jim Rohn says it is the set of your sail that determines your destination, he is referring to the way you live your life every moment of every day. Setting your sail involves knowing exactly where you want to go and having a specific plan for getting there. When you know these things, then you are able to factor that information into your decision making process to ensure that you are moving closer to your goals. Without the information, you will have no way of knowing where your decisions may lead you.

The key is to remain focused on your destination and flexible on your route. The “how” will change, just like the wind. When that happens you must be willing and able to adjust your course; to re-set your sail to capitalize on the change.

The following 10 steps will help to build your personal development roadmap and set your sail to achieve your dreams:

  • Clearly identify, in writing, the results you want to achieve (your destination).
  • If possible, find pictures/images that represent your destination. This helps to make the visualization of the end result more concrete.
  • Identify all the reasons why you want to achieve these results (why do you want to arrive at your chosen destination?). The reasons must be personal and compelling; they must be your own.
  • What will you need to learn or do differently? What critical information or skill are you lacking that is preventing you from moving forward? 
  • What have you done in the past that can help you get to where you want to be in the future? What skills can you build on?
  • Who will you need to help you in your journey?
  • When do you expect to arrive? How long will it take to achieve the results you desire?
  • How will you get there? What is your plan? Think about the last step you will need to accomplish before you finally

This lesson is really adapted from Robert Kiyosaki’s book, “Who Took My Money?” I strongly encourage investors to read this book. He writes that the Velocity of Money is the one reason why rich get richer and the average investor risks losing it all. I agree. From Robert’s book, he writes “As a professional investor, I want to…

1. Invest my money into an asset.

2. Get my money back.

3. Keep control of the asset.

4. Move my money into a new asset.

5. Get my money back.

6. Repeat the process.”

When I teach my homes buying homes investment strategy, I am teaching Robert’s velocity of money concept. I read Robert’s book in the summer of 2005. Little known to me, I was already teaching the velocity of money and didn’t really realize it. Thankfully, I was already utilizing it with my investing.

To give you an example: Let’s assume you purchase a nice single-family home for $200,000. To purchase this home, you use a 5-percent down payment loan program and invest approximately $10,000. You use a fixed, interest-only loan program and your total monthly payment is, say, $1,400. You offer this home on a Rent to Own Program. Your new tenant/buyer gives you $6,000 up front on this lovely home and picks a program paying you $1,695 a month in rent.

After collecting your up-front payment, you would still have $4,000 invested in this property ($10,000 down payment less that $6,000 upfront payment received from your tenant/buyer). Your monthly cash flow would be approximately $295. (Rent of $1,695 less your payment of $1,400) It would take you another 13 1/2 months to recover your remaining $4,000 invested. ($4,000 divided by $295 monthly cash flow) In this example, it would take you around 14 months to complete steps 1, 2 and 3 above. You would have invested in an asset, gotten ALL your money back and kept control of this same asset. Now you are on to step 4, which is move your money into a new asset. Robert continues his teaching as follows:

“A professional gambler wants to be playing the game with house money as soon as possible. While in Las Vegas, if I had put my money back in my pocket and only played with my winnings that would have been an example of playing with house money. The moment I began betting everything, I lost the game because I lost sight of my goal, which is to stay in the game but to play with other people’s money, not my own money.”

When you come to a point in your investing at which you have gotten all of your money back and still own the asset, you are playing with house money. In this example, after Month 14, you would still receive a cash flow of $295 a month until the property sells. This is all house money. Now let’s move on and assume that the your tenant/buyer doesn’t purchase your home during the …