October 24, 2016

There is an old saying that goes: What is the best way to eat an elephant? One bite at a time!

Personal property is the elephant of an estate. It is the responsibility that can take up most of your time, and it provides the estate with the least amount of money for the effort involved. But, dealing with the personal property cannot be avoided. The property must be inventoried, valued, distributed, or sold. Let us start our analysis by looking at what property we have (inventory); then we will determine what it is worth (valuation). In a future post, we will determine what to do with it (distribution/sale).

When you go to the courthouse, the clerk will provide you with the form you will need to fill out for the inventory. The form will ask you to provide general categories and a value for each category you have listed. For example, you would list: furniture, $1500; office equipment, $300, etc.. You will not have to list the items separately, such as sofa, $100; chair, $5; typewriter, $25. I suggest that you do keep a list of the individual items, though. Although you will not have to go into a lot of detail for the court, you will likely want a more detailed inventory for yourself. You will want this for two reasons: to track the sale of estate property, and to protect yourself against claims of heirs and/or creditors.

You do not have to get real fancy with with the inventory; pencil and paper will do. If you are so inclined, there are home inventory record books available at office supply stores, or you can purchase software online. There are also companies that specialize in taking home inventories.

You will need a helper. One person sorts and counts while the other writes. Start inside the house, and work your way from the top of the house to the bottom. Go room to room with a consistent pattern so that you do not miss anything: always clockwise or counter-clockwise around the room. Write down what is on the walls as well, not just what is on the floor. For small goods, write down identifiable groups of items such as 200 hardcover books, 100 paperback books, 42 nick-knacks, etc.. On your list, put a star next to any item that you think may be valuable. If the nick-knacks are porcelain and the books are first editions, they are valuable items. When you are finished, follow the same procedure for the outbuildings: the garage, shed, workshop, or whatever. If there is a rented self-storage unit, vacation home, recreational vehicle or boat, they will need to be inventoried as well.

When you file the inventory at the courthouse, you will need to state a value for the personal property. For run-of-the-mill household items, a good resource for determining the value is the software program It’s Deductible that comes bundled with the income tax program Turbo Tax. It’s Deductible can also be purchased separately. …

Your business can be broken down into 4 segments or component parts.

I call these as the 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS of a business.

Through extensive research and study of the most successful businesses worldwide, I have likewise determined that there are 4 common focal points found in a successful strategic plan for Business Growth and Profit-Building. These common focal points, or 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS, are interrelated and can be made to fit together like the pieces of a puzzle.

When you clearly identify them in your own business, and then strategically harness their power to function cohesively, the 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS can produce EXPONENTIAL business growth. And that kind of business growth leads to an increase in bottom-line profits!

So what are these 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS to a successful strategic plan for business growth and profit-building?

Let’ briefly explain what these 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS are, and what they have to do with developing a strategic plan to successfully grow your business and increase your profits.

The 4 MAJOR COMPONENTS

MAJOR COMPONENT 1 is your business’ VISION, GOALS, & MISSION.

When you consider your business’ VISION, GOALS, and MISSION, your chief aim is broken down into 2 parts. First, you must carefully analyze and clarify what direction your business is currently heading in right now. What is your VISION for your business? What are your personal goals and business objectives? And finally, what is your Mission for your business? Do you have these 3 clearly set out? You need to in order to start seeing real growth in your business.

Second, you must determine whether you need to change course to develop the business growth you want and the increase in profits you need. Having clarified your VISION, GOALS, and MISSION, you will then know in what direction you want to steer your business to generate the business growth and increased profits that you want.

As you work through and implement any business growth plans, keep referring back to MAJOR COMPONENT 1, your VISION, GOALS, & MISSION.

MAJOR COMPONENT 1 is the guiding direction for your business, just like a compass pointing to “True North”.

MAJOR COMPONENT 2 of the business growth and profit-building process is your Business Operating Systems, Management, & Training.

I liken MAJOR COMPONENT 2 to the engine that drives a car. When you consider MAJOR COMPONENT 2 in your own business growth plans, you accomplish 4 things:

1. You undertake a review of your business’ engine; that is, your staff and contractors. How can they play a positive role in growing your business and increasing your profits?

2. You consider your hiring practices. How they can impact your successful business growth at the front end…, when you hire others to join you.

3. You evaluate and design your management and training processes to support the business growth that you are striving for. And,

4. Most importantly, you strategically develop the specific operating systems that your business must have in place to effectively and efficiently run …

Virtually every Personal Trainer will have a series of letters after their name indicating some, if not all, of the fitness certifications they hold. Often it will be CPT, meaning Certified Personal Trainer. The organization that bestows the title is more important than the letters CPT. This article will give you an idea what to look for AND what to look out for in a Personal Trainer’s certification. Armed with this information, you will have a much better opportunity to hire the right Personal Trainer for YOUR needs.

Currently there are currently only seven organizations in the exercise industry that meet the stringent requirements of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). The American College of Sports Medicine, the American Council on Exercise, The Cooper Institute, the National Academy of Sports Medicine, the National Council on Strength and Exercise, the National Federation of Professional Trainers, and the National Strength and Conditioning Association.

Holding a certification from one of these organizations does not mean you’ve found a Great Personal Trainer. It means that individual meets one of the criteria for being a Great Personal Trainer (see my article on The Five Traits of a Great Personal Trainer) and may possibly be the person to help you get in the best shape of your life. Getting in the best shape of your life does not include limitations for age or your current physical condition. Unless you are afflicted with an ailment that precludes exercise, a Great Personal Trainer can help you get in the best shape of your entire life, as safely, painlessly, and expediently as possible, regardless of age or current physical conditioning. That is the Personal Trainer we are seeking!

A certification from one of the above organizations means the Personal Trainer has met a strict and thorough process to become a Certified Personal Trainer. They have an understanding of anatomy and physiology, which exercises work various muscle groups, a basic understanding of designing an exercise program for a variety of clients with differing physical abilities, and the knowledge to implement those programs. Importantly, the organizations also require CPR certification and continuing education to maintain certification. CPR certification is important for obvious reasons…and not just in an exercise setting. If you are not CPR certified, consider doing it. You will learn how to potentially save a life with a few hours training.

The continuing education requirement for Personal Trainer certification is vital because exercise science is a dynamic discipline. Ongoing research studies by non-biased entities, such as universities and hospitals, provide constant information updates on our understanding of how exercise affects the human body. This promotes more effective program design and more efficient results for the client. In other words, by staying informed about updates in exercise science your Personal Trainer can continue to help you achieve peak performance, improving your fitness level as proficiently as possible!

There are too many “Certified Personal Trainer” programs to list that do not meet the standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. …