Simple vs. Complex Solutions

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What will help take your business to the next level? Perhaps the next level isn’t even a goal, perhaps getting started with revenue is your goal. In this economy I see so many small business owners looking for “magic dust” to solve their revenue or business challenges. This is, of course, fantasy land.

One school of thought focuses on the brutal harsh reality that being successful requires complex solutions.

You want to hold your own seminar because you were at one recently and there were 150 people in the room and you saw all the sales in the back of the room and you thought, “Wow, at least 50 people invested in programs to improve their business and the average price was $2K, which means that event generated over $100K in sales plus ticket sales! That was simple, I can do that.”

What no one tells you is that to get 150 people to show up at an event (especially in this economy) it can take a 75-150 step process, with everything from emails, to postcards, sales letters, marketing pieces, preview calls, training calls, affiliate efforts, etc. It is a very complex process. Unfortunately, most things work the same way; an effective website that drives traffic and converts to leads then sales is a whole lot easier said than done.

In the search for solutions for your business challenges, first, realize that each step required to be a success may involve complex solutions. Nothing wrong with that (other than the hard work and time involved) and when you realize that and become consistent and frequent in the steps you do to create more business, you will be a huge success!

As I’ve mentioned before, Dan Kennedy has said, the reason 99% of the people are poor and 1% are rich is that the 99% that are poor want to buy simple solutions to complex problems. The 1% that are rich, realize that complex problems require complex solutions BUT when selling make sure you offer simple solutions to complex problems. Because that is what people want to buy! They want simple.

Any tools that you invest in to improve your business (some software programs are exceptions) will require a lot more work, time and probably expenses involved then what you are being told on the front end. We would prefer to work with those that realize at one level or another that it really is complex solutions involved.

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The Master Checklist to Review Before You Ever Start Another Business

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You have one business up and running with some success and are considering starting another business and dividing your focus. Perhaps you do not want to put all your “business eggs” in one basket. What if one business slows down, and the other one picks up, you are protected. As you know the worst number in business is one, one vendor, one client, one affiliate, one bank account…does that mean one business? Not necessarily.

First, what are your reasons for starting another business?

Here is a list of some and let’s consider them carefully:

  1. The first business is not working.
  2. You found a new product in another niche that should bring in more revenue.
  3. You want to diversify into another niche.
  4. You see an opportunity in your current niche and starting a new business (more so a new company) to service this opportunity in that niche.
  5. Your business partner was lame and you started a new company and a new business perhaps in a similar niche to move on.

The first one is fairly obvious as to the concerns, yet, many fall into this trap. The first business (which was really never up and running as a real business) was not working, and the business owner got excited by another, different opportunity (the new shiny object syndrome). The challenge is that the second business and third will not work either because typically there was nothing solid in place on the first one. They half started that business and half started another business, lacking focus, consistency, and frequency… all leading to another failure.

Finding a new product in another niche can work effectively. Most successful entrepreneurs who were successful 5-8 years ago have a totally different main profit center today then what was in their business back then. They had to reinvent themselves and more importantly change with the times and look for new opportunities with the changing times. Those who continue to ride the same horse down the wrong path will just end up with more problems. You have to act and move quickly to be successful in business today. With NCP, our international market is the biggest new profit center that was not even in our business (or very little) 5 years ago. We expect it to grow dramatically over the next 12 months.

Wanting to diversify into another niche can work and can be expensive. Typically those who succeed are the ones who are already succeeding in their current niche.

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Ten LLC Secrets

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The Limited Liability Company (LLC) is a powerful entity that originally started in Wyoming in 1977 and became more popular in the late 1990’s. It is a hybrid between a partnership and corporation. Most are unaware that an LLC can be taxed in four different ways: disregarded, partnership and S or C corporation. The IRS established federal default rules to simplify this determination in 1997. A one member LLC by default will be taxed as a disregarded entity for tax purposes and a two member LLC will be taxed as a partnership for tax purposes.

Now let me share with you 10 LLC secrets that will not only keep you up out of tax trouble but help you better avoid pitfalls down the road.

  1. Can an IRA invest in an LLC? Yes, but…This is a popular strategy when looking for different investment options for retirement funds. Many are looking to take advantage of the real estate market to invest in and find they do not have the money personally to invest, but their IRA does. This strategy involves moving your IRA to a self directed IRA and the IRS becomes the member of an LLC. In other words, the investment is in the membership interest of the LLC. There are a couple of major issues with this strategy that could create problems with the IRS. First, if you are the manager of the LLC and you are on the LLC checking account that has IRA funds, that means you have “check book control”. There are prohibited transactions in where you can not use that money, but more importantly is that the signer on the account may use the LLC money for personal use which is a big problem and could create serious IRS issues. The second issue centers around who can be the manager of the LLC. Can it be you also? Is that self-dealing? That means you are running the same entity that is owned by the IRA in which you own and that is an issue by the IRS. It appears that having a separate self directed IRA only to own the real estate may be a better approach. You do want to isolate the safe and risk investments also. A resource is Entrust Arizona. You can contact them at 1-480-306-8404.
  2. What are the advantages of an LLC over an S corporation? Assuming the LLC is taxed as a partnership vs. the S corporation, there are differences. When you capitalize an S corporation, code section 351 allows shareholders to transfer appreciated assets to the corporation tax free. BUT…the shareholder who is transferring the asset MUST own 80% of the S corporation. This is fine if you have a one person corporation, but what if you have a partner? What happens if you own it 50/50? Is it now a taxable event? Yes! How does an LLC taxed as a partnership differ? There is no such rule for an LLC. Transfers are tax free under IRC §721 to an LLC taxed as a partnership. There is no 80% rule. An LLC can rarely lose its status as a partnership for tax purposes, but the S corporation can forfeit the S election,  in many ways including having a foreign owner, an owner that is a C corporation….(the S corporation has restrictions on who can be a shareholder. This is especially important when you are looking for investors. The LLC has the charging order protection which offers more protection vs. an S corporation. Yes, you can get the best of both worlds and have an LLC taxed as an S corporation and have the charging order protection (which will be covered in bonus point #12).
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Advanced Secrets to Automate Your Joint Ventures

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Here are some advanced tips to put this on autopilot for your own e-mails.

Include a proactive P.S. in your e-mails that will ask for joint ventures. Here is an example:

P.S. If you’ve got a house list of more than 5,000 business owner e-mail addresses, then you’re eligible to apply for Scott Letourneau’s free Fast Start to Profits™ Teleseminar program. In this program, he’ll give you and your customers, clients or members a free $197.00 teleseminar with valuable, actionable, success producing content (he won’t sell anything — just give you straight content). Apply right now by sending an e-mail to scott@nvinc.com. And put “Free Teleseminar Application” in the subject line. WARNING: there may be a wait list due to high demand. Recent Teleseminar Testimonials:

Scott Letourneau is the leading expert in America when it comes to starting your business and knowing how to grow it. He has helped thousands of small business owners thrive and he can help yours perform much better than you ever thought possible.” Jordan Goodman personal finance expert, author of Fast Profits in Hard Times and owner of Moneyanswers.com Many things are happening at one time in the P.S.

1. I am giving a minimum expectation for someone’s list size (5,000 business owners’ e-mails). Without that I may get 5-10 inquires per day with people with no list. Your number may be lower if you are just starting out.

2. I let them know you are “eligible to apply.” That means there is an application process. Not everyone will be accepted.

3. I let them know that their list will receive something of value; $197.00 of value for FREE and I let them know the content is excellent and I won’t be selling (unless you want me too).

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Simple Things Can Lead to Your Success

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In today’s tight economic environment, consumer confidence is low, credit is hard to come by and the debts of many small business owners soar higher and higher. Instead of searching for the next fancy “push button” solution to bring in cash flow consider the simple things you can do on a daily basis for success.

Return phone calls within a 24-hour period. If you are not able to return a call, send an e-mail to let them know that you have received the call and you will get back to them tomorrow. I have to confess, as many of you know; I am working on this one myself. The same goes with important e-mails. Now, I am not a fan of allowing yourself to be interrupted every 5 minutes by calls and e-mails. If you are always available, what message is that sending? Can you pick up the phone and get Trump on the phone (unplanned)? Almost never. Ask for help. Most people want to help, ask nicely and don’t beg. You can be honest and say, I am having challenges, and what do you recommend?  Be prepared because you may not like their suggestions.

Not enough time? I would like to use that excuse! I have three kids in school, my wife has a career, my business is very involved….yet I am so excited that after 14 years of marriage we are taking the TV out of the bedroom! I am guilty of watching it too much. It may be from 10:30 to midnight, but it’s still a waste of time. This will free up more time and energy.

What can you do to free up more time? What time wasters get in your way? Perhaps it is a matter of taking 4 hours over the next couple of weekends and organizing your home and office. Say please and thank you. Sounds simple, but how many forget to do so or sincerely mean it?

Do you ask for referrals? Do you forget? Why? Perhaps you don’t want to hear the reason why someone doesn’t want to refer business to you? That is a key component to know. Is there a misconception about your product or service? There may be something you can shift in the marketing or sales process to add more value. For many, it is simply a result of not asking, not creating a habit like brushing your teeth, on a daily basis.

Do you work ON your business? Do you spend time on a weekly basis to improve your system, product or service? Or, do you only work IN your business. Do you even have a business? Dan Kennedy says there is no such thing as a speaking business. Why? There is no revenue produced without your efforts and he calls it high paid manual labor. I think he is right.

Do you talk to your clients and ask them what can be improved with your product or service? Do you have a system to evaluate and measure your staff or outsourced labor (which may be your spouse)? Do you just wing it or do you really look at statistics in your business? How can you improve if you are guessing at what is not working?

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Tips for International Clients Doing Business in the United States

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There are many advantages for international clients to establish a U.S. company. Two that are top on the list are to help you develop more trust with the largest consumer market in the world ($158.3 BILLION in online sales in 2010) and to help establish joint ventures with the U.S. market. A U.S. consumer would much rather prefer to do business with a U.S. company. If you are in Australia, the UK, or New Zealand, you appear offshore to the U.S. consumer…and that means potential problems when it comes to recourse, or for other issues. If you are overseas, it may be very expensive to get basic issues handled with customer service or refunds. In this case, the U.S. business owner or consumer would rather do business with another U.S. company. That is where you can come into play if you are international. You can establish a U.S. company (your U.S. Cash Machine) to access this market.
There are a few tips to help you do more business in the U.S. Market:

1. Utilize your U.S company. Actually, set up the merchant account, have revenue going through it, file U.S. tax returns and get the ball rolling. Don’t just wait until a big launch comes along. Operate it as a real separate company.

2. Promote your U.S. company online (just as you would your main company). It will look better if both your home country company and your U.S. company both have a lot of articles, videos and traffic online vs. just your U.S. company used like a “shell” just to store money from a launch you did in your home country. This gives the impression as someone searches on line that the U.S. company is for real!

3. Protect Your Name in the U.S. If you have a name that can be trademarked (listen to the August 2009 Top 5% Club call with Chris DeMassa on the process of trademarking your name). This will add more value to your company and set you apart because you are protecting your name. Even most American internet marketers and small businesses do NOT trademark their names. This will send a message that you are for real!

4. Promote Joint Ventures Through Your U.S. Company. Even if you normally do all your JVs through your home state country, start establishing joint ventures (host/beneficiary relationships) through your U.S. company, which will establish that as a separate business and identity. This will help you with U.S. JVs in the future, plus help separate your business assets from your home country and what you have going on in the U.S. market.

5. Consider U.S. Vendors. This will put your business in the position that your team is not totally “offshore” and will connect you with more U.S. businesses. Especially if you have a customer service team or call center that is remote from your business, in the U.S. we would prefer to hear from U.S customer service. Yes, it is true that many U.S. companies outsource to India and other countries (it is different when a big telephone company does that vs. a small entrepreneur).

The U.S. is a huge market that is going to need more of your support and solutions. The debt crisis may only get worse, as banks are not lending to small U.S. businesses and individuals are having difficulty securing credit. That means if you are offering solutions for businesses or how to make more money (especially online), you may have a goldmine in front of you.

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