Productive or Busy. Which One Are You?

Feb 2, 2019 by

If you are looking for more results in your business there is a real important piece of self-evaluation that must be considered in order to get better results.

That is, asking and reflecting upon this question; are you productive or just busy? Perhaps your goal for better results from your business may mean more income, perhaps it is the same amount of income with more time off, more time with your family.

Increase your productivity and your profits!

Increase your productivity and your profits!

Most entrepreneurs are simply busy, with no clear cut goals and they are hoping the busy activity will somehow lead to results. I know, because I have been there! I used to pride myself in working 14-16 hours days, 6 days a week at least, doing a lot of stuff, mostly just being busy. I know I was jumping from one priority to the next, creating new projects while 10 others were left unfinished.

Did I produce results in my business, yes most certainty but it was not a very effective approach. The mere fact that I worked 14-16 hour days was not what determined that I was busy, there are many, many successful entrepreneurs who work 14-16 hour days and are very productive. Tony Robbins is one of them.

Perhaps your goal is not to be like Tony Robbins, but you may have to agree, he has succeeded in his business. Dan Kennedy is another entrepreneur who is like productivity on steroids. When he works, he works, no interruptions!

First, let’s address some characteristics of someone who is busy and not getting any results in their business. You can calibrate to see if you fall more into this category (hopefully not) vs. the productive category.

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Are ALL Your Assets Protected Properly?

Nov 17, 2018 by

As the end of another year comes to a close soon and you are getting ready for your plans for the new year, you may be evaluating are all your assets properly protected?

Protect Your Assets from Risk

Here are many of the common strategies that often turn into costly mistakes (that you may not have considered):
  • All your business ventures in one business. Yes, if you are just starting and testing 3-4 different revenue streams that may be ok in one entity but if two or three are really taking off, why put all of that in one business entity (other than it is easier). Would you put all your investments in one stock? Probably not. Why? Too much risk. The same strategy applies to a business (don’t put all your eggs in one basket).
  • Real estate in your own name (outside your principal residence) even without equity may be a lightning rod for lawsuits, best in a separate entity.

  • Too much equity from real estate in one LLC. Especially if the equity is a high percentage of your net worth. If you have three properties free and clear worth $400K each and that is 80% of your net worth, that makes no sense to have in one LLC. Remember, your living trust does not protect assets from liability.
  • Business with a partner that is in the same entity as your operating business that you own 100%. At the end of the day, you make your partner owner of your main company which may not be what you intended.
  • Holding safe assets or investments (crypto also) outside your retirement plan in your own name/brokerage account or your living trust (remember your living trust provides ZERO liability protection but protection from probate taxes).
  • Doing business in the U.S. with your home country entity not knowing that maybe bringing undo liability to your home country business.

It is a great time to form a new complete entity formation (which we do in all 50 states) as you get ready for the New Year.

REMINDER: In January the Secretary of State’s new business filing process slows greatly, so give your business enough time to get up and running for as early in the year as possible.

If you need help to form another entity to protect another business or other assets see our packages below that include a video overview and pricing. Questions? Email support@launchwithconfidence.com. Here are our steps for a Complete Formation for a 50 State Formation. Here are our steps for a Complete U.S. Company Formation.

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U.S. Entity Complete Formation Video and Mistakes to Avoid

Oct 27, 2018 by

If you or someone you know is looking to form a U.S. entity for your global e-commerce business, this video will be a big help.

You will want to watch our new video on our process, tools, support, and packages because you will learn what is really involved in the process. The biggest costly mistakes to avoid will be very clear.

If are still selling on Amazon.com FBA or on any e-commerce platform in the U.S., or looking to protect your assets from your home country with a U.S. entity, our U.S. entity formation video will be very helpful.

U.S. Entity Video

Before forming a U.S. entity watch the video on this page.

Here are some of the big reasons you may want to form a U.S. entity:

Perhaps you have been selling in the U.S. and have never collected or remitted sales tax. Although you are hoping it will go away, that is not likely to happen. This is largely due to the June 2018, U.S. Supreme Court Case, Wayfair vs South Dakota. This case has opened the floodgates for other states to require sales tax to be collected even if you have no physical presence.

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The Ultimate Asset Protection Structure to Protect Your Net Worth

Oct 3, 2018 by

Lawsuits are at an all-time high; there are over 80 million per year!  The more people struggle, the more they are concocting ways to extract your wealth from you. Perhaps you may not feel you have a lot of wealth, but to others, you may appear rich. Your insurance policies are like blood in the water that the sharks can smell from a mile away!

Make sure your assets are properly protected.

Don’t fall prey to thinking; no one has sued me yet, so why do I need to take these extra steps? My question to you is simple. What is your current risk tolerance given your age and net worth? Can you afford to start over? I have known many have had to do that since 2008.

Keep in mind, simple vs. asset protection is inversely related. Meaning, those are successful, rarely have all their assets in one legal entity. Why? If that entity were to be sued you could lose all the assets in that one entity! Perhaps you will be protected personally, but your business may be gone.

Let’s assume, you are thinking, “Ok, Scott…I want to protect everything, how do I do that”?

Let’s take a look at what that structure would look like.

  1. A separate legal entity for your main operating business. That may be a corporation or LLC.
  2. Another separate legal entity to separate your business into two parts. If you are brand new this is not
    necessary. But if you have been in business for 20 years in one legal entity, that means one lawsuit could cause 20 years of business to go down the tubes. You may want to split up your product lines or services. If you do seminars that may be a different entity from your information product business.
  3. If you have a business with partners and operate through LLCs, each partner should own their
    membership interest in their own LLC, not individually. Why? The LLC has the charging order protection that makes it more difficult for someone to come after the owner of the LLC, which is great. When you have partners, even with the charging order, you do not want any disruptions if the owner is sued for something unrelated to the operating entity. A second layer LLC will prevent that from happening.
  4. A separate legal entity for each piece of real estate you own (your primary residence will be a different
    approach). If you own rentals in Wisconsin where you can buy a house for $40K, you may not need a separate LLC for each piece of real estate. In California, the same house may be $930K. In that case, a separate LLC may make sense. California has an $800 per year franchise tax fee so you may consolidate based upon that fee.
  5. A separate LLC for your safe assets. That includes investments in the market, gold, silver, ownership in other
    companies (like any C corporations). Any entity taxed as an S corporation, there are limits on who may be the
    shareholder, only a single member LLC can be a shareholder. NEVER have your safe asset LLC be the
    owner of a risk asset, like real estate or a business.
  6. A separate LLC for your domain names. Domain names are virtual real estate free and clear. They may become quite valuable over time. If owned by your main operating company and that is sued, you could lose control of your most valuable asset.
  7. A personal residence trust for your home. If you have equity that is not covered by your state homestead laws, this may be the best option to protect your equity and not have the negative consequence that placing your residence in an entity would entail. Attorney Rob Bolick is a great resource and referral partner with NCP and covers more details about the personal residence trust.
  8. A life insurance trust for your life insurance policies. This is part of the estate planning for your estate. Life insurance is not subject to income taxes but is subject to estate taxes and that is why the life insurance trust is a must. Attorney Rob Bolick, an attorney in Las Vegas would be a great resource for this as well. His number at his law firm is (702) 690-9090.
  9. A Nevada Asset Protection Trust. This is like having an offshore trust onshore. It would be the owner of your LLCs and the living trust would be the beneficiary of the Nevada Asset Protection Trust. Nevada has a two-year statute of limitations and when two years go by you are home free from almost all creditors. Attorney Rob Bolick is the resource for this also.
  10. A living trust. Estate planning is very important and most Americans do not have a living trust established. This will help pass your assets to your heirs and avoid probate when properly funded.
  11. An offshore entity. This is the top asset protection tool because the entity is in another country with different rules than the U.S. There are NO tax benefits to an offshore entity. The U.S. person would need to pay all taxes associated with it. The IRS is all over this type of entity, so again, just to be clear, you must pay all taxes as a U.S. citizen.
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South Dakota vs Wayfair Supreme Court Decision Insights

Jun 22, 2018 by

The South Dakota vs Wayfair Supreme Court decision now says that sales tax is not going way, only changing.

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 on June 21st, to overturn the 1992 Quill Case that required physical nexus (FBA inventory for example) before you had to collect and remit sales tax.

This Supreme Court decision allows the states to collect sales taxes from MOST (not all) online retailers, not just Amazon FBA sellers.

The big reason is that states are losing a fortune in sales tax revenues and both sellers and consumers (with use tax) have been avoiding them!

Amazon.com FBA Seller Use SalesTaxSystem.com

Here is a link to the U.S. Supreme Court Case:

http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/south-dakota-v-wayfair-inc/

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Pricing, the Key to Your Business Success

Mar 10, 2018 by

Profits are the key to any business success. Pricing is one of the major elements to determine your bottom line
profits.

The proper pricing strategies will lead to more cash and profits in your business.

The biggest challenge I see in this economy is the knee-jerk reaction to cut pricing to bring in more sales. That only works if you have a great upsell process or lifetime value of a new customer or client after the initial sale. For example, the well-known story with one of Jay Abraham’s clients. He was consulting with a coin dealer and they wanted to increase sales. Jay asked if they bring on a first-time new client to collecting coins, on average once they make their first purchase how many times do they come back in the year to make another purchase. The coin dealer, said, “about 8-9 times on average. Once they get started they are hooked!” Jay was incredibly excited.

His strategy was to focus on getting new customers with that incredible back end. Let’s offer each new customer an incredible deal they can not refuse. Let’s offer each new customer for a limited time a 50% equity position in the first coin they purchase. Meaning, you will lose 50% on each new coin, not break even, but lose money! If the coin was worth $100, offer them only $50 to give them a win early on. The business owner thought Jay was crazy of course. But Jay explained the math of having 1,000 new customers and if each one invested 8-9 more times at full price in a given year, what the impact would be, it was staggering.

These may not be the exact numbers, but the business went from about $3 million in sales to about $150,000 million in sales in about 3 years! That is a rare exception to cutting prices, and even losing money on the front end to bring in a new client or customer.

Most small business owner may not have a product like this where the consumer is so passionate and addicted to the product or service.

Let me point out one of the most important components of price:

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The Series LLC, a Closer Look

Mar 1, 2018 by

There is a lot of discussion about forming a series LLC instead of multiple LLCs to help save on filing costs. A series LLC is a form of a LLC that provides liability protection across multiple “series” each of which is THEORETICALLY protected from liabilities arising from other series or units. Some have described this structure as a master LLC that has separate divisions (another way to look at it). Series LLCs are now permitted in 8 states, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Nevada, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Each series or unit also called a sub-LLC will have to create a separate Series Agreement. Each sub-LLC will have its own asset name, bank account and a separate EIN (Federal Tax ID) number. While the Operating Agreement will be amended as series are added or deleted, the Certificate of Formation (also called Articled of Organization) filed with the state does not require amendment.

The Series LLC members must sign an Addendum to the Operating Agreement and then separate accounts must be established and records maintained for the new cell or unit that is added.

Concerns and Issues with a Series LLC

Currently, governing bodies have not resolved the problems surrounding tax and creditor issues related to the Series LLC.

There is some conflict between the Federal Bankruptcy Code and the State Series LLC law. Some current owners have expressed concerns about their inability to file one tax return for all of the sub-LLCs. Many attorneys are reviewing the tax laws to determine the best way to resolve tax issues. The resolution will also determine whether or not they will endorse the Series LLC nationwide. However, a pending IRS regulation may solve at least the federal taxation questions related to this topic. It is expected to be enacted in the near future.

CAUTION: We do NOT currently recommend the series LLC if you are planning to invest in real estate in California.

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The Joint Venture Success Formula for Massive Lead Generation

Feb 10, 2018 by

Does your business need more high quality leads at the lowest cost? We are not talking about facebook or Google ads, but leveraging other’s people’s resources. There are companies that have invested millions of dollars on their database to bring in clients and if you can add value to help them do even better, convert more leads, renew more clients at no cost to them; you will look like a hero! Yet, I find 95% of business owners skip this powerful form of marketing. Even at NCP when we have new employees and they are calling our database to find out who may now be ready to incorporate, they also spend time calling on joint ventures opportunities, it is required! I would recommend you finally implement this into your marketing calendar on a weekly and monthly basis. Let’s cover a few basics then get right into your JV success formula for massive lead generation.

The host-beneficiary relationship is made up of two components, the host (the one with the list of clients and is having a marketing message being sent through email, website, webinar or teleseminar are most popular. The beneficiary is the one benefiting from the back end to the marketing message being sent to the host’s list. You are asking one simple questions. Where do my clients or customers go before they need my product or service? Write that one down and put it on your computer. It should be in front of you all day! Now when you speak to clients, leads, vendors it will always be in your awareness. You will be asking yourself, does this client, lead, vendor market to my ideal clients or customers and how can I add the most value so they will be excited to want to send a marketing message to their list!

Recap, if you are looking for more leads and clients, it is very simple, you are the beneficiary. The company who will send the marketing message is the host. Do not wait for hosts to call you with beneficiary opportunities. At some point when you are a big star that may happen, but in the meantime, I would recommend you proactively go after it and make this part of your weekly marketing!

Now the important part, how you approach a host. This is what separates the men from the boys or the women from the girls. You must approach this in a way that it sounds like you are only interested in helping the host get better results. The minute it smells like you are looking only to promote your product or service, nothing happens.

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Behind on Sales Tax as an Amazon.com FBA Seller?

Feb 3, 2018 by

If you have been selling on Amazon FBA and only collecting and remitting sales tax in your home state or not, all you are behind.

Every Day that Goes by WITHOUT being in Sales Tax Compliance, you are Paying Sales Tax + Interest + Penalties out of YOUR OWN Pocket.

This may be as much as 8% sales tax, 10% interest, and 30% penalties or 10% out of every sale you are losing, that is NOT necessary.

Amazon.com FBA Seller Use SalesTaxSystem.com

In order to Get Back on Track and In Compliance with Sales Tax You MUST Figure Out the Following:

  • Where do you have Sales Tax Nexus (which FBA States)
  • How do you Track When you Inventory Moves Around?
  • Obtain Sales Tax Permits Properly, avoid costly mistakes in states like California, Kentucky, and Washington…
  • How do you pay back sales taxes, interest, and penalties OR not?
  • How do you waive penalties and what will that cost?
  • How do you get professional SALT support if your CPA is not clear?
  • Should you form a new entity first or get sales tax numbers as a sole proprietorship then move forward?
  • What is the start date on your application for sales tax permits?
  • What does this trigger?
  • What estimate sales tax amounts do you use in each state?
  • What is remitting service the best overall?
  • How do you properly update your Amazon Seller Central Account
  • Settings to not Under over OVER collect?
  • How do you handle selling on Multiple Channels and Sales Tax?
  • If you are outside the US what is different with the rules?
  • Why do you need a US bank account to help Remit Sales Tax?
  • What Other Risks may you take on for not doing this correctly?

As you see there is a lot involved to get you on track moving forward.  The best news is that salestaxsystem.com covers all these areas in the membership area so you can then focus on your marketing and sales!

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How to Cut Expenses without Killing Your Business!

Feb 2, 2018 by

The purpose of any business is to develop a profit. There are many factors that will affect your business’s ability to generate a profit. Those include the costs of goods sold on your products, your price point on your product and services, your fixed and variable expenses.

In this economy where the sales funnel is typically wider for most businesses, meaning it will take more calls to make a sale, the knee-jerk reaction is to cut your prices to increases sales revenue to help generate overall more profits. That strategy typically will backfire (unless your up-sell process is strong and you know your numbers like clockwork).

One of the biggest issues is knowing the ratio between cutting your prices a certain percentage (like 10%) and now knowing your corresponding COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) percentage. The key question becomes, how many additional sales will you have to do at full price to make up for the one sale you gave a 10% discount? My good friend Spike Humer, has developed a very good chart that tells you the answer based on the price discount and COGS. For example, if your product or service has a 40%COGS and you cut the price by 10% the company would have to do an additional 15 sales to make up the profit lost on that one sale. This brings in revenue, but unless a strong back end exists this can lead to a fast track to being out of business.

There are a few fundamentals that we recommend you have in place before you start cutting expenses to make the best decisions.

First, you must know your numbers. There are important questions to ask yourself about your numbers. How many leads to you have each day? What is the cost per lead? What is your cost per appointment? Cost per new client? What is lifetime value of each new client?

For example, if you have 10 leads per day and you have to spend a total of $2,000 per month for marketing, and that is divided by 30 sales days (counting weekends ) or 20 sales days if you do not. That comes out to 10 leads per day x 30 sales days= 300 leads. Now take $2,000/300 leads=$6.66 per lead.

If it takes 10 leads to develop 3 appointments, that is $22.00 per appointment. If those three appointments turn into 1 sale that means it is costing you $66.66 per client (which is a low number). For many of you, it may be costing you $25 per lead that you receive. That changes the numbers dramatically.

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Why Completing Your Estate Planning is a Must!

Jan 24, 2018 by

Growing your business can be one of the most rewarding experiences for you and your family. It can provide a stream of income for years to come. Part of being successful in business is planning for the unexpected, anticipating what can go wrong and have contingency plans. On a personal level, you should be taking the same approach. For example, do you have life insurance (especially if you have loved ones) to support your family if something happens to you? I know in my situation with three girls and my wife I want to make sure they are taken care of if something should happen to me (hopefully a lot later than sooner). Having life insurance was something I had in place right after I was married over 16 years ago.

What I have found over the years is the big areas that create the biggest mess; when a business owner does not get around to completing their estate planning and something unexpected happens to them. This creates a financial mess for the family that is left behind. It is hard enough to handle the sudden loss of a loved one but to add on the financial turmoil can be just devastating for your loved ones. Especially when the IRS gets involved with estate taxes that will be due that may cause unnecessarily to liquid assets at a fire sale point of view to pay the
estate taxes.

Here are my top reasons why your estate planning should be a must to complete in the next 30-60 days and for you to take immediate action after reading this article otherwise it may be 12 months from now and you have not started yet.

1.Take care of your family. Your spouse must be prepared financially and emotionally as best as possible to make sure if something happens to you what the steps are financially..

Certainty and financial security are very high needs, especially guys for your wives. Don’t leave your spouse left holding the financial bag and having to work with other family members and in- laws to figure how what should happen next. Especially, if you run the business, provide the revenue to support your family and your wife runs the household, kids’ schedule and school (which is a much harder job by the way, in my opinion). This is even more of a must if you are in a second marriage and there are your kids and your spouse’s kids.

You may inadvertently have your net worth not go to your kids when you thought it would. Even worse, what happens to your kids if something happens to both of you? What directives do you have in place to take care of your kids? Do you have guardians in place? Here are six mistakes that happen in this key area of naming a guardian 1) they name only one person with no back-up; 2) they name a couple without directing what should happen if something happens to one of the partners of the couple; 3) they consider financial resources of their guardians instead of leaving enough behind through insurance or savings; 4) they don’t name anyone to take care of their financial resources for their children; 5) they name only guardians for the long-term and don’t consider what would happen in the immediate moments or hours after an accident until their long-term guardians could arrive; and 6) they fail to exclude anyone they know they would never want to serve as a guardian. If you die without a Will or having named guardians, the decision as to who will take care of your money and your children is left up to a State Court Judge operating in a broken court system who don’t know you or what’s important to you.

Another challenge is having your estate go to the probate courts because you have no estate plan in place. Here is how this works. In any jurisdiction in the U.S. that recognize a married couple’s property as tenancy by the entireties, if a person dies intestate (owning property without a will), the portion of his/her estate so titled passes to
a surviving spouse without a probate. This part seems to be ok at this point. If the estate is not automatically devised to the surviving spouse in this manner or through a joint tenancy and is not held within a trust, it is necessary to “probate the estate”, whether or not the decedent had a valid will. A court having jurisdiction of the decedent’s estate (a probate court) supervises probate, to administer the disposition of the decedent’s property according to the law of the jurisdiction and the decedent’s intent as manifested in his testamentary instrument.

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Where Did My New Years’ Resolution Go? 9 Strategies To Rescue Those Resolutions!

Jan 20, 2018 by

Resolve comes easily on December 31st.

By March of the new year, the resolutions made are in disarray, compromised, abandoned. And the resolute determination to make this year, finally, the year you stick to ‘em, forgotten altogether.

This is not about guilt over this abandonment. Instead, it is about the real reasons resolutions and the determination to achieve them are lost, year after year after year, and how to change – yet this year – and get on track to systematically set and achieve new goals.

Big Idea #1: you can’t achieve new goals or make desired changes without allocating time to do so. Check out page 63 of my NO B.S. TIME MANAGEMENT FOR ENTREPRENEURS BOOK* for ‘time-blocking’ strategy instructions. A big reason that resolutions never become reality is no room made for them in the daily schedule! If your days are already full, and you resolve to get in a 1/2 hour a day on the treadmill or on your laptop, writing that book, that 1/2 hour has to come from somewhere. Something’s gotta give! You have to find something or things currently consuming time you can cut 5 or 10 or 15 minutes from.

Big Idea #2: priorities should govern schedule, the schedule shouldn’t govern priorities. On pages 69-74 and 103-111 of the same book, I talk about the mistake made by the vast majority of business owners and entrepreneurs – they operate like workers instead of bosses and leaders. They report to a workplace, then they let people and events ad interruptions come at them all day, take control of their day. You have to est control away from others’ priorities and govern by your priorities. President Bush cited Social Security reform and tax reform as top priorities of his second term, presumably accompanied by a resolution of the mess in Iraq. Then along came the tsunami. Still, he organized his tax reform panel. It’s hard to judge from outside looking in, but my belief about W. is that he’s determined to govern by his priorities. Are you?

Big Idea #3: resolutions aren’t resolutions without resolve. Only you can decide what really matters to you. You shouldn’t bother with ‘lip service’ faux resolutions, made to appease or satisfy others. Honesty with self is a pre-requisite for success.

Big Idea #4: resolutions require resources. Almost anything you decide to do, any change you decide to make,
any goal you set out to achieve requires new or different resources. That might be a piece of home exercise equipment or different food in the cupboard, a private work environment outside the office, information, people. You aren’t really serious about a resolution unless you invest in and gather the required resources.

Sometimes investment motivates follow-through, too.

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