Tag: business ownership

Mythbuster: Perception vs. Reality of Owning a Business

Owning your own business can be life-changing. The difference between a good life change and a bad life change is having the right expectations from the beginning. Knowing the reality of owning a business is your first step toward success.

Here are some of the misconceptions people may have:

  • Buying a business will solve my near-term financial issues
  • A business will quickly replace my lost salary
  • There will be immediate cash flow/profit available
  • I can start a business without any money down
  • There will be no additional investment needed after the initial purchase
  • The business will create wealthy on Day One

Here is the reality:

  • A new business will not solve any short-term financial needs. In fact, it can do just the opposite. A new business may not show profits for 6-month, 12-month, sometimes 24 months, or more.
  • You may need to put money into the business to help it grow. Therefore, you may not see a salary for 6 to 12+ months.
  • Wealth creation may take longer than you think. Many people do not understand revenue, cash flows and profits. Just because you received $100 in sales does not mean you have $100 in your pocket.

Quality of Life misconceptions:

  • Once I open the doors, people will be coming in
  • I can take a lot of time off
  • Other people can run the business; I will manage from a distance with minimal effort; or I will just hire people to run the business        
  • I can just hire friends and family without regard to whether they are the best fit for the job
  • I can buy personal luxuries to appear successful i.e. going out and buying a BMW to show people I am a successful business owner

The reality of what your life may look like as a business owner:

  • When starting a business, you may need to put in long hours or be “hands on.” You will need to understand the day-to-day workings of the business. You may be working more hours than your current job. Nobody is going to have the drive or incentive to start and grow the business the way you will. Remember, you just invested thousands of dollars to start your business. You should want to know how the business works.
  • All this work is not the long-term solutions. Your long hours will pay off with the ability to hire the right management staff and you will have gained an acute knowledge of expense management which is critical to your business survival

Myth: Buying a franchise will Guarantee success

Reality: There is no guarantee of success when starting a business. A franchise can provide you a better chance for success but it you are not the right fit, don’t dedicate yourself to its success or don’t follow the system, your business can fail.

Myth: The franchisor provides you solutions for all your problems

Reality:  Every business and business owner is different.                 There is no “cookie-cutter” business. A franchise provides a system that has been proven to be successful many times over. If you follow their system, your chances of success will increase but it may not solve all the problems you may encounter. You must be able to solve problems and come up with creative solutions.

Myth: A franchise is a business that can run itself

Reality:  A franchise has a proven system, but it cannot run itself. It needs a strong owner to ensure the system is being followed. That is why finding the right franchise that fits your business style is important. You can launch a ship into the ocean but without the right Captain, it will just float aimlessly.

Myth: The franchise will provide support to prevent failure

Reality:  A good franchise will provide you initial and on-going support to help you become successful. That does not prevent a bad owner from performing poorly.  The owner may ignore the system, they may not put in the hours need to run the business or just may be a bad fit.

Myth: If my business fails, I am only out of my initial investment

Reality:  Your financial losses could be more far-reaching than you think.

  • When starting your business, you may get a loan or take out a second mortgage. If you take out a loan you will need to make a personal guarantee for that loan. If your business fails, you still need to pay off that personally guaranteed loan or you may lose your house.
  • If you leased any equipment, you will still need to make payments
  • If you leased retail or office space, the landlord will still expect you to make payments
  • The franchise will expect you to pay future royalties
  • You may incur litigation costs

Owning a business is not for the faint of heart. There are many risks that you must take into consideration. You must weigh the rewards against the risks.

What are your long term goals? More time with family? Wealth creation? Work for yourself and not others?

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, business ownership can be a path to reaching those goals.

Once you understand the realities of owning a business, the next important step is finding the right fit.

If you would like to explore which franchises are a fit for you, start by completing our Business Profile Assessment: Click Here to Begin

It is possible for networking to improve your quality of life?

A study by Network Wise (see below)  has shown that networking can improve quality of life. Having a strong social network is an indicator of psychological, emotional and physical wellness. The lack of a social network is connected to poor health and increased risk of mental and physical ailment.

Strong and healthy networks lead to decreases in:

  • Dementia
  • Breast Cancer
  • Premature Death

There is more to networking, and technology is changing everything.

We traditionally think of networking as a chamber of commerce meeting, where you meet in the evening for free drinks, exchange business cards, hanging out and maybe look for a new job. Or people think it may be getting as many LinkedIn connections as possible.

Networking is changing. Network Wise has discovered that networking is used for more than getting a new job. New business opportunities are uncovered, leads are being exchanged, new scientific discoveries are being made. Technology is driving the change. With sites like LinkedIn and Alignable, we can extend our professional networks beyond our local area and with sites like Facebook and Twitter, we are able to drastically increase our social networks.

The are three types of networks: Operational, Personal and Strategic. Operational allows us to engage with people who are central to our business success. Personal allows for socialization and we can seek out mentors and share ideas with Strategic networks.

Online or Face-to-Face?

The answer is both. Even though technology has allowed us to create more far-reaching networks, face-to-face networking is still important. Online networking can increase the size of your network, but face-to-face networking can help you build more meaningful relationships. The goal of an online connection is to gain a face-to-face meeting.

Is there an opportunity to make money?

Networking’s importance increases every day. It is creating more opportunities, growing businesses, and creating jobs. The franchising industry has a way for you to get involved and develop your own groups. Network In Action is disrupting the networking industry. It is using technology to help its franchisees build long-lasting and valuable relationships. They have developed a system that has a low investment and a quick ROI. They give their franchisees the ability to give back to the community and help all its members grow their businesses and not have to sacrifice time.

Click Here to learn more about Network In Action or to start your own networking groups.

 

 

The Art and Science of Networking

Source: NetWorkWise

Tax Benefit of Owning a Business

Owning a Side Business can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

You don’t need to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to open a business. It doesn’t need to be a full-time business to take advantage of the tax savings. It can be a part-time or side business that may grow to a point where it becomes full-time.

Most people don’t think about owning a business unless it will make them a lot of money. Making a profit is extremely important when starting a business because nobody starts a business with the idea to lose money. It may take two to three years to show a profit and start replacing your salary. But what if you could save money each year with your business while it is making very little profit or no money at all?

There are tax savings involved in running a business that many do not consider. Being an employee is the worst way to save on taxes because Uncle Sam takes a large portion out of your paycheck before you get anything. With a business, you can pay for many things using pre-tax dollars, which can save you hundreds of dollars every year. So, while on paper, your business is not making money, you are getting the savings of buying goods with money that is not being taxed.

Some of the most common deductions include:

  • Home Office Deductions
  • Business Use of Vehicle
  • Equipment
  • Business Trips
  • Health Insurance

Put Up, or Shut Up

What you really what to see are some numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average income for a family 2016 was $74,664 and the most common tax bracket is 15%. This means you are paying $11,199.60 to Uncle Sam before you take home $63,363.40. The BLS estimate that the average family has $57,311 in expenditures every year. It is not surprising that the average family is struggling to get by.

Let’s see how much an average American can save by owning a business. We will look some of the expense costs (per the BLS) for the average American family and look at just a few common deductions you could see by owning a business; Auto Mileage, Home Office, Travel, and Equipment.

Transportation

According to the BLS, the average American spends $9,049 on Transportation and drives 13,474 miles per year. Let’s assume you are using 20% of your miles for business purposes. This would allow you to deduct 2,695 miles and with the 2017 IRS mileage deduction of 53.5 cents per mile, you would have a $1,442 tax deduction.

Housing

According to the BLS, the annual expense for Housing is $18,186. By working out of your home, you are able to take advantage of many tax deductions. If you were to assign 20% of your home to dedicated business use, your deduction would be $3,637.20.

What about utilities such as water, gas, electric and a dedicated phone line? The average American will spend about $2,400 on utilities. We will assume a 20% deduction which is a $480 savings per year.

Food

The average American family spends $3,008 on dining out. My wife and I are always discussing our business whenever we eat out. As a result, we expense some of our meals every month. We will assume the average American can expense 20% of their meals. The IRS only allows you to expense 50% for meals and entertainment, this would equal at 10% deduction equal to $300.80.

Travel

Financial experts suggest that the average family spend about 5% of their total income on travel, or $3,733.20. You are not able to deduct the expense for travel that is purely for pleasure, but with proper planning, you can make the trip business related. We don’t have a breakdown of the $3,733.20 (airfare, lodging, food), so we will assume that 70% is deductible. This would give the average American a total deduction of $2,613.24.

Equipment

Thanks to the new tax laws, the Section 179 provision is continued and has increased its threshold. Computer equipment and furnishings can be expensed 100%. If you need a new laptop, printer or desk, you can deduct 100% of that cost the year in which you put it in use. If we were to assume that the average American spends $1,900 on equipment and 20% is used for business, the total deduction would be $380.

How much can I save?

There are many more areas in which a business can save you money and my assumptions are on the conservative side, but if you total up just a few examples we have here:

$1,442.00 + $3,637.20 + $480 + $300.80 + $380 = $6,240.00

Based on an average income of $74,664 in the 15% tax bracket, you would be saving $1,026 per year even if your business is not making any money. Even if the business is part-time.

You will need to document every expense carefully and you should work with an accountant. There are easy to use software programs, such as Quickbooks, that make this process simple. Oh yeah, you can deduct the cost of your Quickbooks software.

Finding a business to suit your lifestyle and budget is not as hard as you think. This is one reason why you should use a Franchise Broker because they have more information than you can find on the Internet.

Dirty Words in Franchising

Secret

The Value in the Fees

Just about every time we speak to a person who inquiries about a franchise, they get turned off by the franchise fees, advertising fees, royalties and other fees a franchisor assesses their franchisees.  We get that.  As multi-unit franchisees with about $3,000,000 in revenue – we paid a lot in advertising fees and royalties.  There were a few months during the recession where we paid the franchisor more than we paid ourselves.  Were we angry – yes, if you want to be truthful?  Who wouldn’t be? 

So why not go it alone?  We get people who opt to do that.  We do not suggest that because you have to create a brand and trademark it, set up your operations platform by either finding something out of the box or paying a programmer to customize a system just for you, write your operations manual, write your HR manual, figure out who your ideal employee is (there is an art to finding a person who will fit into your culture), hire an accountant to set up your chart of accounts and figure out how to measure your key metrics, find the right retail or office space and figure out how much you really need, design your space to accommodate the needs of the business and you can see this is a very long run-on sentence that I could continue for at least 10 more lines.  Basically, I just scratched the surface of what your initial franchise fee pays for.  I also did not mention the time it saves.  We all agree time is money and many people run out of money just trying to get those doors to open.  We have seen many “mom and pops” with the coming soon only to see them go out of business in a few months because they spent too much money just trying to open.  To be fair, we have also seen franchises do the same.  Those people were also undercapitalized and did not get a realistic picture from a broker or a franchisor about what it will take to be successful. 

Does $25,000 to $50,000 sound a little bit more reasonable?  Here is another dirty little secret in franchising.  Franchisors lose money in selling the franchise.  They are looking long term in revenue from royalties. 

The next dirty word.

Like I had mentioned, we paid a lot of money in royalties.  To be perfectly honest, the support we received was sometimes very disappointing and we sought outside coaches and advisors.  You may have to do that too.  But what do royalties really get you?  I had mentioned support, but what is more important is the operational platform and backbone to automate and measure your business.  When we sit in on initial calls with our clients, we are always amazed at how much technology is woven into an operating system.  For example, you want to open a handyman business.  Seems simple enough, buy a van, wrap the van, buy tools, stock the van and start marketing.  Cha Ching.  If you bought a  Handyman Connection, for example, you would have their training, be coached through their quick start program, have a call center answer your incoming calls and schedule appointments, when the job is bigger than a simple quote – estimating software, and an Uber backed program that allows your customer to see who is coming and when.   Their software is so granular, you can see exactly where you are making money and where you need to improve your margins instantly.  Knowledge is power in your business.  I also forgot to mention they have national contracts with many retailers, real estate companies, and discounts. 

Still not convinced? 

Owner-Operator vs. Semi-Absentee

Money

Owner-Operator vs. Semi-Absentee vs. Passive Ownership: What’s the Difference?

As husband and wife, we starting our first business nearly 17 years ago. Prior to our marriage, we both started businesses but with little success. Starting your own business is a lot of work. A business can take over your life, especially if it the first time you start a business. The upside is that it can be the most rewarding decision you make.

Our first business together was a franchised business. We were starting with a proven business model and a corporate team (and franchise community) to help make us successful. It was an owner-operator model and not suited for a semi-absentee model. So, what is the difference?

In franchising, you will hear the terms owner-operator, semi-absentee, passive ownership. Each type of ownership requires considerable time and effort on your part. A semi-absentee model or passive ownership may be a right fit for someone who still needs to maintain a job or has other obligations while building their business.

Let’s break down the differences between each model.

Owner-Operator:

This option allows the business owner to be completely hands-on. You will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of your business. This does not mean that will be doing ALL the work. You may oversee 2 people or 20 people depending on the model.

This requires you to be fully committed to the business.  You can’t hold down another job and if you have other obligations, they should be more hands off for you.

In our journey, we started as owner-operator and grew the business to the point where we were able to be semi-absentee owners.

Semi-Absentee:

As a semi-absentee owner, you needn’t worry so much about hiring and training the right employees for your business because you would hire a manager. They will handle many of the day-to-day operations. A semi-absentee owner must be comfortable enough to give up some control. It can give them the opportunity to concentrate on the part of the business they do well, and someone else takes over the areas they are weak. For example, if you don’t like networking but love back-office operations, you can hire a marketing manager that will attend the networking functions.

Keep in mind that you can’t just open the doors, put your feet on the desk and wait for the revenue to roll in. There is work that needs to be done and at the end of the day, it is YOUR business. You are ultimately responsible for its success. As a leader, you will need to be able to make key decisions and provide clear direction for your team.

Fully Passive Ownership

Fully passive ownership is the stage of your business where you are no longer involved in the day-to-day operations. The business has developed systems and processes that allow your employees to run the business. You now have time to concentrate on the strategic side of your business or possibly explore other business opportunities.

In franchising, becoming a fully passive owner is a process that you grow into not something you do from day one. It is rare for a franchise system to allow fully passive ownership for a new franchisee. The benefit of a franchise is that it can get you a fully passive model sooner than a non-franchise business.

Which is best for me?

Each ownership models offer distinct benefits. The right fit when choosing a franchise is important. Many franchise opportunities are best suited to an owner-operated model but many opportunities work very well as semi-absentee. In most case, you can start as an owner-operator and grow into a semi-absentee owner, just like we did with our first business.

If you like hands-on management and enjoy day-to-day operations, then an owner-operator is the model that best suits you. You will be knee-deep in the business and you will see the rewards of your hard work.

Being a semi-absent owner allows you more flexibility and you can start a business while working another job. On the flip side, it does have its own set of challenges. You must be comfortable with your business being managed by others. There is extra pressure on you to hire and retain top talent to make the business successful.

The choice is yours and each model offers benefits depending on your personality, time constraints and your desire to run the daily operation. No matter which model you choose, franchising offers you the best chance of success.