Leasing your Company Vehicle

A company vehicle can be a real asset to the business depending on the industry. When deciding to lease a company vehicle there are many factors you must consider:

 

Type of vehicle

Age of vehicle

Use of vehicle

Tax implications

Lease structure and term

 

Type of vehicle

When a business or a self-employed/contract worker needs a vehicle, he or she may feel they

have free reign to lease whatever they want as long as their cash flow is sufficient to cover the debt. That is not necessarily the case. First, the Federal Government may see it as unallowable expense or asset to be claimed by the business – check with a tax professional. Second, most lenders will only lease a true business asset, meaning a Ferrari, Maserati, or Bentley may not be the right vehicle, unless your business is to race them. The type must be appropriate for the business both for leasing and tax implications.

 

Age of vehicle

In most cases the vehicle must be high enough value to have a useful life, meaning after

accounting for depreciation the vehicle still has value. Most vehicles depreciate beyond their value in about five years. I know, the GEO Metro you drive as your personal vehicle is nearing three hundred thousand mile and still works great. Yet for a business it must have a useful life. Leasing in most cases will only go to five years old on the vehicle however older vehicles often times can be an exception.

 

Use of vehicle

The use of the vehicle needs to be appropriate. Having a Lamborghini to get from home and work may not classify as a needed business expense or asset. Be sure it makes sense to be financed as a business lease, if you’re not sure, contact a tax professional.

 

Tax implications

This may be the most important aspect for leasing because at the end of the day the biggest

reason you are requesting a company vehicle as a business expense – to get the tax benefit. The

things to consider we have already discussed have a great impact on leasing a vehicle and if it is an allowable business expense/asset. You wouldn’t want to lease something and find out later you can’t expense the lease or interest and depreciation.

 

Loan structure and term

In most cases the maximum lease term will be five years. Three years may be more appropriate for a smaller purchase amount or a used vehicle. If the vehicle is significant amount of $100,000 or more and an appropriate expense, seven years might be warranted. Be prepared to have a down payment, especially if the purchase is over $100,000.Typically, 20% is the standard down payment requirement but in many cases a 100% lease amount is available.

If you are ever unsure about whether a company vehicle will be considered a true “Business

Expense” consult your tax professional.

Specialty Funding excels in commercial vehicle leasing programs. Vehicle and fleet leasing is the foundation of our business. We have always favored vehicle leasing as our core business because that is what we do best. Going on 40 years of vehicle leasing experience our team knows how to tailor a leasing contract to best fit your business needs. We are always happy to work with you and your accountant to find the best solution for your business.

Get trade terms from vendors and suppliers

Boost your small business’ finances and build strong credit. Get trade terms from vendors and suppliers.

Even if business is great, it can sometimes seem like the “exit” door to your bank account is bigger that the entry. Negative cash flow, although it doesn’t necessarily mean you have poor business performance, can crush your company. If there’s not enough cash coming in to cover what’s flowing out, your business’ cash reserve will dwindle and continuing to operate will be difficult.

If cash flow is a problem for you, you may be able to leverage your business relationships to stop serious problems before they start. It all starts with one simple question you can ask your vendors and suppliers: “Do you offer trade terms?”

What Are Terms?

When a vendor or supplier offers terms, trade terms or trade credit to its customers, it’s really offering customers a chance to delay payment for the length of the specified term. In some cases it’ll be a short term (e.g. seven days), but it can be longer (30, 60, 90 days). If a vendor offers you “net-20” terms, it means that you have 20 days before you have to fork over the money you owe for the product or service provided.

In this way, trade credit is actually a form of financing. The supplier is the lender, the customer is the borrower, and the trade terms are the repayment terms specified in the agreement.

Some suppliers or vendors will specify in their agreement a discount for earlier payment. For example, you might have net-30 terms, but if you pay within 10 days you get a 2% discount. On your trade agreement, this will look like: 2/10, n/30

If you can manage to pay early and keep a cushion of cash in your bank account, this is a great way to save some money. Depending on the trade agreement and how often you work with the vendor in question, it may even be worth getting an emergency line of credit or business credit card in order to take advantage of this discount. You’ll pay interest on any funds you use from the line of credit, but the discount may offer more in annual savings than you pay in interest for the line of credit.

How to Take Advantage of Trade Credit in Your Business

Your ability to get trade credit is often closely linked to your business credit scores and reports. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you’re getting the best terms.

  1. Apply for a DUNS number.

A DUNS number is a unique identifier for your business used by vendors, suppliers and lenders to access information about your company. When you apply for trade terms, your vendor or supplier may want to look up your DUNS number to inquire about your business’ payment history.

Generally, the score they’ll check is your Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) PAYDEX score, which uses your business’ payment history (early, on-time and late payments) to calculate a score for your business. Making sure you have a DUNS number is a crucial first step toward establishing a profile with D&B.

  1. Ask suppliers if they offer terms and open trade accounts with suppliers that do.

The vendors and suppliers you currently work with may offer terms to customers that ask about them. It’s possible that they’ll start with a short-term arrangement and, if your business pays on time, offer a longer-term one. Don’t be shy about negotiating if you’re a dependable customer!

Some big-name business vendors that might offer terms to your business are Staples, Quill, AutoZone, Comcast, Verizon, Home Depot and UPS.

  1. Make on-time payments so you are offered even better terms in the future.

Here’s some great news if you make on-time payments on your trade agreements: Accounts with terms are often reported to commercial credit agencies like Dun & Bradstreet. D&B will then take your payment experiences into account when calculating your business credit score.

This is a good way to start building business credit. With strong business credit you’ll put your company on track to qualify for the best terms and to secure financing you may need in the future.

Should You Let People “Pick Your Brain”?

“Would you mind if I picked your brain?”
You get this question, I’m sure. You’re an attorney. Or an accountant. Or a doctor. You’re a senior manager or a business owner. You have experience. You have knowledge. And now someone wants to tap into that knowledge. For free. Do you let him?
This is how you earn your living, isn’t it? And now, just because it’s after hours and drinks are being served, this complete stranger thinks it’s OK to basically get free advice from you. He has a problem. He’s looking for help. He knows that you charge for this kind of advice. But he doesn’t seem to care. What are a couple questions, anyway, between friends? What other reasons are there to network than to meet new people and learn new things, right?
So what do you do when this situation occurs? You can be a jerk and tell the guy that you’re more than happy to help him if he wants to call the next day to schedule an appointment. Or you can just give in and offer him the advice that he wants. You can act annoyed. Or you can be gracious. You can turn and walk away in disgust. Or you can put down your drink, ask the guy to take off his shirt, and examine that strange looking hairy mole on his back right there in the middle of the party. What’s the best move?
How about this move: you thank the person for asking and offer whatever advice you can.
You earn plenty. You have customers and clients. You’re doing fine. Yes, of course you’d like to be doing better. And yes, it’s human nature to not want to give something away for nothing. And sure, there will be some people that will take advantage of your kindness. But you’re fortunate. You are making a living. And here’s a complete stranger that is asking you for help. And you genuinely may be able to help this person. So help him. Let him pick your pick brain, because two things will come out of it.
1. You’ll feel better about yourself because giving is always better than getting. That’s your humanitarian and benevolent side. You’re a good person. And you care about others. This is doing something nice.
2. You’ll get your money in the end. Maybe you’ll never see that guy again. Or maybe that guy will appreciate your advice and think you are so smart that he’ll be calling you first thing the next day to offer a million dollar contract. That probably won’t happen. But what will likely happen is that he will eventually walk away appreciating your help and valuing your knowledge. He will tell others. He will remember. Someone in his network of friends will have a similar hairy mole on their back and ask him for a recommendation or remember that he liked you. What comes around really does go around.
So let people pick your brain. Give your advice away for free. Don’t get defensive and don’t be annoyed. Be grateful instead. This is not a burden. It’s an opportunity to help. You’ll get your compensation someday. I guarantee it.

Interest rates sure to rise this year

With interest rates sure to rise this year, is now the right time to borrow? If you’re going to need that money, you’d better think seriously about it.

 

You don’t need a crystal ball to conclude that interest rates will rise significantly in 2017. If you think your business will need money in the next 24 months, the time to borrow is now.

The price of money is going up. Way up. Since late 2008, our economy has lived in an “interest-rate fantasy world” where the cost of borrowing money was extremely cheap. Everyone from Joe Smith looking for a mortgage to Uncle Sam financing a deficit has been able to borrow money at historically low rates.

The price of money is going up. Way up.

It’s no coincidence that rates have been so low. A confluence of factors has led to this:

  • Over the past eight years, the Federal Reserve has maintained a policy to keep the target federal funds rate (FFR) at between 0.0 percent and 0.25 percent, the lowest ever. This interest rate sets the benchmark for all other interest rates in our economy. The lower the FFR, the cheaper the interest you’ll pay on your loan.
  • The Federal Reserve also implemented several rounds of quantitative easing, which means it purchased debt securities from banks for cash. This added trillions of dollars in available lending money. With the “supply” of money available to lend increasing, the price of lending that money went down.
  • Foreign investors have had limited options for parking trillions of dollars in cash in safe places. The European economic crisis that started with Greece in late 2009 spread to other countries in the region. Suddenly, lending money to European governments—or even having money in euros—was seen as risky. This led to hundreds of billions of dollars being transferred to the U.S., creating an even greater supply of money here.
  • The havoc caused by the housing and financial crises devastated consumer finances, cutting off people’s ability to qualify for loans and making businesses think twice about borrowing to expand. This led to a precipitous decline in the demand for money just as the supply was increasing tremendously.

A Change Of Pace

This year, however, has been marked by significant changes in the global economy and in U.S. economic policy, which started reversing its history of low interest rates.

Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve announced that it would begin tapering off and eventually cease its quantitative easing program. This will drastically reduce the amount of new capital available for lending. But as the supply of money goes down, lenders will be able to charge more.

Conditions in Europe have also improved significantly. As of the second quarter of 2016, Germany’s economy, the largest in the region, has been growing and is no longer in a recession. Surveys taken of business owners and executives across the region indicate they’re feeling optimistic about the future and plan to increase investments and hiring. These positive signs point to an overall stabilization of the European economy, making it a viable investment alternative to the U.S. once again. As a result, foreign investors have already begun taking money out of the U.S. and investing it in Europe, thus impacting the supply of money available for lending here.

China and Japan are dumping U.S. Treasury securities. Earlier last year, the two countries sold a net $40.8 billion worth of U.S. Treasuries. The U.S. owes nearly $2.4 trillion to these countries, so the sale is relatively small compared to their overall holdings, but relative to what the U.S. needs to borrow every month to keep paying its bills, it’s significant.

The reason they sold is precisely because they expect U.S. interest rates to go up. The price of a Treasury security goes down as interest rates go up. In order to avoid a drop in the price of their investments, these countries are trying to get out as much as they can as soon as they can. This presents a significant problem for the federal government. In order to make lending attractive to us, they’ll need to raise the interest rates they offer on the money borrowed, which will lead to a general rise in rates.

 

So after all of this is sitting on the sidelines as the cost and availability of money really making sense?

Upgrade equipment? Follow these steps to decide if it’s time.

It’s best to start the process well before you actually need it. You increase your likelihood of landing your loan when you’re not in crisis mode.

Whether you run a fledgling company or you’ve been in business for years, investing in equipment upgrades can be an anxious process — from the time you first identify an issue to waiting for the bank to approve your loan or lease application.

Should you upgrade? Seven factors that might influence your decision.

  1. Is old equipment hurting productivity?If your systems struggle to perform tasks they were never designed to do in the first place, you could be at risk of losing potential revenue or prospective customers because your administrative systems can’t keep up with you.
  2. Is it prone to breakdowns or a struggle to repair?Aging equipment is bound to be less efficient and require more frequent repairs when it’s pushed beyond its useful life. If you’re limping along with an obsolete system that is unsupported by the vendor or you’re finding it increasingly difficult to locate consumables or replacement parts, you can only delay for just so long before you’ll be forced to upgrade. Better to proactively upgrade before your equipment fails completely and you — and your customers — are left in a lurch.
  3. Are you experiencing frequent bottlenecks?If performance is suffering because too much demand is being placed on a particular resource, then you’d be well advised to expand the existing system to make it accessible to more users.
  4. Is it preventing upgrades in other areas?Dependencies often develop between various systems or equipment so that, even when you’re eager to upgrade one piece of equipment, you can’t make the switch until you upgrade another piece of equipment that, in many cases is far more expensive to contemplate. For example, you’d like to implement a new administrative management system but you can’t do that until you upgrade and expand your server array. One upgrade can have a domino effect on other systems but sometimes you just have to tap that first tile to set the entire thing in motion.
  5. Is your image suffering?In any competitive environment, customers come to expect a threshold level of products and services. If you can’t offer services, features and benefits that have become an industry standard, you could be driving current and prospective customers away because they perceive you as outdated and unprofessional. Your antiquated systems and processes could be hurting your reputation. Customer confidence, once lost, is difficult to recover, so upgrades may be a necessity to maintain your competitiveness and a modern, professional image.
  6. What are the costs of action versus inaction?The benefits of an upgrade are usually apparent because you’re already highly aware of the problems the upgrade should solve. However, there may be hidden costs and unintended consequences that result from an upgrade. Be sure you’ve examined the upgrade from all angles and are aware of any interdependencies in your systems that could be affected. Create detailed projections on cost savings or revenue gains against the replacement cost and the expense of servicing and maintaining the new equipment.
  7. Does the timing seem right within the larger marketplace?Do things appear generally stable for the near term? Nothing is guaranteed in today’s economy, but pay attention to basic economic indicators that provide you clues about whether to proceed or delay. An announcement about lowered interest rates, a new financing program soon to be released or a change in a relevant tax deduction, are just a few of the factors that may influence your choices about whether to take action now or delay for a time.

Next steps: Funding for your equipment upgrade

Applying for a small business loan will require some effort on your part. It will take time to prepare and assemble the required documentation, so it’s best to start the process well before you actually need it. You’ll increase your likelihood of landing your loan when you’re not in crisis mode. Here’s what you can do to prepare.

  • Consult the professionals.Talk to your accountant about the best options for you and discuss the tax advantages or liabilities you should be aware of when considering whether to purchase, lease or finance. Work with your lender to determine the best type of loan for your needs and the loan terms that fit your situation.
  • Prepare the loan package.Loan programs differ slightly in their requirements, but nearly all will require the loan package to include your business plan, profit and loss projections and current financials. You’ll need to be able to clearly articulate why you need a loan, how much you need and how you plan to use it. Be sure your business AND personal finances are in order because, for small business loans, many lenders will use your personal financial position to help gauge how well you might manage a business loan.
  • Present your loan package.Request an appointment with the commercial lender you’ve selected, rehearse your presentation and make your case to the lender about how the loan will be put to use. You may want to invite the lender to your place of business for a tour of the operation and to illustrate your plans for upgrades, improvements or expansion.
  • Follow-up.Stay in regular contact with your lender while the loan package is under consideration. Respond to any subsequent requests from your lender for additional documentation as quickly as possible. Your rapid response indicates your desire to achieve a successful outcome.
  • Obtaining a small business loan or lease can be an intimidating, time-consuming process, but by educating yourself about the options and investing the time to create a compelling package, you’ll increase your odds of success.

Your Business Credit Score Can Impact Funding Terms

Good business credit can help you qualify for more credit at lower rates and have a positive effect on your repayment terms.

Lenders consider a number of factors before deciding whether to help fund your business needs. Amongst these factors, they may consider how well your business repays its debts. This is where a business credit score comes into play.

As a general rule, a higher business credit score indicates to lenders that your business is a more trustworthy borrower. If your business has solid scores, it will have a higher likelihood of getting approved for financing, it can help you access more credit at lower rates and have a positive effect on your repayment terms. Here are five ways having a good credit score can help you when applying for financing.

Higher Likelihood of Approval

Business owners with solid business credit scores have a greater chance of getting approved for financing. You might not know about this because, unlike personal credit, lenders aren’t required to notify you that they have made an inquiry into your business credit when you apply.

Businesses applying to the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) most popular loan, the 7(a) loan program, are required to go through a business credit pre-screen if applying for a loan of up to $350,000. This involves checking the business’s FICO, LiquidCredit, Small Business Scoring Service score, or FICO SBSS score. The FICO SBSS score ranges from 0 to 300, and the minimum score to pass the SBA’s pre-screen is currently 140. Most banks and 7(a) lenders, however, require a 160 or higher.

Lower Rates

Even a slightly lower annual percentage rate (APR) can make a huge difference in the cost of a business loan or line of credit, so having a good business credit score can help even if the effect on your loan interest rate is marginal.

Imagine a business with low credit scores qualifies for a $200,000 business loan with a 12-month repayment period at 20% APR. If that business had a credit score high enough to help shave just 2% off that APR, they’d save over $2,000 on the total cost of the loan.

 

Better Repayment Terms

Obtaining a good business credit score before applying for business financing is particularly important for businesses that struggle to maintain a consistent monthly cash flow, because some lenders will offer longer repayment periods to businesses that can show they successfully repay their debts.

Let’s take our $200,000, 12-month term loan example from above. If the credit score of the business in question was good enough to help it qualify for a longer repayment term on that loan, say an 18-month term instead of a 12-month term, they would be responsible for paying back less than $13,000 per month rather than over $18,000 per month.

Higher Amounts

If you’re looking to finance a big purchase or large project, you’ll want to get your business credit in shape before applying for financing. Businesses with solid credit scores may be able to qualify for higher lines of credit or loan amounts—if lenders see that your business successfully pays back debts already, they’re more likely to lend you more cash.

Wider Variety of Financing Options

Having a solid score can help businesses qualify for another, less talked about type of financing that many businesses don’t realize are available to them: trade credit.

If you work with vendors or suppliers and have maintained solid relationships with them, they may be willing to extend you “terms.” For example, net-30 terms give you 30 days after the invoice to pay, while net-90 terms give you 90 days. This is actually the most common type of financing used by businesses and it can improve your business’s cash management should you qualify. Vendors and suppliers may look into your D&B PAYDEX score before extending this form of credit.

Not all lenders are going to look at your business credit scores, but because you may not know when your scores will come into question, it’s a good idea to keep them in good shape. Different lenders look at different scores, so it helps to know how multiple scores rate your credit before you start searching for financing.

 

Back to work…

Back to Business

Back to Sales

Back to reality

 

The Election is over

Lame “Everyone is waiting on the election” excuses are over
Back to reality
Back to business
Back to sales

 

And by the way, in case you missed the news, the economy is still not so hot.

 

Back to reality. The economy is still weak. Business is still slow. Your competition is still cutting prices. Your customers are still paying slowly. And you are struggling to create a difference between you, and the people with whom you compete. REALITY: Concentrate on YOUR economy, not THE economy.

What can you do that actually creates new and renewed opportunities to sell? PLENTY! But you have to renew your personal commitment to do more and work more.

Here are the elements you’ll need to devote time, creativity, and hard work to:
1. Understanding THEIR reality. You’re down because they are down. You’re slow because they’re slow. Meet with them. Talk to them. Understand them. Help them, and they will reward you with both business and loyalty. REALITY: Unless you help your customers win, you will continue to lose.

2. Value first. The more I espouse this philosophy, the more I am convinced it’s a key differentiator. Make a list of what you have discovered about your customers needs, and give them ideas to meet those needs. REALITY: Value first requires a new mindset.

3. Value perception. Whatever you decide to do in favor of the customer must be perceived by them as valuable. REALITY: If the customer doesn’t perceive it, then it isn’t.

4. Daily social media activity. Assuming that your policies and lawyers are coming to the reality that social media is dominating the world’s market attention, and are choosing to let you participate, get involved today. Begin your personal value-branding today. Goal yourself to gain 100 LinkedIn connections, achieve 500 Facebook followers who “like” you on your business page, and earn 250 Twitter followers who are re-tweeting the value messages you have to offer to them. REALITY: Social media is the new cold call.

5. Differentiation. Decide on what’s REALLY different about you. NOT what you think is different or better, rather what your customers think is different or better. And then get customer video testimonials that support those differences. REALITY: Testimonials are the only proof you’ve got.

6. Helping customers. If you know what your customers need, why not spend quality time actually helping them. Connect with them and offer genuine help. REALITY: Even if they don’t accept the offer, you will win their respect.

7. Brand building. This is BOTH for your product or service, AND you. REALITY: If you blog, have a personal website, and send a weekly email magazine, you can build both brands at once.

8. Creating WOW! There are huge opportunities right now to make a difference. Maybe it’s your email, your welcome, your delivery, your phone response, or your service. REALITY: You’ll know it when you hear it.

9. Breakfast and lunch. These are the two best times for relationship building and sales meetings. REALITY: You can combine this with WOW! by bringing a referral or prospect for your customer.

10. Creating and capturing IDEAS. The key ingredient to this entire “back to reality” process is your ability to generate and capture ideas. This requires new study, new habits, and new thinking. REALITY: Ideas come from focused thought, an open mind, a positive attitude, and a renewed belief that you can do it.

10.5 Forget your “sales-pitch” and lose your “sales-pitch.” It sounds pathetically like your competitors. It never ceases to amaze me that a sales presentation that ends in “send a proposal” or “I want to think about it” or “NO!” gets repeated over and over. IDEA: Collaborate with the last ten customers that bought from you. They have all the answers. It’s time to revise and revamp your value proposition, and present something new and exciting. REALITY: The more the prospect perceives value, the less that price will matter.

REALITY: Sales have not stopped, they’ve just slowed down. Your value and hard work will ensure you more than your fair share.

It’s not the external conditions and circumstances that stop us — it’s us!

In these troubled economic times, when everywhere you look there’s a rumbling of great uncertainty, I think we should all take a pause (and a deep breath) to think about our lives.

Are we moving in the direction we want to be? When things happen in the world that seems so far beyond our individual control, it can feel unsettling. And even though we think we are the masters of our own success, watching the news these days can chip away at our beliefs.

Even in tough economic times, you get to decide how to respond to certain conditions, opportunities, and outcomes—both good and bad.

While I don’t claim to be an economist, I do know one important fact. The economy is the same for everyone, it’s how you respond to it that determines how you feel about it.

The basic idea is that every outcome you experience in life (whether it’s success or failure, wealth or poverty, wellness or illness, intimacy or estrangement, joy or frustration) is the result of how you have responded to an earlier event (or events) in your life.

If you don’t like the outcomes you are currently experiencing, there are two basic choices you can make:

Choice #1: You can blame the event (E) for your lack of results (O).
In other words, you can blame the economy, the weather, the lack of money, lack of education, racism, gender bias, the current administration in Washington, your wife or husband, your boss’s attitude, the lack of support, and so on.

No doubt all these factors exist, but if they were the deciding factor, nobody would ever succeed.

For every reason it’s not possible, there are hundreds of people who have faced the same circumstances and have succeeded. It’s not the external conditions and circumstances that stop us — it’s us!

We think limiting thoughts and engage in self-defeating behaviors. We defend our self-destructive habits (such as drinking and smoking) with indefensible logic.

We ignore useful feedback, fail to continuously educate ourselves and learn new skills, waste time on the trivial aspects of our lives, engage in idle gossip, eat unhealthy food, fail to exercise, spend more than we make, fail to tell the truth, don’t ask for what we want, and then wonder why our lives aren’t working.

Choice #2: You can instead simply change your responses (R) to the events (E) until you get the outcomes (O) you want.
You can change your thinking, change your communication, change the pictures you hold in your head (your images of the world) and you can change your behavior (the things you do.) That’s all you really have any control over anyway.

Unfortunately, most of us are so engrained our habits that we never change our behavior.
We get stuck in our conditioned responses-to our spouses and children, to our colleagues at work, to our customers and our clients, to our students, and to the world at large. You have to gain control of your thoughts, your images, your dreams and daydreams, and your behavior.
Everything you think, say, and do should to become intentional and aligned with your purpose, your values, and your goals.

If you don’t like your outcomes, change your responses!

Here’s an example of how this works…
There was a large earthquake in Northern California.

Two days later CNN interviewed people commuting to work. The earthquake had damaged one of the main freeways leading into the city. Traffic was at a standstill, and what was normally a 1-hour drive had become a 2-3 hour drive.

The CNN reporter knocked on the window of one of the cars stuck in traffic and asked the driver how he was doing.

He responded, angrily, “I hate California. First there were fires, then floods, and now an earthquake! No matter what time I leave in the morning, I’m late for work. I can’t believe it!”

Then the Reporter knocked on the window of the car behind him and asked the driver the same question. This driver was all smiles.

He replied “It’s no problem. I left my house at five am. I don’t think under the circumstances my boss can ask for more than that. I have lots of music and Spanish-language tapes with me. I’ve got my cell phone. Coffee in a thermos, my lunch-I even have a book to read. I’m fine.”

Now, if the earthquake or the traffic were really the deciding variables, then everyone should have been angry. But everyone wasn’t.

It was their individual response to the traffic that gave them their particular outcome. It was thinking negative thoughts or positive thoughts, leaving the house prepared or leaving the house unprepared that made the difference. It was all a matter of attitude and behavior that created their completely different experiences.

If we all experience the same EVENT, the OUTCOME you get will be totally dependent upon your RESPONSE to the situation.

If you want to take control of how you respond to life, you’ll start noticing that your outcomes will be more along the lines of what you have always hoped.

Remember, you control your destiny so make it a fantastic one!

The Secrets of long term business relationships.

How can you get other people to become interested in you and your product or service? Dale Carnegie (How to Win Friends and Influence People) says by becoming genuinely interested in them. And he’s partially right.

The reality and the secret of a business relationship is that BOTH parties must be mutually engaged and mutually interested, and BOTH parties must be intellectually stimulated and emotionally connected. Otherwise it’s just a conversation that will be forgotten, unless the salesperson is taking notes.

The key to deepening a sales relationship, or any relationship for that matter, is to connect emotionally. Favorite teams, kids, college create emotion when spoken about, and the feelings and or situations are mutual.

The secret ingredient of a sales relationship is emotion. Emotion is a key link to rapport, relaxation, and response. Emotion takes conversations deeper and becomes more open. The desire to talk and reveal becomes more intense. It pushes you to trade stories and discover similarities.

To establish the ultimate long-term business relationship and to be memorable in the service you perform, you need personal information about your prospect or customer. The more information you have, the better it is to establish rapport, follow-up and have something to say, build the relationship, and gain enough comfort to make the first sale, and with consistent follow-through, many more. The difference between making one sale and building a long-term relationship lies in your ability to get this information.

If given a choice, people will buy from those they can relate to. People they like. People they trust. This stems from things-in-common. If you have the right information, and use it to be memorable, you have a decided advantage.

Or you can decide “That’s too much work, I can make sales without becoming involved with the client.”

This philosophy gives the advantage to someone else – your competitor.

Technologies small businesses use that may soon be obsolete

We hear a lot about all the technologies that will one day change our lives like drones, driverless cars and 3D printed body parts. That stuff is for real and, yes, it will have a huge impact on the world…within the next decade.

But what about the short term? What about the next 2-5 years? There are many technologies that you are using in your business which will become obsolete in that time frame. And the last thing you want to be doing is investing your money in the wrong place. Here are just three business techs that will be disappearing from earth sooner than you think. Not entirely…but they’ll be pretty much dead.

On-Premise Accounting Systems

Remember the good old days when you could purchase your QuickBooks, Peachtree or One-Write (what’s that?) accounting software, install it on your computer and be good to go? Get ready to say goodbye. The big software developers like Intuit and Sage are re-directing most of their development dollars to cloud-based applications. It makes sense – cloud applications are more easily supported, scalable, accessible, upgradable and integrated with other cloud-based systems. If you’re looking for a new accounting system this year, lean heavily to those either providing cloud-based solutions or that have a plan to.

Credit Card Machines

I know what you’re thinking. Sure, there are all these “mobile” payment options available out there. But I’m still using my credit card for 99% of the things I buy! New mobile read credit card scanners is definitely there. But the transition is not happening as fast as expected. What’s the tipping point? More adoption by Millennials? Lower transactions fees to encourage retailers? A digital driver’s license for your smartphone? All or some of the above? Whatever the answer, it’s ultimately going to happen. Using mobile payments will ultimately be more convenient, more secure and more profitable for the credit card industry (and all those industries that indirectly benefit). If you’re a merchant, a restauranteur or do anything where you accept a credit card at your location, you’ll find yourself accepting far less cards and far more mobile payments over the next 2-5 years. The POS device that only accepts credit cards will be a thing of the past.

Office Phone Systems

Once upon a time you needed a phone system for your office and it was a big investment. There were servers and software and individual units. You had to hire a firm to implement it all and then train your people. For a small company it was a huge hit to cash flow, even when it was leased over a hundred years. Well, things have changed. A phone system, provided by VirtualPBX, costs about $10 per month per mailbox. Like competitors such as Grasshopper and RingCentral, this company provides all the capabilities of an in-house system but through the cloud. Callers get an automated attendant and then choose from a dial-by-name directory. Calls are transferred to smartphones or purchased units. Voicemails are stored online. All messages are forwarded via text and email. It works! Look for those in-house phone systems to become a thing of the past, particularly for smaller companies with smaller budgets.