Disaster Relief Business Loans - Get It Right

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These days are moving VERY quickly, and we are working VERY hard to get communication out to our blog readers, clients, and friends. One huge break is the extension of filing and payment tax deadline to July 15, 2020.

You probably already heard that the CARES Act (the mammoth 880+ page disaster relief bill) was signed over the weekend, and help IS indeed on the way.

But there are so. many. rumors. flying around out there that I wanted to reach out to clear up some confusion. (I've even seen some accountants charge frightened business owners over $2K for filling out these 5-minute forms.)

First things first (and before I give you any more details):

The SBA EIDL online application is BACK up and running.

Go here >> https://covid19relief.sba.gov/ Read More...


The Feds Are Stepping Up Support For Small Business

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How are you holding up? If you haven't yet done so, please do shoot me a quick note to let me know how your business is managing.

Thanks to those readers who responded this last week. Seems all are doing well.

Depending on the situation, I have lots of ways to help ... some of which I'll give you details about today.

I will continue to be posting here more updates than normal, as there are rapidly unfolding NEW credits being considered (even as I type) by Congress, as well as a bunch of emergency actions done by various departments under the executive branch ... all designed to help YOU.

I do believe that we will get through this. This isn't a medical or epidemiological opinion (neither of which I'm particularly qualified to offer), but rather a statement about the confidence I have in my readers, my clients, and our communities, and the businesses they represent.

Crisis is one of the most powerful seedbeds of innovation, if we let it be. Read More...


How Do I Keep My Airbnb Occupied During COVID-19?

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The name of the game is to pivot, the vacation rental industry is not what it was 10 days ago. If you are not sure you want to work crazy hard, staying in this industry may not be for you. In the last 10 days I think we have worked harder as a company than ever before, and probably made far less proportionally as well. I’m not sure the accuracy of the stats but 80% of existing reservations were cancelled, with an estimated greater amount where the reservation was kept because a refund could not be awarded. Airbnb’s cancellation policy override has crushed many hosts, but we are seeing now more than ever there are NEEDS for flexible housing options.

I love what we do as a property management company, especially now that we have the opportunity to provide housing for those that desperately need it. Lives depend on medical workers and necessary staff in many industries, we can house those staff and others. If you want to stay in the industry the time is now to pivot or take a break. 

Here are entirely too many ideas to keep your units occupied, you choose which ones work for your units, markets and situation.  Read More...


Let's Get Real for RIGHT NOW...

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No, this is NOT just another "here's what we're doing about COVID-19" message.

The time for that was last week. Every brand and their brother sent out those messages, and they lost their usefulness -- right now, it's a marketplace expectation that we're all taking serious steps.

Regardless of what you feel about this situation, or the governmental response to it, it's time that we recognize that the ground has already shifted under our feet.

You can waste your (precious) breath to rail against that, or you can get productive.

But more about that in a moment.

For now, you don't need any medical advice from me, nor would it be beneficial for me to share with you my "work from home tips" (though those will be coming sometime soon).

Instead, I'm going to stay in my lane, and get real with you about your business right now. Read More...


Going Broke By Going It Alone

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"Things are never quite as scary when you've got a best friend." -Bill Watterson

Perhaps the most epic image of American excellence is the picture of the "rugged individualist". You know, Teddy Roosevelt, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, etc. In many ways, this image formed many characteristics of the fabric of our nation that have led to great prosperity.

But here's the problem: it is (and has always been) an illusion.

Or at least, our interpretation of it is. The rugged individualist who can solve his or her own problems (the opposite of an entitlement mentality) IS a great standard.

But in most parts of life, your business very much included, you simply can't do it all yourself.

Or, if you do, you're going to find that you sacrifice the things you're very good at for the things you either are barely competent at or, worse yet, fail miserably at. Read More...


Making Our Money Match Our Heart

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"Don't give up because things are hard, but work harder, when you think of giving up." - Anthony Liccione

Tax time can remind us of our choices over the course of the entire previous year. We see how easy it is to pull the trigger on more expensive choices because we convince ourselves that "we deserve it". Rather than wanting this nice thing (whether it's as simple and perhaps-trivial as a clothing item or a dinner at a fine restaurant) -- we think we *need* this new thing.

I've compiled a short list of ideas on how to address these financial matters of the heart ... and some simple ways to put guardrails in place. The goal here is that we would train our hearts to more clearly align with good stewardship and wisdom, when sometimes we aren't used to practicing it.

1) Understand why you are purchasing what you are purchasing.
Sometimes the real reason we are buying something isn't actually the reason we might think we are buying something. Read More...



Estate Planning for Real Estate Investors

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"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see further.” - Thomas Carlyle

When a person with assets over $100,000 passes away (as is the case with MOST business owners), their assets will be handled in one of three ways:

(1) if they had no will, their assets will be distributed as mandated by the state probate code through a court proceeding called probate;

(2) if the person had a valid will, the estate will still have to go through the probate process, but the court will carry out their wishes as stated in their will; or

(3) if the person had a valid living trust (and their assets were re-titled in the name of their living trust), their wishes would be carried out in private, without the court's involvement. 

So ... why does this matter to you, as a business owner?

Leaving aside the issue of what happens to the business itself (which is something very much worth its own strategy note -- forthcoming at some point), the answer to the question above depends on how much you care about what your loved ones have to deal with after you are gone and how much control you want to have as to who gets what, and when and how they get it.  Read More...


My Small Business Health Quiz - Part 2

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"The question isn't who is going to let me, it's who is going to stop me.” - Ayn Rand

Even if "business is good" right now, part of our role is to help point out potential potholes along the future path for business-owner's.

Which is why I'm here to raise some questions for you.

It's a bit of a different approach than I normally take in my Strategy Note, but if you take it seriously ... it can be a transformative process.

Take a look at each of these questions, even if you are troubled by any of your answers--

Behm's Small Business Health Quiz

From part one...

#1: Is the value of your business firmly established?
[Buy/Sell Agreements]

#2: Is there an emergency plan?
[Will & Asset Protection Strategy]

#3: What happens next?
[Business Succession Plan, and more]

Now to the next questions...

#4: What are your retirement plans?

Questions to consider:

  • Do I know how much income I will actually need at retirement?
  • How much control in the business must I maintain to secure my retirement income?
  • Have I looked into financing options for key employees to buy me out?
  • Do I want to be running my business, full-time, five years from now?
  • Do I have contribution protection for my retirement if I were to become disabled?

Too many business owners view their business as their "retirement cash cow" ... but have not made serious plans for how it can BE that cash cow. Read More...





My Small Business Health Quiz - Part 1

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"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." - Dr. Seuss

These are questions that might raise a few concerns, and that's fine -- it's what we're here for. Alongside establishing clear measurables for success (Key Performance Indicators, KPI's), these are the sort of things that effectively-growing  small businesses really need to get a handle on, regardless of their tax situation.

I like to share these questions every so often with my people, simply because it's good practice to continuously revisit these things and ensure we're headed in the right direction.

And further, as a business owner, it's important that you take a REGULAR, clear-eyed look at the underlying legal and financial foundations for your business.

As you pull our tax documentation together, this is the perfect time.

Which is why I'm about to raise some issues to you, and ask you some questions. It's a bit of a different approach than I normally take in my Strategy Note, but if you take it seriously ... it can be a transformative process. Read More...


Five Tips To Build A Healthy Company Culture

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"Great things in business are never done by one person. They're done by a team of people." - Steve Jobs

There are business people with whom I correspond, specifically solo entrepreneurs and sole proprietors, who aren't sure whether they really need to lead a team. But even solo business owners need to rally a team -- whether they are IC's (Independent Contractors) , vendors, or even clients.

You see, I've come to realize over the years that WE are our own worst enemy, when it comes to running our businesses ... not external factors, not market forces, not even good or bad staff members. It comes down to looking in the mirror, and taking responsibility for the results we're currently experiencing.

So ... if your team is not meeting its goals, don't blame anyone but yourself. This doesn't mean self-flagellation. Instead, know that seeing things in this light really is the first step to getting OUT of it -- because you finally begin to focus on things WITHIN your control, instead of outside of it. And it's really quite liberating.

Conversely, if things are GOOD: don't abandon what got you there in the first place and coast, as if just by showing up, the magic happens. That isn't the case, and you know it. Read More...