My Small Business Health Quiz (Part 1)

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#1: Is the value of your business firmly established?
Questions to consider:

  • Have I ever had my business value appraised by an outside party?
  • Do I have a formal buy/sell agreement in place?
  • Is my buy/sell agreement funded?
  • Does my buy/sell agreement adequately protect my heirs, my business, and my partners?
  • Has this agreement been reviewed in the last 3 years?

If you have any plans to someday extricate yourself from your business (and you should ALWAYS consider your exit strategy), these are critical questions.

#2: Is there an emergency plan?
Questions to consider:

  • Do I have a will, and is it up to date with my business wishes?
  • Do I have a plan to retain key employees if something were to happen to me?
  • Are my assets protected from potential litigation?
  • Have I identified and written down my trusted advisors?

Unless you plan to forever cheat death, a business owner would be foolish to not prepare for that event.

#3: What happens next?
Questions to consider:

  • Do I have a formal succession plan prepared and on file?
  • Does my succession plan have a provision for disability?

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Provisions of the Second Coronavirus Relief Bill That Affect Small Businesses

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"What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?” -Robert Schuller

The passage of this relief bill brought some changes that we had been hoping to see for months (notably the deductibility of PPP-related expenses), but there is much more to this relief bill than merely that, and the $600 stimulus payments that get all of the press.

So I thought I'd delve a little deeper than I did last week on the high points of this CAA bill.

Eviction Relief
This new measure extends the moratorium on evictions under the CARES Act, designed to protect renters from eviction, until January 31, 2021. That means, if you are a renter, you have one more month to get right. For landlords, you need to know that you will have to wait one more month.

PPP-Related Provisions
As I mentioned, businesses are now allowed to deduct expenses associated with their forgiven PPP loans -- this is amazing news.

Further, the new law provides $284.45 bill
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Janet Behm's Annual Holiday Prayer 2020

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"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering." -St. Augustine

"Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

"Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

"Remind us that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares ...

"Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, bas
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Janet Behm's Annual Holiday Prayer

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"People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering." -St. Augustine

"Help us remember that the jerk who cut us off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry and spend a few precious moments with her children.

"Help us to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for next semester.

"Remind us that the scary-looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really ought to get a job!) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares ...

"Help us to remember that the old couple walking annoyingly slowly through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, bas
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Behm's Guide To Getting Tasks Done

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“Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.” -Henry van Dyke

I've discovered a few tricks when it comes to getting tasks done through the day -- and managing others who do so. Here are some little tactics I've found to be helpful: 

Turn off cell phone alerts.
Resist the temptation to stop what you're doing every time your phone beeps with a new message. You'll be better able to focus on tasks when you're not constantly distracted and interrupted.

Fine-tune your to-do list.
When planning your day, add estimated times to each item on your to-do list. This will help you decide what to do first and what can be saved for later.

Run two-minute drills.
Every few hours, look at your list for tasks that can be done quickly--answering emails and phone calls, confirming appointments, and the like. Spend a few minutes clearing those away, and you'll have more blocks of uninterrupted time to take on bigger tasks.

Take regular breaks.
You'll burn out if you go full throttle for eight or 10 hours. Determine how long you can effectively concentrate on a single task (usually between 30 minutes and an hour, for most peop
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12 Year-End Todos...

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2021 is hurtling at us, isn't it? May it ever come sooner.

Well, except for this part:

I'm here to remind you to plan now for how to best position your income, assets, and other revenues for the most favorable tax positions possible.

Let's make some tax-smart moves before 2020 comes to a close.

Here's one not many people are talking about: tax-deductible, employer-paid student loan payments.

Hidden within the CARES Act was this gem: employers can pay up to $5,250 to employees as student loan repayment assistance and it will not be taxable income to the employee. Employers can ALSO deduct the amount and not pay federal payroll taxes on the payments.

So if you're an "employee" of your own a business, and you have outstanding student loans, here's what to do:

  1. Make a written plan (there are some provisos here -- more in a moment)
  2. Make a payment to your student loans up t
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Good News Depends On Where The Fence Is

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There's both good news (for some) and bad news (for many) as we round the corner into December.

And I'm not talking about our culture, or politics, or sports, or anything like that.

I'm talking about TAXES.

I'll start with the good news. This is applicable to some of my readers only, but it is nice news for business owners in certain high tax states.

One of the difficult aspects of the TCJA was the "SALT" (state and local tax) deduction limitations. Specifically, in high-tax states, this represented a difficult setback in what could be deducted.

Well, one semi-sneaky way around this limitation has just been tentatively approved by the IRS in Notice 2020-75: paying these taxes on behalf of the owner or partners through an S-corp or partnership (pass through entity), and enabling them to be counted as a business expense.

This workaround immediately came into effect in MD, LA, CT, NJ, OK, RI and WI. Four more states already have legislation on the dockets: AL
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Wholesaling for Beginners #4

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This is our fourth blog on beginning wholesaling. If you haven’t read the earlier ones, make sure you go back and do so.

Before you start out on your first wholesale deal, there are some things that you should take into consideration. First is privacy. We touched on this in our last blog: keeping your wholesaling fee and final buyer private. Many wholesalers will use trusts for privacy purposes. We’ll discuss this more in the next blog.

You should also be aware of seasoning issues. FHA loans and some other lenders will look at title transfers occurring within three months before a retail sale (your post-flip sale). This could affect things if you do a double close (more on that below). If they see a couple of title transfers close together, they could ask questions or delay loan approval until the property has been in one owner’s name a certain length of time.

Also understand that your wholesale fee is an “add on” fee that your buyer will pay at closing, like paying an invoice. It is NOT an increase in the purchase price because that will also affect the price the seller is getting. This is a common mistake on the assignment part of a wholesale deal. Yes, the fe
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8 Important Steps for HOA & Other Non-Profits Before Year-End

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"Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” -Ruth Gendler

When the dust settles on this year, chances are good that there will be a bunch of non-profits who have had to close their doors. Between lockdowns, massive unemployment, and general decreases in charitable deductions ... it's not easy out there.

Which is why it would be very wise for you to get "ahead of the game" if you are one of these organizations.

So, to do so, I suggest that you put these items on your "list" before Thanksgiving, so you're not caught in the flurry of holiday madness and year-end. Yes, we're already halfway through November...!

  1. Have your staff update tax withholdings.
    Nobody likes to get hit with a big tax bill in April, or be unnecessarily "loaning" money to the US Treasury. Encourage your team to check on their withholdings and adjust as needed.
  2. Get info for any individuals/contractors to whom you paid more than $600. 
    You'll need to file a
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Wholesaling for Beginners #3

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Now that you’ve read the first two blogs on Beginning Wholesaling, you know what it is and some of the licensing issues. But if you want to become a wholesaler, you will need to understand the core transaction. In the simplest of terms, wholesaling is about “assigning” contracts.

Yes, you will need to learn how to market for properties, run number to determine the deal, negotiate with sellers and sign a purchase agreement. But that is something that all investors do and applies to just about any type of investment transaction. What wholesaling does is extend that one more step: assigning that purchase agreement to another buyer. You will then also need a list of potential buyers who will take the deal.

So, the process starts with you (or preferably, your wholesaling LLC) signing a real estate purchase contact (REPC) with the seller where your LLC is the named buyer. Your LLC will then “assign” that REPC to another buyer. This assignment is done for a fee. This fee is your compensation for finding and contracting the deal. In a common transaction, you will use an assignment addendum that transfers all the rights under the REPC from you to another buyer. Simply, this just swaps out the buyer so the new one can close and buy the house. It’s that easy, but let’s take a closer look.

First, can you assign all contracts? The answer is that all cont
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