Going Broke By Going It Alone



"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.

But because you've told yourself that you have to do it all, you continue to do it all ... to ultimate failure.

Let's get practical in my line of work.

This is a common: people want to know the "how", but don't consider the "why". How do I set up a C Corp? I hear that question all the time.

Well, I can tell you that, but the much better question is this: "Do you NEED a C Corp?" Is that the best structure for you?

I've seen clients advised to set up their businesses as C Corporations ... who then went to set up S Corporations. They thought it was a better choice.

Why is that?

Well, they talked to a banker or a financial planner or some friend who was "good at business" and got convinced that an S Corp was just ... better.

And now they're mad.

How come they didn't get the best tax benefits? How come their taxes didn't go down?

They used a hammer, when the project needed a wrench.

But, to further the metaphor, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. They didn't trust their tax advisor to give them the best tax advice and instead listened to someone who doesn't specialize in tax. That someone didn't know C Corps but knew S Corps, so that's what they got.

So here's my first point: Pick your advisors well. Make sure they have the experience, expertise and point of view to guide you to make the right choices for you. And then, most importantly, follow that guidance!

If you second guess it, you're going to upset your advisor (perhaps get fired as a client in the process) and not get the result you want.

If you don't trust your advisor's advice, what are you even doing?

And here's the bigger point:

Stop trying to do things you aren't trained for, don't like to do, or aren't very good at doing.

I've worked with clients who insisted on doing their own bookkeeping and who have no idea what they're doing. And then when projections are off or tax planning doesn't work because the numbers are wrong, they blame everyone else ... but themselves.

Even if you are, in fact, very good at bookkeeping, is this really what you want to spend your time doing?

If it is ... well, let's talk and maybe I can hire you. Or you can start your own business doing that.

But if this isn't what you love doing, stop wasting your time.

Hire an expert and quit driving everyone who works with you crazy. Focus on what you do best and stop wasting time.

That's the way to make your business grow. Know what YOU are best at ... and hire for the rest.

BE THE ROAR not the echo®

I'm grateful for our chance to serve you and your business through this weekly blog -- and we are dedicated to its success, in every measure.


Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
(801) 278-2700


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