Expert Columns Category

Do You Really Need an Apple Watch?

Friday, March 20th, 2015

On March 9th, Apple announced the newest addition to its product line, the Apple Watch. As expected, the media lost their minds, fawning over every single feature and benefit. Analysts predict the company will sell between 30 and 40 million units in the first 12 months.

I bet they are right. I am certain that a line of Apple fanatics will wrap around local Apple stores, camping out for days to be the first to purchase this new product.

In fact, I’d bet you’re considering buying an Apple watch. It’s OK, don’t be embarrassed, admit it.
But, before you go and plop down a minimum of $349, as a public service, I feel obligated to offer a few observations:

You should be a little offended. In addition to telling the time, the Apple Watch does a whole bunch of other stuff (Instant messaging, listen to music, check the weather, etc.) that is also offered via your iPhone. Apple is convinced that you have become so lazy, that reaching into your pocket is now considered cumbersome. What’s next, a chip implanted in your brain that updates Facebook every time you see a hysterical bumper sticker?

It’s not a Rolex. Personally, I don’t have a ton of really expensive clothes/accessories. However, I completely understand it when an individual wants to look their best and buys a nice watch, jewelry or a tailored suit. If you are this type of person, the Apple Watch is not for you. No matter what style you get (even the $17k gold version), the watch is square, bulky and ugly. It is not a fashion accessory.

Your productivity will go down. This final point will certainly generate debate, but as with most arguments, you will eventually agree with me. The Apple Watch will not help you get more done in less time for two reasons. First, the watch is designed to stay paired with your iPhone and, I can’t believe I find the need to point this out, if you have your iPhone with you why wouldn’t you just use it? Second, research from a lot of really smart people has concluded that constant interruptions significantly reduces your productivity.

Here’s my advice. If you are so in love with everything Apple, then just go and get an Apple or Steve Jobs tattoo on your wrist. It shouldn’t cost more than $100, and you can take it swimming. Most importantly, I promise everyone will “get” your devotion to the brand the instant they see it.

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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Buy-Sell Agreements Should Protect You, Your Co-Owners And Your Company

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

Presented by T. Ray Phillips

Imagine, on the eve of your wedding, that you plan to divorce, on a friendly basis of course, in 15 years or so. During those 15 years, you will work diligently, and quite successfully, to build a business.

On the preordained day that your marriage ends, you announce that you are willing to give your soon-to-be ex-spouse one-half of your company’s business value—in cash. And you let your “ex” value your company because those are the terms of the agreement the two of you signed a year after you were married.

Sounds ridiculous, no? Yet, you may have done something quite similar (and similarly ridiculous) in your business with your co-owners.

Few owners begin working together with an expectation of future acrimony, much less litigation. Fewer still give thought to one day leaving the business—even on friendly terms. Indeed most exits are not precipitated by a disagreement among co-owners; instead owners leave for a variety of reasons and simply want to do so with their share of business value.

And remember, one day you will leave your business.

Over time, in business as in marriage, partners can grow apart. We’ve all witnessed the resentments, discord, and wastefulness of a friend’s or acquaintance’s needless nasty divorce. Business divorces can be equally unpleasant—with an added twist: One may be unable to leave the business, or force a partner to leave, without appropriate tax and legal planning.

When you or a co-owner wants out, what will happen? Chances are that when you turn to your company’s buy-sell agreement, you will find that it is woefully out of date. You may also find that it controls the terms of your (or any owner’s) exit from the business not only upon death, but also during lifetime.

If you haven’t looked over your company’s buy-sell agreement since you signed it, dust it off and check out at least four key provisions:

Lifetime and death transfers of ownership:
When must an owner sell, or offer to sell?
When must an owner (or the company) buy and when does it have the option to buy?
How will the value of the company and the value of a departing owner’s interest be determined?
Does the agreement mandate the use of an independently determined Fair Market Value at the time of transfer? If not, the valuation will favor you or the other owner. It will not treat you even-handedly.
What are the terms (length, down payment, interest and guarantees) of the buyout?
We generally assume that buy-sell agreements control the transfer of an owner’s interest when he or she dies or becomes disabled. Indeed, they do that. But they usually do much more and if you don’t appreciate how much more, disaster looms.

At his annual physical, Steve Hughes complained that he was bone tired. After a battery of tests, Steve’s doctor observed that, while there was nothing physically amiss, Steve did seem depressed. After some introspection, Steve was able to articulate that he had no interest in continuing as a partner in a successful CPA firm. Like many owners, Steve had lost the passion and commitment to the business that still stoked his younger co-owners. He decided to sell out before his partners demanded it.

Steve broke the news of his departure to his two partners and noted that their buy-sell agreement controlled only a buyout at death and an option for the company to buy Steve’s stock if he were to sell it to a third party. Attempting to sell a partial interest in most businesses to a third party is always a difficult proposition, but current economic challenges made that course of action impossible.

Steve and his partners were left in a classic dilemma: remaining shareholders want to purchase the departing shareholder’s interest so that future stock appreciation—due solely to their efforts—would be fully available to them. Conversely, because the profits of a closely-held corporation are either accumulated by the company or distributed to the active shareholders in the form of salaries, bonuses and other perks, the departing shareholder (now an inactive owner) rarely receives significant income in the form of distributions or dividends.

Naturally, Steve wanted and needed maximum value for his interest while his co-owners were convinced that the company’s cash flow could not support Steve’s buyout.

So, look again at your business continuity agreement: If you are the one leaving, is it as fair as it is if you are the one left behind?

When you sit for the first time across the bargaining table from your partner, you will want that table set with a fair valuation method, a thoughtfully designed lifetime buyout provision (that may well reduce the cash flow required for a buyout by 20 to 30 percent), and manageable payment provisions. Since it is exceedingly difficult to design these provisions when buyer and seller are at the bargaining table, agree to and document the valuation, cash flow, tax, and payment provisions long before potential discord or differences of outlook arise.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is general in
nature and is not legal advice. For information regarding your particular situation, contact an attorney or tax advisor. This newsletter is believed to provide accurate and authoritative information related to the subject matter. The accuracy of the information is not guaranteed and is provided with the understanding that none of the providers of this newsletter, including Business Enterprise Institute, Inc., is rendering legal, accounting or tax advice. In specific cases, clients should consult their legal, accounting or tax advisors.
The example provided is hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only.

It includes fictitious names and does not represent any particular person or entity.

To contact T. Ray Phillips Re: subject matter in this article, call
(317) 208-6312 OR e-mail trphillips@finsvcs.com

Please do not leave trade instructions over e-mail, as they cannot be processed.

Circular 230 Disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS under circular 230, we inform you that any U.S. Federal tax advice contained in this communication, unless otherwise specifically stated, was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (1) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any matters addressed herein.

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Do You Have Trust and Lust in your Marketing?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Sally Hogsheads book FASCINATE is a must read for VP of Sales and CMO’s. It will challenge you to discover how you can get your customers, prospects and suspects to “LOVE” you.

Personally, one of the most important concepts to get out of the book is in trying to “create the experience” for your customers of “trust and lust.”

Now, what do I mean by lust?

Can you get people to “lust” in anticipation of what you are going to do next, to teach next, to release next, to innovate next or to breakthrough next? Simultaneously, can you also get them to trust you? Can you establish yourself as their rock, their go-to resource providing peace of mind? Ultimately, giving them the feeling as if you are their partner.

Trust and lust are not usually two words you put in the same sentence, let alone the same brand.

However, if you are trying to carve out attention from your target market, to then carve out a business case to lead to a contract, which ultimately results in a sales. Then trying to incorporate “trust and lust” into your messaging is a must yet it may seem impossible.

It isn’t impossible but it is hard. Which is why most people opt out.

There are other triggers of fascination. By learning how to navigate between ‘trust and lust’ or tie them together is the most common argument found in the C-suite between the CMO, CIO, CFO. COO and VP of Sales.

So how do you build strategy to drive “lust” and build “trust”?

The answer is simple. People trust in you when you know more about their business than they do.

Take Sally’s book. Her website, for the book, howtofascinate.com is great example. I was so intrigued by the idea of understanding more about what makes me a “leader” by the report. This report gave me great insight into how to build our brand. Even though I have spent my whole professional life studying this, this site knew more than I did. Therefore, allowing me to trust it. In addition, I was so intrigued I lusted in anticipation of my results thus driving me to action. I then bought the book and recommended it to three other people. Trust and lust really can work together.

I was fascinated with howtofascinate.com. Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you learned!
Tony Scelzo
Rainmakers Marketing Group
317-216-6345
Tony@gorainmakers.com

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Everything Can’t Be Important

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

I just checked and there are now officially 167 great new ideas/technologies that I should be utilizing “right now” in my business to help it grow and become more profitable.
If I wanted to add another dozen, I could just pick up the latest copy of Inc., Entrepreneur or Fast Company They are filled with “How to” lists that could keep you busy “improving” for years.

The access to great ideas is unlimited and is only going to improve.

That’s the good news.

Unfinished Projects

Unfortunately, there’s another side to this coin. It’s called “great idea overload” and it leads to an office/home full of half-finished projects.

A clear symptom of this disease is a whole bunch of $9.95 hits to your credit card for services (aka – great ideas) that you can no longer remember purchasing.

You probably tell yourself that you are just one “app” away from breaking through to the next level.

You may be that close, but it has nothing to do with one great idea.

Marathon

You are in the middle of a marathon, not a sprint. Your success isn’t built upon half finished “get rich quick” ideas – it’s built upon a powerful vision that guides your everyday tactics.

The clearer the vision, the easier it is to prioritize and say “no” to all of the really great opportunities that will hit your email, Twitter® feed or Facebook® wall throughout the day.

Everything can’t be important.

What do you need to say no to today?

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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