Reasons Why I Think Mark Zuckerberg is Awesome!

Honest, open, purpose driven, in control, different, confident!

I don’t imagine than many of my readers are shareholders in Facebook and if you are then I am sorry for you but this article is excellent.  If you hold shares do you sell or hold (I’m not sure that you’ll want to buy after reading this article)?  I don’t know what to suggest but MZ just went through the roof in my estimation.

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-stock-letter-shareholders

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I never thought that I’d do it – I just recommended a Donald Trump book

A surprisingly easy and fun read – if taken with a pinch of salt!

As a long time avoider of all things Trump I was surprised to find myself drawn to a copy of a book given to me by a friend recently.  It was not a recommendation but more of a dump of books he didn’t want to include in a relocation. It therefore sat there staring at me for weeks unopened but daring me to read it.  Eventually I picked it up.

It is a series of blunt, broad-brush, black and white observations from “The Donald” and I found it weirdly fascinating.  I learned a little business but a lot about what makes him tick and I was astonished to find myself actually liking the guy.  I don’t agree for a moment that some of his tactics would apply in business in general but that they work for him consistently is interesting.

The big thing that I learned was the care he takes to hire people for whom he has respect.  Too many businesses hire too quickly and are surprised when the quality of the work is poor.  If I could emulate one thing about DT it would be to surround myself with only the very best people that I can find.

It’s a quick read, you can pick it up used for peanuts.  Talking of peanuts, take what he says with a pinch of salt and hang on for the ride at the end when he takes you through a week in the life of DT.  Very interesting.  There I said it.  Donald Trump is an interesting guy.

You can buy the book off amazon here at My Store.

Getting out at the top – Selling your business for top $

Hey, that’s your money that she’s playing with!

One question that eats away at many former business owners is whether or not they let money on the table when they sold the business.  Like any investment there is a huge amount of stress created between fear and greed at the point of sale.  Fear that they won’t ever get to sell it for this much again so sell right now and greed that “if we just make this change or wait for the economy to pick up we’ll get much more”.

How can you avoid such a heavy weight as you enter retirement?  The simple answer is to have an exit strategy.  When you buy a stock or speculate on commodities the experts urge you to know when you will get out before you buy in.  That rule holds for business too.  The trouble is that generally if you are reading this you have already bought but no matter, play the hand you have been dealt.  So the only important  question is when to get out.   That question is much more easily and reliably answered well ahead of decision time, before emotions take hold.

How do you answer the question reliably?  Get a business coach to work with you through the key points of consideration; who will you sell to?; why would they buy?; how do you maximize the value that they see in your business?; when is the best time to start discussions on this?

Call me at 604 339 5369 if you are thinking of selling your business and I guarantee that you will make substantially more money and get out much closer to the top then you would by acting alone.

Improve your chances of succeeding by 23% – Plan your business

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Whether you are a start-up or an established business you should be planning your business on an annual basis.  And by planning I do mean dreaming and visioning and emoting but ALSO writing it down and planning how the figures will work.

Why?  Well did you know that a business that starts with $100,000 or more of capital is 23% more likely to survive 5 years in business than one started with less than $5,000.  This may seem incredibly obvious but why this should be the case is probably not as obvious. It certainly isn’t just that it takes longer to fritter away the $100,000 than the $5,000.

Here’s why.  Many people can start a business on $5,000.  Redundancy packages, savings, gifts or loans from family and friends are all extremely easy ways to raise such a small sum.  So you just start the business right?  Buy some stock and flip it.  Pay yourself to write the App.  WRONG.  Without a clear business plan you will fritter that money away and probably most of your confidence and the trust from your family in the process.  Running a business is FAR more expensive than most people give it credit for.  They set their prices way too low and struggle to make any net profit let alone create the cash-cow they had in mind.  Then they simply wear out and give up – or close down to “refocus efforts on alternative opportunities.”

Imagine now though that you needed to borrow, save or invest $100,000 to start your business.  Maybe the inventory requirements are high in this industry or you simply can’t run it from home so you need high-end office space to make it work.  You don’t jump in quite as quickly do you?  Most of us can’t. Especially if you are financing this start-up through loans, no savvy investor is giving you $100,000 without seeing and testing your business plan. So you need to spend weeks, even months, going over all of the costs, examining your competition, working out your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and other critical elements.  Only then do you gain and earn the confidence of the investors (including your own fearful self) to permit you to move forward.  Most ideas will die on the vine at this stage and that is a good thing.

The same thing goes for an existing business.  At any given moment you have the choice to wind it up or continue operations.  How can you decide confidently without a business plan?  Plan the next few years and of it isn’t worth investing $100,000 in then start to look for the exit NOW!  I’m not saying an additional $100,000 but if you were to start over today to get what you have, if you wouldn’t invest $100,000 then the red flag goes up.

I believe therefore that what makes for a successful start-up or a successful next 5 years for any existing business is the business plan. Of course no-one actually sticks to their plans very closely – I’m not daft – but as Eisenhower said, “Plans are nothing.  Planning is everything!”

So no matter what you have today, an idea or a business, you MUST plan its future.  There are consultants out there who can help you but I don’t think that it is an activity that should be outsourced – if you can’t plan a business properly on paper (due to lack of skills, knowledge, time, inclination) what makes you think that you will run it properly in reality?  By all means seek help and education on this point but DO NOT ….  EVER take someone else’s business plan and use that as your own.  That way lies doom.

So PLEASE plan the next year or two of your business this weekend and increase the chances of survival and even thrival (if that is not a word it should be) by about 25%.

If you would like to discuss where your business could and should be in the next 2-5 years please call me at 604 339 5369 and we can have a free 30-minute review of opportunities and see if I can be of assistance.

Emigrating to Canada?

I have readers all over the world and as such I thought that I should let you know about some recent additions to my network of “Good People to Know”.

If you are emmigrating to Canada or are thinking about it then there are some changes in the process that you should know about.  Particularly if you can bring a reasonable investment with you to buy or start a business.  According to my immigration law friends Canada is lucky in that we can be pretty selective of our new immigrants and the Federal Government recently set out its stall in terms of what it is looking for in certain areas. This includes immigrants with the skills to run businesses and the means to invest in them to grow and protect employment, particularly outside of main metro-areas like Vancouver.

I am fortunate enough to have contacts at a couple of top quality immigration law firms as well as a network of contacts who can source suitable businesses for sale when we know what the potential immigrant is looking for.  So if you are considering a life in Canada, have at least $200,000 CDN to invest in a new or existing business and have a track record of success in some area or business then give me a buzz on (604) 339 5369 and we can discuss how my network can be put to work finding you the easiest, quickest and most profitable route into Canada.

Equally if you know of any businesses that are for sale that might be of interest to an arriving immigrant then put them on my radar, within my network we have hundreds of immigrants looking for the right opportunity.

Are you an investor in businesses?

As part of my privileged position as an insider to many businesses I come across great investment opportunities on a weekly if not daily basis.  One relatively new part of my portfolio of services is to connect investors with suitable investment opportunities.  I am not an investment advisor and as such you would need to seek independent verification of the available deals. This won’t be an issue because you will have to be an Accredited Investor to qualify for these investments so you will either have a great eye for business opportunities already or will have a team in place already to help you.

I invest in some of these opportunities myself but some are outside of my areas of interest or are beyond my means.  The potential investments range from $10,000 to $20,000,000 with all manner of opportunities in between.  Some are hands-on opportunities where you can bring your network to add value and reap greater rewards and others are simple cash investments.  Very few are fixed structure investments and depending on your requirements for return, speed of capital repayment and interest in being involved we can create a specific investment opportunity for you.  If you are clear on what you are looking for in an investment, especially if it is in the manufacturing, commercial real-estate, waste water treatment or software (mobile apps and cloud-based SaaS) then we really should have a chat.

Give me a call on 604 339 5369 and we can see how we can create wealth for you and my clients/contacts.

I look forward to hearing from you.