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how to finish big in buisness

By The Leasing Group

What is Your Edge?

Check the Internet any day of the week and you’ll find no shortage of “experts” promoting easy paths to intelligent investing and wealth accumulation.

 

“Follow these seven strategies to achieve investing success.”

 

I’m always surprised by how simple they make it sound, because successful investing is neither simple nor easy.  Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t either.  Recently, I found the following list.  Although intended to help navigate the troubled waters of the stock market, this list also serves as a guide for entrepreneurial “wanna-bes.”

 

  1. Find an Edge
  2. Manage Risk
  3. Be Disciplined
  4. Stay Flexible

 

Find an Edge

No company will get far without a solid value proposition, be it price, location, service, experience, quality or whatever else drives its revenue.  Every entrepreneur must discover an edge.  What sets you apart from your competitors?  When you figure it out, go tell the world.

 

Manage Risk

We evaluate options and make decisions everyday, and options carry risk.  The trick is to manage the process.  Before going bankrupt, the Penn Central Railroad bet the company on the future of passenger trains.  That was a big risk.  Penn would have been better off hedging their bet with automobiles and airplanes.

 

Be Disciplined

Someone once told me that a good entrepreneur never does anything between 8:00 and 5:00 that can be done between 5:00 and 8:00.  In other words, working hours are made for selling.  Paperwork comes later.  That takes a lot of discipline.

 

Stay Flexible

Back in 2002, Apple was unprofitable.  Early internet flops tarnished its appeal, its retail stores were viewed as dumb ideas and music-playing iPods were seen, even by some Apple executives, as relatively insignificant.  Worse yet, the Macintosh wasn’t selling.  Thankfully, the company was flexible enough to innovate.  The rest is history.

 

Find a market advantage, manage your risks, be intentional and disciplined, while also flexible.  Maybe you’ll be an Apple too.

 

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business leasing success approved

By The Leasing Group

“We’ve Got Cash to Lend”

We haven’t heard a banker say that in a while, at least not in the last five difficult years.  But that quote comes directly from a recent article in our local business newspaper.  The quoted banker was trying to make a point.  Once crushed by bad real estate loans, his bank has emerged stronger than ever with money available for lending, including loans to small and mid-sized businesses.

 

Public perception would tell you that banks are still reeling from the financial crisis; that bank examiners continue to place barriers between banks and their customers; that banks remain hunkered down for fear of making many of the same lending “mistakes” and getting penalized for risky underwriting.

 

In reality, we find this perception only partially true.  Yes, examiners are difficult, sometimes even unreasonable, and yes, there is still a fear of repeating questionable lending practices of the past.  But there is also a realization by bankers that loan growth must again lead them to profitability, only this time growth will extend beyond real estate lending to business equipment loans and leasing.  This is great news!  The path to loan diversification leads directly through small and mid-sized entrepreneurial companies.

 

As the economy continues to recover and business owners regain confidence, they will pull delayed growth plans from their shelves.  When they do, banks stand ready and willing to again loan idle funds.

 

In the future, we can expect more banks to scream “Come see us.  We’ve got cash to lend.”

 

Leasing Questions? (502) 456-2800

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small business advice

By The Leasing Group

“Character Doesn’t Matter Anymore”

Really!  I was surprised to hear this from my banker friend, but he seemed so certain.

 

He went on…

I’m serious.  Today’s bank examiners don’t have much interest in a borrower’s character.  They only focus on the numbers.  Look, I’ve been a community banker for over thirty years.  I know my customers.  I know their families, their birthdays, their golf handicaps, if they honor their commitments, their favorite restaurants, even where they go to church.  Most of them have never missed a loan payment, even in bad times.”

 

I was immediately reminded of the “Five C’s” every bank lender learns in his or her first week of training.  Capacity, collateral, conditions, capital, and of course…character.

 

Capacity is a measure of the borrower’s ability to take on additional debt.  Collateral represents the assets used to secure the debt.  Conditions are the loan terms, such as interest rate and repayment schedule.  Capital is the money provided by the borrower; sometimes known as the down payment.  All four of these “C’s” are very easily quantified.

 

Character, is different.  Measuring character is like trying to nail Jello to a wall.  It’s hard to do.  Character refers to a borrower’s reputation.  Honesty, reliability, integrity, and responsibility aren’t found anywhere on a balance sheet or income statement, but they’re just as real.

 

Maybe those who make today’s rules should first spend time behind the lending desk.   They might learn that a borrower’s character is more important than ever.

 

Four C’s are okay, but Five C’s are better.

 

best business funding leasing

By The Leasing Group

#1 Best Idea for Business Expansion

#1 Best Idea:   Allow businesses an option to write-off 100% of the cost of new equipment purchases in the year of purchase.  Good idea, right?

 

Oops, we had that already.  It was known as IRS depreciation “Section 179” and allowed a 2013 deduction up to $500,000 plus a 50% bonus depreciation on purchases over $500,000.

 

What an incredible windfall! 

 

Unfortunately this super generous tax code provision all but expired completely on December 31st last year.  Party over!  It died without as much as a whimper.  The new limit is now only $25,000, a paltry sum by any standard and hardly worth mentioning.  Bonus depreciation is gone too.

 

So what’s a business to do?  Gifts from the IRS don’t come around that often.  Sometimes we appreciate them most after they’re gone.

 

Leasing to the rescue! 

 

Businesses can still deduct 100% of their leased equipment over the lease term, provided they request a “true lease.”  Yes, it’s true, even when leases are capitalized for book accounting purposes (and most are), they can still be 100% tax deductable

 

Who stands to benefit most?  Profitable proprietorships, partnerships, sub S companies and LLC’s, where taxable profits flow through to individual owners in high tax brackets. 

 

Don’t delay…this popular tax break might expire soon too! 

 

Leasing Questions? (502) 456-2800

Business Leasing Application Online

More Experience, More Sources, More Approvals

By The Leasing Group

Five Questions before you Quit Your Day Job

Thinking of launching a new business?  Better first ask yourself these five questions:

 

  1. You’re in an elevator with a total stranger.  The stranger asks you about your business idea.  Can you explain what you sell, who you sell to and why they buy from you, before the elevator stops at the next floor?  You have just twenty seconds.  A short, crisp, understandable message is your first step to success. 

 

  1. You love good food and you love to eat it, so you decide to open a restaurant.  Do you also love working in the kitchen, managing difficult people, and paying attention to every detail from perfectly bleached table cloths to perfectly seasoned quiche?  When your strengths align with your interests and passions, anything is possible.     

 

  1. You’re willing to work hard.  You consider yourself a high achiever and top employee.  Can you also get up and go when no one requires you to get up and go, stay focused on the vision when no one else sees it, and refuse to quit when you are obviously failing?  Unrelenting determination is your best friend.

 

  1. You easily sailed through high school with above average grades and numerous compliments from admiring friends and teachers.  Did you also excel in sports, serve on the student council, play first chair violin, captain the debate team, or run a successful mowing business after school while delivering newspapers in the mornings?  A history of personal achievement will bolster your confidence at just the right times. 

 

  1. You are recognized as one who quickly digests complex ideas, communicates them effectively, understands how they apply and turns them into productive action.  Are you also driven to continuously set new goals, rarely satisfied with the status quo and always searching for the next learning opportunity ahead?  Humble curiosity coupled with 20/20 vision might just give you the edge to succeed.

 

 

By The Leasing Group

Cultivating Mutual Trust

The typical lease agreement is six pages long, laced with legal terms and conditions spelling out the obligations of each party! This document is the product of a team of lawyers determined to disclose every suffocating detail.  Like so many legal contracts, a lease is best read late at night by those in search of sleep.   

 

Our lease is no exception.  It is well-crafted, specific and thorough, as it should be.  But, in spite of its importance, I can’t remember more than a handful of clients having ever read it. 

 

Do our clients lack the qualifications to read and ask clarifying questions?  Do they lack the time and energy to study our lease before they sign?  Are they intimidated by the legal detail?  With so much at stake, wouldn’t it make sense to have an attorney review every paragraph?  Instead, our clients typically flip through the pages in a matter of seconds, and then ask…“Is there anything in here I need to worry about?” 

 

Here is why:

 

  • Our clients know we will honor the terms we agreed to verbally.

 

  • Our clients know we will not add hidden fees and charges that change the economics of the transaction.

 

  • Our clients know we will not place liens or encumbrances on unrelated business assets.

 

  • Our clients know our early buyout provisions are fair and without penalty.

 

Trust takes time and effort to build over years of doing what we say we will do.  In the short term building trust can be costly.  But, long term nothing matters more.   Trust strengthens every relationship, while reducing the time and energy spent on doubt, fear and suspicion.  Cultivating mutual trust is the only way to do business. 

By The Leasing Group

“Know it alls” Not Wanted Here

Jack Welch retired as General Electric’s Chairman and CEO in 2001 after a twenty year run, over which GE enjoyed unparalleled profitability and diversified growth.  During his tenure Welch was notoriously known for pruning the company of 10% of its lowest performing managers each year.  Investors and peers alike considered his bold honesty and decisive courage his greatest leadership qualities. 

Today Welch continues to write, teach and advise managers on the subject of leadership.  Below are the most destructive qualities he finds in POOR leaders: 

  1. A “know it all” attitude coupled with failure to listen to other points of view.
  2. Distant and detached behavior, often remote and un-engaging.
  3. Insensitive, hurtful and bullying comments directed to subordinates.
  4. A reluctance to make difficult decisions for fear of making mistakes.

On the flipside, Welch points to the shared traits of SUCCESSFUL leaders, qualities worth learning.  This list includes good listening skills, sensitivity, personal engagement, courage without arrogance and continuous self awareness. 

I’ve never seen or heard Welch include an Ivy League education, a high IQ, charismatic speaking ability, uncompromising personal ambition, overflowing self-confidence, or a blue-blood pedigree?  These qualities seem conspicuous by their absence.

By The Leasing Group

Seventeen Misguided Beliefs

As business owners we make many decisions everyday, most guided by our personal experiences and understandings.  I used to believe many of the statements below, might have even verbalized them once or twice when it was convenient.  Problem is…they’re rarely true.  Worse than that, believing them can get us in trouble.  It’s best to avoid them all together. 

 

  • We all heard the same thing.
  • Anyone with common sense can do it.
  • I can do it better by myself.
  • This trend will last forever.
  • People work best under pressure.
  • He’s difficult now but he’ll change over time.
  • They will be our customers for life.
  • Attitude is less important than aptitude.
  • Equity capital is cheap.
  • Everyone understands the plan.
  • It’s best not to tell our banker everything.
  • We don’t have any competition.
  • The market will come to us.
  • If there’s a problem we’ll hear about it.
  • There’s a right way and a wrong way.
  • Time is on our side.
  • I’m in control.

By The Leasing Group

Listen First

Best selling author and speaker Seth Godin advocates the practice of patient listening, understanding, and cooperation in all aspects of work and play, including business.

 

“…every great treaty causes both signatories to change something substantial, something important, in exchange for accomplishing a bigger goal via cooperation…Your customers need an ambassador, someone who is open to hearing what they have, need and want, not merely a marketer intent on selling them a particular point of view.  Once you understand someone, it’s much easier to bring them something that benefits everyone.  The goal of a long-term relationship is to figure out what you’re giving up and what you’re getting in return.” (http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2013/10/ambassadors-and-treaties.html)

 

So, are we marketers first, intent on selling?  Or, is it better to propose solutions only after we have first listened to what our customers want and need?  The answer seems so obvious, especially if our goal is to cultivate long-term relationships.  So why is it so rare?

By The Leasing Group

No Shortcuts

Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways and Stanford Business School, finds humor in the numerous internet lists which promise a simple path to success, such as… “Develop these five traits and you will enjoy a rich and happy life.”  Instead, he offers another prescription…

 

“As fun as it may be, simply reading through grab bags of traits and attributes won’t ensure success in work and life.  The very reason success is elusive is that it still requires a lot of hard and often tedious work.  Not just daily work at the office, but the constant work of making ourselves into more effective, more adaptable, more thoughtful people.  That’s what it means to build character.  No secrets here.  Just hours, days, months, and years of persistence in doing what matters most, honoring commitments, and working well with others.” (Joel Peterson LinkedIn blog post, 10.24.13)

 

We have all been drawn to the easy road.  But there are no secret formulas here, rather years of persistence and hard work.  Fortunately, the reward of being “more effective, more adaptable, and more thoughtful people,” is worth the trip.

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how to finish big in buisness
What is Your Edge?
business leasing success approved
“We’ve Got Cash to Lend”
small business advice
“Character Doesn’t Matter Anymore”
best business funding leasing
#1 Best Idea for Business Expansion