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Monday, November 6, 2017


  1. Do one thing perfectly, not 10 things poorly. 
  2. Businesses built around your strengths and talents will have a greater chance of success.
  3. Always be ready to pitch your business. State your mission, service and goals in a clear and concise manner. Fit the pitch to the person. Less is always more.
  4. Surround yourself with advisors and mentors who will nurture you to become a better leader and businessman. 
  5. Your wallet is your company's life-blood. Practice and perfect the art of being frugal.
  6. Never jump right into a new business without any thought or planning, but don't spend months or years waiting to execute.
  7. Find ways to prove your business model on a shoestring budget.
  8. Entrepreneurship is a lifestyle, not a 9-to-5 profession.
  9. Know when it's time to walk away. If your idea doesn't pan out, reflect on what went wrong and the mistakes that were made.
  10. Failure is not inevitable. A true entrepreneur will prevail over adversity.


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Sunday, November 5, 2017


Own your name. Make sure the company name you choose is one with an available trademark and Internet domain name. To see if a trademark is available, you can do a trademark search online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website. Failure to properly obtain a trademark could put your fledgling business at risk -- not to mention that the time and money you have invested in establishing your business name could go to waste if someone else owns the trademark. Don't assume your new business name is not trademarked because you were unsuccessful finding such name on the Internet, either. Someone could have used the name for a business that closed, or filed a trademark and never used it.

Get in with the law. Understand what regulations, licenses and taxes you will need to follow, obtain and pay for your new business. After doing some initial research on your own, consult with a lawyer and accountant to confirm your understanding and to help structure your business to be in compliance with the law. Generally speaking, you will need to need to (i) ensure you are charging the correct amount of tax your service or product that your business is promoting, if applicable and (ii) obtain all of the proper licenses needed to run your new business, at a minimum. Establishing a successful business is hard enough. The last thing you need is some technical legality or administrative detail to stand in the way of your success.

How much do you need to live? When working on your business plan, do not forget about the most important factor: YOU. You need to take into account your living costs. Rent, mortgages, and health insurance -- these are all things that don’t pay for themselves. You will most likely need to cut out all the unnecessary extras you can live without. Make sure you account for unforeseen or unexpected expenses by factoring a little flexibility into your budget for those “just-in-case” moments. You might even consider taking a part-time job until things pick up with your new venture and speak to a financial planner to help you budget yourself properly.

Where are you in your life? Starting a new business takes brains, bravery, and what will seem to be endless hours of hard work. When you own your own company, there is always something that has to get done. You will most likely find yourself working at least 60-80 hours a week for the first two years. With that said, I’ll ask you one very important question: Are you ready to give up your personal life for the next three years?

Don’t over -- or under -- spend. Starting a business can be incredibly financially taxing on you and your family. You will need to learn where and when to spend. It’s important not to waste those precious seed dollars but it’s equally important to spend where necessary. In any business, you often have to spend money to make money.  Don’t skimp out on things your company needs. For example, it may be worth it to put $1500 in an online vendor listing, but it may not be necessary to give every new customer a $15 mug. Be sure to keep up with technology too -- there are many time-saving programs and apps (including free or inexpensive ones) that can help you keep track of it all, and as we all know, “time is money."

Thursday, November 2, 2017


1. To map the future

A business plan is not just required to secure funding at the start-up phase, but is a vital aid to help you manage your business more effectively. By committing your thoughts to paper, you can understand your business better and also chart specific courses of action that need to be taken to improve your business. A plan can detail alternative future scenarios and set specific objectives and goals along with the resources required to achieve these goals.

By understanding your business and the market a little better and planning how best to operate within this environment, you will be well placed to ensure your long-term success.

2. To support growth and secure funding

Most businesses face investment decisions during the course of their lifetime. Often, these opportunities cannot be funded by free cash flows alone, and the business must seek external funding. However, despite the fact that the market for funding is highly competitive, all prospective lenders will require access to the company’s recent Income Statements/Profit and Loss Statements, along with an up-to-date business plan. In essence the former helps investors understand the past, whereas the business plan helps give them a window on the future.

When seeking investment in your business, it is important to clearly describe the opportunity, as investors will want to know:

  • Why they would be better off investing in your business, rather than leaving money in a bank account or investing in another business?
  • What the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) for the business arising from the opportunity is?
  • Why people will part with their cash to buy from your business?
  • A well-written business plan can help you convey these points to prospective investors, helping them feel confident in you and in the thoroughness with which you have considered future scenarios. The most crucial component for them will be clear evidence of the company’s future ability to generate sufficient cash flows to meet debt obligations, while enabling the business to operate effectively.

3. To develop and communicate a course of action

A business plan helps a company assess future opportunities and commit to a particular course of action. By committing the plan to paper, all other options are effectively marginalized and the company is aligned to focus on key activities. The plan can assign milestones to specific individuals and ultimately help management to monitor progress. Once written, a plan can be disseminated quickly and will also prompt further questions and feedback by the readers helping to ensure a more collaborative plan is produced.

4. To help manage cash flow

Careful management of cash flow is a fundamental requirement for all businesses. The reason is quite simple–many businesses fail, not because they are unprofitable, but because they ultimately become insolvent (i.e., are unable to pay their debts as they fall due). While the break-even point–where total revenue equals total costs–is a highly important figure for start-ups, once a business is up and running profitably, it becomes less important.

Cash flow management then becomes more vital when businesses pursue investment opportunities where there are significant cash out flows, in advance of the cash flows coming in. These opportunities need to be assessed against any seasonal variations in the business and the timing of the flows. If you are a “cash-only” business, you can bank the income immediately; however, if you sell on credit, you receive the cash in the future and hence may need to pay some of your own expenses before that income hits your account. This will put a further strain on the company’s solvency and hence a well structured business plan will help you manage funding requirements in advance.

5. To support a strategic exit

Finally, at some point, the owners of the firm will decide it is time to exit. Considering the likely exit strategy in advance can help inform and direct present day decisions. The aim is to liquidate the investment, so the owner/current investors have the option of cashing out when they want.

Common exit strategies include;

  • Initial Public Offering of stock (IPO’s)
  • Acquisition by competitors
  • Mergers
  • Family succession
  • Management buy-outs
  • Investment decisions can be taken in the present with one eye on the future via a well-thought-out business plan. For example, if the most attractive exit route appeared to be selling to a competitor, present day management and investment decisions could focus on activities that would increase the company’s attractiveness to that competitor.

Given that valuing firms is notoriously difficult and subjective, a well-written plan will clearly highlight the opportunity for the incoming investors, the value of it and increase the likelihood of a successful exit by the current owner.

Friday, April 10, 2015


There have been many business people, entrepreneurs and dreamers been caught with their wallet open by the UPFRONT FEE SCAM. It is rampant on the internet and propagated to a large degree by business websites such as LinkedIn who do not monitor their service as well as they should. However, that is not the point of this post.

The upfront fee for financing is nothing but a big, fat scam. I have never heard of any upfront business financing deal that has ever been legitimate. I have heard of and heard from a number of people who have been taken in by this fraud.

Many of the financing terrorists (this is what they are far as I am concerned) are very, very professional. Some piggy back on the backs of legitimate companies even using cloned email addresses. Some of them are as dumb as a sack of hammers with terrible spelling, amateurish documents and idiotic presentations. In spite of this, they still manage to reel in a few suckers. The problem lies with people believing what they want to hear. If a business person is desperate for financing and does not have the wherewithal to raise funds from conventional sources, they will grasp at straws. These upfront fee scammers know this and bait their hooks accordingly. 

We live in an electronic age. The internet is a tool, a business tool that has trillions of bytes of information at ones fingertips. Why don't people use it to carry out due diligence? A very easy way to start is to type into a search engine the name of the individual or the company offering the financing followed by the word "scam".  And don't just look at  the first page that comes up. Often a website with some relevant information will show up on the subsequent pages. Also, check out scam websites. There are many out there and often or not, a name will pop up. Of course many of these scammers change identities often. If there are no hits in a search, the next best means of testing the validity of a financing offer with upfront fees required is to advise the lender / investor you will place the required upfront fees in trust with your lawyer. Advise the lender / investor to deposit the investment / loan funds in trust with his lawyer and let the two lawyers handle the transaction. If the investor / lender balks at this and advises that is not the way he does business, ITS A SCAM!! No if's, and's or buts. Run for your life.

If anyone who reads this post can provide 100% concrete evidence that an upfront fee financing has been successfully completed, I would be interested in hearing about it. To date I have never seen one or heard of one that has been nothing but a scam. 

Caveat Emptor. Or as P.T Barnum said; "There's a sucker born every minute" Don't let yourself be one. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

50 Ways NOT to Start and Run a Business

Plan to fail if you;

  1. Don't research the market you wish to enter
  2. Don't develop a business plan
  3. Don't create a business model
  4. Don't adjust your goals and plans as you move forward
  5. Don't create  3 year revenue and expense projections
  6. Don't understand the meaning of Cash Flow
  7. Don't create a budget and stick to it
  8. Don't keep receipts for every purchase no matter how small
  9. Don't keep good records
  10. Don't set money aside for tax payments. GST, PST, Income Tax
  11. Don't learn what is deductible and what is not. Accountants are not babysitters
  12. Don't set up a good bookkeeping system with the help of a good accountant
  13. Don't avail yourself of a good insurance agent
  14. Don't have insurance covering yourself and your key employees.
  15. Don't have business interruption insurance 
  16. Don't treat people as you would like to be treated
  17. Don't listen to good advice from peers
  18. Don't listen to your customers and clients
  19. Aren't prepared to go all out to satisfy an unhappy client or customer
  20. Don't consistently check your revenues against your expenses
  21. Don't pay your suppliers on time
  22. Don't contact your suppliers if your cash flow has slowed down and you need an extension
  23. Don't keep a journal and jot down ideas as they come to you
  24. Provide a product or a service no one wants
  25. Let your ego take over and ignore good advice
  26. Get married to your idea and don't listen to people offering ways to improve upon your idea
  27. Are arrogant and unbending
  28. Stop learning because you know it all
  29. Hire relatives and friends to save money instead of qualified personnel 
  30. Aren't  prepared to work long hours
  31. Aren't prepared to learn how to work smarter
  32. Don't take courses to improve your knowledge
  33. Don't join groups who can provide referrals
  34. Aren't prepared to network
  35. Chose cheaper materials for your products to save money
  36. Cut back on advertising and marketing during busy times. 
  37. Don't take your accountants advice
  38. Don't do your research on what is the best bank for your business. Not all banks are alike
  39. Don't keep money aside for a rainy day.
  40. Are not prepared to negotiate deals. Therefore give up something to get something
  41. Don't learn to bargain
  42. Don't become web savvy. 
  43. Don't take the time to learn more about marketing in the 21st century
  44. Don't use your family in the business to create additional tax benefits.
  45. Don't become tax smarter
  46. Don't read, read and read more about your industry and your clients industries
  47. Don't subscribe to influential trade magazines in your business
  48. Don't manage your time efficiently
  49. Are late for appointments, particularly with clients
  50. Don'r recognize good employees for their handwork and diligence
These are listed in no particular order of importance but do cover many of the reasons businesses fail. The old saying; "if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail" is as true today as when it was first stated by Benjamin Franklin.