End of Year Checklist. (Business owners only)

by Dave Miller

The end of 2011 is fast approaching. Yet there are so many things to finish before the year fades. As a business person I make goals to accomplish, whether mentally or actually writing them down, then December arrives and I think of the things not yet done. I take a good hard look at a few things around this time of the year.

These are things that need to be done in this calendar year or they lose value or importance by next year. I raise questions like how will my tax return look next year and what can I do to improve my situation if I do something this year yet?

E Adrian Van Zelfden wrote an excellent article that every business owner should review it this year yet. Click here.

Here are some of the highlights on the list (for me anyway).

  • How to handle year-end, Christmas bonuses or gifts
  • Year end deposits, purchases and paychecks
  • Business meal expenses and travel expenses
  • Inventory
  • Bookkeeping tricks and traps
  • Credit card statements
  • Insurance

The list is thorough but not exhaustive. Print it. Read it. Add your own items.

December 31 2011 will be here in two weeks. Get done what needs doing before then.

Here is the link again.

Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Profiting by thinking of long term

John Schaub recently did an interview for the Herald-Tribune in Sarasota FL. I have previously blogged about John Schaub and his book Building Wealth One House at a Time. Here is a link to the blog I posted a year and a half ago. Click here.

John is a residential real estate investor that has my respect and admiration. He’s low-key but effective. I’ve talked to him on the phone and you’d have thought I was talking to my uncle. He freely shared his advice.

Follow his advice and you are bound to succeed.

Here is a link to the interview. Click here

The Club


by Dave Miller

The Club House Meeting Room

Every two weeks we meet, the clan and I, for our book club. The topic of discussion is the latest book that we are reviewing. Our motivation is to invoke discussion and thought. And successful we are. The discussions run deep and are extremely thought provoking. It is up building and educational for the most part, even though some of us shoot an occasional fiery dart. 

We fellow contrarians meet at either my house or the Kingsway Realty office depending on the weather. If it’s too hot and air-conditioning is needed we head to Kingsway. They allow us to use one of their conference rooms thanks to Curvin Horning, one of their agents and a member of our group. Otherwise the meeting place is at my house with a few cool summer evenings spent on the deck with the tiki lamps burning.

As time goes on the bond between members grows stronger. The camaraderie has grown to the point that I feel I’m really going to miss a good evening if I can’t make it. So attendance is high. Everyone enjoys seeing the others as we arrive. And we always leave in peace. Okay, my mind is usually still spinning but I depart holding no grudges.

Here is a list of topics we have covered thus far

  • Theology and economics; Calvin and Commerce
  • Building a master plan for life; The Pledge by Michael Masterson
  • I Pencil  by Leonard E Read
  • How an Economy Grows and Why it Crashes  by Peter D. Schiff
  • The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History by Thomas E Woods, Jr., Ph.D 

Our group is well versed on debate and if the point you present is weak you will get shot down. So making a good case is essential to survival. That or asking questions to tap into the knowledge of the group is a great way to sharpen your awareness on a particular subject.

If a question is presented, someone in the group will usually have good response. Whether or not the view is accurate the rest will critique it to verify its validity or to uncover the errors.

 It was a dream of mine, to create a group like this, for years. In 2008 I talked with a few people and in March of 2009 we got together. We discussed Gary North’s book Mises on Money. It was a great book for the time, being about monetary cycles and we were experiencing the beginning of this recession.

The group was not interested in continuing. So it came to a screeching halt. I was disappointed but not ready to give up. I picked away at creating this group, talking to more friends of like mind. Now in 2011 we have a group that looks fit to last.

If this is something you have interest in doing I encourage you to create a group of your own. With the reactions I have gotten from people it seems you could easily to start another group. Don’t let it take four years like it did me. If you have even a small urge, then start talking to people. You will soon have a group formed.

Related post: Intellectual Exercise Machine


Jack of All or Master of Two?

by Dave Miller

Take a look at your career path to see which of the three roads you are traveling. Will mastering one skill outperform becoming a jack of all trades? Should you master two skills?

Master of One

Gary North says, in order to move into the upper levels of your industry you need become an expert in one field. Learn the industry, study the trade, educate yourself, get in the top 4% of your field. If you can become better than 20% of your competition you will survive and do well. If you can get better than 20% of 20%, being 4%, you’ll become an expert.

By focusing on one area you can devote more time, thus getting there sooner. The compounding effect works in your favor here. The more effort you put in the more there is to compound.

In order to master one trade you need to devote 10,000 hours. This is a serious commitment. It will be your life’s work. Think long and hard before making this pledge.

Many college graduates think they know what this one area of mastery is. They change their mind. They lose precious time.

Look before you leap. Check how deep the water is before taking the plunge.

Jack of All

These people have amassed knowledge on many subjects. They are extremely handy to have around. Every business should have one.

A Jack-of-all-trades guy usually gets hung up in the details. He focuses on fixing the problem which must be done now and puts his effort into finding a solution for the problem. He isn’t happy unless he is fixing something, anything. Just give him something to fix.

There are exceptions but most of these guys fail to delegate thus limiting their leadership skills.

Master of Two

I call this the Dilbert method. The author of Dilbert talks about combining two skills.

Specializing and excelling in one area is better than being good at two areas that do not merge. Devoting more time to one thing rather than multiple will speed up the process and get you farther. Yet he says if you can combine two skills that you are in the top 25% in both you can do well.

“I can draw better than most people, but I’m hardly an artist. And I’m not any funnier than the average standup comedian who never makes it big, but I’m funnier than most people. The magic is that few people can draw well and write jokes. It’s the combination of the two that makes what I do so rare.”

The comic, Dilbert, was born.

The Dilbert method creates a niche not easily matched. It creates a unique mix of two or three talents.

If I want to hire a mentor to teach me public speaking for an event on real estate, rather than hire a top 4% speaker, I would hire a really good speaker that specializes in real estate. The combination of the two skills is more valuable to me than the guy who is better at speaking but knows nothing about real estate. After I have mastered the basics for the mentor I hired and still want to elevate myself I may go hire the 4% guy.

What is your focus?

Published in: on July 29, 2011 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  
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