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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Building Your Power Team for Long-Term Success and Growth

by Dave Miller

The term Power Team is used by real estate investors as your go-to specialists. This is your team of experts that you rely on for quality advice and service. Even though this is a term used in real estate, it applies to any business.

When building your power team you want to choose the best money can buy. Or cannot buy. Sometimes the best are not the most expensive.

Hiring an expert gets the job done properly and on time. When hiring people your goal should be to hire people better than you. If not better, then people that can do the task less at expense than you.  This can be an attorney that has the expertise you lack, the secretary willing to work more cheaply than you, or the septic sludge remover that does the dirty work.

Whoever it is, choosing the right person is vital. They are still the face people see in place of yours. Your reputation is on the line. Business is about people. Interacting with people is business. Choose people persons.

The team you develop is one of the crucial elements to becoming a successful businessman, for it is vital to the long-term health, success and growth of your business.

Your Power Team should consist of experts

  • Consultants
  • Mentors
  • Attorneys
  • Accountant
  • Sales & Marketing Guru

Your list should be much longer than this, as this is only a start. The bigger you make you list of resources the better. The well that is deep is the one you can draw from often.

How do you build this list?

Start by thinking of your available resources you currently use. You already have your Power Team started. After you have thought about your resources, list them on paper. Now look over the list, noting the missing elements.

The next step is to write down the missing links and talk to your peers and mentors. Show them your list. Ask them to find missing pieces. Ask them for recommendations for your blank spaces.

Does Barter Work? How I Made it Pay Better Than Cash

by Dave Miller

Two large maple trees loom over our house gracing our front yard. Sadly the one seems to have some disease and is dying. If we need to remove it, it would leave a gaping hole. It’s tough to think about removing a beautiful tree like this, planted by my father 43 years ago. It’s so large and graceful.

So I called in a tree doctor to analyze and diagnosis. His prognosis was that there is a 25% chance of saving it. That’s not what I wanted to hear.

He tells me they can trim the tree to maximize its chances. Looking at this tree and our 4 other maple trees in need of trimming, he proposes the cost to be $1900. Even though I really like my trees, that’s a lot of money.

So I called “Mr. Mow It All”. Yeah, that’s his company name. Two young men, clean cut and buff, survey the task. They leave a proposal for $1200 with my wife. We are heading in the right direction but I still cringe at parting with $1200.

My wife says it’s barter time.

To barter is to exchange goods or services directly without money or another medium of exchange.

When Sage from Mr. Mow It All calls me, he is professional yet eager for the work. We talk about the barter option. He wants to grow his business so we discuss ways I could help him by working as a consultant. Sage was reluctant to barter all his services for strictly my services. I can’t say I blame him. So we negotiate – 50% cash and 50% consulting in exchange for tree trimming.

My goal, which I think is attainable, is to provide him a service that will far exceed the cash value. To pay him in a way that continues to return profits for years to come. Sage made a remark that is true in bartering, he said “I feel like you are trying to give me something in return rather than just getting me to work for less”. That comment is the essence of bartering. Both parties get more.

A few months back Matt from J M Lapp, LLC asked me to do some consulting and writing for him. He was attempting to get his Master Plumber license in Lancaster City, a tough job. So we bartered my writing and consulting skills for his plumbing skills. We put together a presentation for the board, asking them to waive the apprentice requirement and allow Matt to take the test.

A few months later I received a phone call from a proud jubilant Matt proclaiming his success. He is a Master Plumber. He didn’t even need to take the test.

After he got his master plumber license I was working on a project in Lancaster City. The property manager’s plumber was not available. I asked if he is looking for another plumber. He said he is that it’s always good to have options. So I recommended Matt to the largest property manager in Lancaster City. I hope they partner in the years to come.

In barter cases both parties feel as if they received more. If your client feels as if he received more than he bargained for, he will more likely refer new clients to you.

Put together a barter list to help you negotiate when the time is right. List items or services you have available. This will assist you when the opportunity arises.


I recommend the skills and knowledge of these people:

Mr. Mow It All 717-598-9478, Tree Service, Lawn Care, Landscaping, Trash Removal, Snow Removal.

J M Lapp LLC 717-405-5718, Plumbing and drain cleaning, Heating and air conditioning, Water softeners and water treatment systems



Published in: on July 5, 2011 at 6:25 am  Comments (1)  
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Lists To Build Confidence – Master Plan – Part Three

by Dave Miller

It’s amazing to me the amount of confidence I gained in the past weeks. All from putting a little effort into making task lists.

In building my master plan I started to implement some of the tactics. In long-term planning you need to break down what you want to accomplish in the next few years. Then you look at what needs to be done monthly. Then weekly. Next, look at what needs to be finished today to accomplish the weekly goal.

As I work my daily task list it amazes me at the results. Things get done faster and more efficiently.
I feel a sense of satisfaction looking at the things crossed off. The more I accomplish the more I want to do.

I used to feel as if I didn’t get anything important done in a day. It seemed I was just running around putting out fires that kept flaring up. Because I now prioritize, I know the things that really matter are taken care of. I don’t need to spend the last half hour scrambling in vain do something actually important.

I started writing for 30 minutes before I go to work. My goal is to write 200 words. Sometimes I get to that, sometimes I don’t. Some mornings I just edit something. The important thing is that I spend 30 minutes. Last week I was within ten minutes of posting a blog when I needed to go to work. In the past I would have thought I need to finish it right away and be late for work, or the blog wouldn’t get posted for a few days. That morning it felt good to set it down knowing tomorrow morning it would happen.

I am amazed at the results and the enjoyment with it. I posted three blogs in seven days. Prior to this I was doing well if I got three posted in three weeks.

Having this on my list consistently has opened my eyes. After giving a speech on delegation and how Nehemiah built the walls in 52 days I was asked if I would consider giving this speech at a business. Then as we traveled home Curvin Horning told me to write a book on it. With my confidence growing I was able to calculate the project. In nine weeks of writing two hours a day I could have a 50 page how-to book.

Will I? I don’t know. More importantly I have the confidence to tackle a project that size. So maybe one day I’ll write – Delegation for Dummies – with a subtitle of – Read your bible dummy.

As I discussed the topic of lists with my brother Allen, he shared his experience. When he gets sidetracked he will add the things he did to the list and cross them off. At the end of the day he can review what he did. Rather than seeing four items crossed off he sees all the things he did, giving him a boost in confidence for the next day.

Give it a try. Put three things on your list. List them in importance. Do number one first. Make every effort to finish it without distractions. But if the phone does ring and you need to answer it, do so, and then write it on your list. Now get back and finish the task you started.

Let me know how it works for you.

Related Posts:
The Transition- Master Plan, part one
Stupid Excuses to Avoid Action, Master Plan, part two

Published in: on June 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm  Comments (2)  
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Working or Networking, It’s Your Choice

by Dave Miller

Is networking worth your time? I made $5000 last week with my network. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again.

I continue to be highly impressed with the power of networking. In many ways networking is more than just looking out for my best interest. It means reaching out to other people.  If they have needs you can help them with, then do so. You will create a relationship.

Networking is more than a list of people. It is people with whom you have a mutually beneficial relationship. Other business people, potential clients and/or customers. The better your relationship with these people, the stronger your network.

Everyone has a network. It is simply the people you know. Everyone one from your nearest and dearest to your neighbors’ plumber’s cousin who surely has a phone number you could track down if you cared to.

Not everyone puts a cognitive effort into building their network. This is a mistake.

Here is a list of ways to build a bigger better network.

Start an email list

Begin building an email list of people you know have interest in your product or service. For me this has been a huge eye-opener and success.

I send out an email when I have an investment opportunity to share. This results in about a dozen or more emails a year. I do not bombard my network, only the stuff that matters get sent out.

To be added to my email list just click here

Add tag lines to your emails and correspondences

Last fall I added the words, “Financial and Real Estate Solutions” to my email. The first email I sent to my email network resulted in a call from a fellow asking if I do hard money loans. I do. I set him up. He made over six thousand and I made over twenty-eight hundred in two weeks’ time. Needless to say we were both happy, all from a mere tag line.

Social networks

Facebook, LinkedIn, et al. Any way to let people know what you are doing. Telling them every juicy nugget of gossip fodder about your personal life is not necessary.  But by filling them in on your business dealings you will be amazed by how many people you know have similar interests.

Help  others

Step out and help people. By helping others you will blessed. Okay, here is the plug: My brother has a house in Bird-In-Hand he is trying to sell. I told him I would get him some exposure by mentioning it here.

Quaint and Quiet

It is a quaint 3 bedroom rancher with a horse barn. It is an ideal starter home or investment property. Here is the link. He is asking $149,000 and the previous renter paid $940 a month. It has the potential to get $1000 rent per month. This is an excellent John Schaub style home. You can call Allen directly at 717-295-0662. If you find Allen a buyer I’ll see that you pocket $500

Start a blog.

Every marketing guru says so, so I will too. Start a blog.


Write a newsletter. Keep your network informed. This could be your blog.


People know people. If you are in the market to buy a rental property, then call people. Ask. Call your real estate attorney and tell him what you are looking for and ask him if he knows anybody that could help you. Call your banker. Call your investor friends. If you are selling, ask for referrals. Tell your people you will reward them if they give you a successful referral. Note the $500 reward mentioned above.

Quotable Quote: The secret of my success is a two word answer: Know people.– Harvey S. Firestone

Kick in the Buttocks

by Dave Miller

 Every now and again my motivation wanes. Slowly the energy saps from my body. Booster cables are needed but I fail to assemble them. It happens ever so slowly, barely allowing the change to be noticed.

Sometimes you’re up
Sometimes you’re down
Sometimes fate can kick you around…..Life is a Corduroy Road
 – Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

 This tends to happen in many areas. I go to work, possibly a few minutes late, and the motivation never rebounds. If I allow the writing urge to pass, it does. When I see my unfinished reading material lying there and I don’t pick it up, it soon ends on my pile with hundreds of other unread books. My blog fails to write itself. Being a father and husband requires time and energy. Real estate doesn’t fall into my lap until I am on the lookout for new deals.

Life continues. Whether I enjoy it or not, the elapsing moments do not cease.

The choice is mine; do I get motivated and enjoy life to the fullest? Or do I watch life pass with a blasé attitude?

Life without enjoyment isn’t really life, is it?

I choose life.

I will kick myself in the butt and change my attitude. The most important thing is whether this new motivation will stick. I have found one of the best ways to efficiently use my time and energy is to utilize lists. Another successful method is the verbalization of or making public the goal. I will start this morning by doing both.

Typically my Fridays are a catch-up and clean-up day. I’ll shuffle some paper work but never really finish it. I tell myself I’ll do a few important things that never seem to materialize. 

Today I will make a list. I will accomplish one important task and one semi-important one by lunch and then do the same in the afternoon. Also I will list two additional items of moderate significance. If time allows I will work on them.

The key will be to remember that the most important item stays the number one goal. Do not go down any bunny trails. Stay the course. 

List of forenoon tasks:

  1. Eat breakfast with my family.
  2. Write 300 words for my next blog.
  3. Finish and start a new mold.

After lunch list:

  1. Spend 1 hour with my speed reading course.
  2. Network with at least five real estate contacts

Additional tasks of moderate importance.

  • Compile a report for my banker; P&L, 2010 tax returns, etc.
  • Make a list of tasks for next week.

I have one task from each category on this list. By completing one task in each area my motivation will grow.

  • Family/Father/Husband
  • Work
  • Blog
  • Real Estate
  • Reading

 I truly believe the accomplishment of these five tasks will result in a bigger desire. By focusing on the important tasks I will not only complete them, I will feel good about the accomplishment.

Enthusiasm is mine. My spirit renewed.

Now this is life!

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