“Every year, the tax burden becomes more costly for America’s 28 million small businesses. The tax code is increasingly complicated and changes often. Most small businesses spend 40 hours or more preparing their taxes, and four out of ten businesses spend two full workweeks on compliance. That is a high cost in lost time and productivity for a small business. One in three small firms spends $10,000 on compliance. Jobs are still scarce, and the combined burdens of complex taxes and high rates are obstacles to growth. The jobs-stifling tax code is not just a Tax Day problem for small companies, but a year-round burden on their budgets that can impact their entrepreneurial decisions. Small businesses overwhelmingly support sensible reforms for lower rates, simpler preparation and clearer guidelines.”
Last week, the Small Business Committee examined these very challenges for small businesses. The growing number of tax provisions means that owners must spend significant resources on compliance that could otherwise be spent growing their companies. According to the Internal Revenue Service’s own National Taxpayer Advocate, there were over 500 changes to the tax code in 2010 alone, an average of more than one per day. And the steep tax rates mean small firms have less capital to invest back into hiring or expanding.
The National Small Business Association released a survey on April 9, 2014, in conjunction with the testimony of NSBA member Tim Reynolds, a small business executive. The growing complexity of the tax process causes 86 percent of small businesses to pay tax preparers.###
From the moment I stepped into my position as President and CEO of Intero four months ago, this has been my mantra…this has been my challenge to everyone at Intero. Let’s all stop doing so much stuff and stop chasing the shiny penny…stop jumping from one “great idea” to the next. Let’s do less stuff better and not more stuff worse. Let’s focus on what we are good at and then let’s do it better than anyone. In this day and age there is so much information being thrown at us…so many different ideas. Especially in Silicon Valley. And if we don’t watch out, we can get whipped around chasing the latest and greatest thing. When you do that you are mediocre, at best, at everything and not great at anything.
So here is the question…is what you are doing today building on what you did yesterday or are you starting from scratch on the latest and greatest idea…AGAIN?
To have a quantum leap at almost anything in life and really have a significant impact, it is not going to be the result of trying to do everything. It is going to be the compounded result of doing only the most important activities over and over again…we need to do fewer activities more frequently. We really need to start shooting at life with a rifle and not a shotgun. If we do those few, most important activities consistently over and over again, at some point, we will reach the tipping point…we will explode into a quantum leap. The difficult part is being disciplined enough to do those important activities and not jump from one great idea to the next…we need to do the important few activities over and over again until we have a Quantum Leap…a Breakthrough. It’s all about K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
Why is it so hard? Because we have to do it over and over and over again for long periods of time with what appears to be little or no results. When that happens, doubt enters our mind…we get distracted and we start to look for the next great idea. But if we have the discipline to stick with it, all of a sudden out of nowhere, one day we will have a radical breakthrough. The hard part is not to quit when we feel like we are running into a brick wall with no results…not quitting when we are having a breakdown. Because when the wall comes down, it won’t come down one brick at a time, but the accumulation effect of hitting it over and over again will bring it tumbling down all at once. It will happen when we are exhausted and beyond wanting to quit. We will hit it again and BANG!!!!
Remember…there are always going to be those people out their pitching us on the latest and greatest thing that is going to change our life, our business, our health…the 10 minute ab machine…the lose 30 pounds in a month vitamin…triple your money in a year schemes…get your body ripped in 21 days… The list goes on and on. Give me a break. The crazy thing is, obviously, a ton people are getting sucked in and buying this stuff. If they weren’t these billion dollar companies spending all this money on commercials and infomercials would cease to exist. Heck…I probably get a dozen calls a week from someone telling me how they have developed some product or system that is going to save us money, make us more money, revolutionize our company, etc. Just be very careful and don’t get sucked in. I am not saying be blind to innovation and new ideas, but don’t get sucked into everything thrown at us.
Make the commitment to do less better and don’t get tricked into doing more worse. Do that and I promise you will rock it!!!!!
Remember way back when you had too much time on your hands? You could hardly wait to get new clients, or more friends, or a bigger travel schedule. You were excited for your kids to get into sports and you could hardly wait to get train for your first marathon.
Now, here you are, 10 years later or maybe only 1 month later and all of a sudden 24 hours isn’t enough time in the day. You can’t seem to find time to shop for healthy foods, run 15 miles, let alone a half a mile. You are over booked. You are running from client to client, airport to airport and wonder if you can make it to any of your kid’s games. You don’t even have time to pay your bills!
You are S-T-R-E-S-S-E-D! I see this all the time. In fact, I experience levels of stress sometimes myself. We get so caught up in how frazzled we are, we forget we asked for it! Not the stress, but the abundance. In fact, many times what we asked for has helped us create a fuller life. Maybe it’s really ok, maybe we simply need to manage our time a little better. Maybe we are managing our time…it’s our thoughts we need to manage a little better. hmmmmm
Consider how your day would change if when you felt overwhelmed and overbooked, you paused, smiled and realized that you are B-L-E-S-S-E-D? You have athletic kids who love their sports and live in an area with lots of sport options. You have a career which allows you to travel to interesting new places. You have a wide net of interesting clients who enrich your life. You have a body which allows you to walk, hike or run…whether it is 1 mile…or 15.
When we get overwhelmed, it is so easy to get caught up into how the weight of the world is on our shoulders to lighten up. However, if in those crazy moments we can hug the opportunities given to us and high five the blessed life the stress give us, everything shifts. We take our stress with a smile and we are able to embrace the avenues of what we attract.
Consider….are you stressed…or blessed?
We know you are all loving our weekly Intero Weekender that is sent out by our Marketing Department every Thursday. The email is full of fun activities to get you and your friends out of the house every weekend. And while what we send out is a great overview of what’s going on in the Bay Area, why not create your own easy to share weekender specific to your town or area? Just think of the benefits to your circle.
Our team is using a site called Flashissue.com to set up and send out these emails which is super easy to use. It provides you with a great base to set up and send out custom content from any site on the web. Use it to feature homes, your community, local events or general real estate news; anything you want on the web all for free.
Set up is super easy. Just create an account and start the design of your first email. Add photos and text you already have on hand using the drag and drop feature to customize a header.
Then, add your content by entering the web address of your blog, professional website, a local event’s page, or even the address to your newest property listing. Any websites you add will be saved for future use. Drag and drop the pages you want to highlight into the flashissue editor. Photos will automatically come over from the site you’re linking to as well as a brief summary. Want to change an image or text? Just click on the field and click the edit button.
Add a nice introduction at the top and you’re done! Send your email to individuals or a preset mailing list from one of the many compatible email carriers including gmail and mailchimp. You can even reuse the same set up for future emails.
Once you have the basics set up, I’m sure you’ll be sending out newsletters left and right before you know it with Flashissue.
Good leaders strive to improve themselves every day. Great leaders strive to improve themselves and those around them, applying this philosophy to every idea they formulate and every decision they make. Great real estate leaders understand the importance of building a culture of managers and agents who seek to be more productive, more efficient and, in turn, more successful professionals. And great leaders understand that one of the most motivating factors to success is oftentimes accountability. Why? Because when performance is measured, performance improves. Without accountability, many of our good ideas and intentions remain just ideas and intentions. With accountability, we’re able to put them into action.
However, accountability does not mean sending an email or making a phone call. Instead, accountability is any number of activities that must be woven into the regular rhythm of the business day, week and year. These initiatives form a regular cadence of accountability that your employees will adapt to and, ultimately, expect.
In my own business practices, I used daily progress reports, monthly commitments and weekly calls—happening twice per week on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons—for this purpose, which allowed managers the opportunity to identify their goals and keep on track to achieve them. Additionally, I paired employees with an accountability partner, someone to whom they must report the status of any stated objectives, as well as any recent accomplishments. Lastly, I instituted contests that grouped employees into teams. Accountability reigns through teams, as each member is responsible for the group’s performance.
In his recent bestseller, Unbeatable Mind, retired SEAL Commander and author Mark Divine has this to say about the importance of teams: “Elevate the team above the individual, and hold the team accountable to that standard. Watch your team performance and attitude improve dramatically, which will positively impact performance in all other areas.”
So…what is your Big Hairy Audacious Goal? Perhaps the better question is do you have one? I sure hope so, but if not now is the time to set one.
Some of you may be asking yourself “what the heck is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)?” The term ‘Big Hairy Audacious Goal’ was proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 book entitled Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. In the book they define a BHAG as a strategic business statement similar to a vision statement which is created to focus an organization on a single medium-long term organization-wide goal which is audacious, likely to be externally questionable, but not internally regarded as impossible.
Now you can have a BHAG in business or anyone of the areas in your life. It just needs to be something that fires you and gets you charged up to get your butt out of bed every day before the suns comes up so you can go out and conquer the world. It can be in anyone of the areas of your F5 – Faith, Family, Friends Fitness and Finance. It may be that you want to complete a triathlon…you may want to go on a mission in some far off place to help save lives…you may want to get married… it may be that you want to start a family…you may want to buy that dream home…you may want to take your company public…it may be that you just want to make a pile of money. Whatever it is, we all need to have at least one BHAG in our life that fires us up. I know we have a BHAG for Intero and it is hanging in my office. I actually have BHAG’s in a lot of the areas of my life.
I see so many people every day just going through the motions…people wandering around in a daze not really crystal clear on what it is they want. They may just want things to get better or be different, but they never take the time to define what that better or different is…they just hope they are going to bump into it or something.
So, what is that BAG in your life? What do you dream about but never tell anyone because it is so big you are too embarrassed to even tell anyone? Yeah…that’s the one…the one that puts a smile on your face when you think about it. So often when we have these dreams….these Big Hairy Audacious Goals in our life we think they are just too hard…too far off…impossible to accomplish. Well listen…it really does not matter what your BHAG is there is someone out there in the world that wakes up every day just like you, and puts one sock on at a time just like you that has it. So…why not you?
My challenge to all of you this week is to take some time to create your BHAG or BHAG’s. Once you have created them build a staircase to get yourself there. Figure out exactly what you need to do to accomplish it. Then break those tasks down into small bite size chucks or stairs on a staircase that will lead to your BHAG. What you will discover is that if you really sit down and figure out what it is going to take to accomplish your BHAG and then create the steps to get you there, most of the time it’s not as hard as you think. The key is you need to get it out of your head and on to a piece of paper, in a schedule and then you need to execute on it every day. Just take a bite…take one step and before you know it you will be at the top of the staircase savoring in your BHAG. It’s not always going to be easy but if you want it bad enough and you don’t ever give up, you will get it.
Have a great week and GO FOR IT!!!!!
How often have you had a minor injury or pain in your body and felt unable to workout? Even something as common as a cold, or you slept wrong and had a “kink” in your neck, or maybe you simply had a stressed day and was just “not in the mood” to move…are all days that we feel less than capable to be our best.
Maybe you are a mover and shaker, but you have a bigger injury like a broken wrist or even leg; or you have a strained muscle.
Each of these body issues are just that; issues to deal with. Some of us stay quiet, accept the body and move on, but I venture to say many more of us let these obstacles stop us cold from movement in general. We complain, we make bigger excuses (which feel very real to us) of why we don’t feel good and we create huge stories about why life has now stopped as we know it.
I can tell you from personal experience, I have had all of the above issues. In each issue from the stressed day to the broken leg, I felt defeated at moments. I can tell you too, that once I got over my issue/obstacle and excuses and realized the rest of my body was able to move pretty darn well, I felt empowered that I could move…even in the tiniest ways.
You see, it’s all perspective. It’s acceptance and it’s embracing where we are in each place and time, as well as fighting to stay healthy.
I had this talk with a fitness friend earlier today and she said it simply…”just move…no matter how little or big…move.”
I know someone who cannot move, and he would give anything to be able to. Not being able to move is an unimaginable concept and one I am eternally grateful that, hopefully, I will never feel. Knowing him though, does help me love what I can do, big or small.
So when we have issues, do what you can, let the oxygen flow through your body, feel the strength of your muscles, rotate your body to see different perspectives, stretch to feel the fascia and gently assist your injured areas towards health. Doing this helps the body…as well as the soul and mind. Move what you can, do what you can…but somehow, keep moving.
As Realtors, getting your name and services out there is super important to succeeding at your business. In today’s day and age of internet, this task is at your fingertips. That’s right, between your circle of friends on facebook to your twitter followers, your next client could be anywhere. Now the question is: How are you going to make them see you?
In a daily social media stream of thousands of posts, pictures and videos are what catches your eye. Why is that? Less work for you. Why would you want to read text when a picture says a thousand words? Or you can be entertained with a video?
Well we’ve already showed you how to make those impressive, eye catching images using Canva so today we’re going to show you an app that will help you make some stellar entertaining videos.
Wideo is an online tool that allows you to easily make animation videos for, well basically anything (presentations, teaching lessons, promotions, for fun, etc). The site is super intuitive which makes it possible for anyone to create cool videos.
The instant I saw this app I thought “what a great way for agents to promote themselves.” Just think about it, everyone has a bio written up but, let’s be honest, who is actually going to read through the whole thing? With Wideo, you can turn your bio into a quick video just by highlighting a few key points about yourself and your business (ie: what you can offer and what makes you so great). Use one of Wideo’s already made templates, plug in the text and you’ll have a nice little promotional video about yourself in minutes.
Use this as an advertisement on facebook or embed it onto your website. It’s so much more interesting than reading a written bio and, I promise, it will help you stand out from the crowd!
Check out the sample video below to see what your next promotion could look like: