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Success strategic

Starting a business is easy. Millions of new businesses are started each year. However, you must do more than create an LLC to become a thriving entrepreneur. Unfortunately, simply starting a new business is all the farther that most get. Inevitably reality creeps in and the cold hard truth emerges. Creating a business that enables you to generate enough money to truly thrive at life and achieve your wildest dreams is not so easy. Entrepreneurs with the ability to thrive at this highest level are a rare breed.

What makes these elite entrepreneurs different from those still struggling? Here are the top 5 non-negotiables that every new entrepreneur must take action on promptly. 

1. Stay fearless.

Fear can paralyze and absolutely destroy an entrepreneur's ambition and confidence, but only if they let it. When I quit my job and created my own business, I experienced the same fears all entrepreneurs face starting out -- the fear of failure, the fear of what others might say, the fear I wasn’t good enough.  As I increased my certainty, and became aware of what limitations were holding me back I started to face my fears head on. When you face your fears, they disappear.

You cannot let your fears control you and you must be willing to take risks despite them. All great leaders and visionaries have realized that being fearless is part of the recipe for success. In my experience, most of the people who gave in to their fears and quit are eventually employed by those who conquered their fears and never gave up.  Your only fear should be having the exact same life you currently have a year from now. Remember that your dreams will always eclipse your biggest fears. Stay limitless mentally.

 

2. Creating, not waiting.

I've been fortunate enough to interview dozens of the world's most successful entrepreneurs and one thing is always abundantly clear - they don’t wait for opportunities to come to them, they create them. A WANTrepreneur spends their first day designing a logo while the true entrepreneur closes their first 10 clients. If thriving is a goal, you must stop procrastinating, stop creating 100-page business plans, stop researching the perfect website font, and start executing on the things that matter.

Most people spend the first half of their lives saying they are too young, and the second half saying they're too old. The time is now, and there is no tomorrow for champions. I promise you that one year from now you will have wished you started today. Wake up early, go to bed late, disable distractions, be relentless, stay intentional, and never give up. It's simple - if you want it to happen, make it happen. Period. You will make time for things you really care about.

3. Focus on continual growth and development.

Are you showing up better than you were yesterday? Seriously, is your life better today than yesterday? If not, why not? Create tactical steps for tomorrow to ensure you grow and develop. Ask yourself these 3 questions before starting your day.

  • What am I grateful for today?
  • What am I committed to making happen today no matter what?
  • What am I excited about today?

Most people fail to ask themselves questions that spark their minds, and remind them to maximize each day.  Every day you fail to grow is one less day you have to make your dreams become reality. Once small positive thought can change the outcome of your entire day.

All thriving entrepreneurs know that every year their business must become 365x better than the year before. This is accomplished by focusing on continual growth and development each day. Just like compound interest, mastering this simple strategy can put you on the fast track to financial freedom. Make growth a part of your daily agenda.

 

4. Making money matter.

There has never been a better time in the history of our economy to create businesses that matter. My friend Cole Hatter says, 

"Don’t wait to get rich to make a difference, but rather make an impact as you get rich."

Visionary Tony Robbins has preached on this concept. but it has never been as important and powerful as it is today. Historically, money was a taboo subject few dared to debate. Culturally, the topic of money has recently gone from being the unspeakable subject to a global obsession, and rightfully so. Money is the great equalizer. Having money is a lot more enjoyable and fulfilling, but most importantly it gives you the power of choices.

One in three Americans believe their best chance of becoming wealthy is winning the lottery. Are you kidding me? This flawed mindset comes from the antiquated curriculum traditional education teaches. To truly understand the concept of mastering money, you must self-educate. "Traditional education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune."

Those that want to thrive know that money is the one thing that has the instant ability to turn their dreams into reality.

5. Urgency.

I’m guessing you’d like to be financially free by the time you’re 65 years old? I’m sure everybody does. Let’s deal in reality here.

  • 69 percent of Americans who start working at 25 will be dependent on relatives, friends, or charities at age 65.
  • Nearly 36 percent of people age 65 to 69, and 21 percent age 70 to 74, are still working.
  • Almost 75 percent of single Social Security recipients aged 65

I will tell you becoming one of the few who are economically secure starts with urgency now. You MUST have a sense of urgency to thrive. Do you think those struggling in their 30s, 40s, and 50s told themselves they were going to struggle? Of course not. If you talked to them when they were younger, they were confident they would have their dream house, dream job, have lots of money, and be enjoying life to the fullest. What happened? They never told themselves NOW matters. They didn’t connect their daily actions with their future goals. Don’t fall into that trap.

Realize that now matters more than any other time, and the "someday isle" mentality is killing so many dreams. I know people who have been in the same company for years, but haven't advanced. You often hear people say “I have 20 years of experience, I should get paid more,” but in actuality, that person has one year of experience repeated 20 times. If they’re not sharpening their skills, learning better tools, or constantly trying to better themselves, they aren’t becoming more valuable. Why should they expect more money?

Age doesn’t guarantee a higher income, value does. Opportunities are only opportunities if you're taking full advantage of them. Young millionaires always do, and they are consistently reaching for new goals and ambitions. You MUST have a sense of urgency that most of society doesn't have if you're serious about success. There will NEVER be the right time.

Achieving your wildest dreams and thriving at the highest level is not for everyone. You must be relentless and 100 percent committed to the hustle and grind that is required. You must believe that not only is it possible for you to have your dream but it is necessary. If you are still reading, you have taken the first step to changing your life and making an impact on the world.

Definition: Acting with concern and sensitivity, aware of the impact of your actions on others, particularly the disadvantaged .

Does your business use recycled paper products or donate to a homeless shelter? A growing number of consumers consider such factors when deciding whether to patronize your business. A company's "social responsibility" quotient can make a difference to its bottom line.

If you think getting involved in social causes would work for your business, here are some things to consider. First and foremost, customers can smell "phony" social responsibility a mile away, so unless you're really committed to a cause, don't try to exploit customers' concerns to make a profit.

Here are a few steps you can take to make social responsibility work for you:

  • Set goals. What do you want to achieve? What do you want your company to achieve? Do you want to enter a new market? Introduce a new product? Enhance your business's image?
  • Decide what cause you want to align yourself with. This may be your toughest decision, considering all the option out there: children, the environment, senior citizens, homeless people, people with disabilities--the list goes on. You might want to consider a cause that fits in with your products or services. For example, a manufacturer of women's clothing could get involved in funding breast cancer research. Another way to narrow the field is by considering not only causes you feel strongly about, but also those that your customers consider significant.
  • Choose a nonprofit or other organization to partner with. Get to know the group, and make sure it's sound, upstanding, geographically convenient and willing to cooperate with you in developing a partnership.
  • Design a program, and propose it to the nonprofit group. Besides laying out what you plan to accomplish, also include indicators that will measure the program's success in tangible terms.
  • Negotiate an agreement with the organization. Know what they want before you sit down, and try to address their concerns upfront.
  • Involve employees. Unless you get employees involved from the beginning, they won't be able to communicate the real caring involved in the campaign to customers.
  • Involve customers. Don't just do something good and tell your customers about it later. Get customers involved, too. A sporting goods store could have customers bring in used equipment for a children's shelter, then give them a 15 percent discount on new purchases. Make it easy for customer to do good; then reward them for doing it.

7 Actions to Take After Incorporating Your Business

1. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.

A corporation or LLC is a separate entity and needs its own EIN from the IRS. This is true whether you plan on hiring any employees or not. The EIN, much like a Social Security Number for individuals, is how the IRS tracks your business’s activities. This should be one of your first steps after forming an LLC. Without an EIN, you won’t be able to open a bank account for your business or file your business’s tax returns. 

Tip: If you already had an EIN for your business when it was operating as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll need to get a new ID number for your corporation. You can’t transfer the number from one business entity to another. 

2. Apply for your business licenses. 

Forming a corporation or LLC forms the legal foundation for your business -- it’s what turns your business into a legal entity. But you still need to get a business license in order to legally operate your business. Contact your local county office or city hall to find out what kinds of permits and licenses are necessary for your business type. Failure to do so can result in fines or you can even be forced to shut down your business altogether.   

3. Meet with a tax advisor.

While this step isn’t mandatory, it’s a good idea. A brief meeting with a tax advisor can give you valuable insight into how you should file your taxes as a corporation or LLC. You can discuss whether you should elect S Corporation tax treatment from the IRS as well as what additional deductions are now available to you. 

4. Open a business bank account.

After you have an EIN, you can open a bank account for your business. This allows you to accept checks and payments in your business’s name. In addition, you’re legally required to keep your personal and business finances separated once you incorporate or form an LLC. If you already had a business bank account for your sole proprietorship, you will need to close that account and open a new bank account under the new corporation.

At this point, it may also be a good idea to open a credit card for your business. This helps streamline your recordkeeping for business expenses, as well as helps start building credit history for your business. 

 

5. File a Doing Business As (DBA).

Most businesses operate under several variations of their official company name. In order to legally do this, you need to file a DBA to notify the public that you’re operating under these names. For example, let’s say your official company name is “Example Company, Inc.” but you usually use a less formal name like “Example Company.” You’ll need to file a DBA for “Example Company.” One tip: Don’t file for a DBA until you have formed your corporation or LLC so the DBAs are under the corporation. 

6. Protect your name with a trademark.

When you create a corporation or LLC, your name is protected in your state (or more specifically, no other business can file as a corporation or LLC in the same state). For some businesses, this is enough brand protection. Others choose to register a trademark for their company name in order to legally protect it in all 50 states. 

7. Understand what you need to do to stay compliant.

One of the chief reasons to incorporate or form an LLC is to limit your personal liability. However, if you fail to keep your business in good standing, then you can lose this liability protection. Make sure you understand exactly what’s needed to keep your business compliant each year. Typically, this involves filing an annual report with your state each year, keeping up with your business federal and state taxes, and keeping your personal and business finances separate. Corporations will also need to hold an annual shareholder’s meeting. 

Forming an LLC or corporation is the important first step to formalizing your new business. Best wishes on your new venture, and don’t forget to follow up with your other legal obligations. They’re simple steps and will keep your business legal and protected for years to come. 

 

Process to Starting a Small Business

1. Write a one-page business plan.

The key to a successful small business, especially in the startup phase, is to keep things simple and costs low. Costs don’t just mean your monetary costs, but also your time.

Many would-be small-business owners fall into the trap of trying to create the world's biggest and most robust business plan. You’re only going to need that if you’re seeking investment or financing, and even if you will be seeking either of those things down the road, I always recommend small-business owners start out with by testing their ideas first before investing lots of time and money.

 

So to get started, create your own simple, one-page business plan that is a high-level overview of the small business you’re about to start.

  1. Define your vision. What will be the end result of your business? 
  2. Define your mission. Different to a vision, your mission should explain the reason your company exists.
  3. Define your objectives. What are you going to do -- what are your goals -- that will lead to the accomplishment of your mission and your vision?
  4. Outline your basic strategies. How are you going to achieve the objectives you just bulleted?
  5. Write a simple action plan. Bullet out the smaller task-oriented actions required to achieve the stated objectives.

That’s it. It might be longer than one page, but it will surely be more organized and shorter than a full business plan, which could take weeks to write. If you need more information on the one-page business plan, or want to write out a full-blown finance-centered business plan, you can check out the book I co-wrote with my brother that has a robust explanation of both.

 2. Decide on a budget.

While I highly recommend you keep your costs as low as possible, you’ll still need to determine a budget to get started and how much you’ll be able to spend. If you’re self funding, be realistic about numbers and whatever you anticipate your budget to be. I’ve found that an additional 20 percent tacked on for incidentals is a realistic overage amount that helps you plan your burn rate.

Your burn rate is how much cash you’re spending month over month. It’s an important number for you to figure out to determine how long you can stay in business before you need to turn a profit.

You should set up your business with profitability in mind the first 30 to 90 days. It’s possible. But have a budget reserve so you can survive if things go leaner than expected.

3. Decide on a legal entity.

Filing paperwork to start a business costs money. Often, depending on your state, it can be a lot of money. You’ll need to account for city or municipality licensing, state incorporation or business entity fees and more. Do a thorough search ahead of time to determine what the filing fees are for your city, county and state before starting any business.

Often in the initial “test” phase for your small business, it can be wise to start as a sole proprietor, as it means less paperwork and up-front expenses. That can save you some big-time cash while you determine the viability of your business. Do be aware though that acting as a sole proprietor can put you at personal risk, so you’ll want to weigh the benefits vs. risks and then speak with a local attorney or tax professional to decide which is smarter for your short-term vs. long-term goals.

You can always file for a business entity once you’ve proven in the first three to six months of business that you’ve got a viable, sustainable model. 

 

 

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