Building an Advisor Team That Works for You (Not Against Each Other)

Preface: Future cash flows must be transferable and sustainable in order for the business to have value in the marketplace. –

Building an Advisor Team That Works for You (Not Against Each Other)

Credit: Don Feldman

Building a business is challenging enough as it is. With the right Advisor Team, you can focus on business challenges while your advisors create strategies that help you compound your success in the future. But how do you build an Advisor Team that works for you instead of against each other?
Consider the story of a fictional but representative owner who learned how important it is to have an advisor who can lead the charge.

Animus at AniMals

Annie Mahl was in a bind. Her company, AniMals, which produced specialty dog toys under the tagline “Tough Chew Toys for Rough-Chewing Boys,” had grown into a pet-care powerhouse over the last 20 years. Her financial advisor Grover and business-growth consultant Oscar had served her for most of the company’s history.

When Annie told each advisor that she wanted to sell her business in the near future, they had vastly different reactions. Grover began researching what Annie would need to sell her business within three years and gain financial independence. He presented Annie with spreadsheets of information about the best strategies to pursue, many of which Annie found overwhelming.

Oscar tried instead to convince Annie to stay at the business longer. “You’d be leaving right before the biggest boom. Let me show you how much more you could make if you stay longer.” The deeper Annie got into planning with each advisor, the less comfortable she became about their strategies. She loved her business and wanted to find a buyer who loved its mission just as much as she did, but she also wanted to sell for enough money to retire comfortably.

Grover and Oscar began openly butting heads, with Grover trying to help Annie sell as soon as possible and Oscar trying to help Annie make as much money as possible. Though she initially felt a little guilty (Grover and Oscar were always her go-to guys), she decided to seek the advice of a professional business-and-exit planning advisor, Burt.

Follow the Leader

Annie shared her goals with Burt. She wanted to sell within six years, but she wasn’t sure what her business was worth. She told Burt that it was hard to plan with her trusted advisors disagreeing about strategies so vehemently.  “I trust them and could never let them go. I want them to be a part of this planning. I think they have good intentions, but I’m not sure which strategy is the right one,” she said.

“The right strategy is the one that helps you achieve your goals, not what they assume is best for you,” Burt said.
Annie let out an exasperated laugh.
“Try telling them that,” she responded sarcastically.
“I’d love to,” Burt said. “Can I show you what I have in mind?”

Pulling the Advisor Team Together

Over the next month, Burt met with Annie, Grover, and Oscar. With Annie’s input, Burt laid out Annie’s goals and what it would take to help her pursue them.

“She wants to sell her business within six years. We need to figure out how to make that happen so she can achieve all of her goals.”
“We can do it in three if she would just . . .” Grover began.
“Three years? There’s so much more money to make!” Oscar interjected.
Before they began fighting again, Burt stepped in.
“Our job is to help Annie achieve her goals. And neither of you can help her do that if you think you know what she wants better than her.”
Grover and Oscar sat in silence before Burt continued.
“The first thing we need to do is figure out what this business is really worth. Then we can talk about timelines and payouts.”

Burt presented each step of his planning process, showing Grover and Oscar how they fit into it, and what they’d need to do to fulfill their obligations.
With Burt leading the charge and finding all of the appropriate advisors for Annie’s team, Annie felt more confident in her direction. She hired a business valuator, a tax professional, and an attorney based on Burt’s recommendations.

While she continued to run the business, Burt and the Advisor Team worked together toward Annie’s goals. Grover and Oscar focused on what they needed to do instead of trying to control the process themselves.
The result was a successful sale on Annie’s timeline to a buyer Annie trusted for the amount of money she needed and wanted.

You Aren’t Alone in This

Your advisors must work toward your goals to help you achieve your vision of success. One of the best ways to position your Advisor Team to do so is to work with a dedicated business-and-exit planning advisor. These advisors can guide the process based on what you want and need, and assure that your team works for you, not against each other.

We strive to help business owners identify and prioritize their objectives with respect to their businesses, their employees, and their families. If you are ready to talk about your goals for the future and get insights into how you might achieve those goals, we’d be happy to sit down and talk with you. Please feel free to contact us at your convenience.

Don Feldman is the founder of Keystone Business Transitions, LLC, a Lancaster, PA firm devoted to helping business owners smoothly exit their companies. He has been a CPA for over 25 years and a valuation professional for 20 years. For the last 15 years, Don’s practice has focused on succession and exit planning, including transfers of business interests to family members and key employees, as well as sales to outside buyers.

Revised IRS Mileage Rates July 1 to 62.5 Cents Per Mile

Preface: “Don’t listen to what they say, go see” – Chinese Proverb

Revised IRS Mileage Rates July 1 to 62.5 Cents Per Mile

Effective July 1, 2022 “The IRS is adjusting the standard mileage rates to better reflect the recent increase in fuel prices,” said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. “We are aware a number of unusual factors have come into play involving fuel costs, and we are taking this special step to help taxpayers, businesses and others who use this rate.”

US Senators. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo were both key influencers of the IRS decision. The belated mileage rate increase as of mid-year 2022 to $0.625 raises the deductible business expense per mile $.04 from the beginning year $0.585. The IRS sees the mileage rate increase necessary when cost accounting for a May average of $4.50 per gallon of gasoline, an increase of nearly 34% since December of 2021. The IRS business mileage rate data since 1991 has increased from $0.275 per mile to the most recent $0.625 per mile, effective July 1, 2022. Of note is 1991 gasoline priced at an average $1.14 per gallon.

The average driver in the US consumes approximately 650 gallons of fuel per year, so an estimated 2022 budget per auto owner for 2022 could be above $3,000 in gasoline purchases.

Although other factors include depreciation, insurance, tires, repairs, and maintenance are computed into this rate, it is noted that actual costs may be more reflective of true costs for business mileage. Rate increases have only occurred three times mid-year since the early 1990s. Taxpayers deducting business mileage rates must keep detailed records and a logbook, or use a mobile app to track beginning and ending mileages to obtain a tax deduction.

Umbrellas in Sunny Weather

Preface: A Banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain – Mark Twain.

Umbrellas in Sunny Weather

In recent news, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon remarked that he is preparing the most prominent US bank for an economic hurricane on the horizon and advised listeners [investors] to do the same.

You know, I said there’s storm clouds, but I’m going to change it … it’s a hurricane, Dimon said. While [economic] conditions seem fine at the moment, nobody knows if the hurricane is a minor one or Superstorm Sandy, he added. Dimon continued to tell the roomful of analysts and investors; You’d better brace yourself. JPMorgan is bracing ourselves, and we’re going to be very conservative with our balance sheet. 

What was left unsaid in JPMorgan Chase’s publicized preparations for a financial hurricane is that some banks loan to borrowers on callable terms, i.e., the bank can call you and demand full payment of the remaining loan balance if they deem necessary.  A Banker is a fellow who lends you his umbrella when the sun is shining, but wants it back the minute it begins to rain. Mark Twain understands callable debt. What about you?

Before you become alarmed, this risk is more substantial for business loans and business real estate than home mortgages. So if you are an entrepreneur and haven’t checked the call features on your outstanding business bank debts, you’re advised to do so. Typically banks don’t call a loan if you’re meeting all the payment terms, but Jamie Dimon said he is preparing for significant financial risk(s). So it is plausible in the banking industry that it includes distressed business loans. 

If you pay your debt timely, the bank will likely never call your loan(s). So, for any entrepreneur who wants to plan for the imminent storm, here are a few suggestions. 

Firstly, do you know if you have any demand loans or term call options on your bank debt? Demand loans are often lines of credit that are renewed, say annually. This is the classic cause of business bankruptcy – a non-performing line of credit called when business cash flow is tight. After all, the bank needs to protect its equity. Typically, the prevention formula is to term or amortize your line of credits if unpayable in full after 6 to 9 months. 

A term call option loan is reviewed at specific intervals with a lender review process. If the review process occurs during exceptional cash flow duress, the bank can immediately demand full payment. The purchase of a loan call feature gives the bank protection of its asset(s). If the bank decides that having their money from you is safest, they can demand full payment when call provisions are in the loan terms. Often loans are called when your credit score is deteriorating, but could also remotely occur in an instance if a bank merely assesses your debt as perhaps a developing hurricane risk, to quote Jamie Dimon.

If you have callable debt, take extra precautions to keep your credit rating strong. Make all payments timely, and above all else, build a strong servant relationship with your banker(s). Proverbs 22:7 says, “the borrower is servant to the lender.” Servants have always benefited from a good or great master, so you will benefit from a good or great banker if your business has debt. 

Additionally, “The way to crush the bourgeoisie [middle class] is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation” is a quote from Vladimir Lenin. In the Great Depression of 1929, when banks called loans, there wasn’t much of anything remaining after taxes were paid on the gains for some servants. Typically, inflation aligns with a higher tax environment, the likes of which would be a financial hurricane with present conditions. It’s not just interest rates. Higher taxes reduce cash flow for debt payments too.  

While home mortgage debt terms differ from business debt(s), this is written for entrepreneurs with any business debt level. As Jamie Dimon has warned, The US is approaching an economic environment of volatility and elevated risks. You now know what you should do to prepare. Invest the time to count the cost(s) of your business debt terms, and consult with necessary legal advisors if you have bank debt to assess any pending financial risk(s). 

Arrangements that Recharacterize Taxable Wages as Nontaxable Reimbursements or Allowances

Preface: Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage. – Sam Walton

Arrangements that Recharacterize Taxable Wages as Nontaxable Reimbursements or Allowances

The IRS has provided guidance which clarifies that an arrangement that recharacterizes taxable wages as nontaxable reimbursements or allowances does not satisfy the business connection requirement for accountable expense reimbursement plans.

In general, employee business expense reimbursements that are paid through an employer’s accountable expense reimbursement plan are excluded from the employee’s adjusted gross income. An accountable plan basically requires employees to submit receipts for expenses and repay any advances that exceed substantiated expenses. Amounts paid to employees through an accountable plan are not taxable compensation. Thus, they are not subject to federal or state income taxes or Social Security taxes, or employer payroll taxes and withholding.

On the other hand, business expense reimbursements paid through a system that does not meet the specific requirements for accountable plans are considered paid under a nonaccountable plan, and are treated as taxable compensation. An employer can have a reimbursement plan that is considered accountable in part and nonaccountable in part.

A reimbursement plan must meet three requirements in order to be considered an accountable expense allowance arrangement:
• reimbursements must have a business connection;
• reimbursements must be substantiated; and
• employees must return reimbursements in excess of expenses incurred.

An arrangement satisfies the business connection requirement if it provides advances, allowances, or reimbursements only for business expenses that are allowable as deductions, and that are paid or incurred by the employee in connection with the performance of services as an employee of the employer. Therefore, not only must an employee actually pay or incur a deductible business expense, but the expense must arise in connection with the employment for that employer.

The business connection requirement will not be satisfied if a payor pays an amount to an employee regardless of whether the employee incurs or is reasonably expected to incur deductible business expenses. Failure to meet this reimbursement requirement of business connection is referred to as wage recharacterization because the amount being paid is not an expense reimbursement but rather a substitute for an amount that would otherwise be paid as wages.

The IRS guidance includes four situations, three of which illustrate arrangements that impermissibly recharacterize wages such that the arrangements are not accountable plans. A fourth situation illustrates an arrangement that does not impermissibly recharacterize wages. In this arrangement, an employer prospectively altered its compensation structure to include a reimbursement arrangement.

Because of the difference in tax treatment of reimbursements under an accountable plan versus a nonaccountable plan, it is important to review your reimbursement policies. Please call our office with questions on your options under this IRS guidance.

Luncheon Invitation: Austrian Economics, Business Cycles, and the Theory and Practice of Money with Dr. Robert Batemarco

Luncheon Invitation: Austrian Economics, Business Cycles, and the Theory and Practice of Money with Dr. Robert Batemarco

This luncheon presentation will have invaluable economic information that is more essential than ever before to the entrepreneurial community. With a practical focus and theme, Austrian Economics, Business Cycles, and the Theory and Practice of Money with Dr. Robert Batemarco will combine in-depth expertise from both academia and industry to equip attendees with a practical toolkit of understanding about the realities of economic truths.

Regardless of your economic and monetary knowledge, you will gain great insights from the brilliant splendor of economic truths illustrated in an easy-to-follow format from attending this presentation particularly relevant to business cycles and money.

Dr. Batemarco will explain, among a host of economic and monetary truths for entrepreneurship:

A) How does money benefit society?

B) Who is responsible for inflation?

C) How is the Fed destroying the Middle Class?

D) What does the Austrian theory of the business cycle teach us?

Dr. Batemarco has degrees in Economics from Princeton University (A.B, cum laude) and Georgetown University (M.A. and Ph.D.). He wrote his doctoral dissertation on Studies in the Austrian Theory of the Cycle and wrote the entry in the Elgar Companion to Austrian Economics on Austrian business cycle theory. He taught at Mises University, a week-long seminar in Austrian Economics, as well as at Fordham University and at Manhattan College.

He has had articles published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Review of Austrian Economics, Atlantic Economic Journal, Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies; his online publications can be found on and

When: Wednesday July 27th 2022
Time: 11:00AM – Segment 1
              12:00PM – Lunch
              1:15PM – Segment 2
             2:15PM – Wrap-up
Where: Shady Maple Smorgasbord

Register: This luncheon is free attendance for all firm clients and friends of the firm – email Seating limited

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT)

Preface: “Whether you come from a council estate or country estate, your success will be determined by your own confidence and fortitude” – Michelle Obama.

Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRT)

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) can be a powerful tax and estate planning vehicle. The technique works like this—a donor places appreciated assets, such as stock with growth potential or undeveloped real estate into a CRT. The donor receives an income-tax deduction in the year of the gift based on the present value of the remainder interest, as computed under certain IRS-provided tables. The charitable gift also removes the gifted assets from the donor’s estate and, thus, from exposure to estate taxes. The CRT, without direction from the donor, then sells the assets, incurring no capital-gains taxes for the donor. The CRT invests the proceeds in a new diversified portfolio, typically made up of income-producing assets such as high-dividend stocks, bonds, and real estate. The donor, or other person(s) designated by the donor, receives the annual income from the investments for either a set period of time, such as term of years, or for the life of an individual or individuals.

 The payout to the donor may be a fixed dollar amount or a fixed percentage of the fair-market value of the assets, so long as the dollar amount or the percentage is at least five percent of the value. When the donor dies, the remainder goes to the qualified charity designated in the CRT.

 CRTs are divided into two main types. The first is a charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT) and the second is a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT). They can be set up during life (inter vivos) or at death (testamentary).


 A CRAT is an irrevocable trust that pays a non-charitable beneficiary an annuity interest with the remainder interest going to a charity. The Internal Revenue Code requires that the annuity payout percentage be at least five percent, but not more than 50 percent of the initial value of the trust assets (as finally determined for federal tax purposes). In addition, the value of the remainder interest must be equal to at least 10 percent of the net fair market value of the property transferred to the trust (on the date of contribution to the trust). The latter requirement effectively eliminates the use of CRTs by younger donors. That’s because the longer life expectancy of the donor or other income beneficiary reduces the amount of the remainder (charitable) interest. If a CRT fails this 10-percent test, the trust is either voided or it must make appropriate changes to meet the 10-percent requirement.

 In the case of a lifetime transfer, the donor receives both an income tax and a gift tax deduction for the present value of the charitable interest. In addition, the gift tax annual exclusion  may be used to reduce the value of the lead interest. The amount of the gift, income, or estate tax deduction (in the case of a testamentary CRAT) is the fair market value of the property transferred to the trust, minus the value of the annuity interest. If the annuity payments are received by someone other than the donor, gift or estate tax will be payable on the present value of the lead interest.

The term of a CRAT will either be (1) for some number of whole years (term certain), not to exceed 20 years, (2) the life of one or more persons (life), or (3) the shorter of term or life. When first establishing a CRAT, the present value of the remainder interest may be calculated using the Code Sec. 7520 rate for the month of the transfer date or the rate for either of the two preceding months. The Code Sec. 7520 rate is 120 percent of the federal mid-term rate rounded to the nearest 0.2 percent. It is published monthly by the IRS in a revenue ruling. Which of the three rates you select could make an important difference. Note that the higher the interest rate selected, the larger the income, gift, or estate tax charitable contribution deduction. And, in those cases in which the lead annuity interest is subject to gift tax, the higher the interest rate, the lower the amount of the taxable gift.


CRUTs are similar to CRATs in several ways, such as the fact that the payout rate in a CRUT must also be at least five percent, but not more than 50 percent of the net fair market value of its assets, valued annually and, with respect to each contribution of property to the trust, the value of the remainder interest must be at least 10 percent of the net fair market value of such property as of the date the property is transferred to the trust.

However, in a CRUT, the annual payments may instead be fixed at the lesser of a stated percentage or the amount of income the trust actually produces. Such trusts are sometimes referred to as income exception unitrusts or net income unitrusts (NICRUTs). When the income produced is less than the unitrust payment amount, a payment deficiency builds up. Then, if the trust later produces income in excess of the unitrust payment amount, the difference is distributed to the beneficiary until the deficiency buildup is gone.

CRATs vs. CRUTs—Advantages and Disadvantages

A CRAT is generally inferior to a CRUT if the trust assets are expected to appreciate rapidly. This is because in a CRAT, all of the trust return in excess of the payout rate accumulates and goes to the charity at the end of the trust term. However, in a CRUT, because the unitrust assets must be revalued each year, part of the growth in principal is paid to the holder of the unitrust interest in the form of higher annual payments. On the other hand, for this same reason, a CRUT may not be advantageous when asset values fall.

If the assets to be transferred to the charitable trust are difficult-to-value assets, such as closely held stock or real estate, a CRAT may be a better planning device than a CRUT. The fact that the assets in a CRUT must be re-valued each year adds expense and administrative inconvenience.

Another difference between CRATs and CRUTs is that it is possible to make additional contributions to a CRUT and receive a charitable deduction each year a gift is made. This could prove advantageous for investors with a large position in a stock that they wish to sell over a period of years. Alternatively, a CRAT cannot accept additional gifts.

For further information on how a charitable remainder trust may be a valuable tool to implement as part of your planning strategy, please contact our office for information on our alliance affiliates. 

How to Design a Proper Monthly Budget Plan

Preface: “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.” – President Biden.

How to Design a Proper Monthly Budget Plan

Designing a proper monthly budget plan is one of the primary tasks involved in your personal money management system. Budgeting becomes all the more essential as you need to fit in all your expenses within the salary that you get once a month. Any disparity in the ratio of income and expenditure can lead you to debts. Thus, it an essential task that you cannot surpass by any means. Having a proper monthly budget not only makes duly payments affordable but also makes life tension free.

Thus keeping all these in mind listed below are few of the things that you need to keep in mind if you want to frame a proper monthly budget for your household:

Read: How to Design a Proper Monthly Budget Plan

Business Tax Attributes for Costs of Computer Software

Preface: The way to be successful in the software world is to come up with breakthrough software, and so whether it’s Microsoft Office or Windows, its pushing that forward. New ideas, surprising the marketplace, so good engineering and good business are one in the same.  -Bill Gates

Business Tax Attributes for Costs of Computer Software

Businesses that have purchased or developed computer software programs for internal purposes, the following blog is for your convenience, to provide a concise review of how you may perhaps write-off the software expenses your business incurs.

Generally, you must amortize the purchase cost of computer software and AI developments over a period of three years, beginning from the month in which you placed the software into service. If the software is acquired together with the computer equipment, then you should depreciate the cost of the software over the useful life of the computer (separately stated computer hardware costs are depreciated as 5-year).

However, if you purchase software or artificial intelligence technologies with the acquisition of a trade of a business, you must amortize that software over a 15-year period. For businesses that create their own computer software or artificial intelligence technology with developers, the cost of developing the programs or software may be treated in a manner similar to research and development expenses.

Thus, qualifying expenditures may be A) deducted as a current expense, or B) capitalized and amortized using the straight-line method over a period of 36 months beginning in the month that the software is placed in service or over 60 months from the date of completion of development if a Code Sec. 174(b) election is made.

Additionally, all software development costs are included in the definition of research and experimental expenditures, effective for amounts paid or incurred in tax years beginning after 2021. All research and experimental expenditures must be amortized over 60 months, effective for amounts paid or incurred in tax years beginning after 2021.

For tax purposes, computer software is defined as a program designed to cause a computer to perform a desired function. Computer software tax rules includes programs of all classes in all forms and media and the documentation required to describe and maintain the programs.

If you are investing software implementations or artificial intelligence programs for your business, please discuss the tax attributes with your trusted tax advisor.

Five Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Marketing

Preface: You’d laugh if a cat food producer was trying to market to cats. It’s not the cats who make purchasing decisions about their food, but their owners. – Marvin Martin

Five Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Own Marketing

In 1855 Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.”

Over the years this has been boiled down to this pithy statement: “Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door.”

This seems like a simple formula (better product = sales success), but you can probably identify what is missing: how is the world going to find out about the better mousetrap? We could revise that formula this way: better product + good marketing = sales success.

Your mousetrap needs to be marketed, and that responsibility falls to you. If you’ve been a regular reader of this column, you’ve learned a lot about how to market your product service effectively and ethically.

Whether beginning marketers or experienced ones, we at times inadvertently get in the way of our own success. Here are five ways you may be sabotaging your own success– shooting yourself in your marketing foot.

Sabotage #1. Lack of a marketing plan.

The phone rings. On the line is the rep from a magazine that you advertise in. “Your deadline is today and we noticed that you have not submitted an ad for the next issue,” the rep says. “Shall we rerun your ad from the past issue?”

You remember in despair that it’s the time of year to advertise your annual sales event, but you forgot to plan advertising for it. Now you don’t have time to get the details together and submit the ad.

Being haphazard and flying by the seat of your pants is marketing sabotage. One of the many benefits of a marketing plan is that it helps you avoid situations like this. At the beginning of the year, create a document listing the due dates of all advertising and other marketing-related things.

“Being haphazard and flying by the seat of your pants is marketing sabotage”

You can add more detail to your marketing plan as you develop it year after year, but in its simplest form, a marketing plan answers the question: Who does what by when?

Dwight Eisenhower said, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” The discipline of planning brings consistency, structure, and efficiency to your marketing efforts.

Begin assembling a simple marketing plan today by corralling the details for the advertising/marketing that you would like to do between now and the end of the year. The last step in your new plan should be to plan your marketing for the following year. Schedule time for that in your calendar right now.

Sabotage #2. Failure to schedule enough time.

Have you ever said this? “I’m sorry. I don’t have time for that this week. I’m just maxed out.” Have you noticed that the next week is rarely any different?

Nothing gets done without time. Marketing takes time. Back to the previous point, planning your marketing for the rest of the year takes an initial investment of time, though it will save you time later. But even after you have a marketing plan in place, you need time to implement the steps in the plan. Otherwise, it will get pushed aside by more urgent items.

Remember that what is urgent is not always important. Marketing is rarely urgent but is always important. Set aside a day or half a day each month to execute items in your marketing plan. Here is a checklist to get you started:

• Review progress on current marketing projects.
• Identify next steps. Schedule time to do those steps or delegate them to someone else.
• Create and/or review testing and measuring reports so you know how well your marketing investment is paying off.
• Think of ways to improve your marketing. Read books and articles to glean ideas.
Evaluate yourself to see if you are reserving for yourself tasks or responsibilities that should be delegated to someone else. In the Bible, Moses was spending too much time helping solve people’s problems. It wasn’t until his father-in-law Jethro advised him to delegate that responsibility that he finally decided to get others involved to help (see Exodus 18:13-26).

You might say, “I don’t have employees who know how to do what needs to be done.” Hiring outside help—a marketing agency or freelance designer or copywriter—is a form of delegation. It not only buys the results you need, but it buys you time.

Sabotage #3. Indulging in procrastination.

We tend to see procrastination as a solution to problems (albeit a temporary solution). However, procrastination often makes the problem even more difficult once we are forced to confront it.

When you are tempted to procrastinate on a marketing project, try to identify the reason you are avoiding the project. It may be a lack of time (addressed above) or it may be a feeling of uncertainty or burden.

Marketing can feel complex, and you may feel buried under a barrage of advice and options. Or perhaps you know where you want to go, but you aren’t sure how to get there.

“Procrastination often makes the problem even more difficult once we are forced to confront it.”

When you realize you are procrastinating because you don’t know how to proceed, try reaching out for some help. This could be an “expert” or a peer-like fellow business owner or an employee who has experience you can tap into.
Don’t be too proud to ask for help.

Sometimes we procrastinate because the job feels too big. We don’t know where to start, so we don’t start at all. Try breaking the job into small, specific tasks. For example, you can break down the big job of creating a marketing plan into a few easy starter steps:
1. List all of your advertising avenues.
2. Contact each one for deadlines/prices for the coming year.
3. Consider whether you will add or remove any avenues based on your goals, events, new products, budget, etc.
Once you get started, your momentum will help carry you the entire way through the project.

Sabotage #4. Failure to connect with the right audience.

You’d laugh if a cat food producer was trying to market to cats. It’s not the cats who make purchasing decisions about their food, but their owners. So cat food producers need to connect with cat owners, not the cats themselves (though, of course, it helps if the cats like the food).

In spite of the humor, not connecting with the right audience is a common way marketers sabotage their own marketing. Like a pro fisherman tailors his tactics and bait to the species he is trying to catch, a marketer should tailor his message and tactics to the audience he is trying to attract.

Instead of trying to sell to everyone, identify your ideal customer. Who is my product designed to serve? What factors are most important to them in relation to this product? What is their mindset or worldview? How old are they? Where do they spend time? What do they read? Whom do they trust? What are their income and education? How do they make purchasing decisions?

Targeting the right audience means that your prospects are warmer instead of cooler. Your marketing is more efficient because you aren’t wasting your time and dollars on people who will never buy from you anyway (or would be a poor fit if they did buy).

Sabotage #5: Distracted by shiny new objects.

With today’s economy and technology, there are endless places to spend marketing money. You probably receive an endless stream of offers: “Advertise here!” “Try this offer!” “We’ll 10x Your Investment!” And don’t forget about online marketing: social media, email marketing, YouTube videos, blogging, and the list goes on.

If you are constantly chasing new projects, new strategies, and new opportunities without any overarching structure or goals, you may have what is sometimes called “Shiny Object Syndrome.” calls shiny object syndrome a disease of distraction: “It’s called shiny object syndrome because it’s the entrepreneurial equivalent of a small child chasing after shiny objects. Once they get there and see what the object is, they immediately lose interest and start chasing the next thing . . . business objectives, marketing strategies, clients or even other business ventures.”

“Marketing success happens when you develop a plan and a process and consistently implement it over time.”

I’m not arguing against trying new things, but we need to consider new opportunities thoughtfully. Where does this fit in with what we are already doing? Does this help us or hurt us in relation to our long-term goals?

If you believe that a new opportunity has potential, try a pilot project first. Invest a small amount of money and gauge the results. If it seems to be working, adopt it into your marketing plan and increase your investment.

This evidence-based approach is much wiser than trying a lot of different things willy-nilly because “everyone else is doing it.” Utilize methods that are relevant to your unique company and situation.


The first step to fixing a problem is to identify it. Hopefully, this article has helped you identify a way in which you might be sabotaging your own marketing efforts. If you know what’s wrong, now you can work on improving it.

Marketing success is not like suddenly winning the lottery. It happens when you develop a plan and a process and consistently implement it over time. That’s how to sell the better mousetrap that you built.

About the Author: Marvin Martin is head of sales and marketing at Rosewood. The Rosewood team guides business owners through marketing challenges into sustainable growth.


EOS Workshop Report for Entrepreneurs

Preface: “Vision without traction is merely hallucination.” “Most people are sitting on their own diamond mines. The surest ways to lose your diamond mine are to get bored, become overambitious, or start thinking that the grass is greener on the other side. – Gino Wickman

EOS Workshop Report for Entrepreneurs

Credit: Donald J. Sauder, CPA | CVA

Friday, April 29th, the firm sponsored an EOS Workshop at Shady Maple Smorgasbord with local EOS Traction Implementors Brian White and Rodney Nolt. The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) is a set of simple concepts and practical tools used by more than 130,000 companies worldwide to clarify, simplify, and achieve their Vision. Look at your business in a whole new way – through the lens of the Six Key Components.

Brian began the EOS workshop by asking the attendees to take a moment to visualize their businesses from an objective perspective. The heart of a company is its team, and the healthy heart of a healthy business is a healthy team. Unfortunately, too many entrepreneurial companies have a mind of their own, but for the select few, but growing number, who implement EOS Traction, often obtain more profitability, gain more significant market share, and have increased work-life balance. Going from good to great in entrepreneurism is as simple as implementing EOS.

EOS is built around six elements. 1) Vision. You know where you’re going, and everybody else on the team does as well. 2) People. Great people on the team. This definition is different for each business. For instance, an auto repair shop hires different talent than a delivery service. 3) Data. Quantifiable facts and figures are better than opinions.4) Issues. All businesses have issues. The Best know how to solve them successfully. (or get an EOS implementor to help) 5) Processes. Processes are the key to freedom and bring practical, consistent profitability. 6) Traction. The Traction element is to integrate and implement the previous five ingredients in a system.

Vision begins with Core Values. You need to define and articulate what your business lives and breathes daily—your business purpose. The purpose is what you do that feels good and is what you’re great at. The more you work towards your goal and Core Focus, the easier work (and life) will be for you. Set targets. Where will you be in ten years or three years, perhaps? Vision also incorporates a marketing strategy that culminates in More Better Customers. Vision is achieved when all your people know where you are going.

The Vision includes a 1 Year Plan with measurables. Rocks are an EOS term similar to goals that help you achieve your plans. IDS is when you identify, discuss, and solve issues. Again, all businesses have issues. The best get past discussion to ideal solutions. It’s okay to have problems. The ultimate companies give their team the tools to solve them.

The People Analyzer includes a graph where you rate each team member based on their adherence to core values and GWC. Get it; Want it; Capacity to do it. The most important feature of any business is its culture. Does your team adhere to the core values? Do they “get” what they are supposed to do, want to do it, and can excel at the role.

Data is when you integrate scorecards and measurables in decision-making instead of varying opinions. Data measures the vital signs in your business’s health and successfully guides the team’s health.

Processes are the recipes that guide you; if you’re going to follow recipes, you need to know how to cook—simply giving recipes or processes is futile if you don’t train your team your team how to “cook.” Processes succeed when you have coached your team on the ideal way to follow the process. As everyone likes a great recipe implemented successfully, similar is implementing (and training) on processes.

Traction is obtained when you have a developed a Vision following the ESO Vision Traction Organizer, have the right people in the right seats, with scorecards and measures to track performance trends from Data, Solve all issues successfully, and develop processes that successful host a great team, culminating in implementation success.

All entrepreneurs need A) a coach, B) a Peer Group C) System (EOS).

Among the concluding questions from attendees was if EOS can be implemented for successful family relationships. The word is that, yes, some families do implement EOS for their homes. You can contact Brian White or Rodney Nolt for additional details on EOS.