Category Archives: Guest Author

Does Your Business Keep You Up At Night? By Guest Author Steven Braun


 Steve is a friend and colleague of mine and I wanted to share this piece he shared with me.  None of us seeking a Life By Design want to be consumed by worry and/or endure sleepless nights.  Some food for thought I found helpful, hope you do too-thank you, Steve!
Derrick


How To End Those Sleepless Nights


By: Steven L. Braun, Northwestern Mutual Financial Network




Whether you are an entrepreneur in the startup phase or an established business owner looking to sell or transfer your business, today’s business world provides plenty of worries. Take a few moments to think about the business issues that have you staring at the ceiling at 3 a.m. If you are like most business owners your stay-awake issues probably include:



  • Rising cost of health insurance/benefits
  • Recruiting and retaining employees
  • Safety and security of the business
  • Having enough money to retire

To address these and other issues, it’s important that you take the time to develop an integrated approach to creating a strategic financial plan for both you and your business. The challenge is that each financial area is interdependent with the other, and the success of your business is dependent upon how you manage and plan for your own personal financial needs.


Developing An Integrated Approach: What You Need To Consider


There are four basic areas of your business to consider and frankly, to protect.



  1. Risk Management

    Are you protecting your business assets (physical and people) from loss? Is your liability insurance up-to-date? Is your intellectual property protected? How will business expenses be paid if you become disabled? What if a key employee died or became disabled?


  2. Employee Benefits

    Do you want and need to attract, retain, or reward key employees? Are you providing the right employee benefits (group health, life, long-term care and executive benefits); not only for your employees, but for you, too?


  3. Estate and Business Succession

    In the best of situations, you plan to someday retire from your business; either by passing it on to a family member, a partner, an employee or maybe you plan on selling it or even liquidating it. When do you want to exit the business? Who will be your successor? What is the value of the business?


  4. Personal Goals



Your business is the economic and emotional driver for you and your family, allowing you to maintain a standard of living. It is your primary investment. In many ways, the business is a mirror reflection of who you are and what you want to be. It is difficult to separate financial goals of the business from personal financial goals. Do you have the flexibility to grow your business, while also providing for your family?




(Photo by graceanne007 @ Flickr.com)

Don’t Go At It Alone
To help address all of these areas successfully, it’s important that you work with the right person or people that understand your personal and business goals to make sure all bases are covered. Many business owners turn to an individual or board to help in this area, which can consist of your accountant, financial representative, or lawyer. Of those using an advisor, 66% prefer one advisor for both personal and business needs.


Every business and industry has unique issues and challenges, which lead to unique financial needs and concerns, based on the particular size and type of business and the stage of development relative to business life cycles. It’s important that you be cautious in working with anyone who uses a one size, one product approach for addressing your business and/or personal needs, because the reality is there is no one size fits all solution to running a successful business.


To find a financial professional you are comfortable with, tap into your network of friends, business associates or other professionals for recommendations. When interviewing a financial professional, consider if they have done their homework and truly understand your specific business needs. Do they ask specific questions or just make assumptions? Can they provide you with personal and business advice? Does the individual have access to other specialists outside of their area of expertise that can bring value to your business?


No one financial professional, on their own, can possibly do an appropriate job of attending to and properly addressing the variety of complex issues facing today’s business owner. And because of this, it is increasingly important to select and work with professionals that have affiliations with other licensed professionals who specialize in the specific areas that you foresee becoming concerns in your business.


At the end of the day, the financial professional or team is one that listens to your needs and then steps back and acts as your guide to bring the appropriate resources and experts to fit your needs. He or she can help you end those sleepless nights.


Steven L. Braun, CLU) is a Financial Representative with Northwestern Mutual Financial Network the marketing name for the sales and distribution arm of The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company (NM), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, its affiliates and subsidiaries.  Financial Representative is an agent of NM based in Northbrook, IL. Employee benefits are provided through Strategic Employee Benefit Services, a nationwide marketing program of Northwestern Mutual. To contact Steve, please call 847-272-8686), e-mail him at steve.braun (at) nmfn (dot) com or visit his Web site at www.steve-braun.com

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Mentors, Champions and Encouragers vs. Toxic People by Guest Author Stephanie Hester from Choose A Better Life .net



www.chooseabetterlife.net
Flickr.com Photo Credit

How Do You SPEND Your Time?



\nYou don’t.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cb\>This is where you create a schedule.\u003c/b\> It’s how you’ll manage your\npriorities.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cb\>Please don’t get frightened now – it’s not as hard as most of us\nmake it.\u003c/b\> Depending on what you need to do, you make your schedule\nwork for you.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cb\>Some people work better with a loose schedule.\u003c/b\> That means that\nthey block out periods of time to work on their priorities. Lets say\nthat you want to work on your business and your family. You block out a\nperiod of time for your business – maybe during school hours. It’s\nimportant to focus on your task and nothing else.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cb\>Other people work better with a tight schedule.\u003c/b\> That means that\nthey schedule every activity down to the minute – or quarter of an\nhour. For people who do this, care must be taken to schedule “down”\ntime – time to think and create. It’s important to not get too rigid\nwith your schedule.\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cb\>So how are you going to spend your coins of time?\u003c/b\>\u003cbr\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003cblockquote\>\n \u003cblockquote\>Diana Lindstrom, PMP, CTACC, is the founder and owner of\nLos Lobos Consulting, LLC. Her website/blog is\n \u003ca href\u003d\"http://shipwreckedproject.com\" target\u003d\"_blank\" onclick\u003d\"return top.js.OpenExtLink(window,event,this)\"\>http://shipwreckedproject.com\u003c/a\>.\nDiana coaches executives, project\nmanagers, and business owners who want to figure out their priorities\nand learn how to manage them. If you’d like to know more about Diana,\nplease visit her blog.\u003cbr\>\n \u003c/blockquote\>\n\u003c/blockquote\>\n\u003cbr\>\n\u003chr size\u003d\"2\" width\u003d\"100%\"\>\u003cbr\>\n\u003c/div\>\n\n",0] ); //-->
You don’t.

This is where you create a schedule. It’s how you’ll manage your priorities.

Please don’t get frightened now – it’s not as hard as most of us make it. Depending on what you need to do, you make your schedule work for you.

Some people work better with a loose schedule. That means that they block out periods of time to work on their priorities. Lets say that you want to work on your business and your family. You block out a period of time for your business – maybe during school hours. It’s important to focus on your task and nothing else.

Other people work better with a tight schedule. That means that they schedule every activity down to the minute – or quarter of an hour. For people who do this, care must be taken to schedule “down” time – time to think and create. It’s important to not get too rigid with your schedule.

So how are you going to spend your coins of time?



Diana Lindstrom, PMP, CTACC, is the founder and owner of Los Lobos Consulting, LLC. Her website/blog is http://shipwreckedproject.com. Diana coaches executives, project managers, and business owners who want to figure out their priorities and learn how to manage them. If you’d like to know more about Diana, please visit her blog.