Golden Nuggets for Entrepreneurs

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is Your Business Leaking Money?


You worked hard to earn the money.  Are you needlessly letting gold coins leak out of your money bag as you travel to the bank? 

How thoroughly and how often do you review your regular spending?

Frequent Financial Review

A staff brainstorming session is an excellent source of great ideas.  Each quarter hold a meeting with key personnel.  Each person will be responsible for generating two cost-cutting ideas and two revenue-generating ideas.  Compile all of the ideas and pick the best two cost-cutters and best two money-makers.  Reward the individuals who contributed the winners; it encourages them to prepare more diligently before the meeting. 

Keep your finger on your financial pulse.  Even though it was a pain in the schedule to reconcile numerous bank accounts every month and match the data carefully with multiple reports, it kept me informed of the exact status of every segment of the company.  As CEO of Mountain Castles, Inc. this policy also caught an embezzler within one week.  As much as you want to believe in the trustworthiness of every employee, it never hurts to trust but verify. 

“Little expense leaks spring up all the time. Many are the result of seemingly minor choices made in the day-to-day frenzy, but they can add up to a lot of lost cash.  Even if you think you have all your expenses under control, do a quick check for some of the top cash drips.” 

Drip, Drip, Drip

Shipping.  Plan ahead and avoid the necessity or impulse to “overnight it.”  Standard shipping is far less expensive and frequently only a couple of days difference in delivery time.

Credit-card processing – Review your monthly fee as well as the processing percentage for various cards and the rates for different transaction types. There are as many credit card processors as types of snacks on the grocery shelves.  Be certain you have the best plan for your credit-card volume and average amount charged.

Insurance costs – Business insurance and health insurance are now changing drastically.  ObamaCare has necessitated a thorough review of health insurance policies. Be certain you know your options and have the most cost effective policies.

Marketing should generate a measurable return.  Personal networking, websites, and business cards are more difficult to quantify but all are necessary.  Postcard campaign results are easier to measure.  Include a code on the postcard, sales sheet, calendar and brochure which can be entered for a discount at the time of purchase. 

Analyze ROI by individual marketing method, individual campaign and overall marketing expense.  Break it down per month, quarter and year.

Utilize the new design templates at PrintPlace.com to reduce the cost of designing top quality print marketing pieces.  Professional results without the professional price both saves money on creation and makes money by having more quality marketing pieces available.

Monthly fees – Did you sign up for a free trial and forget to cancel before the monthly fees started?  YouSendIt, DropBox, GotoMeeting are just a few potential free to fee companies.

Audit expense accounts and credit card accounts for unauthorized charges.  Scammers are known for entering small charges on your credit card to be certain it is a legitimate card and then increasing the charge amounts.  QuickbooksPro has the ability to enter all credit card charges and reconcile the statement.  If you don’t recognize a charge, take the time to check it.  $20 charges may seem too small to bother but they can add up to hundreds or thousands over a few months.

Establish a clear policy of what expenses will and will not be reimbursed.  Expense account charges for hotel gym fees, airport lounges and personal cell phone bills can be major financial leaks.

Bank charges for check writing, wire transfer fees, monthly service fees and minimum balance fees can all be reduced or avoided; many banks now have free checking,  Using online bill payment services not only saves time, envelopes and stamps but allows you to schedule payments to avoid ever paying late fees.

Web hosting is another rarely reviewed expense where significant savings may be possible.

Company supply closets can be more of a garden hose than a small leak. Television commercials even tout this as “a great place to score free batteries.”  Pens, reams of paper and staplers could be flying off the shelves.  I once caught a housekeeper walking out with a large bag supplies. 

Each of these items may seem small, only $50 to $100 a month each, but add up all ten and multiply by twelve months and the number can be staggering. 

Just think what you could do if you applied all of those savings from plugging leaks into your marketing.  Marketing would generate more revenue.  Less wasted cost and more revenue would make a delightful change in your company bottom line.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Emotional Roller Coaster

Holiday seasons can be an emotional roller coaster.  Black Friday ads permeated the air, clogged your inbox and assaulted you from printed publication stuffed into your mailbox.  Today it is “cyber Monday” ads.  The media is telling you to BUY BUY BUY for the upcoming gift giving season. 

Holiday lights and decorations appear in our neighborhoods, stores (some stores even start their Christmas displays before Halloween) and every public area.  We are told to be happy, excited and spend with exuberant abandon. 

This is a tough economy.  People are out of work or underemployed or simply struggling to make the financial ends wave at each other.  The goal of actually making the financial ends meet and have money left over is simply not a reality for far too many people. 

If you are not in an ideal emotional relationship or even in an acceptable emotional relationship, holidays can be an emotional drag.

What do you do?  How do you handle the holidays in a healthy emotional mindset? 

Holiday parties abound.  Every organization seems to promote their holiday party.  Holiday parties frequently come with adult beverages – sometimes excessive adult beverages.  Alcohol is a depressant.  You may have heard someone call those beverages “holiday cheer.”  If you are feeling up and happy and festive, they may be holiday cheer.  Caution.  If you are feeling down, a few drinks, or a few too many, can plunge you even further down.

What can you do?  Am I telling you to avoid parties or curl up in a corner, hide from life and pretend that the holidays do not exist?  No, of course not.  There are things you can do.

1.       Arrive at the party a little late and stay a short time rather than the entire time.

2.      Be certain you eat something.  Food helps ease the effects of alcohol (if you choose to indulge in an adult beverage.)

3.      In my early twenties I discovered the strategy of sipping an orange juice or a ginger ale with a slice of lime.  Other guests were comfortable because we all had a glass in our hand.  Later if someone offered me a glass of wine, I was perfectly fine to have one.  One throughout an evening was perfectly acceptable. 

4.      Steer clear of the David and Debbie Downers.  Grumpy bears and angry, critical people can send your mood plunging down at a rapid rate.

5.      Spend time with upbeat people you enjoy speaking with; spend time with the people who encourage you and bring you up. 

6.      Go help someone less fortunate or a friend who needs an emotional lift.  Concentrating on bringing them up will help you stay up yourself.

Here are only a few ideas to keep a firm grip on your emotional sanity and even bring it up a few notches.  The book Emotional Ice Water  is packed with helpful ideas to boost your emotional spirits.  It is written in an enjoyable story form; you can relate to the true life stories.  More than anything, you will appreciate the positive solutions you can implement into your life immediately.

Don’t let the roller coaster of emotions over the holidays or at any point in your year get the best of you.  There are positive ways to deal with negative situations. 

For more information on overcoming negative feelings and situations, stay tuned to www.Elaine4Success.com.  Also inquire about hiring Elaine Love for your next sales training, executive meeting or personal growth presentation coaching.  Purchase Emotional Ice Water.  Go to www.Elaine4Success.com/Contact or www.MeetElaineLove.com




Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Computer Blues

There are those who learned computers sitting on someone’s lap and there are those of us who were the lap they once were sitting on and now we are learning from them. I admit computers entered my life in 1986. Now our children and grand children grow up with computers, not so with my age bracket.

Computers continue to be a learning experience for me. Recently I completed doing my tax record keeping and popped the cd into the tray to back up my work. Slid the tray into the laptop. Ever have the weird intuition that something was wrong? When the tray slid back out, it was empty. No cd in the tray. Tilting the computer, doing the shake, and crossing my fingers, but nothing produced the cd. It had disappeared into the unexplored cavity of the laptop. Not only did the data need to be backed up but that was the last blank cd disk.

Life has its challenges. Now I could have gone into full panic mode and gone screeching out of the driveway in a mad dash to the Geek Squad, collapsed into a fit of despondency or reached for the last of the box of Valentine chocolates. Independence is both a good thing and a bad thing. No computer was going to get the best of me if I could help it.


Second set of options were to

1. Calm down. Frayed nerve decisions are sometimes risky.

2. Read the directions in the computer manual. No, that is always the last resort.

3. Call for help. Screaming was a consideration but a phone call to my techie son seemed like a better option.

Doug, my techie son, calmly instructed me:

1. Unplug every connection to the computer

2. Remove the battery from the laptop. “Stop, please, I pleaded. How do I do that?” He explained that I should look for a thumb slide and gently remove the battery.

3. “Look for a screw or a set of screws on the side of the computer close to the cd cartridge or one on the underside of the computer around the cd cartridge area.” “Yeah, I found one on the underside of the laptop. Uh oh, it takes a very tiny Phillips head screw driver.” “Do not use a screw driver with a magnetized tip,” he strongly cautioned. “Computers do not like magnets.” The search is on through all the drawers, tool boxes and jewelry cases in search of a tiny Phillips head screw driver. Finally found one in the case of a multi purpose Swiss army knife set. Now the task is to remove the screw without stripping the threads. “Wow, it is out.”

4. “Slide the cd cartridge out carefully.” I poked and prodded, wiggled and jiggled, and even tipped and shook, but nothing happened. “Ok, the next option is to put everything back together, power the laptop on, open the cd tray and power the laptop off with the cd tray open.” “Now gently tip the laptop and do the shake, rattle and roll move until the cd slips out.” Being a lady who knows how to take instruction, and besides that I was desperate, I complied. Suddenly out slid the MIA cd disk. “Alleluia, alleluia, uh oh.” Along with the cd came the entire cd cartridge assembly. It landed on the rug, bounced once and came apart. Hmmm. “This could be a problem.” Perhaps I should have gone to the Geek Squad after all. The good news is that the cd is recovered. The bad news is the disassembly of the cd cartridge.

5. Ok, the tray needs to slide out of the cartridge with the tray up. Slide it back into the laptop, snap the front back on the cartridge, and gently turn the laptop over on its face. Now the fun of replacing that tiny Phillips head screw. Done.

6. Cross you fingers, think wonderful happy thoughts and take a big drink of espresso. Here comes the big test. Insert a cd in the tray and gently secure it in place before sliding in the cd tray. The butterflies are in total disarray; it is either nerves or the big drink of espresso. A strange whirring sound emits from the laptop. I eject the cd and gently slide it back into the laptop. Silence. The tension is worse than meeting your new mother-in-law for the first time when you know you have a spot on the front of your shirt. Could it be, yes, it is music playing from the cd. It works! “Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.”

7. “Thank you, Doug, does not seem like enough. If anyone ever complains or criticizes a geek from here on I’ll feel like kicking them in the shins.” A geek has just saved my laptop from eating and digesting the last cd.

Next time you see a geek, give them a hug for me. Alleluia. Not only that but I learned something in the process. We are never too old to learn new tips, tricks and techniques.

For more “geek tips” and computer victory stories, join me at www.Elaine4Success.com.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Salute to Champions

Congratulations to Lindsey Vonn who won gold in the downhill and bronze in the super-G. Her crashes in the giant slalom and in the super-combined resulted in a broken little finger on her right hand. This spirited competitor taped her broken finger to the adjoining ring finger, donned a mitten and raced again. Even after her competitions ended, she stayed slope side to cheer her teammates and friends. She wore a smile and demonstrated genuine caring and encouragement for others. Lindsey personified the traits of a true champion. Hats off to a beautiful lady, a great athlete and a total role model.

Apolo Anton Ohno, speed skating super star. How many accolades can you possibly heap upon a superstar dedicated athlete of his 24 karat caliber? From winning US Speedskating’s 2003 Male Athlete of the Year to becoming the youngest US skater to win a World Cup title. He won “Dancing with the Stars” in May 2007. His checkered record of obstacles included death threats after the South Korea World Cup and a pesky lawsuit accusing him of fixing a race affecting the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Anyone who has ever watched this amazing athlete race knows he competes flat out and wins by sheer athletic ability and keen observation of everything around him in the race. Fixing a race? Don’t be absurd; he wins fair. He concentrates, jumps over comrades who spin out in front of him, and strategizes his moves and power plays.

He won silver in the men’s 1500 m, bronze in the men’s 1000 m, and bronze in the men’s 5000 m relay. He came in second in the men’s 500 m and then a questionable call disqualified him; he maintained a smile and professional attitude as he assured the reporter that he only put up his hand to protect himself and did not push the Canadian skater at all. The judges apparently did not notice that the leading Canadian skater actually touched the skate of another skater who immediately went down. Anton was disqualified and the Canadians were awarded gold and silver even though one of them went down and did not finish. Anton was such a professional and gentleman that he smiled, refocused and went on to skate with all his heart and skill and won bronze with his young teammates in the men’s 5000 m relay. He was so happy to celebrate with his team mates after the relay medal victory.

Nordic Combined heroes, Bill Demong, Brett Camerota, Johnny Spillane, Todd Lodwick

Bill Demong won silver in the team 4x5 km and gold in the individual LH/10 km CC. Brett Camerota won silver in the team 4x5 km. Johnny Spillane won silver in the team 4x5 km, silver in the individual LH/10 km CC and silver in the individual NH/10k CC. Todd Lodwick won silver in the team 4x5 km. Special note that Brett Cameota was from Park City, Bill Demong was from Lake Placid, Taylor Fletcher was from Steamboat Springs, Johnny Spillane was from Steamboat Springs and Todd Lodwick was from Steamboat Springs. Kudos not only to a great Nordic combined team but also to Steamboat Springs Winter sports Club for having three of the five members of this team.

Bode Miller has his choice of colors. He won gold in men’s super combined, silver in men’s super G and bronze in men’s downhill. Think these athletes just stepped on the snow or ice and performed? Not so. Bode started skiing at the age of three. This is his third Olympic games. Bode has been a bit of a loose cannon in the past with his outspoken rakish attitude. Fatherhood seems to have matured him; we saw a calmer and more focused Bode in 2010 than we did in 2006. No matter what, the man is an incredible athlete.

American men capture gold in the 4 man bobsleigh; Steven Holcomb led Steve Mesler, Justin Olsen, and Curtis Tomasevicz to an incredible victory and gold medals.

Evan Lysacek practiced and practiced; it all paid off as he won the gold medal in men’s figure skating. Evan brought the gold back to America after its long reign in the Russian federation.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White’s grace, skill and finesse brought home a silver medal in ice dancing.

Hannah Kearney skied to win gold and Shannon Bahrke skied to win bronze in the women’s moguls.

Bryon Wilson won bronze in the men’s ski moguls.

Jeret Peterson flew through the air twisting and turning to win silver in the men’s aerials.

Elana Meyers and Erin Pac won bronze in the women’s bobsleigh.

Julia Mancuso won silver in ladies downhill and silver in ladies super combined.

Andrew Weibrecht won bronze in the men’s super G.

Allison Baver, Kimberly Derrick, Alyson Dudek, Katherine Reutter and Lana Gehring won bronze in the ladies 3000 m speed skating relay. Katherine Reutter also won silver in the ladies 1000 m short track speed skating.

J. R. Celski won bronze in the men’s 1500m and bronze in the men’s 5000 m speed skating relay.

Simon Cho, Travis Jayner, Jordan Malone and Apolo Anton Ohno won bronze in the men’s 5000 m speed skating relay.

Seth Wescott won gold in the men’s snowboard cross.

Shaun White rode to gold in the men’s snowboard half pipe while Scott Lago rode to bronze in the men’s snowboard half pipe.

Hannah Teter rode to silver and Kelly Clark bronze in the women’s snowboard half pipe.

Shani Davis skated to gold and Chad Hedrick skated to bronze in the men’s speed skating 1000 m. Shani Davis kept his speed and won silver in the men’s 1500 m speed skating.

Brian Hansen, Chad Hedrick, Trevor Marsicano and Jonathan Kuck skated to silver in the men’s team pursuit speed skating.

We’re not finished yet as the US Hockey team expects to skate to gold tomorrow night. What an incredible Winter Olympic games for United States. 36 medals so far and we’re not finished yet. Congratulations to a fabulous group of athletes. We’re proud of you.

For more in depth information on al of our heroes and heroines, join me at www.Elaine4Success.com.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Aerobic Experience Without a Gym

No equipment required. No designer latex body suit. Not even a Vic Tanny exercise tape or an expensive “pamper you until you go bankrupt” spa.

Review the components of an aerobic workout:

1. Full body sweat

2. Pulse rate of over 170.

3. Perspiring palms

4. Heavy breathing

5. The mouth opens but no intelligent verbal sound

6. Skin tone varies from brilliant crimson to ghostly white

You can gain all of these wonderful effects by running a marathon, peddling a one speed bicycle up a steep hill or being asked to speak to a group in public.

There are those who would rather be the victim of the car crash rather than the one giving the press conference explaining it .

Watch a new speaker with trembling knees walk up to the podium. Thank goodness they are not wearing spike high heels; imagine walking on stilts through a hurricane. Safety at last, they make it to the podium where they hold on with the death grip of a 4 year old the day the training wheels come off the bicycle. With a white knuckle clutch to the podium, they take a deep breath, deliver the six minute speech, collapse in the chair and let the breath out. Once we revive them after they hyperventilate, they start to relax.

Public speaking generates all of the aerobic benefits for many first time speakers. It is actually not that bad. The first time many people are asked to speak in public is quite a traumatic event. Relax; it does not have to be a miserable experience.

Some people tell you to picture the audience in their Hanes’s or their tidy whites, but at that point your lungs do not have enough air to laugh so it would be a wasted exercise.

Finding a friendly face in the audience and riveting your gaze strictly on that one person seems to produce more successful results.

Other techniques before you go on stage are:

1. Thinking about a wonderful calming scene in nature

2. Listening to soothing music

3. Hiding under the table in the room down the hall until it is too late for you to speak

If public speaking truly strikes terror in your heart to the point that you would rather go 3 rounds in the boxing ring with Bubba the Bruiser, then you are a victim of self inflicted stage fright. There are cures for stage fright. You could take a sedative and sleep through the event, run away to a remote jungle island or join Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a safe, friendly, supportive group of comrades who share your trembling hands and racing heart but chose to learn to overcome the sweaty shakes. You will learn in a calm, encouraging and sober atmosphere. The manuals walk you through the steps in a logical, clear and informative system. You can even start with Table Topics which is an impromptu one to two minutes.

To the best of my knowledge, no one ever died of stage fright. You can do almost anything for one minute. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.

Whether your boss corners you in the elevator and asks for your progress on a current program or you receive the tap on the shoulder to speak at your local homeowner’s association meeting, being able to express yourself clearly is a tremendous asset.

You can enroll in night classes at your local college or university, join a networking group or practice at your local church or social organization. Every time you speak in public, you become a little more comfortable with the process.

For practical tips and techniques to ease your fear and improve your communication, come join me at www.Elaine4Success.com.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life Is Easy Now

Remember When. . .

I heard all about my parents walking to school through the snow. At least they didn’t claim it was twenty miles uphill each way. Personally, I rode the noisy school bus for an hour, each way, everyday, so I had it better. Now the kids have their own car or at least Mom or Dad running shuttle service. With each generation life gets easier. At least that is the way it is designed to be. Not to say that each generation does not have new issues, just different. Sometimes we forget how easy we have it now.

Maybe you really have it rough and have to ride your 21 speed mountain bike to school. Try doing those Colorado mountain hilly roads on total pedal power; you go only go as fast as you can pedal and no gears at all. We laugh about feeling so sorry for those who only have a 10 or 15 speed bike instead of a 21 speed. The seats are far more comfortable now too. Bike shorts? Forty years ago those cushy shorts were not even a glimmer in the merchandising eye. Sometimes we forget how easy we have it now.

The ipod you can’t leave home without which is glued to your body like another appendage was not available ten or 15 years ago. Carrying the family radio on your bike or shoulder would not work well. Remember when we carried huge “boom boxes?” Now you carry your entire music library in your pocket. We forget how easy we have it now.

Cell phones? Some of us grew up with crank phones. Yeah, I was a long short and a long through early grade school. Moving up to a rotary dial phone was an upgrade. Cordless phones, not a chance. We had to sit right there by the phone to talk. We fuss about privacy now. That old crank, rotary or even the early push button phones were party lines; zero privacy for the calls. We forget how easy we have it now.

“Reach out and touch someone” actually meant making an effort. Using the voice recognition dialing on your cell phone does not take much effort. Automatic programming of the phone number in the phone? Give me a break. We had to actually remember the number or carry a little paper book with the numbers.

Multiplication, long division and addition were actually functions of the mind. Kids have the computer or calculators to do it all for them. We actually had to use our head to compute math problems. Imagine that, thinking. Computers did not exist for us and we whine if you do not have the latest high speed, lightweight, high resolution graphics laptop. We forget how easy we have it now.

Imagine having to look at a set of encyclopedias or search through the Dewey Decimal System in the library in the quest for the right reference book for your term paper. If you were lucky, the book you needed had not been checked out by someone else who did not have to return it until after your paper was due. Now we look it up on Google with the touch of a key or the click of the mouse.

Preparing the papers by writing them out by hand or typing them on a ribbon typewriter was another treat which modern kids have never experienced. The ribbon got tangled or the keys jammed together and you had ink all over your fingers. Yes, each letter was on a separate metal arm which flew up and struck the ribbon. When you hit 2 or 3 keys at once they all flew up together and jammed. We had to separate them with our fingers resulting in ink all over our fingers.

Oh the joy of having the ribbon run out in the middle of typing the paper and it was too late to get to the store to buy another ribbon. Not only that but the teacher expected the paper to be neat and not have forty million strikeovers, misspelled words or ink blotches.

Want more than one copy; we had the joy of carbon paper. When we typed the wrong letter, we had to go back and correct each sheet. Want to move a paragraph, start all over typing that page. We forget how easy we have it today.

WE have spell check loaded on our computer and even a thesaurus at the touch of our keypad. We don’t even have to know how to spell or use a dictionary. We forget how easy we have it these days.

No matter what happens with the economy, political leaders or minor inconveniences, remembering how easy we have it today in comparison to the past puts a new perspective on life.

For more fun and historic comments, join me at www.Elaine4Success.com.

Everyone Likes Choices

Everyone likes choices. We have resisted being told what to do since we were small children. We not only want our own way but we want the freedom to decide for ourselves. Ever remember your parent saying, “You will do it, or else.” Regardless of whether the task was doing homework, cleaning your room or being nice to your little sister, there is something in our human nature that resists being told what to do. We have all been there.

Some things you either choose to do or pay the consequences. Its time for one of those joys right now. Taxes. Now the IRS is on most people’s ‘least favorite’ lists; they are on a parallel with having a siren and red and blue lights flashing behind you on the freeway. Or maybe you would prefer a root canal. All three of these receive a groan and a few choice words.

The IRS is not simply writing a check. Oh no, they make you suffer first and then write the check. Every one of us promises that next year we will keep up with the books every week. Each expense will be in its properly labeled and dated folder. Not only that but it will be recorded in the computer for easy totaling and access.

We know we should, but how many really do it every week?

Employment with a CPA firm brings many challenges. The most impressive client was a well dressed, impeccably groomed man. He entered the office with poise and professionalism; he even spoke very politely with excellent grammar. He requested to have his taxes prepared. No problem, we are a CPA firm; ‘taxes are us.’ When asked if he had all of his documents with him and organized, he replied, “absolutely, I have them right here.” Seeing a lovely leather briefcase in his hand was a promising sign. “How much will it cost?” The minimum fee was quoted with the stipulation that it could be more depending on the scope of the work.

He was asked if he would like to wait and speak with the CPA in a few minutes or leave the records and return for a scheduled appointment at a later date. He preferred to schedule an appointment for next week. Once the appointment was scheduled, his records were requested.

He excused himself, stepped out of the office, and returned with five paper grocery bags each overflowing with miscellaneous documents. He calmly asked, “Here they are, when do you think you will have everything finished?” “You must be kidding” flashed through my mind, well, those words in combination with other words.

Record keeping usually involves a bit more organization than Safeway paper bags. People wonder why the bill is so high. Hmmm. Hiring a good bookkeeper would be more efficient and less expensive than CPA rates.

If you have not organized your records, now is a good time to start. Actually, 13 months ago would have been the ideal time to start. We can not go in reverse, but starting now is wise.

QuickBooks Pro, Quicken, or Excel spreadsheets are a few suggestions for organizing your records electronically. Even a lined yellow tablet and lead pencil are better than the Safeway bag system.

Buy a box of manila folders and label each one. You can label by month or by type of item i.e. insurance, medical, miscellaneous, automobile, taxes. When you pay a bill, write the check number, date and amount paid on the bill and drop it in the folder.

If you are self employed, none of your business expenses will be deductible without proper records. Either keep proper records or shake in your boots and be prepared to write a big check if you are ever audited. IRS agents are not known for their lighthearted sense of humor. Another hint – IRS likes paper. The more specific proof and written records you can provide to the IRS, the happier they are. Excellent record keeping is not optional. Of course you could take your chances just as you do with the lottery.

The difference is that if you do not win the lottery, you simply do not win. If you gamble with IRS audits and lose, the IRS adds penalties and interest. Pay me now or pay me later takes on a life of its own.

Bottom line, keep detailed records and back each one up with lots of paperwork.

You have choices.

1. You may choose not to follow good accounting practices now and pay a huge sum to the CPA to prepare your taxes.

2. Ignore the entire issue and hope you never get caught. Be prepared for a roommate named Bubba in a barred room for which you do not have the liberty of self check out.

3. Hire a bookkeeper.

4. Keep organized records yourself.

You do have choices. If you would like specific, easy to follow organization tips and techniques to make 2010 easier than 2009, join me at www.Elaine4Succes.com. The Entrepreneur’s mentor makes your life easier and more profitable.