Welcome to Loot, the monthly newsletter for business rebels who don't play by old rules. Each month we deliver content you need to build a better business. Loot is easy-to-read, upbeat, and concise. 

----March 3, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 2----

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

The movie High Flying Bird revolves around rookie Erick Scott, a professional basketball player drafted by New York, but locked out by the owners before his first season starts. Ray, Erick’s agent, schools his client about money, business, life, and develops a strategy for his client to challenge the owners’ stranglehold on the game. 

This film is more about dialogue than sports action. In a memorable scene, a basketball coach says, “They put a game on top of the game.” Professional sports are big business. 

Director Steven Soderberghused shoot the film using an iPhone 8 and a budget of only $2 million. He secured a distribution deal with Netflix (the company that disrupted Blockbuster and surpassed HBO’s subscriber based). Is this the new template for a disruptive cadre of writers, directors, and filmmakers who are flipping the script on gatekeepers? Read more

Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money

Meet Nicole Peterkin, CEO of Peterkin Financial and a Certified Financial Planner. Nicole will write a column about how you can get the most out of your money to live your best life.  This month Nicole shows you how to put money away to pay your quarterly taxes. 

How to Avoid the Quarterly Trap of Tax Payments

With the tax filing deadlines around the corner (March 15 for Corporations and April 15 for individuals), this is the time of year where I hear the most panic from clients in both camps who for one reason or another owe money to the IRS.

The biggest thing I’ve noticed with my small business clients (or those who are commission based and drive their own book of business) is a struggle with keeping up with making quarterly estimated tax payments. One contributing factor is that the societal norm for both personal and business expenses is typically that these are paid monthly.

When virtually everything else is due once a month, paying an expense that is a relatively large as a percentage compared to most of one’s other monthly expenses and doing it once every three months can be overwhelming. Before you know it, some or all of the money that would have otherwise gone towards an estimated tax payment has been spent.

A solution I usually put forward to clients who get caught in this vicious cycle is to make their tax payments monthly instead. They have the quarterly tax vouchers so they know what they are expected to pay over the next year broken up quarterly. And they know their businesses.

Often, clients in business don’t know exactly what they’ll make month by month because there are multiple variables, but they know whether the month they just had was bad, good, or great and how much they can spare if anything. They also know whether the current month will be better and can budget accordingly.

Armed with this information, I usually suggest that if this was an average month, they log onto IRS.gov and make a payment equivalent to 1/3 of their quarterly tax bill (or a little more if they want to be safe feel like they can based on their expenses that month).

If the month was higher or lower than average, I suggest a proportional tax payment for the month as a percentage. Functioning this way takes a little more effort in the beginning, but it makes budgeting for your tax expense similar to budgeting for other regular expenses.

Psychologically, it’s just easier to make 3 payments of plus or minus $5,000 each month based on what is going on with your business revenue rather than to make one payment of $15,000, which may just happen to land at the end of a difficult revenue month.

Yes, yes, I know. It shouldn’t matter. Small business owners should have a cushion so that they can still pay their quarterly tax bills regardless of the kind of month their having, but in my experience it just doesn’t happen for the majority of my small business clients unless we either set things up this way or unless we segregate the tax money into a different account following Michael Michalowicz’ Profit First method.

Breaking up tax payments into smaller chunks and making the payments monthly or more frequently can help solve the problems of tax-time stress, underpayment penalties, and costly IRS repayment plans. 

One of the recommendations I hear most at tax time by my clients' accountants is to fund IRAs (SEP, SIMPLE, Traditional) to help reduce their tax burdens. Many times, if the money really isn’t there to pay the actual taxes, it is also difficult for the same individual to scrape up enough cash to make a meaningful pre-tax retirement contribution without digging into emergency savings, which I never recommend.

Building in a similar monthly strategy for retirement savings as a small business owner can also help with this issue or make it so that they can benefit from after tax contribution strategies that may help more long term with their future tax obligations. Ultimately, what is best for one entrepreneur may not be best for you which is why it’s important to work with your own financial planner and tax advisor to see what benefits you most from an overall financial perspective.

I hope what you take away from this piece is that there are always solutions that can feel much less painful and easier to implement with similar results if you look for them and have some guidance and accountability. 

Nicole Peterkin is the CEO of Peterkin Financial and author of the book If You Love Your Family, Save Like It

Business Capital 

There is no shortage of capital. Look at these options for your business:

  • FedEx launched its 7th annual Small Business Grant Competition. Enter by March 25th to compete for a grant of up to $50,000. Ten winners will walk away with prizes from $15,000 to $50,000. What have you got to lose? Visit the contest here
  • Get $10,000 from Wefunder. It’s an opportunity to raise an investment round from your families, friends and the public. Learn more here.
  • Chobani, the company that invented the Greek yogurt category in the U.S., will give you $25,000 and doesn’t want equity. Learn more about the Chobani Incubator
  • The bad news is that women are not getting their share of investment from venture capitalist. In fact, women founders received a paltry 2.2 percent of the $130 in venture dollars invested in the United States in 2018. However, women investors plan to turn lemons into lemonade by investing in women. Read this informative piece from the New York Times
  • If you have questions about capital, contact Anthony. 

 The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Chukwukere Ekeh is a marketing executive who helps organizations get the most out of their marketing. His personal mission statement is "to use my God-given abilitiesof encouragement and creativity to empower people to change the world."

Chukwukere will be a frequent contributor to show you how to get the most out of marketing. This month, Chukwukere writes a piece about how you can better utilize your marketing dollars and receive desired results. 

Getting 1 Million Views (A Conversation About Meaningful Marketing Metrics)

One million was an arbitrary number but it gets your attention. Much like when monitoring our marketing metrics we like a high number of views, visitors, likes, or followers because according to the law of averages it means greater conversation rates. Right? Wrong.

All going back to a simple but powerful marketing principle called “waste coverage”- this is when the reach of certain media exceeds the target audience. Simply put it’s when your marketing resources are being used on non-potential customers. Once you have identified your target audience you win by merely reaching them no matter how small or big – but anything that falls outside of those perimeters was useless. Even though us corporate marketers tend to write that all off in the name of "Brand Awareness".

So here are some quick tips and thoughts to make your marketing matter.

  1. When using influencers or analyzing your own presence on social media don’t just look for high follower counts make sure engagement on the platform whether it be likes, comments, etc. is also high and in ratio. Often you can find influencers who's numbers aren't crazy high in terms of followers but 85% of their content is seen or interacted with by their following which is noteworthy.
  2. If creating video content be sure to monitor viewer drop-off if the average viewer stops watching early on and rarely makes it to the end the content is either A. un-engaging or B. reaching the wrong people. Either way they are unlikely to be converted to a customer. 
  3. On your webpage watch the “bounce rate” which is the percentage of visitors who navigate away after only viewing a page. The higher this number means your website is unfriendly, unattractive, has poor landing pages, or the information isn't valuable which all leads to a similar end, that you are less likely to convert them to a customer.
  4. In attempts to garner some attention with content we sometimes tend to simply create "a diet of candy" which generally contains clickbait titles, tantalizing pictures, or silly videos. There is a time, place, and use for those things but also be sure you are creating some content that has substance, meaning, and purpose that aligns with your brand's values and mission.

So remember the goal is not simply to get the most traffic but always to give the most value to the target customers at a reasonable acquisition cost for your industry. Now go forward and market better.

Connect with Chukwukere Ekeh on LinkedIn. He is always up for meeting people and marketing talk. 

Tools: Boost Your Productivity. 

Get your calendar—and life—under control. You probably have a smartphone, desktop computer or other screen, and most likely you’re juggling several calendars between work and personal appointments. Get it all under control with one calendar.

Fantastical 2 will help you coordinate multiple calendars in one place. Popular Mechanics ranked the Fantastical 2 one of the 30 best iPhone apps to download now. Learn more here

 Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

The way you dress says much about you—clothes are a form of marketing. They communicate a visual message. Clothes are how we see the world and want to be seen. 

Spring is coming. Here are spring looks for both women and men.

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

Paul Jarvis toiled for twenty years as a one-person business. Over the years, he worked with Warner Music, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, and was featured in USA Today, Fast Company, and WIRED. His online courses have helped over 13,500 students.  

Paul earned his master’s the hard way, not as a freelancer exchanging time for money, but as a business satisfying customers one at a time. Operating a business is not easy, and doing anything well for a longtime commands respect. 

Along his journey, Paul learned much about creating a sustainable business. And now he has something to share with you in his magnum opus: Company of One.  

The book Company of One is a contrarian's message against the popular business mantra of growth at all cost. This growth message is ingrained in business but rarely questioned. We watch stock prices of public companies as if it is the national sport. 

But should we worship growth? Is growth always in the best interest of employees and the company? Paul takes on these questions from his unique perspective. 

Growth can be a curse when the focus moves from satisfying customers to arbitrary financial numbers that often reward wrong behaviors as opposed to continuously improving products and the customer experience. Paul asks, “What if you worked instead toward growing smaller, smarter, more efficient, and more resilient?” 

Paul seeks to “build better, not bigger, businesses.” In the book, he says, “Staying small doesn’t have to be a stepping-stone to something else or the result of a business failure—rather, it can be an end goal or a smart long-term strategy.” 

Company of One is a powerful message for a one-person business and a philosophy employees can use working for larger corporations. This book is an instant classic for any person making a living as a business or selling their skills in the marketplace. 

Next time you see your favorite business magazine with the hotshot of the moment on the cover, keep walking and do it your way. Read more about Company of One here.

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

Las Vegas had over 21,000 conventions and 42 million visitors in 2018. Read more here

Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think. 

“I love to continue to push the limits on who I am as a person.” – Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors. Read this inspiring piece about Kevin’s future plans.

Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

Irene Li, a young chef and co-owner with her two siblings of Mei Mei Street Kitchen (food truck catering business) and Mei Mei Restaurant in Boston, which serves up Chinese-American cuisine. She has been a five-time James Beard Foundation Rising Star Chef semi-finalist, a Zagat and Forbes 30 under 30 winner. Irene implemented open book management at Mei Mei. Read about how she taught her employees a greater appreciate for the costs of running a restaurant in Boston. Here’s her story

Last Words

  • Anthony Price appeared on the Small Business as Usual podcast with host Frederick Welk Jr, a business advisor at CEDF and host of the program. Listen to the program. 
  • Anthony will talk about crowdfunding at the Lunch & Learn at the MEWS + at 11:45 a.m. on March 14th. Later the same day, Anthony will read from his book at the Wesleyan RJ Julia Bookstore in Middletown on March 14that 7:00 p.m. 
  • Anthony will be at Barnes & Noble on March 23rd at 2:00 p.m. in Blue Back Square, West Hartford. He will give a presentation about raising capital and sign books. 
  • If you want to build a better business and find capital, Get the Loot and Run is the book to take your business to the next level. Invest in yourself by purchasing the book now. 
  • Our goal is to grow Loot to 10,000 subscribers. If this information is helpful, share it with a friend. Tell us how you shared it, and you could win a pair of super comfortable and fun Able Made socks that promote healthy and active living through youth soccer clinics in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut. Live Bold. Learn more here.

  • A special thank-you goes to Yvette Williams, the owner of The Esteemed Scribe. If you need editing services, contact Yvette.
     

 

----February 3, 2019, Vol 1, Issue 1----

 

Trailblazers: Entrepreneurs Pushing Boundaries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Steve Wozniak & Steve Jobs 

The world lost a Trailblazer on October 5, 2011, when Steve Jobs passed away. Jobs was different. He made his signature black turtleneck, worn jeans and running sneakers cool. His influence and accomplishments can’t be explained by mere technology, Pixar animated movies or retail. 

Jobs changed how we listen and purchase music at the iTunes Store, communicate with the iPhone, purchase apps from the App Store, get our work done on Macs, shop at an Apple store, get answers to questions at the Genius bar, watch Apple TV, and how people work in Apple’s new headquarters at 1 Apple Park Way in Cupertino, California. 

Jobs’ wisdom, knowledge, determination and persistence is a reminder that all the easy stuff is done. His influence lives on. Job’s message is we must do the difficult work to move the world forward. Here’s a quick read about Steve Jobs  

 Dollars: News About Capital and Your Money


Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square 

Young FinTech (finance technology) companies are fighting for what has been exclusively a bank’s turf: Small-business lending. Jack Dorsey is the co-founder and CEO of Twitter and founder and CEO of Square, a mobile payments business. Square, which was founded in 2009, revolutionized the way small businesses accept credit card transactions. When it introduced its white charge reader, it made the payment process simple and quick for small businesses. 

The company eliminated the need to buy expensive equipment, monthly contracts and high swipe fees. The revolution continues. Now Square is seeking a banking license to create products tailored to small businesses. Square’s march to become a bank is a natural evolution for a company focused on serving small businesses. Read more here

The Fixer: Improve Your Business. 

Entrepreneurs must have an in-depth knowledge of marketing. They often think it is only a company name, logo or Facebook ads. However, marketing is essential to your business health. Many businesses are missing a crucial opportunity to tell their unique store and separate them form the competition. Steve Jobs understand this and used marketing to tell Apple’s story. In one of his well-known marketing campaigns, he inspired us to Think Different. There’s the behind the scenes story how the marketing team wanted the slogan to be Think Differently, but Jobs fought back not to add the “ly”.  

In the video link below, Job says, “To me marketing is about values. This is a very complicated world. It’s a very noisy world. We’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us, no company is. And we have to be really clear on what we want them to know about us.” Watch it here  

Tools: Boost Your Productivity.



Tools have been around since before cavemen—and women. They help us get work done faster, easier, and with less effort. This week we focus on a tool that saves time. Go-To-Meeting is one of the best communication tools to get people together without them leaving their location—it saves millions of travel miles a year. This tool saves time, money and can boost productivity. 

As an entrepreneur, use Go-To-Meeting to schedule video conference calls or training sessions. Your meeting can be recorded, transcribed and saved to the cloud for viewing later on. If someone missed the meeting, they can watch it at a convenient time. Evaluate competing product offerings such as Zoom, Join Me, FreeConferenceCall.com and UberConference, before making your selection. Learn more here 

 Life: Wellness, Fashion and Gadgets for You. 

 

We are increasingly spending more time at work, whether it be at the office, Starbucks or at home, work never stops. Our on-the-go lives don’t allow us to take care of our minds, bodies and souls as well as we should, which can impact our ability to stay healthy and make a living. 

Poor eating habits can pack on pounds in no time. There are solutions to help you make better eating decisions and get your workout in daily. 

Health is the new wealth. One way to a healthier you is exercise. Don’t have time? Well, a rigorous workout only takes seven minutes. That’s right. The seven-minute workout is gaining in popularity. This workout consists of high intensity interval training (HIIT), which is strenuous cardio exercise at maximum capacity with minimal breaks between exercises. You get the benefits of a challenging workout in less time. Read about the 7-minute workout 

Bookmark: Must-read Books Making Noise. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The E Myth Revisted by Michael E. Gerber is one of the most important books in print for small-business owners. The E-Myth consist of two elements: 1) The E Myth is the entrepreneurial myth that most people who start a small business are entrepreneurs. 2) The fatal assumption that an individual who understands the technical work of a business can successfully run a business that does that technical work. 

This book teaches business owners how to create a system to build a business, like McDonald’s and other successful franchises. The system is the business. Read about it here  

Bitesize: Data Points You Need to Know. 

Numbers matter. Follow the data. The U.S. experiences a net gain of 1 person every 19 seconds and the population is expected to grow to 458 million by 2050. Read more here

 Hmmm: Interesting, Poignant or Funning Quotes to Make You Think

 

 Experts: People with a Unique Point of View. 

How organized a person, group or organization is speaks volumes. What does your workplace say about your business? What does your home indicate about you? If you have a hard time finding things, and the physical space is not the image you want to project to employees, customers, partners and guests, it may be time to get organized. Maria Kondo can help. Kondo wrote the bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. 

Her new show recently debuted on Netflix: Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. On the show, Kondo helps residents of cluttered homes organize their belongings—and lives. Her KonMari method trains people to ask themselves if an item “sparks joy” to determine whether or not to keep it. She is the decluttering guru that built a business out of her passion. Here’s her story

Last Words

Need capital? Get the Loot and Runis the authority on capital. Inside the book, you’ll find over 40 ways to raise capital along with wisdom to build a better business. Get your copy today, and I will sign it. Buy it now

Help us grow our newsletter to 10,000 subscribers. Share Loot with a friend. As a thank-you gift, each week we will pick a winner to receive a free pair of Able Made socks. Able Made is the sustainably sourced apparel brand that promotes healthy and active living through their partnership with a foundation that sponsors a youth soccer clinic in Boston and Hartford, Connecticut. Live Bold. Learn more here