Archive for April, 2010
Thursday, April 29th, 2010
Having good financial systems are key to the overall success of any business. Financial systems provide you with an overall picture of how your business is doing and where it is headed. It is absolutely essential to have this set up and running solidly right from the beginning. Below are a few key reports that you should have in place to properly manage your financials:
- Income Statement – An income statement shows income and expenses and will give you a picture of where you are making or losing money.
- Balance Sheet – A balance sheet provides a bigger overall picture and compares your assets and liabilities. This shows you your overall net worth.
- Operating Budget – This is a budget to project sales and expenses to be able to predict times where you may have cash shortfalls so that you can be prepared for them.
A good financial foundation also includes having the proper team in place. Your team may include a bookkeeper, a controller, a chief financial officer, and a business manager. You may decide to take on some of the roles yourself. If so, just make sure that you are qualified. It is important to know where your skills are and also where they aren’t.
Taking on debt or bringing in investors is another important part of your financial foundation. You should consult with your trusted advisor when you are considering taking on investors or acquiring new debt. There will be agreements that need to be created and reviewed and this is a time when you should definitely consult with your accountant and lawyer.
Having a good financial system in place can be tedious and time consuming, but avoiding an audit and getting approved for a loan are great rewards for your efforts.
Thursday, April 22nd, 2010
As a business owner I know you’ve put in hours of hard work and most likely invested a lot of money to get where you are today. Therefore, it is critical that you don’t neglect one of the most important pillars in your business foundation; business insurance.
Insuring your business isn’t quite as easy as insuring your car. Because your business is unique, you’ll need to design an insurance package that will provide a level of protection with which you’re comfortable.
There are so many types of insurance for businesses to consider:
- property insurance
- professional liability insurance
- disability insurance
- worker’s compensation insurance
- business interruption insurance
How are you supposed to know what type of coverage will give you the level of protection you need? Unless you devote hours and hours to learning about insurance, you probably can’t know. That is why it is important to have the right type of team to support you. As I mentioned before, you should have a relationship with an attorney before you need one. Putting together your business insurance package is tricky and making a mistake may mean that you pay legal fees to get you out of a situation that good insurance could have helped you avoid. So, be sure to consult with your attorney when making these critical choices. A good attorney will suggest that you work together with your insurance agent to put together exactly what you need to cover your interests without paying more for or carrying more insurance than you need.
Having the proper level of insurance is not just critical for the foundation for your business; it will help you sleep better at night.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
Been thinking a lot lately about the concept of a “trusted advisor” because I keep getting people in front of me who needed a trusted advisor, but something bad happened and now it’s too late.
I recently met with a family who had been burned. Big time. They knew that, as a young family with two small kids and a Stay-At-Home mom, they needed life insurance. Problem was, they didn’t know anything about life insurance or what they really needed. The person they turned to sold them life insurance that had a small death benefit and a huge premium. It was totally wrong for their needs. They sunk about $15,000 in to this life insurance and then had to stop, because they couldn’t make the huge monthly payments. (The dirty little secret? The kind of insurance he sold them gives the biggest commission to the insurance salesperson. He had to know that he was selling them the exact wrong thing… but he didn’t care, because he got a bigger paycheck out of it).
So that $15,000… gone. And now they have no life insurance at all, which is really scary.
Now they know they need an estate plan… but they have two obstacles. First, they have “trust” issues… they are scared to put their faith in a professional again, only to be sold a piece of cr*p that isn’t right for them by someone just out to take their money. Second, they can’t really afford it. They are living paycheck to paycheck and they spent most of their life savings on this bogus insurance.
What to do?
Well, first off, every family needs a trusted advisor that they can turn to, to get their legal and financial questions answered. Yes, that means you too! Luckily, these people have found me. And they can get to know me, so they can get comfortable that I’m the “real deal” before they put their faith in me. Second, well, because I am the real deal, I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is. I’m in this for the long-haul with my clients. And I know this planning is super important – more than you even know- and so we work with families to make it happen, even when you think you can’t afford it. Call me and we can talk more about it.
Friday, April 16th, 2010
Small Business Legal Audit Workshop
Do you have a business or a hobby? Having a solid legal foundation in your business is the difference between bumbling along, creating a business that is built on a house of cards and building a real business that does real business in the world. Many owners are losing out on tremendous opportunities for growth because they simply don’t want to pay attention to these important things.
The objectives for this workshop is that you will leave with an action plan for exactly what to do to set up, fix up, or shore up your business in order to have a rock solid legal foundation as the base of your business. We will explore the ins and outs of having a separate legal entity for your business; we will look at the various agreements you have in your business: with clients, vendors, and business partners; we will take a look at Employment Issues, Protecting Your Brand and Estate Planning for business owners. We will also be discussing the other three pillars of a successful business: having the right Insurance protection, solid Financial systems, and essential Tax strategies.
17542 E. 17th Street Suite 200
Tustin, CA 92780
April 20, 2010
12:00pm – 3:00pm
Cost: $45 members
Click here to register
Thursday, April 15th, 2010
In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.
For businesses, paying tax obligations is one area where there is almost no room for error. It is critical for you to understand what the IRS and your state requires to avoid problems. Audits can be very expensive. Not just due to potential penalties or additional taxes, but also the for countless hours of record-gathering and preparation that would be necessary. This is why it is critical to work with your trusted advisor to make sure you understand and meet your tax obligations right from the start.
There are four key areas of concern related to taxes:
1. Business Income – You may think you understand and can easily define your business income. However, you need to fully understand what the IRS refers to as “gross income.” Gross income may include goods, services, property, and bartering, as well as income from sales. Failure to report something that the IRS considers gross income can lead to additional taxes, interest, and penalties.
2. Employee Taxes – The issue here is mostly with businesses that have no employees. In this case, it is important to understand that you may be required to meet tax requirements for a self-employed individual and make quarterly estimated tax payments. Even if you are a sole proprietor, you may be considered both an employer and an employee, and the tax implications of this dual role can be complicated.
3. Business Deductions – There are many business deductions available for businesses. It is important that you understand what they are and what is required to use them. You certainly want to deduct everything possible, but you need to be very careful to not make mistakes or you are virtually inviting an audit.
4. Laws and Regulations – As you are probably aware, there is a new tax code every year. Both Federal and State rules change so frequently that it is nearly impossible for the average person to keep up with them. You business attorney will keep up with them and be able to let you know how they impact your business.
Having a good tax plan in place is critical to building a solid foundation for your business. Make sure that you partner with the right attorney to get this set right from the start.
Thursday, April 8th, 2010
As a business owner you will, at some point, need a lawyer. Not necessarily because you have a problem to deal with, either (although if something should happen it is nice to have someone you trust to turn to!). It is almost 100% guaranteed that if you own a business, one or more of these things will come up:
• You need to set up a business entity.
• You will need someone to look over and negotiate a lease
• You will need help preparing contracts.
• You will have issues with clients who do not pay.
• You may need to protect your intellectual property.
• You will have issues with employees.
• You will need help selling your business.
And this is just a short list of things that you may have to deal with. That is why it is important to develop a relationship with an attorney that you trust.
I’m no mind reader, but I can take a guess at what you are thinking right now.
“I’m just a small business owner and there’s no way I can afford a relationship with a lawyer.”
This is where you are wrong.
There are two issues about which I am passionate that continue to drive my practice:
1. Making sure parents name guardians for their children.
2. Making sure business owners have affordable access to a stellar attorney.
Why should good legal service only be available to large corporations?
The answer is, of course, “it shouldn’t.” High-quality legal services should be available to every business owner. And it is. You just need to find them.
Bottom line, developing a relationship with a lawyer before you need them will go a long way in ensuring your long-term success plus keep you out of situations that may cause big problems down the road. And, it’s easier and much more affordable than you may think.
Southern California Probate Attorney / Estate Planning Lawyer / Wills & Living Trusts Law Firm
Serving: Los Angeles, Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego & all of Southern California
The estate planning law firm of Morgan Law Group, apc serves all cities in Orange County, including: Aliso Viejo, Anaheim, Balboa Island, Brea, Buena Park, Capistrano Beach, Corona Del Mar, Costa Mesa, Coto de Caza, Cypress, Dana Point, as well as estate planning in Foothill Ravnch, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, and estate planning and probate in Los Angeles, Mission Viejo, Newport Beach, and estate planning and probate law firm information in Orange, OC, Placentia, Rancho San Margarita, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Seal Beach, Tustin, Villa Park, Westminster, and Yorba Linda.