Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Grappling with demons

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     Demons are common in movies. Demons show up in fantastic shapes and sizes--all for the sake of entertainment.

     Demons in business are not entertaining. You grapple with them every day. They take up lots of your time, and you must prepare for the unexpected visit.

     Example: Don is a computer whiz. He helps people in business solve the computer problems that plague them. He does new set-ups, networking, back-ups, social media connectivity, and he trains his clients' employees. Don's business experienced ups and downs with cash flow--until he began selling his clients on the value of monthly retainers. Clients now pay a set amount every month to have his services always available and he is always on call. His cash flow demon is now caged.

     Example: Dawn used to run a pet grooming service. She set up the business in her garage and ran it successfully for several years. Then a demon appeared. A dog being groomed died on the table. The owner sued. Dawn had no insurance and she had never registered her business or incorporated. Incorporating a small business is very easy and quick these days. It puts a wall of separation between the business and the owner's assets. Today, Dawn is out of business and she is struggling to save her home because of the lawsuit. She could have protected herself against this demon by incorporating her business. 

     Example: Oscar is a hypnotherapist. He has private clients and he runs sessions for people wanting to lose weight. Some of these clients pay with cash. Oscar got into the bad habit of pocketing the cash and never declaring it on his tax returns. This went on for several years. Then the IRS came calling, wanting to do an audit. They wanted to see his records, including the lists of attendees at his sessions. When these records were matched with Oscar's tax returns, a discrepancy was found. He now owes the IRS a large sum of back tax liabilities, together with interest and a fine. The IRS demon is not one to mess around with--feed it properly to keep it at bay. 

     All sorts of demons can show up at your door when you are in business. It's not just lawsuits and tax problems. Regulations and technology can breathe down your neck as well. 

     Business is a lot of things. You worry about day-to-day operations, suppliers, customers, the changing market--the list is almost endless. Don't neglect giving some thought to the demons that can hound you.   

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