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Steps to valuing an estate

FOUR STEPS TO VALUING AN ESTATE

Determining the value of an estate is a fundamental first step in estate management and a critical requirement for settling a decedent’s estate.¹

How to Assess the Value of an Estate

Select the date of calculation. Because values move up and down, you need to set a specific date for a valuation. For a living person, you are free to pick any date. If you’re assessing the value of a decedent’s estate, you may choose either the date of death, or the date six months after death (the “alternate valuation date”). If you use the alternate valuation date, any asset sold or distributed during the first six months following the death must be valued as of the date of sale or distribution.²

Determine the assets comprising the estate. This asset list should include everything an individual owns or has ownership interests in.
Gather all financial statements as of the date of calculation. If an account is owned individually, the entire value should be calculated in the estate. If owned jointly with a spouse with rights of survivorship, then 50 percent of the value should be included. Remember to;
Deduct any outstanding mortgage balance, and
Include life insurance when the policy owner is the deceased individual or the beneficiary is the decedent’s estate.³

Calculate deductions. Subtract any debts from the total value of assets. For the decedent this may also include any regular bills that may be due (e.g., utilities, medical expenses, etc.), charitable gifts, and state tax obligations.
Assessing the precise value of an estate can be complicated, especially when settling an estate. Please consult a professional with estate expertise regarding your individual situation.

The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The article assumes the deceased has a valid will and has named an executor who is responsible for carrying out the directions of the will. If a person dies intestate, it means that a valid will has not been executed. Without a valid will, a person’s property will be distributed to the heirs as defined by the state law.

Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by Exceedia Consulting Ltd to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 Exceedia Consulting Ltd.

The most overlooked item of any home improvement

If you are like most homeowners, you love selecting the fixtures, fabrics, and paint colors of your home improvement project. But there is one very important item that you may overlook—making certain you are properly insured.

Why Proper Property & Casualty Insurance Matters

You may need to review your insurance before beginning any home improvement project since it can expose you to additional financial risks.

If you choose to act as your own general contractor (in other words, you organize and order supplies while hiring sub-contractors to do the work), you may be opening up yourself to additional liability (such as an injury to a worker or third party) that may not be fully covered by your current homeowners insurance policy.¹

Whether it’s an extra room or an updated bathroom, many home improvement projects will increase the value of your home. However, too many homeowners fail to review the policy’s replacement value limits, which may no longer be high enough to cover any losses that occur after your home improvement.

Obtaining additional coverage shouldn’t wait until you’ve completed the remodelling. After all, at any point in the process, you will have supplies and completed work that may not be covered under your existing policy.

To ensure that you are properly covered, meet with your insurance agent about your projects and discuss with him or her any need for modifying your current insurance coverage.

The information in this material is not intended as legal advice. Please consult legal or insurance professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. Exceedia Consulting Ltd is not licensed to offer General Insurance. This material was developed and produced by Exceedia Consulting Ltd to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed, and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 Exceedia Consulting Ltd

Lesser known investment risks

Lesser known investment risks

THE INVESTMENT RISKS NO ONE’S EVER HEARD OF

Knowledgeable investors are aware that investing in the capital markets presents any number of risks—interest-rate risk, company risk, and market risk. Risk is an inseparable companion to the potential for long-term growth. Some of the investment risks we face can be mitigated through diversification.¹

As an investor, you face another, less-known risk for which the market does not compensate you, nor can it be easily reduced through diversification. Yet it may be the biggest challenge to the sustainability of your retirement income.

This risk is called the sequence of returns risk.

The sequence of returns risk refers to the uncertainty of the order of returns an investor will receive over an extended period of time. As Milton Friedman once observed, you should, “Never try to walk across a river just because it has an average depth of four feet.”²

Sequence of Returns

Mr. Freidman’s point was that averages may hide dangerous possibilities. This is especially true with the stock market. You may be comfortable that the market will deliver its historical average return over the long-term, but you can never know when you will be receiving the varying positive and negative returns that comprise the average. The order in which you receive these returns can make a big difference.

For instance, a hypothetical market decline of 30% is not to be unexpected. However, would you rather experience this decline when you have relatively small retirement savings, or at the moment you are ready to retire — when your savings may never be more valuable? Without a doubt, the former scenario is preferable, but the timing of that large potential decline is out of your control.

Timing, Timing, Timing

The sequence of returns risk is especially problematic while you are in retirement. Down years, in combination with portfolio withdrawals taken to provide retirement income, have the potential to seriously damage the ability of your savings to recover sufficiently, even as the markets fully rebound.

If you are nearing retirement, or already in retirement, it’s time to give serious consideration to the “sequence of returns risk” and ask questions about how you can better manage your portfolio.

Diversification is an approach to help manage investment risk. It does not eliminate the risk of loss if security prices decline.

Quotefancy.com, 2017

Have questions about this topic? Reach out to our knowledgeable advisors at Exceedia Consulting Ltd to help understand how these risks can impact your retirement strategy.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by Exceedia Consulting Ltd to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed, and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 Exceedia Consulting Ltd.

Monitor your household finances with monthly meetings

Communication is the process through which we transfer information to each other. Although modern forms of communication have increased (emails, texts, letters, social media), connecting with each other is still at the foundation of our humanity. We just have to talk.

Family communication, in particular, melds us together in profound and lasting ways. Without it, the family would inevitably disintegrate.

Communications simple secrets.
Effective family communication requires every member to pay attention to what others are saying, how they’re saying it, and to identify the feelings behind words and gestures. Genuine listening is the most overlooked aspect of good communication. It’s the part that makes communication two-way.

Talking about money.
Every household has a budget of sorts. It may be a rigid, tightly structured, highly detailed plan or a more carefree, open-ended, and vague financial construct that gets little oversight or review. Or, more likely, it’s something somewhere in between. While budgets or financial strategies are often assembled based on personalities and preferences, they do require mutual input from family members.
An appropriate division of labor that designates who manages the budget or who pays the bills is important. But an arrangement where one partner or family member oversees the finances while the others are kept in the dark is unproductive and unhealthy.

Communication (and consensus) is necessary to bring vitality and direction to families and finances.
While simply discussing family finances is good, budget meetings become even more effective when they’re done with regularity. Holding monthly (or more frequent) meetings will help coalesce your visions and shape the goals of your family.

Here are nine steps for a successful family financial meeting:

1. Schedule it. Put the meeting on your calendar. It should not be spontaneous. Hold it at a mutually convenient and appropriate time.

2. Set the timer. You’re not running a marathon or a congressional hearing. Make it short—30 minutes or so—and sweet.

3. Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV. Put your phone away. Make sure the chores are done. Make your meeting an investment of time.

4. Include some delicious distractions. We’re talking snacks, which make meetings more enticing.

5. Go prepared. Bring pens, papers, or whatever other tools you’ll need to develop and monitor your family budget and finances. You can use online budgeting tools or apps.

6. Order in the court. Or the budget meeting. Follow a progressive meeting plan, such as listing income first. Then proceed by dividing and segmenting money into individual categories: donations, utilities, debt, fun stuff.

7. Allow for objections. You’re trying to create a team plan to financial management. You may have other priorities and preferences than other participants in the meetings. Discuss them and reach an agreement. Find ways to compromise.

8. Watch the clock. If you’re having trouble or facing challenges, consider addressing contentious matters at another meeting. Stick to your allotted time.

9. Rules of engagement. Budgets are wonderful tools to reach your goal, but without a way to track spending, it’s just a piece of paper or online platform. Put your budget to work for you by making sure you plug in income and spending numbers regularly and consistently

If you would like to discuss your current financial plans or budgeting strategies, we’re happy to talk.

Exceedia.

Because things worth building are worth protecting.

How to fund a startup

You have a great concept. You’ve developed your business plan. Everything is set, except for one thing.

Funding Your Startup

There are several ways to fund a start-up that involve varying degrees of risk and effort. When choosing a path, it is important to know your options and evaluate which one is most suited to your needs and tolerance for risk.

To help you get started, here are eight possible sources of capital to fund a start-up business.

1. Fund It Yourself

Most start-ups, at least in the beginning, are self-financed. This may involve using your savings, borrowing against a retirement account, or taking out a home-equity loan. This is a good thing if your venture succeeds, as you retain all of the ownership. But if things don’t go so well, you must consider and weigh the risks you’re taking.

2. Friends and Family

People closest to you may be a good source of initial start-up funding. After all, they already know you, your background, and your integrity. They may be less concerned about your business plan and more willing to invest or lend based on the strength of your character.

But there are risks that are different than from other funding sources. Personal relationships can be at stake if problems or misunderstandings arise.

3. Initiate a Crowd-Funding Campaign

In crowd-funding campaigns on sites like Kickstarter, anyone can make online pledges to help fund your start-up. This usually involves pre-ordering a product, or receiving rewards. This is an innovative way to fund a smaller start-up.

4. Join a Start-up Incubator Group

What is an incubator group? An incubator group is a start-up accelerator often associated with universities or large organizations. Their purpose is to spur innovation. Most provide access to resources such as office space, but some also provide seed funding.

5. Apply for a Small Business Grant

There are lots of untapped government grants out there. Seek them out and you could potentially walk away with a safe and reliable source of money for your start-up.

6. Apply for a Line of Credit or Loan

If your tolerance for risk is low, talk to your bank or credit union about applying for a low-fee line of credit or personal loan. Your banker may also be able to help you with an SBA loan.

Keep in mind, though, you will have to make monthly payments right off the bat.

7. Seek Help from Angel Investors

Most cities have groups of high-net-worth individuals who are looking to invest in interesting business opportunities in their communities. If you’ve seen the television program, “Shark Tank,” these are examples of angel investors. They often want to see at least some track record of success, but some will entertain start-ups. The downside is that you may be giving up a considerable stake—often 10 to 50 percent—of your company for the ange funding. On the other hand, you may gain valuable expertise and contacts from someone who is motivated to help your venture succeed.

8. Go After Venture Capital Investors

Venture capital investors are professional investors who look for big ideas. For the majority of new start-ups, this isn’t a viable alternative, as VCs fund only about one or two percent of all business plans they review. But for those with the right combination of concept and team resumes – usually worth a few million dollars and supported by a team of proven individuals – they can be a great resource. VCs can scale capital needs quickly for fast-growing companies.

The Myth of the 5 Year Entrepreneur

I see many people who are new to the self-employed world who have been told by their “upline” that if they work hard for 5 years, they will be wealthy and they won’t have to work anymore. The MLM mantra, “work hard for a few years doing what others don’t want to do and then you’ll have the life only others dream of” is ridiculous.

In reality, your business BEGINS after 5 years (if you can make it past survival phase). The first five years are merely the FOUNDATION of your business. You are learning how to survive before you can learn to thrive.

Many “overnight” successes are ten years in the making before they are even acknowledged to exist.

“Entrepreneur” is not a career. It’s not some five year degree that creates magical wealth. It is sweat equity. It can be working for FAR below minimum wage while you try to cover your expenses for your staff. Capital… so much capital is needed. Time. It is repeated sacrifices and hundreds of hours at the office long after everyone else has gone home. It is learning how to do something important when your time is stretched enough.

It’s learning that your friends and family don’t want you to fail but they also don’t want to be your customer. It’s the criticisms of your failings as a parent, a spouse, a friend when you just don’t have enough time to appease everyone. It’s the myth of a balanced life when one doesn’t exist.

It is being on the edge of success while you trip repeatedly into the chasm of failure. It’s knowing when to close one door so you can open a new one. It’s deciding how long to fight before you throw in the towel. It’s the embarrassment/disappointment you face when your timelines were too short and resources too low. It’s the arguments you have with yourself about the choices you should make and more sacrifices being demanded of you.

Entrepreneurship is a calling, not a job. It is an effect not a cause. You can be self-employed and not be an entrepreneur, and you can be an employee of a company and be entrepreneurial.

Success? As an entrepreneur success is not defined purely by money because each milestone is merely a checkpoint. There is an innate hunger to continue to grow, explore, learn, increase efficiency, expand. There is a thirst to find more puzzles to solve.

People will chastise you for chasing money but they don’t see that money is just a by-product of chasing your passions, your dreams, your sense of purpose.

“Every hardship is an opportunity to level up.”

Don’t be fooled by the promise of a short journey to wealth. Don’t be seduced by the illusion of residual income without any effort. But for those of us who pursue this path with eyes and hearts (and wallets!) wide open, we may find the journey will change the trajectory of our destiny forever.

5 Tips to Maximize Meetings

5 Tips to Maximize Meetings

Meetings are an essential part of every organization. Whether they’re team check-ins or department updates, the routine meetings held every week or every month are the hardest to get fired up about. Engaging, productive, and valuable meetings require a clear goal, open dialog, as well as a strong leader to manage the meeting effectively.

Meetings can be efficient and effective. Otherwise, why would more than 11 million meetings take place every business day in the US alone?

The problem is many of them aren’t as productive as they should be.

If you find that your meetings aren’t achieving what they should, here are five things you can do to get better results in half the time.

1. Set the Goal or Purpose of the Meeting

Unfortunately, many meetings don’t have a clear purpose. Not only should every meeting have a stated purpose, but you should be concise enough to tweet.

Note that this key point reads “purpose.” Too many meetings try to accomplish too many things. There may be various topics, but the meeting should always have a single purpose.

Often, the purpose of the meeting is something that doesn’t require a meeting at all. Perhaps an email will suffice.

Make sure to state the purpose of the meeting in the invitation, and again verbally at the start of the meeting. This way, everyone knows why they’re there and where their focus should be directed.

2. Invite Only the Relevant Stakeholders

Far too many meetings involve people who aren’t essential to the purpose or outcome of the meeting. Think of every potential invitee as someone you are “hiring” for this particular event. Is their time more valuable in the meeting or is it better spent working on something else?

If the meeting involves decisions, then invite only those who have a key role in the decision-making process.

Again, this goes back to the purpose. Keep the achievement of that purpose clearly in mind and let it drive these decisions.

3. Prepare an Agenda and Schedule

Don’t schedule a meeting unless you have an agenda and a time schedule. Otherwise you risk wasting time.

Using a visual meeting agenda is a proven method for planning, conducting, and tracking meeting progress.

It’s a good idea to share this visual agenda with all attendees in advance of the meeting. Map out discussion topics and decisions to be made.

Stick to the agenda. Any sidebar discussions should be taken offline and discussed later. Keep discussions on track and focused on the meeting’s purpose.

4. Get Productive Input

A meeting is designed for open communication, so it is critical to get honest input from those attending. It’s the responsibility of the meeting leader to make sure everyone is heard. To encourage open discussion, avoid wearing your opinion on your sleeve—it is quite easy for a leader to stifle a discussion if everyone assumes that the outcome is already determined.

Make sure that key ideas and decisions are written down. Do this visually, so that everyone can see the developments as they occur. The leader of the meeting or someone else should be designated to do this. Why is this important? Because everyone in the room (or online) can see what’s being logged. It limits miscommunication and misunderstanding and promotes accountability.

5. Close with a Plan of Action

Conclude the meeting by briefly summarizing the decisions and outcome. Make sure that the purpose of the meeting has been achieved.

Follow up with a written meeting brief. Make sure that decisions and action items are added to the agenda map. Share it in your meeting brief.

If a follow-up meeting is necessary, this document now serves as a starting point, so time won’t be wasted back-tracking on things already covered.

Six Reasons Why Companies Lose Their Best Employees

Six Reasons Why Companies Lose Their Best Employees

Ask the leaders of almost any successful organization and they’ll tell you that their key employees are among their most valued assets.

Unfortunately, many of them will leave. All too often, the reasons for their departure are avoidable.

Here are some reasons why companies lose their best employees and what can be done—today—to help you reduce the risk of it happening to you.

6 reasons companies lose employees

1. Lack of a Clear Vision

Employees want to feel passionate and excited about the business they work for. A clear and well-communicated vision is imperative. If an organization fails to communicate its goals employees can soon lose drive and direction. If there is an absence of vision, people may look for inspiration in a different organization.

2. The Performance Review Fallacy

Valuable employees want to know that they are valued. They want to know that their efforts are worthwhile. And if they aren’t doing something correctly, they’d like to know that, too. Yet, all too often, employees feel that they are left in the dark on these issues. Then they get hit with something surprising at the annual performance review.

Let’s face it: the annual performance review is a thing of the past, and it’s time to throw it on the junk heap of history. Good managers are good communicators. They constantly solicit the opinions of their staff and are open with feedback. This isn’t just good management; it’s also good personal conduct that shows people you care about them.

If you do need to continue having annual performance reviews, then you should have one goal at every review you conduct: there should never, ever, be anything in the review that is a surprise to the employee.

3. Tailoring Talent to Tasks

One of the ways to ensure key employees stick around is to make sure they are happy in their work. A key to happiness is to have them working on projects which match their talents and their desires. Many times, people are viewed a merely a resource (does the term “human resources” ring a bell?) that is slotted into a project slot based on availability. Over the long term, this can lead to job dissatisfaction. Part of the ongoing dialogue with your employees should focus on whether both parties feel their talents are being put to best use.

4. Letting Work Infringe on Personal Time

Work fatigue is becoming a bigger issue for many white-collar workers, especially with technological advances. Sometimes, workers may feel that it is not enough to put in eight or more hours at the office. They are then subjected to work-related phone calls or emails at night and even on weekends. Or they must take business trips in which flights are made on weekend days without any PTO days given to offset them. Keeping people happy and productive is easier when they are given ample time to relax and get away from work.

5. Only Giving Negative Feedback

It’s easy to be critical when people make mistakes. In fact, it’s good management to reprimand unwanted behavior as soon as possible. But this can’t be the only feedback people receive, or they’ll become unhappy. Make sure that positive feedback is also given. Some simple feedback rules:

Negative feedback should be given immediately and in private. Positive feedback can be given any time, preferably while the news is still relatively fresh, and in public.

6. Lies, Lies, Lies

This should really be listed as item number one. No one wants to be lied to, but organizations frequently lie to their people. According to Dominque Rodgers, contributing author at Monster.com, here are three big ones:

  • “We promote work-life balance.” See item number 4. If you are requiring people to work long hours, take work home, and lose sleep over ridiculous scheduling, you aren’t promoting work-life balance.
  • “If we do as well as we project, everyone will receive an annual bonus.” Dangling a carrot as an incentive is one thing, but if no one ever gets to taste it, there will be animosity. Don’t promise, or even dangle, what you don’t reasonably expect to deliver.
  • “We will give you an opportunity to advance your career in our company.” Unless you can lay out specific goals, milestones, and rewards, it’s best not to offer vague promises such as this.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by Exceedia Consulting Ltd provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 Exceedia Consulting Ltd
Pay Yourself First

Pay Yourself First

Each month you settle down to pay bills. You pay your mortgage lender. You pay the electric company. You pay the trash collector. But do you pay yourself? One of the most basic tenets of sound investing involves the simple habit of “paying yourself first,” in other words, making the first payment of each month into your savings account.

Canadians’ saving patterns vary widely. And too often, short-term economic trends can interrupt long-term savings programs.

The Genius of Pay Yourself First

Anyone who’s ever managed their own finances knows that saving can be a challenge. There seems to be an endless stream of expenses that demand a piece of each month’s paycheck. Herein lies the genius of paying yourself first: you get the cream at the top of the bucket, and not the leftovers at the bottom.

The trick is to prioritize. Make it a point to put your future first. At first, saving may mean a small lifestyle change. But most individuals want to see their net worth increase steadily. For them, finding ways to save becomes more of a long-term commitment than a short-term challenge.

Putting Your Money to Work

What will you do with the money you save?

If retirement is your priority, consider taking advantage of tax-advantaged investments. Employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as pensions and RRSPs, can be a great way to save because the money comes out of your paycheck before you even see it. Also, as an added incentive, some employers offer to match a percentage of your contributions.

For money you may want to access before retirement, consider placing the funds in a separate account. When the balance hits your target, you may want to move the money into investments that offer the potential for higher returns. Of course, this may mean exposing your money to more volatility, so you’ll want to choose vehicles that fit your risk tolerance, time horizon, and long-term goals.

In the pursuit of growing wealth, sound habits can be your most valuable asset. Develop the habit of “paying yourself first” today. The sooner you begin, the more potential your savings may have to grow.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by Exceedia Consulting Ltd provide information on a topic that may be of interest. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright 2018 Exceedia Consulting Ltd

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy

Being an Entrepreneur Isn’t Easy

Raising money can be humbling. Really humbling. None of us likes being told our baby is ugly…..again and again and again. “Come back when you have two years of financials… it’s  great idea, but call us once you have established sales…”

B2B sales are humbling….and take longer than you can imagine. No, your phone calls aren’t returned as quickly as when you worked in your big company job. You expect that. The more interesting insight to me has been how often people try to be nice and end up stringing you along. They don’t recognize that a “fast no” is ok; it’s the “slow no” that kills you.

And even a “slow yes” can put you out of business. I worked with one guy at a big bank who loved a start-up so much…and encouraged them so much…that the start-up ran out of money and shut its doors as all of the approvals for doing business with them were working their way through the system.

So sometimes a “fast no” can even trump a “slow yes.”

Hiring people is hard. Hiring people is always hard. But at a start-up, the stakes are so much higher. That’s in part because there are simply fewer people, so one has to be more thoughtful about making sure there aren’t any holes in the start-up team’s skillsets (and that includes filling in the founder’s “flat sides”). That’s why, for me, team diversity is so important.

And is it just me?  Because I’ve found, amongst entrepreneurs, some of the most talented people I’ve ever worked with, by good measure; they love the rush of entrepreneurialism and would never thrive in the constraints of a big company.

And then there have been some others. I’ve come across a couple of screamers. By that I mean, people who scream. At work. A lot. The screamers are filtered out of big companies pretty quickly. So watch for people who’ve bounced around a lot, and particularly watch for people who receive less-than-effusive recommendations. And always, always do back-channel reference checks. I once hired someone from a bank who never showed up for work and when asked for his accountability, decided to have a 45 minute screaming match in front of the staff.

Hiring people is hard, Part 2. If you come from a corporate background, many of your contacts won’t fit your job descriptions and needs: the jobs pay less cash than what big company folks are making, the jobs may be broader than what they are doing , and parts of the jobs can be more junior. Everyone wants to be part of the startup once it’s successful, but few can stomach the beginning of the journey.

And everybody’s a critic. If your idea is truly innovative, you’re going to hear from the naysayers. After all, if it were such a good idea, someone would have already done it, right? I was told that a financial advisor doesn’t need all this vision and planning – go sell to anyone and everyone.  Many people didn’t understand my need to build something bigger than what was in front of me.

Oh, and it’s terrifying. Something I never thought about in my job: cash flow. When your business has billions of dollars in revenue, you can make a lot of mistakes and still have a viable business. But in a start-up, make a few hiring mistakes (it takes several months to find the right person, a couple of months to figure out they’re not the right person, a couple of more months when you try to coach them and give them the opportunity to become the right person, then another couple of months after you part ways to find the next right person)….oh, and the work they’re supposed to be doing doesn’t get done in that period of time….well, do that a few times and you’re out of money.

How about business partners who enjoy the title but don’t enjoy sharing the expenses?  When you all sign personal guarantees on a lease but they refuse to contribute to the expenses and you worry about losing your home? When you spend more money at the lawyer’s office trying to remove them from the company than their financial contribution to start the business?

Being an entrepreneur is the only time in my career that I’ve lost sleep (and I don’t need much sleep to start with!).

There is a lot of paperwork…and taxes….and regulations…. I can’t tell you the number of people who tell me they slipped up on some of the paperwork needed for their company. It’s one of the no-fun parts of being an entrepreneur that nobody talks about. Wonder why I’m at the office from 9am to 2am? Trying to figure out liability and compliance procedures.

You can’t coast. You know those days at the office when you used to come in and didn’t really do that much? You don’t have those days as entrepreneur. If you don’t do much, then not much happens. And remember what I said about cash flow? Yeah….that.

This last paragraph is the one in which I am supposed to say that, even with all of this, I wouldn’t trade being an entrepreneur for anything. And, for me, this is right. But the failure rate for entrepreneurs is high, so I have to be very, very honest with myself about my, and my family’s, willingness to take on this professional risk. This risk isn’t always financial – without the support of your family, you can end up losing the thing you are building this for.

I started Exceedia Consulting Ltd because we wanted to help micro-entrepreneurs and small businesses grow and develop together… to soften the risk, share our wisdom and most of all, to be a support to each other in the hard times while celebrating our small wins along the way

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