Book Club #23: Tribe of Mentors, by Tim Ferriss

Tribe of Mentors, by Tim FerrissTim Ferriss is most known for his bestselling The Four Hour Work Week, but most recently has been compiling books that have been enabled by his top-rated podcast. The newest one is Tribe of Mentors, which has the subtitle of “Short Life Advice from the Best in the World.” At almost 600 pages, the book is not meant to be read straight through, but in 4-5 page increments as you peruse the answers to a set of questions Tim posed to one hundred different high achievers.

The Questions

Not every person answers every question listed below, and some bend and re-frame the question to go down a more interesting path, but to give you a frame of reference, here they are:

  • What is the book (or books) you’ve given most as a gift, and why? Or what are one to three books that have greatly influenced your life?
  • What purchase of $100 or less has most positively impacted your life in the last six months (or in recent memory)? 
  • How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favorite failure” of yours?
  • If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why? It could be a few words or a paragraph. 
  • What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? (Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.)
  • What is an unusual habit or an absurd thing that you love?
  • In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?
  • What advice would you give to a smart, driven college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?
  • What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
  • In the last five years, what have you become better at saying ‘no’ to?
  • When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do? (If helpful: What questions do you ask yourself?)

The Answers

We obviously can’t go through all the many answers that were given in the book, but here are a few.

On Advice to Recent Grads

Developer of “smart contracts” and the precursor to Bitcoin, Bit Gold, Nick Szabo offers the following: “The less you need positive feedback on your ideas, the more original design regions you can explore, and the more creative and, in the long term, useful to society you will be.” Unlike the “plastics!” advice of previous generations, this challenges those coming up in society to be willing to take more risks.

Ben Silbermann, CEO and co-founder of Pinterest, adds: “I feel like a lot of people in Silicon Valley serialize their lives. They think, ‘First I’ll do college. Then I’ll do a startup. Then I’ll make money. Then I’ll do X.’ There’s some truth in that approach, but most of the most important stuff has to be parallel-processed, like your relationships and your health, because you can’t make up the time by doing more of it later. You can’t neglect your wife for four years and then say, ‘Okay, now it’s my wife years.’

Relationships don’t work that way, and neither does your health or your fitness…Figuring out a system, so that the stuff you need to do all the time happens, even while you might be placing disproportionate focus on one thing, is pretty important. Otherwise, you’ll be setting yourself up to be lonely and unhealthy in your future.”

On New Beliefs

Arianna Huffington became more intentional with her time: “Before, I separated time into work time and non-work time, and I always wanted to maximize work time. Now I realize that you can’t separate the two — time spent taking breaks, taking a walk, unplugging, meditating — that’s all work time, too, in the sense that time spent unplugging and recharging makes me better, more effective, and happier in my work and in my life.” 

Saying No

Josh Waitzkin, a chess prodigy whose life was the basis for the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, has an extreme take on saying “no” more often: “I say no to just about everything public. I say no to more than 99 percent of professional opportunities that people approach me with.” This is echoed by tech founder Muneeb Ali later in the book: “External meetings should be initiated by me…and not initiated by others.” Now, not all of us are as busy as these people might be, but surely we could audit how and where we are spending our time to be of greater personal benefit to ourselves and those we love.

Regaining Focus when Overwhelmed

Maria Sharapova shared a quote of Hal Boyle’s to help her when she’s feeling lost or unfocused: “What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt – it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.”  

Of course there are literally hundreds more answers in the book, and if you’d like to listen to some of them free, you can check some of them out in the short audio series Tim released just for the book

In the meantime, it might be a fun exercise to do these questions yourself and share them with your friends and colleagues.  You’ll learn plenty about yourself and them in doing so.

Paycheck Protection Program: The Latest

PPP Loans UpdateSome time ago, we noted that funds were going to be available for small businesses and in the intervening weeks the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) story has developed significantly. We wanted to give you some updates, as well as encourage you to apply if you need to, as there is still money available after an originally botched launch.

First Round: $349 Billion

Government isn’t ordinarily known for efficient launches of large scale programs, so we shouldn’t have expected anything different in stressful circumstances. Some of the lowlights included:

  • The funds ran out in 13 days.
  • Many small businesses were only able to apply one week after the program opened.
  • Some very large companies with significant financial resources, like Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris, and you can’t make it up, the Los Angeles Lakers, received loans. After massive public backlash, they all returned the money, though we suspect that they wouldn’t have if no one had found out.

It was a banner day for the banks, who netted 10 billion dollars in fees alone, and all for underwriting SBA-guaranteed loans, which means almost no risk.

Second Round: $321 Billion

Alas, the website crashed the day the second pot of funding was made available. After enough complaints, banks with under $1B in assets were given some windows to apply (unsurprisingly, the largest banks had been getting preferential treatment). After the blowback from the first round, there are still some clouds hanging over this round of funding:

  • Secretary Mnuchin noted that all loans over $2M will be audited, but didn’t say who would be doing that auditing. Banks? The SBA?
  • Treasury did provide guidance on how loans could be forgiven:
    • Loan proceeds must cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs over the eight week period after the loan is made.
    • Employee and compensation levels must be maintained.
  • But it didn’t give guidance as to how the retained portion of the loan would be categorized on a balance sheet.
  • The IRS managed to mobilize in time to let us know that expenses normally deductible would not be so if they were used to trigger forgiveness of a loan.
  • But the IRS hasn’t given guidance on how a forgiven loan amount will be dealt with either, but knowing the IRS, they won’t have our interests at heart.
  • Thankfully a non-government agency, the American Institute of CPAs, has put together a helpful guide to help you track and calculate your path to PPP loan forgiveness.

There haven’t been the absurd cases (like the Lakers) in this round, but what seems to be clear is that without guidelines, loans are not merely being given for rescue. Some companies are taking the loans to fund growth. It could be argued that the intention of the funds was to rescue small businesses that were on the verge of going under, but there doesn’t seem to be restrictions in the funding policy requiring clear proof of that, and given the current business atmosphere, there doesn’t really seem to be a moral problem with making sure your business survives during a time which may be tough on many.

Our Recommendation

As of the time of this article, there’s still more than $100M available in funding. As we’ve said previously, our long-term outlook for the economy, not just in the US, but worldwide, is positive. We also think that political circumstances are such that decisions concerning the finer points we’ve highlighted above are likely to go the way of small business owners.

We encourage small business owners who think they could put this funding to good use, even if not in immediate danger of going out of business, to give their bankers a call to see if it makes sense to apply. If you’re one of the many business owners unhappy with their banking relationship, give us a call. We’ve got some solid names to share with you.

Don’t Panic: Business Buying and Selling in the Age of COVID-19

Don't PanicSome time ago we wrote about adjustments you could make proactively in your business as COVID-19 started to make larger waves in the global economy. As the crisis grows and lingers, dynamics necessarily change for both buyers and sellers in the marketplace. What we continue to tell our clients here at Apex is: don’t panic. Those who can keep their heads when everyone is losing theirs will prosper when conditions improve. With that spirit of calm, let’s consider some things.

Short Term (the next 90 days)

We have deals in the pipeline and some of them will collapse due to a change for either buyer or seller that was unforeseen prior to these past few weeks. This has nothing specifically to do with the business but more to do with the general business climate. For example, a buyer may get cold feet about buying now or watched income which was going to be cashed out of stocks to finance the sale crater in value. They may see waiting as the best option.

That said, many deals will close, regardless. We saw some of this in 2008 during the financial crisis as well.

While the media may make it seem that fire is raining down from heaven, the reality is that business does go on in many sectors. And not just in the US but worldwide, including the supply chain for all businesses marked as “essential”. Indeed, some businesses are seeing their most profitable months in some years even as they move towards acquisition. Some of those sellers might delay a sale just to continue to ride some of those record profits a couple more months.

Medium Term (the next 6 to 18 months)

Should some kind of lockdown become national in the United States as it has in much smaller countries in Europe, there could be a hit to valuations of businesses, as those are based on earnings including the most recent financial statements.

On the other side, borrowing will be historically easy, as the Treasury and SBA make unprecedented guarantees and funds available. Rates are at historic lows. Some banks may put some additional provisions in the paperwork in relation to COVID-19 and its impact on certain types of businesses. But banks want businesses to move forward, not to freeze up, so they will likely be encouraging rather than discouraging.

Long Term (the next 24-48 months)

As with any shock to the economy of any country, there will be some necessary recovery time. But the realities of life go on.

The Baby Boomers continue to retire, and in record numbers, and many own businesses that have to be sold. Many people will begin to see their jobs through new lenses in a period of remote work. And the idea of buying a business, with its levels of control and opportunities for growth, may become even more appealing.

This isn’t to say that we don’t see some challenges ahead, but we tend to take the long view, because this isn’t the first economic shock we’ve experienced as advisors. Life does go on, despite great uncertainties, and indeed, this time, as any time in life and in business, is only as good as what you choose to do with it.

We look at facts and history and combine them with what we hear from our buyers and sellers and that leads us back to what we started this article with: not panicking.

Do you have questions about buying or selling a business right now?
We’re happy to talk through some of the challenges (and opportunities) with you!

ACT Fast for SBA Funding!

At Apex, we are practicing social distancing and working from our homes… but we are still working.

CARES Act and PPP

HourglassWith all the recent information going out about the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), there is still additional guidance needed from the SBA on how banks are to start processing applications. Our bank contacts have been inundated with calls and have had to prioritize their existing customers ahead of others. For current bank customers, you will find yourself in queue. So call now.

The good news is that the SBA funds will be available, and banks are pulling out all the stops to make it work.

We’ve talked to banks that are moving entire departments to the PPP program, hiring additional staff, and putting other projects on hold. There have been several industry webinars since the Act was approved by Congress and signed by President Trump, to share the latest updates. Each new webinar discussed the changes that were made to the SBA’s procedures as new questions and comments made their way to the Treasury Department and SBA leadership.

It is expected that Friday, April 3rd, the final process will be outlined, and business owners will be able to start completing applications. You will probably get notified by your bank. If not, call them directly.

There are other aspects of the CARES Act that are designed to assist business owners immediately.

Business owners with current SBA loans will have their payments made by the SBA for the next six months! Those who close on business acquisitions prior to September will also have the first six months of payments made by the SBA!
This is actually a great time to move forward with a business acquisition!

If you haven’t called your bank yet, get on it! They will be able to assist you with the best way to move forward for your business and your employees.

We are here to help in any way we can! Call us if you have questions or need some direction.

Corona Virus and Your Business

Corona Virus and Your BusinessIt wasn’t that long ago that we were discussing the effects of an election year upon the business climate, and early in 2020 it seems that the dominant story is a flu-like disease that the world seems uncertain about in general. While it’s true that in many parts of the world consumers are still spending, shops are still open, and people are still going to work, at the same time stock markets have been swinging wildly, supply chains have been disrupted, and numbers of people have been quarantined.  What does this mean for business?

What has happened so far?

A number of airlines have made the decision to stop flying to certain places that are showing high levels of infection. At first this was just China, but now those concerns are spreading to Europe with northern Italy showing the greatest level of infections.

Major conferences have been cancelled. At the time of this article it looks as if SXSW in Austin will continue on as scheduled, though Twitter and Facebook have pulled out of the event. Facebook has cancelled its own F8 conference, opting for local gatherings and streamed content in its place. Shopify and Adobe are two other software firms that have cancelled their annual development conferences.

On the travel and leisure side, for the first time in many years, the final two days of Carnival in Venice were cancelled as the city was rapidly shut down by the regional and local governments. Giorgio Armani’s latest fashion show was streamed as the models walked in their outfits in empty rooms.

Like an Earthquake?

At this moment, the question seems to be whether this disease causes a fundamental change in global lifestyle and business norms or whether, like an earthquake, it is something that will pass. Indeed, after the ground stops moving in an earthquake the first things that need to be attended to are those who are hurt and wounded, but almost at the same time, the clearing and rebuilding begins, and that actually causes a rise in economic activity.  

It is clear that the media loves the sort of uncertainty that Corona Virus provides for them. Endless drama, speculation, and doomsday predictions. Much of the reaction in business can be traced directly to their reporting on these events.

Be Proactive

Business owners can’t really do much about how the media decides to conduct their business. They need to focus on the best way to navigate their businesses through this time of uncertainty, and there are some best practices that savvy entrepreneurs can adopt during the months ahead:

  • Educate your customers about the virus and how it affects them specifically in their interactions with you. If your business is customer-facing, consider having hand sanitizer available and send emails/social media updates informing them about how to minimize their risk of infection.
  • Talk with your vendors and bankers. Don’t wait until the Federal Reserve makes moves to start making moves of your own.  Consider expanding your credit line or restructuring some of your debt. Be more proactive on your receivables. Consider asking for better terms on your payables. Again, this is more about preparing for possibilities than panicking.
  • Take a look at where you can save. Even if you may have already gone through this exercise at the end of last year, take another look. Perhaps you can buy some more materials at a better discount, or pay annual rates for SaaS instead of monthly. Better to save money now when it isn’t on most people’s minds.

There have been global disease scares and realities in the past and there will be more in the future. Know that we here at Apex are here to help you through the uncertainty, whether you are buying or selling. And yes, we will have hand sanitizer for you when you stop in at our offices!

Bad Deal or No Deal?

Bad Deal or No DealOne important reason you hire a broker to help you sell your business is the addition of a person to the transaction who is not emotionally tied to the business. We are there as your representative – to make sure you get the best deal possible at the time you are listing your business. And sometimes that advice will be to walk away from a transaction if we don’t think everything lines up in your interests.

Sometimes, no deal is better than a bad deal.

Bad Deals

There are many reasons why a deal may be a bad one, but there are two in particular that we see often that we try to deal with as soon as we can.

Price: this is before an offer is made, of course, but we try to make sure that the price we market the business for is not just in line with the financials and tax records of the company and the growth trajectory, but also with what the market is currently paying for businesses in your industry. That’s why it’s always so important to get a true valuation for your business. It’s objective, unemotional, and has nothing to do with what you “think you deserve” for your blood, sweat, and tears over the years.

But apart from a marketable price that we are confident will sell in a reasonable time, there also has to be consideration for the seller’s financial situation. For example, will the sale, after taxes, clear all the business debts of the seller? If not, would it make more sense to operate the business for some more time in order to be free and clear at closing?

Terms: this is after an offer to purchase and will usually be part of a package of negotiable deal points.  Almost all successful transactions have a fairly balanced allocation of financial risk.

On the seller’s part, some financing may be in order, whether as part of SBA requirements or simply because of the buyer’s need. The buyer may also ask for some assets to be classified in such a way that will result in more taxation for the seller.

On the buyer’s part, some personal funds may be included as part of the purchase, and income statements scrutinized to make sure he/she is not overextending him/herself to buy the business.

As we’ve said often in these articles, successful transactions also usually leave both buyers and sellers feeling that they did sacrifice something they would have preferred.  That’s why it’s called negotiation.

No Deal

It’s important to note that just because there’s not a deal doesn’t mean there isn’t a good reason for it.

On more than one occasion we have seen exceptional growth in financials for the current fiscal year and have advised our clients either not to list or to de-list their business so that we can get one more corporate tax return and thus boost the valuation of the company. Sometimes no deal is a strategic retreat rather than giving up.

But sometimes no deal happens because we’re not dealing with a motivated seller, or because the client doesn’t trust what we are telling him/her.

In our experience no deal is often better than a bad deal, because you can always try for a new transaction, trading on the lessons learned in the previous attempt, whereas a bad deal leaves you stuck with the consequences.

If you’ve got questions about pricing your business to sell, give us a call!

Should You Give Employees Stock?

Should you give Employees Stock?One of the biggest mistakes that any employer can make is thinking that his/her employees think similarly. “Well, that’s what I would want!” is a terrible criteria by which to decide whether you should give your employees stock. While stock options seem like a reasonable way to boost the desirability of your workplace, you need to consider several factors when making a decision.

Is anyone asking?

This deals with the point made above: don’t assume that your employees think the exact same way as you do. Just because you would be interested in possible ownership doesn’t mean they would be. A fair number of employees are not interested in the ups and downs of owning a business. They are quite happy to have competitive pay and a positive work environment in which they add value to their own lives and to those of your clients.

Find out what benefits your employees are interested in. If “profit sharing/ownership” keeps coming up from various members of the staff, then yes, it might be something to take a hard look at.

Is it viable given your corporate structure and profits?

Remember that there will often be a loss of privacy with the introduction of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP). There are often disclosure requirements that require you to disclose more than you currently have to disclose (which is usually nothing) about your books, long term capital spending, debts, and taxes.

Also unknown to most is the cost of creating and maintaining an ESOP, which can easily hit five figures for even the most modest companies. This is apart from the paperwork compliance that is necessary whenever you are talking about securities. On the other side of the argument, there are some ESOP expenses that are tax-deductible, within limits, for the business, and they represent tax-deferred savings for employees.

Is there another way for employees to feel ownership and ties to performance other than equity?

Just as there are many ways to build a business or create a product or service, there are many ways for staff to feel included, rewarded, or valued. You could have an incentive trip for top performers. This is something everyone can look forward to and aspire towards.

You can also give awards at annual meetings which recognize staff for things other than outstanding production. Sometimes people are great arbitrators in the office or bastions of kindness that help grease the wheels of those daily interactions. Recognizing them does a lot of what stock can do: show them you value them.

If you wanted, you could come up with a basic agreement (consult your attorney) that can be revised each year about some kind of profit-sharing. This can be an initial test which bridges what people say (we want an ESOP) and what they do (not actually step up and perform when goals are introduced) and helps you decide whether to introduce stock options.

We have dealt with ESOPs. Give us a call today to learn more.

Case Study #28: Paying the Idiot Tax

Before Uber Eats and DoorDash became the VC-backed juggernauts in the food delivery space, Kenan Hopkins had already taken his 7 figure exit from this new space with lean margins. At the time of sale his company, Valet Gourmet, was doing $4M in annual revenue and employed 50 staff in Asheville, North Carolina, and Knoxville, Tennessee.

Revenue Model

In 2011, the concept of home delivery of anything other than pizza seemed like magic. Customers loved the idea, and restaurants loved adding marginal additional revenue. The restaurants could make money they weren’t otherwise going to make (these customers didn’t want to leave their house, for whatever reason) and hence utilize unused bandwidth in their kitchens, and customers loved the idea of upgrading from *the* deliver-at-home option, pizza. Restaurants paid up to 30% of the total ticket before delivery, and the delivery drivers/riders got to keep the delivery fee plus any gratuity. Both customer and restaurant were willing to pay something to make this happen, and many companies were born out of the process.

The Idiot TaxIdiot Tax

Among the things Kenan says he would have changed would have been stopping the “idiot tax” sooner. Drivers of said tax included:

  • Having no management skills (and not urgently acquiring them)
  • Having no strategic plan (and not being more intentional about building one)
  • Using credit card debt to bootstrap the business (and not restructuring that debt sooner)
  • Having no company culture in place (and as a result having high turnover)

This all changed when Kenan read Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, about the founding of Zappos.

He realized that the company desperately needed reform from the inside out and he went to work, focusing on branding, core values, and aligning hiring practices with values like “Exceed Expectations Through Service.” Kenan particularly liked this value as it wasn’t customer service but just service which allowed the team to focus on kindness both inside and outside the company.

Accidents and a Text Message

A number of things happened nearly simultaneously which were stressful for Kenan and led him to say “enough.”

Two driver accidents happened and one driver got stabbed. Insurance covered all these situations and no one was permanently injured, but after 7 years of building, Kenan wondered, “what if” and sent a text message to a competitor in the industry:

“Would you buy Valet Gourmet for 50% of projected revenue over the next 12 months?”

The text received a positive reception, and before too long, a 50% cash, 25% stock, and 25% earn-out deal was negotiated. Kenan has learned to read his business growth really well and despite the fact that his previous year was $3.3M he felt confident he could hit $4 in that 12 month window. And he did.

Money isn’t enough

While Kenan says that he wishes he had asked to stay more involved in the business in some way, as a board member, for example, his biggest regret was not planning for having a big pile of money and no purpose. He lost himself in the lifestyle and became, in his own words, a massive jerk. It’s a theme we have discussed before, that planning for what comes after the sale is almost as important as working on the due diligence during the sale.

That’s perhaps the first lesson of many we can take from Kenan’s experience selling Valet Gourmet: Purpose matters.

While he used the exercise of adding company values and a clearer vision which drove better culture for his business, he could have taken some time to identify a core purpose within himself, which would have aligned with his business and given him some kind of roadmap for when that business went away.

The second lesson is closely connected: pay as little idiot tax as necessary.

Identify where you are weak and hire those weaknesses, either in employees, contractors, or advisors. As Ben Franklin once said, “Experience is an expensive school, but fools will learn in no other.” Learn from the experience of others rather than pay to learn yourself.

Finally, network within your industry.

Because Kenan was friends with the competition, he was able to start a sale negotiation with a text message. We can say we don’t often see such a move, but even if you don’t end up selling to the competition, being on friendly terms can often help you share important information, build a better business, and help with hiring.  Lead with kindness, but don’t let it be mistaken for weakness.

Have you been paying the idiot tax longer than you should have been?  We have access to many resources that can help you drive down and eliminate that tax altogether! Give us a call.

Warning Signs in Your Business

Warning SignMany people, for better or worse, avoid going to the doctor. No news is good news or if they feel fine all must be fine. But often there will at least be some kind of warning sign to nudge you to seek help. It may not be serious or life threatening, but it’s enough to get your attention.

This happens in business as well. In this article we will talk about a few of these that should make you pay attention.

Missing Revenue Targets

All businesses have bills to pay and if you don’t hit your revenue targets you may be in a more and more compromised financial position. You may start to rely on credit card debt or some of the higher priced alternative financing options out there. This can lead to a challenging situation if managed from a position of stress without foresight. Instead of limiting your liability to your corporate obligations, you may be putting your personal assets at risk as well.
Why are you missing your projections and what can you do to fix the situation?

Health Problems

Sometimes we have health problems because of genetic dispositions or because of choices we have made outside of the business. But on many occasions we’ve heard stories about health problems directly related to a business. The stress you are dealing with has to go somewhere, and sometimes it’s inflicted on your body, with devastating results.
If your business is causing you health problems, what are you going to change?

Loss of Passion

Many of us get into a particular business not just because we are good at it, but because we happen to enjoy it and find meaning in it. But sometimes, for various reasons, we lose our mojo. Very often it’s because of burnout.
If you’ve lost your passion for your business, can you keep it going?

Loss of Mission

While it’s true that businesses pivot to deliver something slightly (or greatly) different from where they may have first started, sometimes in the excitement to build and extend, a mission can get lost or muddled. These effects are felt throughout the business: from customers who aren’t sure exactly what you do, to staff who are confused about the change in direction, to you, who repeat what you think the mission of the company is but which has no basis in the reality of what your company is doing day to day.
If your company isn’t mission-focused, how will you correct that?

Key Staff are Leaving

If you don’t see the writing on the wall, sometimes your staff will. And when it’s key staff that leave, it’s the hardest to take, as they are the hardest to replace. They leave with institutional knowledge that is hard to pass on, and worse, they are probably leaving for preventable reasons.
If you’re losing key staff, are you willing to take a hard look at who the problem may be? (Is it you?)

If any of these are an issue for you, that’s cause for concern. If you have more than one, you’re in a crisis and need some help. If you want to rebuild and keep going, it’s possible, but it’s going to take a lot of work. But it may also be a good turnaround opportunity for one of our opportunistic buyers and can offer you a light at the end of the tunnel instead of just a longer tunnel. Give us a call to see if we can help.

Year End Review

Year End ReviewIn previous articles we’ve made the case for having an annual meeting to make sure your staff are properly rewarded for the year that has passed and are properly oriented for the year to come. But, have you considered doing an annual meeting for yourself? A Year End Review, you could call it. Enough time has passed since the beginning of the year that you can’t defer to holidays and time off. We are well and truly into the year, but it’s also a perfect time, if you haven’t already done so, to look back.

How did it go?

The question that sits above all the other more specific ones is “how did last year go?” Did you feel good about it? Why or why not?

This assumes some things: that you had a plan or orientation for last year whereby you have something to judge or compare it to. If you didn’t have a plan, well that’s only fine if you actually intended that, most probably because you are happy with your performance and hit the cruise control button for your life last year. And you might be ready to do that again this year. But the point is that’s not laziness. That’s being intentional. It’s knowing what you want and then executing it.

The same cannot be said of the person who put up some goals, entirely missed them, and then moves into the next year setting new goals without examining what went wrong with last year.

If you own a business

How did we do against last year’s numbers? What will we do this year? Am I still excited about this? Why or why not? Do I want to sell? If not, do I have an exit strategy?

If you want to own a business

Why do you want to own a business? Have you talked to a broker about it? Have you taken at least a basic look at how you would finance it? How serious are you about it?

If you have a job

How was your pay and performance this last year? Are you happy with them? Why or why not? What will be your exciting challenges this year? Will there be any? Why or why not? Is this really what you want to do – short, medium, or long term?

If you want to get a new job (or own a business – see above!)

Why are you unhappy at your current job? What are the top things that you dislike that you would like to see rectified in a new situation? How serious are you about making this change? Why or why not?

We have a pretty good record of hitting our goals here at Apex, but we don’t let that build complacency.  We’re always looking to improve and do better every year. Give us a call to see if we can be of help in your goals for this year.

Apex is actively searching for top quality candidates to join our team of Advisors. If you’re interested in a career helping people buy or sell a business, think you have relevant experience, and want to find out more, please call Doug Hubler, President of Apex, at (913) 433-2303.