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7 BUSINESS TRUTHS NOT TAUGHT ANYWHERE BUT ESSENTIAL FOR SUCCESS

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A few years ago, my firm hosted a special event for our business clients and other close business associates. Our special guest, Nick Karadza of Rock Star Real Estate shared some insights that are essential for business success. Here is a summary of the points shared by Nick that still hold true today:

  1. It’s about them – not ‘it’ or ‘you’

The key here is to always have the customer in the forefront of all you do. Think about the benefits to your customers. Your advertising, marketing and speeches to prospective customers should focus on explaining the benefits to them, i.e. “What’s In It For Them. A quote from Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” puts this in perspective:

 

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you”

 

  1. Focus on a minority, not the majority

Provided there is a market for what you are offering, trying to be all things to all people is a quick way to failure. Remember that only a tiny percentage of the population in general, and only a specific group of people is all you need to succeed. For example, Apple’s products are only focused on the high end; doctors and lawyers that specialize in particular area are more successful than generalists. So it’s important to find your specific customer base and focus on it.

  1. People don’t only want ‘what works’

Understand that people want ‘unusual secrets’, ‘the next new thing’, they want to be ‘first’. It’s often not enough to have good, valuable and credible information or deliverables. As a result, you have to work on how to factor these in your advertising and marketing to appeal to your clients. One of the most powerful words in client attraction is ‘Secrets’. Very few people think the problem could be them, rather, they’re more likely to think that there is “A Secret” solution to their problems.

 

  1. Be a storyteller

People buy stories, not things! So be careful not to talk too much about the things that people don’t care about, instead, focus on how to use stories to sell what will benefit your clients. Understand that every business is a story telling business so you need to figure out how to tap into that. Stories give people an opportunity to visualize what they are consuming for a greater level of comprehension and a longer period of retention. If you think about it, people will often do business with you if they know you, like you and trust you. Stories are powerful tools for people to get to know and trust you.

  1. Your biggest asset is the relationship with your lists

Realize that wealth is in the lists of the business and the relationship with that list, not in the stuff you sell. Use your list to build relationship with your clients and prospects and to offer your products and services. Be careful when using your list and ensure you’re offering something of value first. Avoid the temptation of bombarding your lists with your products and services without providing something of value to them first.

  1. Peaks and valleys

If you’ve been in business long enough, you will realize that you will peak and at some point, decline, you will be popular and then out of fashion. So, it is essential to understand that there will be peaks and valleys in your business and you should prepare for it by creating sustainable assets within your business. Don’t sacrifice long-term equity in your business for short-term income. While it is important to make short-term income to keep business going, it is even more important to focus on your long-term business objectives if you want to prosper. A quote from Dan Kennedy on “Income vs. Wealth” sheds more light on this:

“Entrepreneurs tend to focus more on income than on wealth. And many enjoy very high incomes for many years without ever converting any of it to wealth. Sales, profits and income are all important, but none of them directly produce wealth. Wealth comes from the creation of value (not income) and from prudent investments.”

  1. Constant evolution

The business environment is constantly evolving and so must you if you want to remain competitive in today’s reality. You must understand that changes in the way you run your business is a constant imperative, so your business today will likely be different 2 to 5 years down the road. Don’t get stuck in your successes today without innovating for tomorrow. So many examples in real life illustrate the importance of this. Palm Pilot did not evolve and went out of business. Blackberry did not evolve quickly enough and lost significant market share to Apple and Samsung. Wal Mart, Target, Amazon are constantly evolving by expanding to new markets.

About Nick Karadza

Nick Karadza began investing in real estate at the age of twenty-one, by successfully buying, renovating, and selling a home for profit in only three months. He quit his job at a Fortune 500 software company, Oracle Corporation, to give his business 100% of his focus.

Nick is a real estate professional focused on helping other real estate investors, in the Greater Toronto Area, create income for life. Nick is an active real estate investor and founder of Rock Star Real Estate Inc. in Oakville, Ontario.

Nick, together with his brother, Tom, have worked with over 1,000 real estate investors acquiring over 320 million dollars of investment real estate across southern Ontario.

Nick has been featured in national media, such as the National Post, Canadian Real Estate Magazine, the Business News Network, and numerous local publications.

Nick is an avid international traveler and explorer and believes in this simple but unconventional philosophy, “Your Life.  Your Terms.” To learn more about Nick and his company, visit http://www.rockstarinnercircle.com

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Faith

Don’t Let Pride Get in the Way

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As humans, particularly men, we give in to pride so easily. In the book of 2 Kings, we learn about Naaman and his pride. Naaman was a commander of the army of the king of Syria. He was a mighty man of valor as the bible described him. He was well respected and held in high favor. However, he was a leper. When he was told that a prophet in Samaria could cure him of his leprosy, he went and told the king who authorized him to go to Samaria. As Naaman arrived with his horses and chariots at the door of prophet Elisha’s house, he was humbled by the reality which was far different from his expectations.

 

2 King 5:10-12 “And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, ‘Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored, and you shall be clean.’ But Naaman was angry and went away, saying, ‘Behold, I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call upon the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?’ So he turned and went away in rage.”

 

Naaman was accustomed to being honored but Elisha would not even give him a personal audience, instead Elisha simply sent a messenger. Naaman apparently had it all figured out. In his great need, he anticipated a way God would work, and he was offended when God didn’t work the way he expected. Because his expectation of how God should work was crushed, Naaman wanted nothing to do with Elisha. If the answer was in washing in a river, Naaman knew there were better rivers in his own land. Naaman submitted to his pride. Naaman’s servants eventually came to his rescue with a timely advice which Naaman listened to, faithfully obeyed and was healed of his leprosy.

 

As we reflect on our own lives, we need to ask some tough questions. Are we not like Naaman sometimes when we discount the simplicity of God’s response to our needs? We let pride get in the way and thus, miss our healing moments and God’s miracles in our lives. We let our own opinions based on our status come before God’s opinion. Like Naaman, we often think that God’s plan is too cheap, too plain, too common merely based on our own status. This is God calling us to put him First…we must surrender our ways and submit to God’s wisdom and vision for our lives.

 

Proud men are the worst enemies to themselves and forgo their own redemption. Therefore, we must pray to God to destroy all elements of pride in us and keep us humble and obedient to His words. We learn from Romans 10:3 that those that are for establishing their own righteousness will not submit to the righteousness of God…”For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” Lord, I pray that you will keep us in total submission to your righteousness. Amen!

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AccountingReal Estate InvestingTax Planning

ATTENTION REAL ESTATE INVESTORS: 8 WAYS TO TAKE THE “BORING” OUT OF BOOKKEEPING

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When it comes to real estate investing, bookkeeping is a topic that people tend to avoid.

It’s more exciting to focus on buying the next rental property or flip than thinking about where the money is going for the ones already purchased.

 

What most people don’t realize is that accounting is the language of money, and if you know the language, you can find ways to make and keep more of it.

 

That doesn’t mean you need to do the bookkeeping yourself.  Without the proper training and education or even enjoying working with numbers, it can very quickly lead to frustration and the books being done improperly or not at all.

 

Okay, so you’ve got a professional bookkeeper in place, and hired an accountant to advise you and prepare your tax returns. Now what?

 

How can you make bookkeeping less ‘boring’?

 

Years ago, I discovered I enjoyed digging through numbers in my financial reports (both personal and business).  Why?

 

Because it’s like a treasure hunt, and the more I dug into the numbers, the more money I would find.

 

Wouldn’t you like digging through numbers if you found money every time you did? 

 

I thought so 🙂

 

Remember, I’m not talking about doing the bookkeeping data entry… I’m talking about reviewing your financial reports.  And there’s a BIG difference!

 

Bookkeeping and data entry is necessary, but it wastes your time (especially if you don’t know how to do it).

 

Reviewing financial statements produced by your accounting system (or provided by your bookkeeper) not only saves you money, it can also make you money by helping you make better financial and investing decisions.

 

Here are 8 simple ways I’ve found to not only take the ‘boring’ out of bookkeeping, but actually make it exciting (because you’ll be making or keeping more money!).

 

 

1) Find wasteful spending

 

This is probably one of the most important uses of financial reports.  With accurate, up-to-date books, you can see each month where your money is going and come up with ways to save it.

 

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dug into financial reports, only to find wasteful spending in one or more areas.  That financial ‘leak’ is an easy one to fix, but without financial reports, you don’t even know it’s happening.

 

Remember: A dollar saved is MORE than a dollar earned… due to taxes!

 

 

2) Identify underperforming assets

 

You have 20 properties and yet you still don’t have enough income to cover all your expenses each month. How do you know which property is pulling you down?  Detailed financial reports will tell you.

 

If you fix the problem property, or sell it and replace it with a better property, and your income will go up.

 

Alternatively, you can improve cash flow across all your property by identifying ways to boost income, and then track the improvements over time.

 

 

3) Track who owes you money

 

Each month your tenants pay you rent, but do you know who is behind a payment?  Who still owes you money from a few months back?

 

Many investors don’t track this information, but if you want to maximize your income and your profits, you absolutely need to know who has paid their full rent and who has not.

 

Otherwise you’re leaving money on the table, and it could cost you even more money by delaying an eviction (because they haven’t paid their rent).

 

And if you’ve hired a property management company to manage your property for you, do NOT rely on their financial reports for this!  They are not always accurate, and that financial loss is YOUR loss.  Always, always have the information entered into your own accounting system so you can run your own reports.

 

 

4) Stop theft

 

Despite all the technological advances for paying bills, many tenants still prefer to pay with cash.  This is especially true for lower income areas.

 

If you’re collecting all the rent in cash, no problem.  But if your property manager is the one collecting the cash, it’s very easy for money to just ‘disappear’.

 

I’ve heard countless stories of property managers or superintendants who’ve stolen thousands of dollars from landlords… all because there was no tracking of cash transactions.

 

Whenever you have a property manager collecting cash rents on your behalf, always insist on them issuing receipts to the tenants and giving you a copy.  And be sure to inform the tenants that they should not pay cash unless they receive a receipt from them.

 

Those receipts should then be entered into your accounting system, just like any other receipt or bill.  That way, you not only know all cash is being deposited, you also know who still owes you money.

 

 

5) Manage Cash Flow

 

Do you know when your mortgages are due? Have you planned for how you will make interest payments?  What about the 3 fridges and stoves you need to replace next year?

 

Good financial reports will help you see where potential cash flow problems can occur and allow you sufficient time to plan for and correct them.

 

This will not only reduce the stress of having to shuffle money around at the last minute, it can also help you avoid penalties or unnecessary interest charges on loans.

 

 

6) Determine Which Assets to Liquidate

 

If you’re planning to sell a few of your properties, you may need to renovate some of them. Your plan is to sell one, use the cash proceeds to renovate the others, and then sell those for higher prices.  Which property should you sell first to generate the most profit?

 

Financial reports will help you with the answer.

 

Note that because of the way accounting works, the market value of the properties is not reflected in your financial reports. So you’ll need a 2nd piece of information – property valuations from a Realtor.

 

Combined with financial reports (to show your total outstanding debts), you can easily figure out how much equity you have in each property. The decision on which one to sell first will be easy to see.

 

 

 

 

7) Simplify Tax Time

 

Accountants love it when you deliver a series of financial reports to him or her in a format they understand (using a good bookkeeper will go a long way towards achieving this).

 

Accountants do not love it when you give them a shoebox full of receipts, and you ask them to do your tax return.

 

If you come prepared at tax time, you can spend relaxed time with your accountant, instead of scrambling at the last minute to prepare financial information or send them receipts.

 

Relaxed time is better because you’ll be discussing ways to make or save more money with your investments, tax planning for the coming year, and more.

 

Plus, your accounting fees will likely go down because you’re using up less of your accountant’s time.

 

 

8) Simplify reporting to Joint Venture partners (or even eliminate it!)

 

If you plan on using other people’s money, you will need proper financial statements to report on an ongoing basis how their investment is performing, or at a minimum, provide them for tax time.  Otherwise, you’ll always be scrambling to pull the numbers together.

 

But the most important reason why you want good reporting is to see where it makes financial sense to not have a JV partner at all.

 

For example, with proper financial reports, you could see that instead of having a JV partner, it might make more sense to refinance the property with a new mortgage (or 2nd) and buy out their share.  Your interest costs would be higher, but you wouldn’t be losing half the profits to your JV partner.

 

As you can see, good bookkeeping and financial reports are very important for real estate investors.

 

And once you realize the money they can help you make and keep in your pocket, not only are they are not ‘boring’, but they can even be exciting! 🙂

 

 

Credit: This article was written by Paul Blacquiere of Spirepoint Real Estate and published on his website – www.spirepoint.ca.

 

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