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How to Win Big in Today’s Economy
The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive.Find out how by requesting my free report “How to Win Big in Today’s Economy.”
Just reply to this email and I’ll send it right out to you.
How to Become a Genius
By Stephanie Vozza
When it comes to IQ, higher is better; and sadly, it comes easily to those gifted individuals with sky-high IQs. Or does it? Stop thinking that giftedness is innate. It’s not. So get out there and try brainpower boosts, including cognition-enhancing cardiovascular workouts and video games. Seems video games can stimulate neurons and help with memory and even strategic planning.
Paul Graham’s Startup Advice for the Lazy
By Stelios Constantinides
Paul Graham is a respected programmer and successful venture capitalist. Constantinides summarizes some of Graham’s essays that range from startup ideas and avoiding mistakes that kill startups to presenting to potential investors. The best way to come up with startup ideas is to ask yourself what you wish someone would make for you. The most common mistake: solving problems no one has.
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This Month: The Art & Science of Listening
No business professional will get far without listening to clients. Their needs, feedback, and interests must guide business tactics. Discovering what their needs are requires listening. Use the following resources to develop this essential skill.
How To Become A Fabulous Listener
If you are not a master listener, all is not lost. Listening is a skill that can be learned and cultivated. Here are some strategies.
Talking Less and Listening More Builds Your Business
Networking is an important ingredient in business growth, and listening is key to creating these connections. Here’s how to listen and grow your business.
5 Ridiculously Easy Listening Techniques
Body language communicates much. Show you’re listening with these five techniques.
Quotes on…Warren Buffett
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.
Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.
Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No. 2: Never forget rule No. 1.
How to Foster Good Relationships with Your Tenants
Maintaining good landlord-tenant relationships is vital to ensuring a good return on your investment property.
Poor relationships with tenants will likely result in higher vacancy rates and lower annual revenues.
True, each landlord-tenant relationship is unique; however, when handling tenant issues, there are a few key points to keep in mind that can make for a smoother resolution process. For example:
- Listen to tenant concerns. Tenants may be understandably upset when there are issues with their units; one way to ensure that you and the tenant are on the same page is to ask him or her to submit a written description of the problem. This minimizes misunderstandings and avoids emotionally charged face-to-face discussions.
- Respond in a timely manner. Once the tenant has notified you of an issue, respond quickly. And let the tenant know when the issue will be addressed.
- Respond according to the severity of the situation. If a tenant contacts you about a burst pipe that is flooding the unit, obviously you will respond differently than if he or she reports a loose door handle. Have an emergency plan in place to address major problems, and communicate this plan to your tenants so that they know what to expect.
- Be empathetic. Your property investment is also your tenant’s home. Show you care about the building and the tenant by being genuinely concerned about its maintenance.
A positive landlord-tenant relationship ensures that your tenants will notify you quickly of small problems that can become big ones.
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2016: The Year You Step Outside Your World to Learn
It seems many a savvy entrepreneur will look to other industries for ideas and solutions in 2016. It’s time to “step outside your world.”
Or so says Paul Charron, former board chair of Campbell Soup Company, in an address to real estate agents. As he suggests, most of us suffer from tunnel vision, believing that our issues are unique to our industry. In fact, barriers and opportunities are often very similar in very different business sectors. Leaders need to look at those companies outside their industries who have faced similar challenges-and found a solution.
For example, says Charron, everyone is concerned about getting closer to the consumer. But successful companies may have already found the way. Look at how they do it and envision how similar initiatives could bring you closer to your own customers.
When there’s no mechanism in place to look outside for ideas, solutions, and inspiration, it may be time to institutionalize it. As quoted in an RISMedia article, Charron suggests the creation of an advisory board of smart people from other industries: “When you institutionalize external stimulation it guarantees that you’ll get that great idea from outside your world.”
Herminia Ibarra, professor of leadership and learning at global business school INSEAD, agrees. Quoted in a Forbes article, Ibarra suggests that executives should use “outsight”-getting out of their daily routines and into situations that will give them fresh perspective.
The result could be a surprising interaction between advisors and advisees: you learn from them; they learn from you.
Start 2016 Off Right with an Investment Review
Despite market volatility, 2015 was a good year for many investors.
As a result, you may find that the start of a new year is a good time to get together with your financial advisor to review your investments and make any necessary changes.
Here are five questions to ask your advisor to help you start 2016 off right:
- How can I make capital gains long term? The tax rate on long-term capital gains is lower than the tax rate on short-term capital gains, so your advisor may suggest you wait until you’ve held certain appreciated investments for a year before selling them.
- Should I own more stocks? Stocks have more appreciation potential than bonds, but there are a variety of risks associated with investing in them; your advisor, who knows your situation, can help you decide if you can tolerate these risks before making an investment decision.
- Should I contribute more to tax-deferred accounts? If you’re not yet retired, tax-deferred savings accounts are a great way to keep your assets growing tax free, potentially compounding their value year after year. Ask your advisor how best to participate; for example, by increasing your contributions to a company-sponsored retirement plan, a SEP IRA, a traditional IRA, or a Roth IRA.
- Would giving the gift of stock or mutual fund shares benefit me? If your portfolio has appreciated and you don’t need the money, your advisor can explain some options. For example, you may want to consider gifting appreciated assets to charitable organizations, your children, or your grandchildren.
- Am I subject to the alternative minimum tax (AMT)? The AMT applies to all people who take relatively large deductions, including deductions for state and local taxes. Ask your advisor if you are subject to it, and if so, he or she can help you plan ahead during the year to minimize your exposure.
Should You Rebuild or Remodel Your Building?
One of the most difficult decisions for a commercial property investor is whether his or her building is a candidate for remodeling, or if it would be more financially sound to rebuild. If you’re trying to decide, here are some points you may want to take into account:
Consider rebuilding IF:
- You have the financial flexibility for the long, costly process of obtaining permits, demolition, and rebuilding. Property owners need to be aware that this is not a small undertaking, and cost recovery could take a considerable amount of time.
- Your building is in less than great shape. Condition is an important (sometimes deciding) factor in determining whether to rebuild or remodel. If the building has major structural issues, it might be preferable to rebuild. You will need to hire structural engineers to determine whether the current structure is viable or not.
- The market value assessment on the existing building is considerably lower than an assessment might be on a newer building.
- The lot you occupy has the available space to allow for an expansion of the building.
Consider remodeling IF:
- You are not able to fund a complete rebuild. However, note that remodeling also can pose substantial financial risks; you may uncover a hidden defect in the building during renovations. It’s therefore important to consult with trained professionals to determine just how feasible your dreams may be. You’ll want to discuss your ideas with contractors, engineers, electricians, and plumbers to determine what is required to complete the renovations you have planned and, hopefully, a cost estimate.
- The overall condition of the building is good and remodeling will be mainly cosmetic. A new facade, for example, can go a long way to modernize the look of an outdated building.
- The value of the property can be increased with a few well-implemented updates to the building. Your commercial real estate agent can be a great asset during your deliberations; his or her knowledge of the market and current market trends can provide valuable insight into whether a remodel will add significant value to your building.
Other factors to consider
Are there historical designations or other limitations on the property? Variances may be required if there are issues of zoning or any other restrictions; you’ll likely need to contact your local planning office. In the case of either a remodel or a rebuild, it’s important to be familiar with the protocols in your region. If you’ll be disrupting traffic by bringing in heavy equipment or otherwise impacting the area beyond your building, ensure that you work with the appropriate officials.
Also, if tenants will be occupying the building during remodeling, it may slow the process and/or make it more difficult. Noise, dust, limited parking spaces, and many other inconveniences mean tenants will need notification well in advance, and accommodations may have to be made. Remember that both options have their risks. Be sure you’ve researched all the possibilities before making a decision.