Growing a business takes a certain level of both personal and professional investment to better the likelihood of success.  With the nonstop demands that come with running a business, even the most energetic of leaders can get worn down and many entrepreneurs have experienced firsthand how not letting go of the “CEO of Everything” mentality can lead to sub-par results. Here are a few ways to keep things in check so you can consistently show up at your best.

Take a 10,000 foot view. With the daily influx of emails, message pings and phone calls, it’s easy to see productivity as a measure of how fast we clear our inboxes and how many items we tick off our to-do lists. These lists are certainly helpful, but the real value CEOs bring to the table doesn’t always fit in a series of checkboxes. To fully comprehend crises, challenges and opportunities within a business, CEOs do well to take a 10,000-foot perspective, not just a close-up.

Don’t micro-manage mundane tasks. The surest way to stifle innovation and decrease your own productivity as well as that of your staff and partners—is to micro-manage every task. Eventually, as your business grows, the day-to-day administrative tasks of running an organization will take valuable time away from growing your business.  Smart business owners know when it’s time to hire help to scale their growth initiatives.

Systemize and automate as much as possible. Take a closer look at how your business process works, from your marketing process to your customer acquisition to purchase fulfillment and look for ways to make each step easier. Is there a part of your business that slows you down or frustrates you? Find a way to make challenging aspects work on autopilot (or as much as possible) and it will free you up to tackle other responsibilities and make your business run smoother.

It’s necessary for business leaders to be keenly aware of the goings-on, processes and results in their companies, providing guidance and support where needed. But is it necessary to enter every invoice yourself? Make every social media post? Schedule every vendor meeting? Instead, find team members and service partners who can help you focus what you do best: grow your business.

To learn more how Talley can help grow your business, give us a call today.

For the entrepreneur, there’s usually much more to personal finance than a W-2 employee content to passively funnel money into 401(k)s and IRAs full of mutual funds.

Here are three key questions to ask yourself when planning for future success.

Are you taking advantage of all the legally allowed tax savings? The IRS tax code is more than 5,700 pages long (over 75,000+ pages if you count supporting documents like court case rulings). That includes which deductions you can take and which strategies you can implement. Whether it’s forgetting to deduct the interest from business loans, paying business items on a personal credit card, not recording self-employed health insurance properly, or forgetting to write-off business transportation taxes, missed deductions add up fast.

Do you have the capital to take advantage of growth opportunities and to get through hard times? With enough liquidity in your “back pocket” you can greatly reward your business and even save it in the future. For example, if the right business opportunity comes along and it requires a capital investment, you’ll be able to act quickly. Additionally, if your business hits a rough patch, you won’t need to look at financing options to get through the tough times.

Do you have an estate plan in order? It seems morbid, but it’s a vital issue to address. What happens if you’re not around anymore? Do you have a succession plan for your business in the event of incapacity or death?

Proper estate planning—deciding on the “who, what, when, and how”—and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs possible is a challenging affair. Start early.

Proper business planning is a complex and on-going effort. It requires expert counsel from a professional with knowledge and experience, one who’s familiar with the challenges that characterize an entrepreneur’s business ventures.

Talley shares the same entrepreneurial spirit that has helped propel our clients to their current levels of success. With over 25 years of experience helping high net worth individuals and business owners, Talley has the expertise necessary to assist entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey, from formation through succession.

Why is it so important to fail at something before we can succeed? Whether you simply drop the ball, or experience an epic fail, it is almost a necessity to see that failure is part of the process and to see it as a tool as opposed to a roadblock. For over 25 years, Talley LLP has had the pleasure of working with many successful entrepreneurs and world championship athletes. Here are a few of our favorite lessons on failure we’ve picked up along the way.
Success grows from failure. Bill Gates is one of the most recognizable figures in the tech industry, and is on Forbes’ list of wealthiest people on the planet. Many people attribute his success to having had a great idea at just the right time during the technology boom. But the reality is, Gates experienced a sizeable failure before he ever dreamed up Microsoft. Originally, Gates and his business partner Paul Allen created a product called Traf-O-Data, which analyzed data from traffic tapes. The device had some serious kinks and the company never took off, but it was seminal in preparing Gates to make Microsoft’s first product several years later.
Failure can simply mean a change in direction is required. Love Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? You’re not alone. Here is a story of two gentlemen that completely reversed course in their lives yet managed to become admirably successful. Mr. Ben Cohen dropped out of college, while Mr. Jerry Greenfield failed to get into medical school, and both managed to become and remain wildly successful after attending an ice-cream making class and putting together a $12,000 investment.
Don’t give up. Despite now having dozens of financially successful and popularly titles in circulation, Stephen King’s first novel, Carrie, was nearly a failure. The novel was rejected 30 times before it was finally accepted and published, leading to King’s breakout career. King considered quitting, but his perseverance (or arguably his wife’s) kept him going.
At Talley, we understand the challenges facing both professional athletes and entrepreneurs when it comes to generating and protecting income earned in the ring, on the field or in the boardroom. Whether you’re looking to improve your tax position, build your brand through a business transaction, or wish to guarantee a legacy for your family, Talley & Company is uniquely equipped to provide the technical and managerial expertise to help you plan, negotiate, structure and execute upon your goals.
Celebrities and their reps consider many angles when structuring compensation for a project. If you’re considering the sale or acquisition of a company, you should do the same. Why? Because it is not only what but how you present your assets to the other party, along with the terms for which you negotiate a transaction, that can make all the difference. See what these stars did that worked.
Sylvester Stallone Insisted on More Than Money – Stallone wrote Rocky but allegedly refused to sell the script until he was allowed to star in the film. As an unknown actor at the time this was pretty risky, but it all came down to what he ultimately wanted from the deal. Instead of achieving success as a storyteller alone, he built a longstanding career as a blockbuster action star. Deal Tip: Consider what you want to get out of a deal, financially and otherwise. Are you looking to retire with a comfortable nest egg? Expand your service line? Know your real motivations.
Sandra Bullock Leveraged Her Market Success – Coming off her Oscar win and box-office success from the Blind Side (an actor’s EBITDA equivalent), Bullock allegedly negotiated a deal that included $20 million first and then an additional 15 percent of first-dollar gross for Gravity. The film took in an estimated $723 million in world box office sales, that potentially netted the star another $70 million. Deal Tip: When coming to the table, consider tangibles and intangibles such as brand power, client lists, in-house talent, market share, industry trends, proprietary processes and more.
Cameron Diaz Took Less Up Front for a Bigger Payout Later – For her role in the little-remembered but profitable film Bad Teacher, Cameron Diaz agreed to accept much less than she would normally command. She took $1 million up front in return for a percentage of box office sales, which ended up bringing her $42 million. Deal Tip: Factor in your needs and tax situation before structuring a lump sum payment, distribution over time, partial ownership or other option.
Van Halen Put the Devil in the Details -Legend has it that should Van Halen have found even one brown M&M backstage in a bowl required by contract, he could legally cancel a scheduled appearance. As the rockstar explains here, the line-item stipulation (no brown M&Ms) was inserted deep into contracts to ensure promoters were reading them closely and therefore clear about the extensive physical requirements and safety measures needed for such a colossal show. Deal Tip: Go over “details” such as the future roles of company staff and other points that could make a smoother transition.
Celebrities wouldn’t think of going it alone in the complex deal process, and you don’t have to, either. Experts like those at Talley LLP who’ve negotiated hundreds of M&A transactions can help you make the most of a transaction based on your goals and priorities. 

Aretha Franklin was undoubtedly a brilliant singer, songwriter, and pianist, but she made giant estate planning mistakes that you’ll want to take heed of. Franklin, who was divorced, reportedly died without a will or a trust despite having four grown children, one of whom has special needs.

Many Americans don’t have a will or a living trust. A 2017 survey by Caring.com found that only 4 in 10 adults do. 64% of Gen Xers and 42% of boomers don’t have a will, the study noted. According to the survey’s respondents, the top reason for not establishing an estate plan was that they simply “hadn’t gotten around to it.”

One of Franklin’s lawyers, Don Wilson, said he tried to get her to create a will or trust to keep her estate private and out of probate. She never followed through.

Now not everyone will have assets worth close to Franklin’s reported $80 million estate, but the actual dollar value of your assets isn’t the point. It’s about making sure your loved ones receive what you want the way you want.

And if you have a special needs child, you might consider working with an estate lawyer to set up a special needs trust. A special needs trust, which is not subject to probate court, lets you contribute funds for your child’s benefit while enabling him or her to continue getting benefits, such as Medicaid and Security Supplemental Income, which require recipients to have no more than $2,000 in assets and limit their income.

Though your options are virtually limitless, proper estate planning -deciding on the “who, what, when, and how” and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.

With the nonstop demands of running a business, even the most energetic of leaders can get worn down. Here are a few ways to keep things in check so you can consistently show up at your best.
Take a 10,000-foot view. With the daily influx of emails, message pings and phone calls, it’s easy to see productivity as a measure of how fast we clear our inboxes and how many items we tick off our to-do lists. These lists are certainly helpful for keeping tasks on track, but the real value CEOs bring to the table doesn’t always fit in a series of checkboxes. To fully comprehend crises, challenges and opportunities within a business, CEOs do well to take a 10,000-foot perspective, not just a close-up. Read on to discover a few ways to do just that.
Make time for discovery. It may seem counter-intuitive to productivity, but being an effective leader isn’t just about getting things done. Twitter CEO Dick Costello told Inc. magazine that he reserves anywhere from 60 to 90 unscheduled minutes at the beginning and end of each day. In the afternoons, he uses this time for “unplanned encounters” with staff around the office. These conversations are used to make sure information conveyed in meetings aligns with down-in-the-trenches realities.
Don’t be a micro-manager, no matter what Elon Musk says. The surest way to stifle innovation and decrease your own productivity as well as that of your staff and partners—is to micro-manage every task. Even Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s unapologetic identification of himself as a “nano-manager doesn’t make this a good idea.
Yes, it’s absolutely essential for leaders to be keenly aware of the goings-on, processes and results in their companies, providing guidance and support where needed. But is it really necessary to be entering every invoice yourself? Making every social media post? Scheduling every vendor meeting? Instead, find team members and service partners who can help you focus on what you do best: growing your business.
Leading-edge businesses are partnering with Talley LLP and its affiliates to take advantage of our wide range of services, such as bookkeeping, financial reporting, tax planning, auditing and estate planning, all under one roof. 
For more information on how Talley can help grow your business, give us a call today.

While the definition of success will vary depending on who you ask, everyone strives to be successful in their personal and professional lives. Much has been written about how entrepreneurs and executives should “hope for the best and prepare for the worst”…But what happens once your business experiences initial success or substantial growth? What do you do now?

We here at Talley LLP believe that success is something that is continually created, not acquired. It is created by aspiring individuals who have no limits in terms of how they approach and execute creativity, intelligence, ingenuity, talent, persistence and determination. We’ve worked with countless inspirational athletes and entrepreneurs over the years and picked up some pointers along the way.  Here are a few that we’d like to share with you as you chase down your own personal version of success. 

Keep a positive attitude. Many entrepreneurs and executives face unexpected negative consequences after experiencing initial success, such as anxiety over being able to maintain their “winning streak”, fearing that they are being set up to fail, and experiencing the envy others feel towards their accomplishments. While some stress may be a good thing, when stress turns into anxiety, it can be detrimental both to your mental health and to the health of your business.

Set bigger goals and work “backwards”. Once you’ve achieved initial success, map out your next long-term goal or objective and work backwards to figure out what it will take to accomplish it.  But why start at the end?  Many times, the end-result seems so far away and impossible to reach.  Through backward planning, one can mentally prepare him or herself for specific challenges and milestones that need to be achieved to reach an important goal.

Don’t be afraid of letting go of the “we’ve always done it this way” mentality. You are bound to run into unforeseen challenges as you achieve success and grow your business. For an example of this, see our business lesson write-up on Pablo Escobar.  A business in growth or scale mode faces a whole new set of different challenges and opportunities that may require a change in attitude and approach. Your ability to recognize this can mean the difference between spinning your wheels and achieving your next milestone.

Talley LLP understands the challenges facing entrepreneurs with generating and protecting income. Whether you’re looking to improve your profitability, build your brand through a business transaction, or wish to guarantee your legacy through estate planning, Talley is the consulting and financial services firm dedicated to strategic business solutions that deliver meaningful results.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a huge amount of data out there. Many enterprises like to talk about data, but what you probably don’t hear as often is how effectively they are using it. In fact, a study revealed that only a small percentage of companies reported effective data management practices. So what’s missing?
What’s missing isn’t technology, but rather an understanding of what is possible and how an organization needs to evolve to take advantage of big data. A large number of businesses don’t have a firm understanding of what technology is currently available to their business or how to leverage their data to use it to their advantage.
“If you can measure it, you can manage it.”
Business data has existed for centuries. Stone tablets, papyrus, ledgers, floppy disks, if you name it, it’s probably been used to store business information. Until recently, statistics were simply recorded and kept in the previously mentioned formats, as an untapped valuable resource.
These days, thanks to falling technology costs and new tools, smaller companies can effectively tap into this information now more than ever. Entrepreneurs successfully utilizing big data are leveraging their internal information (i.e., pricing histories, customer traffic, etc.) with multiple outside sources to increase their profitability. These entrepreneurs are able to achieve this increase in profitability by using said data to understand their customers’ behavior better, to reduce costs by eliminating inefficiencies and human bias, to strengthen client bonds by anticipating clients’ needs, to enrich service offerings based on new knowledge, and to give employees new tools to use to perform their jobs better.
Have a strategy for data management.
Businesses might invest significant money into data capture, but then drop the ball when it comes time to use the data.
Translating a business’s infinite streams of data into decision-making tools that help increase growth and profitability is no easy task. To get it right, key decision makers need to consider a company’s operations from the inside and know what to look for in detail. By working closely with your business’s respective data, you or your advisors can pinpoint the right key performance indicators, and accurately interpret information to ensure that your company is on track to meet its goals.
Talley helps clients properly leverage technology to meet the needs of their growing businesses. From tech-based accounting solutions to management information, analysis, and reporting, Talley is the premier business consulting firm to entrepreneurs and their respective businesses.
For more information on how we can help your business leverage technology, contact Talley today.

As American actress Meghan Markle and Britain’s Prince Harry prepare to walk down the aisle this Saturday, most people will not focus on the U.S. tax issues our complex U.S. tax laws inevitably seem to bring. Early in their engagement, Buckingham Palace announced that Markle will become a British citizen after marriage. Yet tax lawyers quickly pointed out that Meghan Markle’s U.S. citizenship could cause tax headaches for Britain’s royal family.

Unless she renounces her American citizenship, she must continue to file U.S. tax returns, plus foreign bank account reports, every year, reporting her worldwide income and disclosing her assets. Even if the newly-weds try to keep their assets separate, disclosing assets may be a particular worry.

Americans living and working abroad must generally report and pay tax where they live. But they must also continue to file taxes in the U.S., where reporting is based on their worldwide income. A foreign tax credit often does not eliminate double taxes. Annual FBARs carry big civil and even criminal penalties if not handled properly. The civil penalties alone can consume the entire balance of an account.

What if Markle decides to renounce her U.S. citizenship? The U.S. charges $2,350 to hand in your passport, a fee that is more than twenty times the average of other high-income countries. One generally must prove 5 years of IRS tax compliance as well. For some, a reason to get into compliance is only to renounce, which itself can be expensive.

Markle reportedly has a net worth of $5 million, which would mean she would likely need to pay an exit tax to the U.S. if she renounces. If you have a net worth greater than $2 million or have an average annual net income tax for the 5 previous years of $162,000 or more, an exit tax most likely applies. It is a capital gain tax, calculated as if you sold your property when you left. A long-term resident giving up a Green Card can be required to pay the exit tax too.

The tax headache raised with the latest royal wedding stands as an example to individuals and families relocating abroad to consult with an experienced tax professional.

Only broadly experienced tax advisory professionals can provide a truly global perspective so you can preserve, enhance and pass on to the next generation the assets and wealth that you’ve worked hard to build. Talley welcomes the opportunity to discuss with you the current opportunities available to you and your family. For more information, contact us today.

According to a survey by Deloitte, only 40% of organizations polled consider the information provided by their finance function to be insightful. The report even suggests that smaller businesses glean more benefit from this type of information.  So why would smaller organizations, who are typically resource-constrained when compared to the “bigger guys”, find more benefit from management information? A strong argument can be made that as you continue to grow, so do your management information needs.

If your objective as an entrepreneur is to build a successful business, how do you stay on top of the quality and insightfulness of management information as you experience growth? Here are several key areas to focus on:

Improving data is a good place to start. Accuracy. Reliability. Accountability. Conduct regular reviews of your data and how you collect it to ensure the accuracy and quality of data entering your management reports. By improving and simplifying your systems, you can achieve greater accuracy and reliability in your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Balance KPIs with your strategic objectives. Deloitte found that 60% of respondents do not review KPIs with strategic objectives in mind while only 20% thought they were focusing on the right metrics. KPIs are major insights that make real connections across all departments. Rather than focus on the sheer number of KPIs, hone in and focus on those that have a causal relationship with your strategic objectives. Also, non-financial KPIs are often glanced over but demonstrate how effectively a company is achieving key business goals (e.g. employee retention rates, customer satisfaction, enquiry-to-sales conversion rates, etc.).

Investing in the right team of advisors. Translating a business’s infinite streams of data into decision-making tools that help increase growth and profitability is no easy task. Working closely with the data particular to your business, you and/or your advisors can pinpoint the right key performing indicators and accurately interpret information to ensure your company is on track to meet goals.

With over 25 years’ experience consulting with industry-leading companies, Talley LLP and our affiliate Group 11 Advisors are committed to providing clear, knowledgeable and applicable financial data and analysis solutions, enabling management to intelligently track performance, progress and profits. To determine whether your business is taking advantage of all metrics available to make the most informed decisions for future success, schedule a time to talk with us today.

 


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