Learning to fail Cheaply

Starting a new business is a daunting task that many fail to achieve successfully. We’ve seen many a case where entrepreneurs lose everything on an idea and a dream. This not only impacts the individuals, but their families and employees. How can you avoid this from happening to you? We’ve put together a short list that illustrates key concepts to employ that will avoid unnecessary financial distress.

  1. Think small, be the acorn. Don’t try to be the Oak Tree right away.
    • Can your concept work from your kitchen table/shed or home? Don’t invest in real estate until you get traction.

 2. How much can you afford to lose in the first year?

    • If you can’t start making money or have the prospect of making an income in your first year then then you need to self-finance. Do not put your family at risk by mortgaging the house or taking on huge expensive credit card debt

 3. Leverage Technology early and often. 

    • Technology has the effect of cutting costs by making business processes’ easier, creating less demand for human interaction and labor expenditure. 
    • Use technology for marketing and promotion, become an expert in google ads, Facebook and Instagram, all useful and cost effective self-help tools to promote your business.

 4. Always know your numbers.

    • Know your Overhead, Costs per product, expenses and cashflow. Work with an accountant to ensure you are tracking everything and can make informed decisions in a timely manner.

 5. Protect yourself.

    • Secure Business Insurance, Trade Licenses and VAT Registrations, ensure you have spoken to a Solicitor and received a legal opinion on your liability. Paying for advice early on can save thousands more when an issue arises. Many start-ups forget the downside of potential problems and never think it can happen to them.

There you have it. A simple list to get you started and keep your head above water when you first start out.

Regards,

Rick

 

 

 

Galway’s newest and easiest Online Market Place for Everyone

BBT Financial is happy to announce its new investment in Galway, Ireland. We have funded the community marketplace Eyre Hub  http://www.eyrehub.com to help Small Businesses, Hobbyists, Landlords, Tradespeople, and anyone that is looking to make a little extra money. It’s simple structure and flexibility allows anyone to set up items, equipment, property or services and start making money. It allows for complete security with funds only being transferred when the buyer marks each transaction as “complete”. Their fee’s are transparent and reasonable (min. 2euro fee or 2%) and communication between all users (buyers/sellers) is built in. There are some test items on the site as it just launched…

We hope you avail of this opportunity and help Bring Galway Together

BBT Financial is always looking to partner and invest with local promising entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to life. Contact us if you have that something special.

Post Pandemic world will drive more automation/demand for knowledge workers

This video says it all. Initially there is a  large capital cost barrier to entry, however, when measuring these costs against new safety requirements it may be feasible for large operations. This emphasizes the continued shift in demand for knowledge based workers over those less skilled. More and more schools are adopting Coding as part of their curriculums. Let’s hope more students and mid-career employees make that choice.

 

Banking in Ireland leaves its customers behind the rest of the world

Last year after making the decision to move to Galway Ireland we set out to find office space and a bank to enable our operations to function. As consultants and accountants, we have been exposed to or used some of the latest technology and best practices from a variety of industries across the Globe. The Canadian Banking system is dominated by a few large players, just like in Ireland. However, we were surprised to find that their was a huge technology gap between the two markets. We looked at 3 players (Bank of Ireland, AIB and Ulster Bank) and found that they were all using basic platforms that resembled functionality and technology from the 90’s. Why was tech proud Ireland so behind?

Here are some of the features we are used to working with and think should be employed by Irish Banks. Have a peak and tell us which one would be most useful to you or your business with a poll at the end.

1.Mobile Check deposit-Deposit a check via your mobile phone

2. Receive and send money using only your email, and no Banking details.

3. Add a Bill or Payee by simply scanning it into your banking app? This uses the same technology as check deposit above.

4. Current Credit Score and Credit Score simulator which reflects how your situation may change based on your plans.

So there you have it. Our top 4 tech choices we wish Irish banks employed. There are loads more features we’d like to see but these were the most useful to regular customers. Let us know which one you value the most? Hopefully someone somewhere important will see this and start the ball rolling.

Thank you for Reading

 

I was blocked by Facebook

So it seems I’m as bad as the Russians and Chinese after trying to post a simple ad to announce my increasing presence in Galway Ireland. After sending a request for review I received canned messages with a promise to review my account. No timeline, No details, No care.

Censorship is the first step on the path to totalitarianism.

 

So I guess Facebook and more recently You Tube are taking it upon themselves to be our Moral Compasses? Please educate yourselves, take local action and always question those so-called authorities and experts.

Update: May 04, 2020  Facebook has magically re-instated my account with no explanation as to why it was disabled in the first place. In these instances, transparency would be nice to avoid future occurrences.

Pivoting in a Crisis

Its not raining, it’s a torrential downpour of biblical proportions. The worst part is that you could not have modelled or planned for these events. So now that we’ve dealt with what we can’t control time to focus on what we can.

Life offers us opportunities to grow as individuals, some choose to use these opportunities as lessons and learn from them, others do not.

Take this opportunity to Pivot on what you thought worked vs. what is actually working during this ultimate stress test.

  • Your Financial Situation
    • Which investments held up well, which didn’t? Transition to those stocks or instruments that held up well, buy more of what worked.
  • Your Income Stream (Job/Business)
    •  If you’ve been furloughed or laid off, has the drop in income affected your spending? Where can you adjust to meet your reduced income levels
    • Has your business been impacted by the shutdown, how can you adapt to the new reality?
    • What is the leanest your business can run without affecting service and losing customers?
  • Your Health
    • What can you do to stay active
    • What can you do to keep your sanity and keep boredom at bay
    • How can you avoid overworking while working from home
    • How can you maintain the “right amount” of contact with partners- too much vs. too little

In short, pivoting is the fancy word for adapting. However, choosing which approach is best suited for your situation is where the difference lies. Pivoting in the right direction takes research, trial and error and quick decision making when things don’t work.

Take back control however limited and steer your ship with the wind at your back.

Till next time.

Rick

 

The devil is still in the details

I have lost count of how many clients have asked about the various announcements that have been made recently regarding income repalcement and help for small business.

As of this writing the only finalized programs that are up and running are as follows:

  • Regular EI Benefits-Personal
  • CERB (Canadian Emergency Relief Benefit)-Personal

Still in the works

  •  75% wage subsidy of 15% Month over Month revenue drop
  • BDC small business loan program

Just Now available via your Bank or Credit Unions

  •  40,000 Small Business Loan with the possibility of 10k forgiven (Details differ per bank or credit union)

The best option in my humble opinion, is for small businesses to work with their Bank on the 40k loan option. Banks unlike Governments know how to structure programs and processes, and the details are clearer than what Governments promise versus what they actually deliver.

Try to manage the best you can on your own, become self-reliant and plan for the worst. The best time to fix the roof is when the sun is shinning, not in the middle of a downpour. 

Till next time,

Rick

 

 

 

 

 

Make a Plan-Work the Plan

Its been a while since I’ve written any Blog entries and there’s a good reason for that..

If you’ve read any of my past entries, hopefully you realize I say what I mean and practice what I preach…

This past summer my family and I took the leap of putting our retirement plans into high gear. We bought a house in Galway Ireland. Yes, the place where the “Galway Girl” song is about. Our transition to Ireland was made easier simply because my wife was Born there and is a citizen. She also had the foresight of applying for Irish passports when the children were born. I being married to an Irish Citizen, made it seamless to obtain a work and live permit, locally referred to as a Stamp4 Visa, or as we know it a PR Card (Permanent Resident).

Once that was sorted we found a house close to town and I found a co-working space to support my clients back in Canada. Cost of living comparisons are below:

Food = Same to lower in Ireland especially for meats.
Personal taxes = Equal to those in Canada, Corporate taxes are famously lower here
which attracts a lot of multi-national business
Property taxes < Sooo much lower here. I’ve saved 4,000 a year

Healthcare > in Canada.. but it is subsidized in Ireland including hospital
stays and medicines. Doctor and non-hospital costs are pay as you go. Insurance is available at 1,000 euro/year
Community >Here in Galway, it can’t be beat.

At 50, I’ve been asked why so early? The reason we are working our plan is simple. If you have the financial and personal means to do something at any point in your life you should do it. Waiting for the right time means that time could never come. Too many of my clients are still working because of unforeseen variables or events, and can’t retire. Others didn’t even make it to retirement.

Having options is the most important thing about personal and financial freedom. Without actions there can be no options or opportunity. We never know what’s around the corner or what tomorrow will bring. Better to seize the day or the opportunity when you can rather than wait for “the right time”. The right time may never come.

Options are freedom.

Till next time

Rick

 

So who carries cash, anyway? — Harmonious Groove

A good reference for those organizations who don’t keep up with technology and customer preferences. Like water, Customers will flow to the path of least resistance….

So Salvation Army donations for 2018 are down, at least in Florida. In Manatee County, for example, donations are down $30,000 so far this year. The lower contributions mean that services cannot be provided to their fullest extent, and shelters may run out of available beds. What’s driving this drop? I believe part of the […]

via So who carries cash, anyway? — Harmonious Groove

Key takeaways from Turmoil

I haven’t written much lately, and that’s been for a variety of reasons. The most important being that I had to ensure clients capital was sheltered from what seems like Tsunami’s of bad news. Not much changing to do, just some re-balancing into less risky investments and continuing to hold our oldies but goodies.

Some of my observations or takeaways over the last few months:

  1. Don’t panic, analyze
  2. Ensure you always have enough cash on hand in case of an emergency (worst case scenario)
  3. Make sure you have adequate Insurance on all hard assets, including your lives
  4. Believe in your ability and instincts
  5. Never rely on others to help you out financially
  6. Never assume someone in authority is smarter than you are
  7. Question what seems too good to be true
  8. You always get what your pay for.
  9. Consistency always pays off
  10. Take care of yourself and your health (mentally and physically)

Stay sharp, stay committed and stay focused

Rick