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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

 

Leading a Horse to Water

It’s a classic saying, yet never more appropriate than when it’s applied to professional advisors in any field. Be it medical, legal, counselling or financial. All professions that deal with the public can relate to this expression. In the beginning I used to cringe when good advice fell on deaf ears. But as I matured and raised a family, I learned to let things play out.

Failure is good. We forget about that. I’ll borrow a line from Batman and use these lines as a great reference;

“Why do we fall down Master Bruce?” “So we learn how to get back up Alfred”.

Our culture and especially our families have become too protective over failure, to the point of stifling effort. In sports the score does matter. It provides a clear indication of ones reward or effort and also spurs reflection and drive for those on the wrong end of the scorecard.  Life is similar. It owes you nothing. Sooner or later you will learn its harsh realities. The longer you prolong or protect individuals from these lessons, the harder it will be for them to learn from them.

Parents, Teachers, Counsellors, Lawyers, Doctors and yes Accountants, are all there to help us make good decisions. As professionals, we must also understand that not taking our advice is also sometimes necessary for the greater good. I know I have learned the hard way several times, and wish I had just listened the first time. I also know that these consequences made me who and what I am today.

Rick Barbosa

 

What to do when idiots run the world?

When you combine Trudeau’s Selfie politics with Morneau’s silver spoon trust fund mentality, you get ongoing budget deficits, careless spending on wasted programs and social agenda’s with no economic merit. Couple that with Trump’s war on everybody, and our lack of true leadership, and voila. Stock market downturns, investors pulling out of Canadian projects and infighting between provinces for political gain without consideration for economic fallout.

So what’s a person to do? Well if you’ve invested using time-tested fundamentals you weather the storm. When deploying new capital, go for fixed income instruments that have low volatility and meager returns. Now is not the time to bet the Farm.

Stay Calm and Build your Cash reserves.

Rick Barbosa

 

Royal Bank pulls ahead in Electronic Banking Options for Business

Full disclosure, I use Royal Bank and own Royal Bank stock.

Recently Royal Bank did something that changed the game for small to medium-sized businesses alike. Very quietly they installed two brand new features that automates the electronic collections process previously only available through standalone software.

The first feature is Interact Collections, yes collections, not just payments. You can now issue requests for payment to registered “payee’s” and have them pay you using the familiar Interact System. It allows room for Invoice numbers and comments to provide detail to the recipient.

The second feature is the introduction of Wave to produce invoices and send them with the built-in option to pay via various means. This is a great tool for mom and pop businesses, allowing them to send professional looking electronic invoices to their customers and get paid.  I still would not recommend using Wave to handle your bookkeeping for a few reasons. The main one being that you still need an Accountant to work with you and your business to handle the various remittances, payroll and tax issues that go along with it.

That being said, I have tried both and liked them. There is a free trial period for both options, and available upgrades for various Wave features, but the free version does the job.

Good work Royal.

 

 

 

 

4 Pillars of Building Wealth

Believe it or not, the manner in which you can build your nest egg hasn’t changed since the dawn of the 20th century. The tools may have improved but these foundational pillars still exist.

  1. Discipline – Stay true to your purpose and never lose sight of your goal.
  2. Save – Learn how to keep and grow your money
  3. Research – The best results come from the most informed decisions.
  4. Plan – Anticipate life, surprises, retirement, and set out to meet these obligations.

Contact us to learn how to use these tools and start building your wealth.

Rick Barbosa

 

BBT Financial Update 10 days ahead of Barclays Analyst

Our clients enjoyed a 10 day window to buy up depressed stocks from our client update on May 12th. See the Barclays post below:

BUZZ-Barclays upgrades 5 Canadian banks on valuation, outlook

23 May 2017 – Reuters

BUZZ-Barclays upgrades 5 Canadian banks on valuation, outlook** Barclays raised its outlook on 5 Canadian banks due to low valuations following Q1 results

** Analyst John Aiken writes depressed valuation also attributable to housing market worries arising from non-bank lender Home Capital Group’s rapid decline in deposit accounts
** Cites upcoming switch to 2018 valuation year as painting rosier earnings growth outlook
** Among ‘big 6,’ raises Bank of Montreal to equal weight from under weight, PT to $98 from $95
** Lifts Bank of Nova Scotia to overweight from equal weight, PT to $84 from $78
** Upgrades National Bank of Canada to overweight from equal weight, PT unchanged at $59
** Boosts TD Bank Group to equal weight from under weight, PT to $69 from $64
** Also raises regional bank Laurentian to equal weight from under weight, though trims PT to $58 from $59
** In last 12 months, banks have outperformed the broader Canadian equities market, with the Thomson Reuters Canada Banks Index up 14.9 pct vs. the TSX Composite (up 11.1 pct)

Even with the BMO earnings today,  we see a buying opportunity.

Our Call 05/24/17
We predict that enough republicans will vote for impeachment before US Thanksgiving, leading to further depressed values for banks in the US. Canadian Banks should see continued strength as safe havens. Oil will bounce higher despite incremental supply. Overall infrastructure spending will boost oil demand over the next 2 years so hold on or add to your energy stocks.

Rick Barbosa