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Well, the company I was working for liked that extra revenue I was generating, but they weren’t so keen on paying me a commission for it. I had a contract with them, but as I came to find out, it wasn’t as good as I thought it was. There was a loophole that allowed them to get out of paying me a commission on those extra sales, and this company was too big for me to fight. It was a turning point. You don’t know what you don’t know, and I found out the hard way that I didn’t know anything about business contracts. After discovering how important a solid contract is, I knew I never wanted to find myself in that situation again. That experience is why I became a lawyer. I wanted to set myself up to make educated decisions and to help others do the same. My own experience and the stories I come across all the time are my motivations to help other business owners avoid these pitfalls. It’s why I’m so insistent that you put things in writing and work with an attorney to safeguard your business. Whether it is setting up your initial agreement with a business partner, creating a legal entity, or creating the asset protection plan that will shatterproof your business, taking proactive steps to protect what matters to you needs to be at the top of your 2020 to-do list. You’ve got to put those plans in place now. If you haven't created an asset protection plan, it needs to be a priority this year. If you don't have a contract with your business partner, make one. I know you get busy; I know other things can feel like a priority. But if your business is important to you at all, this cannot wait . Your 2020 resolution is simple: Put the measures in place that will protect your business. Often, it’s as simple as calling us to ensure that the contract you’re about to sign isn’t going to cost you thousands of dollars. (Trust me, it happens more than you’d think.) I’ve been there, and it’s why I do everything I can to help folks like you shatterproof their business. – Scott Reib
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? THE STEP YOU NEED TO TAKE FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2020
More times than I can count, I get phone calls from folks who’ve landed on the wrong side of a business contract. You know how people get sympathy pains when they see someone get tackled in a football game or tear a ligament? I feel that when I see someone get clobbered by a bad contract. It isn’t just a story I hear every day; it’s a story I’ve lived. Before becoming a lawyer, I found myself on the other side of a bad contract. Fresh out of college, I got a job selling phone systems for a big telecom company. I got pretty good at it, and at 23, I thought I was making it and bringing in what felt like good money at the time. As I learned the computer system, I discovered a way to generate additional revenue for the company. Within the system, I found a list of warranties that were about to expire. So, using my marketing degree and thinking proactively, I put together new contracts for those folks and sent them out. Over 25% of the people got back to me with a signed contract. After I called the other 75%, over 60% came back and renewed their contract. I felt like I’d scored big.
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THROW AWAYYOUR RESOLUTIONS
AND SET ALTERNATIVE GOALS FOR THE NEW YEAR
than half-blindly looking forward with broad resolutions,” Ferriss said in a 2018 blog post.
At the start of each new year, about half of all Americans set at least one New Year’s resolution, a promise to themselves that they will thrive in the coming year. Unfortunately, research from YouGov Omnibus, an international market research firm, found that only 1 in 5 Americans stuck to their resolutions. The fallibility of New Year’s resolutions is why few successful CEOs or leaders bother making them.
At the start of each year, Ferriss spends an hour going through his calendar from the past 12 months and making a note of every person, activity, or commitment that sparked the strongest emotions, both positive and negative. The most positive events get rescheduled immediately for the new year. Meanwhile, the negative ones get put on a “Not-To-Do List” and hung up where Ferriss can see them. “I do believe in starting the new year with new resolve,” says Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “but instead of adopting a resolution, I choose a word of the year — a word that encapsulates my Gates says that words like “spacious” or “grace” have helped her center herself and serve as a reminder about what she really wants to focus on. In 2019, Gates chose the word “shine,” stating that, “It’s a reminder for all of us to turn on the lights inside of us, lift each other up, and shine together.” aspirations for the 12 months ahead.” You most likely screen your calls, as do most prospects. FixYourFunnel allows you to send a text message before a call so clients and prospects know the purpose of the call, making them more likely to pick up. There’s also a live texting feature, which is a great tool for teams looking to stay connected in a way prospects actually want to respond to. Trackable SMS links and a mobile survey feature, among many other features, help you better understand how your customers are interacting with your business. We started using FixYourFunnel at our firm this winter, and we’ve been especially impressed by the direct-to-voicemail feature. It’s allowed us to communicate information to our clients with less intrusion into their day and keep them up to speed on what we’re doing at our firm. For any team wanting to improve communication with their clients, FixYourFunnel is worth a look. PICK A WORD OF THE YEAR WITH MELINDA GATES.
Around this time of year, plenty of articles pop up with hot takes like, “Don’t set New Year’s resolutions; make goals instead!” Unfortunately, if you haven’t been making goals already, you’ve likely been setting yourself up
for failure. Setting goals, achieving them, and making new ones should be a habit all year long, not just something you do on Jan. 1. The start of a new year is still a great time to reflect and strategize, but rather than fall on an old cliche, take a page from two of the most successful people in business. REFLECT ON 2019 WITH TIM FERRISS. For decades, entrepreneur and best-selling author Tim Ferriss made New Year’s resolutions every year. Then, he developed a better strategy. “I have found ‘past year reviews’ (PYR) more informed, valuable, and actionable
BIZ TOOL OF THE MONTH: FIXYOURFUNNEL
Every business owner knows how important it is to have a good line of communication with customers or clients. With so many ways to reach out to people, the problem isn’t so much how to do it as it is how to do it in a way that actually gets through to them. FixYourFunnel is a service that seeks to solve this problem, offering integrated phone and text messaging services that make it easier and more efficient to stay in touch with customers and prospects. FixYourFunnel can get messages to clients without interrupting their day. During the holidays especially, communication is crucial, but you don’t want to bombard people with calls. With FixYourFunnel, you can opt to have calls go directly to voicemail, so clients get the pertinent information without getting a call in the middle of their meeting or focused work time. All you have to do is record your message one time and send it out to your contacts. This option is also great for announcing promotions and updates, like holiday schedules. ADD THIS TO YOUR COMMUNICATION ARSENAL
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THE 3 COMPONENTS OF A SHATTERPROOF CONTRACT
WHAT YOU NEED TO DEFINE
3. DEFINE HOW YOU’LL SETTLE CONFLICTS.
Whether you’re putting a contract in place for your business or signing off on one, there are three things a solid contract should define, so pay careful attention to the following aspects.
A well-thought-out contract can preemptively decide how you’ll address any conflicts down the road. No one ever likes to think there will be conflicts, but when they happen, it’s better to have a plan for how to handle them. A contract can dictate that you’ll choose to go through mediation or arbitration to settle a conflict rather than litigation, which is usually more costly and tedious. You’ll also benefit from having your lawyer take a look at a contract before signing it to ensure there aren’t loopholes or surprises. Writing everything down and reviewing details carefully before signing anything is key to a successful business contract. It’s similar to New Year’s resolutions — the majority of them fail, but when people write them down, they are 42% more likely to succeed. Set your business up for success with a shatterproof contract.
1. DEFINE WHAT YOU’RE PROTECTING.
Make a list, check it twice, and make sure your partner or client is aware of what the contract covers, especially when it comes to money. Write it down, highlight the areas involving money, and make sure both parties know what’s expected. The devil is in the details, and it’s amazing how things get missed when you don’t write them down.
2. DEFINE WHO THE CONTRACT INVOLVES.
Review this part of a contract with a careful eye. You might notice your personal name is listed instead of your business name, creating personal liability for anything that happens under the umbrella of your business. Make sure both parties’ names are listed correctly, as well.
Inspired by Epicurious
• 1 smoked ham hock • 1 medium onion, diced • 1 cup long-grain white rice
• 1 cup dried black-eyed peas • 5–6 cups water • 1 dried hot pepper, optional (arbol and Calabrian are great options)
'5 PROVEN STRATEGIES TO SHATTERPROOF YOUR BUSINESS' Fact: 1 in 3 businesses has been hit with a lawsuit or threatened with a lawsuit over the past three years. This book lays out five proven strategies that, when implemented properly, will absolutely protect you and your hard-earned assets from any possible legal action. Visit ScottReib.com/books to order your copy today!
1. Wash and sort peas. 2. In a saucepan, cover peas with water, discarding any that float. 3. Add pepper, ham hock, and onion. Gently boil and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until peas are just tender, about 90 minutes. At this point, you should have about 2 cups of liquid remaining. 4. Add rice, cover, drop heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, undisturbed. 5. Remove from heat and let steam for an additional 10 minutes, still covered. 6. Remove lid, fluff with a fork, and serve.
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What You Need to Do This Year INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1 2 2 3 3 4 Are New Year’s Resolutions a Waste of Time? Biz Tool of the Month The 3 Components of a Shatterproof Contract Hoppin’ John The Tech of 2020
TECH OF TOMORROW
WHAT’S COMING IN 2020?
and more, and it is expected to become a household term this year. While price and hardware limitations have made this technology little more than a novelty until now, interest in XR is burgeoning in major industries like architecture and education. The line between digital and physical worlds may truly start to blur this year. MEDICAL IMPLANTS While devices like pacemakers and artificial hips have been around for decades, a new generation of implanted care devices has begun to emerge. For example, Stimwave’s micro-stimulators made a splash in the medical world last year when early tests showed they were an effective means of pain relief. As an alternative to drugs, these wireless implants block pain signals using an electrical field. This breakthrough alone may bring an end to the opioid epidemic. No one can say for certain what the future may hold, but with so many promising new technologies being implemented and improved upon today, the sky’s the limit for what we might see tomorrow.
Here we are in the future. We may not have flying cars yet, but 2020 promises to be an exciting year for multiple tech industries. Judging by predicted developments for this year, this new decade could see many of our sci-fi fantasies come to life. Here are a few of the most promising trends we have our eyes on. EXPANDED 5G ACCESS While the long-coveted 5G mobile network became a reality in 2019, it was by no means widespread. Now, with many cellphone companies upgrading their equipment at the beginning of this year, it’s likely the average American will soon have access to this latest generation of mobile internet. If it’s anything like the rollout of 4G, we may not see much of a difference in our connectivity right away. However, as access increases, 5G devices will become more common, paving the way for some very high-speed experiences in 2021 and beyond. EXTENDED REALITY Extended reality, or XR, is an umbrella term covering virtual reality headsets, Instagram filters, augmented reality devices,
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