Plan Business Deals Like a Heist: Build a Team of Trusted Professionals Your Business Matters AlexanderAbramson.com • (407) 649-7777 August 2019
"Ocean’s Eleven" would have been a very different film if it was just called "Ocean." Cutting Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and the rest of the crew wouldn’t just impact the classic heist movie’s star power; it would also make the plot impossible to believe. As far- fetched as a group of expert criminals robbing a casino may sound, George Clooney pulling it off all by himself would be beyond the pale. Much like the movie’s lead character, I prefer bringing in a group of professionals to being a jack-of-all-trades. Now, I’m not saying I’m just like George Clooney — Faith wouldn’t let me get away with that. But I do think "Ocean’s Eleven" can teach business owners a great deal about the importance of building strong relationships with a diverse range of skilled professionals. If you’ve worked with our firm in the past, chances are you already know we’re big fans of this team approach, but today, I want to delve into why. I’ll start with our selfish reason: We want to be the absolute best at what we do. Rather than stretch ourselves thin trying to cover everything from estate planning to tax advice, my team and I want to focus on ensuring you have airtight agreements and contracts. Of course, these documents rarely ever exist in a vacuum. Helping you reach your business goals becomes so much easier when you bring your estate planner, CPA, and other relevant professionals into the conversation.
most business owners are used to. For example, when acquiring a new business, having a talented CPA to go over your books with a fine-toothed comb is a smart move. And, if they find something that would change the nature of your initial offer, you’d want your legal team to already be in the loop. If you close the deal, an estate planner can make sure the appropriately valued asset is seamlessly added to your will. By letting these pros collaborate, you’ll get service that is more than the sum of its parts. Of course, there are those who will disagree with me on this. Some business owners choose to forgo bringing on any outside experts until they absolutely have to, and I understand their reasoning. Why pay for a CPA when your books are in order, right? But I have to say, this strategy isn’t as cost-effective as you might think. Let me put it this way: If you wait until your car is making strange noises before bringing it to a mechanic, the repairs are never going to be cheap. A problem that could have been prevented during
an annual tuneup is now going to break the bank. This is why I view building professional relationships as investments, not costs. When I use the word “relationship,” I really do mean a long-lasting bond. Hiring one-off freelancers every time you need a service means you’ll spend more time and money getting them up to speed. By comparison, having a professional who’s already familiar with your business, your needs, and your team means they can hit the ground running. Bringing it all back to "Ocean’s Eleven," there’s a specific way Clooney builds his team. He doesn’t get on Google and search “blackjack dealers” or “demolitions expert.” He reaches out to professionals he knows. Between friends he’s done jobs with in the past, and the experts these friends recommend, the 11 become a tightknit, well-organized group. Ideally, you should build your team in a similar way. This is why I’m happy to share recommendations to professionals I’ve worked with in the past. I’ve had the chance to see a fair number of these experts operate up close over the years, and I’ve gotten a feel for which projects they excel at. This referral network is purely for your convenience. Neither I nor the firm get any sort of kickback for making the connection. We just know the value of working alongside talented professionals we trust.
We’ve found that this team approach can make things run far smoother than
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On May 15, 2019, more than 1 million students around the world skipped school to call attention to climate change. The effort included over 2,000 protests aimed at legislators in 25 countries, which is no small feat for a bunch of middle and high school students. For businesses, movements like these should be red flags because today’s students are tomorrow’s consumers and employees. Luckily, there are plenty of simple moves you can make to lower your business’s environmental impact. Just be sure to avoid “greenwashing” — a term for marketing initiatives that make companies look environmentally friendly, even when they’re making no effort. Here are some tips to better our planet and help your business attract today’s climate- conscious youth. GO PAPERLESS. According to the EPA, the average office worker uses 10,000 pieces of paper per year. Multiply that by everyone in your company, and you have a whole forest in your building waiting to be saved. With advances in technology that provide replacements for products like punch cards and spreadsheets, why not ditch internal paper altogether? INVEST IN A DISHWASHER. After China announced in 2018 that it would no longer accept the majority of U.S. plastics for recycling, single-use plastics like cling wrap, water cooler cups, and plasticware became impossible to recycle in most cities. As a result, more than 6 million tons of those plastics end up in local landfills and the oceans each year. Buying a dishwasher for the office kitchen and providing reusable silverware, cups, and plates will cut down on that waste. OFFER ALTERNATIVES TO THE TRASH CAN. If your city provides recycling and composting services, this step can be as simple as making sure the bins in your office are visible and educating your employees on what should be tossed where. Barring a local compost program, you can start your own company compost pile for things like coffee grounds, lawn clippings, and lunch leftovers. If you don’t know what can be composted or recycled or are unsure if you are allowed to create your own compost pile, city officials and the internet are there to help. 3 Sustainable Moves Your Business Can Make Today GOING GREEN
WHAT INTERNS CAN OFFER These Young Minds Will Help Your Business Thrive Often utilized as file organizers, envelope lickers, and coffee fetchers, college interns are usually at the lowliest rung on the corporate ladder. But as some of the world’s most successful companies have proven, these young team members can be incredibly valuable to your business. If you haven’t considered offering internship positions before, the following benefits might just convince you. PROACTIVE RECRUITING In today’s competitive job market, recruiting a recent college graduate with relevant experience feels like finding a unicorn. But a coveted hire doesn’t have to be one in a million. An effective internship program can give you the opportunity to bring college interns on to your staff who could potentially become full-time employees. And luckily, unlike regular hires, you aren’t making a long- term, expensive commitment to your interns. During their internships, you can test whether or not they will be a great fit for your company before offering them a permanent position. And if an intern impresses you enough to hire them on after graduation, you can rest assured knowing they will already be familiar with their job by then. FRESH PERSPECTIVES There’s a reason top companies like Facebook and Chevron invest heavily in their internship programs. By bringing in young, innovative minds, you open up your business to fresh, unique solutions. Interns have spearheaded effective social media campaigns, modernized standard operating procedures, and even designed apps to help their businesses run smoother. In a world where remaining relevant is key to growth, businesses can’t afford to be out of touch with the next generation of consumers. So, while interns will likely do much of the grunt work at your business, don’t be afraid to hand them more responsibilities. Bring them into strategy meetings, ask for their thoughts, and treat them as valued parts of the team. Do this and you’ll be in step with some of the biggest players in the business world.
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5 Strategies to Protect Your Building
HAVE A Laugh According to the FBI, a burglary occurs every 20 seconds. We tend to focus on protecting our homes from invasion, but in 2016, over 460,000 nonresidential buildings were burglarized. And after one successful break-in, your building is more likely to be targeted again. Here are a few crucial strategies to improve the security of your building. SMILE FOR THE CAMERA. Let’s start with the basics: If you don’t already have CCTV surveillance, install a system right away. Position these cameras in common areas with good lighting, and make sure they’re visible. The sight of security cameras may deter criminals from making your building a target. Some property managers try to cut corners by using fake cameras to scare off criminals, but this can backfire in the event of a break-in. Use real cameras and service them regularly so you can review the tapes whenever you need to. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR LANDSCAPING. Never let overgrowth overtake your property. Criminals view unkempt trees, bushes, and grass as a sign that you’ve been neglecting your property. This implies you may be neglecting other areas, too — your security system, for example. LET THERE BE LIGHT. Unless you have Batman patrolling your city streets at night, nighttime is when criminals are most likely to strike.
Install motion detector floodlights in prime areas around your building, including entrances, exits, gates, garages, in your landscaping, and near ground-level windows. A sudden burst of light can scare off would-be intruders and potentially alert anyone nearby of trouble. INVEST IN PARKING SECURITY. The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that 11% of property crimes and more than 7% of violent attacks occur in parking facilities. If your building has a parking facility, make sure this area has ample security. DETERMINE WHO’S IN CHARGE. When reviewing building security, it’s important to determine who is responsible for keeping security up to date. Should the building owner or property manager maintain security, or does it fall to the tenants? Answer this question and make sure the person responsible is following all agreed-upon security protocols. There’s no one-size-fits-all strategy for security. Depending on the nature of a business or building, you will have specific security needs. You should periodically assess potential risks, make sure your building’s needs are met, and make repairs as needed.
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Inside This Edition
'Ocean’s Eleven,' CPAs, and Good Business
Greening Up Your Business
What Interns Offer
Can You Trust Your Security System?
Have a Laugh
Your Ego Is Holding You Back
‘Ego Is the Enemy’ Get Over Yourself and Find Success Once in a while, a book comes along with a truly transcendent message. “Ego Is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday is one such work. This book is not just for business owners, athletes, or those trying to lose weight; it’s a guide for everyone. By digging into the root of the human condition, this instant bestseller examines the single greatest threat to our own success: ourselves. This ambitious premise shouldn’t come as a surprise if you’re familiar with the author. Dropping out of college at 19 to be mentored by business strategist Robert Greene, Holiday has become one of the most trusted advisors of our time, working with brands like Google, Taser, and Complex. His other bestseller, “The Obstacle Is the Way,” tackles the difficulties of the creative process and our natural tendency to avoid necessary steps toward our success. “Ego Is the Enemy” dives deeper into the latter concept, highlighting ways we sabotage or deceive ourselves. For Holiday, ego is defined loosely as our perception of self. Some may have a poorer outlook on themselves than others, but, as the book’s title suggests, ego hurts us regardless of which end of the spectrum we fall on. Holiday argues our self- perception can act as both a roadblock and a pitfall: Those
with low self-esteem get stopped by doubt, while those with inflated egos often trip over their own arrogance. Those who unshackle themselves from their own personal narratives, however, can find lasting success.
“Ego Is the Enemy” is rich with examples of this concept in action as it explores the lives and contributions of often overlooked historical figures like Katharine Graham and Howard Hughes. These powerful individuals remain relatively obscure thanks to their tendency to put their work before self- promotion, yet their impact on global events is undeniable. Pulling from history, literature, and the latest psychological findings, Holiday weaves an argument as engaging as it is thought-provoking. At times contemplative and other times combative, “Ego Is the Enemy” holds up a mirror to readers and asks them to challenge what they see. For those willing to attempt conquering themselves, this book is a worthy companion.
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