Whether you’ve been doing this entrepreneur thing for a while or are just picking it up, these important John Zabel Business Tips will surely help keep more money in your pocket!
Today I’ve got a very special guest: meet John Zabel, Financial Advisor and Certified Public Accountant (CPA) (who’s also my dad!)
Why am I bringing a financial advisor on here to chat business tips?
Well, because like many of you, I run my own business and around this season things get tough, tight and stressful!
When I get stressed, I make poorer choices for my health (i.e. eating all my S’mores Bark while trying to crunch numbers for taxes!)
Suffice it to say, advice like this helps keep me calm while giving me more motivation to be a little sharper this year in my accounting.
Since John Zabel is a trusted entrepreneur himself who has built his business over the last 15+ years to represent some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, such as the Sony and Fox Entertainment Groups, I think we’re in good hands!
And, truth be told, I’m very proud of this man because he just so happens to be my dad!
I remember when I was in high school and he made the decision to leave his role as Chief Financial Officer for Mandalay Entertainment and start his own gig from his tiny office that also dubbed as my sister’s room when she was home from college.
His passion, persistence and determination to work for himself, setting his own goals, expectations and realities, has led him to become one of the most respected financial advisors internationally.
Now, for those who’ve met my dad, you also know he’s one of the most down to earth guys ever. You’ll likely spot him in his pj pants, tube socks and fedora or basketball shorts.
I truly believe his “style” alongside his cast career experience has kept his clients coming back year after year.
And, lucky for us, he’s opening up about his business tips below!
So, what is John Zabel’s advice for entrepreneurs?
Find out in the top business tips he’s sharing with us below!
- Get paid for your work – in order to survive for any length of time, you have to generate real cash. The tendency when starting out is to cast a wide net and provide a lot of free services which are chalked up to “marketing” or “business development”.
- You need to determine quickly which of those efforts turn into real business and focus attentions there, and keep a balance with your growth plans/free services or you can find you were really busy but there is no money in the bank. It’s important to have an up to date IT system.
- Keep expenses in line with receipts – while the great thing about working for yourself is that most things are deductible for taxes, that deductibility at best saves you only 33% of the spend, so only spend where there is going to be a return on investment for the business.
- Take all your deductions for tax purposes – as a small business working from home, you can deduct what you use exclusively for business and an allocable portion of things that serve dual purposes – personal and business – Do not be afraid to take all you are rightfully entitled to.
- Maximize health care deductions – all your premiums are deductible and if you set up an HAS qualifying plan [one with a generally high deductible], you can still set up a free online HSA savings account and put up to almost $8,000 away to cover any of your expenses and deduct from your taxes.
- Take care of retirement needs immediately – you can also set up a myriad of retirement related accounts and take a deduction off of your taxes to boot [the funds will be taxable once you start to withdraw them] – IRAs, SEP plans or my favorite – Defined Benefit Plans.*
- Use a rewards card for ALL purchases – you need to pay the balance off each month, as interest charges will eat you alive, but all that means is treat each item purchased as if you needed cash to buy it – and do not use the balances on your cards as a loan! You can earn as much as a 4-5% rebate on some items and generally close to 2% on all – and best of all the rewards are tax free.
- Don’t forget to pay your estimated taxes – there are a couple ways to monitor and pay, but they are due for the IRS each April, June, September and January 15th and for a business that is growing, paying in at least 110% of what you owed the prior year is a safe harbor.
- And, it’s a way to get another interest free loan from Uncle Sam – just make sure you track what you will really owe come April 15 and make sure it’s available then [for CA it’s a little more complicated as you make larger payments in April and June and then none in September and a smaller one in January].
- Be tax efficient with your purchases – luxury autos make look nice, but their tax treatment is not great, heavier SUVs and trucks – if they work for your business and lifestyle, allow for almost immediate write-off in many instances.
- If you don’t want to purchase a vehicle for work you can always lease one and it can be written off against your tax as it’s purpose is solely for work, use this website as a useful reference point. You may find that some businesses both small and large may use financial advisors to be as tax efficient as possible,.
- Know the rules if using employees – myself I stay away at all costs here, as CA labor rules are extremely burdensome, but if an absolute need, make sure you know and follow ALL of them – as the penalties and legal risks are significant.*
- Do something you Love – I have this only because I started with the financial aspects in mind, but obviously, you can only be successful AND happy if you enjoy what you spend your time on, so figure it out and make a plan to accomplish it.
Thanks so much John (dad) for your sage Business Tips. Be sure to pin this post below so you can come back to it when April rolls around!
Disclaimer: Please note that this information does not represent financial advice for all businesses. Consult with a CPA to assist with your particular business needs.