Our New Reality – 5 Steps to Navigating our Troubled Economy and Impending Burdens

Because of the work and interaction I am blessed to have with many entrepreneurs and business owners from around the country both in and out of the NEMT industry, I know that many of you are very concerned and even weary of our troubled economy and, even more so, the prospects for the future.

Especially since the election, I continue to receive a heightened amount of emails and questions asking how Obamacare, the impending tax increases and associated burdens will affect our businesses. And needless to say, these are incredibly legitimate concerns. There are countless businesses in a wide variety of industries that have to take drastic actions and restructuring just to survive let alone remain profitable. And who are the ones to suffer? Well, trust me it’s definitely not just the business owners and employers. Rather, even more so, it is the employees that are being laid off or having their hours reduced. It is the customers that experience increased cost and, in many instances, reduced services or product. But what is so amazing is that much of the general public has no understanding or comprehension of such simple laws of economics.

In August, at my Virginia Seminar, I went into great detail discussing how Obamacare, inflation, and the growing tax burden are going to adversely affect our economy and all businesses in general. Obviously, I don’t have the availability to rehash all of that material. But in short, regardless of what business or industry you are in, it is with regret that I must be the bearer of bad news and tell you that times are going to continue to get worse before they get better.

Now, I know what I am sharing with you is not the most positive message. It’s not a tickle-my-soul, pat on the back, rainbows are before you type message. So if that is what you seek, then after reading this message I highly advise that you listen to Tony Robbins or some other motivational “guru” that offers an amalgamation of positive reinforcement. But if you wish to hear the truth then read on so that you can plan and prepare your business accordingly.

The fact of the matter is this, there has NEVER been and there NEVER will be in the history of the world a prosperous country or group of people that grows in abundance and prosperity as a result of cannibalizing and punishing their population. And regretfully, that is exactly what this country is doing – cannibalizing our wealth creators, punishing our job creators, and destroying even the simplest of investment opportunities for everyone!

We continue to hear the cool catchy slogans such as “tax the rich,” or “middle class tax cuts,” or (and one of my all-time favorites) “FREE healthcare” and so, so much more. But unfortunately, what most people fail to realize is that the only thing that these catchy slogans do is stir our wannabe feel-good emotions. They offer NO REAL practicality! In fact, this entire scam perpetuated by our politicians amounts to nothing more than one giant and very expensive shell game.

Oh, I’m wrong?

Well, let’s say that I am. Let’s say that our “middle class tax cuts” actually came to fruition over the last few years – you just saved money. But how much more has the cost of gas went up over this period of time? How much more are you paying for food, clothing, and entertainment? How much has your property taxes increased? How are the returns on your investments treating you?

The fact of the matter is those warm and fuzzy feelings that tickle the belly of some people when they hear “middle class tax cuts,” and “tax the rich,” and “pay their fair share,” or “FREE healthcare” amounts to nothing more than a hearty bowl movement!

Sorry, but I work with some outstanding and hardworking business owners that, in the coming months and years, will have to lay people off to avoid penalties from Obamacare and the impending tax burdens. And who suffers? The soon to be former employees – but hey, at least they have “FREE healthcare!”

I work with business owners that have to increase the cost of their services in an effort to keep up with increased overhead expenses. And who suffers? The customers – but hey, at least they got their “middle class tax cuts” so they can afford the increases in cost.

I work with business owners that are sitting atop a flood of opportunity but they struggle to get funding because banks aren’t lending. Why? Because banks aren’t stupid – they can “read the tea leaves” and with a stagnant economy and an increased tax burden on the horizon can you really blame them for not exposing themselves to a risk of losing money?

And the scenarios go on and on. But bottom line, many people of all origins have a growing anxiety and fear of the future versus having a growing optimism. And what’s most pathetic about this growing tragedy is that it is not necessary! This is a country where our growth, prosperity, and opportunity should be overflowing and in abundance. But again, it’s not because we are cannibalizing ourselves!

So Joel, why this message of doom and gloom? And if government is not the solution, what is?

Well, the reason is because if I am receiving such a response and feedback from the people I’m working with on a regular basis then I know that there are many, many more of you who share similar concerns. It’s like an iceberg. You only see the top 10%. The remaining 90% is below the waterline.

Further, government and politicians are our problem, not our solution! If you think I am wrong, just go ask the victims of hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey and see how well FEMA and other government agencies are working out for them! Bottom line, government does not work – business owners, employers, entrepreneurs, and the average honest hardworking Americans is what works! And for those of you that have justifiable fear and anxiety of our future prospects I offer you the following five point strategy that I strongly encourage you to follow in an effort to help you navigate these troubling economic circumstances. After all, the best remedy for fear is a Plan!

1. Start by recognizing our current and impending problems. The first step to your recovery and prosperity is to recognize that, yes we are plagued with very real problems. And honestly, although this sounds simple, it can actually be very difficult. Why? Well, consider the analogy of the boiling frog.

If you throw a frog into boiling water it’s going to jump out immediately. But if you put a frog into room temperature water and you gradually increase the heat, the frog will boil. Why? Because the frog’s body acclimates to the increasing temperature until the point where he is cooked! And ironically enough, this same scenario is exactly what’s happening in our country. More and more pressure, burdens, regulation, and challenges are constricting us and many people don’t even realize it because we become so acclimated to our self-pressurized environment.

2. Do everything possible to get out of debt. I know that you’ve all heard this advice before, but for some reason, many of you fail to heed the warning. Let me get Biblical on you for a moment.

Proverbs 22:7 (NIV): “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is slave to the lender.”

Do not allow banks and credit card companies to own you! I have worked with some people that literally pay thousands of dollars a month just in interest. That’s obscene! That is thousands of dollars a month that should be going into your own savings, your own “asset column,” versus going into the asset column of banks and credit card companies.
Now, if you won’t listen to me, then please, listen to God!

3. Stack your chips! That’s slang for Save Money. Obviously, this goes hand in hand with Number 2 because when you’re busy paying interest to banks and creditors then it’s tough to stack chips!

Now, why is saving money and being frugal with your spending habits so important? Because as inflation continues to rise disproportionately to the rate of people’s income, your greatest form of leverage is your savings and net worth. Furthermore, when you have money and you want to grow or diversify your business you can be self-funded. You don’t need to become a slave to banks or credit card companies in an effort to find capital.

4. Keep on keepin’ on. There are many things that we individually cannot control. But there are many things that we can control – things such as our motivation, innovation, creativity, and good old fashioned hard work.

Despite our economic conditions and associated burdens, opportunities of all kinds do exist. Again, because I am blessed with the opportunity to work with so many of you, I see how motivated and creative entrepreneurs keep pushing forward, maximizing their opportunities, diversifying and expanding. And especially in the coming months and years as the full weight of Obamacare is realized and further sinks our economy, it is absolutely critical that you diversify your business portfolio. No longer can you afford to be one dimensional. There are simply too many regulatory ramifications that expose you to risk. Essentially, it is the age old saying that you can’t “have all of your eggs in in basket.”

5. Do not be emotional, be rational! This rule is absolutely critical to all business owners regardless of industry. And this rule especially is one that you can point to many entrepreneurs and say that’s why you’re successful and to others that’s why you struggled. You either make rational or emotional decisions and, although the two are definitely not the same, they both have lasting ramifications.

Countless business owners make purchases, acquisitions, and investments based solely upon what they “like” or “feel” – both emotional decisions. Such decisions can be extremely costly because it doesn’t mean that your clients will have the same affection for your decisions. There are some very good Q&A’s posted on www.mdtvip.com that discuss this very topic that I would suggest checking out at your convenience.

For example, do not invest in assets that you can’t afford just because you like them! Just because you purchase new versus used vehicles doesn’t guarantee you increased clientele. Nor, if you purchase more vehicles than you need will it guarantee you more business. As I continue to say, it’s better to need them and not have them than have them and not need them. Why – because vehicles and assets that you’re not using cost you money!

In short, especially in times such as these, where we have an overbearing government that seeks to micromanage almost every aspect of our lives causing more obstacles than assistance, it is absolutely critical that you practice a heightened sense of awareness and diligence in your education, planning, preparation, and implementation. Despite such insanity, let’s not forget who we are or stray from what remains the backbone of our country –the hardworking, creative, innovative small business owners!