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Declutter Your Office

declutterAre you overwhelmed by stacks of paperwork?  And are your files overflowing with documents?  Many professionals expected paperwork to diminish as technology advanced, but old habits die hard, and many of us are still overrun by hardcopies.  But there is hope!

In a recent Score.org article, Cris Burnam, author and entrepreneur in the self-storage industry, shares “3 Simple Ways to De-Clutter Your Office.”

1. Recycle bins.  As Burnam explains, “If your office isn’t full of recycling bins, it should be.  Not only does recycling save trees and energy, but placing recycling bins in every room of your office will also eliminate extra paper piling up on desks.”  In addition, Burnam states that the average white-collar worker will waste more than four hours a week searching for lost documents, a number that could be significantly reduced by eliminating excess paperwork.

2. Cloud storage.  You no longer need to keep large client files in an overrun filing cabinet.  You can now backup digital copies of all those files in cloud storage, a remote server enabling you to store, manage and process data.  This takes zero physical space while protecting your data and streamlining your processes, ridding yourself of unnecessary hardcopies.

3. Self-storage. If you still have a significant amount of paperwork that you need to save, consider renting a storage unit.  Burnam says, “You can use it to store inventory, supplies, records, and other items you don’t need on a daily basis.”

While these tips sound simple, each takes time and energy.  Also keep in mind that in addition to eliminating physical clutter, you may also need to eliminate digital clutter as well.  Do you need to delete some of the bookmarks from your browser to eliminate confusion?  Does your virtual desktop need a good cleaning?  And do your file folders contain multiple electronic versions of the same documents?  Be sure to streamline your electronic records as well.  But don’t feel obligated to tackle all these tips today.  In fact, it might be more effective if you spent one week on each task, ensuring that you are thorough and complete.

If you enjoy reading our articles and would like to keep current on all UAC news, join our free accounting and tax forumsfollow us on Twitter and like us on FaceBook.

Resource

Burnam, Cris.  “3 Simple Ways to De-Clutter Your Office.”  7 October 2014 www.Score.com

IRS Offers Online Tax Seminars

tax-tipsOn October 1st the IRS announced the availability of online seminars filmed at the 2014 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums.  Tax professionals can register for these self-study seminars and receive continuing professional education credits.

These 14 seminars can be accessed at the IRS Nationwide Tax Forums Online (NTFO) and cover the following topics:

  • Highlights of the 2014 income tax law changes
  • Overview of the premium tax credit and the individual shared responsibility provision
  • Updates to and overview of Treasury Circular No. 230
  • Improvements to the process for securing an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number 

This online training is delivered through various media, including interactive videos, PowerPoint slides and transcripts.

According to the press release, “The online forums are registered with the IRS Return Preparer Office and the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a qualified sponsor of continuing professional education (CPE). For a fee, Enrolled Agents and CPAs taking NTFO seminars can earn CPE credits. To earn CPE credits, users must create an account, answer review questions throughout the seminar, and pass short tests at the end of the seminars.”

The seminars can also be audited for free.  However, those who audit the seminars will not be able to access review questions, nor can they receive credit for completing the seminar.

For more information or to see seminars from prior-year IRS Nationwide Tax Forums, visit the NTFO.

Universal Accounting’s Tax Training

UA’s Professional Tax Preparer program will help you establish yourself as a trained and trustworthy tax professional.  You can earn the Professional Tax Preparer Designation while receiving up to 60 CPE credits, depending on the number of modules you complete.

UAC’s Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) program will not only give you hands-on training in completing full individual (1040) and business returns (1065, 1120, 1120S), but it will also provide you with the following:

  • 20 hours of valuable video instruction
  • 2 instructional manuals
  • Step-by-step instruction in becoming a sole practitioner
  • One year of follow-up support from expert tax preparers
  • The opportunity to earn valuable professional certification
  • Our iron-clad, risk-free guarantee

Call 1-877-833-7909 to enroll today, and improve your competitive advantage while securing your professional standing in the tax industry.

Resource

–.  “Online Seminars from the 2014 IRS Nationwide Tax Forums are Now Available.”  1 October 2014  IRS.gov

IRS Warns of “Phishing” Scam

fraudOn September 24th, the IRS issued a press release warning financial institutions of scams designed to steal FATCA-related account data.  Scam artists posing as the IRS have fraudulently requested Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FACTA) holder identity and financial account information.  The press release emphasizes that the IRS does not require institutions to provide such data over the phone, by fax or via email.  Nor does the IRS ever require FATCA registration passwords or other confidential account access information.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen explains, “Tax scams using the IRS name can take many forms and they are not limited by national borders.  People should always be cautious before sending sensitive information to anyone.”

Reports of such fraud have been reported in multiple countries and continents.  Those targeted are financial institutions registered to comply with FATCA and those in jurisdictions required to uphold intergovernmental agreements (IGAs) to implement FATCA.

These types of fraudulent requests qualify as “phishing” scams, and anyone who suspects having been likewise approached are asked to report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) or through the TIGTA secure website.  For more information, please visit the official IRS website.

Become an Official Tax Professional

Tax preparation is a lucrative business.  Consider that first-time preparers submit tax forms for 50 clients, charging an average of $150 each.  They make, roughly, $7500 working the 45 days before April 15th, and that’s before they have had much time to build a solid clientele.  For many people, this represents 3 months of salary.  That’s an appealing career path for many individuals.

Whether you want to earn a significant amount of money on the side or start your own full-time tax practice, you can appreciate the value of comprehensive tax preparation training.

The Professional Tax Preparer Program 

UAC’s Professional Tax Preparer (PTP) program will enable you to become proficient in the completion of individual and business returns.  The PTP provides you with the following:

  • Convenient online training
  • 20 hours of valuable video instruction
  • Hands-on training in completing full individual (1040) and business returns (1065, 1120, 1120S)
  • Step-by-step instruction in becoming a sole practitioner
  • One year of follow-up support from expert tax preparers
  • The opportunity to earn valuable professional certification
  • Our iron-clad, risk-free guarantee 

The Value of Tax Training

In today’s world of complex tax laws and increasing tax fraud occurrences, like the one described above, tax payers are looking for specialists with credentials.  It affords clients peace of mind to know that the individual they’re working with is qualified and knowledgeable.  It also affords the tax preparer peace of mind to know they’ve been properly trained.  Universal recognizes the value of a professional designation and awards Professional Tax Preparer Certification to those who successfully pass the final exam with a score of 90% or higher.

The program is comprised of the following 4 modules with their corresponding topics: 

  1. Module I establishing the Tax foundation
  2. Module II Becoming the 1040 Expert
  3. Module III Profitable Business Returns
  4. Module IV Building Your Successful Tax Practice 

A Lucrative Investment

Acquiring tax preparation skills not only affords you the opportunity to earn upwards of $100 per hour, but it exposes you to a limitless potential client base.  The fact that nearly every adult and business in the nation must report their tax liability on a yearly bases means that your tax preparation skills will be very appealing to a significant population.  And as your practice grows, so will your income.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to enroll now!

Resource

–.  “IRS Warns Financial Institutions of Scams Designed to Steal FATCA-Related Account Data.”  24 September 2014  IRS.gov

Strategic Budgeting

cut-costsAs a financial professional you probably think you’ve got your budget under control.  You know numbers and watch your spending to ensure that you are managing your money well.  But unless you’re applying crucial budgeting strategies, you’re not using this valuable tool to its full advantage. 

Here are 5 tips that will help:

1. Ensure your budget aligns with your business strategy. This may seem obvious, but in the day-to-day tasks required in business management, strategy may be forgotten.  There are fires to put out, emergency expenses to pay, and last-minute purchases to make.  So unless you’re vigilantly monitoring your outflow, your strategy may be nickel and dimed into extinction.

If you don’t yet have a strategy, now is the time to develop one.  Does your business require more aggressive marketing techniques?  Are you attempting to grow your firm by hiring a support staff?  Or do you want to focus on retaining current clients?  Whatever your strategy, you should devise a budget that supports and sustains it.

2. Assess your Chart of Accounts. As a financial professional, you are likely familiar with the Chart of Accounts.  The Chart of Accounts enables you to set up categories that align with your management strategies.  It also enables you to establish a healthy balance between control and responsibility regarding business spending.

3. Establish accountability.  Anyone responsible for spending within your business needs to be accountable for their choices.  You may currently be the only person responsible.  However, it’s important that you acknowledge and assess your spending and then make any necessary changes.  You may determine that your budgetary items are best distributed among control areas like marketing, skills development, client retention, management, etc.  This may provide you with more control over outflow.

4. Regularly review your budget. Establishing a budget and then ensuring that it aligns with your business strategy is only part of this valuable process.  The true benefit of budgeting comes when you regularly review your budget with key players in your business.  In your review you can compare budgeted expenses with actual expenses and discuss discrepancies.  You can also talk with those responsible for various expenses and see how they might revise some of their spending choices.  This is also a good time to implement necessary changes and assess any changes implemented since your last budgetary review.

5. Revise as necessary.  A budget is not set in stone.  As mentioned in the previous tip, as you assess and review your progress it’s important that you make necessary changes.  In fact, that’s the beauty of budgeting.  As you monitor your income and outflow, you can make changes that will influence the future profitability of your business.

As a tax preprarer you may assume that you’ve been using this tool to its full advantage.  But if you haven’t been applying the above tips, you may be missing out of some of the best benefits of budgeting.

QuickBooks Made Profitable

Budgeting isn’t the only tool you can use to increase your business’s profitability.  Our program, QuickBooks Made Profitable, will teach you just how to use QuickBooks accounting software to attract and retain more clients.

Nearly 80% of small businesses use Intuit’s QuickBooks software.  While other programs may be useful, QuickBooks has definitely captured the small business market.  Mastering QuickBooks will not only enable you to better manage your budget and keep more efficient records, but it will also help you teach your clients how to use the software so that you can get the information you need which, making your job much easier.  This program will teach you how to leverage your time while saving clients money in taxes and helping them increase their profits.  What client wouldn’t be interested in that?  We’ll teach you how to use this valuable software package to generate more income!

Don’t wait to grow your business and experience the success your budget will certainly help you achieve.  There are countless potential clients out there in need of these specific services.  You can be the one to provide them.  Call Universal at 1-877-833-7908 to order QuickBooks Made Profitable today!

 

10-Point Startup Checklist

checklistIf you’ve been thinking about launching a startup, you should know the steps required to successfully get your business up and running.  Whether you plan to operate your practice full or part-time, it’s important that you have a plan. 

The following checklist will help you perform all the startup tasks in the proper order:

1. Name Your Business.  Recognize that naming your business is just the beginning of creating a brand for yourself.  Put some serious thought into your business name in order to best appeal to your target market.

2. Create a business plan.  Without a business plan you haven’t given yourself the opportunity to truly plan all the necessary details, building a foundation for your success.  Read up on how to create a successful business plan.

3. Create a marketing plan.  No matter how good you are at tax preparation, you still have to focus some of your energy on marketing; if you don’t do any marketing, you’ll have no one to do any tax preparation for. So what do you do? You create a marketing plan to go along with your business plan.

4. Determine your business entity.   There’s no one right or wrong answer when matching your business to the right business entity. Sometimes just a little knowledge can ensure that you make the best choice for you.

5.   Determine your business location.  The most important element in picking the right location is finding a place that will allow you to be productive and focus on your work.  If you’ve decided to lease an office, take the time to research an appropriate area. Is there a room in your house that could be dedicated to your new business?  Weigh the pros and cons and pick a place that works for your current situation and budget.

6. Make it legal.  It’s important to start your business off on the right foot.  File the proper papers and pay the required fees.  It’s also not a bad idea to consult with a lawyer to ensure you’re headed in not only right direction, but a law-abiding one. 

7. Open the necessary bank accounts.  Establishing business accounts will streamline your accounting processes.  In this, you avoid the hassle of trying to distinguish personal transactions from business transactions.

8. Organize your office.   Your office should provide you with a productive and favorable work environment.  Generally this means it should also be well organized and professional.  For more information on setting up your office, read our two-part series on office organization.

9. Launch a website.  One of the most inexpensive marketing tools available is your business website.  With minimal startup and maintenance costs you can develop a good website that will represent you well and increase your clientele.  It will also work 24/7 as a virtual receptionist, getting the word out about your business while you can actually work.  And if well developed, your business website will be more than an inexpensive marketing tool, but a good point of contact and an effort to further brand your business.

10. Spread the word and open your doors.  It’s important that you get the word out about your new practice.  When marketing your startup, make sure you use proven strategies that work for your unique target market. 

Improve Your Odds for Success

Most of your competitors don’t offer specialized small-business accounting services.  But after completing the Professional Bookkeeper (PB) program, you can!  Consider a training program that is catered to your needs and busy schedule—one that will enable you to earn a professional designation after just 60 hours of your valuable time.

When you enroll in the Professional Bookkeeper Program you receive to the following:

  • Flexible training you complete on your own schedule
  • Rich and engaging training DVDs you can view again and again
  • Hands-on instruction and practice sets through which you gain much-needed experience
  • Training in building and marketing your new practice
  • 6 months of valuable follow-up support
  • The opportunity to earn professional certification
  • Our iron-clad risk-free guarantee 

Expand your service offerings by enrolling in UAC’s valuable Professional Bookkeeper Program.  Call 1-877-833-7908 to enroll today!

The IRS Releases Educational Media

Annette officeIn attempts to better educate tax payers, the IRS has recently released a new video series on the IRS YouTube channel, featuring Commissioner John Koskinen discussing Affordable Care Act provisions that will impact 2014 tax returns: the premium tax credit and the individual shared responsibility provisions.

In one of the videos, Koskinen details how the premium tax credit can make health care more affordable for taxpayers with moderate incomes through the Health Insurance Marketplace. He explains, “You can get advance payments of the premium tax credit paid directly to the insurance company to lower your monthly premium, or you can apply for the premium tax credit when you file your tax return for 2014.”

Regarding the individual shared responsibility provision, Koskinen focuses on coverage requirements and exemptions as well as the shared responsibility payment.  He says, “For most people, filing their returns in the spring of 2015 is going to be fairly simple—with regard to this issue, and that is they’ll simply check a box indicating that they have qualifying insurance or they’ll indicate that they’re eligible for an exemption.  Otherwise, they’ll calculate their shared responsibility payment and add it to their tax return.”

In addition to these videos, the IRS plans to release even more about the Affordable Care Act, all of which can be accessed through the IRS Health Care video playlist.

Small Business Webinars for Tax Professionals

In efforts to increase education among small business owners, including the tax professionals who file their taxes, the IRS is also releasing webinars designed to help them prepare for the upcoming tax season.

The newest webinar entitled Business Use of Your Home, can be viewed today at 2pm eastern time; it focuses on how to determine whether one qualifies for the home office deduction.  Better Business through Better Records can be viewed on September 11th and 2014 Affordable Care Act Provisions for Individuals, Families and Small Businesses can be viewed on September 17th.

For more information, visit the official IRS website.

Universal Accounting Helps Tax Preparers Succeed

At Universal, we believe it’s important to prepare for the future, and we’re interested in seeing your future success as a tax preparer.  Our Professional Tax Preparer Program is designed to help professionals like you master tax preparation, becoming efficient in the completion of individual and business returns.  If you would like to learn more, visit Universal for a free video today!

 

Resources

IRS YouTube channel

–.  “New YouTube Videos Provide Tips on Health Care, Tax Returns.” 8 September 2014 IRSgov.com

–.  “Webinar Spotlights Home Office Deduction.” 8 September 2014  IRSgov.com

–.  “Webinars for Small Businesses.”

Marketing on a Shoestring

Marketing StrategyThree BIG and Inexpensive Marketing Tools

Steuart Henderson Britt, noted author in the psychology of marketing, once said, “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark.  You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.”

Marketing is an important business function.  Without it, you can’t build a clientele; you’re winking in the dark.  That being said, most burgeoning tax professionals can’t afford to allot much money to a marketing budget.  So they must look for inexpensive yet successful techniques in promoting their practices.

The following three marketing tools have helped many tax preparers grow their clientele without, excuse the pun, taxing their budget.

1. Annual Letters to Friends, Family and Previous Clients. With income tax preparation, nearly everyone you know has an obligation to file a return.  This makes for a wide prospective client base. Because of this, you can send annual letters to family and friends, reminding them of your tax preparation expertise, with great success.  Bill Brough, Universal Accounting’s Tax Curriculum Specialist explains, “That April 15 deadline is a great motivator, and most people either expend a lot of effort to do it themselves or a lot of money in retaining someone else to do it for them. There is no reason why you shouldn’t offer your services to family and friends with the reasonable expectation that some of them, perhaps many of them, will become clients.”

In the letter be sure to state your qualifications, experience and any professional designations you have; this will enhance your credibility and make people more likely to request your services.  And by including past clients on your mailing list, you’ll be more likely to retain the clients you already have.  In the end, the only cost to you is in printing, postage and time.

2.   The Distribution of Flyers. With a thick stack of flyers and some manpower, you could connect with countless prospective clients in one fell swoop.  Be certain that your flyer is succinct yet informative, providing all the key information a prospective client would like to read (for example, what taxpayer wouldn’t like to hear that you may be able to legally lower their tax liability to more than cover your fees?).

While it is important that you design an eye-catching flier, avoid too much flash—you’re a tax preparer not a car dealership.  Consider your audience and their expectations; the flier should be simple, reflect your professionalism and include the same qualifications noted in your letter.

As important as the flyer itself is the location where they are distributed.  Where are you most likely to connect with a large population that fits within your target market?  Christi Hall, graduate of Universal Accounting Center’s Professional Tax Preparer Program recommends targeting new developments, explaining, “Many people are moving into the area, some from different states, and I have found these communities to be very successful with lots of people looking for a local tax accountant.”

3. Request for Referrals. Jim Rohn said, “One customer, well taken care of, could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”  If your current clients can refer more clients your way, imagine all that you’re saving in advertising costs.  These valuable referrals are worth far more than the discount or complimentary services you can offer in return.  Consider providing a free service or giving them a significant discount on future services.  This not only provides incentive to refer friends and family your way, but it gives these clients just another good reason to stay with you.

Universal’s Bill Brough says, “When I talk about asking for referrals as the third leg of my [marketing] stool, I’m talking primarily about what I say to my clients after I complete their return, and also a more general attitude of fishing for referrals in all my interactions with people during tax season, even perfect strangers. I keep a stack of business cards in my pocket and I try to be liberal in dispensing them at every opportunity.”

If you’re like most financial professional, marketing doesn’t come easily.  Your talents reside in providing tax preparation and other financial services, and trying to figure out how to better promote your practice can cause anxiety, especially if you’re concerned about cost.  However, using these three proven techniques, you will get the greatest return for both the time and money you invest so you can spend more time doing what you really do best: tax preparation.

Learn about more proven marketing techniques by watching our free video, The Art and Science of Getting Clients.  In just a short amount of time you’ll learn how to increase your annualized billings by tens of thousands of dollars!  Visit Universal now to change your professional future.

Building Your Business with OPM

increase-profitsSome people go into extreme debt trying to launch and/or grow their businesses. But there are other ways to finance your ventures that are not as risky: using other people’s money (OPM).

In an article on TaxMama.com, syndicated New York Times columnist and best-selling author Matthew Lesko explains, “When you use other people’s money, especially within the parameters of a corporation, your debt is assigned to your business, and your debtors can make no claims against your personal finances.”  It’s a business secret utilized by the richest people in the world.

Lesko goes on to explain that while regardless of the abundance of lending institutions and venture capitalists, it can still be difficult to secure OPM.  There’s a lot of competition, and investors are looking for entrepreneurs with a potentially lucrative idea and a solid business plan.

Lesko’s first suggestion for OPM is a bit unusual.  He suggests going to the federal government: “The federal government has millions of dollars of taxpayer’s money allocated to funding businesses like yours and mine.”

Other sources of OPM that Lesko recommends include the Small Business Association at  www.sba.gov, the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) at www.sba.gov/INV, and the Procurement Assistance Offices at www.dla.mil.

But before you decide to secure other people’s money, you should be aware of the pros and cons.  Alyssa Gregory details those in a SmallBusinessBonfire.com article entitled “The Pros and Cons of Using Other People’s Money to Finance Your Small Business.”  Here’s a brief list of each:

Pros

  1. Less financial risk
  2. Guidance and advice from a potential mentor
  3. Opportunity to launch and/or grow your business
  4. ‘More options, increased reach, and the ability to make a bigger impact much quicker’

Cons

  1. Surrendering some control of your business to investors
  2. A lifetime of commitment (of your business) to those who have given you the money
  3. Intense competition for OPM

In the words of P.T. Barnum, “Money is a terrible master but an excellent servant.”  We suggest your do a bit of research before going to secure other people’s money.  But, we hope that you, after taking the time to research your options, decide to take advantage of OPM to generate more money for your business and its success.

Use OPM to Invest in Yourself

You can use OPM to invest in yourself and your business by enrolling in valuable training programs.  It’s a great way to increase your value and potential success as an entrepreneur.  It also looks good on a business plan and shows your dedication to that plan.

Consider especially UAC’s Universal Practice Builder (UPB) program which will enable you to attract and retain more clients, enabling you to launch and/or grow a more stable practice.  Here’s just a sampling of what you will gain from enrolling in this phenomenal program:

  • A guarantee of $30,000 in new annualized billings in only 12 months
  • The skills to become a Profit Expert for each of your clients
  • 12 marketing strategies that you can implement immediately
  • A process which can produce 15 to 25 qualified leads per month
  • 3 months of coaching via telephone and Internet
  • Training to use QuickBooks to attract more clients
  • Access to a plan proven to help retain clients
  • 5 business assessments
  • A customized business website
  • An iron-clad guarantee 

Launch a successful financial practice—allow us to show you how.  Call 1-877-833-7908 now to enroll in the Universal Practice Builder Program.

Resources

Gregory, Alyssa.  “The Pros and Cons of Using Other People’s Money to Finance Your Small Business.”  22 August 2012  SmallBusinessBonfire.com

Lesko, Matthew.  “How to Use Other People’s Money for Your Business.”  TaxMama.com

5 Unexpected Marketing Strategies

lightbulbEveryone is looking for new and effective ways to market their businesses.  If your current approach feels a bit stale and worn, perhaps it’s time to try some unexpected promotional tactics.  Consider the following 5 suggestions:

1. Guest blogging.  Visit blogs frequented by your target market, and offer to write a post in exchange for a byline with a link to your own website.  This will expose you to new prospective clients you may not have met otherwise.

2. Enter a business award competition.  Professional and trade organizations, chambers of commerce, Better Business Bureaus and even universities often offer award competitions for small businesses.  Winning one of these competitions can greatly enhance your reputation as well as offer countless marketing advantages.  You can post the information to your website, include it in a newsletter, mention it in your advertising campaigns, etc.

3. Share your expertise with the media.  Nothing says expert like a media quote.  You can write an article or column for your local paper or issue a press release regarding any new information about your practice.

4. Donate your services to a non-profit organization.  This is another method that will enable you to contribute to the community while generating good PR for your business. Not only that, but the donation is tax deductible. And when this organization promotes an event, you can ask that your store name be displayed somewhere on their booth, products, and promotional materials.

5. Create an event.  May 10th is Accounting Day and April 15th is Tax Day.  But you can create an event for any reason. Sponsoring a free event that people can attend in order to receive promotional materials or, perhaps, enter their names in a raffle, can be a great way to generate interest in your practice.  Remember to publish press releases to let people know about your event.

There are many creative ways you can promote your practice.  By employing just two of the above marketing tips, you can grow your business without spending a lot of money.

Build a Better Practice with BizBench

BizBench is an online business assessment tool that you can use to advance your financial practice.  For example you can use BizBench to accomplish the following:

Attract More New Clients. Give potential clients the incentive to become paying clients.  Offer them a report that benchmarks their business against similar businesses and charts and graphs their strengths and weaknesses and opportunities for growth.  Let them know you’re more than just an historian; but you can help shape their future.

Retain Existing Clients. Imagine the power that a complete and comprehensive benchmarking and profitability report will give you to shape the future of your existing clients.  They will see you as a valued and trusted adviser as you quantify monthly improvements against this benchmark in dollars and cents to further increase the value of your services each month.

Save Time. It only takes a few minutes to submit your client’s key income statement and balance sheet data online, and in just a few seconds, you have a comprehensive benchmarking and profitability report to present them.  BizBench does all the heavy lifting for you, and you take all the credit with this report branded for your business.

Change the face of your business today, and become a Profit and Growth Expert using BizBench Software!  Call Universal today at 888-265-5341.

Start a New Habit

upswing2While many like to argue, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, the truth is anyone can choose to start a positive and healthy habit today.  While it may require self-discipline and drive, we can alter the course of our lives simply by making new choices leading to better outcomes.

In a recent Entrepreneur.com article, author and entrepreneur James Clear shares “5 Steps to Building a New Habit.”  Here we share the first three of those steps:

  1. Start with an incredibly small habit.  Willpower is not something that can be activated upon command.  As Clear explains, “Research shows that willpower is like a muscle.  It gets fatigued as you use it throughout the day.  Another way to think of this is that your motivation ebbs and flows.  It rises and falls.”  This stands to reason that if you can exercise your willpower with a small habit, you can build to bigger habits as that willpower gains strength.
  2. Increase your habit in very small ways.  Clear demonstrated this concept well in his article on the power of one percent.  Small, incremental increases (and decreases, should we choose) can have a profound impact.  The aggregation of marginal gains can be seen in both our personal and professional lives.  Jim Rohn said, “Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgment, repeated every day.”
  3. As you build up, break habits into chunks.  It can be difficult to tackle a bigger habit at one time.  Clear suggests breaking a larger habit into smaller, more manageable habits.  For example, if you want to exercise for 30 minutes a day, perhaps you can begin by excising 15 minutes, twice a day.  Once your willpower and stamina improve, you can perform those two habits back to back, finally making that bigger habit a part of your daily routine.

It’s important that we continually seek to improve our lives, and that can be accomplished by replacing poor habits with good ones.  Deciding that you will make the change is just the first step.  Following that choice with these three steps can ensure that you’re on your way to an improved life based on positive and healthy habits.

Let Universal Inspire Your Entrepreneurial Spirit

If you need a little inspiration to help you change your habits, we suggest you consider working with UAC’s motivation speakers.  Universal Accounting Center has some exceptional speakers on staff that can motivate you and your team to excel.  With a number of individuals experienced in a variety of topics, they can help you better serve your clients, better market your practice, and better grow your wealth.  Learn more about Universal Accounting Center’s speaker and book one for your next event!

Resource

Clear, James.  “5 Steps to Building a New Habit.” 30 July 2014 Entrepreneur.com

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