There’s no better time than 2010 to be in business for yourself, according to David Bach, author of seven New York Times’ bestsellers. His latest release, Start Over, Finish Rich, 10 Steps to Get You Back on Track in 2010, is available today for a limited time as a free pdf at WalletPop.com.
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Q: Your new book stresses the importance of combining the right mindset and actions for financial success and also stresses setting goals. Is the endgame the same for small business owners as it is for private individuals?
Bach: Goal setting for small business owners is the same as for Americans in general—particularly when it comes to saving for retirement. So many people have lost jobs, taken pay cuts and seen their home and 401(k) values drop. And, for the most part, people have not saved enough. It’s time for everyone to “rethink” their retirement plans and start saving. We’re in a very dynamic marketplace now, and things are getting better.
Q: You indicate that people are afraid. From a small business perspective, business owners have a lot at stake and may be afraid of taking the risk to change. What can you say to bolster their confidence?
Bach: A lot of people are depressed and afraid of change. But 2009 happened. Change happened. Now we have to look to the future. The beauty of America is that it’s not hard to make a lot of money.
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Q: The National Federation of Independent Businesses reports that today the majority of small business owners believe they will never fully retire. Do you agree with that finding?
Bach: It’s true that about 75% of small business owners don’t have retirement plans. So often this is based on misguided thinking. Small business owners may have some habits that get them into trouble. It’s time for these owners to regroup and start thinking and operating differently.
Here are some common pitfalls to avoid.
Small business owners often fund their employees’ 401(k) plans and fail to build their own because they plan to fund their retirements with the money from the sale of their businesses—a myth. Not all businesses are saleable. How long will the business run without you being in it?
Entrepreneurs also don’t block out time to work on their finances—a financial recipe for disaster. Business owners often wrongly rely solely on advice from the accountants to run all expenses. This co-mingles personal and professional dollars; using a business like a piggybank can only result in an empty corporate bank account at year-end.
The business owner who constantly spends, spends, spends and neglects the need for saving will often end up exhausted with nothing to show for it in his or her 50’s, holding a business that no one will buy.
Q: That’s frightening. Do you think that taking the first step to change is particularly difficult?
Bach: Well, you have to figure out what’s keeping you up at night and write it down on paper. Then you have to [write down how] you can “stop” that story and create an action plan. This is a good first step.
Q: What are the keys-to-success for a business owner when it comes to finances?
Bach: The first key is finding something you love. Passion can equal profits, but alone that’s not enough. You also have to do be informed. Anything that’s already been done can be done again. Find someone who’s had a successful business and follow his/her actions. Then take action. Knowledge combined with action equals power.
Q: When is the best time to start over?
Bach: I’m a huge believer in starting over. People might surprise themselves and end up building successful businesses if they take the right course of action.
Everyone can change his or her life. You just have to want to do it.
2010. There’s never been a better time to bet on yourself to win.