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I read a statistic that the average person spends nearly 60% of their working life in the office… that’s a full third of our life! If we’re spending that much time at work, we may as well enjoy it. 

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Stop. Hammer Time!

Jan 1, 2016 | JSE Blog

Anyone born before 1980 or so will surely remember the flamboyant early 90s rapper (and his fashion-forward pants!) M.C. Hammer. With a bevy of chart topping hits including “U Can’t Touch This” and “2 Legit 2 Quit”, so indelible is his influence on pop culture that even today, nearly 20 years after the height of his music career, stop signs the world over are still being graffitied with the words “Hammer Time!” (a throwback to one of his famous lyrics.)

Mr. Hammer’s (a.k.a. Stanley Burrell’s) story is fairly common among those of the celeb-rity ilk: commercial success led to a sizeable fortune which was rapidly spent supporting a lavish lifestyle, the entirety of which then crashed and burned in public bankruptcy court. The point here isn’t to spread 20 year old celebrity gossip- there is a constructive element to all of this rehashing! And here it is: Mr. Burrell applied some good old-fashioned introspection to a time period that many in his situation would probably rather have forgotten.

In an interview with Ebony magazine, Burrell mused on his epic rise to stardom (and ensuing financial ruin) saying that his “priorities were out of order” but that he didn’t regret his mistakes because they helped to form him into the man he is today: an ordained minister who lives with his wife of 30 years and their five kids in a rancher in central California. What a great thought for the New Year!

So, taking a tip from M.C. Hammer, we launch the new year’s maiden issue with a hard look at business priorities. While there are lots of trains that can go off the track when running a business, we’ve found in our experience that these three are some of the most common:

1.) Forgetting to plan during busy times. We get it. You sometimes don’t have time to eat lunch much less sit down and have a six month planning session. Planning and marketing are typically the first things that fall to the wayside when we’re busy- but they’re also the most important things to stay focused on. Case in point: marketing. Many mar-keting efforts take 6 months to a year to bear fruit. Neglecting marketing in favor of tackling the work at hand may seem like common sense, but it can lead to income lapses down the road.

2.) Hiring too soon. During the busy times (you know, when you’re forgetting to eat, plan, and market), it may be tempting to hire someone to help shoulder the workload. New employees are an additional expense that need to be carefully considered (more on that in a minute.) Often people will hire before maximizing the staff that they already have, or, worse yet, take on additional employees based on future work. A little bit of farmer wisdom here: “don’t put the cart before the horse” and “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”

3.) “More money, more problems.” Trust P. Diddy on this one. Frugality isn’t just a virtue for lean times. Sometimes when billings are up, we find ourselves being looser with the company credit card- we suggest watching every dollar with the same care during busy times as you do during slow times. That way, when you hit the slow part of the busi-ness cycle, you won’t be kicking yourself for spending extra money on that big, fancy plotter when the old one still worked just fine. Having six months’ worth of operating expenses set aside is also a good idea. Frugality isn’t always fun, but rest assured that your future self will give you high fives during the inevitable downtimes.

Business Priorities for the New Year

Quote of the month…

“Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” 

Albert Einstein, Theoretical Physicist 

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