5 Truths and 1 Lie About Business Productivity Software

Business productivity software is the key to having everyone working off of the same “page” as it were in your business. Being able to have an integrated set of packages that works together means data can easily shift from one program to the next, data can be shared and collaborated on, and all of that flexibility has led to a certain amount of confusion about exactly what business productivity software is, and what it isn’t.Here’s a list of things that good business productivity software is:* It works off of a common data platform giving everyone a common standard to work with
* It allows for collaboration through IM and other services
* Reporting software works flawlessly through all the different modules
* Modules that work together covers every aspect of the enterprise including accounting, marketing, sales and production
* Everything works together in real time without time lag including all phases of the enterprise.Part of the confusion, aside from being clear about how well everything works together is the fact that there’s one lie about well done business productivity software* It is hard to implement and maintain.This is actually as far as it gets from the truth. Well designed business productivity software is actually easier to install, set up, configure and maintain than any other set of packages could be. If the software is designed properly, then all it takes is one install on the server and one install on each client unless the implementation is web-based. Then all it takes is the server side setupMaintenance is easy as well. From a single point password and profile setup through apply once patching and upgrading, the best business productivity software reduces labor costs for IT dramatically. Instead of having to dedicate IT staff specifically to doing system upgrades and software patching, having the right business productivity software means that all the labor is centralized in a single process. No longer do techs have to track down salesmen and marketers to update their laptops, updates are handled automatically once installed server side.Between the flexibility business productivity software offers your accounting, sales, marketing and senior staff and the ease of setup and maintenance for the IT staff, having the right package enables your entire enterprise to work more smoothly than ever before. Check out the packages available and see which gives you the flexibility you need and the ease of use your IT department will appreciate.

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage In 5 Years

My wife and I were “home buyers” for at least 7 years on our current residence. Notice that I said home “buyers,” and not home “owners.” There is a common misconception that when you take out a mortgage, you are immediately a home “owner”

Assuming that you have a 30 year mortgage, the reality is that you are simply in the process of buying the home over a 30 year period. The bank, is the true owner of the property. If you don’t believe me, try missing a few mortgage payments, and see what happens.

3 months ago, we paid off our 30 year mortgage (in 7 years, or 23 years early). Now we are true home “owners.” In this article, I’m going to show you step by step how we were able to accomplish this. Using our existing income, and without incurring any additional debt.

Equity

Let’s talk about “Equity.” Equity, or appreciation, is the difference between what your home is worth and what you owe to the bank. So if you owe $100,000 and your house is worth $300,000, then you have $200,000 of Equity in your home.

We had roughly $250,000 of Equity on our house. We owed the bank $115,000 and our house was worth $367,000.

This $250,000 is dormant. Meaning, it looks good, but it wasn’t doing anything for us.

Home-Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)

So the first thing that we did was we ‘tapped’ into this equity. We went to the bank and took out an Home Equity Line of Credit for $50,000.

What is an equity line of credit? Also called a HELOC, an home equity line of credit is a liquid line that you are able to draw funds from at any time for any purpose. It’s like a gigantic credit card.

Although the HELOC had a limit for $50,000, the amount that we owed on it was $0 at the time that we took it out. This is because, similar to a credit card, you don’t owe anything until you actually use it.

Use HELOC to Pay Down Mortgage

Immediately after we got the HELOC, we withdrew $20,000 and applied it to our Mortgage (additional principal payment).

So at this point, we have $20,000 due on the HELOC, but our mortgage has been paid down by $20,000 (from $115,000 to $95,000).

Use HELOC as “new” Checking Account

Before I go on, let me mention that after we used the $20,000 to pay down our mortgage, we still had the same $115,000 of debt ($20,000 on HELOC and $95,000 on Mortgage).

So to payoff the HELOC, we just used it as our new checking account. When we got paid, we took 100% of our paychecks and applied it to the HELOC.

Now you may be wondering, “with all of our money going to the HELOC, how did we pay our bills?” Remember the HELOC is a “liquid” line. So at the end of each month, we made 1 withdrawal from the HELOC to pay our bills (including our mortgage).

100% of Cash Flow

For us, our monthly paychecks totaled roughly $6,000. Our bills, including our mortgage, and all of our living expenses (gas, groceries, etc.) totaled approximately $3,500. So by applying 100% of our monthly checks to the HELOC, and then using the HELOC to pay our bills, we were able to use 100% of our monthly cash flow to pay the $20,000 HELOC off.

So with and estimated $2,500 of cash flow ($6,000 minus $3,500) the $20,000 was paid off in 8 months.

Repeat The Process

We repeated this process until the remaining $95,000 was paid off (approximately 2 years).

What Do You Need?

1. Cash Flow – You must have positive cash flow in your household budget

2. Credit Score – A decent credit score (650 or above)

3. Equity – Positive equity in your home.

What You Should Know

VERY IMPORTANT: The HELOC should be used to paydown your mortgage. It should not be used to fund a vacation, buy a car, or a boat.

ALSO IMPORTANT: The HELOC is not a Home Equity Loan (HEL). A Home Equity Loan is a 2nd mortgage, and it is treated the same.

Eliminating Profit Robbing Telemarketing Calls to Your Business

Most of us small business owners don’t have the luxury of having a secretary or office manager to screen our calls for us. It can become overwhelming when answering sales call after sales call from telemarketers prevent us from doing what makes us money. To top it off, we can sometimes be talked into spending our hard earned money on products or services that are often overpriced and/or not needed in the first place.Each time we add a new business telephone number or change the business location of the ones we currently have, our telephone numbers are placed on a telemarketing list as a “new business.” Our business phone lines are then overrun by harassing telemarketers that want to be the first to sell a new business what they don’t need. You see a “new business owner” generally hasn’t fine tuned their decision making skills to the point that they can just say no and hang up. These skills come with time and experience. Telemarketers know this and target these new business owners because seasoned owners won’t fall for their tactics.I am always adding or changing toll free and regular phone numbers. To prevent this constant barrage of calls (I call it “the first wave”) or to at least limit them, I have developed a strategy that is working right now. You, as a small business owner, can take what you need from this and add to it your own ideas that you have found that work.First, the “Do Not Call” list! This list was set up for consumers and not businesses. We as consumers are afforded a lot more rights under the law than we are as business owners. Either way there is no mechanism the government can use to determine whether the number you put on the list is a business number or a residential number. I am not telling you to put your company’s number on the list. I am simply explaining that if you did, it would work. Any number that is put on this list almost instantly sees a drop in calls from telemarketers. You can find this list by doing a search for “do not call list” on your favorite search engine.Secondly you must accept the fact that if you need something for your business then you will seek it out and find it yourself! Train yourself to never buy “spur of the moment!” Spontaneous purchases can kill a business. Once you realize this then you will never change your phone service just because someone called and was nice to you. You’ll never buy twelve dozen light bulbs or two thousand feet of extension cord. If you need a first aid kit then go buy one at the Home Depot and don’t buy a dozen from a con man on the other end of the phone. First aid kits, extension cords, light bulbs and phone service are all the top sellers to the construction business, your industry may differ but I am sure not by much. You must say no and it is absolutely OK to be rude and to hang up mid sentence. The point is that once you have trained yourself to say “no,” then you can follow step three.Third, you must tell the caller that not only are you not interested but you want them to remove your company and phone number from their list. You must do this every time.
Watch out for “free” items, “we want to save you money” or “can I ask you why” because these are their favorite tricks to get you to spend. I try to be as polite as I can so that they will actually remove my phone number. Sometimes you may need to call an 800 number that they will give you in order to be removed from further solicitation. I recommend that you call and have your business’ phone number removed right away because these companies can actually sell your name to other companies as an “active” number and that will only make matters worse. The problem then spreads like a virus. The bottom line is to tell them no and to ask them to remove you from their list before you even hear what they have to offer.Another way that I minimize the distractions of telemarketing sales calls is to use caller ID. Unfortunately, only local companies that acquire work locally can utilize this method. My concrete cutting company services customers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine, so when I get a call from California or some odd area code, I will prepare myself to be firm and up front before I answer the phone. If my calls are forwarded to my cellular telephone and I find out the call wasn’t from a vendor or supplier then I will simply program the number as DNA into my cell phone. This stands for “Do Not Answer!” You can program up to ten numbers under one contact name in most cellular phones and give it a distinct ring tone. I have DNA1, DNA2 and so on and I am up to DNA9 right now. If I see or hear one of these numbers come in I just push the button that sends them directly to voice mail.Lastly and very important is the use of a device that is called the “TeleZapper.” The TeleZapper sends a digital tone through the phone line telling automatic dialers used my many telemarketers that the line is currently disconnected and or not in use. The automatic dialing computer subsequently removes your phone number from its list. This not only stops them from calling back it also prevents them from selling your phone number as an “active number.” This device became almost extinct once the “Do Not Call” list became a reality because who needs to “zap” a telemarketer if you are not getting any calls? It still works great for the small business and you will see a dramatic drop in telemarketing calls if you use it correctly. This device will not work if you forward your calls to another phone or if you use a voice mail provided by your phone company and your calls are sent to that voice mail box. It will work when a call is picked up by an answering machine in your office. The TeleZapper is very difficult to find anymore in retail stores but it is still readily available new on eBay or online.© 2007 Affordable Concrete Cutting Massachusetts, MA All Rights Reserved