How to Start a Small Business in a Few Hours

What the heck are you waiting for?

The process of starting a business IS NOT complicated. Like a lot of would-be entrepreneurs, stalling because they are intimidated by the apparent complexity of the administrative and legal tasks involved in starting a business. It takes less then 3 hours !

Keep in mind, I’m only talking about setting yourself up to do business: I’m not talking about writing a business plan (although if that’s what you want to do, go right ahead.) I didn’t ! The goal is to get off square one and get on to the fun stuff.

Here’s how:
Get over the company-name thing.
Many people agonize endlessly over dreaming up the perfect company name. Don’t. If you’re waiting until you come up with the perfect name, you’re also waiting to start making money.
Instead, at least for now, forget branding and unique selling propositions and all the business-identity stuff. And don’t worry about finding the perfect URL or website design or promotional literature. You’re putting those carts way before your business horse, too.
1. Just pick a name so you can get the administrative ball rolling.

Remember, your business can operate under a different name than your company name. (A “doing business as” form takes minutes to complete.) And you can change your company name later, if you like.

2. Get your Employer Identification number (EIN).
An EIN is the federal tax number used to identify your business. You don’t need an EIN unless you will have employees or plan to form a partnership, LLC, or corporation.
But even if you don’t need an EIN, get one anyway: It’s free, takes minutes, and you can keep your Social Security number private and reduce the chance of identity theft, because if you don’t have an EIN, your SSN identifies your business for tax purposes.
Note: If you’re using an online legal service to set up an LLC or corporation, don’t use it to get your EIN. Instead, apply online at the IRS website. You’ll have your EIN in minutes.
Now it’s time to head to your locality’s administrative offices.
3. Register your trade name.
If you won’t operate under your own name, your locality may require you to register a trade name. In most cases, you’ll get approved on the spot. 
4. Get your business license.
Your county or city will require a business license. The form takes minutes to fill out. Use your EIN instead of your Social Security number to identify your business (for privacy reasons if nothing else).
You may be asked to estimate annual gross receipts. Do your best to estimate accurately, but don’t agonize over it. You’re just providing an estimate.
5. Complete a business personal-property tax form.

If you are required to file a business personal-property tax form and you plan to work from home using computers, tools, etc., that you already own, you won’t need to list those items.
If you purchase tangible personal property during your first year in business, you will list those items when you file your business personal-property tax form the following year.
6. Ask your locality about other permits.
Every locality has different requirements. In my area, for example, a “home occupation permit” is required to verify that a business based in a home meets zoning requirements.
Your locality may require other permits. Ask. They’ll tell you.
7. Get a certificate of resale (if necessary).
A certificate of resale, also known as a seller’s permit, allows you to collect state sales tax on products sold. (There is no sales tax on services.)
If you will sell products, you need a seller’s permit. Your state department of taxation’s website has complete details, forms, etc., if you decide to apply online, but most localities have forms you can complete while you’re at their administrative offices.
8. Get a business bank account.
One of the easiest ways to screw up your business accounting and possibly run afoul of the IRS is to commingle personal and business funds (and transactions). Using a business account for all business transactions eliminates that possibility.
Get a business account using your business name and EIN, and only use that account for all business-related deposits, withdrawals, and transactions.
Pick a bank or credit union that is convenient. Check out your local credit unions; often they provide better deals than banks.
9. Set up simple accounting.
For Realtors TAR has “Tax Bot” app for phone. Free 30 day trial. Even tracks your mileage. Then $9.99 a month. Sooo easy to use . Never need an accountant again !

Instead of spending hours playing with accounting software, dreaming up potential expense and income categories , download taxbot if your a member of TAR !
And now you’re an entrepreneur, with all the documents to prove it.

​ Myths on finding clients

There’s a ton of advice for finding clients out there that’s completely contradictory. Everything from “build your Twitter following and engage!” (whatever that means) to “buy 10,000 business cards and pass them out at your local library!”Nobody can give you a clear, concise answer about how to find people who might be willing to pay for your services.
This has always been a bit strange for me, because to be honest, the client-getting process always happened naturally in my world .It seems like everybody is overlooking the most powerful strategy of all

It has nothing to do with social media, or cold calling, or even networking.You can do it right now. Today. And it’s free.This strategy will take you from “nobody knows about me” to “people won’t stop calling me.”

It’ll take you from wondering if you can make it in your field to actively turning down people because you’re overwhelmed and just need a day to binge-watch ” Stranger Things” on Netflix.
And nobody talks about it because it’s so simple that it just seems obvious.But I bet you’re not doing it.That strategy is conversation .100 meaningful conversations

Whether your business has already seen a bit of success or if you’ve only landed one client so far, let me ask you this: where did that deal take place? The answer: inside of a conversation.Whether it was in person, over the phone or via email, no deal has ever been made outside of a conversation.

A conversation is a meeting of the minds where you do as much (or more) listening than you do speaking. In a conversation, if done correctly, the other party will tell you what they are working on, what they’re struggling with, and in a few cases, people may even reveal areas where you might be able to help.
Most conversations won’t end in a deal. But if there ever is a deal, you can bet it will come at the beginning, middle or end of a conversation. 

Why Are People Flocking To Nashville ?

People are flocking to Nashville, and it’s ranked as one of America’s best cities with 10% population growth and 21% employment growth since 2010. Technology jobs are booming, and it’s on Business Insider’s list of the hottest American cities of 2016.

 

The question is, how many people are moving to Nashville every day? On a recent visit to the Tennessee capital, I heard multiple answers to that question, which I hadn’t even asked. One hundred people are moving to Nashville daily, mayor Megan Barry volunteered. No—the real number is 82, an Uber driver told me later. Actually, it’s 90, said a staff person at the chamber of commerce.

So let’s say between 80 and 100—the exact number is probably impossible to know and doesn’t really matter. The larger point is this: Nashville is growing fast. One hundred people a day may not sound like a lot if you live in New York or Los Angeles, but growth of about 36,000 people a year is a big deal in a city with a population of about 680,000, depending on when you read this. Nashville officials expect the city’s population to hit about 2 million—almost triple its current size—by 2040.

 BUSINESS CLIMATE
A supportive and welcoming business community makes Nashville an attractive environment for entrepreneurs.

There’s also a second point, which is that the current residents of Nashville are urgently self-aware that their city is hot, hot, hot. Everybody in Nashville, it seems, is talking about what’s happening in Nashville.

In fairness, there’s a lot to talk about. Long known primarily as a locus of country music, Nashville has in the past 10 or 15 years become not just one of the most culturally vibrant cities in the country, but also one of the most economically robust. Let’s start with culture: Nashville probably has the country’s most creative and collaborative music scene, with thousands of songwriters and musicians playing a range of musical styles—the idea that Nashville is only about country music has always been a misperception—supported by an infrastructure that includes music publishing, countless clubs and honky-tonks, a booming tourist scene and a pervasive local recognition that Nashville’s music is both a national treasure and a huge economic boon. The city is home to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, making Nashville—unlike Cooperstown (baseball), Cleveland (rock ’n’ roll) and Canton (football)—one of the few hall of fame locations where the thing being honored actually thrives in the city that’s honoring it.

 Nashville is known as Music City, but the label, expansive though it is, actually undersells the city’s cultural offerings. Nashville has two professional sports teams, the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and the Nashville Predators of the NHL, along with a minor league baseball team called, appropriately, the Nashville Sounds. With a 3-13 record, the Titans were weak in 2015, but the Predators advanced deep into the NHL playoffs.Nashville has a food scene that, at its height if not its breadth, rivals those of New York and San Francisco; foodies could happily spend a couple of weeks eating around Nashville without running out of inventive and surprising restaurants to sample. Nashville’s institutions of high culture, including the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, are impressive for a small city; the Schermerhorn excels by any standard. There is a ballet and an opera and a repertory theater, as well as burgeoning art and fashion scenes. Nashville has one major international research university, Vanderbilt, and a number of regional ones, including Belmont, Fisk, Meharry Medical College and Tennessee State, that funnel youth, energy, creativity and labor into the city. Many of these cultural institutions are supported by local families—including the Frists, the Ingrams, the Burchams, the McWhorters and the Turners—whose philanthropy and engagement have made an enormous impact.

All of this is underpinned by a business culture, centered around healthcare and entrepreneurship, that is national in scope but has a huge regional impact; while not as identified with Nashville as the music business, the healthcare industry is the greatest contributor to the Nashville economy. One estimate from the Health Care Council, a trade group, puts the economic impact of the healthcare industry on Nashville at $38 billion, while music generates $10 billion. Right now Nashville has an unemployment rate of about 3.3 percent and a budget surplus; its mean salary increased by more than 5 percent last year.

Culture, work, quality of life—all these things are drawing people to Nashville. Tourism is booming, with plans for 2,500 new hotel rooms to come online in the next several years. Meanwhile, the influx of new residents has helped fuel a vibe of optimism, risk-taking, creativity and confidence—especially because so many of those new residents seem to be young people, who just a few years ago would have gravitated to other, seemingly hipper cities. Nashville has its own distinct identity, but there are moments and places in the city when a visitor might feel like she’s in Brooklyn, New York, or Austin, Texas—say, in Google’s tech hub at the Nashville Entrepreneur Center or at Lyft’s new customer service headquarters or at literary novelist Ann Patchett’s independent bookstore, Parnassus Books.

Nashville is having a perfect-storm moment—in a good way. The question is why. How did a small city, until relatively recently identified with the Grand Ole Opry and not a whole lot else, suddenly become one of the most dynamic cities in the country?

I put this question to a number of people there, and the answer that came back again and again was “collaboration”—a spirit of openness and cooperation between the city’s different constituencies that facilitates essential planning, problem solving and business building. “Nashville is unique in that we all really work together well,” says Stuart McWhorter, a local businessman and investor who just finished a one-year stint heading the Nashville Entrepreneur Center. “We all help each other.” I heard that sentiment echoed in offices all over town. Adds Ralph Schulz, head of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, “I’ve lived in 11 cities, and one of the things I would tell you about this place is the collaboration and the engagement…is really personal here. The friendliness that exists here….”

“One of the unique things about Nashville is that we have a culture of people working together for common goals,” says Hayley Hovious, president of the Health Care Council. “This happens in other cities. But it happens really well here in Nashville.”

Statements like that can sound hokey and hard to credit, but there’s tangible evidence of that collaborative spirit. Most obvious, of course, are the musicians who play and write songs together; as most music fans know, there’s a long-standing and powerful tradition of Nashville musicians writing, recording and performing with each other. But collaboration is also built into the operation of local government. Nashville is part of the 504-square-mile Davidson County, all of which is governed by something called the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The result of a popular vote in 1962, “Metro” merged duplicative and competing city and county governments and created a 40-member metropolitan council that meets twice monthly. This blend of urban and suburban management reduces government waste; it fuses the interests of suburban and city residents. The result, says Mayor Barry, is that “the suburbs aren’t competing with the urban core.”

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What to expect in the housing market in 2017

After a relatively calm real estate market in 2016, we can expect some changes to come in 2017, but it is unlikely there will be any tumultuous upheaval in the next year. We have seen inventory come back at a steady pace, and buyer demand is strong enough that it will continue to keep the market moving as we go through the next 12 months.
Here are some specifics of what we can expect in 2017:
Market activity

As we close out 2016, the biggest news is the increase in mortgage rates. The rate rise is sudden relative to the slow pace of any changes over the past several years. We saw this occur immediately after the election results, with continued increases the week following. So far mortgage rates have gone up about 40 basis points, and now that the Federal Reserve has announced its increase to interest rates, we can expect that mortgage rates will continue to rise. The current rates already anticipated a Fed increase and potential positive effects a Donald Trump administration might initially have. Typically, when rates start to go up, buyers will come out of the woodwork earlier in the selling season to try to lock in lower rates while they can.
I would expect rates to keep rising in 2017 if the economy continues to improve and inflationary pressures increase. We should expect the early part of 2017 to be filled with a brisk pace of not only homes going under contract more quickly but also taking less time to reach a settlement date so buyers aren’t subject to their rates expiring before they close on a home. For 2016, the median number of days on market (the amount of time it took for a property to sell) ranged from 44 in the winter to 14 during the peak summer months, but we have seen this drop to as low as nine days during the years when there was little supply to choose from.

Inventory

While it is possible that the days on market could return to that low level in 2017, it is unlikely given the recent trend of an increase in new listings. Sellers have finally regained enough equity in their homes to feel comfortable putting them on the market. Also, because more-expensive mortgages make the overall cost of buying a home increase, we may see price appreciation slow down or, if rates rise considerably, prices could tick downward.
Often when the threat of more-expensive mortgages looms, many homeowners who are thinking they will sell in the next few years consider putting their property on the market sooner rather than later because they don’t want to run the risk of having to sell their home for less than they could get for it now. Thus, early 2017 will see higher activity than usual, but it is unlikely that inventory will be so low that there won’t be enough to carry us through the rest of the year.

Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home During the Holidays

The holiday season from November through January is often considered the worst time to put a home on the market. While the thought of selling your home during the winter months may dampen your holiday spirit, the season does have its advantages: holiday buyers tend to be more serious and competition is less fierce with fewer homes being actively marketed. First, decide if you really need to sell. Really. Once you’ve committed to the challenge, don your gay apparel and follow these tips from Front Door.

Deck the halls, but don’t go overboard.Homes often look their best during the holidays, but sellers should be careful not to overdo it on the decor. Adornments that are too large or too many can crowd your home and distract buyers. Also, avoid offending buyers by opting for general fall and winter decorations rather than items with religious themes.

Hire a reliable real estate agent.That means someone who will work hard for you and won’t disappear during Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s. Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a listing agent who will go above and beyond to get your home sold. This will ease your stress and give you more time to enjoy the season.

Seek out motivated buyers.Anyone house hunting during the holidays must have a good reason for doing so. Work with your agent to target buyers on a deadline, including people relocating for jobs in your area, investors on tax deadlines, college students and staff, and military personnel, if you live near a military base.

Price it to sell.No matter what time of year, a home that’s priced low for the market will make buyers feel merry. Rather than gradually making small price reductions, many real estate agents advise sellers to slash their prices before putting a home on the market.
Make curb appeal a top priority.When autumn rolls around and the trees start to lose their leaves, maintaining the exterior of your home becomes even more important. Bare trees equal a more exposed home, so touch up the paint, clean the gutters and spruce up the yard. Keep buyers’ safety in mind as well by making sure stairs and walkways are free of snow, ice and leaves.

Take top-notch real estate photos.When the weather outside is frightful, homebuyers are likely to start their house hunt from the comfort of their homes by browsing listings on the Internet. Make a good first impression by offering lots of flattering, high-quality photos of your home. If possible, have a summer or spring photo of your home available so buyers can see how it looks year-round.

Create a video tour for the Web.You’ll get less foot traffic during the holidays thanks to inclement weather and vacation plans. But shooting a video tour and posting it on the Web may attract house hunters who don’t have time to physically see your home or would rather not drive in a snowstorm.
Give house hunters a place to escape from the cold.Make your home feel cozy and inviting during showings by cranking up the heat, playing soft classical music and offering homemade holiday treats. When you encourage buyers to spend more time in your home, you also give them more time to admire its best features.
Offer holiday cheer in the form of financing.Bah, humbug! Lenders are scrooges these days, but if you’ve got the means, then why not offer a home loan to a serious buyer? You could get a good rate of return on your money.
Relax — the new year is just around the corner.The holidays are stressful enough with gifts to buy, dinners to prepare and relatives to entertain. Take a moment to remind yourself that if you don’t sell now, there’s always next year, which, luckily, is only a few days away.

holiday_safety

Nashville-area home sales make big jump in October

Nashville-area home sales posted a big October, following three months in which sales were either flat or down slightly.
The Greater Nashville Association of Realtors announced Tuesday that there were 3,324 home closings reported in the Nashville area last month, up 9.7 percent compared to October 2015.Local home sales were up 0.8 percent year-over-year in September, and down in August and July, by 0.8 percent and 3.3 percent, respectively.“We are continuing to sell more homes with effectively less inventory every month, and that’s keeping the Nashville market among the hottest in the country,” GNAR President Denise Creswell said in a news release. “We finished 19th on the list of the hottest markets for October according to Realtor.com, and were the only Southern state, not including Texas, to make the list. Even if sales remain flat for November and December, our region is set to finish ahead of 2015 with overall sales.”
Year-to-date, Nashville-area home sales are up 4.5 percent compared to 2015.
The median sales price for a single-family home sold in the Nashville area last month was $261,000, up from $230,000 a year ago. The median sales price for a condo unit was $186,000, up from $171,737.
November sales appear on track to be higher than last year, with 3,309 sales pending at the end of October. A year ago, there were 2,905 pending sales.
We have entered the final quarter of 2016 in the best possible way,” Creswell said. “Our housing market is maintaining the kind of stable growth needed to sustain a healthy market in the last few months of the year. These mild gains in sales are exactly what it takes to build the foundation for a solid housing market in 2017.”

5 Important factors for success as a Real Estate Agent 

1) Motivation/Entrepreneurial SpiritBeing a real estate agent is essentially running your own business and new agents have to build their business from the ground up. It is not a job where someone will necessarily be told what to do or where exactly to be. As much as our managers can offer guidance and support the drive, determination, and self-discipline, must ultimately come from the agents themselves.

 

2) Communication Skills

Being a real estate agent one needs to be able to effectively communicate both verbally and in writing. Whether it be explaining the tax implications of a pied-a-terre apartment purchase or why in a rental application a landlord requests a W-2 form in addition to a federal tax return. Real estate agents have to explain complicated, nuanced material to their clients in a coherent and easy-to-understand way. Additionally, much of the correspondence in this day and age is via email. So real estate agents also have to be able to communicate the same material through written word. This skill has become so important that we include a writing skills and spelling/grammar section on our interview form.

 

3) Personality/”Likability”

Real estate agents will be spending long periods of time with their clients showing properties. So their clients have to like to be around them! If an agent has a good personality and the “likability” factor it lays the groundwork for the client. This will make the client be comfortable and trust that agent with handling their transaction. The real estate agents that are successful always have a fantastic rapport with their clients and many become life-long friends.

 

4) Professional Appearance

An agent should look and dress the part of a successful businessperson. The clients who meet the real estate agents for the first time will quickly form first impressions about the competence and professionalism of that agent based on their appearance. Rightfully or not so agents have to have the ability to be well groomed and look the part.

 

5) Organizational Skills/Time Management

Much like a juggler in a circus a busy real estate agent will be “spinning many plates”. He/she has to have the ability to be organized and highly efficient with his/her time. As a real estate agent is a commission based position the effort and work that is put in should always be focused and very deliberate. A successful agent will always be on top of their schedule and give the proper focus needed for each one of their “spinning plates”.

The truth about the gender divide in real estate

When it comes to male-dominated industries, one that regularly tops the list is commercial real estate.
The numbers bear that designation out. White men represent more than 58 percent of all professional positions in commercial real estate and more than 77 percent of senior executive positions, according to the 2013 Commercial Real Estate Diversity Report. Women comprise just 35 percent.
On the other hand, residential real estate appears to attract far more women. About 62 percent of all certified Realtors are women, according to the National Association of Realtors.
We took a closer look at the dynamics of the real estate industry and its pronounced gender divide to understand why one segment draws women in droves and the other struggles to diversify.
One potential reason: the difference between fighting for a seat at the table and being at a distinct advantage with clients.
“[In residential real estate], most of the time women make the decisions about wanting to move, what house they want to buy… Men go along for the ride,” said Ellen Klein, an agent with Century 21 Christel Realty in northern New Jersey. “Women can relate to women. The advice that women Realtors give is trusted advice.”
On the commercial side, Tracy Dodson, vice president of brokerage and development at Lincoln Harris in Charlotte, N.C., said being a woman helped her stand out against the suits in the room when she entered the industry.
But that doesn’t necessarily mean it was easy to get there.
“In this industry, it’s hard in a lot of ways. You have to have a lot of success to work your way up,” Dodson said. “It’s not just the hours. You’ve got to have successful projects and you’ve got to have successful deals.”

Mortgage Rates Ease From Recent Spike, Closer to Near Record Lows

MCLEAN, VA–(Marketwired – Oct 27, 2016) – Freddie Mac(OTCQB: FMCC) today released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing average fixed mortgage rates slipping from last week’s spike and the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage easing back to its summertime range below 3.5 percent.

News Facts

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 3.47 percent with an average 0.6 point for the week ending October 27, 2016, down 5 basis points from 3.52 percent last week. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 3.76 percent.
  • 15-year FRM this week averaged 2.78 percent with an average 0.5 point, down slightly from last week when they averaged 2.79 percent. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.98 percent.

Average commitment rates should be reported along with average fees and points to reflect the total upfront cost of obtaining the mortgage. Visit the following link for the Definitions. Borrowers may still pay closing costs which are not included in the survey.

Quote
Attributed to Sean Becketti, chief economist, Freddie Mac.

“Mortgage rates continue to be relatively stable and at near record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage fell 5 basis points week-over-week to 3.47 percent, erasing last week’s increase. At the same time, the 10-year Treasury yield ended the week relatively flat — up about 2 basis points.”

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation’s residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is the largest source of financing for multifamily housing. Additional information is available at FreddieMac.com, Twitter @FreddieMac and Freddie Mac’s blog FreddieMac.com/blog.

The Best Season to Sell Your Home—and Why

Timing really is everything when it comes to home sales. Getting your asking price, and even attracting multiple buyers, can simply be a factor of the time of year when the home is sold.

Spring and Summer

Spring brings rain and flowers—and possibly extra green in the final sales price of your home. Families like to move during the summer when there’s a break in the school calendar so they don’t have to pull their children from class, and so they are well-settled before the new school year. Plus, it’s often easier to move in the warm spring and summer months than during winter snows.

REALTORS® say 50% of homes are sold during the summer.
Fall and Winter

Maybe your employer notified you of a job relocation in the fall and you missed the peak selling season for your home. Don’t despair. If you are selling your home in the fall, you can stage your open house with the warmth of the turning season to add to the appeal. Accentuating your landscaping with seasonal decorations, such as pumpkins and gourds, will appeal to the potential homebuyers.The winter season isn’t a favorite for homebuyers to view homes, but holiday ornaments add charm and help homes sell during the winter season. Owners who put their home on the market during the winter may be more eager to move, and so might close faster. Prices may also dip compared to the busy summer market, since there’s less demand. And you might find it easier to schedule time with experts, such as home inspectors; or have a faster turnaround on services, such as lawyer reviews, during the slower time of year.
Geography, Geography, Geography
Selling a home quickly may not only be contingent on a season. The geography of your home may be a contributing factor to when the home should be sold. Florida’s large snowbird population makes winter months attractive due to the warm weather. The heat and humidity of Florida summers can make that season less than ideal for selling.
For all of those reasons, evaluate your location and weather before planning to present a new home to the real estate market.
Have a Plan
Sometimes personal situations prevent selling a home during the prime season. A REALTOR® can help you sell a home in any season.