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“BUY LOW…SELL HIGH” – LOOK FAMILIAR?

“Buy low…Sell High”  Sound familiar?  Good Morning Everyone!  It’s been a few months since our last post.  After spending several years analyzing dozens and dozens of investment charts and graphs as a stockbroker/financial consultant/and a middle-market institutional broker at two international investment firms, I saw the above graph and article this morning on Bloomberg.  I couldn’t resist…I have to share my views and make a few comments…

As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”  And this picture on the surface tells a lot.  Based on my years of experience advising and consulting the general public, (both inexperienced as well as very experienced investors) on prudent investment management, I know most everyday investors and self-proclaimed savvy or experienced investors simply don’t understand the foundational principles of investing.  The general principle is to buy low and sell high.  In most cases, the general public invests in a manner that is the exact opposite…they tend to emotionally buy high, and in a panic… sell low.  The savvy/experienced investors on the other hand do exactly what they should do…they unemotionally buy low and unemotionally sell high!  How do they do this?  The answer in general terms is simple, but it’s not easy.  They do the following, but methodically:

  1. They don’t invest with emotion, they invest with discipline using financials/trading models etc. (which are all available to the public through their investment firms and online sources)
  2. They do their own homework first, by relying on their own research, good advisors (if they need one), and their own business sense.
  3. They don’t follow the crowd…they do quite the opposite.  They buy when the public is emotionally selling or panicked, and sell when the public is emotionally optimistic and running up the markets.

The point is, if you want to buy low and sell high, you have to get into the mindset of the savvy experienced investors.  Beginning with understanding where the markets are in the midst of the investment cycle…are they over-valued or under-valued?  Are they at high or low valuations.  And secondly, begin asking yourself (or your advisors) strategic questions.  As you can see in the above chart, all three markets are at or near their all-time highs.  Then depending on whether you are an existing owner or considering to be an/investor/or speculator, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the markets (stock/bond/real estate) under-valued or over-valued?
    • Based on what information and valuation data?
    • What are your investment goals & objectives?
    • What’s your time horizon?
    • What’s your expected R.O.I.?
  • Is it a good time to be either a buyer or a seller in any these markets right now?
    • It depends…What’s your motivation?
    • Are you an existing holder considering to sell…or an investor considering to buy…or simply a speculator looking for a short-term profit?
  • Why do you want to buy/sell/ or hold in these markets now…is it due to need/long-term investment/speculation?
    • Again…What’s your motivation?
  • What’s your buy/sell discipline…your entry/exit points?
    • How did you arrive at those entry/exit points…through emotion or through a careful analysis of financial data and momentum oscillator data?
    • Again…What’s your time horizon?
    • Again…What’s your projected R.O.I. given your time horizon?

In general…not always…when the general public’s interest goes one way (in terms of investing), you may want to consider doing the opposite (however do your own due diligence and research first, and don’t rely on others!).  Generally, when it comes to “investment timing”, people tend to buy their investment assets at inappropriate times because they feel good or positive about the economy/the markets/or a particular company is popular or they’re afraid they’re missing out.  When it comes to inappropriate investment timing on selling, it’s usually because the markets are diving and they simply panic.  In either case the timing is off due to emotional investing and not methodical investing.  That’s understandable…we’re human!  That said, most experienced investors understand this costly emotional roller coaster and tend to avoid that ride by doing the fore-mentioned above.  When markets have fallen and asset valuations are near their lowest price points in their market cycle, this often times presents an optimal time to begin acquire such assets.  Likewise, when the markets are reaching new highs and the general public has taken an emotional buying position, this may be an opportune time to begin  taking some profits off the table, and setting the cash aside to invest when prices soften once again.

Is this a simple concept…yes.  Is it easy to implement…no.  When it comes to investing, most people tend to take action based on their emotional instincts…which are usually wrong.  Interestingly, the Bible also cautions us to not be ruled by emotions as ““The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9…please understand this text in its context).  So given the state of these markets, use your common sense…your business sense…do your own research…ask strategic questions, and make your investment decisions based on research and not emotion.  This will get you closer to becoming a savvy, experienced investor with the mind-set and practice of buying low and selling high.  We hope you found our perspectives and opinions to be insightful and helpful.

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact Us  if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular about M.A.P. (our 3-phase business development solution), designed to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

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Cyber Security – Part Two

Jim Rickards – THE DAILY RECKONING

Hello everyone…this is Part 2 of 3 of our series called Cyber Security.  In 2016, Accenture Consulting published a cyber security white paper (geared towards large organizations) that we thought would be of interest to business owners like you.  This study goes into a more in-depth analysis supported by industry interviews and statistics.  You can download this white paper in two formats; either the Executive Summary or the Complete Report.

Having worked for a forensic accounting firm for several years, I understand some of the challenges and vulnerabilities all organizations face, and that we as consumers face regarding cyber security.  The challenge is, there doesn’t appear to be much access to simple, step-by-step, practical standards of cyber security available to small business owners to readily implement.  This is a real problem!  The white paper focuses its attention on cyber security threats of larger organizations, but we as small business owners can learn from their challenges, approaches and solutions.  The small business owner (and individual alike) needs access to practical, actionable standards of practice against cyber security threats and the protection of their data.

When we think of cyber security from the perspective of a small business owner or as an individual, think about it in terms of our smartphones/ tablets/ and computers.  We either grant permission for auto updates or regularly receive promptings to update and “accept” software company’s “terms and conditions” to either download or update the software on our devices.  This “acceptance” grants those software companies access to our data through our phone cameras, microphones, phone records, pictures and access to other data files.  It’s quite obvious that we have been conditioned to accept whatever terms and conditions are asked by these software companies in order to comply with their downloading/updating standards.   Why should you grant access to all these requests for your smartphones solitaire game?  What this means is that our data and our privacy are at risk.  Our privacy and security are practically non-existent because we have blindly “accepted” software providers terms and conditions.  We therefore have either knowingly or unknowingly relinquished our privacy, our data and control of our information, how it’s managed, secured and shared with others.  This can and does have serious repercussions!  How could we be then surprised that our information could be stolen and disseminated all over the globe?  We have only ourselves to blame.

We would recommend reading the white paper referenced above by Accenture Consulting, and think about how large organizations are approaching this eminent risk.  What can we as small business owners learn and implement from these organizations to better protect our privacy and data (and client data), and to help mitigate cyber security threats and breaches?  We’ll post a follow-up in Part 3 of this series in a few weeks to address how we as business owners (and individuals) can take some practical and actionable measures to better control the security and privacy of our data.  Well I should say, as best we can given that we live in a state of technological acquiescence…whether we choose to believe it or not.  Until then, we hope you enjoy reading the white papers by Accenture Consulting.  Back to you in a few weeks…

Contact Us if you would like to discuss business strategies for your business.

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular, about our M.A.P. (our 3-phase business development solution) to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

 

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Cyber Security – Part 1

Jim Rickards – The Daily Reckoning

Cyber Security may be the number one economic threat to individuals, businesses and to our nation.  Recently, there was a massive breach in cyber security for some of the largest companies in the world.  For the most part, it was brushed over on mainstream media for a few days.  Nothing substantial was revealed in terms of understanding the nature of this particular cyber hacking, and the potential threat and depth of damage this may have lead to.  Jim Rickards wrote an interesting post on his blog, THE DAILY RECKONING regarding cyber security that we thought would be of interest to our clients and readers.  Jim gives a macro perspective on the three degrees of the cyber security threats that currently exist in the world today.

We’ll post a follow-up to this in a few weeks to address how cyber security experts are strategizing about how to best address this imminent threat currently and for the future.  Hopefully their insights will enable us as business owners and individuals to take practical and actionable steps to better control the security and privacy of our data (well, as best we can).   Given that we live in a state of technological acquiescence (whether we realize it or not), have you ever seriously considered just how quickly and easily we “accept” the terms and conditions of downloading new software or software updates to our smart phones?  Do we really understand the access rights we are granting to these organizations, and what they’re doing with our data and who they’re sharing our data with?  Think about it…  Until then, we hope you enjoy reading the article by Jim Rickards.  Back to you in a week or two…

 

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact Us  if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular about M.A.P. (our 3-phase business development solution), designed to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

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WARNING – THE COMING ECONOMIC CRISIS

Image by: WiseGeek

Hello Everyone,  we hope all of you are in good health, prospering and productive.  You may have heard people talk about it before, and nothing has happened since 2008…yet.  As many of you know, earlier in my business career, I was a financial consultant for two large Wall Street Investment firms.  Over the past two decades, I have further expanded my breadth of knowledge and experience in business consulting for various business disciplines.  During which time I have also kept my hand on the pulse of the economic and financial world in which we have to live and navigate through.  Over the last three decades, I have seen and lived through several financial crises of which, by the grace of God, using some good common sense and incorporating some solid forecasting advice, I was 100% in cash 3-6 months PRIOR to the dot-com crash and the 2008-2009 crash.  (Please note: We are NOT investment advisers, nor are we giving investment advice.)  We’re simply sharing with you, our readers, how some proactive planning on your part may help you, your family and your business prepare for the coming economic crisis.  Thus, the title…”Warning – The Coming Economic Crisis.”

Over the years, I’ve noticed one important trend…the crises are getting worse as they come along.  The 2008-2009 crises literally brought the world to its knees…being within weeks if not days of a complete global financial banking melt-down.  Eight years later, I believe we are on the cusp of yet another, more severe economic crises that will forever change the world and how we transact business.  Nearly every person I speak with (business professionals and non-professionals alike) are completely uninformed about what happened leading up to the 2008 crisis, and have no clear understanding of what actually caused the economic crisis in 2008.  Most people simply believe it was about too many sub-prime home mortgages defaulting…really?  Do you honestly believe that was the true cause of almost bringing down the global financial system?  This post is not about explaining what happened in 2008 because that has already passed, and many have written about it.  Rather, we want to focus on what looms ahead and how you can prepare for it.  I know what you’re thinking… Things seem to be be better than they were a few years ago, and in many areas they are.  However, when you look at the foundations…the fundamentals of what support the global economy and not simply look at the short-term surface results, the picture is quite different.  We (GMS Business Consulting) feel like we’re all living economically on borrowed time.  Simply ask yourself the following questions:

QUESTIONS:

  • Are near-zero interest rates a sign of a weak or strong economy?
  • Why has the Federal Reserve been so hawkish in raising interest rates for 8 years if the economy were as strong as reported, and so cautious this year about raising interest rates 1/4 of 1 percent?
  • Does a 25 basis point interest rate hike really threaten a healthy economy?
  • Would you or any reasonably-minded person or business man refuse to make a purchase because of a 25 basis point hike in interest rates? (I don’t believe so, unless that person is already at their 95% affordability index.)
  • So the questions begs an answer to:  Why is the Fed so cautious and reluctant to raise interest rates by 25 basis points once or twice a year?  What do they know that we don’t know…and are not telling us?
  • How do you get good financial information/perspective/forecasting, and not dumbed-down propaganda?

ANSWERS:  You have to do your homework.  You have to dig a little bit outside the mainstream sources of information.  You have to become financial and political atheists when it comes to seeking sources of good/reputable information.  You need to let go of the mainstream media sources like the CNN’s/FOX’s/NYTimes/Wall Street Journals etc.  Not that they’re bad, but I just don’t recall these sources effectively ringing the warning bells of prior crises or of the future looming crisis.  They’re pretty good at telling you what “happened” once the crises began, but not too effective about warning the public and accurately describing the lead-up to the crises themselves.  Perhaps they did provide some tid-bits of warning in isolated sound bites, but I personally don’t recall receiving my sources of preparedness of previous crises coming from these sources.

Given where we are economically and politically, there are a few sources that we believe have been credible over the years that we share with family and friends, that we would like to share with you…  Keep in mind these sources are not perfect/all-knowing/faultless etc., but they have good, long, solid records of experience and forecasting.  We would suggest starting with these, then branch out and seek more on your own.  Evaluate how they compare with your current sources.  If you “really” want to seek understanding of the economic and financial condition we’re living in, then you must give-up your biases, and seek truth and understanding.  Only then will you be able to clearly understand the facts as they are, and not as they’re reported or appear to be.  Then, you will be better prepared to engage in strategic planning for yourself, your family and your business to survive the coming economic crisis.  We have found the following 5 sources  to be very credible in economic, financial and political perspectives and forecasting.  You may not agree with them on each point, however the key is…to better build your sources of independent information to give you a balanced perspective from which to make better informed decisions.

  1. JIM RICKARDS (Attorney & Financial Expert – About Jim) – View these interviews to understand his perspective regarding the coming economic crisis ahead at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfiJMMxSv3o     http://icradio.co.uk/icr-142-james-rickards-road-ruin/   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rhm0Zm-J4k and  https://youtu.be/MhR_AkfFfZ0
  2. NOMI PRINS (Former Goldman Sachs Director/Financial Expert/Author/Speaker) – View her bio here: http://www.nomiprins.com/ and view her recent interview of the coming economic crisis here: http://kingworldnews.com/financial-crack-up-nomi-prins-warns-when-the-system-crashes-this-time-it-will-crash-harder/
  3. DR. PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS (Economist/Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury/Author) – Visit his blog with interviews and articles at: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/about-paul-craig-roberts/
  4. GERALD CELENTE (Renowned Trend Forecaster) – You can view his website and subscribe to his newsletter at: http://trendsresearch.com/   (Mr. Celente is very passionate, a political atheist, and very knowledgeable.  Focus on “what” he says, not “how” he says or expresses his views).
  5. JOHN WILLIAMS (Economist) – To better understand the “real” or true economic numbers reported to the public, John Williams strips away the non-sense used in massaging the economic indicators by government officials and mainstream media, and provides bare-bones numbers that more accurately reflect the state of the economy.  Visit his web site at: http://www.shadowstats.com/

CONCLUSION:  As we’ve mentioned, we believe we are on the cusp of another economic crisis of which we’ve never seen in our lifetimes.  Does that mean you should sell everything/close shop/stay inside/do nothing?  Absolutely not…it simply means get informed…better informed so that you can make better decisions on how to better prepare and protect your family and business once this crisis unfolds.  The sources I listed are simply the sources we have found outside of the mainstream media sources that have proven valuable to us over the last two decades.  There are many more sources out there…too many for us to list, and you too will find others as well if you do your homework.  Remember, you don’t have to agree with them on everything, simply listen to what they have to say, test their knowledge and perspectives, consult with your current advisers, and then make your own decision.  We simply didn’t want to let time go by and an opportunity slip away to warn our readers of what concerns us personally and professionally of what we see coming on the horizon, and to not take the opportunity to share our perspectives along with a few reputable sources.  Please don’t wait to do your planning now…the coming economic crisis isn’t waiting for you…

 

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular, about our M.A.P. (our 3-phase business development solution) to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

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Planning Ahead For 2017 – Best Practices

Strategically PlanBest PracticesMeasuring Results

Hello Everyone!  It’s been a few months since our last post.  We’ve been busy with new business opportunities in new markets that have taken much time from our posting.  We wanted to touch base with our readers on a topic that comes up regularly.  It has to do with something very basic, is relatable by most of us, and is very common among most business professionals we meet; regardless of geographic location or level of experience within their firm or business.  That topic is effective, strategic business planning.  So we want to share with you our views on how to do effective Business Planning For 2017 – by applying some basic “Best Practices”.

While we recommend our existing clients to begin their planning for the next year well in advance, beginning in August – September (to allow enough time to plan, design and implement various campaigns come the beginning of the year).  That said… DON’T WAIT until August to begin your initial planning!  If you’re not a client of ours yet, the best time to begin planning is NOW.  Whatever day you come to the realization that you need to plan more strategically and effectively, begin the process.  You’ll NEVER make-up for lost time.  Listed below are a few best practices related to strategic and effective planning:

  • BREAK THE BONDAGE OF PROCRASTINATION – This is the most critical initial step to strategic business planning.  Putting this off for another day only negatively affects you, your progress and results.  Set a date, calendar it, and do it.  Sounds simple, and it is, however it’s not always easy to do for a variety of reasons.  The bottom-line, is the further you put this off, the greater the negative impact.  The sooner you break the bondage of procrastination, the sooner you begin the path to accomplishing your business goals and reaping the success and results.
  • CONSULT WITH AN ADVISOR – I know this may sound self-serving, but it isn’t.  While we do this for a living (helping clients to strategically focus and tactically grow their practices and businesses), the point is, whether you consult with us or any other organization, don’t go it alone…work with an independent advisor.  Seek someone with relevant experience and expertise in your industry, YET has the ability to critically and constructively guide you away from current ineffective practices, and guide you to more effective and practical practices.  This consultant/advisor should help you strategically align your personal and business goals and objectives with a tactical plan of action, and help you to effectively implement new practices and procedures that will enable you to successfully reach your business goals.
  • EXECUTE YOUR PLAN –  The most strategic plan, the best plan ever designed is utterly useless if the plan is not well executed.  This takes a little time, planning, implementation and patience.  One of the keys to effectively implementing your business and action plan is setting clear and tactical action steps.  Once these action steps are established, they must be embedded into your daily/ weekly/ monthly calendar or CRM solution and put into action.  Without the above stated steps, the execution of your plan is meaningless, and will most likely result in missed goals and opportunities, frustration and perhaps failure.  However, by implementing the fore-mentioned steps, the process will become purposeful, measurable, gratifying and successful.
  • MONITOR & MEASURE YOUR PLAN – Lastly, make sure to evaluate and measure your progress.  Many business professionals begin with a fast start…keeping track of their progress, then begin to slack on documenting their progress, then eventually slack on measuring their progress on a weekly and monthly basis.  This may result in prolonging what could be a simple fix or adjustment to the plan, and may result in wasted time, money, efforts and disappointment.  However, disciplined and systematic monitoring and measuring your progress will enable you to be informed on a timely basis, allowing you to make adjustments when/if needed, and will give you assurance that you’re on the right path to meet your goals and objectives.

We hope this gives you some food for thought on effective business planning for 2017.  These are simple guides and best practices that can dramatically impact the effectiveness of your strategic planning for this next year.  Keep in mind, it doesn’t matter when you begin your planning, just as long as you begin planning and don’t procrastinate.  Have a good 4th quarter of this year, and do yourself a favor and begin strategically and effectively planning for a strong 2017.

 

GMS BUSINESS CONSULTING provides lawyers and business professionals with Accounting Services, Business Development Services, Business Optimization Services and Digital Marketing Services to help business professionals successfully organize, grow and operate their businesses more effectively and efficiently.  We do NOT provide investment advice.  Contact us if you are interested in learning more about our services, and in particular, about our M.A.P. (our 3-phase business development solution) to help you strategically focus and tactically grow your business.  We would welcome the opportunity to speak with you.

info@gmsbusinessconsulting.com

707-218-3135

John 14:15

GMS Business Consulting 288 Comments

Part 1: Out-Strategize & Out-Maneuver Your Competition

Business Development Services

Business Development Services

Hello everyone, and Happy New Year!  Today’s post is part-one of a three-part series on how to “Out-Strategize & Out-Maneuver Your Competition“.  After 30+ combined years of business and consulting experience, we have seen common threads related to business success and failure.  These common threads may appear to be quite simple at the surface level, however beneath the surface they may vary significantly in complexity depending on the nature of the practice, targeted clients (and their particular needs), and one’s ability to effectively reach & communicate your value proposition to them.  That said, the successes and failures all have a few things in common…right from the start.  That’s what we’re going to address today… Read more

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Business Succession

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Hello Everyone!  Recently, we met with a few attorneys with small practices, in their late 60’s with no plans of retirement, nor thoughts of business succession.  That’s a concern we have for many business professionals today who know better to plan for events like this, yet they don’t.  Over the years, we’ve seen many business professionals own and operate very successful practices/businesses, however we’re still surprised to see how many have not planned for their business succession.

If there is a younger family member coming into the practice or business, then that is a natural business succession, and the business owner has a whole lot less to concern themselves with.  Conversely, if there is no family member or young associate interested in taking over the practice some day, then that leaves a potentially valuable asset foregone and left behind, and clients that will still need to be served. Read more

GMS Business Consulting 306 Comments

Something Strange In The Numbers?

Zero Hedge

Zero Hedge

 

Hello Everyone!  Every once in a while we want to let newer viewers know why our business blog exists, and why we provide the content that we do.  As our longer-term readers know, the content of our blog is to serve two purposes:

  1. First, to provide meaningful/helpful business management content to help lawyers/law firms/CPA’s and other business professionals to better manage their short-term and long-term business goals and objectives.
  2. Second, is to provide our readers with powerful, insightful news, comments, and commentaries related to financial/economic/and political information that may not be reported by mainstream news media, and not as well-known or understood by the general public. Read more
GMS Business Consulting 292 Comments

The Return of Blackberry?

Blackberry Passport

Mark Blinch/Reuters

 

Hello Everyone!  This morning we’re writing to you, our viewers, regarding the release of the new smartphone by Blackberry, called the “Passport“.  Seriously…you ask?  Who cares?  I’m sure that’s what many of you are thinking!  We however believe many business professionals should care/need to care or at the very least, be aware of the launch of this new device and its possible benefits for business and personal use.  With data security becoming increasingly important,  we as business owners and those of you in highly sensitive industries like legal, financial, healthcare, technology, and government, should be concerned about the security of our business and client data, as well as our own personal data!  Read the online articles on the NY Times and Bloomberg and other online sources to get a good perspective on this new release.  So back to the new Blackberry PassportRead more

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Does the Fed Manipulate the Price of Gold?

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts Institute for Political Economy

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts
Institute for Political Economy

 

Hello Everyone!  The question we have for all of you today is…does the Fed manipulate the price of Gold?  Well according to Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, yes they do manipulate the price of gold and he explains how they do it in today’s article posted on his blog, the Institute For Political Economy.  For those of you who have never heard of Dr. Roberts, he is an authority on how the U.S. Treasury, the Federal Reserve Bank, and the overall banking & financial systems operate (he was the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.  He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts’ latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.).  And that’s just a brief introduction to Dr. Roberts background… Read more