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It’s times like these when share prices are sliding and interest rates are rising and expected to hit into house prices as well as sales, that I like to remind people of another way to make money. And it’s got a better track record than so many other conventional investments. It’s called a business of your own.

Speaking from experience

These thoughts came to me when I was informed that an American business guru – Jack Daly – was coming to Australia to talk to up and coming business owners. I saw him speak in Adelaide at a conference where I was the master of ceremonies. His views made me take notes and many attendees were knocked out by his views on building better businesses.

What he revealed has equal relevance for wealth builders as it does for business builders.
Times of hardship

I recall in the late 1980s when I used to do money spots for the Triple M network and interest rates were on the way up to 17% and as you can imagine, many Aussie families were feeling the pinch, I tried to dream up ways to cope.

Crash and burn

Switching loans was not as easy as no one had ever heard of John Symond, Aussie Home Loans and mortgage brokers. And maths teacher, David East, had not made reducing mortgages by making bigger repayments known to the public and neither had the banks.

This was an old money world and financial institutions’ deregulation had only celebrated its fourth birthday. By the way, we had had a stock market crash and it was a couple of years before the recession we had to have.

It’s up to you

Thinking outside the square I told listeners that starting a business – even a part-time operation – was worth considering. I wasn’t talking as a theoretician, as many of my journo mates can do, because I actually was doing exactly that.

The young and the restless

Stand by for a bit of Switzer history. Prior to my economics lecturing gig at the University of New South Wales and my eventual media money man role, I taught economics and tutored on the side. Lots of teachers were paid in cash and ran the tax office gauntlet, but being business-like and a scaredy cat, I decided to start Switzer Communications. It meant I could claim part-expenses for telephone, car running costs, office expenses, accounting advice and among other things part of my lease payments on my new car.

Going the distance
The job involved about 15 longish drives and was absolutely legitimate as the income I was deriving was significant.

I used to do the maths and on a short-term basis it would have been better to have been a tax dodger, but from a long-term point of view, the old saying – honesty is the best policy – became a reality.

Expert advice

You see, one of my students was a son of a famous Melbourne accounting family, which had opened up in Sydney. The father became our accountant and our first money mentor.

Up until then, I had completed a Masters of Commerce and I was tutoring economics part-time, but I knew little about business and the Tax Act.

Handle with care

Manny was not just a number crunching accountant, but realised he needed to be an objective observer of what we were doing in business. His consideration of our business, transactions, our income, the prospective tax bill and our wealth building aspirations meant that we were exposed to tax reducing, income-generating and asset acquisition ideas that we could have only got if we had immersed ourselves in great books, magazines and newspapers.

By the way, there were no Australian Wealth sections in newspapers, Yahoo 7 finance websites and virtual libraries of self-help money books, as there are today.

What you don’t know

He was the first one to look at our tax bill and our cash flow and was the first to talk to us about negative gearing, tax strategies and capital gain on quality assets – both property and shares.

It cost us money, but we had overcome the great Aussie obstacle of being scabs and tightwads. We were told many things we didn’t know, but best of all, we would think and brainstorm the new content to come with ideas that we could run by our expert.

It pays to dream

Both great and dumb questions were asked, but the net result was eye-opening answers that lead to money-making opportunities which were seized. Manny also taught us to dream big and it meant that even if you didn’t hit the high mark you still were on track for a great, big result. He also showed us how to manage the risk of considerable investment plays – it has worked, let me assure you.

That part-time business is now a business publishing, financial planning and business coaching operation with more than 50 team members.

Sales force
So where does Jack Daly fit in?

He showed how you can work out a customer’s preference for different sales techniques inside two minutes. Getting this right is crucial for pulling off the sale and everyone who owns a business is in sales – that’s the biggest lesson of owning a business.

Get cracking

The bottom line is try to put yourself in the good company of experts and your income and your results will go through the roof.

By the way, anyone wanting to check out Daly and register for his ‘Smart Selling’ seminars, here’s the link:

Published on: Thursday, February 21, 2008

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