As a business owner, you may enjoy looking at financial information and keeping track of how your business is doing. On the other hand, you might rather have a tooth pulled. Ugh!
Profit (or Loss) is likely the single most important number, but alone, it doesn’t tell us much.
The relationships between the key numbers give us a better picture. Use the *Profitability Scorecard to take a closer look. While it will give you some useful information, it will also bring questions to mind. For instance, “Why has my Revenue increased but my Profit % decreased? or Why have I spent more on Sales and Marketing than I have gained in additional Revenue?”.
*The Scorecard information can be found on your Profit and Loss Reports (a.k.a. Income Statements) or on your tax returns.
Paisley Solutions, 615 W. State St., Kennett Square, PA 19348
610-444-2597 ext 201 Fax 610-444-8291
While massage therapy is becoming more accepted as an alternative means to managing physical pain from injuries and stress, the ability of massage therapy to decrease the usage of opioids for pain management is more recently being looked into.
With ever rising statistics of opioid addiction across the nation, it is important to know what other options of pain management are available and effective. While the best defense is avoiding the things that lead to issues like back and other pain (poor posture and body mechanics, bad workplace ergonomics), once the onset of pain occurs, there may be other means by which to alleviate at least some of the pain.
A regular stretching routine is of vital importance to chronic pain management. The muscles in your body are powerful and can often pull on joints causing postural and movement problems that are often the underlying cause of chronic pain. Tight muscles can also compress other sensitive tissues (i.e. nerves) causing restrictions and pain. Tonic muscles in the upper leg, for example, can cause dysfunction in the pelvis leading to chronic lower back pain. A regular stretching and massage routine to help release and relax these muscles can be quite effective in treating this kind of lower back pain.
Massage therapy should not just be considered a luxury treatment. It is medical therapy that dates back to ancient times and has been used by athletic teams and sports professionals for years. This therapy has been documented as having lasting effects on the body with no ill side effects or drug interaction. Properly applied, it helps improve circulation, decreases pain levels, increases range of motion and improves quality of life.
Earlier this year, the Center for Medicare Services printed new guidelines on medically approved non-opioid pain management and recommended that massage therapy be covered for pain management by insurance. In addition, 37 U.S. attorneys general called for the inclusion of massage therapy as a covered treatment option by all insurance companies. (revelation!) While still being studied, it is thought that the usage of massage therapy may help reduce pain levels associated with decreased usage of opioids in people looking to wean themselves off pain medications. More research is needed to evaluate what type and frequency of massage therapy that works best for this goal.
Opioid usage and addiction is a serious problem and many people wind up using opioids to manage their pain because they either cannot afford and/or do not understand alternative choices. Perhaps more generous insurance coverage for massage therapy, by those trained and licensed to administer it, would fill this need before resorting to the use of addictive drugs.
Jean Chamberlain, LMT, Modern Massage Works 610-444-5884
The holiday season is here, which means gift-giving is probably on your mind. In addition to making gifts to your family and friends, you also may be interested in contributing to charitable organizations. But before you donate financial assets, such as stocks, you will need to consider several factors, including taxes, your portfolio balance and the reputation of the charity. Let’s look at these areas:
Taxes – Your donations to qualified charities (those that are considered 501(c)(3) organizations by the Internal Revenue Service) can give you tax deductions – if you itemize deductions on your tax return. However, due to recent tax law changes, the standard deduction for 2018 has almost doubled, to $24,000 for married couples, and to $12,000 for single filers. As a result, you may be less likely to itemize deductions, so you could have less incentive, at least for tax reasons, to make charitable gifts. However, if you give appreciated stocks, you may be allowed a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the gift on the date of the transfer, even if your original cost was only a fraction of today’s value. Plus, you may not be subject to the capital gains tax you might have to pay if you eventually sold the stocks.
Also, depending on your age, you might be able to use your traditional IRA as a charitable-funding vehicle. Once you turn 70-1/2, you generally must begin taking withdrawals – called required minimum distributions or RMDs – from your traditional IRA. (Roth IRAs are not subject to RMDs during your lifetime.) These RMDs from your traditional IRA are taxable, but you may be able to exclude up to $100,000 of RMDs per year from your taxable income if you transfer the funds directly to qualified charitable organizations.
In any case, consult with your tax advisor before donating appreciated assets to a charity.
Portfolio balance – When you donate financial assets to a charity, you are also taking them away from your portfolio. This could be an issue, especially if you repeatedly donate the same types of assets. For example, if you’re donating some growth-oriented stocks, will you lower the overall growth potential of your portfolio?
You may want to consult with a financial professional to ensure your charitable gifts will still allow you to maintain a portfolio balance appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance.
Reputation of the charity – You may want to do some homework to make sure you are giving to a reputable charity. Many experts on charitable giving say that a worthwhile charity should spend at least 75 percent of its income on programs, rather than administrative costs. You may be able to find this type of information on a charitable group’s annual report and its website. You can also browse the web for the names of agencies that evaluate charitable groups.
By considering the aspects of charitable giving described above, you can get more satisfaction from your generosity – because you’ll know that your gift not only supports a good cause, but also fits well into your overall financial picture.
The investment world recently observed a milestone: the longest bull market in history. But what does this mean to you, as an individual investor?
For one thing, it suggests that patience and perserverance can pay off. From October 2007 to March 2009 – just 17 months – the S&P 500 stock market index fell more than 56 percent. That’s a big drop, of course, but what if you had told yourself that “enough is enough” and you decided to sell ? Consider this: The S&P 500 has now risen about 320 percent since its low point on March 9, 2009. So, if you had stayed invested during these last 9-1/2 years, your portfolio might have achieved impressive results.
How long will this bull market last? No one can say for sure, and it’s usually something we don’t anticipate that ends a bull market. (In fact, there’s no one agreed-upon definition of a “bull market,” although many financial experts define it as a period of rising stock prices without a drop of at least 20 percent.) Right now, the investment environment still looks pretty good: U.S. economic growth is strong, corporate earnings are healthy and consumers are spending. As always, though, potential concerns lurk, including the effects of a looming trade war with China.
Regardless of the prospects for this bull market, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Am I still on track toward meeting my goals? Your investments’ performance may not match that of the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average – and that’s not a problem. These indices only track the returns of U.S. stocks, but to reach your goals, such as a comfortable retirement, you will likely need a diversified array of investments: U.S. stocks, international stocks, bonds, government securities and so on. Rather than compare your investment results to those of a single market index, you should measure your progress by your own “yardstick,” based on a variety of factors, including your portfolio’s performance but also taking into account your age, retirement goals, risk tolerance and family situation. A financial professional can help you create a personalized measurement tool.
Do I need to rebalance? Over time, your investment portfolio can become over-concentrated in some areas. For example, you might have wanted a certain percentage of your portfolio to be held in stocks, but during a long bull market, the value of U.S. stocks may have risen so much that they now take up more space than you had intended, possibly subjecting you to a higher level of risk. Consequently, you may need to “rebalance” your portfolio by adjusting your investment mix.
Am I maintaining a long-term perspective? The 9 -1/2 years (and counting) run of the bull market should remind you that successful investing is not a “get-rich-quick” endeavor, but rather a gradual process requiring you to focus on the long term. Even during this lengthy run-up, we’ve seen “corrections”– short-term declines of 10 percent or more. But if you can stick with your long-term investment strategies, you will be less tempted to over-react to the inevitable bumps along the road.
The record bull market makes for some interesting headlines for a few days – but in the long run, it’s what you do, year in and year out, that will help you write your own story.
This blog was submitted by
Donald G Sellers, AAMS
701 E. Baltimore Pike Suite A2
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Every year the USDA Forest Service hosts a Fall Colors webpage full of useful information about where and when to see fall colors in your part of the country. And, every year, we think of some new angle to encourage folks to visit the web page and to have fun exploring it with family and friends.
However, sometimes in our zeal to make it fun (which it always is!), we overlook the fact that many folks are unaware of how and why leaves turn colors. So this year, thanks to Forest Service scientist Kevin T. Smith, we’re going to explain it in less scientific language.
We all know fall is a dazzling season and the brilliant colors are even more dazzling when you consider that the mosaic of reds and golds in front of you today depends in part on the timing of weather conditions reaching all the way back to leaf emergence in the spring.
While it seems like sheer art and poetry, fall color is really a function of chemistry. For instance, pigments are the chemicals in leaves that produce the colors we see. Some of these pigments, such as chlorophyll that appears green, and carotenoids that appear yellow, are a natural component of healthy leaves during the growing season.
Chlorophyll is instrumental in photosynthesis, the process by which energy from sunlight splits water and carbon dioxide to make the sugar that fuels plant growth. The sugar also provides the structure for natural protective compounds.
The health of a tree drives the production and function of these chemicals. If a midsummer drought causes a tree to lose leaves to reduce water loss, that leaf is already shed (even if still attached) from the living processes of the tree. There are some exceptions but that leaf is not likely to develop brilliant coloration. But if this happens in early August, then that foliage is not going to be on time for the expected seasonal display.
Too much or too little moisture are not the only factors affecting trees. Particularly for urban and community trees, de-icing salts can result in injury that stresses a tree and causes it to not have a timely display of fall color. Also diseases such as powdery mildew and tar spot, kill living cells and hijack the metabolism of the living leaf and the seasonal display will be reduced. If you want to learn about how leaves change color, visit the National Forest Foundation website.
So this year, impress your family and friends with a little leaf knowledge! No matter if it is the most brilliant colors ever, or sort of just really pretty, let them know that this may be fall but it all was decided in spring.
Submitted by Cheryl Kuhn from the United States Department of Agriculture web site.
Enjoy this excellent blog posted by the U.S. Small Business Administration - guest blogger Rieva Levonsky. Visit https://www.sba.gov/ to learn more.
Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. For many small business owners, August’s steamy days bring a brief lull before things pick up again in the fall. That makes now a good time to catch up on some marketing activities you’ve been putting on the back burner. Here are 43 things you can do during your August downtime that will have a big impact come fall.
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From time to time we all read something about leadership that sticks with us. After reading this on the US Chamber's Institute for Organization Management's blog, I thought I'd share it. Submitted by Dave Kilby, IOM California Chamber of Commerce
As I was doing some spring cleaning a few weeks ago I came across a book “The Heart of a Leader” by Ken Blanchard. I was reminded of the Tom Peters’ quote “If I had one failing of CEOs, it’s they don’t read enough.”
So I decided to make the time the time to re-visit Blanchard’s book and, although it was originally published nearly 20 years ago, I found many of the passages, advice and insights extremely relevant for today’s “busy” chamber and association professionals.
Here’s a sampling:
Walk your talk: It is vital for an organization and its leadership to “walk their talk.” They must make every effort to become living symbols of their organization’s value system. Once core values have been set in place – identified, communicated and impacting behavior – they become the “boss.”
It’s more important to be respected than to be popular: Blanchard says if you think back to someone who got a great performance from you, more likely, this was a leader who combined tough and nice. Are you willing to push your people beyond their comfort zone in order to achieve excellence? They might not like what you ask of them, but they will remember you as a leader they respected. NOTE: For several decades, I have advocated that it’s far better for our organizations to be respected, than to be liked.
Winning coaches make their teams audible ready: Can you, like a quarterback, make a snap decision to call an audible, a different play that has a better chance of success? There is nothing wrong with plans, policies or rules. The problem comes when people are told to implement them no matter what. Teach you people to bring their brains to work and be “audible-ready.”
Inquire within: Most of the significant advances in human history have come not from rushing around, but from being still. They required periods of deep and rigorous contemplation and quiet time. There is no way to do silence wrong. The only thing “wrong” would be to not do it.
Never! Never! Never! Never! Give Up! – Winston Churchill: If one quality epitomized Winston Churchill it was persistence. He never gave up. It was that attitude that inspired England in World War II when others might have surrendered. Persistence is sticking to your guns. It’s keeping your commitment and making your actions consistent with your word.
Your life is yours to design: Purpose has to do with one’s calling – deciding what business you are in as a person.
Make your life all it can be!
Cheryl B. Kuhn, IOM