Tom Perrone – Small Business Planning

Tom Perrone Small Business Planning on the Thriving Solopreneur Podcast with Janine Bolon

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Janine: Hi! Welcome to the thriving solopreneur show. This is Janine Bolon. And today’s guest is somebody you want to hear from. Now, I know I’m going to just state it the way it needs to be stated. And that is sometimes people think that balding old white guys don’t have anything to share with them, especially if they’re young. They’ve just started business blah blah blah. What can an old dude maybe he’s balding. Maybe it isn’t but what can some old dude tell me about this. Let me tell you something, this dude you want to pay attention to. He has been in financial planning since 1970 and he has developed planning strategies to help his clients with not only their wealth but also their financial landmines like the areas that they don’t even know they have in their subconscious that doesn’t allow them to lower their taxes and really help their businesses to expand. He has what he calls a one-page solution this basically designed to help business owners like you. Yeah! Talking to you about all those what ifs, what if your business life does this? What if your personal life does that? And, he basically has this brand new book out called Building and Protecting your Business Worth. He also has a podcast and so kind of stumbled into Tom Perrone and I want to say thank you so much Tom for being with us today. It’s great to have you with us.

Tom Perrone: Totally, my pleasure Janine. I appreciate you asking me on.

Janine: Yeah, and so let me just share a little bit more folks. He is part of the New England Consulting Group of Guilford and a business and personal benefit planning group. He has done multiple things on helping people with business growth, transition planning, income planning. How did work with Tax Strategies, Medicaid asset protection. Now, if you’re sitting there at 22 with a side hack, you may think “I don’t know with this guy made it sounds too high-profile for what I have going on” I would say “No, he isn’t. He’s totally able to be reachable and he is very authentic and you can’t always say that about folks that are in the financial planning or how either going to help you with your business grow”. So Tom, if you don’t mind kind of walk us through some of your quick tips that you know that when a client comes to you, you see this over and over again. We’d love to hear from you.

Tom: Yeah. First of all, let me just say something, for those people that are younger and in their business, when I started I was 21 and it took me seven or eight years to actually make some money and feel like I was out of the woods so sometimes it takes a long time. But if you stay with it works. People are confused about money. They, in many areas and again my I work a lot with business owners, so I see them create widget really well. They make the best widget in town. But what they neglect are the key financial and business elements that they need to pay attention to because no matter how much they work in their business without them paying attention to those little details. They will fail so they need to be aware and be taught that there’s another part of the business called working on your business. People always say to me, “Well, when do I start working on my business for a future sale?” Well, I tell them the minute you buy your business start working towards the sale of it, which might be 30 years because that will allow you to focus on the things you need to implement to create great value drivers which creates good value for future sale of your business.

Janine: Exactly and some people start in a business and they think “Oh, I never sell this business” I assure you as somebody who’s a serial entrepreneur I start every business as if this is the last business I’m going to build and I have built 15. I have sold 12 successfully, meaning for a profit. I’ve crashed and burned on three of them. So, I have a very good record. But every time I build a business, I now have in mind this is the only business I’m ever going to create and I totally throw myself into that business. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not planning for the future of potentially being able to sell the business or step away from it. So it can sit there and turn on its own. So that’s also another aspect with the way automation works these days. So go ahead and help us out here Tom. Okay, you have so much wisdom between your ears. I love it when I get a mentor of your caliber on this show who can actually educate people a little bit. Okay. Well, alright. I’m a young person. This is the first business I’ve ever sat down. What is this working on my business? What are the top three things I need to be looking out for then?

Tom: Well, the thing you need to deal with… I just responded to a LinkedIn statement and it was about a coach talking about taking time off. And like I said earlier took me seven or eight years to start making money and it took me that long to start learning the process. But, you need to right off the bat start looking at your business as a business and not as a job meaning if you can’t at some point down the line start taking more and more time off. You have a job. You don’t have a business. So you need to have the mindset that you start creating things that what I call value drivers, delegate more automate, find systems. Be careful of your cash flow, especially in the early years. You don’t have to go out and get the best and the biggest and the greatest. Earn the money to start financing that or buying it. I remember Janine the first computer I bought 1980, PC floppy disks, 128k when I walked in computer land. I think it was I saw the salesman shopping at the bits. It cost me $12,000 and there was no such word as as hard drive. I lease that machine for five years, but I’ve bought well over a hundred computers and I built a multimillion-dollar practice by taking some risk.

Janine: But the thing is and this is where you and I are in total agreement is you don’t go into debt, this is not gambling. Right? You took some risk, but you weren’t risking your mortgage payment. Right? You had the ability to recover from those risks where you were investing in new technology. And so that’s one of the things that I like to educate people on this. They think that business owners are gamblers. No, we take calculated risks and we don’t bet the mortgage payment on those risks. We don’t bet future sales on on that. So do you mind discussing that a little bit because I see this gamblers mentality and a lot of business owners. Not that they would call it that, it’s just that’s how it’s perceived.

Tom: And again, remember I’m 71 years old. I was brought up in a time where I heard about the depression. So, I had that mindset of watching my money. But for an example, I see some landscapers going out and buying new land. They go into business because they decide that they can do landscaping. The first thing an accountant says, you go buy [inaudible]something [inaudible] expense. They go out fifty thousand dollar truck and it looks really nice. But now they got the pressure of that $800 truck payment. They don’t need a 50,000 truck. They need a truck that works and I would say to any new business owner, “watch your budget, stay within a budget, do without if you have to” but the key thing is as soon as you can, get help because you’re going to have to delegate those things that someone gets paid 20 bucks an hour can do better than what you can do if you’re making $300 an hour, but you’re doing $20 an hour work something is wrong. You need to get a part-time worker. I had three part-time secretaries when I first started and they worked 3-5 hours a week, but I cobbled them together to get what needed to get done so I could be out seeing clients and doing what I do best. So budgeting is so important. You don’t want to be under pressure right off the bat, financially.

Janine: And I think that’s such quality advice that you gave, budget your money, budget your time and that is key hire people right off the bat with all of the automation we have now, it’s very simple to hire virtual assistants to do work that is systemized, work that is like taking care of your calendar and establishing interview times and stuff like that being able to build your calendar out with new clientele while you’re out making those connections through relationship marketing. Now, that’s a big thing. This is something that I love chatting about with you guys who are highly successful in business. You guys have been doing relationship marketing says “the dark days of you know 1970s” back when we people were having to learn to transition from the Hard Sell Tech, a technique to you guys were already starting to do relationship stuff. So do you want to talk a little bit about that huge shift just in your own lifetime.

Tom: I love it and I’ll tell you, you could be the best person at what you do. You can have the nicest office. You can advertise the most but the person that ends up getting the business, is the friend, the relationship because people have put more into trust they want to know like and trust you. They don’t care about the other things. So here’s what I… and Janine I made the mistake years ago because I was mentored wrong about marketing. But if I had to do it all over, as a 21 year old person, just out of college. I would have built up relationships in the right area. People that were working with the type of people that I wanted to work with. I would have identified them and I would have created alliances and teams and try to help them out and build this relationship so that when the banker said “Gee you need a two million dollar life insurance policy to cover this loan and I know that’s the best rate but go to Perone because he’s very honest”. That’s what you want. So spend your time with good people. The people that you like and over time, you’ll build up a wonderful relationship and business will be so much easier.

Janine: And that’s why I love chatting with folks that are like yourself who they’ve been in business for decades and they were mentored wrong. They were mentored with the hard sell techniques and everything. And you guys, the reason why you became successful and stay successful was the fact that you actually had to resist that training. And so hats off to you to helping coaches younger ones on how to go about doing that right by building teams. So anyhow, I would love to get back to your book which you have which is Unlocking Your Business DNA, cracking the code to a better business, bigger profits and more time on the beach. Dude! Who doesn’t want beach money? Talk to us a little bit about this.

Tom: In 1988-89. I had my three children and I had wonderful parents and grandparents. I was used to being around them. So family life to me was important, but I was working 70-80 hours a week. Nights and weekends and I had to put a stop to it. And so what I did, I decided mental. It was a mental thing and it was scary, but I decided I wasn’t going to work on Fridays. And I started to, I would get up early get my stuff together work ’til 12. Get my youngest one off the bus and we would go bowling or doing something all day Friday. Well what happened over a period of time that I as a matter of fact, I told my staff you take off. I’ll pay you because I’m going to take off. I needed that one day down. Well, what happened was taking that time off, I started the to get much more creative ideas. I was loose as a Goose and I felt relieved I was with my family, all of a sudden Friday’s turned to also Mondays and before you know it I only worked 80 days a year with clients and I ran a multimillion-dollar agency for 40 years like that and I never missed a ball game, a teacher’s meeting. My kids today were in their 40s, always bring up kids nights. So, you know, it’s scary to make these moves. But if you build good relationships, you keep your business budget under budget or equal budget and you start creating some free time for your family, you have balance in life and you’ll grow much quicker rather than working 80 hours and running after the next dollar you can make. It doesn’t make any sense and I mentor my groups all the time about this and they fight me on it, but I say take time off for 30 days, just try 30 days and see how it would make a change your life.

Janine: I think that is so perfect. And I’m glad that you mentioned your groups because that’s one of the things that Tom is still doing. Tom is still out there mentoring people and you really want to pick his brain. I highly recommend that you join up with one of his groups. If you want to see if he is a good fit, go ahead and read his book first, of course! But really, when you
have men of this caliber who are as authentic as they are and who really just want to help the next generation, not make the mistakes that they see a society pressuring them to make. These guys have been through it all. They know the traps, they know the pit falls and I cannot stress enough that you need to set up a time where you are not taking clients and it’s in Violet. I currently work on Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays and Saturday mornings. I’m a single mom and I got four kids. People are like “Oh my God, I can’t believe you work like that” and I’m like because that makes me happy and it fits in with what my teenagers are doing. They are not up before noon on Saturday so that’s why I work in that early morning, but man the rest of the time, that’s time off where we’re going off and having fun.

Tom: Janine when I received your postcard with your children on their and the smiles, I was elated because I know your work habits and I say this lady is doing it all on four days a week and I admire that. So your focus and you’ve got a obviously a lot of talent but you know the last chapter of my book and by the way, if they ordered off Amazon any proceeds go to Wounded Warriors foundation, and you can be paperback or Kindle and please do but the last chapter of my book, I show people how to use these techniques that have really helped me organize, spend time with my family and Janine, I’ve made a lot of money. I’m sitting here very independently wealthy and doing what I want to do is 71. But, again the first eight years of my life. I was just about making ends meet. Okay, [inaudible] working. So I’m just telling you I’m sharing with you the things that have made me successful, but I want you to look at them at least and consider them. That’s all.

Janine: Right. So say somebody read your book and they listen to this podcast. How can they get a hold of you so that they can be one of those business owners that you kind of mentor and work with?

Tom: They can email me, first of all. I don’t know if you can put them in the show notes, but [email protected]. If they go to my blog which is your, they will get a very good idea of what type of work I do and anybody wants to call me, they can certainly call me and set up a phone conference or a zoom with me. I’d be more than happy to share with them just any questions they have but I would ask them that they get the book. Read the book so they have some kind of focus on what they’re going to ask me. That’s all I asked. I think it’s 3 bucks [inaudible] kindle. All right, the paper books are better though because it’s easier to deal with but…

Janine: I agree. I always ask people. Have you read my book first? That way we have a common language. That way when I start mentioning things you are not totally in the dark. We are not wasting each other’s time. So yeah, I highly recommend that you buy his book off Amazon and the name of Tom’s book is Unlocking Your Business DNA and go to Kendall and all proceeds go to the Wounded Warriors Project. He’s not making money off this but he is using it as a platform and as a springboard for you, so that when you do connect with him, you guys are all operating at the same level and then he can start really helping you to grow and expand your business. So Tom, any
last words of encouragement or any last things you want to share before we sign off for today?

Tom: Yes. We as much as you can of the people that have a reputation of being good Brian Tracy. I would read Wayne Cotton, any of these guys. I learned a lot from reading, it kept my motivation up very high and that’s going to help you get through and I talked about that in the chapter 11. So read a lot, learn a lot, spend time educating yourself and do it the way that you want to do it in your own lifestyle. The one last thing I’ll leave Janine is I remember when I was a young person the manager would say well Perone, “what’s your production going to be this year?” And I would say “I have no idea what I’m going to make but I know exactly what I’m going to do to try to make that” because activity is more important than the results. You can’t have results without the activity. You got to know where you’re going. That’s it.

Janine: Yeah simple, right?

Tom: Yes, it is! It really is. You know as you get older, it gets much simpler.

Janine: Life becomes very simple at that point. Tom Perone, thank you so much for your time today. I really appreciate having you on the show and being able to pick your brain. I love it when I am able to be interviewing folks who I know have a wealth of information between their ears. I highly recommend you go out and get his book and you can find out on Amazon, Unlocking Your Business DNA. Have a great day and keep reaching for the stars my fellow solopreneurs. Stand with your feet firmly on the ground. Watch your budget of money and time and keep reaching for those stars.

Tom: Janine, thank you! Big hugs to your family and thank you for being in our lives. Thank you.