The Wheel

Remember when you decided to open your own business? Remember the feelings of pride, joy, and fulfillment you felt the day you received your business license? Ah, those were the days, my friend.


Do you now feel a little bit more like you’re in a hamster wheel?

Just providing the service you envisioned is a full-time job. So when are you supposed to fit in planning the future direction of your company, trying to get it organized and keeping it that way, hiring &i training employees, marketing, and then taking care of the daily administration details? And exactly when do you get back to the main reason you opened your business in the first place… Because you enjoyed it?


Need a Helping Hand with your Business?

Practical Solutions gives business owners a helping hand. Leaving you free to do that which you do the best and enjoy the most. After all, isn’t that why you opened your business?

How Can Practical Solutions Help?

We will help you jump off the hamster wheel and onto the Circle to Success by working with you to build a foundation for your business and then building on that foundation. Wherever your company needs to start on the Circle to Success will be the beginning of your foundation.


As you can see in the diagram, each area of a business builds on and into the next. Instead of trying to deal with the “big picture”, we will look at the big picture and then break it down into smaller, more manageable steps.



if there is just too much to do and not enough you…

if your reality has been checked by the amount of time running your business takes…

if you want to focus on taking care of your clients knowing that the rest is being taken care of…

if you need a little help or a lot…


Practical Solutions has practical solutions for your business needs.


Want Flexibility? Edward Jones Offers Owner K



  • Are you a business owner with no employees?
  • Do you want to reduce your income taxes?
  • Would you like to contribute more than allowed with a SEP lRA?
  • Does your spouse work in your business?

Break Contribution Barriers with the Owner K

The Edward Jones Owner K, a type of “one-person 401(k),” is now the retirement plan of choice for many business owners with no employees other than a spouse. The Owner K plan has the highest contribution limits available for a business retirement plan while still offering the flexibility to determine contribution amounts year to year. The plan can be used by self-employed individuals, corporations, and partnerships wanting to maximize (with flexibility) pretax retirement contributions.

Roth Contributions in 2006

Beginning with 2006, you may contribute part or all of your salary deferral amounts (up to $15,000, or $20,000 if you are 50 or older by 12/31/06) as an after-tax Roth contribution, instead of a pre-tax traditional 401(k) contribution. Roth contributions are not tax deductible, but Roth amounts are distributed tax-free, if certain conditions are met. Roth contributions to an Owner K may make sense for you.

The following table compares how much more a business owner can contribute in 2006

with an Owner K.




Quality Must Not Only Exist, It Must Be Perceived By The Customer

One error we as business owners make is assuming that what we like, what we want, and
what we recommend is exactly what others will like, want, and recommend. This simply is
not the case and assuming such can be a costly mistake to the detriment of your business.
As the title states, how the CUSTOMER perceives the quality of your product and service
will determine whether they will be back or not. It also determines whether they will
recommend your business to family and friends or whether they will discourage others
from buying your products or services.
Ok, so you recognize the need to look at your business from a different perspective, that
of your customer. What are some ways you can do this? How do you gather the essential
information that will get your business on the Circle to Success?
You must, in a sense, become a detective and search for clues.
Client Surveys
Go to the source of the best information…your customer. Who better to ask?
Prepare client surveys asking questions that are short and to the point about
their experience using your product or service. Questions that they can answer quickly
are best as you will have a higher percentage of people who actually fill out the survey.
Ask for their praise and their criticism. How can you provide a better quality of products
and services if you don’t know what the strengths and weaknesses of your products and
services are as perceived by the customer?
Mystery Shoppers
A Mystery Shopper goes into your business armed with a list
of items that you want them to check and grade. How do
your employees treat your customers? Is your establishment
cleaned to your specifications? Is the environment inviting?
Are the prices clearly posted and easy to understand? Are customers charged the correct
prices? Do the employees know the answers to questions pertaining to the business
or product? For Mystery Shopping to be successful in the hunt for clues, it is imperative
that you know what is perceived as quality by your customers. Also helpful is
having clear expectations in mind regarding your customer service and the environment
of your establishment.
Industrial Espionage
How does your business compare to other like businesses in price, environment, and service?
Who is your competition and what do they do better? Worse? What can you learn
from your competition? What are your strengths and weaknesses and how do they compare
to your competition? These are just a few things that you should find out. Having
a Mystery Shopper shop your competition provides invaluable clues .
Don’t know where or how to start? Practical Solutions can help you search out the clues
that will tell you what your customers perceive as quality. You don’t need to search
alone. Call (360) 224-0097 or email me at

Congratulations! You Are A Business Owner!

It is 7:59 a.m. on Monday morning. Tick, tick, tick…closer and closer the hour hand on the

clock moves toward the opening of your business. Tick, tick…tick…B:00 am. It is officially

your first day in business. You are going to be a success! You unlock the front door,

turn the sign to Open, and can’t keep the big grin from overtaking your face.

• 9:00 a.m. The phone rings. You answer the phone with a smile. Wrong number.

• 10:00 a.m. You check to make sure you flipped the sign on the door to Open.

• 11:00 am. You check to make sure you have dial tone.

• 12:30 p.m. Your first customer appears! Yes! You made your first dollar.

• 2:00 p.m. You rearrange your display case.

• 5:00 p.m. You flip your sign on the door to Closed and sigh.

What went wrong? “Gasp”…what is tomorrow going to be like? How long will you be able to

afford to stay in business?

The hard part should be over, that of getting your business opened, right? Unfortunately,

the truth of the matter is that getting your business opened is the easiest part of the

whole venture. The hard part comes AFTER you open your doors for business.

There are so many things that now demand your attention. Running your business, ordering,

bookkeeping, meeting the requirements of the governmental agencies, and attracting

business…to name just a few.

Statistics show that 90% of all businesses fail within the first 5 years. Of those that

make it past the first 5 years, 90% will fail over the next 5 years. There are numerous reasons

that can cause a business to fold. One reason is due to a lack of planning.

What kind of planning should you do?

If you didn’t put together a business plan prior to opening your doors, it isn’t too late. A

business plan can be compared to a road map of where you want your company to go and

how you are going to get there. It will help you consider detours, road construction, and

other road blocks that might keep you from arriving successfully at your destination.

A marketing plan should be designed to map out when you will market, who you will market

to, how you will market, and where the money will come from to pay for the marketing.

A strategic plan should be in place for your first year of business. Written out in a weekly

and monthly manner to begin with will help you keep focused on where you want your business

to be at the end of your first year. Then longer term strategic plans should be put in

place as you move into your second year. Combining short-term and long-term strategic

plans will help keep your business organized in the short term and focused in the long term.

You don’t have to be an expert in all of the areas of your business to be successful. By

working with people who specialize in business administration, you can increase your

chances of success and save money by utilizing their skills.