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Arizona crowd funding bill signed into law

Posted By Mark Wahlstrom, Sequence Media Group, Wednesday, April 22, 2015


Arizona small businesses and entrepreneurs can now raise money from the general public through equity crowd funding after Gov. Doug Ducey signed the bill into law last week. House Bill 2591 allows companies to raise up to $2.5 million and non-accredited investors to give up to $10,000 each.

ASBA CEO Rick Murray, who authored the bill, says this will help avariety of small businesses.

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Tags:  arizona  asba  crowd funding bill  rick murray  small business 

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Voters will decide $30 billion Phoenix transportation plan

Posted By Mark Wahlstrom, Sequence Media Group, Wednesday, April 22, 2015


In August Phoenix voters will decide on a $30 billion-plus transportation plan funded in part by a sales tax increase of 0.70 percent  The increase would be in place from 2016 through 2050 to fund transportation.The city's current transit sales tax is 0.40 percent. Sapna Gupta, Senior Policy analyst at the Morrison Institute at ASU says the plan has good chance of passing.

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Tags:  arizona small business  asba  ASU  morrison institute  sapna gupta  transit taxphoenix 

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Overcoming Decision Deficit Disorder in the Sales Cycle

Posted By Mark Kirstein, Sandler Training by Mercury Professional Development, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Do your prospects have decision deficit disorder? Do you hear “think-it-over” more often than you hear “yes” or “no”? This often results from one of two causes, either:

1)     You or your sales people are not establishing an agreement with your prospect that he or she will make an active decision at the appropriate time.

2)     Or, you or your sales people have your own lack of decisiveness, and you naturally tolerate the same behavior from your prospects.

First let’s look at number 1. When you engage with a new prospect, you need to let them know what the sales process will look like. In Sandler-speak, an "up-front contract". A key element of the up-front contract is defining for your prospect some possible outcomes, and that at the appropriate time, they will have to decide: Yes or No. But no “Think it Over”. Early on, Yes may simply be to move to the next step of deciding whether to do business. Later, Yes will ultimately become a commitment to be a customer. And, No, is not a bad answer, compared to think it over. It’s just part of the qualification process.

Now for the second element of fighting “decision deficit disorder”. There is a very strong correlation between a salesperson’s own decision processes and what he will tolerate from his prospects;

Only decision makers can get people to make decisions.

If you find yourself constantly facing the dreaded “Think-it-over” take a look at how you make decisions and improve where necessary. Being a strong decision maker involves taking risk, being open to possible failure, and eliminating procrastination. Failure brings profound lessons, risk can be understood and used, and procrastination can be avoided. As you become more decisive, you will find that your prospects will “mysteriously” become more decisive too.

We all know think it over, is really a slow no. It wastes our time and money. Hold yourself and your prospects accountable for a decision and get the deal or close the file.

Mark Kirstein

CEO, Sandler Training by Mercury Professional Development

Blog entry adapted from a previous Sandler Training article                  




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The 3 Types of Decisions Leaders Make

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My first job out of college was as a computer programmer at an insurance company.

The head of the company, Irv, was an amazing guy. There were roughly 600 people in the company and Irv could tell you everyone’s name and something about them. I saw this repeatedly all of my co-workers witnessed the same thing.

I developed a deep respect and admiration for Irv. Clearly he made a deep impression on me. However, one thing in particular about Irv stood out.

One day he said that leaders make 3 types of decisions and that knowing when to use each one is a key to being a successful leader. The 3 types are:

  1. We Decide. We talk about as a group and then the group decides. This is your standard “majority rules” type of decision.
  2. We Discuss, I Decide. The leader asks for input and/or discussion. After hearing all the input, the leader makes the decision.
  3. I Decide. The leader simply makes the decision.

Even after all these years, I still find a lot of wisdom in this way of looking at decision-making. What do you think?

Bob Wilson is the owner of Gilbert, AZ-based Smartful Coaching. If you need help improving your leadership skills, contact Bob at (480) 710-0340 or to schedule your Free Consult. 

Content @2015 Smartful Coaching All Rights Reserved

Tags:  decision-making  good decisions  good leadership  how to lead others  how to lead people  making good decisions 

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5 Things You Need to Know Before You Name Beneficiaries

Posted By Amie Mendoza, The Law Offices of Amie Mendoza, Tuesday, April 21, 2015

5 Things  

I was fortunate enough to spend some time in Hawaii last week, catching up with family that I had not seen in years. As I went through my week, I noticed how wonderful it felt to see this extended family outside of the traditional events that cause us to gather together – weddings and funerals. I need to spend more time on staying in touch with these wonderful people outside of organized reunions.

Keeping an eye on your estate plan and named beneficiaries is also something you should think about more often than a wedding and funeral.

Once you have chosen the people you want to receive any of your assets — either from a will, a trust, a life insurance policy or a retirement or bank account — the way you designate how they will inherit should be a key consideration.

Here are five things you need to know before you name your beneficiaries:

1.  Beneficiaries of a will have to wait.  Any assets you bequeath to a beneficiary via a traditional will have to wait for their money or property until the probate process has been completed.  In some cases, this can take many months or even years — and if the estate is complex, the legal fees can deplete that inheritance.  If you want to make it easier for your beneficiaries, consider creating a Revocable Living Trust as part of your estate plan.  A trust does not go through probate; upon your death, the successor trustee distributes the assets to your beneficiaries.

2.  Retirement plan and life insurance policy benefits are paid directly.  The assets in a life insurance policy or retirement plan are not subject to probate and pass to your beneficiaries directly.  Your beneficiaries will receive these assets after providing the account owner’s proof of death and a proof of identity for the beneficiary.  Naming contingent beneficiaries is important; if the primary beneficiary predeceases you, the assets will likely go into your estate and will be subject to taxes.

3.  Minor children should not inherit directly.  Naming a minor child as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy or other assets is never recommended.  If you fail to name a guardian, the state could take over the assets and name someone to manage those assets on the child’s behalf.  This can result in additional expenses that would eat into that inheritance, and those assets may not be managed according to your wishes.  Instead, the wise move is to create a trust to hold these assets for the benefit of a minor child and name a successor trustee to oversee the management and distribution of the funds in a way that complies with your wishes.

4.  Give careful consideration to naming retirement plan beneficiaries.  Studies have shown that most beneficiaries of a retirement plan take the cash immediately, which may not be your intention.  Naming your estate as beneficiary of a retirement plan is also not recommended since doing so would not allow your spouse or younger beneficiary to take advantage of an IRA rollover or the “stretch” IRA option that could allow your IRA to grow tax-deferred over many years.

5.  If there are multiple beneficiaries, name them.  If there are multiple beneficiaries for an insurance policy or retirement plan, don’t make the mistake of just naming one person — say, the oldest child — and assuming they will make the proper distributions.   Instead, designate a separate share for each beneficiary.  If one of your beneficiaries has special needs, create a trust for their share so any inherited assets don’t disqualify them from important government benefits.

One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like yours plan for the safe, successful transfer of wealth to the next generation.  Call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a Family Legacy Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.


Tags:  beneficiary  estate planning  family 

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The Deadly Cost Of Procrastination

Posted By Jason Trujillo, Woodbury Financial, Monday, April 20, 2015

The Deadly Cost Of Procrastination by Steve Parrish.

Article appeared on 4/15/2015 on

Click here to read original article.

I’d procrastinate, if I could just get around to it. In fact, I signed up for Procrastinators Anonymous, but they haven’t set a meeting date yet.  As procrastinators say, “Better late, than never!”

Ok, so enough with the one-liners about putting things off. It’s fun to kid around about how people drag their feet, but procrastination is no laughing matter. So often, we associate delay with mere lost opportunities and increased inconvenience. But in some cases, procrastination can lead to irreversible problems – it can be deadly. And what’s deadly to us personally can wreak havoc with our businesses.  If we are on top of things at work, but drop the ball at home, our personal failures can cost time and treasure; ultimately foiling our business plan.

I noticed this problem with procrastination in three recent legal cases. All three cases deal with a similar issue. A couple gets divorced. One of these individuals has life insurance, but has not yet done anything about changing the beneficiary designation. The insured dies. In all three cases, a court is forced to decide who receives the death proceeds, and in each case, there is a different outcome. Consider how these personal problems might affect a business owner: cost, litigation, bad press. 

The ex-wife wins  

In the 2014 case of West Coast Life Insurance Company v. Glenda Clarke, the divorced spouse received the life insurance proceeds. Jeffrey Clark had purchased insurance on his life when they were still married, and had named his wife the beneficiary. When the parties subsequently divorced, Jeffrey completed paperwork to change the beneficiary to his sister. But the paperwork was not submitted to the insurance company until after Jeffrey died. The court decided that, per the contractual provisions of the life insurance contract, the original beneficiary, the ex-wife, was entitled to receive the policy’s death benefit.

But not always 

In the same year, a different court disinherited an ex-spouse. In Rice v. Webb, Brenda and Dale had dissolved their marriage and, in the property settlement, agreed to relinquish their rights to each other’s life insurance policies. Dale died shortly thereafter. At the time of his death, Dale owned two life insurance policies, with Brenda still listed as the primary beneficiary on both policies. The court interpreted the property settlement agreement to require Brenda to relinquish her claim to the policies.  Even though she was the stated beneficiary, she wasn’t able to collect on the insurance.

Sometimes neither spouse gets the proceeds

A case decided just weeks ago, Evanisa S. Fox v. Lincoln Financial Group and Mary Ellen Scarpone, has a number of twists and turns. The basic timeline is that Michael purchased insurance on his life and named his then-wife, Gail, the beneficiary.  Michael and Gail subsequently divorced, and Michael named his sister, Mary Ellen, the sole beneficiary. In July 2012, Michael married Evanisa, a Brazilian national.  As part of sponsoring Evanisa’s petition for citizenship, Michael agreed to support his wife at a minimum of 125 percent of the poverty level. However, this support obligation expressly terminated upon Michael’s death.

Later that year, Michael died and both his sister and new wife filed for the death proceeds of the life insurance. Michael had never changed the beneficiary from his sister being beneficiary, but Evanisa claimed the proceeds because she was his wife and because he was obligated to support her. The court held that there was no presumptive right for a new spouse to receive benefits from a deceased spouse’s life insurance policy. Further, nothing related to Michael’s sponsorship of her for citizenship left him with a legal obligation to support her after death. The sister, who was the named beneficiary of the policy, prevailed.

We’ll never know what these three men intended regarding the disposition of the death benefits in their life insurance policies. The likelihood, however, is that in all three cases, procrastination was involved. Further, because foot dragging led to ambiguous legal rights, all three cases ended up in litigation. Expensive, time consuming litigation.

The lesson for business owners is that a simple delay, a minor misstep, an unfulfilled detail – any of these can lead to unforeseen consequences. Life doesn’t always allow “do-overs”. Procrastination doesn’t seem so funny now. 

Tags:  bad press  beneficiary  business owner  death benefit  Evanisa S. Fox v. Lincoln Financial Group and Mary  life insurance  litigation  Principal Financial Group  procrastination  Rice v. Webb  Steve Parrish  West Coast Life Insurance Company v. Glenda Clarke 

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When Everything's Important - Nothing's Important

Posted By Les Taylor, Outperformers International, Monday, April 20, 2015
When we haven’t clearly identified what’s most important, everything seems important. This is why, in my view, people are so frustrated with their lack of success in managing their performance and productivity. Instead of taking the time to identify the real priorities of life in general, or the priorities of day in particular, everything takes on the same level of importance. When everything’s important – nothing’s important.

We live in an interesting time. Remember when the prognosticators in the 1980s were all predicting a paperless existence by the end of the 20th century? They were saying, because of the advancements in technology, specifically personal computing, we’d soon live in a paperless world and only work 32 hours a week. How’s that working out so far?

Here is the first step you can take to make sure you’re focused and on-track with those things that matter most. The key is to be very clear on what we want. I recommend writing, yes, “writing,” a S.M.A.R.T. vision statement for what you want to achieve – a statement that’s Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Bound. Without this kind of specificity, your vision is nothing more than a wish or a dream. And without specificity, your vision has no power.

Take a moment right now and write a specific vision statement for what you want to accomplish before the end of the day. Don’t get crazy. Just identify one important thing to finish today. Then, carve out time on your calendar to make it happen. Choose that one thing carefully - then schedule time in your calendar to get it done.

Repeat that process throughout the week and watch your performance and productivity greatly improve.

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  Performance Improvement  Setting Priotities  Vision Casting 

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Darth Vader’s dirty little secrets not-so-secret about stress – Day 20

Posted By Carine Dieude, Biostress Imagery LLC, Monday, April 20, 2015

April is Stress Awareness Month, and IT IS TIME for you to DEAL WITH your stress. Have you been seduced by the dark side of its force, pushing and pushing your way through deadlines and demands? Learn to recognize the prices you are paying for it and how to positively cope with stress, helping yourself live better.

Throughout April, I will share a daily dirty little secret about stress and a tip to banish it.

Day 20:                                  

How often are you requesting assistance from colleagues or friends? Many people fear requesting help as it is often seen as a deficiency in our ultra competitive world.  However stalling can let any situation grow from a problem to a crisis.

Tip of the day:

In a society based on helping yourself (just look at the self-help section in any library) it may seem odd to say you need to learn better ways to ask and receive assistance. However, stress is created when there is a gap between the demands we perceived is made upon us and our abilities to meet these demands. Getting assistance will shine a new light on your subconscious automatic stress response, shedding away a lot of its power as you come to see the real outcome.


May the Force be with you!


Author: Carine Dieudé, C.Ht., 2014 Top 30 CureJoy Health Experts, Biostress Imagery LLC


PS: If you’ve missed the previous segments, click on the links below


Day 1                          Day 7                          Day 13                       Day 19                      

Day 2                          Day 8                          Day 14

Day 3                          Day 9                          Day 15

Day 4                          Day 10                       Day 16

Day 5                          Day 11                       Day 17

Day 6                          Day 12                       Day 18

 Attached Thumbnails:

Tags:  entrepreneur  professional development  small business  stress management 

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Arizona small businesses hope for tax reform

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Friday, April 17, 2015

You may be relieved that April 15 is over, but the fight for tax reform is just beginning. Small businesses are banding together to make taxes - and tax season - less burdensome.  (04/16/2015)

Tags:  small business  tax reform  taxes 

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The Third Option

Posted By Bob Wilson, Bob Wilson Solutions, Friday, April 17, 2015

I often talk with clients and friends about what I call The Third Option.

When faced with choices in life, we often only see two options. A simple example is a job that you don’t enjoy. It’s easy to think your only options are to put up with it or quit. But start start looking for the third option and you may come up with things like:

  • Take a class to better cope with the stress or improve in some area of your job
  • Ask to go part-time
  • Create a plan to re-structure your job and pitch the idea to your boss
  • Transfer to another department

There is almost always a third option and often a fourth, fifth, etc.

Whenever I don’t like the choices in front me, I look for The Third Option.

Looking for The Third Option is simple and forces me to think creatively. Two things I like a lot. Once I tell myself there must be a third option, my brain goes to work to find it.

Sometimes answers come on a subconscious level. I can be doing something totally different and a third option pops into my head. Many times it ends up being the option I pursue.

Look for The Third Option and let let me know what you find.

Bob Wilson is the owner of Gilbert, AZ-based Smartful Coaching. If you need help finding additional options, contact Bob at (480) 710-0340 or to schedule your Free Consult. 

Content @2015 Smartful Coaching All Rights Reserved

Tags:  better options  binary thinking  choices  creativity  improve decision-making  make better choices  make better decisions  The Third Option 

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