Have Busy Hands, Not a Busy Body

I suppose I never really gave gossiping much thought before I became saved. In the world, it’s an acceptable thing to do. Everyone does it so therefore it’s ok. But, much like everything else that goes on in the secular world, once a person is born again, none of what the world does and considers to be normal is acceptable in the eyes of God. When you become in fellowship with Him, you can just feel His eyes as they go to and fro upon the earth to see who is righteous and just before Him. If you truly love Him, you live to please Him and you are transformed into a new being. The old ways just aren’t acceptable anymore, not to God and not to yourself. The Holy Spirit becomes your guide and will let you know when you aren’t pleasing God by the things your are doing or saying. You can’t hide from Him.

I am a fortuneate person because I grew up in a Chrisitian home. Both my parents lived godly lives and they projected this way of life into me. Gossip was never made popular in our home. But as I got older and went out in the world on my own, I didn’t practice all these values in my own life. I just never gave it much thought. I suppose I was made to feel regret later for things I had said, and all that did was destroy trust from others. I often wondered why some people got away with gossip and I never could? The truth is, no one gets away with it forever. God will always reveal this stuff to people so they might come to repentance and confess Christ. He will leave us exposed and looking pretty foolish. I myself got tired of looking like that fool. Because of my human weaknesses I remained in the dark about the right way to be living. I got tired of feeling ashamed for things I had done that I never meant to do. But, you can’t deny the things you get caught in doing and you can’t explain your way out of them. You just hope that you will be forgiven. I finally learned that I first needed forgiveness through Christ so that I could forgive myself for the things I had said and done to hurt others in order to expect them to forgive me.

Now that I’m a different person in Christ I dare not say things about people. Repeating things that are said to me just aren’t tantilizing anymore. I have learned that silence speaks louder than words. It’s a wonderful feeling to know that within me I hold the confidence of someone else. I never feel the guilt or worry that they would ever find out that I repeated something that was not intended to be repeated. Gossip does no more than create problems and negativity to those who come in contact with it. This is not Christ-like living. So why do people who call themselves Christian participate in it? It’s my guess that 1.) Either they aren’t really a Christian or 2.) They don’t know God’s Word very well. Both of which are a real problem.

Some people will justify their Christianity by saying they go to church. As the saying goes; you can sit in a garage forever and that still won’t make you a car! Then on the other hand, if you truly are a Christian who attends church and aren’t living a Christian life then you are in disobedience to the Lord and have no excuse for your behavior. Jesus talks about the dangers of a Christian who knowingly causes someone else to stumble and fall into sin. (Matt. 18:6) God will hold us all accountable one day. To which we can’t offer Him excuses.

The Bible says a lot about the problems that gossiping will cause. I find that people who love talking about others are generally bored. They aren’t keeping busy. This doesn’t mean keeping busy in other people’s affairs. God calls us to serve and serving involves using our hands. If we do serve with our mouths, we should be speaking words of God’s love and truth. This is not gossip, it’s edification. There’s a big difference. Gossip tears people down, God’s Word builds them up.

The apostle Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica and commended them for their Christian beliefs even during persecution. He wrote mainly on the subject of Christ’s return and how they should be prepared in this event. It still holds true today. We should always strive to be ready for Christ’s return. In first Thessalonians Paul writes about the way Christians should be living.

“Furthermore, Brethren, we beg and admonish you in [virtue of our union with] the Lord Jesus, that you (follow the instructions which) you learned from us about how you ought to walk so as to please and gratify God, as indeed you are doing, [and] that you do so even more and more abundantly [attaining yet greater perfection in living this life].” 1 Thes. 4:1 (Amplified)

Walking as a Christian simply means to submit to Christ and let Him lead you into all righteousness. The only way we can do this to pay attention to what teachers and pastors are telling us. It’s for our own good. It’s not meant to go in one ear and out the other, it’s to be heard and done…every day. Virtue is our goal. Gossiping is not virtuous. Paul knew this and that is why he warns us not to do it.

Here is what Paul says about not gossiping;

“To make it your ambition and definitely endeavor to live quietly and peacefully, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.” 1 Thes. 4:11

It’s not just a suggestion, it’s valuable life sustaining information for Christian living. We must make it our main ambition to live quietly, which is not talking about others. In other words, mind our own business. If no one can point a finger at us, our lives will be that much more peaceful. By keeping our hands busy in doing things that honor God, that will keep us from being busy bodies and poking our noses where they don’t belong. Then we won’t have to worry about who said what about whom. We can stop this fire of the tongue before it ever ignites.

If you find yourself talking about others, ask God to guard your mouth from saying anything that shouldn’t be said. If you hear gossip simply turn and walk away. Don’t play into the whiles of the devil. Stop and consider how you feel when people are talking about you behind your back. Take your concerns to God, only He can solve the problem. Take action in allowing Him to keep you from creating the problem. If we feel the need to talk, let’s talk about God. Only good can come of it.

Only after talking to God about people are we ready to talk to people about God?

Proper Marketing Strategy Is Crucial to Build the Brand Name for the Business

Gone are those days when there were not enough promotional products available online to promote your business. But now with improvement of technology and the power of social media marketing, we have copious numbers of options to promote the name of the business firms. The social networking websites like that of the Facebook and Orkut are of immense help to the people as they help to promote the name apart from the basic function of creating contacts and keeping in touch with friends. In contemporary times we get to see that the need for promotion of the business enterprise is very essential in order to make sure that the business is carried on properly.

The need of the hour is that a proper and strategic plan is essential in order to promote the business venture. One of the ways to do it is by creating a social media marketing policy. This will help to make sure that the name and the principal of the business enterprise will get promoted through the social networks like the Facebook, Twitter etc. But it must be remembered that each business needs to be handled differently as not all business bodies are identical. Each demands different treatment. A positive coordination and strategy is required in order to make sure that the business functions properly. So there are many options in the cyber space that can actually help in this regard. There are many aspects that can actually help you in the purpose of the social media marketing. To ensure the maximum traffic and more demand for your website you need to be smart and strategize well and make sure that the website of your company is top ranked in the search engine. And in the process of enhancing the traffic proper social media marketing is required, followed by the process of optimization which is very essential in creating the brand name and the much needed popularity of the company in the cyber space.

One of the ways to do it is by using the social networks like the Facebook and the Twitter. It is always advisable that you open a personal page for this respect as it helps to make sure that the business gets the ultimate promotion. But do keep in mind that you need to fill up all the necessary info and data in the form that can be highly useful for the purpose of social media marketing. So get smart and create a Facebook page by the name of your business and gather much needed traffic for your website.

Do You Know What Your Body Shop Business Is Worth?

Many smaller body shop owners have asked, “How do I appraise my body shop?” In the last month I have been asked to do two appraisals on body shops. The first appraisal was to assist in partnership dissolution; the second appraisal was for marriage dissolution. (That is what the attorneys call a divorce.) Would you like to know how to appraise the value of a body shop business?

Before we begin, I would like to make one comment. Whenever a CPA has done an appraisal of a body shop, I find that their opinion of value is much greater than the actual value the market place will pay. This is not because the CPA’s do not know what they are doing because they do; it is just that the market place places a much higher risk on buying a body shop than the accountants do. The following is an excerpt from one of those appraisals.

THE THREE WAYS TO APPRAISE A BUSINESS

1. The ASSET VALUATION METHOD. This method is basically used when a body shop does less than $400,000 a year in gross income and the seller is making wages, but no real profit above what he would be paid if working for another. On this size business, a buyer is willing to pay for the assets of the business but little or nothing for goodwill. The equipment is usually worth between $50,000 and $100,000, depending on how many frame machines the business owns and how nice a spray booth the business owns.

I have seen some specialized shops sell for more than the above number because they have a truck spray booth or another business attached to the main business. Examples of attached business might be an auto repair shop or towing operation. Also the location, size and real estate rental amount will influence the value of any business, to some degree.

2. The second method, I call the GROSS SALES METHOD. This is used when the sales are over $1,000,000 a year but the profit is unknown or financials are not available or reliable. Because of experience, a Body shop buyer can make reasonable estimates of future profits, if they have some basic information. The basic information includes rent, source of business (DRP, STREET, or a CAR RENTAL AGENCY), and the desirability of the location.

When this method is used, the value appears to be about 3 months sales or 25% of the last 12 months sales. This method is not very reliable on businesses with sales of less than $1,000,000, because the question of being profitable is very questionable. Why is this breaking point $1,000,000 in annual sales? Multi-store buyers will have well paid managers, so many figure their breakeven point is around a million.

Less than $1,000,000 in sales is not even worth their time. Of course we know that there are exceptions to the rules. Some of the exceptions are A. when a new location will be a satellite store to a bigger location. B. The buyer must have a location in a specific area to please a DRP. C. To get rid of a competitor.

3. The third and most used method of evaluating any business, including body shops, is the NET PROFIT METHOD. This method is based on the idea that a business is worth what it generates, in profit and benefits, for an owner. Body shops, like so many other small businesses, often do not show a profit, at the end of the year. Strange, how so many businesses of different sizes all just happen to end up with little or no profit. What I find really amazing is that the IRS doesn’t audit more businesses then they currently do.

As a result of showing poor profits, on the books, it becomes very difficult to use the NET PROFIT METHOD for appraising many small businesses. Luckily for me, I can quite often find hidden profits, of a business, by adding to the books, items we call owner’s benefits. These include: Owners salaries, if a corporation. Personal autos and all the related expenses used by the owner and his family that are written off against the business, fife insurance and health insurance for the owners.

Depreciation is also a hidden profit that is usually added back in to the taxable profit to help build up the total owners benefits. And lastly, personal utilities, phones, trips, etc. that are deducted on the tax return but are not really costs to run the business.

After saying all this, what is the value of a business based on the Net Profit Method? Automotive businesses, especially auto body shops appear to sell for between 1.5 to 2 years adjusted profit (book profit plus owners benefits added back in). Larger body shops doing over $2,000,000 in annual sales may sell for much more, because the owner is making much more money, than just his salary and a buyer will consider part of the profit a return on his financial investment.

Very large body shops that are being bought by public corporations are evaluated primarily on their return on investment (Percentage profit that is being made on the cash purchase price of the business.) These big buyers can afford to pay between 5 times and 10 times annual net profit, after deducting all officers’ salaries and perks.

Often these, public corporations, high purchase prices include two important restrictions, which is really why they are buying the business in the first place. First: The business is bought for little or no real money. They use restricted corporate stock that is not negotiable for two years. And second: The management is required to stay and run the company for some period of years.

The bottom-line, as I see it, is that you sold your soul, not your business. One last comment on selling to large corporations; heaven help the seller who sells his business for corporate stock or the buyers bonds and the buying company goes broke or the stock market crashes. I had a close friend sell his company for mostly cash and some seller carry back financing in Dec 1997. By Feb 1998 the buying company was in bankruptcy, making the paper my friend held worthless.

CONCLUSION: Appraising a business, especially body shops, is an art not a science. No two people will appraise the value of a business the same. I am amazed that the same thing one buyer thinks is a great asset is what another buyer thinks is a major negative. Differences of opinion are what make life interesting.