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'Take Aways' from The Super Bowl

BEFORE WE MOVE COMPLETELY out of football season, there are some "take Aways" to consider. 

Smart people will try and protect their business as if it's a "Peyton Manning" and they'll want to have three "players" in place to protect him.

So says Sean Castrina, author of 9 Unbreakable Rules for Business Start-up Success, who claims if you want Super Bowl-level success for your business, you should put together an offensive line that can provide your business the same level of protection as champions expect.

So where should you start when putting together an offensive line to protect your business? Castrina recommends first filling three important positions on your business roster: 

Left Tackle-Your Accountant. The left tackle position was made famous in the movie The Blind Side. The tackle positions are on the ends of the line protecting the quarterback from opposing players coming from the outside. Specifically, the left tackle protects the quarterback's blind side.

"Business owners, your accountant is your left tackle," says Castrina. "Your accountant keeps you from having a year-end tax bill that could cripple your company. Your accountant will ensure you're following all tax laws, protecting you from unexpected legal issues. An alert accountant will be up-front with you about cash flow and cash reserve issues, making sure your company has the cash 'energy' to play through any change in momentum for your business."

Center-Your Bookkeeper. The center initiates each play by delivering the ball to the quarterback. No football team fills their center position by choosing the first guy to walk in off the street. They need someone who can pay attention to details, whose nerves aren't easily rattled, and who can act with precision. And that's what you need in your bookkeeper. Just because there are For Dummies(r) books out there on bookkeeping doesn't mean that you, your spouse, or your inexperienced friend should handle this task.
"In fact, you're a dummy if you think someone can learn bookkeeping from a how-to book at the level you'll need to meet your goal of having a million-dollar company," says Castrina. "Too often business owners have no idea how much is owed to them in receivables because their books are not current. And you can't initiate any growth strategies when you don't have a clear understanding of the state of your affairs and current resources."

Guard-Your Banker. The guard position protects the quarterback from obvious threats. He's the player determined to run straight ahead and in clear view, often just an arm's length away from his quarterback.

"Your banker should be your guard fortifying your line of protection," says Castrina. "Cash and lines of credit should be close to you at all times. These protect you from the obvious problems of not being able to pay vendors on time as well as providing credit for large capital purchases that score touchdowns and put points (cash and profit) on your scoreboard. You should have constant face-to-face contact with your bank, so that whenever needed, they can deliver the resources you need to win the game."

          "When you don't protect your business with a strong offensive line, it will take hit after hit after hit," says Castrina. "Those hits deplete profits and tax your energy. Rather than running fully energized into each quarter, your business will limp and drag until eventually it can't play anymore. A strong offensive line-accountant, bookkeeper, and banker-can protect your business from damaging blows and ensure you reach Super Bowl levels of success each year."
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