The More Things Change

I took my summer vacation early this year, and it was a Roman Holiday, minus Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. I started with a night in Milan. Then I took the train down the Italian coast for a few days in Cinque Terre, which is a delightful collection of seaside villages hugging the Mediterranean. Finally, I took another train to Rome. (Leaving Rome was especially hard because it meant a series of three flights to Las Vegas for a speaking engagement. Ugh.)

I think my favorite part of Rome was the afternoon I spent touring the ancient ruins. I started at the Colosseum, then made my way through the various arches, palaces, and temples of the Roman Forum. (A funny thing happened on the way…) Read more…

The Magic Solution to All Your Problems

Yesterday, Keith and I hosted our regular Wednesday Marketing and Management call for a group of about 80 members. It was a larger-than-usual call, with a big group of brand-new members on their very first call. (Welcome to the TaxCoach community!)

As usual, the call featured a lively discussion of both marketing and management topics. Several members had questions about handling problem clients. These included a real estate agent just now getting around to filing three years of taxes, who can benefit from an S corporation, but might not be disciplined enough to manage the paperwork properly. We also discussed a client who insists on bickering over fees after agreeing to pay a member a higher fee than they had paid their last tax professional. Read more…

Tax Strategies for Bank Robbers

Keith and I dreamed up TaxCoach one afternoon over lunch at Tellers restaurant in Cincinnati’s Hyde Park Square. So it’s fitting that our current offices are just down the street from that restaurant, across from a bank and a funeral home (which would be even more appropriate if we offered an estate-planning tool).

Yesterday morning, three spirited youngsters robbed that bank across the street. They took off in a stolen SUV just as a red dye pack exploded in the cash. At that point, our enterprising-but-apparently-underemployed youths panicked and threw the money out the window, scattering the cash up and down snow-covered Erie Avenue. Read more…

You’re Not Burger King

Take a walk with me down memory lane, and tell me if you can recognize which advertiser infused the airwaves with this catchy jingle:

“Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce

Special orders don’t upset us

All we ask is that you let us serve it your way”

The answer, of course, is Burger King. For years, they relied on their slogan, “Have it Your Way,” to stand apart from industry leader McDonalds. And there’s no doubt they were different. (When I was a kid, I hated the pickles, onions, and mustard McDonalds slapped on their burgers, and I grumbled at having to wait for them to make my burger plain. Now I’m a grownup and I don’t have time to waste on special orders, so on the rare occasions when I eat there, I get a regular burger, take off the top bun, and use a french fry to scrape off the offending vegetables.) Read more…

Marketing Lessons from the Mall

Sunday afternoon, my daughter Mary Claire came to me with a broken pair of glasses. Apparently her three-year-old brother had mistaken them for a chair, with the result that the earpiece had broken off the frame.

I drove over to LensCrafters, where we had bought the glasses, confident that they could solder the earpiece back to the frame and that would be that. But the clerk at LensCrafters said no, it wasn’t something they could do. She suggested I try a place called “Fix-It-Quick,” which occupied a kiosk at the nearby Eastgate Mall. If “Fix-It-Quick” couldn’t fix it, I could replace the entire frame (if they still sold that style) or I could replace the glasses entirely. Read more…

What Business Do You Want to Be In?

You would think that it’s pretty hard to open a business without knowing what business you’re in. It’s easy to imagine what the race looks like when you’re just heading out the gate. But what happens down the road when things like technology, the economy, or consumer demands change? What happens when you change, and get tired of the business you’re in?

April 15 has come and gone, and we’re bidding farewell to another tax season. For some of you, it’s no big deal. For others, it’s a time of great relief, like finishing a marathon. Read more…

The $500,000 Man

There are certain times of year when you just don’t expect people to be available. Take Santa Claus, for example. The week before Christmas, he’s busy. Don’t expect him to return your calls or emails.

For most of us, this is that time of year. But even the busiest tax season can be full of success stories. So here are some comments from the last few Wednesday Marketing and Management Calls. Remember, success stories are never off-topic! Read more…