Guide: Starting a Small Business in Massachusetts

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I should start a business!” Most people have, but very few actually take the required steps to establish a small business. If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur in the state of Massachusetts, here are a few of the first steps that you should take on your journey:

  1. Have a plan – You can’t jump into something like starting a business without a detailed plan. There are plenty of resources online that will help you create a business plan, whether you’re looking to do business online or start with a brick-and-mortar business.
  2. Get Assistance – If it’s your first time starting a business, the path ahead may seem muddled or confusing. Get help from someone that has done it before – they will help create a plan of action to get your business up and running.
  3. Register and Get a License – Depending on how you will be doing business, you will need the proper permits and licenses from the state of Massachusetts before you can open. This web page will help you understand what you will need, and how to obtain it. Some businesses will also be required to submit annual updates to the state.

If you’re looking for someone to help you on your journey, just let me know! I have aided many Massachusetts small business owners in their journey to success, and you may be able to benefit from my assistance. And also remember, Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is here to serve you in all of your commercial insurance needs.

Keep Your Bathroom Sparkling and New

We all want to keep our homes clean, and this is especially true of one room: the bathroom. It seems to, at times, be a haven for dirt and grime. Do you ever feel like no matter how much you scrub, your bathrooms get dirty again in a day or two? Here are a few cleaning tips that can help you keep your bathroom looking sparkling and new for more than just a few minutes at a time:

  • For hard to reach places, have a spare toothbrush dedicated to cleaning. Then you won’t have to worry about getting into nooks and crannies with the corner of a rag.
  • If you’re someone who would prefer to clean with natural products instead of harsher chemicals, don’t dismiss the power of a baking soda and vinegar paste – it can be used on tubs, showers, toilets, and more!
  • Cleaning is much easier in the bathroom if everything is organized and out of the way. Instead of piling everything on the countertops, hang shelving or a wall cabinet to hold your odds and ends. Keep everything in its place, and you won’t have to reorganize every time you want to wipe down.

Once your home is clean and fresh, make sure that it is fully protected with a home insurance or renters insurance policy from the Massachusetts insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to 617-298-0655 can get you the protection and confidence that you deserve. And if you combine your home and auto insurance, you can save money on both insurance policies – just call today for a free quote.

Befriending Your Homeowners Association

Some folks would rather not deal with a Homeowners Association in the first place. If you’re a very private person, you’re probably not likely to buy a suburban house or a condo. You’d probably prefer a ranch style home out in the mountains. If you like being where the action is, if you love your condo, if you like living in a neighborhood of green lawns and pretty houses, you’re going to have to learn how to get along with your HOA. Here are some tips:

Get A Great Insurance Policy

If you live out on your own land and a window breaks, you can go ahead and cover it with a sheet of plastic until you have time to fix it. If you’re part of a Homeowners Association, they’re going to want you to get it fixed ASAP. When talking with Vargas & Vargas Insurance, try to find an insurer that works quick to get you the money you need should something go wrong.

Fraternize!

The HOA’s in Dorchester, MA like it when you’re friendly. Ask them how it’s going when you see your neighbors walking around. Invite them to your barbecues. A few hours of socializing can help to ensure that they weigh in your favor any time there’s a problem.

Invest in Curb Appeal

Part of the appeal of condos is the uniform look from one home to the next, but once you’ve checked with your HOA guidelines, you shouldn’t hesitate to spruce the place up a bit. Your HOA wants nice looking homes to keep the property values up.

There are a lot of places to live in Dorchester, MA. A condo community with a HOA have a lot to offer, and a policy from Vargas & Vargas Insurance can keep you in their good graces.

“Run Your Week Like You Are Dancing On The Edge Of A..

Everything is NOT important, right?. I’ll even go one step further, everyone is not important. At least not as it relates to you and your business, and your life as a whole.

Our son, Matthew just stopped by to spend a few minutes with Kathy and I before he leaves for his honeymoon in the morning. Before Matthew left our home, he told me a story that gave me the idea for this Message – before Matthew left his branch at #EnterpriseRentACar tonight, he had a meeting with his assistants and support staff and advised them to take some risks this week. He said that he left them with this message;

“Run your week like you are dancing on the edge of a razor blade while trying not to get cut.”

As business owners, you need to take some risks, and it’s the little things that make a big difference. That’s true in marriage, parenting, and in marketing yourself as a mortgage, real estate, legal or any professional. In truth, it’s important in every business. Too often we get caught up in the “thick” of “thin things” and we lose touch with what really drives success in our business.

As we all know, being a loan officer, real estate agent, attorney, solopreneur, or business owner is not easy, BUT having the knowledge and tools to succeed makes running a smooth sailing ship an attainable goal. How many days have you been at the office until 8 pm? How many weekends have you worked when you shouldn’t have? Do you feel like you’ve been running around all day but have not actually done anything you set out to do in the morning? As business owners, these are questions we have all answered “yes” to at some point. But why? Because we don’t have the right mindset to create the job we want vs. the job we have.

In every profession, there are cardinal sins that take you off track and derail your success. Over the next few emails, I will be sharing the marketing sins many of us commit and will help you implement some tips to turn your downfalls into productivity! My challenge to you is to take one or two sins that you’re committing and focus on improving them. When you’ve got them nailed, move on to another sin and overcome it. Business success usually results from the commitment to making small incremental improvements over a long time.

Sin #1: Working “IN” Your Business Instead of “ON” Your Business!
I was working with a friend that I mentor who was in a sales slump. He was putting in a lot of time at work, but was not seeing any results from his efforts. I decided to perform a very simple diagnostic: I asked him to email me a detailed list of all his activities for the next three days and then give me a callback. He did his homework and I received the email listing all his activities and how much time he spent on them. With an immediate glance, I could tell exactly what his problem was — he didn’t realize what business he was in. After reviewing his activities, it was clear that he had become a “Fireman” and was too busy “putting out fires,” because that’s where he spent most of his time. Rather than working “on” his business, he was working “in” his business. The key here is to concentrate on the “non-urgent — but important” tasks and NOT on the “urgent — but not important” tasks.

This mortgage professional (and, maybe you) should be spending more time working “on” your business doing things like proactive sales and marketing activities, which have a higher long-term payoff.

How can less be more when it comes to working? Well, that statement is true, and I would love to show you how to accomplish twice the work in half the time, and reduce your stress in the process. The secret is Pareto’s Law, or the 80/20 Principle – a core foundation of success in business, and in life for that matter.

Now go out and enjoy the rest of your week!

Carlos

Tips for Buying a New Car in Massachusetts

Are you in the market for a new car? Massachusetts shoppers should know that buying a new car is exciting, but the process can be complicated and is sometimes stressful. In order to be prepared for your new car shopping experience, review these four car buying tips:

  • Just like going to the grocery store, you should never go to a car dealership on an empty stomach. Test driving and making a car purchase can be a lengthy process, and you don’t want your state of mind to be altered by hunger.
  • Pick the most opportune time to go shopping. You want to hit the dealership when they are looking to meet quotas – often around the end of the month. At that time, they are more likely to give you a great deal.
  • Before you even think about going to a dealership, know the market prices for the cars you’re interested in. You should also look into loan rates at your bank or credit union to know if what the dealership offers is good for you.
  • Monthly payment isn’t everything. Often, the dealership’s representative will talk to you in terms of your monthly payment. Make sure that you also ask about the loan term, interest rate, and total cost.

Also, don’t forget that insurance expenses are a part of car ownership in Massachusetts. If you would like to know an estimate of insurance costs based on the vehicle makes and models that you are considering, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655 – we will give you a Massachusetts car insurance quote so that you are better prepared for your shopping adventure.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Hurricane season is in full swing here in New England – are you prepared? One of the best ways to make sure that you and your family are ready in case of an emergency is with a family emergency plan. If you don’t have one, here are some things that you should think about and decide:

  • Designate one out-of-town family member or friend that each person in your family can contact if there is an emergency. This person will be in charge of making sure that everyone is safe and act as a liaison between family members if needed.
  • Every person in the family should know the out-of-town contact’s phone number, as well as one phone number for each member of the family. “It’s in my phone” doesn’t count – these numbers should be memorized so that they can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Designate two meeting places in case of an emergency. One should be local – somewhere within a few miles of your home. The other should be further away in case of a more widespread disaster. Also make sure family members know the location of the closest shelter in the area.
  • All family members should know the locations of family emergency kits – including those in the home and in vehicles. Make sure everyone knows what is in the kits and how each item should be used.

Make sure that you are doubly prepared by keeping the Vargas and Vargas Insurance numbers among your emergency contacts. By having our office number (617-298-0655) and our after-hours line (617-322-5289) with your other numbers, you will be sure that you are able to get a claim going right away on your home, auto, or flood insurance policy if you need to do so.

Massachusetts Traffic Safety Initiatives

 

We are all so lucky to live in the great state of Massachusetts. But I think there’s one other thing we can all agree on – traffic is sometimes (if not often) a mess. If you’ve ever encountered a traffic jam and thought you may never make it to your destination – fear not… you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are many traffic programs here in Massachusetts that are aimed at making the roads better for all drivers. Here are three examples of these traffic safety initiatives:

Click It or Ticket

Did you know that the national average for seatbelt use is 90%? However, Massachusetts has one of the worst seatbelt use cases – 78%. In order to raise the state’s seatbelt use to be closer to the national average, the Highway Safety Division has been using the Click It or Ticket campaign since 2002. It has worked wonders, and has greatly increased seatbelt use and the number of serious injuries and fatalities associated with vehicle accidents.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

In 2014, 40% of Massachusetts traffic deaths were a result of impaired driving. In order to lower the number of intoxicated drivers, Massachusetts began the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” education and enforcement campaign, targeted at men aged 21-34 – the most likely group to drink and drive.

Move Over Law

First responders and police officers are hurt and killed every year while providing aid in emergency situations. In 2009, the state of Massachusetts aimed to keep these people safe by implementing the “Move Over Law,” which requires drivers to move into the next available lane (or, if no other lane exists, to reduce their speed) when emergency vehicles or personnel are present.

For more traffic safety tips, make sure that you follow the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. We love to post articles that will help to keep you and your loved ones safe while out on the road. And the next time you’re looking for a fair and honest auto insurance review, call our agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you save money while ensuring that you and your vehicle are protected in case of an accident