The One Thing That’s Certain

Every now and then, I get a chance to be human. I received an orange notification in my mailbox the other day addressed to my business. Turns out, it had been in the mailbox for four days….no, really, this get even better!


I called the post office to see if they still have it and learned they hold them for 15 days. I signed the notice and gave it to someone to pick up for me. My schedule does not fit into the opening hours of the local post office. Somewhere between the post office and returning it to me, the letter disappeared. Ok, now this is getting weird. What is this strange piece of paper related too? My instincts go into high alert, this is bad news for sure! I have a seventh sense for these things.

People just don’t send enough certified letters from the County office with refunds of overpayments or long=lost relatives leaving monies and interest anymore, now do they? Rhetorical question, I know. Anyway, I decide to call to see if I could find out just who sent me the letter and to see what I could do for them.

Turns out, it was not the business license department, so I nervously asked the lady (she wouldn’t give me her name) on the other end to transfer me to business tax office. The red flags are flying like I’m coming in for a landing!

Once transfered, the lady was very polite. She gave her name and after a few minutes of research said, “Yes, it was from this office…” That pounding in my ear almost made her inaudible. All I wanted to know is how much do I owe.

In 2014, I received two personal property tax bills for $2 and change for my business. I paid them. I did the same in 2015, and 2016…or so I thought. Evidently, those years were the years I only received one bill for the city of Chattanooga taxes. Obviously, the county had been generating the same type of bills yet I’ve no record of receiving them since 2014. What was once a $2.98 tax bill is now worth $194.32. Good gooley, moogley!
I’m telling you this because just as the county’s web site states…failure to receive the notice does not negate the fact that you owe the taxes. Lesson learned and the way I can justify the cost is by sharing it with all of you. That way the cost of the lesson is reduced by the number of people this post will educate. I’ll call this a ROI of the $194.32.
So, pay your taxes whether you know you owe them or not. There are only two certain things in life, Death and Taxes…I was just bitten by one of them and it was unexpected and not nice at all!
By educating  you, you are actually helping me to feel better about my mistake. Together we are turning a negative into a positive! So I only need 2,217 to learn from my experiences. By sharing this, you are helping me. Thank you and you are welcomed. 

Reality Check for the Type A Types

I made a horrible mistake! I am usually a very thorough top performer, but I relied on technology much too much and it failed me…horribly! Truth is…I never realized it failed me until it was too late to recover from the failure. That was so embarrassing. It was totally my fault. There was not one other person I could blame. I totally dropped the ball!

And, boy…did it drop with a thud that could be heard around the world!!  How many times have we admitted total, unadulterated, complete, and utter failure? Not once, but layers upon layers, upon layers of failure.  What a horrible feeling! How do we recover? The incident plays like our favorite song on rewind in our mind.


I did not do the work. I did not meet the deadline. I did not please the customers Woe is me. My performance for this one day was not what it has been for the other 364 days of my work year. I did not pass “GO”, I must go straight to Failures Jail. The $200 goes back into the bankers’  drawer. Every now and then, I’m reminded of my “humanness.” If that isn’t a word, it should be.

That is when I cannot do anything right. Usually, it is starts with a build, one thing goes wrong, then another, then another then another, then another and so on…until I discover I’ve not been doing things right for several weeks or sometimes months! It is humbling, Earth shattering, and makes you see just how stupid you can be on some of the most simplest things.

Like everyone else, I pull out the balloons, streamers of tears and send the invitation for a pity party to the guest of one. That lasts right up until I get a reality check. God gives me a sign that someone is doing so much worse than I am and they are totally grateful and appreciative.  The balloons are popped. The tears are dried. I pull up the big girl undies. Dust off my “S” and get back in the game. If they can fight cancer head on, if they can start a benefit after losing a child; if they can go through soul shaking tragedy and spin it into something positive, I don’t get to cry over a mistake I made at the office and neither do you.

The pity party is over and we are to keep it real. We may go there, but by no means can we stay there. Chin up, soldier…we are gathered here in this game called Life!

Are You Networking The Right Way?

You have just received an invitation to a small business networking event. You scan the invite list to see who is coming. Hmmm…yep, there’s a few business owners who can become future collaborators, so you RSVP that you are attending.

Wait a minute…what if there was no one there for you to do business with? Would you still attend? Most people only use networking as a tool for meeting people who can benefit them. However, consider taking your networking experience a bit further by gaining a new perspective, or testing a new idea, or even having a new experience.

Networking can add to your net worth and by using it properly it can expand your mind and create a better you. So, the next time you receive an invitation to a small business networking event instead of scanning the list, scan the crowd by being open to meeting new and interesting business owners.  Happy Networking!

Are You Reacting Or Are You Responding?

Extrovert people tend to raise their voice, throw things and try to be heard when they are frustrated. The effects of their behavior can be seen in the strained relationships around them. Most of them are not bad people, they just haven't been taught how to communicate effectively in order to be heard.


When responding to someone in a relationship that matters (i.e., job, spouse, children, parents, friends) what if you take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I reacting with emotions?” “Or, am I responding to be heard?”


If you are reacting, you can easily say and do anything without thinking about it. But, if your goal is simply to be heard, you carefully choose the words, tone and actions in order to optimize the response. You are a winner and you seek to help the other person to win, as well. There are no losers in a conversation that matters.


It is hard to be heard when you are shouting…sounds crazy, huh….but your emotions can overshadow your words.


This week…strive to respond more and react less. Self control is key. Only you can control you!



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LSMB 21-Day Challenge

Are you ready to make small changes that have HUGE impact in taking you where you want to go in your life?

Below are 21 Days of small changes you can make to improve your life and your way of thinking. Be the main part of your own rescue!

Each day apply the next step in consecutive order (i.e., Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.) THEN posted before you begin the next day’s step Go to  the LSMB Business Solutions Facebook Page  and post the Day of the Challenge you completed. 

This is your accountability step so don’t skip it…it is a very important part of your growth. Stay committed and get a partner, if needed.

For example: “I just complete Day #5 of the LSMB 21 Day Challenge!”

*CLICK ON THE “LSMB ON FACEBOOK” link to go to the Facebook page

21-Day Challenge
Day 1 Find a Mentor

( has mentors for business owners)

Day 8 Subscribe to to learn a new word a day


Day 15 Do one thing you’ve been putting off
Day 2 Pick a Book to Read Day 9 Call someone you haven’t called in a while and say “hello.” Day 16 Create a Bucket List
Day 3 Set time 20 minutes earlier Day 10 Look up a way to volunteer Day 17 Say one empowering thing to a young person
Day 4 Bless a stranger Day 11 Learn 3 words in a different language


Day 18 Do one thing that makes you feel uncomfortable, but it makes you grow
Day 5 Take a picture of your Happy Day 12 Do not use Can’t for 24 hours Day 19 Go out of your way to help 2 people
Day 6 Search the web for a hobby Day 13 Teach one person something new Day 20 Drop one bad habit for 24 hours
Day 7 Write a letter to your future self and seal it for one year Day 14 Arrive 10 minutes earlier Day 21 Write down 3 things you learned about yourself in the past 20 days

This is challenge is totally voluntary. All rights reserved. LSMB does not assume any responsibility or liability for any charges incurred by participants.

Inbox Linda Murray Bullard on Facebook if you have any questions about the 21-Day Challenge.


1) I don’t need one…I know how to run a business.

Mythbuster #1: Most new business owners feel just like you. That’s why there is universally a 90%+ failure rate of new businesses closing in 5 Years. Most new business owners have product knowledge and they confuse that for business knowledge. Most new businesses do not close because they are bad ideas, they close because they don’t understand the importance of focused marketing, sales strategies, or how to structure a viable 3-, 5-, or 10-year strategic planning.

2) I cannot afford a Business Coach.

Mythbuster #2: When you add up all the money you have spent “doing it your way” you have probably paid for a year’s service of business coaching and with business coaching you get a return on your investment. When you spend money needlessly, there are zero returns.

3) A business coach will try to make me run my business his/her way!

Mythbuster #3: Business Coaches make suggestions and offer information so the business owner can make informed choices. Business owners begin making “educated” decisions because they add business acumen to their product knowledge which leads to strategic positioning that adds to the likelihood of sustainability for the business.


1) Not know who the top leaders in their industry are locally or nationally.
How can you compete in a market when you don’t know who you are competing against? Smart business owners do the homework doing the planning stage of their new business.
By completing the research they discover who is doing the best in their industry locally and nationally. New owners will want to understand what the competition is doing right so they know where the benchmark is set for their new business. They will also need to know what the competition is missing in  order to enhance their businesses’ offerings.
2) Not getting a Mentor.
Everyone thinks they know how to run a business, but the truth of the matter is, over 90 percent (90%) of people open a business with a great deal of product knowledge and mistakenly think that it is business knowledge.
Not having a mentor maximizes the chances of failing! Not just anyone, but someone who has been doing what the new business owner plans to do and has done it well for more than 6 years. Yes, more than six years. The goal is to find someone who has endured the “five-year death sentence” that has been the final diagnosis of most new businesses.
3) Thinking they can steal the competition’s customers by having a lower price only.
This is the most critical mistake most new business owners make. Why? Because it hurts them more than their competition. By being “cheap,” they cheapen their brand and the value of their product/service. It is hard to recover from cheap.
Yes, luckily, they may get customers at first, but if they have overhead and are forced to raise their prices those customers will flee. Go in smart by using the correct comparable price and win customers by adding value to the existing industry price. When you add value, the new customers will appreciate the additional benefits at the price they are accustomed to paying.