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Personal Finance Tips for Small Business Owners | Timothy P. Lofton

As a small business owner, it’s especially important to pay attention to personal finances. Some business owners make the mistake of mixing personal accounts with business funds. This can lead to many problems and put you in a bind. Read on to find out more about the personal finance tips for small business owners that can put you in a better position. 

Create an Emergency Fund

Creating an emergency fund is in your best interest because it can protect you from financial peril. You can save money and place it in this account when business is going really well. This way, you’ll be able to access this fund if you ever have cash flow issues or if you need money to solve some other type of financial problem. It’s responsible to have a rainy day fund like this. 

Create a Business Budget and a Personal Budget

You should try to create a budget for your business and for yourself. This will allow you to make financial decisions as responsibly as possible. You don’t want to spend more money than you can afford to and this is true both for your small business and your personal accounts. Examine your spending requirements each month and remember that you also want to be able to save money. 

Take Care of Your Personal Credit

It isn’t going to be good for your business if you have a bad credit situation. Take care of your debts and try to maintain a good credit score. This is going to improve your ability to get loans if you ever have a need for them. Take steps to pay down your debt and always endeavor to make your credit card payments on time. 

Start Saving for Retirement Early

You shouldn’t just start saving for retirement once you get closer to retirement age. If you wait too long, then it’s going to be too late to save enough money to meet your retirement goals. Try to save a portion of your money for retirement purposes. It might be wise to work with an investment adviser to determine a good path for you to take based on your retirement goals. 

Running Mistakes To Avoid | Timothy P. Lofton

Running is an activity that is good for all aspects of your health. Running can keep you in shape, help you to socialize, and even improve your mental wellbeing. However, there are mistakes you can make during running that can work against you. Let’s take a look at some of the most common running mistakes people make that can easily be avoided, as featured in an article on Very Well Fit

Firstly, you want to make sure you are wearing the right shoes for your run. Different shoes are made for different types of running, and you always want to wear updated shoes. Wearing the wrong shoes or shoes that are too old can lead to various running-related injuries. Some stores specialize in running shoes, so finding a pair that fits your needs is not hard to do. Also, experts say that running shoes should be replaced every 300-350 miles so that the loss of cushioning does not cause injuries to you.

Next, avoid running too much too soon. When people first begin their running journey, they tend to be very excited and feel like they should run for long periods whenever they get a chance. Overextending your body without adequate recovery time can lead to a wide range of issues such as ITB syndrome, shin splints, runner’s knee, and burnout. Increase your mileage gradually instead of believing that more is automatically better. Your mileage increase per week should never exceed 10%. In addition, if you are a new runner, it is advisable to start with walking first and then transition to a more vigorous running program. 

One aspect of running that many people do not think about when they start is the upper body form. Arm placement and movement are some of the most important aspects of running. If you swing your arms side to side, you are more likely to breathe less efficiently and fall into a slouch form. Also, holding your arms up by your chest makes you tired more quickly and causes tension in your neck and shoulders. Try to keep your arms at a 90-degree angle and your hands at waist level, rotating your arms at the shoulder for more effective and comfortable positioning.

Questions Every Leader Should Ask Themselves | Timothy Lofton

Becoming a leader is not the end of your work. It is an exceptional accomplishment, but you should still strive each day to reach various goals and become the best leader you can be. The ability to ask questions is a skill every leader should possess. It is beneficial to you and your team, who deserves to be challenged and listened to. Let’s look at specific questions you as a leader should be asking yourself every day to ensure that you are doing your job effectively and to your best capabilities. 

Firstly, assess your priorities for the day. Staying organized is one of the most important aspects of a leader. If you are unorganized, it makes it harder for your team to remain organized as well. By listing your priorities for the day, you are less likely to forget about important meetings, overbook yourself, or fail to complete certain commitments. Along with this, ask yourself what you should delegate. To delegate effectively, you must know the various strengths and skillsets of your team members. If you try to take on everything by yourself, you are not maximizing your productivity, and it shows your team that you do not trust them to handle the work. 

Always ask yourself what can be improved. Just because things seem to be going smoothly, that does not mean you should be comfortable and convince yourself that nothing needs to be changed. A leader should continuously ask themselves what they can do to improve policies, processes, functions and other aspects of a business that enhance a company’s productivity. In addition, do not be afraid to ask what you can do to help other people. Even though you have reached a position of power, you are not exempt from helping wherever you can. Helping others can directly impact the company and even teach your team members how to help themselves in the future. 

Finally, never forget to ask yourself what you learned that day. Good leaders understand that the process of growing and learning never ends in the workforce. Asking that question at the end of the day always keeps your mind in a position of analyzing your decisions and deciding whether or not they were effective.

Key Leadership Trends 2021 | Timothy Lofton

2020 obviously was a challenging year for a variety of reasons.  Between a global pandemic, uncertainty in the market and it being an election year; upheaval proved to be a common theme for the year.  This turmoil has left businesses questioning traditional practices and exploring new means of workplace motivation.  Leaders have a unique challenge in particular.  With employees working from home, leaders and managers have had to develop new means of motivation and connecting with employees.  All these changes portend further shifts in business management for the new year.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the growing trends for leaders to be aware of in 2021.

Building Positive Culture Remotely

Easily the biggest challenge for most businesses of 2020 revolved around making the adjustment towards working remotely.  It signified a major shift in company culture as it’s previously been considered pivotal to keep employees connected through a physical space.  The initial push for working remotely came with positive benefits and negative side effects, like all new major changes.  Regardless it looks like the shift towards remote work is becoming more and more accepted leaving leaders scrambling to develop new techniques for management and connection.  The biggest step a leader can take is setting team expectations for remote culture.  Making consistent meeting times, creating guidelines for etiquette in online communication, and developing clear strategies for submitting and reviewing work are all basic steps you would expect to be followed when meeting in person.  It’s thus fair to make the same expectations known for online work.  

Be Willing To Change

One of the most important qualities of a leader in 2021 will be flexibility, the ability to improvise, and a willingness to roll with the punches.  With a year of stress already under everyone’s belts, it’s no surprise that some tensions are starting to rise in workplaces across the country.  Stubbornness from the top down will only heighten these tensions and reinforce a culture of obstinance.  Leaders more than ever need to be flexible and adopt a growth mindset.  The key lies in your mindset, according to Dr. Frederik von Briel.  If you approach these changes with an entrepreneurial attitude, you’ll be better off for it. 

Managing Trust Erosion

Easily the most disturbing trend of the last year was severe erosion of trust in institutions and in the principles that keep our institutions aloft.  Leaders have a variety of questions they can ask during these moments of turmoil.  “What are my guiding principles?” “How do I wield my power in my situation?” and “How can we reinvent or replace traditional sources of sustained power?”.  Questions like these allow leaders to effectively and honestly assess the situations they find themselves in and focus on solutions that address the current issues.  It is pivotal to answer these questions honestly and fairly with yourself, only you can provide yourself with fair self-criticism in situations such as these.

Three Signs You’re Ready to Do an Ironman

Competing in an ironman competition is something that many athletes consider doing. It’s so incredibly difficult that even the most in-shape athletes question whether they’re ready to go for it. Take a look at the following three signs that you’re ready to do an ironman. If you check all of the right boxes, then you’ll be able to move forward confidently and start training for an ironman. 

  1. You Have the Right Lifestyle

Having the right lifestyle to train for an ironman means a few different things. First, you need to have enough time to train for this competition. It will require around 20 hours per week of training and not everyone has that much free time to spare. Also, this will take time away from your business and family, so you’ll need to be able to comfortably focus on your ironman training without having regrets. 

This means that people with young children and business owners are likely not good fits for doing an ironman. It will depend on whether you have a partner who is ready to support you in your athletic endeavors, too. Are you willing to make personal sacrifices so that you can complete ironman training? If the answer is yes, then you can keep moving forward. 

  1. You Have the Proper Athletic Experience

Be honest with yourself about whether you have the athletic experience to even consider doing an ironman. No one is going to come off of the couch and get ready for an ironman in 13 weeks. You’re going to want to be athletic already and you should already be good at activities such as cycling and swimming. If these are activities that you struggle with, then running an ironman is probably not feasible for you. 

  1. You Can Afford it

Being able to afford the ironman is another story entirely. Understand that the fees to compete in the ironman will be around $700 and the cost of training will be even more. Many people need to sacrifice work hours to train for this event and that can cost you a substantial amount of money. If you don’t have the necessary funds to make this happen, then your ironman ambitions might need to be placed on the backburner for now.

What Happens When You Stop Running?

Marathon running is not an easy sport to commit to. It takes a level of physical and mental toughness that goes above and beyond the average person. Those who compete in these races do so not just to prove to themselves that they can, but for the most part, they actually enjoy them. 

The human body wasn’t meant to organically run the distances that marathon runners do. For this reason, self-care and injury prevention are just as important as training before a race and maintenance during a race. Training for a marathon and keeping yourself fit enough to run again down the line are not the same. If training stops altogether, then you need to wean yourself back into a routine that will not cause injury. 

Depending on how long you’ve been away and how much your muscle to fat ratio is altered, there are different workout schedules to follow. When you stop a regular running routine, your body decreases in blood volume and mitochondria. In addition, your lactate limit gets lowered. That being said, experienced runners will bounce back much easier than an amateur. This is because the longer you’ve been running, the more aerobic strength you have built up. The mitochondria that live in your blood cells are the powerhouses of the cells. They produce more energy. More blood cells mean more oxygen delivery to all of your muscles. In short, it’s your maximal aerobic capacity that determines how hard it is to get back into marathon shape. Depending on how much time off you take, you lose a certain percentage of your cardiorespiratory fitness level (VO2max). This is also known as your maximum oxygen uptake level. 

Taking two weeks off means you will lose between 5–7 percent of your VO2 max. By taking two months off, that figure climbs to a 20 percent loss. At three months, you lose 25–30 percent of your maximum oxygen uptake. In addition, stopping a workout routine also affects other parts of your body. Your entire musculoskeletal system is affected as you lose the conditioning in your tendons, ligaments, connective tissues, and muscles.

The best rule of thumb is to walk for 45 minutes before starting to run again, especially if you are recovering from an injury. 

How to Train for Your First Ultra Marathon | Timothy Lofton

So, you want to compete in an ultra marathon and you’re wondering just how you should go about training. This certainly isn’t going to be an easy task and you’re going to need to take your training very seriously so that you can get good results. Read on to see how you should be training for your first ultra marathon. This information should put you in a position where you can get good results.

Lose Weight

Losing weight will make your life easier when you’re running an ultra marathon. Getting rid of extra weight will make running a marathon much easier and you will feel better during training as well. Try to lose as much weight as you can within reason. Lose weight naturally by eating well and exercising.

Focus on Nutrition

Nutrition is a big aspect of training for an ultra marathon, too. Eat a healthy diet that will allow you to get enough energy. Find healthy protein sources and be sure to drink a lot of water.

Go on Regular Long Runs

Of course, you need to go on regular long runs to improve your stamina. You should be doing at least one run where you use your 10K tempo each week. It’s also beneficial to go on several three-hour runs each week to work on getting your endurance where you want it to be. If you do this properly, then you should be able to make significant improvements before your ultra marathon is set to begin.

Practice on the Terrain You’ll Be Competing on

Practicing on the terrain that you’ll be competing on is smart. You want to get a feel for exactly how tough your ultra marathon is going to be. Training on concrete isn’t going to be as effective as training on dirt if you’re running on dirt for the marathon.

Take Recovery Days

Sometimes you might need recovery days if you have pushed yourself a bit too far. Remember that rest is a part of training and that sometimes your body will really need a break. Some people like to take up to three days off each week to ensure that they’re getting enough recovery time. Try to train at a pace that is sustainable for you.

Originally published at

Seven Ways to Improve Your Tennis Game | Timothy P. Lofton

Tennis is one of the most popular sports for a reason and it can be a lot of fun to learn. If you’re trying to become a better tennis player, then you’ll want to focus on key areas that will improve your game. Look at these seven ways that you can improve your tennis game below. 

  1. Prepare for Shots Early

You don’t want to rush to a ball at the last minute. Prepare for shots early if you can see them coming and get into the right stance. Get your racket back and be ready to hit the ball. 

  1. Follow-Through

The follow-through of your shots makes a big difference. If you want to get more power, then you need to focus on following through with your shots. 

  1. Play Hard

You need to play hard if you want to get better and this means being ready to chase the ball down. Always run to the ball even if you aren’t sure whether or not you’ll be able to get it in time. Put in the effort and you might surprise yourself. 

  1. Don’t Watch Your Own Shot

Don’t watch your own shot to see if your opponent is going to be able to rally. Get into position and get ready to hit it back. You can’t get caught admiring your own shot if you want to get results. 

  1. Pick Your Shots Wisely

Sometimes you need to be careful about picking your shots wisely. Playing conservatively might be boring, but aiming for a safe spot on the court is sometimes in your best interest. You can’t just go for winning shots all the time. 

  1. Practice Your Serve

Serving is a key aspect of playing tennis and some people are really good at it. Spend some days simply practicing your serve so that it can improve. You should get to the point where you will feel pretty confident in your serving ability if you put the time in. 

  1. Avoid Distractions

Tennis is a very cerebral game and getting distracted is going to hurt your results. If you want to improve at playing tennis, then you need to learn to drown out distractions. Don’t think about what you need to do at home later when you’re playing and instead just focus on the game while scoring one point at a time. 

Eight Tips for Trail Running | Timothy P. Lofton

Trail running can be very fun, but it’s important to do things as safely as you can. If you keep the following eight trail running tips in mind, then you’re going to have a better time. If you’re still new to trail running, then this is a good opportunity to pick up sound advice. Simply read on and you’ll be ready to get the most out of your trail running experience. 

  1. No Two Trails Are Exactly the Same

The first thing that you should know is that no two trails are exactly the same. Each trail is unique and this means that each trail will present a unique challenge. Singletrack trails are often the most challenging due to being narrow and featuring obstacles such as roots. 

  1. Don’t Be Overconfident

Some people who run normally get overconfident about trail running and push themselves too far. You need to slow your pace because trail running is more challenging than a traditional run. It will likely take you twice the amount of time to run the same distance as usual when you’re trail running. 

  1. Running in a Group Is Safer

Trail running has the potential to be dangerous and you should consider running in a group if possible. If that isn’t possible, then make sure that you bring a fully-charged smartphone with several safety apps so that you can call for help if need be. 

  1. There Are Trail Rules

You might encounter other trail runners during your run and there are rules that you should follow. Yielding to other trail runners might be necessary and the rule of thumb is basically that downhill runners should yield to uphill runners due to uphill running being harder. 

  1. Stay Focused on the Trail

Stay focused on the trail as you’re running and try not to get distracted or let your eyes wander. If you don’t keep your eyes on the trail, then you will run the risk of stumbling and getting hurt due to hitting an obstacle. 

  1. Keep the Time in Mind

Setting out to run a five-mile trail might not be the best idea at first. You might want to simply run for an hour and this will mean running for a half-hour in one direction and then turning around. 

  1. Buy Trail Running Shoes

Using standard running shoes won’t be perfect for trail running. A pair of trail running shoes will be better at handling rugged terrain while also protecting you from the risk of rolling your ankle while running. 

  1. Bring Water

No one should want to get dehydrated while trail running. Bring a bottle of water with you so that you can quench your thirst and you can have enough energy to make it back safely.

Seven Things No One Tells You About Running a Marathon | Timothy P. Lofton

Deciding to run a marathon can be very exciting when you’re the type of person who wants to challenge themselves. Even so, there are many potential issues that can make running a marathon tough. Take a look at the following seven things no one tells you about running a marathon. 

  1. Fear Might Set in

The excitement that you’re feeling now could turn into fear eventually. Some people start to doubt themselves and will be afraid of embarrassment. You might be worried about not being able to finish and this fear is something that you have to push through while training. 

  1. Some Might Not Be Supportive

Not every friend or family member is going to be supportive of your marathon training. Some might think that it’s not worth the effort and others will want you to go out drinking instead of jogging. If you’re serious about your marathon, then you have to keep doing your best even when you don’t have a great support system in place. 

  1. Certain People Experience Digestive Issues

You might wind up having some digestive problems that will make you feel off. This is due to the intense training and the changes in your diet because of your marathon training. The best thing that you can do is to eat nutrient rich foods while avoiding processed foods. 

  1. Necessary Gear Might Be Expensive

Buying running shoes and other necessary pieces of equipment might be somewhat expensive. It can also be costly to have to take the time to train for the marathon if you’re normally a busy professional. Make sure that you can afford to do this before committing to the process. 

  1. Foot Pain

The foot pain that you will experience due to running so often will likely be severe. This will cause some people to decide that it isn’t worth it. You just have to keep pushing through if you really want to run the marathon. 

  1. Nightmares

Nightmares can occur as it gets closer to the date of your marathon. Some people start to have bad dreams about failing and others might have other types of nightmares. This is fairly common even if it isn’t something that everyone deals with.

  1. Sometimes Things Still Go Wrong

Sometimes things will still go wrong even if you did everything right during your training. Frankly, running 26.2 miles is a tough prospect for just about anyone. If you didn’t complete your marathon or if you struggled to do it, then you can always sign up for another one and try to do better. Keep pushing your limits and believing in yourself.