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Golf & Taxes - a Winning Combination

Nov 13, 2009

Death & Taxes? How about Golf and LESS Taxes? a clever and fun strategy for success by: Bill Madonna Bill Madonna Golf Academy Death & Taxes – How about Golf and LESS Taxes? If you could increase your sales, grow your business, lower your taxes (and perhaps your handicap), feed the hungry, house the homeless, or provide toys for tots all by simply playing more GOLF… would that be something you’d want to learn more about? Here are topics you don’t see in the same article very often, if at all: golf, lead generation, tax deductions and philanthropy. Previously, in “Tee UP for Success,” I talked about the benefits that “business golf” has for your business; whether that is simply enhancing the relationships you have with business associates, or enhancing your sales through closer connections with clients. And this isn’t just pie-in-the-sky. According to a 2002 COMPASS LEADER POLL, business people reported an average of a $1500 return on investment for every dollar spent on “business golf.” Obviously I’ve got your attention right? A 1500% return on investment is virtually unheard of outside Las Vegas or South Jersey, and rarely in the context of something legit or helping those less fortunate. You’re going to love this. As a golf teacher for more than 33 years I never thought I’d learn something new about the game… especially from someone who rarely plays it. But in talking to Sue Copening, a marketing consultant as well as a speaker and trainer for the Tax Reduction Institute, owned by Sandy Botkin, CPA and tax attorney, I learned something about the tax code that, when applied to marketing and “business golf,” as the kids say… “blows it up.” And this strategy works even if you DON’T play golf! Sue has been teaching tax strategies to business owners and professionals for nine years, and has been teaching marketing strategies for even longer. Her brain is sort of the “Fibber McGee’s closet” of diverse and random knowledge that, when she opens the door and lets it spill out, becomes something quite more useful than a pile of old tennis racquets, gym socks and monopoly pieces. I knew already, from personal experience, and the poll above, that playing “business golf” is an essential tool for many professionals, however I really didn’t have a grasp of the “big picture” when it comes to the most strategic, and cost effective use of the game until talking with Sue recently. When it comes to marketing and prospecting for your business, or for sales, it’s safe to say that the demographic most professionals seek out is people who can actually afford their product or service; to put it bluntly… people with money. So, which group of people do you think have more money… random people out there in the community… or people who play golf? Pretty obvious right? Study after study has shown that golfers, on average, have a higher income level and spend more money on “discretionary” or luxury items. This is why you can find them on on the golf course in the first place, and why on every golf show on TV you see Mercedes and Rolex being advertised instead of Yugos. So, we can agree that, for most of us, golfers are highly desirable as potential clients. So… playing more golf is a “no brainer” as a prospecting tool. Going out and playing 9 or 18 holes and hanging out in the 19th hole (the bar for you newbies), you’re going to meet golfers. You can even go on a busy day alone and asked to be “matched up” with other golfers needing a 2nd, 3rd or 4th player. Sort of “pot luck prospecting.” We also know that investing in “business golf” brings big returns in strengthening business relationships with our existing customers. So… we want to play more golf with our current clients too, right? But, can we do BOTH… meet new golfers and play more often with our current customers, and do it in a way that becomes a very powerful strategy? Yes, we can. I’m going to tell you how in just a minute (no jumping ahead, it will cost you money), but first let’s talk turkey… I mean money. Obviously we can expect to get a good return for the dollars we invest in playing business golf, and I’m sure if you are self employed, or a small business owner, you know that playing golf, when done properly, and documented properly, is a “business entertainment deduction” under the IRS tax code. So you actually get to deduct 50% of your cost of the golf, along with your meals and parking costs. That’s pretty great right? But let’s face it, a 50% deduction for something we are doing to grow our company, increase sales, AND something that pretty much shoots a day of our time is pretty lame. We should be able to deduct ALL of it. Do you think we could? Yes, we can. Here’s the concept I got from Sue. Golf TOURNAMENTS. Scrap the random golf game and put a strategy into your business golf. Every week, sometimes multiple times a week, some country club, somewhere in your town, is hosting a CHARITY golf tournament. A good many of these tournaments don’t cost you any more than if you went out and played golf by yourself, plus you get free gifts and the opportunity to win prizes to boot. They are usually held on a Monday through Friday. Why is that? Because the club gives the charity a break on the fees when they hold it on one of their slower days. AND… who comes out to golf tournaments on a weekday? Business owners, executives and decisions makers. Representatives of the corporate sponsors of the tournament. Basically, if you are a sales shark, these people are shark bait, are they not? So, we can agree that a golf tournament is a much better “prospecting pool” than just a random day at the club. But let’s take it up a notch. Did you know that there is a special tax code called “Special Sporting Events?” Basically that code says this, and I’m paraphrasing to make it simple,… When you play in, or buy tickets to, a sporting event that’s net proceeds benefit a charity, that is staffed primarily by volunteers (more than 50%), AND you use that event as what would otherwise qualify, under the tax code, as “business entertainment,” … that event is 100% tax deductible! Not just the event, but meals and parking associated with it. WOW. So, your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is this… Scrap the random golf game. Get on the phone and call the local country clubs and ask what tournaments they have coming up. Put them on a calendar. Google the local charities and see if they have any upcoming tournaments. To “kill two birds with one stone” ...Look at your prospect or client list and see who you might like to invite out to play with you that day. That way you are meeting new clients and solidifying that relationship with current ones at the same time. Remember that I said you don’t even have to be a golfer for this strategy to work? Do you know that most tournaments will sell you a ticket to just the banquet lunch or dinner, or the “mixer” after the tournament? So the bottom line is this… you get to hang out with 40 to over 100 golfers, in an environment that is perfect for meeting new people and networking. You get to sit at a table and get to know those around you even more in-depth AND the whole thing (if done and documented properly) is 100% tax deductible with the net proceeds going to help those less fortunate than yourself. I call that a business golf version of a “win-win-win” with a karmic cherry on top. Bill Madonna is a PGA “Master Professional” and owner of the Bill Madonna Academy of Golf at the Marriott World Center in Orlando. Golf Magazine recognizes Bill as one of the Top 100 Golf Instructors in the United States. Bill is also the official golf coach for the Citrus Club. Sign up NOW to get free membership, and perks, at “Signature Madonna,” Website: Phone: 407-275-2956 for info or email: [email protected] To learn more Tax Strategies: Sandy Botkin of the Tax Reduction Institute, is a faculty member for More info: .
Nov 13, 2009