In this episode of Coffee with Carl, attorney Carl Zoellner goes over the basics of having an investor mindset, which involves an essential shift in perspective to consider value instead of simply cost.


Updated September 16, 2020

Oftentimes, when we talk about value versus cost, we’re swapping between two different lenses. By this, I mean that, when I’m talking about the cost of something, I’m looking at it as an individual whose perspective is that of a consumer and not an investor.

Let’s use widgets as an example since most folks know widgets from economic principles. Let’s look at an example widget with a theoretical cost of $10,000. As a consumer, I may look at this cost and say, “Wow! $10,000 is a lot of money for that widget.” And this response is justifiable — after all, $10,000 is $10,000.

But let’s shift our perspective to that of an investor, not simply a consumer. As an investor, I need to consider the value that widget offers my business, not merely its cost. For instance, if the $10,000 widget offers my business a value of $100,000, then now we’re starting to look at things from a value perspective — the investor’s perspective.

When we start looking at the pricing of various items and services from an investor perspective, the mindset is more “Okay, I understand there’s a cost for these things, but what value does it bring me?” This is far different from only looking at the price tag. An investor has a different, value-focused perspective.

Along these same lines, I look at tax planning and preparation as well as legal work in the same way. The consumer perspective may hear about attorneys’ fees and the hourly rates of professionals like CPAs and think “Wow, that’s a lot.” However, as someone who’s banged their head against the keyboard working with do-it-yourself tax prep software and the various legal implications of doing deals in different jurisdictions — I can tell you that, as an investor, your time is better spent finding deals, closing deals, and earning money for your business instead of trying to figure out the legal and tax sides of that equation.

As an attorney myself here at Anderson Advisors, it took me hundreds of thousands of dollars as well as years of education and training to be qualified to look at the legal implications of different statutes in different locales as well as to understand the tax side of different investors’ businesses. Sometimes, I’ll have new clients who say something like “Wow, that’s more expensive than I expected,” when they hear my recommendations of different structures or business entities. Then, we have this conversation.

The first thing I point out is that we don’t have to go from 0 to 100 all at once. We can take steps in the entity structuring process. Second, it’s important to look at the value you receive from tax and legal planning from attorneys and experts. This is far different (and far more valuable) than just going online and setting something up without really understanding how it works, how to maintain it, or if it will actually hold up in a lawsuit.

As investors, it’s critical that we start looking at value instead of simply cost. This will put you ahead of the pack. Furthermore, you’ll present as a more successful business owner by doing this. Successful business owners who’ve been in business for a long time have a value perspective instead of only seeing a price tag.


Watch as Carl covers the investor mindset of considering the value, and not simply the cost, of purchases.


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