06/10/2010 02:17 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

You're on the Road to Serfdom -- Unless You Have a Biz Plan

Roger F. Salter is certified as one of the top financial services producers in the world. As president and CEO of the world-renowned Sanmar Financial Network (that he runs with a second generation of Salters) Salter has recently added yet another platinum accolade to his title: Top of the Table.

Founded in 1927, the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) is an independent international association composed of less than 1 percent of the world's life insurance and financial services professionals Top of the Table is an honor reserved for those MDRT members that have generated $1 million or more in business.

How did he do it? What is the secret to becoming a top producer in this economy?

The best way to understand Salter's financial philosophy is to envision a circle: fluid, seamless and complete. Much like making money the old fashioned way, where you earn money--save and invest--and then your money earns even more money for you.

Entrepreneurs take heed: A circular wealth generation strategy begins with proper financial planning. If you don't protect your investment, that circle may as well represent a big fat zero--no funds, no safety net, and no wiggle room to keep your operations humming along.

Here, then, Salter shares three time-tested business tips.

1. Recognize the bigger picture, and go after your niche market.

Don't let the unemployment numbers deter you from putting your business plans in motion. "How tough is the economy? If there's a twelve percent unemployment rate, 88 percent of Americans are employed. During the Depression, there was 25- and 35 percent unemployment. So with 88 percent employed, you've just got to get out there and hit it."

2. Don't faze yourself out; be willing to learn and adopt new skills.

Having a workable skill set is vital. "America warned us. America said, 'Hey we don't make cars like we used to make them. We don't make typewriters like we used to make them. We don't make 8-track cassette players...' So technology has come about. Right now, they are not going to pay people to type. I don't need a typist. I need someone who knows computer programs. We learned this 25 years ago, that the future [business trend] would be an intellectual and technology-driven society. And now some people are rushing back to get into school because they don't have the skills."

3. Keep your financial house in order, and take care of your top talent.

You will need a plan to withstand the dizzying economic fluctuations, Salter advises.

"Today's entrepreneurs are learning without trying because the market is making them learn. This isn't the first time it's happened, it's happened before. And I know, I've been doing this for more than 50 years.
The most important thing to do is to create a financial plan. You must know where you want to go so that you can determine what it is that you need to do in order to get there."

And take care of your talent.
"Do you have an employee that you want to keep? You'd better pay him. Do you think that I don't pay my staff? I don't want them to get angry, so I pay them first. I give them a raise before they ask. I have excellent credit and I've never paid anybody a day late. You take care of your top people so that they will remain your top people."

Last but not least, "The golden rule to be successful in business is to live your life as fairly as you can," Salter says. "And to do unto others as you will want them to do unto you."

Plan your financial strategy and work your plan. And you've increased your chances to envision lots of circles, that is, multiple zeroes added to your profit margin.