How much does it cost to start your own business? Of course, the answer depends on your business model and your chosen industry. However, a useful estimate based on a 2009 study conducted by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation puts the average cost of starting a new business from scratch at just over $30,000. Many small businesses, particularly freelance, online and home-based businesses come in a lot lower than this, often needing only a few thousand to get started. But averages aside, what can you do to calculate your specific startup...
Going on a business trip? Visiting a potential vendor, customer or wholesaler? Confused about what business travel expenses you can and can’t deduct? Here’s what you need to know about what you can and can’t deduct as well as some tips, tools and mobile apps for managing your expense documentation. What Constitutes Business Travel? You can deduct most of your business travel expenses on your tax return; however, there are some limitations and considerations that the IRS sets on what constitutes business travel. According to...
How does your business cope with the peaks and valleys of increased workload? By hiring the expertise of subcontractors, independent contractors, or freelancers to handle your extra work, your business can quickly scale up without creating a lot of additional overhead. However, to realize these savings it’s critical that you understand the pros and cons of working with subcontractors, and the hows of finding the right one for your needs. Here are five tips and considerations to help you assess your hiring strategy. How Much Money Can You...
Has the state of the economy affected your company’s bottom line? Sales down? Looking for new customers? Consider breaking into a huge new market by going global. After all, 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside the U.S. You might be thinking: “Export? Me? I don’t think so.” Worried about regulations, currency exchanges, customs and international law? SBA is here to help. No matter how you choose to pursue exporting, the SBA and its team members from 20 different federal agencies are...
The idea behind surety bonding is simple and direct. One person, or entity, guarantees to another that a third person will perform a contract according to its terms. Historical records show a personal surety assuring Pharaoh that a farmer will place an agreed upon amount of grain, of a specific quality, and by a certain date, into Pharaoh’s coffers. Small business contractors and service companies that want to become more competitive and bid on projects requiring surety bonds, can look to the U.S. Small Business...
Everyone has to increase their prices eventually. If you’re fortunate your customers won’t notice. But in a budget conscious economy, the chances are they will. If you run a contract- or consulting-based business, it can be doubly difficult to raise your rates because you’re going to have to be upfront about the changes, and in all likelihood negotiate a new contract. So it all makes for a worrisome situation. However, done right, raising your prices should not alienate your customers – particularly if they value you...
Whether you are a freelancer or a small business owner, separating your personal bank accounts from your business accounts is a good practice that you need to get your arms around from the get-go. For many business owners this starts with obtaining a business credit card. If you think a business credit card is just about convenience, think again. Credit specialist and SBA guest blogger Marco Carbajo cites three very compelling business reasons for obtaining a business credit card: It Can Prevent Intermingling of Credit – If you start...
Does the government provide grants to small businesses? Ah, well, yes and no. It depends on what business you are in, what kind of return the government and taxpayers can expect from their investment and whether you match some very stringent eligibility requirements. Here are some facts about government grants for small businesses, including who is eligible and how you can go about finding them. Can I get a Government Grant to Start and Grow My Small Business? It’s not unreasonable to expect that the government provides grants for...
Do you operate a seasonal business? If your revenue peaks and declines depending on the time of year, or you only operate your business during a certain season—then you can be considered a seasonal a business owner. If this is you, then you know that monitoring and managing your cash flow and revenues through these fluctuations is essential. Below are six ways you can better plan and manage for the ebb and flow of seasonal business cash flow. Make a Budget that Includes Cash Flow Projection Every business operates off a set budget...
By Cecelia Taylor Uncovering the truth behind the free money myth It is not uncommon for potential business owners to call or visit the SBA asking for grants or free money to start their businesses. In many cases, you have likely read or heard the “free money myth” and how trouble-free it is to get your share, either from a late night infomercial or from an obscure publication. In most cases, the information is incorrect and misleading. In other cases, it’s close to a scam, so be leery of anyone who asks for...
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