During the season of giving thanks and giving gifts, charitable giving can make a big difference to those in need and also shine a favorable light on your small business. But what’s the best approach and how do you claim that all-important tax deduction? Here are some tips for developing a charitable giving strategy and claiming the right deduction. Giving Back is Good for Small Business Research shows that giving back is not only important to small business, but also important to your customers. According to a 2010 philanthropic...
The holiday season is crunch time for all of us – whether you’ve got gifts to buy or gifts to sell. If you’re a small business owner facing the busy holiday shopping and dining days ahead, here are some last-minute tips to help you maximize your holiday sales. Fine Tune your Holiday Online Campaign ‘Tis the season of countless email offers, but there are still last-minute steps you can take to stand out from the crowd. Here are a few tips for an effective “holiday countdown” online marketing campaign:...
The end of the year is fast approaching, but there’s still time to take advantage of a variety of business tax credits and deductions – some of which are new for 2012. Here are just a few to consider, plus some best practices for maximizing your claims. Take Advantage of 2012 “Section 179” Deduction Limits Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Section 179 of the tax code provides tax benefits for equipment purchases made before the end of the year. Typically when you purchase an item for your business...
The goal of business is to make a profit. Many small businesses fail at this because they don’t know how to price their products or services, but pricing is the critical element to achieving a profit, a factor that all firms can control. If you’re a startup or are revisiting your pricing strategy, here are some suggestions from industry experts and small business owners to help you get the price right. 1) Understand service costs and their impact on pricing Every service has different costs. Many small service firms fail...
Do you operate a single “owner” or member limited liability company (LLC)? Thinking of forming a multi-member LLC? Either way, you’re likely to have questions about how your business is, or will be, taxed. Here’s what you need to know. The Basics of Tax Law for LLCs First, it’s important to understand how an LLC is structured according to tax law. Unlike a corporation, LLCs are not taxed as a separate business entity. Instead, all profits and losses "pass through" the business to each member of the LLC....
The average cost of starting a business is $30,000, according to a 2009 study by the Kauffman Foundation. But whether your cash comes from savings or financing, watching how you spend your money is critical to the success of your venture. This means establishing boundaries and habits that ensure you spend your money wisely and operate as a lean start-up. Here are six ways to rein in spending as you start and grow your business: Work from Home, Co-Working Spaces or Serviced Office Space This one may sound obvious, but not all new...
Think you can build your business with coupons? Think twice. Coupons have their place for many businesses, but they also carry the irksome problem of attracting the wrong kind of buyer. We all know them – the over-eager coupon clipper who stalks only those businesses that offer a special deal. This customer is often a one-time buyer and not the kind of consumer who is going to help you build your business. Even worse, you may incur couponing losses. So when is couponing right for your business? How can you protect yourself against...
All indicators point to a solid 2012 holiday season for retailers. The National Retail Federation points to one key indicator, its Global Port Tracker report, which showed a strong increase in imports for August, September and October – the three key months of the year when retailers buy the bulk of the merchandise they will sell during the holiday season. Good news! But what if the holiday season is not your big selling season? For many businesses, particularly summer-seasonal businesses, the winter holiday season can bring a dive in...
Tired of chasing down one too many unpaid invoices? Death and taxes may be two of life’s certainties, but if you are a business owner, then in all likelihood you can go ahead and add delinquent receivables to the list. Unfortunately for small business owners, the wait to get paid is only getting longer. According to a 2012 Wall Street Journal survey, 64 percent of small businesses had unpaid invoices more than 60 days old while 20 percent say the problem is worsening. The trickledown effect of unpaid invoices is particularly taxing to...
Well-trained employees are essential to the success of your business. Unfortunately, in a bad economy, a business’ training budget is often the first thing cut. It may make sense at the time, but the long-term implications can far outweigh the immediate costs saved. Over time, a lack of training may reduce motivation levels and business inefficiencies and, most detrimentally, result in staff turnover – which in itself can be costly. According to a 2008 article in HR Management, replacing a worker costs on average 100-125...
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