Are you in the clean energy business? Or perhaps you’re looking to save some money by investing in energy-saving business equipment or a greener facility? If so, you may be wondering what your funding options are. From loan programs to research and development grants and small business tax incentives, here is a round-up of some go-to resources – most of them online – for financing your green business strategy. 1. Your Local Bank.com – Low-Cost Green Business Loans Greening your business doesn’t have to break...
Heard of bootstrapping? Well, it’s not just for startups anymore. If your business is strapped for cash, you might consider bootstrapping to get you through it. What is Bootstrapping? Bootstrapping is the process of starting a business with little investment or funding of your own. Many small business owners and entrepreneurs start out this way. Even if you are well beyond the startup phase, however, the principles of bootstrapping can still make sense handy if your business is facing cash constraints. How Can Bootstrapping...
Health insurance costs are a constant concern for small business owners. In the past year employers paid a larger share of their workers’ health care premiums than ever before, and premiums increased by 9 percent, and many small businesses reported even steeper hikes. According to a 2011 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust, the average cost of family health care coverage is $15,073, with workers paying $4,129 toward their premiums and employers paying the remaining $10,944. While businesses are...
Did your small business hire employees for the first time in 2011? Did you use the services of an independent contractor? Or do you simply need a refresher on the ins and outs of wage reporting season? Here’s what you need to know about your annual employer reporting obligations. How to Report Employee Wages and Taxes – W-2s Explained If you have paid wages and withheld taxes for employees during 2011, you are required by law to report these numbers (based on the data you’ve kept in your payroll register) to both the Social...
If you’re starting a business that requires significant financial investment up front, finding a source of funding can be a challenge, especially since the average cost of starting a business is $30,000. This is particularly true for young entrepreneurs who lack a strong credit history or don’t want the hassle of dealing with banks or private lenders. Once these startup entrepreneurs are done considering their options, it’s not unusual for them to ask friends or family for startup cash. After all, unlike private investors or...
Preparing invoices can be a taxing and costly process for small business owners. For example, if you are a solo business owner or just don’t have the staff to develop tough internal controls, then you’re may well be spending too much time creating manual paper-based invoices. The resulting longer billing cycle may delay the collection of payments and ultimately impact cash flow. In fact, a 2009 survey by finance systems specialists, CODA, showed that 25 percent of small and medium businesses estimate that at least $5,000 a month in...
It may sound obvious, but understanding gross margin is often overlooked by startups and new business owners. This can have a direct impact on your ability to effectively manage a growing business, price your products, and most importantly, make a profit. What is Gross Margin? Put simply, gross margin is the money left after you have covered all the variable (not fixed) costs associated with the sale of a product or service (such as wages, materials, etc.). But gross margin is so much more than that; it is a measure of your production...
The first sign that any business is in trouble often comes in the form of missed or late payroll. But missing payroll doesn’t always spell doom. In small business, cash flow is king and it can be quickly compromised by late receivables from tardy customers, seasonal lows, and of course, a general economic downturn. However, excuses aside, not paying your employees and associated payroll and employment taxes should be avoided at all costs. Here’s why: Unpaid employees can file a wage claim against you with their state. If...
Although tax season is still a few weeks away, now is the time to take advantage of a basket of tax opportunities that can help your small business reduce its tax liability and save money come April 2012. Read on for seven tips that can help you maximize your deductions and claim the credits you deserve. Spend Some Money Before Deduction Limits are Cut – This is definitely the year to take advantage of the Section 179 deduction, which allows businesses to deduct expenses for a variety of capital equipment purchases including...
According to The Senior Source, in 2005, 15 percent of working people expect to start their own businesses when they retire. However, given the continued impact of the economic crisis on 401(k) plans and a growing desire to stay career-active into retirement, this statistic seems very likely to grow. In an earlier blog I listed five things senior entrepreneurs need to consider before they tap a lifetime of experience and put a business idea into action. But how do retired and senior entrepreneurs access the capital they need? How...
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