For a small business in today’s economy, one of the most crucial keys to success is knowing what your competition is up to at all times. If you don’t think your competitors are out to eat your lunch, you’re not going to be around very long. And in today’s global market, competition can come from new and unexpected places and can pop up at any moment. How do you stay on top of it all? Start by compiling a list of your competitors. Assess all the markets where you sell (local, regional, national, global and online...
In the wake of Hurricane Irene, many businesses are still struggling to recover. If your business property was damaged or destroyed in this storm or in any other disaster this year, there may be some tax relief. Determine whether you are within a disaster area by checking with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and to see what tax relief may be available to you. More time for tax actions You may have more time to file a return or do other tax tasks. The IRS has the authority to give businesses more time to file returns and do other...
If you’re like me, you appreciate a friendly reminder when things are coming due. So, if you’re a small government contractor, consider this your reminder: The submission date for two different reports to the Department of Labor (DOL) is coming soon. Each year covered contractors must submit the EEO-1 and the VETS-100/VETS 100A reports. While they are generally due by the end of the government’s fiscal year (September 30), this year DOL has extended the date for submission of the VETS-100/VETS 100A report (more on that...
Today’s franchise buyers are faced with thousands of choices; not only do they have to figure what type of franchise businesses to look into, they have to figure out which one is the “best in show.” Allow me to explain. If you’re looking to become a franchise business owner, you’ll find that it’s a multi-step process. Like any major decision, it’s bound to be fraught with hurdles…obstacles, and on a positive note, numerous opportunities for personal growth. As a franchise owner, you’re...
Those who are fired with an enthusiastic idea and who allow it to take hold and dominate their thoughts find that new worlds open for them. As long as enthusiasm holds out, so will new opportunities. -- Norman Vincent Peale. Why do you want to go into business for yourself? Are you running away from a bad situation with your current employer? Have you been unemployed for a while and you hope by starting a business you can create an income stream? Are you burned out in your current career and...
Don’t get trapped in the myth of the big difficult business plan document, but do help yourself to business planning as a way to manage your business better and deal with change, keeping your eyes on long term and short term at the same time – whether you need to create a document for others to read, or not. First, settle on strategy. Tailor your product offering to match your strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats, what you do best, and what your target market wants most. You don’t have to write it...
Over the last year, I have watched various funding tools grow in usefulness and popularity. One in particular, Kickstarter, has caught the attention of many companies, new and old. It is an alternative way to get a project or product funded, by way of a hot new trend called crowdfunding. In my mind, this is a creative way to sell -- for the right products or services. Like crowdsourcing -- turning your idea over to a group of people to make minor and major improvements to it -- crowdfunding is about getting individuals to make small and large...
A business bank account is one of the most important financial tools you will use to manage your company’s finances. It helps you keep accurate records, prepare reports, make deposits, and separate your business banking from your personal banking. Once you decide which type of bank will best serve the needs of your business whether it is a major commercial bank, credit union, or community bank, you should then focus on establishing a favorable bank rating. Your company’s bank rating is different from a business credit rating...
It’s August and soon enough, school will be in session for millions of children across the nation. If you don’t have children, you may think this doesn’t mean anything to you. Well, think again. The nation’s schools are rapidly becoming a marketing venue for businesses large and small. And if your small business targets local customers, there could be a way for you to take advantage of this trend. Why are schools such a great place to market your business? Well, although the recession has officially been “over...
Last year, more than *565,000 businesses were started in the U.S. The majority will make it – at least for a number of years – some will not. Unfortunately, many owners believe certain myths about starting and running a business and these beliefs can be their undoing. If you’re thinking of starting a business or have recently begun one, make sure you know fact from fiction so you can be a good statistic! Myth 1: You can do it yourself. When getting started, many owners try to save money by doing everything they can by...
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