Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

Why Have a Small Business Website?: Websites Are Cost-Effective Small Business Solutions

For the small business owner, having a URL on a business card is vital for establishing credibility with new clients and a low cost way to promote the company brand and products. Customers and new clients now expect to find in-depth information on a company website.

When starting a small business, website development must be part of the business plan. In fact, many businesses start as a website first to test the markets before investing in commercial real estate.

A Small Business Website Lends Credibility

Like a good business card, a professional-looking website creates a favourable impression of the company whose name is on it. A well designed website will give users the information they need to feel confidence in the company. For example, a website can offer company history or biographies of the owner and key employees in much more detail than could be conveyed in a conversation.

Small Business Advertising on the Web

There are over 250 million Internet users in North America alone and more than half of them use the Internet to research and makes purchases online. A website is lends itself to a national market that can allow a small business to expand beyond geographic boundaries that may not provide a big enough market in which to succeed.

A Small Business Strategy for Customer Service

A website is always open. Customers can visit the site any time of the day or night, any day of the year. A small business owner can use a website to answer customer questions instantly. By visiting the website, the customer can find out all the products and services offered that they may not have been aware of.

A Cost-Effective Business Idea

Setting up a small business website is easier than ever. For simple sites that give information and contact information only, a website can be maintained in-house for as low as $10 per month. There are many turn-key site and applications where a business owner merely selects a design template and enters the content.

Even websites with simple e-commerce capabilities to allow customers to purchase goods online, can be set up inexpensively and quickly with minimum technical knowledge using any of several applications available.

More complex applications will no doubt require the services of a designer and programmer to set and maintain customized applications.

Having a company website is no longer an option. The small business owner must include a website in any marketing strategy proposed.

Small Businesses Go Green to Save Green: More Comapnies are Realizing Big Savings from Eco Initiatives

Big green companies like McDonald’s continue to find ways to green up and to save. McDonald’s recently announced they are researching ways to use less potato pesticides. International aviation trade groups are looking at Performance Based Navigation (PBN) to cut the length of trips which will cut fuel use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Small businesses also continue to find ways to take the eco initiative one step further and reach higher for green techniques and green savings.

Small Business Goes Green

More and more new ways to take advantage of the going green present themselves every day. Here are nine greenings that any company can implement while saving some green.

  1. Install a water cooler at the office and stop buying bottled water. Also use pitchers of water and glasses for attendees of meetings and conferences instead of bottled water. This reduces the amount of plastic that needs recycled and it saves money when paying for the water cooler than paying one to two dollars per bottle of water.
  2. Use the new soy based toner for laser printers versus the petroleum based toner. There are several manufacturers of soy based toner cartridges available. Check with your printer’s manufacturer before using the soy based toner. When buying new printers, buy those that can use soy based toner. Using the soy based toner reduces the oil use as well as being more eco friendly.
  3. Extend the life of your current technology by upgrading computer equipment instead of buying all new. Many computers that are less than five years old have the capability to have the processor, the storage devices, the graphics cards and monitors upgraded. This step again reduces the amount of technology items ending up in the landfills as well as saving money for the company.
  4. Include questions about reduce, recycle, reuse in all purchasing projects and requests for proposals. Buy products that are manufactured green, that provide green savings when in use, and provide an environmentally friendly disposal.
  5. Buy mobile devices that serve multiple purposes. For example, buy one cell phone with GPS functions per employee rather than buying one cell phone and one GPS device per employee.
  6. Bring going green seminars and training to the workplace through webinars and distance learning. Or, enroll select employees in some of the new green degree programs such as those at the University of Dayton and Wright State in Ohio. Using the webinars and distance learning will reduce fuel usage, save paying the employees travel expenses and utilizes technology to its fullest.
  7. Replace current lighting in parking lots or building entrances with solar lighting. Using the power of the sun, solar lighting recharges during the day saving on electricity use and electric bills.
  8. Encourage the use of web or audio conferencing for meetings. Driving or flying to meetings cost money, use unnecessary fuel and takes lots of time. Using the webinar or audio conferencing for meetings is an effective way to conduct meetings and the savings can be phenomenal. Thinkgreenmeeting.com offers web and audio meeting resources at reasonable prices.
  9. Encourage employees to rent business, leadership, and other reference books from the local library versus buying them. Library usage is up. One local Canton, Ohio library reported seeing over 11,000 more people in the first two months of 2014 versus the same time frame in 2015.

Going Green Saves Green

All of these tips will help preserve the environment while preserving cash for the company. With such simple to implement green tips available these days, there are no longer any excuses for not joining in on the green movement. Remember that small continual contributions make a long term big impact.

Tax Audit Flags for Small Business: Reduce Your Chances of the IRS Choosing Your Company to Review.

The Internal Revenue Service plans to increase the number of audits of small businesses. Knowing and understanding what the IRS looks for can help you to decrease your chances of an audit, although this is certainly not a guarantee that you won’t be audited.

Some of the “red flags” the IRS looks for are:

  1. Handwritten, sloppy returns or those that contain math errors.

    If your return needs to be reviewed because your handwriting can’t be understood, it is sloppy or it contains math errors, they will look for additional errors as well. Filing electronically is a better choice.

  2. Large compensation for corporate officers in C-Corporations.

    When corporate officers have high compensation, it means lower corporate taxes. The IRS will flag returns showing high compensation for corporate officers.

  3. Low salaries in S-Corporations.

    Sometimes employees will take low salaries and then receive profit distribution, therefore avoiding payroll taxes. The IRS will flag returns showing low employee salaries.

  4. Using the wrong reporting system.

    There are two types of accounting methods, the cash method and the accrual method. Although any business may use the accrual method, not every business may use the cash method. Be sure to know if you are required to use a certain accounting method.

  5. Using independent contractors.

    Although there is nothing wrong with using independent contractors, some companies will pay people that should actually be employees as an independent contractor. If caught, companies will need to pay taxes back, plus penalties and interest. If you use independent contractors, be sure they should not really be listed as employees. In addition, for any independent contractor that is paid more than $600 in a calendar year, you need to complete a 1099 and send to the independent contractor as well as submitting to the IRS.

  6. Miscellaneous expenses.

    When completing your list of expenses for the year, avoid using a “miscellaneous expense” category if at all possible. Divide your expenses into categories such as office supplies, rent, utilities, etc. If you have a miscellaneous expense category, be sure to include only miscellaneous items and be sure to keep documentation.

  7. Automobile expenses.

    The IRS has certain regulations regarding the deductions a company can make regarding automobile expenses. Understand whether you need to add amounts to an employee’s W2 if a vehicle is used in part for business and in part for personal use as opposed to a vehicle owned and operated strictly for business use.

Again, understanding these red flags will not guarantee that you avoid an IRS audit, however, you may be able to decrease your chances by following the IRS regulations carefully.