Top 5 End-of-Year Tax Strategies for Small Businesses

Navigating the tax season is rough for every company, but small businesses are exceptionally vulnerable when it comes to dissecting tax issues and making optimal decisions for financial health. The time to think about tax season isn’t at the first of the year — it’s all year long, and these five strategies can help any small business plan for a simpler tax season with fewer headaches.

1. Make balancing your taxes a priority.

Traditional tax planning involves trying to accelerate deductions and credits, while deferring income. Many taxpayers are cash-basis taxpayers, which means that they get to deduct expenses when the expense is paid, and they have to declare income when payment is received. Therefore, expediting expense payments while deferring income payments can improve the current year’s tax position.

Keep in mind that the inverse is also true. If your business anticipates more significant revenue in 2016, it’s wise to collect income this year and delay deductible expenses until 2016 in order to head off a bad situation for 2016.

2. Invest in retirement now.

If you own a small business, you can create retirement plans that take advantage of tax deferral rules to maximize tax savings now and retirement savings later. Instead of trying to tackle the ins and outs of setting up a retirement plan yourself, consult a professional. There are so many different options — 401(K), SEP IRA and SIMPLE plans — that it’s worth having a seasoned expert to help you navigate the system and choose an ideal option that will serve both your business and personal financial health now and in the future.

3. Understand taxable versus untaxable fringe benefits.

Fringe benefits such as a company car, subsidized meals and insurance can be a great way to pay for services and decorate a more enticing employee package. However, these fringe benefits are taxable most of the time — unless they are specifically excludable by law. Knowing which fringe benefits linger outside the taxable realm can ease the tax burden every year. When your business understands which benefits pack this double punch, you can save money on payroll taxes. The tax rules for each are a little different, so it’s important to choose the right fringe benefit investment for your individual company.

4. Find the silver lining in a loss.

Most small businesses end up with net operating losses (NOL) during the first few years of operation. A net operating loss means tax deductions are greater than the taxable income, which usually happens when business expenses have exceeded earnings. Though this seems like bad news, NOLs can be used to recover past tax payments and reduce future tax payments. NOLs can create tax relief by applying loss to past payments and receiving a credit or by applying the net loss to future income taxes. The rules vary based on your business, so knowing how to work them can have a huge impact.

5. Invest in counsel to benefit your business.

Tax planning shouldn’t be an end-of-year scramble. Instead, it should involve a consistent, yearlong conversation with your tax attorney or accountant. It’s better for your business’s continual health — and your sanity — to work with a professional who can provide meaningful counsel on a variety of choices you make throughout the year that can drastically change your tax situation. When you establish a relationship with a tax advocate, you’re less likely to face audits and more likely to save significantly as your business grows.

Source: entrepreneur.com ~ By: Garrett and Deborah Gregory, Co-founders of Gregory Law Group

7 Ways to Bootstrap Your Business to Success

Bootstrap Your Business to Success

Most first-time entrepreneurs seem to believe the myth that they need a minimum of a half a million dollars to start a business. At least that is usually the lowest number I see requested from our local angel investment group. In reality, over 80 percent of successful new businesses are self-funded for much less — often as little as $10,000. I’m convinced this also reduces risk.

Starting a new business on a limited budget without investor involvement is called bootstrapping, and it’s the only way to go if you don’t want to spend months on the investment pitch preparation and delivery circuit. Also, with bootstrapping, you won’t have the added pressure and risk of an investor boss hanging over your shoulder and second-guessing your every move.

Over the years, I’ve accumulated a list of common startup practices from entrepreneurs who have managed to avoid the ironic pain and suffering of comfortably starting a business with a large cash stash from a rich uncle or a vulnerable investor.

1. Stick to a business domain you know and love.

Starting a new business in an area where you have no experience, just because it appears to have great potential, is a recipe for failure. There are unwritten rules in every business, and your lack of insider’s knowledge will cost you dearly. Good connections can get things done for very little cash.

2. Find team members to work for equity rather than cash.

People working with you need to understand their failure means startup failure, rather than expect money up front. Managing employees and contracts is difficult and expensive, and new entrepreneurs aren’t very good at it anyway. Equity is your best assurance of commitment and focus.

3. Build a plan around your budget, rather than around your wishes.

Entrepreneurs who start without a plan spend more money. Likewise, those who feel compelled to keep up with the popular media will spend most of their time courting investors. Most investors agree that too much money leads to poor spending decisions and lack of controls.

4. Defer your urge to find office space until you have customers.

Remote startup team members are the norm today and can be very productive with smartphones, video and the high-speed Internet. Office space costs money up front, requires equipment, staffing and travel expenses. With a website, your business can look as big as any competitor.

5. Ask for advance on royalties and vendor deferred payments.

If you solution has real value, future partners will jump on discounted future royalties, and many vendors and existing partners will understand your cash flow challenges. You may also be able to barter your services to offset theirs. It never hurts to ask. Practice your sales skills early.

6. Negotiate inventory management with suppliers and distributors.

For many products, suppliers or distributors will direct ship your product to eliminate your inventory. For services, don’t be afraid to ask for a retainer up front to offset your costs. Business terms are negotiable, but new entrepreneurs with plenty of cash don’t bother to ask.

7. Choose a business model to optimize your revenue flow and timing.

Popular examples include monthly subscription fees and optional service fees, versus one-time product sales. Another is the use of an ecommerce site, rather than retail, to facilitate product sales seven days a week, around the clock and around the world.

One of the biggest ways to reduce your budget and your risk is to use social media, which essentially is free, to find our whether you have an attractive solution, before you invest your time and limited resources in creating the product or service. Social media is also an invaluable and inexpensive marketing approach, since no one buys a solution they can’t find or don’t know anything about.

A limited budget can be viewed as your biggest constraint, or as an incentive to do things more creatively. With startups, there is a big premium on creativity and innovation. Big competitors are quick to copy a conventional solution with minimal risk. Let a limited budget be your driver to winning, rather than a curse.

Source: entrepreneur.com ~ By: Martin Zwilling

Updated 7/21/23

E Commerce Economy – Plan B?

The Evolved Economy and Isagenix

This philosophy is what changed my lifestyle from – 60 hour commuting work weeks – reporting to people and making others tons of money and me a great living but no financial security and no down time.

My life has been transformed:

  • from purpose-less to purpose-filled – knowing my future was in my control
  • I am experiencing a new level of health and wellness from the inside out
  • to feeling 20 years younger
  • I have more sustained energy – I got rid of the highs and lows still being an energizer bunny!
  • Today I am always on high sustained energy withOUT dips or exhaustion

What if just one of these changes can happen for you? WHAT IF?

Message me if just a tinch of hope was felt in your body – THIS IS THE EVOLVED ECONOMY! MY PERSONAL GOAL IS TO EMPOWER WOMAN TO AN EXTRAORDINARY LIFE WITH HEALTH AND WEALTH!!!

You know they say there is nothing sexier than a woman with money . . . and American Express just released a survey that 500 Woman a day are started home based businesses. It is also a very well known fact that Woman create wealth and use it for very good causes . . .
And, a woman that is emotionally free, caring and giving to others whether it is her family or friends with no stress of financial monthly expenses but abundance and freedom to contribute – is who I am looking to co-create a business and a life with!!

Are you up to the challenge? Contact Me

Want a lifetime of better brain function; science says change this one habit

better brain function

It’s a simple change. But not an easy one.

We all want brains that function at their best, today, tomorrow, and–we hope–for the rest of our lives. What can we do to make that happen? To try and answer that question, scientists at Massachusetts General Hospital studied 17 “superagers,” people over 65 who have the mental function of those in their 20s. The goal was to find out if there were any observable differences between superager brains and normal brains, and if so, whether the rest of us could use that information to give ourselves better brain function through the years.

The answers are yes and yes. Superager brains were thick in places where the control groups were thin. But they weren’t, as you might guess, the areas related to cognitive processes, the kinds of brain matter that may be aided by things like crossword puzzles and online brain games. They were areas associated with strong emotion, which researchers have discovered in recent years also perform other important brain functions, as researcher Lisa Feldman Barrett explained recently in The New York Times.

So how do we keep these emotional centers humming? You might think the answer would be to watch a really sad movie or throw the occasional temper tantrum, but it’s much simpler and much harder than that, Barrett says. It comes down to this: Stop only doing what’s easy and pleasant. If you’re in a great routine at work, break out of it by adding new responsibilities. If you’ve got an effective workout that you can do without even giving it much thought, add some new elements or up the ante by making it longer and more intense.

In short, do stuff that’s difficult. Challenge yourself, and keep challenging yourself until you encounter enormous frustration. And then push on through that frustration and try some more.

Whether you actually achieve your objective isn’t the point–the point is to push yourself just a little beyond your limits. In other words, get outside your comfort zone. Strangely, it doesn’t seem to matter whether the limits you push are mental or physical. Both strenuous physical effort, such as a challenging hike, or strenuous mental effort, such as mastering a difficult math equation, will do the trick. Barrett points to the Marine motto, “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” Superagers, she explains, are like Marines. “They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of extreme effort.”

Sounds like a good idea–but not sure how to achieve a Marine-like effort. Here are some ideas:

1. Learn to play a musical instrument.

Make it an instrument you haven’t played before, and set yourself the task of playing a complete piece or song in front of your family, friends, or co-workers. For extra pressure, plan a date when you will give this performance and invite your family and friends to hear you play.

2. Study a language you don’t know.

Or take a language you know a little to the next level. Set yourself a deadline to read (and understand) a book in that language. Or book a vacation to a country where the language is spoken and force yourself to talk to the locals in their native language even if they offer to speak English.

3. Sign up for a triathlon (or other challenging event).

If you’re not a triathlete and hate the idea of biking, swimming, and running, find something else that will push you to your limits. Sign up for CrossFit or martial arts or with your local hiking or skiing club. Make sure to commit to something that’s a little harder than whatever you normally do. Then push yourself to do it.

4. Get up onstage.

Does stretching yourself emotionally work as well as stretching yourself mentally or physically? Barrett doesn’t say, but it seems logical that it would. So book yourself to give a speech or lead a panel if you’ve never done it before. If you’re an old hand at giving speeches, try an improv, acting, or singing class. Just remember, whatever it is has to be a big challenge for you. If it isn’t difficult–if it isn’t a stretch–it won’t do you any good.

Source: inc.com ~ By: Minda Zetlin ~

How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year when giving thanks is top of mind. The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, causes us to think about all of the special things in our lives and express gratitude for them. This is a favorite time of year for many, in large part because we are surrounded by loved ones and visibly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.

If you’re like me, you wish this feeling could last all year long. Just imagine feeling proud, thankful, and joyful on an ongoing basis, not only during the holiday season.

A major step in that direction is developing an “Attitude of Gratitude,” according toNew York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes. Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly-inspirational new book, The School of Greatness. As Howes simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.”

But what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Here is a menu of tactics (just pick a few!) he endorses to help develop this mindset:

    • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
    • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
    • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
    • Start a gratitude journal – Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
    • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
    • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you – oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!

If the gratitude process is hard to get started, begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow. This is a mindset habit that is recommended by Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within.

Every day won’t be perfect, but focusing on what we are grateful for tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

And in addition to improving mood, recent studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude leads to better physical health as well. Paul Mills, a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, conducted studies that looked at the role of gratitude on heart health.

Among other things, he found that participants who kept a journal most days of the week, writing about 2-3 things they were grateful for (everything from appreciating their children to travel and good food), had reduced levels of inflammation and improved heart rhythm compared to people who did not write in a journal. And the journal-keepers also showed a decreased risk of heart disease after only 2 months of this new routine!

So try adopting some of the above tactics, even just one or two, in order to develop an overall grateful mindset. It takes a bit of work, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life.

Here’s to Thanksgiving all year round!

Source: huffingtonpost.com ~ By Andrew Merle

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