Taking Your Business To A Better Place

After a holiday break or vacation break, we do come back to our business ready and inspired to do better.  We look for ways to improve, and we try to make less mistakes.  Not always, but a break from any business is a good motivator to come back stronger.  As you look into your business, can you see what things to improve and what things to let go? Are you inspired to try something new? 

Read more business news by following the links below.


U.S. factory orders fall; core capital goods orders revised up

WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – New orders for U.S.-made goods fell more than expected in May, but orders for capital equipment were a bit stronger than previously reported, suggesting the manufacturing sector remained on a moderate growth path.

Factory goods orders dropped 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday after a revised 0.3 percent decline in April. It was the second straight monthly decrease in orders.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast factory orders falling 0.5 percent in May after a previously reported 0.2 percent drop in April.

Factory orders were up 4.8 percent from a year ago.

Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy, is losing momentum after gaining steam since mid-2016 amid a recovery in the energy sector that led to demand for oil and gas drilling equipment.


How to take your business from small to big

Q:  I have owned two small businesses and am ready tostart another. I am wondering about growth. My businesses have always stayed fairly small. This time, I want to create something that can scale big. But how? So far, it’s not in my wheelhouse. — Manuel

A: In my book The Big Idea, I looked at people who had unique ideas for businesses and examined how they took that nugget and turned it into a brand  —  things like the Xerox machine, Velcro, Kitty Litter,the cell phone.

While that book looked at breakthrough, innovative products, the idea here is the same, namely, how do you create growth?

Let’s note up front that luck plays a factor, just as it does in life.

When George de Mestral went for a walk one day, he never expected that he would end up with burrs in his sock. But as luck would have it, he did, and decided to look at them under the new microscope he (luckily) had recently purchased.


Ask Doug & Polly: What causes most small businesses to fail?

QUESTION:  What most often causes small businesses to fail?

ANSWER: We’ve heard a lot of people say that the inability to get funding is the thing that causes small businesses to fail.

On the one hand, this may be true. If small businesses had access to an unlimited source of funds, they would never fail.

These businesses also might never make a profit, but as long as they could continue to go back to the well for more funding, they could stay afloat.

We would argue that failure to obtain funding is usually a symptom of a more fundamental problem, but not in and of itself the cause of business failure.

The more fundamental problem is that the business owner has not adequately answered the first question that every business must answer: Why should a prospective customer buy my product or service rather than a competitor’s?


 

Does Your Small Business Need Financial Help?

Do you believe your small business can benefit from a small business loan this year? Do you know where to apply for one?  Small businesses in Michigan are getting workshops and small business loans for their business to help them grow.  The requirements to apply for such loans are minimal and depending on your business, the ROI when you apply for such loans can be monumental.  For more information about this, follow the links below.


Small business owners get help and inside tips in special workshop

Small Business Workshop in Detroit’s Tech Town.

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) – Small business owners are getting ready for a special workshop designed to help them grow their companies. The event is loaded with information for current leaders and aspiring ones. CLICK THE VIDEO PLAYER TO FIND OUT WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE UNIQUE EVENT.

The month of May is considered “Small Business Month.”  The LEE Group, is teaming up with Fifth Third Bank and the Michigan Women’s Foundation, for the annual Small Business Workshop.

It’s set for Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 7:30am-1pm, at TechTown, located at 440 Burroughs, in Detroit.

The cost is $75 and includes a continental breakfast.  For more information and to register, please visit: http://leegroupinnovation.com/small-business-workshop/


Small business sales hit record in first quarter

Small businesses remain hot commodities, with first-quarter sales of companies reaching the highest point recorded by BizBuySell.com.

The internet marketplace tallied the number of transactions reported by business brokers nationwide.

BizBuySell.com counted 2,368 closed transactions, up nearly 29 percent from 1,840 in the first quarter of 2016. The improving economy is encouraging current owners to put their companies on the market and spurring buyers to look for businesses, BizBuySell.com says.

Companies that are being sold are healthier than a year ago, with an average $518,159 in annual revenue, up more than 8 percent from $478,000 a year earlier. And sellers are getting better prices; the median sale price was $237,000, up nearly 8 percent from $220,000.


NEIdeas offers $400,000 in grants to help small businesses grow

Small businesses in Detroit, Hamtramck and Highland Park can apply for $400,000 in grants to help them grow.The New Economy Initiative program targets companies that are at least 3 years old.

Applications for the NEIdeas: Rewarding Ideas for Business Growth challenge will be accepted from May 1 through June 1. Information sessions begin Tuesday.
The applications will be reviewed by a jury of local small business owners and past NEIdeas winners.Twenty businesses that gross less than $750,000 annually will be selected for $10,000 awards.
Two business that gross more than $750,000 and less than $5 million annually will be selected for $100,000 awards.NEIdeas has awarded $1.5 million to 96 local businesses since 2014 and connected others to technical assistance opportunities.


 

Information You Must Know For Your Small Business

If You Think Education Is Expensive, Try Ignorance – Famous quote

And, for many small business owners, knowing the rules and regulations concerning their business can save them a lot of money they can then invest in their business.  Tax incentives, or other type of changes that affect how they do their business, are opportunities they cannot pass up. 

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Medicare rules differ for small business owners and employees

They must enroll when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Financial advisers who work with owners or employees of small businesses that employ fewer than 20 workers should be aware of a special rule that affects these clients: They must enroll in Medicare when they turn 65 or face lifelong penalties.

Normally, workers age 65 and older can delay enrolling in Medicare, the government-run health insurance program for people 65 and older and certain people with disabilities, if they continue to have group health insurance through their employer or through their spouse’s employer.

If the employer has 20 or more employees, the group health plan generally pays first, according to Medicare.gov. But the rules are different for small businesses and the self-employed. In this case, Medicare is the primary payer and if you don’t sign up for Medicare at 65, it will be as if you have no insurance at all, warns the Medicare Rights Center.


Avoid Business Burnout: 10 Real Small Business Owners Share Their Coping Secrets

Let’s face it: nobody starts a small business so that they’ll work less and have more free time. One thing I’ve heard consistently over the years from small business owners is how much harder it is to run a business than it is to work for one. In fact, many of them describe business ownership as a job that means working from morning till night, seven days a week. A friend of mine who owns a small café recently admitted to me that he hasn’t taken a single vacation in the seven years since he opened!

All of this sounds like a surefire recipe for serious “business owner burnout.” So I decided to ask 10 real-life small business owners how they stay energized. How do they cope with those moments when they feel overwhelmed by the constant pressure, the lack of time off, and the worries that come with being in business for yourself? This is the question I posed to them: “What tactics do you use to re-energize yourself and reinvigorate your passion for your business?”


10 Reasons Why Marketing Training for Small Business Owners is Essential

It’s no secret, at the core of business success is marketing. For small businesses, marketing goods, services and their brand, is essential in reaching customers, selling products and services and generally staying afloat. Though as with any discipline, marketing is achieved more effectively when you have the knowledge and expertise about the most effective forms of advertising, promotion and public relations, hence why marketing training can prove invaluable for many marketing-naïve SMEs.

If you run a small business and your marketing efforts are either non-existent or aren’t getting you very far, it could be worth investing in marketing training. Take a look at the following 10 reasons why marketing training for small business owners is essential.

Open new doors

Being up-to-date with the latest trends, innovations, technology and developments in the world of marketing, can help open new doors for your business. You will be able to implement such innovations into your own marketing strategy, and by doing so, grow your businesses organically by reaching out to new and existing customers.



 

Small Business News For February

The United States Department of Labor said last week that claims for unemployment benefits fell by 14,000.  That means that the unemployment benefits claims in the United States fell down more than 8% from last year. The unemployment rate is 4.7 and according to economists that can be considered full employment, making it a nine-year low in the United States.

For more about this and other news, follow the links below.


Small Business Ombudsman ‘fed up’ with banks refusing to change their ways

Australian banks have plenty of critics, and now they can add the Small Business Ombudsman to that list.
Kate Carnell, who has authored a report released today into banking practices, has found lenders are not being fair when they enter into contracts with small and medium-sized businesses.

“Across the board the contracts that were in place between banks and small businesses [were] simply unfair,” she told AM.

“Banks have all the power and the small businesses have no power at all and there need to be some change.”

The ombudsman’s report into banking practices has been released today by the Government.

It found that there is an unequal relationship between the banks and small and medium-sized businesses that borrow from them.


Local restaurants joining the coalition of Small Business United Against Hate

Mike Sherwood of Pizza Nea calls it “coming out of the closet for caring.”

Small business owners have a conundrum that cuts both ways: They don’t have the money or the clout to change laws or legislation the way big business does. All they have are their voices. But if they use their voices, certain customers could turn against them.

“It’s a big risk,” says Sherwood, who came out as proudly anti-Trump on his business social media pages early and often. “Minnesota is 50/50 [politically].”

But, as another small business owner put it in a grassroots meeting on Tuesday night, “Sometimes you just have to do what’s right.”

John Sugimura owns PinkU, the modern sushi restaurant that recently opened in northeast Minneapolis. He chose the name, which means “pink” in Japanese, because in that language, it also has connotations of “peace” and “democracy.” He wanted to always gently remind himself of where he came from. Sugimura is a longtime social advocate and activist, but his recent conversion to restaurant owner has taken him out of his usual circles.


Hiring Rebound at Small Businesses in January, ADP Says

HIRING REBOUND: Small businesses more than tripled their number of new jobs in January, adding 62,000, according to payroll provider ADP. That’s up from 18,000 in December, and in line with the average of more than 62,000 per month in 2016. ADP counted the number of jobs at its small business customers, those with up to 49 staffers.

Small businesses were part of an overall trend of stronger job growth last month. ADP reported that businesses of all sizes added 246,000 jobs last month, up from December’s 151,000.

WHAT IT MEANS: The figures suggest that employers are hiring again after scaling back their payroll expansion in the second half of last year. The arrival of the Trump administration, which was welcomed by many small business owners, may have encouraged them to take some more of the risks they’ve been avoiding since the recession, including expanding their staffs. Many owners have said in surveys they’re not willing to hire unless their revenue is strong enough to justify the added expense.

WHAT ELSE TO LOOK FOR: Employment reports later this week from the National Federation of Independent Business and the Labor Department will give different perspectives on job growth, but will nonetheless help reveal owners’ sentiment about their companies and the economy. The NFIB surveys its members, while the government report will look at hiring across the private sector. It will not break out figures by company size.


 

Small Business News For This Coming Tax Season

There are not many relationships in business as important as that of an accountant or tax advisor and a small business owner during this time of year.  During the months ahead, when many small business owners are already thinking about taxes, the advice these people offered them can be a tremendous financial relief for their business. Small business owners try to minimize as much as possible the amount of taxes they pay every year. The advice a CPA  gives them can save them hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.

Talk to a tax advisor soon, prepare papers and other proper documents to take to him/her and beat the rush.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Tax season is here with rising stress levels, headaches for small businesses

NEW YORK (AP) – With the start of tax season, stress levels are rising at many small businesses.

Even owners who are organized, keep good books and stay in touch with their accountants can find compiling returns to be a painful process. One reason is that tax laws change often, says Rosamaria Bravo, a certified public accountant with the firm MBAF in Miami. One of this year’s big differences: Partnership returns must be filed by March 15, a month earlier than in the past. And companies known as C corporations have a filing deadline of mid-April, after having a March due date in past years.

“It’s very hard to stay on top of all the information,” Bravo says. “The average business owner is more worried about their day-to-day operations.”

Here’s a look at some lessons small business owners learned:

USING SOFTWARE WISELYWhen Christina Divigard started an advertising agency, she bought accounting software and began keeping the company’s books herself. When tax season arrived, she discovered that out of inexperience, she’d incorrectly entered some information and misclassified some types of deductions. It took two weeks to get her books in order.


The $83,000 Question: How Much Do Regulations Really Cost Small Businesses?

How much does it cost the average small business to comply with government regulations? One recent survey, released just in time for Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, dropped this eye-popping number: at least $12,000 a year. And you don’t even want to know what a start-up spends on regulations in its first year. However, I’ll tell you anyway — a whopping $83,019.

These figures come from the first-ever Small Business Regulations Survey, conducted by the National Small Business Association, which of course makes it its business to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses. Among other conclusions, the survey found that 44 percent of businesses spend at least 40 hours a year dealing with federal regulations, and 29 percent spend at least that much on state and local rules. Three-quarters of business owners say that they have spent time reading proposed rules at least once, and of these, not quite two-thirds discover that more than half the time, the rules they’ve read wouldn’t apply to them. About 40 percent of respondents claim that they have held off making a new investment because of a regulation at some point in the past.


Facebook’s Creative Shop: What Can It Do For Small Businesses (And Itself)

The service helps companies spruce up their ads in order to engage more with the platform—and also keep Facebook ahead of its competitors.

Baked founder Matt Lewis never thought about hiring an ad agency to help boost holiday sales at his three bakeries in New York City, but he did want to run some kind of campaign this year to get people to preorder pies for Thanksgiving.

A former ad man himself, Lewis thought he was capable of making social media content that was good enough to draw in some customers. In the past, he’s hired photographers and considered hiring a design agency to spruce up the Baked website. But the costs are high. A photographer would cost him $1,500 a day, and a video shoot, about $3,800 a day. “We don’t really have those funds,” says Lewis, whose warm smile and calm demeanor might lead you to think he’s a yoga teacher, not a baker. “There’s no return, or the return would be so small after you’ve paid everybody out. It wouldn’t be worth it.”


 

Tax Tips For the Small Business Owner

Feeling a bit uncertain about the growth of your business for 2017?  Would a bit more money in your pocket alleviate some of the financial burden you are experiencing now?  There are many advantages a C-corporation have that the small business owner does not.  But knowing the advantages your small business have can help put more money in your pocket.  Having an accountant look into your tax returns-if you don’t have the same one-can be beneficial to you.  Spotting mistakes or tax breaks you did not claim the previous years are going to be obvious to spot for the new accountant.  Don’t wait till the week before taxes are due to start preparing to file. Don’t throw away receipts throughout the year, keep them in a folder, and put them there as soon as you enter your office.  But most importantly, talk to your accountant to find ways to keep more money in your pocket.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.


Last-minute tax tips for entrepreneurs in 2016

Here’s an opportunity to save, but don’t delay.

If you run a small business, now is the time to shore up your finances and take advantage of available deductions to cut your tax bill.

Bear in mind, you’re wrapping up this year’s books. Advisors say it’s too early to see how the Trump administration will shape the tax regime in 2017.

“For 2016, we can play by the rules we have available to us now,” said Gavin Morrissey, managing partner at Financial Strategy Associates in Needham, Massachusetts. “Small-business owners should re-evaluate things in 2017, once we know the new tax rules under Trump.”

Though the end of the year is a good time for even regular 9-to-5 employees to do some tax planning, it’s especially critical for owners of small businesses. In part, that’s because entrepreneurs are responsible for paying their estimated state and federal taxes on time.

They’re also on their own when it comes to setting up and funding their retirement plans in a timely fashion.


“Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Every year, you pay your taxes. Every year, you wonder why you pay certain taxes. And every year, the process never becomes any more enjoyable. While you’re never going to welcome the action of giving the government your hard-earned money, here are several mistakes you can avoid to make the entire process less painful.

Waiting Until The Last Minute

Most tax deadlines are rigid, so don’t wait until the last minute to start. Just as you’d charge a customer extra for a quick turnaround on a project, so will your tax accountant.

Start the conversations with your accountant long before your returns are due (April 15th — or Sept. 15th for corporations and Oct. 15th for individuals, if you file for an extension). Know what inputs she or he will need, and when you’ll expect to have them. Get on their good side and your tax accountant will be more likely to try to dig up some possible deductions to save you money.


Small business owners feeling the recession pinch

ANCHORAGE – 

If you’re budgeting less for Christmas presents this holiday season, you’re not alone. Local retailers say they’re feeling the effects of the recession.

That’s no surprise to economic experts, like Bill Popp, who is president of the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. He said consumers aren’t just worried about the drop in oil prices, but also the lack of a fiscal plan at the state level.

“We know that consumers still remain relatively wary of what the future will hold,” Popp said. “They’re not sure which way it’s going to go.”

That has people watching their money more closely and it’s hurting this holiday season for small business owners, like Katie Sevigny, owner of 7E studio.

“Small Business Saturday was down and it was down for most of us,” she said, after speaking with other business owners. But she said besides the drop in sales, it’s the length people are going to for a deal that surprised her. “People actually walking into our store, trying on items, and then either taking a picture of the tag or just looking them up online.”


 

Small Business Challenges Facing the Small Business Owner

Customer Relationship Management business chart on a digital tab

Data security for the small business owner that deals with merchant accounts or other type of high sensitive information, is a very serious business.  Keeping the information secure is for many small and big businesses nothing short of miraculous.  Target, a big retail store had a security breach not long ago, and following that, had to settle a law suit because  of it.  For many small business owners, the idea of being in charge of their own data security is daunting.  The need to have a data security expert in your payroll may not be possible, but the need is real and many small business owners need to address the issue right away.

For more news about this, follow the links below.


5 Data Management Challenges Facing Small Business Owners

Small business owners must now where an additional hat – the data scientist hat.

As small business owners, we generally wear all the hats. And if we’ve grown to where we aren’t wearing all the hats at the same time, we at least rotate through them a few times a month.

One hat that is becoming increasingly important – and scary — to wear is the data scientist hat.

Although data scientists come in many forms, with varied skills, a small business data scientist is mostly responsible for parsing through and analyzing data to present key findings about a business. The goal is to use data and the findings to address challenges, find opportunities, and ultimately, help a business save time and money.

While most of us don’t have the luxury of hiring a bona fide data scientist to handle these figures, there are a few things you should know and consider as you run your business and aim to become as efficient as possible in your business functions.


7 ways to make your small business attractive to venture capital funding

In 2015, venture capitalists invested over $58.8 billion in businesses, yet African-Americans only received one percent of venture capital funding. While opportunities to grow small businesses have been scarce in the past, large investors are beginning to dedicate more attention and inclusion to minority commerce that fosters growth and success. This leaves new opportunities for African-Americans to obtain the money they need to reach more customers.

Before jumping into the big leagues of expanding your business and making a global impact, here are seven ways to attract the right venture capital players and stand out from the competition.

  1. Know Your Business

Investors are looking for companies who have studied their market, discovered loopholes and are creating a valuable solution to a problem. When presenting your plans,you must be very knowledgeable of your project and of the venture capitalist industry. Useful websites like A VCand Both Sides of the Table offer practical advice through the lense of very successful startup founders and investors. From the materials used to where investors distribute their money, build your confidence so that no investor will doubt the future of your company.


The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®: Most Still Struggle to Offer, See Value in 401(k)s

Less than a third of small business owners offer the retirement saving vehicle.

GLENVIEW, Ill.Sept. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The majority of small business owners (66%) do not offer a 401(k) plan and 42% of those not offering it don’t see the value in it, according to the August 2016 SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard®.

Thirty-five percent of those not offering a plan said the fees are too expensive, and 23% said they don’t know how to manage a 401(k).

The small business owners that do offer a 401(k) said they do so to build retirement savings for themselves and their employees, with just 5% saying they offer it to attract new employees and 6% saying they offer it for tax breaks.

In total, 28% are offering a plan and another 6% plan to add one soon, the Scorecard survey found.


 

Business News For The Small Business Owner

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It is perhaps the ability of a small business owner to keep optimism at high levels to be able to do what they do every single day.  There is no other people telling you what to do, or what jobs require top priority.    As a small business owner, the credit and blame stop with them.  There is no employee that works in a small business, that is not the responsibility of the owner.  The successes and the failures mean something else for them as well.  To be a small business owner is to be different.  To have the courage to do what many others wish to do, but are afraid to take the first step.  Read more about business news by following the links below.


Abrams: Small businesses have already won the gold

Small-business owners: If you’ve been watching the Olympics, you may be getting the wrong message. I’m here to tell you that you’re winners, even if you never get the business equivalent of an Olympic gold medal.

For the past week, I’ve been mesmerized watching swimmer Katie Ledecky breaking world records with ease. Usain Bolt running faster than any man on Earth, and smiling as he does it. Those amazing, fearless gymnasts, led by Simone Biles, risking life and limb.

But one aspect of Olympic coverage that frustrates me is when someone asks a silver- or bronze-medal winner if they’re disappointed because they didn’t win the gold.

Most of these fantastic athletes react the way American swimmer Nathan Adrian did when asked whether he was upset that he “only” got a bronze. He looked surprised, then, with an endearing grin, he reminded the correspondent that hey, he was at the Olympics and he won a medal. How great is that?


The Truth About Hiring Friends in Your Small Business

Hiring friends must be done with care to be successful.

Small business ideas are often mulled over by friends long before you take the plunge and say, “I’ve made the decision. I’m starting my own business.” Friends’ reactions may range from encouragement to total negativity, but there’s a good chance at least one friend might be interested in working for you or with you.

While mixing business with friendship can work out, many people choose to keep business separate from friendships. Business relationships gone sour can ruin relationships, and some people avoid this risk by starting out with a “no hiring friends” policy. Most people fall between the two extremes of wanting to hire friends and refusing to do so. With strict boundaries, it’s possible to successfully hire friends for your business.

Hiring a Friend Will Be Fine, Right?

Maybe? After deciding to start your own business, it’s intuitive that many people want friends on board to help build the business. And since close friends tend to be vocal supporters of your ideas, and may be willing to work long hours with little or no pay it makes the choice a quick solution.


Aetna ditching 70% of its ObamaCare business

Insurance giant Aetna won’t be offering coverage under ObamaCare next year in 11 of the 15 states it now serves — an announcement that instantly became an issue in the presidential race.

Aetna’s decision led Donald Trump to charge that President Obama’s health care reform was “imploding.”

“Aetna’s decision to leave the Affordable Care Act’s public marketplaces is the latest blow to this broken law that is slowly imploding under its regulatory red tape,” said Trump campaign deputy national policy director Dan Kowalski.

“Millions of Americans have lost their health coverage under this disastrous policy, eliminating their ability to choose their doctors. Thousands of businesses have been forced to cut employment or shutter their doors in response to Obama’s signature achievement,” he added.

The company had previously warned that it expected to lose more than $300 million this year on the 900,000 patients it covers under the Affordable Care Act.

Aetna said it is pulling out of ObamaCare markets in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

 


 

Interest Rates and Small Business Borrowing

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Many believe that the increase in the interest rate will have a minimal effect in consumers wallets, and others believe small business borrowing will have no change despite this.  Borrowing for the small business owner  they believe is not a matter of whether the interest rate is high or not, but whether the small business owner believe borrowing can benefit their business or not.

For more about this and other topics follow the links below.


Everything You Need To Know About How The Rate Hike Will Affect Your Wallet

For the first time since 2006, the Federal Reserve has announced that it will raise interest rates by 25 basis points. This means that it is increasing the target for short term interest rates to a range of 0.25% to 0.50% from a range of 0% to 0.25%.

Within minutes of the Fed’s decision Wednesday, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase and US Bancorp became the first banks to announce that they would increase their prime rate, a rate used for consumer loans like mortgages. Effective December 17, the prime rate at Wells, JPM and US Bancorp will move from 3.25% to 3.5%. Later in the afternoon, Citibank announced a similar move; many other banks are likely to follow suit.

Yet despite this and despite all the hubbub surrounding the Fed’s decision – journalists and Fed watchers have literally been talking about a rate hike for years – the immediate impact to consumers’ wallets will be virtually indiscernible. Fed chair Janet Yellen even said as much in her Wednesday afternoon press conference.


Small businesses like Nick’s Roast Beef may be easy targets for the IRS, says expert

Nick’s Roast Beef, a small family-owned business in Beverly, was federally indicted Monday and charged with reporting false tax statements.

As it turns out, Nick’s may be just one of many small businesses the IRS keeps a close watch on, according to Forbes.

Small businesses that run cash-only operations make easy targets for the federal government, defense attorney Joel Androphy told Forbes. All the while, bigger, more sophisticated businesses get a pass because the work to prove evasion can be more complicated, requiring more time and work, he said.

Many of the cases the IRS works on come from the “Whistleblower” program and involve small businesses with claims under $2 million, which is small in comparison to what some large corporations may be hiding, according to Forbes.


Don’t expect Main Street to accelerate borrowing overnight

What’s more relevant to small business lending appetite is optimism.

As years of low interest rates start to wind down, don’t expect Main Street to accelerate borrowing overnight.

There can often be a disconnect between the Fed and smaller businesses, which are driven by other variables including cash flow, business opportunities and loan availability and terms. If you’re a growing business, you’ve likely already signed onto loans. For the rest of the smaller guys, however, it’s likely borrowing will ramp up gradually to stay ahead of higher lending rates. And if anything can trigger more borrowing for small companies, it’s a more upbeat mood about business prospects.

“Business credit is so different than consumer credit. It’s driven far less by rates and far more by availability in terms of both loans and market opportunities,” said Jeff Stibel, vice chairman of business researcher Dun & Bradstreet. “Rates are almost irrelevant.”

The Federal Reserve, as widely expected, approved a quarter-point increase in its target funds rate on Wednesday. It was the first rate increase in nearly a decade.


Entrepreneurial Stubbornness – the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

59948705Persistence, not listening to the nay-sayers, determination, following your dream: All things which contribute to starting and building a thriving business. All things which are fueled by good old-fashioned stubbornness.  I have yet to meet a successful small business owner who doesn’t have a very large streak of it.  Unfortunately, that’s not always a positive.

The Good

Stubbornness is a positive quality when it’s driving you to create, build and sustain a business.  The desire to “do things my way”  is a powerful motivator.  It’s what keeps you on track to work the long hours and make the hard decisions.  It has built multi-national Fortune 100 companies, as well as the local machine shop.

The Bad

As the saying goes, “There are 2 sides to every coin.”  There’s a bad side to entrepreneurial stubbornness.  It’s human nature to become attached to our own viewpoint – not only do we get stuck in ruts, we furnish them for additional comfort.  This makes it difficult to see other’s (accountants, consultants, employees, managers) points of view and listen to their ideas. 

Ideas which are good for you and your company.  When a company is growing there’s a juncture when the owner should shift from “a one-man show” style of management to a team approach.  Many don’t make that change, they stubbornly hang on to old ideas and ways of doing things, which often leads to the ugly.

The Ugly

There comes a time when an owners’ refusal to modify his inflexibility crosses the line from poor management skills to self destructive behavior-“the old way is good enough, no  one is going to tell me what to do”.  Resulting in — due to the owner’s unwillingness to recognize and adapt to changing ideas, technologies, employee’s needs and market requirements — a bankrupt company. 

Good entrepreneurial stubbornness often turns bad and ugly over time.  Owners fail to understand that we all need to evolve if we are to thrive in an ever changing world, and we have to be willing to listen to others to do so.  As Benjamin Franklin said, “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”