Tools To Help Your Small Business Succeed

Small business owners are notoriously hard workers with long hours every single day of the week. Software tools and applications that make their business a bit easier have become more readily available with the current technology.  Documents, appointments, on line calendars and applications they can access through their phones or other devices have become commonplace.  Their business can truly travel with them, and can provide the much needed time to spend doing other more enjoyable things.

To read more about new business applications and other small business topics, follow the links below.


3 Financial Documents Every Small Business Needs

Columbia, S.C. (WLTX) – Happy Money Monday to our entrepreneur viewers. Today we’re covering the basics to help you understand the financial health of your business.

Here are 3 financial documents every small business needs:

1. Balance Sheet – This is a great way to provide a financial overview of your business. If you’re a visual person, this financial report will be easier for you to understand as it’s displayed as a chart. The left side shows what your company owns (aka your assets), while the right side will show you your expenses and equity.

2. Cash flow Statement – Similar to your budget for your personal finances, the cash flow statement shows how money comes and goes for your business. This helps you understand how your business is operating on a day-to-day basis and will help you answer the question, “How much is my business truly making?”


What is Yext and Can It Help Your Small Business?

It you’re looking for a way to automatically sync your business information across 50+ directories such as Google Maps, Yelp and Apple Siri, Yext presents itself as a possible solution.

Last week, the New-York based company filed paperwork with the US securities regulators to raise as much as $100 million in an initial public offering.

What is Yext?

Yext is a data management tool that is designed to keep track of your business’ location-related information on multiple directories. The software allows you to sync your:

  • Business Name, Address and Phone Number;
  • Business hours, products and services, holiday hours, photos and videos, staff bios, menus, and calendars;

Why your small business needs a mobile app

Many small businesses are unsure whether they need a mobile app, many believing that their mobile website is enough. Are you staying relevant?

Are you app-solutely missing the boat?

These days, we carry our smartphones everywhere. People are using them to play, order food, make purchases, do research, communicate, check reviews, read books, find love and generally get by day to day. Some people are even running their business from their phone! In fact, many of you probably prefer using apps over your desktop when it comes to things like checking emails, updating your social media accounts or checking your online banking.


 

Social Media For Your Small Business

By now, millions of small businesses have been using social media to boost their sales, their recognition, or their brand awareness.  Many of those businesses are very successful and continue to promote their business and engage their customer base using social media platforms to accomplish their goals.  Are you using social media to your liking?  Are you comfortable engaging and answering questions from customers using Facebook or other media outlets?  For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Should you be using Facebook Live for your business? Is it worth your time and effort? According to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), videos (live and otherwise) are viewed more than four billion times per day. And with Facebook giving priority to live videos in the news feed, you certainly may want to consider this service for getting your business message out.

So how can you make use of Facebook Live to engage with the platform’s over 1.1 billion active daily users, or at least those users who are likely to be customers? Here are a few tips.

Ways to Use Facebook Live for Your Small Business

Give an Inside Look at Your Business

As with Instagram Live or Periscope, you can use Facebook Live to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business and how it works.

You can also use the service to focus on an aspect of your business that your audience would be interested in.


Small Business: How do you become a ‘Social Media Maven’?

Stephanie Boyette Nelson, owner of SBN Marketing, calls herself a “Social Media Maven.” She is highly skilled in social media and search engine optimization (SEO). We met at Earl’s Grocery to talk about how keyword-rich contents help match people to a business. SBN Marketing capitalizes on the algorithms used by Google and other search engines to rank websites.

Nelson, 41, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication from UNC Chapel Hill. After graduation in 1997, she started in a sales position with Philip Morris tobacco company, but quickly realized that it was not for her. She moved through several positions in corporate America, all the while developing her marketing skills through seminars and hands-on experience. Nelson noticed how the marketing world was changing from the traditional hard copy mailers to online platforms.


2 Ways Small Business Owners Can Reclaim Time Through Technology

It’s common knowledge that small business owners wear multiple hats. It’s part of the excitement and challenge of building your own business. But while it’s fun and rewarding to develop a strategy, work with clients, carry out marketing plans, improve your offerings, and track finances, it’s also time-consuming. Sure, most entrepreneurs can move mountains, but the last time I checked, there were still only 24 hours in a day.

Finding enough time in the day to check off important tasks is a huge challenge for small business owners. Prioritizing and trusting your intuition to determine what needs to be done (and when) is a constant juggling act. Still, even the most intrepid, energetic entrepreneurs can’t keep all those balls in the air forever. Sooner or later, they realize that there’s too much work to be done and not enough time to complete it.



 

Small Business Lending

According to the FDIC website, as of September 30, 2016 there were 5,170 FDIC insured commercial banks. They gave a total of 8,544 loans as of the third quarter of 2016.  You might think that with so many banks, and loans given every year to business, there would be a surplus of loans for the small business owner.  That is not always the case. Some small businesses have a lot of  trouble getting a small business loan, even though news around the country claim small business borrowing is increasing.

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

 


13 top U.S. microlenders for your small business

What is a microloan, and is one right for your small business?

If you’re a small-business owner on a quest for capital, there are several smart reasons to turn to nonprofit microlenders. These lenders go beyond making small loans to entrepreneurs and provide some benefits that traditional lenders don’t:

Profit is not their objective. Many microlenders are called mission-focused or mission-based lenders. They offer loans from government or nonprofit programs geared to helping disadvantaged communities, including areas that are struggling economically. Some microlenders also operate internationally, helping entrepreneurs in developing nations.

Many microlenders and nonprofits provide pro bono consulting and training, including helping small businesses build credit.


US small business borrowing rises as Trump elected president

Borrowing by small U.S. firms ticked up in November, data released on Thursday showed, as Americans unexpectedly elected Republican Donald Trump as their next president and investors bid up U.S. stocks on bets that tax cuts will boost profits.

The Thomson Reuters/PayNet Small Business Lending Index rose to 129.9 in November from a downwardly revised 119.8 in October. Measured from a year earlier, it was the first increase in six months. Movements in the index typically correspond with movements in gross domestic product growth a quarter or two ahead.

“Right now we’ve got this post-election bounce, because we know who will be in office,” said Bill Phelan, PayNet’s chief executive and founder. “Is this going to continue into a new era of growth or no? That’s unclear.”


Small Business Health Reimbursement Accounts Resurrected For 2017

Stand-alone HRAs are back for 2017. Employers don’t have to wait for the repeal of Obamacare to fund stand-alone health reimbursement accountsthat employees can use to pay for medical expenses, including health insurance coverage on the individual market. Tucked into the year-end 21stCentury Cures Act, Congress resurrected these HRAs (“qualified small employer health reimbursement arrangements”) for employers with fewer than 50 employees.

“I’ve been contacting small employer clients, telling them, ‘It looks like we can bring your plan back to life,’” says Amy Gordon, an employee benefits lawyer with McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago. “This was an unexpected surprise.”

Stand-alone HRAs were banned under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) because they didn’t meet credible coverage rules (HRAs tied to high-deductible health plans and limited HRAs which cover retiree medical expenses or just dental and vision weren’t banned and are still viable). Employers had to freeze stand-alone HRAs and not make any more contributions to them.


 

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.


 

Small Business Hiring And News

64002400Small business owners across the United States are being careful after the dismal reports of hiring across the country.  They are holding off any hiring they may do, and are still reticent to make any moves that will put their financials in jeopardy.  Economic growth seems to be inching forward a bit slowly, and some small business owners are still holding off till elections are over.

To read more about this and other stories follow the links below.


Dear Donald Trump: I’m a Small Business Owner, and I Want More Regulation

We love the election-year attention but the presidential candidates are focusing on the wrong things

In election years, I love calling myself a “small business owner.” It’s the one time when the act of selling falafel, building a website or otherwise trying to make a buck comes off as heroic. We’re the “backbone” of the economy, you know, and the “heart and soul of equal opportunity,” as Fran Tarkenton told the Republican convention.

It’s the season when politicians shower us with love and policy papers. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have put forward proposals to make our businesses great again, together. I prefer Clinton’s, but mostly I think the election-year pandering to small businesses misses what really matters.

 Trump, like most Republicans, focuses on tax relief. He proposes lowering the top rate for pass-through business income to 15%. This doesn’t move me. Why? My company doesn’t earn enough for the proposal to make much of a difference, as is true for most small business owners. The lion’s share of pass-through income is earned by a small percentage of businesses, which means wealthy individuals would catch a giant tax break while the majority of small business owners are unaffected.

Columbus, Ohio: A growing mecca for small business

In a prior life, Joe DeLoss worked as a banking analyst, but today, his day job couldn’t be more different. DeLoss owns the wildly popular Hot Chicken Takeover in Columbus, Ohio, serving up Nashville Hot Chicken, a spicy style of fried chicken.

 But it’s not the leap from banking to fast food that makes his story so interesting. It’s the fact that his two-year-old restaurant is staffed by a nearly 50-person workforce that has largely experienced incarceration. Some employees have criminal arrest records, while others have served time for everything from misdemeanors to felonies. DeLoss admits they might be overlooked by other employers, but he’s a firm believer in second chances. Make no mistake, though; it’s no charity.

“We created Hot Chicken Takeover to be a fair chance employer. A large part of our workforce has been affected by incarceration in the past, but it’s not what defines our future. We have a team that works harder, is more productive and more motivated than most people in our industry,” DeLoss said.


 State lawmakers OK parental leave for small-business workers

SACRAMENTO — California parents who work for small businesses would be eligible for six weeks of job-protected leave under a bill heading to Gov.Jerry Brown.

The bill was among the myriad of proposed laws sent Wednesday to Brown on the final day of the two-year legislative session. Brown has until Sept. 30 to act on the hundreds of bills on his desk.

With Wednesday’s adjournment, lawmakers concluded a year in which they raised the minimum wage, extended greenhouse gas reduction targets to 2030, added gun control measures and approved $2 billion in bond money for housing and treating mentally ill Californians who are homeless.

On a lighter note, lawmakers approved a bill Wednesday declaring denim as the state’s official fabric under AB501 by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael.

 


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.

 


 

Ohio Business News and other Stories

business (5)News about  Ohio’s small business and personal income tax deductions have been updated and are found at the Ohio’s department of taxation website.  If you are not sure what deductions to take or your business is allowed to take you must contact your tax advisor for information about it to make sure that you have indeed all correct information.  For more news about Ohio follow the links below.


Kasich Plans Small-Business Swing To 3 Ohio Cities 

HAMILTON, Ohio – Ohio’s governor will focus on small businesses in a swing through three western Ohio cities.

Gov. John Kasich has Tuesday stops in Hamilton, the Dayton area and Tipp City. The Republican is seeking re-election this November. He will begin the day at Hamilton Caster, a business that makes casters, industrial wheels and other products and dates back more than a century in the Butler County seat.

A campaign announcement with the National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio is planned there. The small business association recently announced its endorsement of Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine’s re-election.Kasich also plans to meet with owners and patrons at a Dayton-area bowling alley, followed by a small-business panel discussion in Tipp City.

Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald is challenging Kasich this fall.


Ohio ~ Personal Income Tax: Small Business Deduction Discussed

The Ohio Department of Taxation (DOT) has updated its web page dedicated to the small business personal income tax deduction. The DOT notes that virtually all small businesses in Ohio are now eligible for a 50% tax deduction on the first $250,000 of business income.

The DOT reminds taxpayers that the small business deduction enables a business owner to deduct 50% of Ohio net business income from the adjusted gross income they report on their Ohio personal income tax return. If the business has multiple owners, each is eligible to claim the deduction. The 50% deduction is available on up to $250,000 in business income, meaning the deduction is capped at $125,000 for each investor or owner.

For taxable year 2014 only, the small business investor income deduction will increase to 75% of a taxpayer’s small business income of up to $250,000. The deduction will be limited to $187,500 for individuals with a filing status of married filing jointly or single. For individuals with a filing status of married filing separately, $125,000 is the maximum income subject to deduction which allows for a deduction of up to $93,750. The DOT notes that at this time, the temporary increase in this income tax deduction is authorized for tax year 2014 only.


Ohio’s candidates for governor cite favorite statistics on economy 

Go to any speech by Ohio Gov. John Kasich and you are guaranteed to hear how the state has gained 250,000 private-sector jobs since he became governor, compared with the 350,000 lost under his Democratic predecessor.

Democrats will point out that job growth began during the final part of Gov. Ted Strickland’s term: Ohio’s national ranking was better in the Democrat’s last year than in Kasich’s past year.

Both contentions are true. That’s the challenge of comparing economic plans: Since both sides know that employment is easily the top issue among Ohio voters, the political handlers furiously churn out a whirlwind of statistics to make the case for their guy.


Oil Dreams Fade in Ohio

These are some of the news for Ohio that is making headlines.


In Ohio, Oil Dreams fade amid ‘disappointing’ drilling results

FRACKING: Optimism over an Ohio oil boom fades  as drilling companies sell off leases after disappointing early results: “It’s not as good as we thought it was going to be.”


Ohio Utica Shale oil dreams fade as drillers pack up

U.S. drillers that set up rigs amid the rolling farmland of eastern Ohio on projections underground shale held US$500-billion of oil are packing up.


A homegrown revival of the rubber industry in northeast Ohio 

In a typical week, the show will cover not only all the big news stories, but also the stories behind the stories, or some of the less crucial but equally intriguing things happening in the world.