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Small Business Success Index 4

Index Score*   Grade
73 marginal
Capital Access 67
Marketing & Innovation 65
Workforce 76
Customer Service 88
Computer Technology 73
Compliance 92
*Index score is calculated on a 1-100 scale.

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Posts Tagged ‘Forbes’

Jill Foster – One of Thirty Women Entrepreneurs To Follow On Twitter

December 3rd, 2009 :: Steven Fisher

jill_fosterFirst she was the co-founder of DC Media Makers, then she founded as part of our small business community of blogs, then the Washingtonian recognized her as one of the Tech Titans of 2009. It is an award totally deserving of some one as awesome and as giving as Jill Foster. I mean just look at that face. For those that have met her know her infectious laugh and penchant for using midwest phrases like “Thanks for Asking” and “You Betcha”. For those of you that have not met her in person but know her on Twitter @JillFoster, it should be no surprise that Forbes Magazine recognized her as one of THE 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.

Part of a Killer Twitter Follow List

Jill who is always there on Twitter to offer help, share a great resource link or tell you what interesting event she is at along with the cool person she just met shows you why you should follow her on Twitter. She puts my Twitter usage to shame and I love that about her. It is through people like her that we learn how to properly use this medium. She has been responsible for teaching me to interact more and not just have my Twitter account look like a blog robot (thanks, Jill) and many of my followers should thank her and I have gotten a large increase since that change.

She shares this list with some great entrepreneurs and small business thought leaders. Here are a few of the others on the list:

@JackieBiz: Jackie Burgoa is a business owner and blogger who tweets about business resources, inspiration and opinions. 7,336 followers.

@LindaCSmith: Linda has an excellent feed for entrepreneurs because she constantly tweets quality resources, tutorials, tips and articles. 1,424 followers.

@NicoleSimon: Nicole is a sought after social media consultant in Europe who tweets about the latest social media happenings. 10,827 followers.

@NikkiPilkington: Nikki owns an Internet marketing company and tweets about search engine optimization. 8,884 followers.

@sheconomy: Stephanie Holland tweets about advertising, social media, branding and marketing to women. 5.988 followers.

@ShellyKramer: Shelly owns a marketing agency and shares branding and marketing strategies that work as well as those that don’t work. 22,466 followers.

@smallbiztrends: Anita Campbell is an expert on small business trends and her tweets will help you be more successful as a business owner. 30,869 followers.

@SmartWoman: Vicki Flaugher is an entrepreneur who tweets about women, business and events for women entrepreneurs. 11,084 followers.

@startupprincess: Kelly King Anderson’s goal is to empower women entrepreneurs and she tweets about various small business topics. 14,825 followers.

@WomenWhoTech: Allyson Kapin champions women in the tech industry and tweets her opinions and helpful business resources. 8,137 followers.

For the entire list of the 30 Women Entrepreneurs, check out the Forbes Article.

Last-Minute Small-Business Tax Tips

April 10th, 2009 :: Steven Fisher

Reading many articles in the last few weeks on taxes and preparing my own small business for April 15 I came across this excellent article by Forbes Magazine titled “Last-Minute Small-Business Tax Tips“. In the article there were 15 pretty straightforward tips that can help your small business with the caveat that the IRS is looking for people to grab as many deductions as possible. In the event that you get audited, have all your paper trail itemized and in pristine condition. On upside to the stimulus package they point out is that small businesses are able “now to deduct as much as 100% of capital expenditures up to $250,000-up from a $125,000 limit prior to the new law.”

Here is a portion of the tip list along with a quick explanation (see disclaimer at the end):

  1. Keep Detailed Records – See the comment on auditing above
  2. Pay Dividends This Year – Right now, the taxable dividend rate is about 15% and with the government spending going on right now, it is bound to go up. Remember that these distributions are slightly different for C corporations and subchapter S corporations, so check with your accountant on the best way to go about this.
  3. Don’t Pay Tax on Out-Of-State Sales to Your Home State – According to Forbes research “If you do business outside of your home state, you may not have to pay taxes on that income.” I would check with your tax advisor on this to be sure because if you sell all over the country, this might save you a fortune.
  4. Set Up A Non-Qualified Retirement Plan – According to Forbes, “Nonqualified plans, unlike a 401(k) or some IRAs, allow unlimited contributions and typically don’t require the level of administration that most qualified plans do”. Best part of these kinds of plans? “You don’t have to set one up for every employee-just for the folks you want and you could set up a plan whereby your contributions are contingent on an employee hitting certain performance goals. If the employee falls short, so might his retirement stash.”
  5. Shield Income With Today’s Losses – I found it fascinating that you can use this year’s loss to offset your tax bill from the previous two years and put money back in your pocket today. Get a good accountant for this one and it could pay back in a big way.
  6. Go Green – This means using tax incentives for environmentally friendly initiatives-from solar panels to energy-efficient washers and dryers that are part of the stimulus package passed in late 2008 and in effect for this year
  7. “Abandon” Your Business For the Right Deduction – This is a really interesting one because if the business is worth more to walk away then try and sell it you can count it as a ordinary income loss which means that you can use the entire loss to offset any other personal income (rent, salary, etc.). Just work with your accountant before you do it because if it is not done right and ends up as a capital loss you can only deduct a limited amount and carry it forward to future years.
  8. Go Diving for Depreciation – Section 179 of the Tax Code allows you to deduct $100,000 worth of qualifying assets during the first year up to the point where it cannot exceed taxable income. Also, as I mentioned above there are some increased deductions because of the stimulus package but we will dive deeper into that at a later date.
  9. Employ Your Children – This is a cool idea and now I know why my dad did it so many years ago. If you do it today you can get your kids to begin contributing to a Roth IRA and if you are a small family owned business you will be transferring a portion of the company’s income into a lower tax bracket. That is really cool.
  10. Simplify And Save With a SEP IRA – A SEP isn’t much different than a 401k but Business owners can claim a tax credit equal to part of the cost to set up a SEP.
  11. Opt for an ESOP – Employee Stock Ownership Plans are cool and according to the Forbes article “they work a lot like a 401(k) plan, but rather than offering shares in, say, a stock index fund, you offer slices of equity in the company. If the ESOP borrows money to purchase company shares, it can deduct both the principal and interest on the loan.”

Thoughts on this list from Forbes

As a fellow small business owner, what I get out of a list like that there are many straightforward and powerful ways to reduce your tax liability. However, only a few at this point can be done before April 15 but most are recommendations that you should look into now with your account and tax advisor.

The ones that really impress me as something worth doing is the increased depreciation amounts for the year, the “pass-back” of losses from this year to adjust your 2006 and 2007 tax years which might give you back a refund, and the SEP IRA because of the tax benefits.

Which Tips Are Useful for Your Business?

We would love to hear from you on which tips would help your business. To read the full article along with a cool slideshow, check out the Forbes Small Business site and article here.