Tips from one of our fellow readers:
Whether it’s a small business run out of a small office/home office (SOHO) setup, or a big enterprise, a for-profit company will always need to try to save on taxes. Saving on taxes can lead to a better financial position at the end of the year. There are rules to follow when it comes to tax savings, and these are tax guidelines which are set by the tax office. Following these rules and regulations according to their implementing guidelines, and the spirit in which they are made, can help ensure that the tax filings would not be audited. It makes good business sense to follow government rules and regulations, especially for deductions and possible tax savings.
Deductible Business Expenses
For a small businessman who works from home, one of the simplest way to have additional tax deductions is with the use of business expenses. The hard part about this is to differentiate between personal and business expenses. A procedure should be put in place early, during the organizational phase of the business, to track which expenses are personal and what are part of the normal business operations. It is the responsibility of every business owner, to track expenses. This is not any different, however, it should be done more thoroughly and in deeper detail. When doing tax preparation West Chester, working with a tax preparer or a public accountant can help clarify which items can be added as business expenses.
Science Research and Experimental Development (SR&D)
In Canada, a company can have up to 35% of investment tax credit (ITC), for doing qualified SR&D. This tax credit applies for the first $2 million of qualified expenditures. The ITC for expenses above $2 million goes down to 20%. Ask your tax preparer if you can avail of such a program.
Keeping track of office expenses for tax purposes should be common sense for any businessman. This means that for all office expenses, there should be receipts, and these should be recorded. In addition, all receipts should be scanned and saved as a computer file. On top of that, there should be an archive copy of these files for backup purposes.
Office expenses are part of the cost of doing business. These include office supplies, as well as capital expenditures. Capital expenditures can be a one-time deduction, instead of depreciated over a span of several years. Again, you should discuss this with your accountant or tax preparer to know how this works in your area.
Other Business Use of Home Expenses
Working from home means that there is a sharing of resources. These include the electricity, heating, air-conditioning, internet, water and phone use. By properly differentiating office from personal use, these expenses can be tax deducted. Other instances of home expenses which can be used for deductions is catering or entertainment expenses when business guests are entertained at home.
Running a business requires some transportation. These include traveling to and from a meeting, whether this is via the use of the car, public transport, a taxi or even flying to another city. It also means that when you deliver items and you used your car, you can deduct the travel cost.
The above ideas are not exhaustive, but can be used as a starting point for considering items which can be used as tax deductions. The help of an accountant or tax preparer would come in handy when including the above items to your tax filings.
Automating business is nothing new, but many business owners and managers aren’t sold on the idea. They predict
a job where everything has been automated and they have nothing to do.
The truth is that automation can keep you from having to expend energy on menial tasks so you can take care of tasks that require hands-on activity.
Below is a list of the top six reasons you should automate your business today:
1. Great Customer Service
By giving your customers a quick response that acknowledges them, you let them know that their message was received. Also, automated appointment reminders will make sure that you and your staff never miss an important phone call or meeting.
2. Cost Reduction
By streamlining activities and preventing your team from needing to do small, time-consuming tasks, you can reduce overall expenses. For example, keeping your administrative assistant working on important presentations instead of reminding the sales team about appointments will make you more money.
3.Reduce Over ordering or Quick Orders
Automating things like repeat supply orders can prevent human error that leads to over-ordering or urgent orders. Items like factory supplies, fuel, paper supplies and toiletries can all be automated. Very often, they are used up at a predictable rate.
4. Improve Internal Communications
Notifications to your staff regarding new projects, sales, etc. can all be automated. This allows every member of your team to get a message regarding new items that might need to be done.
5. Decrease Time Spent on Simple Tasks
Very simple tasks like sorting and responding to emails and booking appointments can be done automatically. Once an appointment is made you can use an appointment reminder software to make sure that the right people are there for the appointment.
6. Improve Customer Response Rate
One of the most frequent customer complaints is that they don’t know what is going on with their order or project. Remember the last time you placed an order on Amazon: You got confirmation of the order, the shipment, the delivery and even a follow up email to make sure you were happy. All of that was automatic. That’s what your business should be doing for its customers.
Automating a business is not difficult. The key point about automating is that by using the right systems, you can ensure that every customer touch, both internal and external, is on time and on point.
Entrepreneurs can’t avoid negotiations, and that’s a fact they can’t omit.
Now that you’re established a company, hired employees and dealt with investors, it’s time to learn how to negotiate with them and help your start-up thrive. Experts agree that every entrepreneur should have a personal negotiating style. It’s important to set yourself apart from the competition because you want to people to see something different in you, something they can’t see in someone else.
Unfortunately, today’s business world is cutthroat. With the advent of the internet, only those that can value the power of social media will succeed. Having solid negotiation skills is fundamental for entrepreneurs; apart from dealing with investors and suppliers, you will be compelled to negotiate with customers and employees. It’s them you should convince that your start-up is worth checking out.
Company owners should want to be different. They should want to use strategies and employ ideas that nobody else has had the courage to adopt. They should also want to negotiate differently. Here are some unique tactics you might want to use to win people over.
Forget about money, focus on relationship
They say money is everything in business. Well, they’re wrong! Right now, social media is everything, and you don’t need a lot of money to market your company on Facebook as long as your ideas are catchy and insightful. When people see something they genuinely like, they will instantly want to share it on the Facebook/Twitter page with their peers. During a business negotiation with another important company in the same domain, it’s best to work on win-win agreements. “You help me, I help you; you scratch my back, I scratch yours” – this should be your motto.
Negotiate and be willing to accept a lower deal
Not every company would accept a bad deal, although if you’re a new start-up, you should get all the help you need. Let’s assume you’re a shoe company with little online exposure. What can you do to make your brand famous? Be ready to spend some money before seeing returns. Here’s a golden tip to help you make a profit: negotiate with fashion bloggers – fashion bloggers have thousands of fans, so sending them shoes for free and asking them to give you a tag can boost your sales.
Basically you’re losing a few hundred dollars to get more fans. But if these new fans will like your product, they’ll be more than happy to buy it. This is how most starting companies do business. They negotiate by agreeing to a deal where they have to pay in order to see returns.
Find leverage and use it wisely
Negotiations are not about exploiting a counterpart’s weakest points. Sometimes, they’re about using an advantage to get what you want, and maybe more. Having leverage can instantly help your business thrive. If your new start-up offers something unique (let’s keep the shoe company model and assume you manufacture shoes with removable heels in different colors and shapes), this means the entity you’re negotiating with will want to have it.
And since there aren’t many shoe companies out there to offer women shoes with removable heels, this means you have leverage. Use that advantage to your favor, but try not to seem greedy. Work on a deal that can bring you benefits, but maintain a professional relationship with your opponent as well.
Don’t assume win-win deals are for losers
Sadly, many business people think that win-win deals are for losers. It’s because they assume you’re negotiating for nothing, so what’s the point of doing it in the first place if the end result is a 50/50 offer? Now let’s look at the bright side. Mutual agreements foster professional relationships; apart from building connections you have high chances of doing business with those people again. In business, relationships are fundamental. They’re necessary for your company’s success, although if you’re not being careful they can also destroy you.
If you’re an avid entrepreneur who dreads negotiations, you should consider a few negotiation trainingsessions. The internet is your oyster; search for seminars, watch tutorials with professional business people, or subscribe for a complete training assembly. The secret to mastering negotiations is to find the courage to speak up; as long as you can do that, in time all your fears and emotions will fade away.
Your job may be your livelihood, but chances are it’s also having a dangerous effect on your life and health. You might think that stress is the number one problem, and while it is high on the list, there are actually other factors that can be more dangerous to your health. Below are some of the most common job-related health threats, as well as ways you can work around them.
Heath Threat 1: Sitting
Sitting is one of the worst things you can do to your body. It compresses the organs in your torso, irritating your pancreas and obstructing your breathing. It also slows down your circulation, which allows fatty acids in your blood to clog your arteries, leading to high blood pressure and heart disease. It turns your muscles to jelly and can even make you more prone to colon cancer. Slouching makes things even worse by putting strain on your back and neck muscles. Even if you exercise every day, it’s not enough to counteract the effects of spending eight hours or more sitting at your desk.
The best solution is to spend less time sitting. You can get up and walk around every 30 minutes to get your blood flowing, or you can invest in a sit stand desk. These types of desks adjust so that you can easily go from sitting to standing, and continue to do your work. You can even adjust them up permanently and do all of your work from a standing position.
Health Threat 2: Bad Air
Most modern office buildings are sealed up tight, which means that anything that gets into the air just circulates around. To put it bluntly, the air inside most office buildings is gross.
· There are all of the gases released by plastics, cleaning chemicals, carpeting adhesives, wood varnishes and other chemical agents.
· Another issue is the bits of bacteria floating around the ventilation system.
· Office equipment, like printers, faxes and copiers and, of course, throw off dust and debris that can irritate your lungs.
· There are also your fellow coworkers, who sometimes come into work sick; a simple sneeze can carry a cold or flu to all corners of the office.
The EPA calls the health effects of bad office air Sick Building Syndrome, and it can be murder on your health.
The best solution is to work in a place where you can open the windows and get some fresh air and cross ventilation. Of course, that’s not possible for most people, so the next best option is to get out of the office as much as possible. For example, while you’re taking a break from sitting at your desk, consider walking outside for some fresh air. If you are in charge of scheduling maintenance, consider hiring a company to clean and change the filters on your HVAC system. You can also contribute to the health of the office by getting a yearly flu vaccine, and staying at home when you’re sick.
Health Threat 3: Bad Food
Working long hours at work usually means eating a lot of restaurant meals. Whether you are eating fast food, or getting carryout from a more upscale restaurant, chances are you are getting more calories, fat, and sodium than you would from a home-cooked meal. Eating out also means that you are less likely to make healthy choices, like adding fresh fruits and vegetables to your meals. There’s also the fact that eating during work often means eating on the run, which can cause poor digestion, even if you make healthy food choices.
Try to take some time each week to pack a healthy lunch instead of eating out. If you have to eat breakfast at work, stock up on foods that you can keep in your desk, or store in the fridge, and require little preparation, like shelf-stable yogurt, boiled eggs in the shell, granola, and instant oatmeal. If you don’t have time to pack, try to find nearby restaurants that specialize in healthier options. Also, try to take some time to eat and enjoy your meal, rather than scarfing down your meal between meetings.