Friday, April 26, 2013

The Person You Talk to for No Reason

Have you ever heard the expression “You are only as successful as the person you talk to for no reason”? That profound statement has some truth to it. For a small business, sometimes the least obvious interactions can provide a huge partnership, deal, or sale. You never know where the next big opportunity is going to come from. So what does this expression mean and how you can keep it in mind for future interactions?

Start with the people you interact with regularly for short periods of time: the barista at Starbucks who makes your latte, the server at your favorite restaurant, the cashier at the grocery store, etc. Of course, most of the time, you will end up with only what you expected-- your purchase--but if you keep an open mind and give them the attention and respect they deserve, you might find yourself talking business with them or at least building a positive reputation as a professional. Then there are those people you know but not well: church members, sports team coaches, school officials, parents of your child’s friends. These people may be even more receptive to hearing about how your business is going and any opportunities for them to get involved if they come up. The newest employee, someone who works outside of your department, or a contractor that comes in on a short term basis are all people you may talk to for “no reason”, but they can have valuable insights and opinions for you that you should consider.

Your success is up to you, but people can have an impact on it. What some people do affects what you do, so look at their success and appreciate it. Do not take their service to you and their interactions with you for granted. Even if no business comes from these encounters, at the very least, you will be setting an example to aspire to or brighten their day. Read that phrase at the beginning again and make it happen!

© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

Friday, April 5, 2013

Small Business Tax Time

Every small business must deal with the unpleasant task of preparing and filing their taxes each year. While the process is easier than for large corporations, it can still be more challenging than your personal taxes and confusing. If you’re new to this process or need a refresher, here are the basic steps to getting those taxes in.

The first thing you need to do is obtain an Employer Identification Number online from the IRS. While it is not required for every business to have one for tax filings, other companies may need it for doing business with you, anyway. Then you will need to gather all your sales receipts, invoices, cancelled checks, deposit slips, and other documents from the year. Hopefully, you have saved copies of these and kept accurate records, either electronically, on paper, or both. If the IRS asks you to explain anything on your tax return, these items will be valuable proof that you need.
hen you need to be sure there is a bookkeeping and accounting system in place that functions well to record all income and expenses. It does not have to be complex, but it will give you something to look back into if you are asked for further information. Finally, you may have already known this, but every new employee needs to complete and sign a Form W-4. This determines how much income to withhold for taxes before they start work. You may want to keep these tax withholdings in a separate account so you can use that to pay the necessary employment taxes.

To file your taxes, first gather and fill out all the forms you need. Schedule C or C-EZ of Form 1040 is probably what you need. This is called “sole proprietor income taxes”. Schedule SE of Form 1040 is for self-employment income. Finally, Form 1065 is for partnership income taxes.  The next step is using the IRS’ E-File system online, unless your company is required to file by mail. Filing online is faster and easier. The final step is to send every employee a W-2 form. You will also need to send copies to the Social Security Administration each year. Form 1099 goes to contractors.

In a nutshell, that’s about it. For specific tax write offs, deductions, and questions, you can explore the IRS website or consult with a tax professional. Since tax season begins in January, don’t put it off until the second week of April. Business taxes take considerably longer to process on your end and to get back from the IRS, so if you want your refund soon, get them done. There should be no need for tax extensions, although they are available for a fee. Take your time and be accurate to avoid an audit. Make it happen.

© 2013 eMarketing 4 Business LLC