When you are starting a business, you may have visions of retiring early or building a nest-egg to live a fancy-free retirement sometime in the future. However, most business owners find out early on that putting away cash for retirement is difficult if not impossible when you are struggling just to cover operational costs. It’s common practice to leave “Retirement” off the income statement but be warned, this is a bad habit to start and a hard one to break once cash flow does allow for investment in retirement. For that reason, you should set up a retirement plan for your business as soon as possible. According to the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Inc., even companies without employees can have plans to shelter income for retirement purposes.
“Among major corporations, 401(k) plans have become common, but even the smallest of businesses can have a 401(k) plan for retirement. One-participant 401(k) plans, known by names such as Solo 401(k) and Uni-k, are available. For some business owners and self-employed individuals, Solo 401(k)s may offer a chance to save more for retirement with tax advantages compared with other small business retirement plans.
The name is somewhat misleading, as these plans are not necessarily limited to one person. A business owner’s spouse also can participate, if he or she is an employee of the business. Multiple owners or partners, and their spouses employed in the business, can participate in a Solo 401(k). However, a business with any common-law employees is disqualified so, having an employee other than an owner, business partner or shareholder will rule out a Solo 401(k).”
If this is a confusing issue, don’t worry. That is why you have an accountant. Work with those who know your finances and your business best and set up a plan that works best for you now and in the future. Many banks have specialists in retirement and investing and they can be a good resource in setting up your plan however, an accountant that knows your business will likely be your best source of information.
As an entrepreneur, every hour of your day is precious. So whether you are planning out your time or trying to capitalize on the time you have, here are some tips to help you be more productive:
Stay Fresh – You can’t accomplish much if you are battling to stay awake. You will be working twice as hard for half the productivity if you try to work while sleepy.
Work with Rock Stars – It’s a proven fact that people who work around successful, productive co-workers, tend to be more productive themselves. Check who you interact with and do your best to work with those that will hold you accountable and positively reinforce your mindset.
Exercise – The healthier you are the more likely you will be able to endure your work sessions. Get up and move around, get more oxygen in your system. You will find clarity in your thoughts.
Productivity Overload – Don’t make productivity the goal above all else. You may find yourself spending more time trying to be productive than actually getting things done!
Track your time – You can’t manage what you don’t measure. If you identify the time you are wasting or mis-using, you can redirect your efforts and be more productive.
In case you hadn’t noticed, the world can be a dangerous place. Small business owners not only risk personal funds and their livelihoods just to own and operate their company, they also take on the risk of disasters, litigation and employee errors.
Regardless of the type of business you run there is risk and you should consider what type of coverage makes sense for your company. Here are some of the most basic types of insurance you should consider:
- Commercial Property Insurance – Your computer, manufacturing equipment, and/or inventory may not be covered by your standard insurance and without the ability to replace these items, you are most likely unable to produce revenues.
- Liability Insurance – Somebody slips and falls in your store; an employee forgets a crucial line of code and crashes a client’s network; you accidentally crush a priceless piece of artwork at a client location – All of these situations may be covered with specialized liability policies. In many cases, you will be required to carry liability coverage when working with third parties.
- Auto Insurance – Don’t assume your vehicle is covered for business use under your current policy. You may need a rider or a new policy if the vehicle is primarily used for business.
- Employment Related Insurance – Workers’ Compensation, Unemployment, Disability, Health, and Key Person insurance all fall under this category. Talk to an expert to determine which are required by law and which simply make sense for your business.
If you have a good agent for your personal accounts, they should be able to guide you on your business coverage. That said, don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals.
TED talks are quite common. It is pretty safe to say that nearly everyone reading this article has heard of, watched or participated in a TED or TEDx event. Many of us have our favorite TED talks and pass them on to others. But have you ever considered how TED talks might improve your marketing abilities?
While TED talks themselves are meant to be eye-opening or gut-wrenching, you might consider the story behind the stories. How do speakers prepare? What makes a great topic? What causes millions to view one TED talk and others to just fade away? Speakers get 18 minutes to change our world. Most of us take that long to describe last night’s dinner in a Yelp post.
Could you present the purpose of your business in a meaningful way in 18 minutes? Would it be inspiring? Is there a standing ovation or a yawn at the end of your presentation? Take a moment and put yourself in the position of a TED speaker. Challenge yourself to craft a meaningful, inspiring story about your business. It could be the most powerful marketing tool you have. Need help? Check out the book, “TED Talks” by Chris Anderson, Head of TED.
Whether you are a new start up or a seasoned entrepreneur, you should have a plan. Many of the clients we speak with enthusiastically nod in agreement with this statement but, when asked to see their business plan, they just smile, point to their head and say, “It’s ALL in here!”
Well, how many of you can tell me what you had for lunch last week or, more importantly, how much you have budgeted for your next marketing campaign. Do you know the details of your next marketing campaign?
Without a plan, things just tend to happen. You don’t control your business, you just react to your surroundings. This can be costly and time consuming. You need a formal plan, whether that is a business plan, marketing plan, strategic plan or succession plan, you need to formally write one down.
Here are some tools to get you started:
- SBA.gov – This site has an online tool that will produce the shell of a business plan for final edits.
- Census.gov – Narrow down your market, quantify the potential market and find niche demographics within your geographic area of influence.
- BizStats.com – This site will help you benchmark an existing business or more precisely project your sales growth and expense trends. Competition information is also available from this website.
Need help? Email us with your questions and we will get you started on the right path to solid business planning.
If you are an Amazon Prime member, you probably can’t avoid Amazon Prime days.
Some small businesses have figured out how to use Amazon to their advantage, some, not so much and therefore see Amazon as a monster competitor. Whether you have made money, lost money or spent money on an Amazon Prime day, here are some stats that might be of interest:
- Sales increased 60% over last year’s Prime Day (2017 vs. 2016)
- 700 Million promotional emails were sent by Amazon
- Amazon Echo was the No. 1 selling item (2017)
- 40% of buyers made purchases of $100 or more
- Consumer Electronics was the most popular category
Oh, and the last stat… there are estimates of over $10 billion lost in productivity resulting from at-work shopping on Amazon Prime Day. You know you are looking forward to the next one!
The past three years have shown a steady increase in the sales volume of small businesses across the United States. The business brokerage firm, BizBuySell recently published sales trend data on small business buy/sell transactions and the numbers point to an average of nearly 6% increase. According to BizBuySell brokers, the 2017 numbers look to continue the growth trend.
According to BizBuySell’s December business broker survey, 79 percent of respondents expect transactions to improve in 2017.
If you want to learn more about buying or selling a business, check out the BizBuySell.com website. The founder’s book on how to buy/sell a business is also a good quick-read primer for those thinking about their future as a business owner.
|Guide to Buying a Small Business
Produced by BizBuySell, the Internet’s largest and most active marketplace for businesses and franchises for sale, this guide provides a detailed overview of the business buying process.
Buy it on Amazon
||Guide to Selling Your Small Business
Produced by BizBuySell, the Internet’s largest marketplace for businesses for sale, this guide provides a comprehensive overview of the small business sales process including actionable advice and step-by-step instructions to help maximize selling success.
Buy it on Amazon
|Full Disclosure: Small Business Right is an Amazon Affiliate and receives referral commissions if you purchase any item we recommend. Hey, we gotta pay the bills, right!