Tips on getting more satisfaction out of a small business

Much like the Rolling Stones sing about not getting enough satisfaction, some small business owners feel the same way at times. The process of running a business can be overwhelming, and the satisfaction levels of business operators are not always at the optimum spot. To keep yourself satisfied with your work as much as possible, 1800Accountant recommends these tips:

– Try new things with the products/services you offer

Although we are all creatures of habit, it is common for small business owners to occasionally get a little tired of selling the same products or services all the time. If you jazz things up a bit, you can be refreshed by trying something new or different. Add a twist to a service you offer. Put in spin on a product you sell. Not only could this be good for you, but your customers may also respond in a positive manner since people tend to be curious about new things. If your business formula is working well, don’t mess with it too much, but you can still do subtle things that will make your job a little more exciting and satisfying. Coming up with a new idea that winds up being successful is very rewarding.

– Mix up your marketing

Discovering the best strategy to market a small business can be mind-boggling at times. You might spend a lot of money on marketing strategy #1 and then do something for free with strategy #2, yet the free one nets you the most leads and customers. Use variety in your marketing methods, such as using social media if you never have or exploring radio or TV ad buys. While word-of-mouth is a proven method, mixing up your strategies is smart, and it gives you the chance to be more creative. It is always quite satisfying to get a solid return on investment for a marketing campaign.

– Network with others and attend events/trade shows

At times, it’s hard to have a good understanding of how you are faring in the small business world. In fact, you just might be one of the most successful entrepreneurs in your town without even knowing it. That’s why attending networking events and trade shows is a fantastic idea for numerous reasons. You get to meet and interact with others who are just as motivated as you in similar fields. While this is a great opportunity for potential partnerships, it is also a way to see how you stand among your peers in order to find out how much of an impression you’re really making on your market. Who doesn’t like to feel good about their work when they realize how unique their businesses really are? Additionally, trade shows can give you feedback on what you sell.

– Create and maintain tight-knit relationships with your top customers

Communicating with customers may be one of the most enjoyable and interesting aspects of your role as a small business owner. You can add getting satisfaction to this list as well. When you see with your own eyes how people are benefiting from what you are offering to them, you can truly feel satisfied and at peace with your ultimate decision to go into business. In essence, a satisfied customer makes a satisfied owner.

1800Accountant can assist you with all of your small business accounting and development needs. To learn more, call 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or check out www.1800accountant.com.

Benefits of word-of-mouth marketing for a small business

Brand new small business owners often assume that they have to invest hundreds or thousands of their valuable dollars in formal marketing efforts. The good news, however, is that word-of-mouth marketing can be the best and most effective method of spreading the word about a small business. 1800Accountant explains some benefits to this concept:

1. It is almost always FREE.

There’s no specific dollar amount placed on word-of-mouth marketing. This is because your customers and colleagues are the ones doing it for you. All small business owners are looking to cut costs in all areas, and this can certainly be one way to do so. While this type of advertising doesn’t cost anything on the surface, though, investing plenty of time, energy, and money into operating a successful enterprise will ultimately lead to people telling their friends and family about your company. You have to build up this trust and credibility before you’ll start getting lots of referrals.

2. It can give your company some much-desired credibility.

If Joe recommends Company X to Jack, and Jack trusts Joe, then Jack will take his word that this small business is worth exploring for its products/services. This concept gives your business the credibility it needs to rise up among its competition. Online, print, or radio ads only go so far. However, a word-of-mouth referral means so much more because a customer can share his or her real experience with someone else. This may include personal insight on the customer service provided by the business, the personality of those who run the business, and the overall quality of what items/services the business sells. Once a small business has the credibility factor down-pat, there is really no stopping it in terms of growth.

3. It can spread like wildfire

Imagine pushing one domino into a line of 20 dominoes. After you tip one, it will fall into the others, and you’ll likely end up with a table full of dominoes that have fallen over. Believe it or not, word-of-mouth marketing and referrals is like this. Once one of your customers tells someone else about how great your company is, the next person could do so, and it could continue from person to person. Your customer base will be expanding before your very eyes. The primary reason for this is that if there’s a good new restaurant, barber shop, or store in a community, everyone will want to learn more about it if they hear positive reviews from people they personally know and trust. Remember that traditional advertising is not always visible to everyone.

4. It can benefit/supplement your actual marketing plan.

Your Internet, newspaper, radio, or TV advertising campaigns can also benefit from word-of-mouth referrals. For instance, if someone refers a friend to your company, that person may be on the lookout for any forms of regular marketing you are doing. Instead of only glossing over the ad you placed in your local paper, a potential customer might want to read more and find out additional details. This could lead to a new customer who just might turn into a return customer for you. The point is that advertising can be more meaningful if others have heard of your business through conversations they’ve had. This is why getting people to talk about you can make the money you spend on advertising so much more worth it. It simply takes time to reach this point.

1800Accountant is here to assist you with all of your small business development and accounting needs. To learn more, call 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com.

4 Tax Reduction Tips for Small Business Owners

1800Accountant offers up some simple IRS tax reduction tips for small business owners.

1800Accountant offers up some simple IRS tax reduction tips for small business owners. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

When it comes to opening the doors to a brand new small business, the list of startup costs and ongoing expenses you incur can be very overwhelming. This could even discourage some entrepreneurs from moving forward with their entrepreneurial endeavors. There is some good news, however, in terms of how you can keep more of the hard-earned money you make. 1800Accountant suggests a few tips on how to reduce your business taxes:

– Consider taking on a formal business entity structure

If you work as a sole proprietor or have a business partner in a partnership with you, the IRS is likely going to tax you at one of the highest income tax rates. Fortunately, there are options to reduce what you owe in taxes. Consider taking on a more formal structure for your business, which could lead to more flexibility, protection, and lower tax rates. Some options include adopting an LLC designation or becoming a corporation. Be sure to explore each option to see which one could offer the best tax savings for your specific situation.

– Consider all deductions on your business taxes

If you compare personal tax deductions to those for business taxes, you’ll be amazed at how different the two are. The IRS actually allows business owners to deduct a wide range of expenses that are directly tied to their ability to conduct business. With this in mind, it is a must to fully explore all potential business tax deductions that could reduce the amount of taxes you pay on the income that your company generates. The home office deduction, the vehicle deduction, meals and entertainment, and other business expense deductions are just some of the many tax-saving opportunities out there for those in charge of operating business enterprises. In the end, you just might be amazed at what you can deduct and how much more money will be in your business bank account at year’s end.

– Explore business tax credits

Tax credits aren’t quite as readily available as tax deductions in the small business space, but they are certainly worth exploring. Business owners who hire veterans or disabled workers, use energy-efficient items, or conduct specific types of trade may be eligible for tax credits that are quite beneficial to reducing how much a company is on the hook for in taxes. Some of these tax credits can be claimed just once or multiple times, so do some research to find out if you can reduce your taxes through claiming them.

– Consider using the brainpower of an accountant

While a large percentage of business owners wear multiple hats, one hat they probably aren’t too comfortable having on their head is handling the accounting aspects of a business. With that said, outsourcing your tax filings, bookkeeping, or payroll may save you both time and money. Accounting professionals who are experienced in preparing business taxes know the tricks of the trade to assist their clients in limiting what they owe Uncle Sam. Because these strategies are completely acceptable, it makes perfect sense to have a knowledgeable accountant handle your business tax returns for you. The cost of getting this valuable assistance is well worth the price for it.

For assistance on ways to reduce your small business taxes, work with the accounting and business consulting experts at 1800Accountant. Learn more by calling 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or by checking out www.1800accountant.com.

Does the IRS allow financial planning costs to be deducted?

Financial planning is a major part of looking at your current finances and ensuring you are in good shape monetarily for the future. This type of planning is particularly important for small business owners who have a whole different financial responsibility on their plate, in addition to their personal finances. Because of this, many individuals and small business owners spend money on financial planning professionals who know a lot more about mapping out the steps to take toward financial stability. So can we add these expenses to the list of items that we can deduct when the time comes to file our taxes?

How to claiming this tax deduction

While financial planning can save you money on the surface, the IRS does allow for taxpayers to also save on their taxes through the deduction of these expenses associated with investing and financial decision-making. There are two main requirements in order to claim many of these costs as a write-off. First and foremost, they can be deducted only if you claim them in the form of itemized tax deductions. This is usually done by using Schedule A of Form 1040 when filing your income taxes with the IRS. They are lumped into the group of miscellaneous expenses on Form 1040. Secondly, these expenses qualify as a write-off if they are in excess of 2% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). This 2% rule – also known as the 2% floor among accounting professionals – applies to many IRS deductions and means that certain costs must reach a certain amount in order to qualify to be written off. This amount is based on how much money you bring in each year. Such income could come from a traditional W-2 job, a rental property, or as the owner of a small business.

Financial planners & costs you can write off

There are numerous costs that could fall under the category of financial planning. From CPAs to stock brokers to basic retirement planners, the number of professionals out there in this field is tremendous. Each one specializes in a niche, and the services they offer to clients can vary greatly as well. Financial planning or investment support expenses may include a lengthy phone call you make to your stock broker to determine which stocks are making you the most money or a face-to-face meeting with your retirement planner to look toward the future. They could also include fees associated with subscriptions to Forbes magazine or other print and online publications and services that help keep you up-to-speed on the latest from the world of finances. Additionally, certain financial planners have their own specific offerings, and many of the fees for them can be deducted. Along with basic financial or tax planning expenses, tax preparation fees can also be deducted in many cases as well.

For all of your tax planning and accounting support, turn to the experts at 1800Accountant today. Call 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or click over to www.1800accountant.com.

What is the Entity Classification Election for an LLC?

LLC owners should be fully aware of the entity classification election.

Current and prospective LLC owners should be fully aware of the entity classification election, according to 1800Accountant. (Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons)

In the small business realm, a limited liability company (LLC) offers a good amount of flexibility to its owner(s). One of the many choices LLC owners have is to choose how they’d like their companies to be treated by the IRS in terms of taxes. This is formally called the entity classification election. Because of the numerous tax rules that the IRS places on small businesses, it is very important to consider the different options available and how the resulting tax structure of a business can affect the tax responsibilities of those behind it.

Tax Structures of an LLC

LLCs are classified under a few unique categories in terms of how they are structured from a tax perspective. These include S corporation status, C corporation status, sole proprietorship status, and partnership status. Choosing which of these structures to use is based on several different factors, including how many owners are involved in an LLC. The ultimate decision that leads to how an LLC is viewed by the IRS for tax purposes is known as the entity classification election. Sometimes abbreviated as ECE, this election is made when a business files its taxes using Form 8832: Entity Classification Election. For an S corporation, Form 2553 may be required to file as well, or it may be filed separately.

S Corporation Status of an LLC

As far as the S corporation structure of an LLC goes, these business entities are not taxed at the corporate level. The shareholders invested in them instead split the taxes on their personal tax returns. An LLC arranged as a C corporation is taxed at the corporate level as a separate business entity. Taxes on LLCs structured as sole proprietorships and partnerships are passed through to their owners.

Importance of the Entity Classification Election

There are several reasons why you should understand how this election works if you own or plan to own an LLC. In basic terms, the ECE is designed to communicate to the IRS how an LLC owner wishes to have his or her company taxed. This election obviously has a major impact on the tax status of the business, which in turn determines how much money the business and its owners owe in federal income taxes. Because of the advantages and disadvantages to each election option, it’s vital to look at the details of each business entity on a case-by-case basis prior to making this integral decision.
If an LLC owner does not indicate to the IRS how he or she wants such a business to be treated from a tax standpoint, it could be taxed in a way that is much less desirable and may result in a substantially higher tax rate. This is because the IRS will automatically assume that an LLC owned by one individual should be treated as a sole proprietorship, and LLCs with multiple owners are considered partnerships. Sole proprietors generally have to file their business-related taxes on a personal tax return. The same goes for partnership owners who split up their earnings and report this income on their personal returns. If the IRS defaults an LLC to one of these structures, it could lead to higher taxes and fewer deduction opportunities. This alone demonstrates why it’s so important to make the appropriate election for an LLC.

After the ECE forms are filed with the IRS, LLC owners typically get an answer back on their election requests from the IRS via mail. In general, this election can’t officially take effect more than 75 days before the date that the election is formally filed with the IRS. On the other hand, it cannot take effect more than one year after the election filing date. Overall, the entity classification election is essential to putting an LLC on the right track for appropriate taxation purposes and for future financial success.

For assistance with the entity classification election and any other small business or accounting needs, turn to 1800Accountant today. Call 1-888-749-01171-888-749-0117 or visit www.1800accountant.com.