Posted by admin on July 20th, 2017

How to Pay Yourself When You’re a Sole Proprietor



Getting paid when you work for yourself isn’t as simple as it may seem. Sole proprietors should follow these guidelines for paying themselves in a way they don’t get in trouble with the IRS or other government agencies.

How do you get paid when you start a one-person, unincorporated business? It seems pretty simple, right? You sell or do something and get paid. That’s how self-employment works, right?

If only it were that simple. Any time you’re getting paid for something, the IRS along with a few other federal, state, and local agencies want a piece of it. For tax purposes, if you’re running the business as a sole proprietor as many freelancers, consultants and independent contractors do, you don’t pay yourself a salary and can’t deduct your salary as a business expense. Instead, your personal income from the business consists of the business profits and those get added to your personal income tax return.

So how do you work it out when you can’t wait until the end of the year to pay yourself? How do you set things up so you can pay yourself on a regular basis and make sure the business expenses are tracked in a way that makes accurate reporting to the IRS and other agencies easy at the end of the year? Here’s the best way to handle things.

RELATED: Top 5 Invoicing Programs to Help You Get Paid Faster

Am I a Sole Proprietor?

First, you need to be sure you understand what a sole proprietor is. According to the IRS, “a sole proprietor is someone who owns and operates an unincorporated business by himself or herself.” The business can have a name that’s different from your given name (or not – that’s up to you). But even when the business has a distinct name, if you are the only owner and haven’t incorporated the business, all the profits of the business pass through to you and are reportable on your personal income tax forms.

As a sole proprietor (or self-employed individual) you will need to pay state and federal income taxes on all the profits, and you will also need to pay a self-employment tax. (The self-employment tax is simply Social Security and Medicare taxes for the self-employed.) Since your “salary” when you are self-employed is actually the profits from the business, the self-employment tax is calculated on the business profits.

Separate Business Money Matters from Personal

As a business owner, you’ll need to keep accurate records of your income and business expenses. Doing that will be extremely difficult if you put all your business earnings into the same account you use for personal expenses. Comingling business funds with your personal account may also make it more difficult to prove expenses were strictly for business if they look like personal expenses.

To keep things simple for yourself, your accountant, and the IRS, open a checking account for the business. If you aren’t using a business name, open the account in your own name, but be sure to use it only for the business. If you are using a business name (ie, Joe’s Clam House), the bank will require a copy of a DBA certificate (certificate saying you’re doing business under a fictitious name) or a business license, or both. (Check with your bank to find out what they’ll need. Some banks may require a DBA certificate for a business even if the business “name” is your name.)

Use this business account to deposit all income from the business. Checks, ACH deposits, credit card sales receipts, and any other income should all get deposited into this account. Pay all the business bills from this account as well. Your bank statements, along with records you keep about income and spending, will give you and your accountant a clear picture of how much the business earned, how much it spent and what its profits are. (If there’s a business name on the account, it will also help your business look more established to customers.)

If your business is homebased, get a separate phone line for your business. You’ll be able to deduct the entire cost of the business phone – plus you can then answer all calls with your business name so you sound more professional.

If you will be charging any business expenses, get a separate charge card for use by the business. Chances are the credit card will be issued in your name, not the business’ name, or if the business name is on the card, yours will be too. Use this credit card only to buy products or services for your business. Do not make any personal purchases with the card. That way, you’ll know that everything charged to that card is for the business.

Use an accounting program to record all the deposits and withdrawals from the business checking account. Use the accounting program to characterize the nature of the expenses as you pay them. (ie, website hosting, office supplies, accountant’s fees, etc.) Doing so will let you see at any time what your profit (or loss) is. Tracking expenses like this in your accounting program will also make it much easier at the end of the year to categorize your spending for tax purposes. It will also help you budget for the next year and analyze your spending patterns.

Paying Yourself

As a sole proprietor, you can pay yourself whenever you want (and the business income allows). Ideally you’ll do this on a regular basis. When you do pay yourself, you just write out a check to yourself for the amount of money you want to withdraw from the business, and characterize it as owner’s equity or a disbursement. Then deposit the check in your personal checking or savings account.

Remember this is “profit” being withdrawn, not a salary. So no Social Security or Medicare come out of your check. But you will have to pay those taxes (the self-employment tax), so remember to set aside money to cover the expense. Once the business is profitable, you’ll be paying these amounts quarterly in the form of estimated taxes, but in your first year of business operation you may not have to pay anything until you file your annual return.

If you have expenses that will ultimately be shared between personal and business accounts, (ie, the cost of Internet use, if your home-based business uses the same Internet connection the family does) those costs won’t get recorded in your accounting program. You’ll calculate them at the end of the year when you prepare your taxes, and take a deduction for them on the Home Office Deduction tax form.

© 2016 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.

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Posted by admin on July 20th, 2017

6 Tips for Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs

Sponsored by Kabbage

In addition to all of the typical concerns and struggles that a business owner might have to contend with, female entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges when it comes to launching a successful startup. Though it may not be easy for women to make it in the competitive business world, it is not impossible. With a little planning, the right mindset, and a positive support system, women can overcome the difficulties of entrepreneurship and build a thriving business.

Here are just a few tips for aspiring female entrepreneurs who are ready to bring their ideas to life and build a successful company:

1. Build your professional network.

Building a professional network is an important part of becoming a successful entrepreneur as it opens up new opportunities for your business and allows you to gain important insight from those in your industry, other female professionals, and entrepreneurs who are thriving. Becoming an effective networker is a learned skill and requires quite a bit of practice. When building your professional network, utilize all of the opportunities you have to meet other professionals. There are many ways that you can build your network, including attending networking events, joining community organizations, participating at important industry conferences and tradeshows. Female entrepreneurs should also use social networks like LinkedIn to reach out to other female entrepreneurs and industry leaders.

2. Find a mentor in your community.

While building your professional network, you want to surround yourself with people who support you in your mission to pursue your passions. Finding a mentor is an important part of this process. Your mentor has been in your situation before and knows what it takes to persevere and succeed in the business world. A quality mentor can help you navigate issues both big and small by offering advice and being there for you when you need it most. You can gain knowledge from their advice and experience by learning from their mistakes and successes. No matter what issues you face in business or what personal questions you may have about entrepreneurship, a mentor can help guide you and support you in achieving your goals as a female entrepreneur.

3. Take advantage of the wealth of funding opportunities.

The financial technology industry, or fintech, has opened up a variety of opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to make their business dreams a reality. The advancements in lending as a result of fintech have provided more funding options than ever for women business owners. In addition to special business loan opportunities just for women, female entrepreneurs are now able to apply for a business line of credit easily and quickly through a convenient online application process that provides a decision in a matter of moments. With lending options like this, women business owners have access to the funds they need when they need them most, allowing them to pursue business opportunities and grow their company.

4. Work on developing successful time management skills.

Time management is essential for success in nearly every professional endeavor, but it can make or break an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs, especially those just getting started, are faced with a long to-do list that they need to complete with limited time and resources. Before you launch your startup, work on practicing effective time management skills and learning new tips and tricks for managing your time. Make use of apps and other software that can help you better streamline processes and make the most of your limited time and resources. Aspiring female entrepreneurs also need to learn how to prioritize tasks and delegate responsibilities. Female entrepreneur, Kwany Lui, co-founder of Bundle Organics, offers this advice: “You have to evaluate what activities are really going to make an impact on your business and focus your time accordingly.”

5. Go to events in your industry.

Going to events in your industry is a great way to expand your professional network, and it gives you the opportunity to speak with individuals who are using or may be interested in your product or service. Connecting with others at an industry event allows you to gain important insight about how to improve your products or services as well as the chance to see the latest and greatest advancements in your industry. As a female entrepreneur, you can see how others are overcoming challenges and solving problems in your industry while also exposing new leads to your product or service and meeting others who are making big moves within your industry. Even if you have not yet launched your business, attending industry events can help you better understand what is in store for you and your company.

6. Know when to ask for help, and seek assistance when you need it.

Many female entrepreneurs are determined to prove themselves, which can be a great motivator for success. However, starting your own business is hard work, and the most successful entrepreneurs know when to ask for help. Asking for assistance when you need it is a sign of good judgement and awareness, not a sign of weakness. Female entrepreneurs need to be strategic and understand when and how to ask for help when they need it. This is where having a mentor and large professional network can come in handy. Not only can a mentor and your colleagues offer advice when you are facing difficulties, but these business professionals may also be able to provide help when you are experiencing challenges that require assistance.

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Posted by admin on July 20th, 2017

Living the Dream at Age 19How a teenage influencer became an entrepreneur



How does a teenager achieve social media influencer status, attract sponsors and become a successful entrepreneur? Here’s how Mike Hammontree did it starting at age 15 using the apps on his smartphone. 

Do you know a teenager who seems to spend all their free time taking videos of themselves and their surroundings and posting them to social media? If you’ve rolled your eyes a time or two and wondered why they can’t find something more constructive to do, consider this: They may be a budding – or even an established – entrepreneur. The videos of their new sneakers or backpack, the snacks they’re eating, or the new solar phone charger that arrived in the mail could be the source of funding for their education, for buying their dream car, or for opening their second or third business location.

Mike Hammontree is a perfect example. In 2013, Hammontree, then 15 years old, was hanging out with his cousins, Josh Saenz and Ryan Fenwick, in Lansing, Michigan. On a lark, the teens downloaded the Vine app onto Josh’s phone. Later that night they started making videos.The three had no special plans for the videos; they just tried to create and post something funny every day. After they had been doing this for 2 weeks, one of the videos went viral, quickly getting 50,000 likes on Vine.

That Vine hit attracted followers to all their accounts, and motivated Mike to continue posting on his own account. Before long one of his own videos scored more than 40,000 likes and gained him 10,000 followers overnight. Within a few months he had 40,000 followers. That’s when sponsors starting knocking on his virtual door and he began promoting them not only on those early Vine videos, but also on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Wundr MagazineThose sponsorships were the first stepping stones in a journey that led Hammontree to co-found two related businesses, Wundr Media and Wundr Magazine. He and co-founder Kona Kamai launched Wundr Media in the summer of 2015 (when Hammontree was 17 years old). Wundr Magazine became available in prelaunch in 2017.

What about Hammontree’s cousins who co-created those very first Vine videos? Ryan Fenwick, Josh Saenz, along with Brandyn Saenz and Akil Wade founded their own social media company, Bava Media in 2016. Bava Media and Wundr Media work together on some client projects.

How did he do it?

The large number of followers Hammontree was accumulating led him to be discovered by Mike LeMieux, who at the time worked for Instafluence, a company that connected marketers with social media influencers. “He [Mike LeMieux] got me sponsorships from P3 by Oscar Mayer, Badoo App, Jelly Splash, Hot or Not and a few other companies,” Hammontree explains. “He introduced me to the world of advertising — that you could actually make money with social media.”

Some six months later, Hammontree started getting sponsors on his own, running influencer campaigns for Fortune 500 companies and smaller companies that wanted him to promote their brands to his followers on all his social media channels.

Strategy for getting sponsors

Having a lot of followers on social media is one of the keys to getting companies to pay for influencer campaigns, but followers, alone, aren’t enough. To get sponsorships you have to accomplish two other tasks, too:

Hammontree has had the most success finding corporate contacts by contacting the public relations department of companies he wants to work with. Sometimes that’s an in-house public relations staff, and sometimes it’s outsourced, he explains.

To get attention from the public relations department, “You need a pretty good pitch and you need to be in touch with what the brand is all about. Then you have to cater your pitch to the brand,” Hammontree explains. “It’s all about showing a company what you can provide….These are my social media profiles, here’s some of the work I have done in the past. Here’s what I have in mind for your company or brand and how I’d promote it, and why the brand would benefit.” 

If the public relations department is impressed with your pitch and they aren’t the right people to speak to, they may direct you to an ad manager, brand manager or social media manager for the corporation, he says.

Behind the scenes

Besides learning how to pitch influencer campaigns, Hammontree kept working to improve his camera and editing skills. He bought better camera equipment, and started doing longer commercials for companies. It was on one of his gigs that he met Kona Kamai, and after talking about the possibility building a business together based on their skills, the two joined forces. Kamai, who is the CEO of Wundr Media and Wundr Magazine, handles “business” side of things, including managing relationships with clients, employees and freelancers, while Hammontree is more involved with the creative side and marketing. Hammontree’s fiancé, Jewel Larner, who he also met through gigs he was doing, is senior brand and client manager with Wundr Magazine.

Wundr Media and Wundr Magazine both focus on travel, style and the “good life” for a target market that includes teens and people up to about 35 years old. They plan to start producing a documentary movie soon, too. Hammontree maintains a personal vlog on YouTube, as well. He and the Wundr Media team travel frequently on shoots, but they also have a network of freelancers and contractors around the world that they call on when necessary.

Advice to other teens

Hammontree believes teens should be looking for opportunities to succeed. “I see people my age throwing their lives away, not doing anything,” he says.”But you shouldn’t take things for granted…take every opportunity you can get.

“If you have a dream, follow it. If you don’t follow your dream it will haunt you. You’ll never know what the outcome could be.”

His second piece of advice for entrepreneurial teens is to “ride the wave.” It was the Vine videos that led him to discover marketing and influencer campaigns, and those led him to meet Kamai, and that led to forming the media company, and then the magazine. “I never imagined it would have led to any of this,” he says. “I drive my dream car, I travel… I’ve been able to accomplish things I dreamed about when I was 10 years old. “

Hammontree, who says his parents and family have been behind him 100 percent urges teens do to everything they can to live up to their full potential. “Try it [reaching for your dreams] while you’re young and have some backing from your family.It’s better to fail now than when you are 30 or 40 and have a spouse and children and other responsibilities. Every failure is only a step towards success.”

© 2017 Attard Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission from Attard Communications, Inc.

About the author:
Janet Attard is the founder of the award-winning  Business Know-How small business web site and information resource. Janet is also the author of The Home Office And Small Business Answer Book and of Business Know-How: An Operational Guide For Home-Based and Micro-Sized Businesses with Limited Budgets.  Follow Janet on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/JanetAttard.

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Posted by admin on July 20th, 2017

Lean Out: Five Questions Every Female Entrepreneur Should Ask



If your career isn’t advancing as fast as you think it should, it might be time to consider starting your own business. Before you do, ask yourself these five questions. 

Do you feel stalled in your career? Do you feel underpaid, overworked, and without flexibility and autonomy over your time? If the answers are yes, then it may be time for you to lean out. Adding to that, if you have a personal passion that you want to turn into your own entrepreneurial venture, then for sure it is time for you to “lean out.”

While entrepreneurship may not be for everyone, there are many reasons why it may best thing for you. Some women seek independent work to have more time with family and to achieve a better, more fulfilling work/life balance. A study released by the National Association of Women Business Owners reveals that 65 percent of the women surveyed desire more flexibility and control over their time.

While the biggest reason (for 92 percent) women gave for independent work was that they wanted to do something they were passionate about, it was also followed closely by the ability to be in charge of one’s decisions and the potential for higher earning power.

Women also feel the draw to explore a new professional journey when they cite “office politics” as a catalyst for leaving their corporate jobs to start new businesses. A study from The Guardian Life Index revealed that many women view corporations today as being fundamentally flawed and limiting in their value structures. And with the cost of starting a business at an all-time low, women are saying “no thank you” to spending years climbing and clawing their way up the corporate ladder, dealing with corporate politics, and working long days without feeling the overall fulfillment they crave.

The corporate world does not always fully recognize women’s contributions or does not create a hospitable climate for women to succeed at the highest levels – whether it’s gender discrimination, family-unfriendly policies that punish women who choose to take time off to care for children, or just an overall culture that only rewards those who “lean in.” When faced with this type of a corporate employment environment, being independent and starting your own business, a step towards your “lean out.” becomes an important life goal.

As you consider joining the ranks of the already 10 million female owned businesses in the U.S., there are five key questions you should ask yourself as you decide if it’s your time to “lean out:”

The entrepreneurial journey is not an easy one. It requires determination, time, hard work and leadership. But if you said yes to the above questions, it’s your time to “lean out,” and turn your dreams into reality!

Business Know-How/Attard Communications, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Business Know-How/Attard Communications, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Felena Hanson is the founder of Hera Hub, a spa-inspired shared workspace and community for female entrepreneurs and author of Flight Club – Rebel, Reinvent, and Thrive: How to Launch Your Dream Business, which provides tools and resources to women in every stage of launching their business. For more information, please visit, www.herahub.com and connect with Felena on Twitter, @felenahanson.

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Posted by admin on July 19th, 2017

5 Reasons to Use Postcards For Marketing

When considering different forms of advertising, always think about postcards. When I refer to postcards I mean 4 inch by 6 inch (4″x6″) flyers. I have many reasons to use them, especially in small business marketing, and I have found them to be very effective. Here are five good reasons why postcards should be included in your marketing campaign.

Reason #1: Low cost to print.

4″x6″ postcards are pretty inexpensive to print in comparison to most other printed items. I can have a box of 5,000 cards designed, printed, and delivered for under $500. Brochures can cost that much for 500. When dealing with small business marketing, these flyers can save a huge amount on marketing and printing costs.

Reason #2: Size.

I’m sure everyone has seen a 4″x6″ flyer at some point. Many times they are placed on your car or left in your door. These flyers are easy to handle, distribute, and save. If someone receives a 4″x6″ flyer with coupons on it, they are more willing to save it than if they receive the same coupons on an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper. Obviously, everyone will have different reasons for using flyers, but 4″x6″ postcard-size flyers are effective in just about every situation.

Reason #3: Postage Costs.

Postage goes up quite often. It seems like every time I go to the post office, it has gone up again. When determining how small businesses will market to their target markets, postage is always part of the equation. If you are mailing a 4″x6″ flyer, it will cost you the postcard rate, not regular first class, which saves you almost half. Many people tell me they use a mailing house and it helps reduce costs, but I have used them before also. The savings you receive in postage is usually eaten up by the mailing house’s fees, and even before those fees, you still save money with 4″x6″ flyers.

Reason #4: Quality.

4″x6″ flyers are used quite a bit, especially by the entertainment industry. For this reason, there are many printers available for 4″x6″ flyers. You have to be selective in choosing your printer, but the better printers provide a top-quality finished product. The price I quoted earlier is for UV-coated, 14 pt stock, and full-color on both sides. Most small businesses struggle with price of printing because they usually can’t order large quantities. They usually end up using weaker quality products to save money, but 4″x6″ postcards can be top-quality and still save money.

Reason #5: Attention-Grabbing.

Many direct mailers tell me I should send a letter, sample, pen, and other garbage in an envelope. Besides the outrageous cost this brings, it weakens the response. People see a marketing piece in the mail a mile away, including postcard flyers. Will they take the time to open the envelope, maybe. Will they read the postcard flyer because the information is staring at them, definitely! Test the theory yourself: see how many envelopes you decide to open versus the number of postcards you read.

Nate Stockard is the owner of Stockard & Associates, Inc [http://www.stockardandassociates.com], a marketing and design firm in Houston, TX specializing in small business solutions. He is also the author of The Market Seedling [http://blog.stockardandassociates.com], an informative source of information, articles, tips, and advice for small business owners and marketers.

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Posted by admin on July 18th, 2017

Article Writing – Why Should I Write an Article When There Are Already 5000 Listed?

If you search your topic on a major article directory you’ll probably find thousands of articles written on the subject.

So why should you write another article?

Let’s look at a real world example. When driving down a typical American City strip, you see a string of restaurants one after the other e.g. McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Kentucky etc. Sometimes you find several McDonald’s on the same block yet they still do a brisk business. This means there are enough people visiting these places for them to be profitable.

How does this example apply to your own business?

There are millions of people online who visit article directories, blogs, forums etc to read about information they want and desire. Some (not all) will read your specific article.

How to make your article unique

If you want your article to get read it needs to stand out from the rest. Here are some things you can try:

1. Create an article title that captures the interest of your reader.

The title is the first thing a visitor sees. Spend some time crafting a good headline. This will make the person want to read the rest of your content.

2. Be creative in your article summary

Most article directories provide a summary of your article content. Give a brief description what your article will do for them. Don’t just copy and paste the first paragraph of your article. Your reader may be turned off by the repetition.

3. Make it personal

Write as if you are sitting opposite the person reading your article. Don’t use complicated words or corporate language that is impersonal and hard to understand.

4. Offer something free in your resource box

People love to receive free things if you provide something of value. This could be a free report, course or software.

5. Monitor your article statistics

Check how many people actually view your article and click the URL in your resource box. Work on increasing the click through rate by experimenting

with different titles, content and resource boxes.

Tip

Don’t try to write like other writers but develop your own unique style. Every person has there own way of conveying things. Your writing style will naturally attract readers to your articles. This makes them stand out from thousands of others writing on the same topic.

Learn how to attract a continuous stream of NEW visitors to your website without spending a dime on advertising by picking up a copy of “Article Marketing Strategies

Herman Drost is the CEO of http://www.iSiteBuild.com

Affordable Web Site Design, Web Hosting and Marketing.

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Posted by admin on July 18th, 2017

Sales Success Tip – You Can Have It, But…

I have to admit, I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why anyone would be willing to pass up the opportunity for real success. Yet they do it everyday. And not just a few but the vast majority. Think about it. How many people do you know who are truly successful? I don’t mean earning $50,000 a year, being able to pay the bills and then have a little left over at the end of the month. How many people do you know who are making 5 or even 10 times that? My guess is very few, because there are not a lot of them. And I know why. Let me tell you a story that is repeated all too often that will illustrate my point.

Over the weekend, I ran into an old colleague of mine. I used to work with him several years ago when I was in the corporate sales world. He was always moderately successful financially. But he always worked his behind off. Much harder than me, I must admit. My discussion with him on Saturday told me that not much had changed.

Knowing that I am now a sales coach, he asked me if I had any advice. Well, hopefully everyone reading this knows you have to start with questions before you can give any answers! So, I asked him, “What specifically are your problems as you see them?” “Well,” he said, “I’m working 70 hours a week, I have more to do than I feel I can get accomplished and I just can’t seem to get past the income level I’ve been on for the past few years.” So, I asked another question, “Exactly what are your financial goals?” He answered, ” I don’t know, maybe $75,000.” Wow. this kind of an answer always puzzles me. So I asked another question, “Why only $75,000?” Why would you not want to make twice that?” “That would be wonderful! But I would really satisfied if I could just get to $75,000. I just think $150,000 would be too hard.” As I began to talk with him about how he could actually get there and work less than he is now, he lost interest. He had already made up his mind that he wasn’t prepared to do what it took to get to that level regardless of what I said. I actually ended the conversation by saying, “Look, I would really like to help you. I have always thought that you had potential. But I have to tell you, I’m not interested in working with someone who strives only for mediocrity. I work with winners. Those who have a passion for more. And not just a little more. If you ever decide that you really want success, to excel, to reach your true potential then give me a call.” I gave him my card and with that I ended the conversation.

Now, that may sound harsh to you but I am an unreasonable friend. I expect more and generally I get it. Maybe it was a bit harsh, but my goal was to get him to reconsider his less than lofty goals. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. But one thing I know for sure…if I had given him a few tips for improvement, a few tips that would have put an extra $5000 or $10,000 in his pocket over the next year, that would have been as far as he would ever go. At least this way, he has a chance to wake up and realize that he is not only short changing himself, but everyone around him, including his family.

Everyone has greatness within them. Everyone. Yet so few nurture it and bring it forth. You must be willing to set your goals high, to push yourself, to work at greatness. It rarely falls in your lap. But, one thing I have found is that it is actually much easier to achieve true success than it is to spend your life mired in mediocrity, or worse yet struggling just to pay the bills. And there’s one more thin you should know, success is a lot more FUN!

It can be yours, but you must take action. You must examine your true goals, then take whatever steps are necessary to learn how to reach them. It’s really as simple as that.

Greg Beverly, CPA, MBA has more than 21 years experience helping others to be the best they can be. He has helped thousands achieve their goals in life. As an author, teacher, mentor and helper, he desires to see everyone reach their true potential. You can learn how to live your dreams by visiting [http://www.salessuccess.yougethelp.com]

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Posted by admin on July 17th, 2017

Business Startup Keys to Success

As more and more people join the ranks of entrepreneurship, more and more information comes available about the right way to drive the success of your startup. The SBA offers a list of factors common among successful startups, such as “has employees” and “knowledge of the business.” The Inc. 5000 fastest-growing companies article offers other interesting statistics about the various factors that drive the success of these ventures. At the end of the day, any and all business success can be boiled down to three keys – Planning, Marketing, and Financial Management.

Planning does not mean simply filling in the blanks of a ready-made business plan template or worse, buying a completed business plan for your type of business. Good planning should result in a virtual roadmap of your business idea and include every detail of how, when, where, and to whom you will sell your product. In order to create this depth of planning, you need a thorough understanding of your product and industry, your area’s legal requirements, your target market, and the available avenues for marketing to your most likely customers. You need to develop an accurate assessment of your sales and expenses and how they will be affected by changes in other factors. You need a general idea of where you want your business to be in the long-term, and plans that are flexible enough to respond to the rapid changes in today’s marketplace.

Planning doesn’t end once your business is up and running, but is a continuous process that keeps your business on track and alert to opportunities as they arise. All planning should include clear objectives – goals that are specific, measurable, and achievable – with set deadlines for completion. As objectives are met (or not), the results should be evaluated and lessons learned from these efforts should be incorporated into future objectives. Consider using a 90-day planning strategy, where objectives are set and completed within a 90-day timeframe. The shorter time encourages more realistic goal-setting while providing for the flexibility needed for small businesses to grow and thrive in an ever-changing marketplace.

Marketing your business efficiently is absolutely critical for all new businesses, but is often neglected by first-time entrepreneurs. It is not enough to place an ad in the Yellow Pages and post a simple website. Search-engine optimization is a critical marketing tool, but one that tends to intimidate non-tech-savvy business owners. In reality, SEO is not difficult and much can be done for free with just a few hours of computer work per week. In addition to online marketing, a combination of the five classic marketing elements (advertising, sales promotions, public relations, personal sales, and direct marketing) also must be incorporated into a successful marketing plan.

Your marketing efforts must be carefully researched and evaluated to ensure you are getting the best return for your marketing dollar. Marketing is how you drive customers to your product and keep them coming back – it is not a business factor to be taken lightly. Take the time to learn and understand all you can and use the right tools to ensure your marketing plan is complete, workable, and gives the business its best chance to succeed.

Financial management is a key to success for obvious reasons – the primary purpose of going into business is to turn a profit! It is critical for the business owner to set up an accurate accounting system and to understand how to evaluate the numbers. You need to understand your business’s financial reports and profitability ratios in order to track and manage all areas of your business. For many first-time entrepreneurs, dealing with the numbers seems overwhelming. In reality, a good small business accounting software does the hard work for you by producing the needed financial reports. Learning to read these reports and understanding how to use them (comparing ratios to past performance or to industry averages, for example) is not that difficult, and is a huge factor in whether a business succeeds or fails. The trick is to stop telling yourself that you are not a numbers person – if you are a business owner, you are a numbers person!

Planning

The first of the three keys to business success is Planning. This does not mean throwing together a basic business plan using ready-made templates, or crafting a paragraph that says all the right things filled with industry jargon. Actually planning your business entails delving into the details of every aspect, from legal compliance to marketing to operations. Planning is not just a requirement for startup, but should be an integral part of business management.

Obviously, startup planning is critical. A good plan will create a road map for starting and running your business. You will be knowledgeable about every aspect of your venture and comfortable making the best decisions at the right time. For every area of your business, you will be familiar with the options and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Whether you ultimately decide to outsource or delegate certain functions, such as bookkeeping, marketing, or other non-core competencies, you will have a solid understanding of the outcomes you expect.

In addition, good planning will alert you to potential opportunities and threats to your business idea and get you thinking about different ways to handle them. If a marketing effort isn’t working, you will have several backup options ready to go. If the market demand changes, whether increasing or decreasing the desire for your product, you will be ready to respond such that your business experiences limited growing pains or is able to change direction quickly. With this sort of in-depth picture of your business, your risk is greatly reduced and there will be few surprises as you build your business. You’ll be the entrepreneurial version of a boy scout – always prepared.

The need for good planning doesn’t stop once your venture is up and running. Ongoing planning for growth and preparation for changes is essential, especially in today’s marketplace. It is best to establish the habit of continuous planning early in the life of your business. At least every 90 days, schedule time to review how the business is doing and develop objectives for improving profitability and the efficiency of your operations processes. Even businesses that are booming can make improvements by streamlining processes, improving inventory management, motivating employees and in many other areas.

Large, established corporations conduct strategic planning sessions as a matter of course, but are not always successful implementing their objectives through the layers of bureaucracy. As your business grows, include your key employees in your planning processes. Encourage your staff to contribute ideas for dealing with opportunities and threats. Keep an eye on your industry, and be prepared for the inevitable changes. Develop clear objectives that can be measured, and evaluate the progress frequently.

To make good planning an inherent part of your company’s culture over the long term, develop good habits now. Schedule time to set objectives for yourself and hold yourself accountable for meeting them. The way you do business now will be the foundation for the culture your company develops, so be attentive to the standards you set for yourself and plan now with the future of your business in mind.

Marketing

Marketing is the second of the three keys to business success, along with planning and financial management. Marketing is critical for obvious reasons – if nobody knows your product exists, they can’t buy it! It is common for entrepreneurs to underestimate the importance of putting in the time and energy to find the best marketing avenues for their business.

As with everything else in today’s society, marketing is changing quickly, with new opportunities popping up every day and old standards falling aside. It is no longer enough for any business to simply hang out a shingle and place a Yellow Pages ad. Rather, entrepreneurs must be aware of how and to whom they are targeting the marketing message, create an online presence of some variety, and find the right mix of the five classic marketing elements to maximize the return of their marketing dollar.

Identifying your target market, or the consumers most likely to purchase your product or service, is often overlooked by first-time entrepreneurs. Many figure that the people who need the product will find it and that will be enough. In fact, the most important aspect of identifying your target market is determining how to reach as many of them as possible within your marketing budget. For example, if you are selling a golf club cleaner, your market is golfers, right? So, it would probably be beneficial to advertise in Golf Weekly, alongside all the other golf gadgets. But what percentage of all golfers read Golf Weekly? Certainly not all of them, not even ten percent. Your broad market of golfers includes men, women, juniors, all economic classes, all education levels, and all areas of the US. In addition, there are different types of golfers – occasional, recreational, competitive, the golf vacation crowd, the public course crowd, members of country clubs. Which of those demographics is really the most likely to buy your product? By identifying multiple characteristics of the consumers most likely to be interested in your product, you can select different marketing tools for reaching each market.

Knowing your target market also helps you create effective marketing messages. A good message convinces the potential customer that your product solves a particular problem for them. However, the most important problem that your product resolves might be different for males and females, different age ranges, or even Dodgers and Yankees fans. Before you spend any money on a marketing campaign, you need to understand the details of your target market so that you can provide messages that are the most effective for each segment of your market.

Whatever type of business you are starting, posting a website is an absolute must. Consumers these days are more apt to run a quick internet search for a local restaurant than check the phone book, and more and more Americans are sporting smart phones that allow them to find any type of business on the go. Even businesses serving the smallest of markets benefit from the reasonable cost of hosting a website. In one west Texas town of 1200 people, the local motel increased its traffic by more than 30% just by setting up a basic website and adding the link to various hunting sites for free. The $10 per month hosting fee pays off in spades!

Of course, merely posting your site to the internet is not enough. In fact, posting a website without marketing it is like creating ad copy and keeping it in a desk drawer – if nobody knows about it, it might as well not exist! Search engine optimization methods are not difficult to implement, but they do take time to pay off. Incorporate SEO into every marketing plan and be sure to stay on top of the efforts. Also be sure to include the website address on every piece of marketing material from business cards to print ads.

In addition to launching a website, your marketing plan must incorporate methods from each of the five basic elements in classic marketing theory – advertising, promotion, public relations, personal selling, and direct marketing. Many new entrepreneurs are familiar with one or two of these elements and so focus all of their marketing efforts there. Unfortunately, they completely miss out on opportunities to expand the customer base through the use of other elements. For the most complete and effective marketing mix, consider how aspects of each element can contribute to reaching your best targets and help build your brand. Each of the marketing elements includes a variety of methods for getting your message out. While not all methods will be right for your business, there will be some from each element that will be effective and should be included in your marketing efforts.

Before you can make the best decisions for your marketing efforts, you need to define the precise objectives you hope to achieve. Once you are clear on what outcome you expect, it is easier to see how to get it done. For example, one of your early objectives will be to draw a specific number of people to your website. To accomplish this objective, you will likely incorporate a number of marketing tools such as offering a premium in the form of free, useful information on your website, conducting online advertising that allows potential customers to click through to your site, using direct marketing email blasts to your customer contacts, and employing search engine optimization methods to improve your site’s representation on the search engines. Establishing a clear objective allows you to focus your efforts on a specific target and evaluate how your marketing efforts worked out.

Marketing planning is critical to the success of any business. No matter how great the product, it won’t actually sell itself. It will take some time and motivation to consider all the options and monitor the success of each effort, but the payoff will come with increased sales and rapid growth. Learn all you can about your target market, set up your business website, and do your homework to develop the best marketing plan for your venture. Schedule periodic reviews and updates to your marketing efforts to ensure your budget is consistently driving the maximum sales possible.

Financial Management

Of the three keys to business success, financial management is often the most feared among entrepreneurs. Even if you don’t consider yourself a “numbers person,” keep in mind that the down and dirty reality of running a business is in the numbers. If the business isn’t profitable, it won’t last long. Managing finances the right way is actually not that complicated, especially with the tools available, but is a critical factor in the success of any business.

There are a few things to think about before starting your business that will simplify the financial management. There are several accounting software programs on the market that cater to small businesses. Although Quickbooks by Intuit is currently the most popular and is very easy to use, Peachtree Accounting by Sage is a better choice for any startup with intentions to grow. Peachtree is just as user-friendly, and includes some less-than-obvious features that make it the best choice.

Peachtree is completely GAAP compliant, meaning it meets or exceeds all generally accepted standards for accounting. Quickbooks is not, and when you need to produce financial statements for banks or investors, you will likely need to pay your accountant to clean up the books before you present the numbers to anyone. For a growing business, the basic Peachtree program significantly outlasts Quickbooks, in terms of how soon you will need to pay to upgrade and add users. In addition, once your company reaches the point of needing a comprehensive, enterprise accounting system, only Sage offers an appropriate product. Thus, switching over from Peachtree to the Sage enterprise accounting product is relatively streamlined, while switching from Quickbooks to any appropriate system is a greater hassle (and a greater expense).

Managing your business finances is, of course, more than just keeping the books. Successful entrepreneurs schedule periodic reviews of the basic financial statements to identify opportunities to improve profitability. They calculate basic ratios and learn what they mean in comparison to both the business’s past performance and to the available industry averages. With the accounting software now available, these tasks are far easier to complete than ever before. The basic financial statements can be produced with a few clicks of the mouse, and learning what the numbers mean is not as complicated as most people think.

A third key component of financial management is forecasting and budgeting – essentially future planning for financial management. Many new entrepreneurs have trouble with these processes, electing to simply up their previous performance by a standard percentage for each new year, if they bother at all. In fact, forecasting sales and expenses and setting budgets for various aspects of the business should be completed periodically in the same manner as good startup forecasts are developed, considering any changes and anticipating any threats or opportunities along the way.

Good forecasts allow you to be more flexible in, for example, your marketing efforts. If you have a clear sales target, you are more apt to evaluate the outcomes from each of your marketing tools and make better decisions about the best use of your marketing budget. Setting budgets for expenses allows you to identify problem areas before they are out of control and make changes in your business’s internal processes to improve efficiency and profitability.

Developing solid sales forecasts and expense budgets require thorough planning. There are three basic methods for determining the sales forecast – Value-Based, Resource-Based, and Market-Based – that tell you the minimum sales that will be acceptable (or your break-even point), the maximum sales your business can produce with the resources available, and the amount of sales your market assessment deems you should be able to close. If your Market-Based forecast does not fall between the minimum and maximum forecasts, you need to make some changes! All three of these forecasts should be performed during your startup planning and any time your business undergoes major changes.

Your initial expense budget should be as accurate as possible, meaning you should take the time to research your business needs and find the best resources for purchasing all furniture, fixtures & equipment, inventory, marketing, and services you will need before you start spending money. Once your business is up and running, schedule time once per quarter to review the actual expenses against your budget. Make adjustments as needed, but also set objectives for controlling or reducing expenses where possible, and always be on the lookout for better deals on supplies or services.

If you are planning for growth, forecasting and budgeting are even more important. The sales forecast calculations will help you identify which resources (employee, equipment, etc.) you will need to increase and when, and your expense budget will help you set cash aside to do so. Without financial planning, growing businesses often find themselves unprepared for growth. A sudden burst of business or opportunities to expand into new markets are either missed or handled through knee-jerk reactions that cut into the profit potential. Taking the time to include financial management in your ongoing planning process will keep your venture poised to exploit opportunities as they come along.

Consistent periodic review of your financials is critical to the long-term success of your business. As a business owner, it is to your benefit to learn and be comfortable with the numbers. No single part of financial management is all that difficult to master and understanding how each aspect of your business affects the others allows you to make the best decisions to improve profitability.

Conclusion

These three keys to success — planning, marketing, and financial management — are true for any type of business. Begin your business development with these principles in mind and arm yourself with all the tools you need to effectively plan, market, and manage the finances of your startup. Before you know it, your venture will be up, running and making money!

– K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur with a J.D. from Duke University, is co-founder of LaunchX LLC and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System, a five Unit series of step-by-step business startup procedures, key business software, and marketing reference books, is designed to assist entrepreneurs in developing a business idea into a successful company. Visit LaunchX.com and get on the road to business startup today.

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Posted by admin on July 17th, 2017

Make $5,000 in 1 Hour Online – Earning Money Fast and Easy

Okay, the clock is ticking and you want to see if you can make money fast – real fast. Here is one idea for you to play with the speed of the clock in order to make $5,000 in one hour online the fast and easy way.

01 Contact a wholesale supplier of any product that they are trying to MOVE. They will usually offer amazing discounts – as much as 50% off wholesale. Agree to purchase $5,000 in product giving you 10,000 worth of inventory. Let’s assume that each product cost you $50 each, but you got it at 50% below the wholesale cost so that means your retail value is $150 and you have 100 products.

02 Purchase an e-mail list. You can buy 500,000 for $500 and some offer less. Just make sure that they are Can Spam or Permission based e-mail lists.

03 Write up a super simple to the point sales letter that will be in e-mail that includes the following:

Killer Headline that gets the buyer to WANT to read

Why they should read and ACT now

Benefits and a specific call to action

You may not want to spend a lot of time here but note that if you mess this part up, you could have wasted all your efforts. So get it right. The fastest way to do this is to take an e-mail sales copy you received and use it as a model.

You also need to include a payment option. Since you did not want to spend hours setting up a Web site you need to throw up your item onto Google checkout, Amazon, Pay Pal or sites like Ebay.

NOTE: you can also just collect that persons information by having them fill out a form or simply state – in order to keep this product cost at the lowest possible price we are only accepting e-mail orders. You can also simply request that they send an e-mail to ________@gmail.com and stat that you will send them an invoice from your secure server…

Okay, now back to your product. You want to make money fast and you do NOT want to sit on your products. So, what you are going to do is pass that savings you got from your supplier over to your customer by offering a $150 product for only $100. You still have a 100% return and thus double your money.

Because you only have a limited number of products, be sure to explain this in your e-mail Sales Copy.

04 Send out the e-mail and sit back and collect your income. Let’s do a little math:

You send out 500,000 e-mails. But let’s assume that only 20% actually read them. That leaves us with 100,000 people reading your e-mail super sale. Now let’s say that out of that 100,000 20% decide to buy. That gives you about 20,000 orders. Certainly way too many. So let’s be pessimistic and say that only 10% of the people read your e-mail, giving us 50,000 readers and 10% of those purchase your products and you have 5,000 in sales. But you don’t need 5000 in sales as you only have 100 products so let’s be even more pessimistic and say that only 5% of the people will read your e-mails -25,000 and only 5% of those will purchase. This still gives us way too many people looking to buy as we are at 1250. However, let’s just say we will sell out of our product and have to turn away some customers.

So, how much money did you make? Well since your markup was 100% your return will be 10,000 and so your profit is $5,000 for about an hour’s worth of work. You will have to play with this strategy until you have a solid system and like any good idea, there are always kinks to work out. However, for those that really want to earn money fast and easy, this is an idea that could make you very rich. Question is, do you want to make $5,000 in 1 hour online?

If you need money now, like I mean in the next 10 minutes, try what I did. I now am making more money than in my old business and you can too. If you want to learn how to invest a few hundred dollars in the next 10 minutes and double it before you go to bed tonight, click now to read a “Rags to riches” story that is remarkable – Free! Quickest-way-to-make-money-on-earth.com [http://www.quickest-way-to-make-money-on-earth.com/index.html]

Imagine doubling your money every week with no or little risk! To discover a verified list of Million Dollar Corporations offering you their products at 75% commission to you. Click the link below to learn HOW you will begin compounding your capital towards your first Million Dollars at the Easy Corporate Money Program©

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To your Health and Rapid Success!

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Posted by admin on July 17th, 2017

Is Posting Links on Google Legit?

Programs that teach people about posting links on Google are coming out of the wood work. Everyone is telling you that making $5000+ dollars per month is really easy if you learn how to post links on Google. Is this a scam or is it real?

I find it quite interesting that people will do almost anything to make a sale. They will definitely stretch the truth. If you have looked into these systems you have probably read pages that tell you all about it. The person probably tells you that they live in your city, got laid off of work, and make a killing posting links. The marketing letters you’re reading are straight scams designed to get you believe in the person that wrote it.

The last thing you want to do is buy into the garbage marketing that you’re reading. However, there are some systems for making money with Google that are actually legit. There are plenty of people that do it but it’s not a get rich quick kind of thing. It takes time and it takes work.

The people that make a lot of money with Google usually understand quite a few different concepts. To make this work you have to know how to get traffic to a website. Usually the people that make the most money from Google understand how to get plenty of traffic from search engines. They bring that traffic to their sites and some of that traffic will click on the Google ads that are placed on the site. That’s where the revenue comes from with these systems.

Most people that make money this way also understand how to choose topics that people will be interested in. This part of the process is called keyword research and if you want to make money this way, you need to master this aspect of the game. There are people that make a lot of money this way, in fact there are tons of people that make five and six figures per month using Google.

If you want to learn more about this concept you can read Posting Links For Google and Posting Links [http://thekeywordacademy.com/how-to-make-money-posting-links-on-google/].

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