Challenges Ahead For Small Business Starts With Buying Equipment

It is becoming readily apparent to me that this current administration just doesn’t understand what drives jobs in our economy. Hint: it isn’t government, it is small business. You see, if the Obama Administration, or even the US Congress for that matter understood this, and also cared, then they’d not be so hasty in adding new regulations, and removing the tax credits and deductions which have actually helped from the government side of things. Okay so let’s talk shall we?

There was a rather troubling article in the LA Times recently on December 27, 2011 titled; “New year will bring new laws and regulations for small business,” By Cyndia Zwahlen, which stated in the headline; “Nationwide, tax deductions for equipment purchases will be sharply reduced.” The article went on to advise the readers that;

“As of January, there will be a major decrease in how much of the total cost of new equipment – including items such as computers, machinery and vehicles – a business can deduct upfront on its tax return. That deduction, which had been boosted by federal stimulus bills, will drop to $125,000 from $500,000. And unless there is a change in the law, the deduction will drop further to $25,000 in 2013.”

Now then, taking away incentives to get businesses to expand their operations surely will not cause small businesses to grow and hire any more folks. It also means that new equipment will not be bought, therefore not be sold, made, and the company that makes it, well, they won’t be hiring anyone either now will they? Hint: Answer is NO.

Okay so, maybe you see the problem here, and it’s not my sole intention to bash the Obama Administration, as much as I truly believe they deserve it at this point for the mismanagement of our economy – but why they are shooting themselves in the foot in an election year is beyond me. Even if maybe that’s a good thing judging by their previous performance.

As a former franchisor, I can tell you that those sorts of deductions and tax credits greatly helped our new franchisees, just as they have always helped business start-ups and expanding businesses. Next, I’d say that the “occupy protests” are far too quick to throw anyone who has become wealthy in business under the bus, as the evil 1%. In doing so, it shows greed of the “occupy the parks” crowd in their demand for re-distribution, and a complete misunderstanding of where the majority of the jobs come from in this great nation; and yes it is a great nation.

Health Care Reform – What Does the Health Care Bill Mean For Small Business?

Beginning in 2010
Eligible small business employers will receive a 35% tax credit on the contribution to their employees health insurance premiums from 2010 to 2013.

Eligibility Rules:
Providing health care coverage – A qualifying employer must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of health care coverage for some of its workers based on the single rate.

Firm size – A qualifying employer must have less than the equivalent of 25 full-time workers (for example, an employer with fewer than 50 half-time workers may be eligible).

Average annual wage – A qualifying employer must pay average annual wages below $50,000.
Both taxable (for profit) and tax-exempt firms qualify.

Amount of Credit:
Maximum Amount – The credit is worth up to 35 percent of a small business’ premium costs in 2010. On Jan. 1, 2014, this rate increases to 50 percent (35 percent for tax-exempt employers).

Phase-out – The credit phases out gradually for firms with average wages between $25,000 and $50,000 and for firms with the equivalent of between 10 and 25 full-time workers.

Last week the IRS mailed postcards to 4 million small businesses with information about this credit which is called the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit.

Under their tax qualified employer-provided health plans, parents can now cover their adult children up to 26 years of age.

Beginning in 2011
States will receive funding to establish web-based state insurance exchanges, which will be called Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP) in 2011. These exchanges will allow small businesses to form alliances and purchase insurance policies together at reduced rates.

Small businesses will be eligible to receive federal funding if they provide their employees with wellness programs from 2011 to 2015.

The definition of qualified medical expenses from Health Spending Accounts (HSA’s), Archer Medical Savings Accounts (MSA’s) and reimbursements through Health Flexible Spending Arrangements (HFSA’s) and Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRA’s) has been modified to exclude over the counter medicines.

A $2,500 cap will be applied to flexible spending accounts.

In 2011, a simplified cafeteria plan will allow self employed individuals and employees to choose specific benefits that meet their needs.

A $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who are affected by the donut hole.

A temporary high risk pool for individuals who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition

How to Turn Successful Business Ideas Into Your Reality

Online, you will find several successful business ideas. However, these ideas are worthless if you do not act to turn them as your reality. You have at least three ways to do this. One is to recognize your opportunities as they come knocking on your door. Two is to build your connections. Three is to identify and keep your best practices going for the sustainability of your profitability.

Recognizing Business Opportunities

The internet is a vast marketplace where business opportunities are plentiful. However, you must also understand that not all of these opportunities are suitable for you to profit online. Therefore, you must learn how to recognize the right opportunity when it comes knocking on your door. Don’t let it pass, or you miss the chance to make money from a potential income-generating business.

You can find successful business ideas from entrepreneurs running their own businesses on the web. Identify gaps or inefficiencies and then build your business to fill in the gap or to correct inefficiencies. As long as you can satisfy the needs or wants of a market you are interested about; you can become a successful business entrepreneur, whether online or offline.

Building Your Connections

To turn your business ideas into successful reality, the key is to connect with your target market. You have to know what their needs and wants are, and how they want their solutions delivered to them.

Studies show that most consumers are using the internet to get information and to buy what they need and want. If trends continue in 2013, about 88+% of the online population globally will rely on the internet for their solutions and shopping requirements.

Of the more than 88% online consumers, almost half of them or 42% are gathering information about what they need or want to buy from the internet. 21% of them read reviews online before they decide to purchase. Successful business ideas seriously consider the statistics on consumer behavior.

To connect with your target market, give them the information they need to help them make better decisions. Let them realize how they will find their solutions from your business and benefit from it.

Maintaining Your Best Practices

As you turn your business ideas into reality, it is essential that you track your progress. This will enable you to identify your best practices, and either correct or discard those that do not yield profitable results. In doing this, you will be able to save on cost, increase your productivity, and widen your profit margin.

The internet is a vast marketplace where successful business ideas abound. Learn how to recognize opportunities as they come your way. Connect with your audience and nurture good relationships. Monitor your progress and keep your best practices. Start to act on profitable ideas right now.

Casting Customer Demands: The Sales VP's Guide to Understanding Consumer Spending

INTRODUCTION

Industry indicators forecast that spending on technology products and services by US businesses and government agencies will jump 7.5 percent in 2012 and 8.3 percent in 2013. This exponential pace of technological change is one of the biggest challenges facing industry executives today. In a market of economic uncertainty, technology companies are changing their business strategies in order to adapt and ultimately set themselves up for success. After all, doesn’t the information technology sector depend on the health of consumer spending?

Consumer spending is a force that can be dealt with through casting customer demands. Leaders in the technology industry make smarter, more resourceful decisions when they possess more accurate and reliable forecast of future consumer demand. There are a few ways to achieve this desired outcome:

Demand a more comprehensive view of shifting demand
As technology constantly evolves, executives must take in consideration evaluating relevant adjacent industry sectors as well. For example, if you are in the business of providing electronic cell phone chargers, look to adjacent industries to predict consumer spending such as cell phones, batteries, etc. These projections will allow you to better understand the level of current demand.

Leverage the latest scientific advances in demand projection
Since we live in an era where we are provided with extensive information, information technology capabilities and analytics, there is more room to discover how consumers are discovering, debating and consuming your products and services. These methods may include SEO, online shopping, social media, blogs, emails, lead nurturing and forums.

Leverage your product through utilizing all the resources that are available to your particular target market.
Since selling to the masses is not ideal for most product, target markets must be pinpointed and continually engaged to keep them interested and purchasing a product. Through utilizing the latest resources, consumers relationships can not only be ignited but maintained.

Create a culture of true liability
Measuring results of your marketing campaign is of the utmost importance. What isn’t measured isn’t managed. Measuring capabilities include analyzing content performance, monitoring number of visitors and traffic, success of landing pages as well as how many visits eventually convert into leads. Executives also look to past forecasts and alter them to fit current situations and realities in today’s market. This will ultimately boost forecast accuracy.

During hard economic times, customers can postpone their technological purchases until markets stabilize. Since technology products are often updates of older versions, they can be the first to go when a company cuts its budget. It has become crucial to first properly forecast customer demands before devising a sound marketing campaign.