Category Archives: Ask SCORE

Ask SCORE: Would your hobby make a sustainable business?

Running a successful business centered on doing something you love is the dream of many entrepreneurs. What could be more gratifying than making a living sharing your talents and skills with others?

On the Internet, you’ll find a long list of articles and resources offering advice and insight specifically geared toward hobbyists who want to take the step and go from “passion” to “profit.”   Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I find the right accountant for my business?

Your business success depends on many factors. Managing your money well and understanding your finances are two of the most critical. Unless you are an accountant by trade, it’s likely that you will need some outside guidance and insight as you start and grow your company.

Getting help from an accountant can benefit your business in a number of ways:

  • An accountant can inform you of legitimate ways to reduce your tax liability.
  • An accountant can make sure you are aware of reporting requirements and deadlines. If you’re not in compliance, you might have to pay fines.
  • An accountant can assist you in filing your taxes, saving you time and sparing you headaches.
  • An accountant can make suggestions that will help you run your business more profitably.

Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I use live video to boost my business?

Live video streaming has become one of the most powerful ways to forge stronger connections with customers. Apps like Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, Snapchat Stories, YouTube Live Streaming, and Periscope can help small business owners boost sales and strengthen their brands.

Going “live” enables people to see what’s happening with your business in real-time and offers a more personal view of what your company does and who the faces are behind your logo.

If you’re thinking about giving live video streaming a try, here are some ideas to help you go live with content that will engage viewers and shine the spotlight on your small business’s strengths.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: What is the Washington State B&O Tax?

from the Department of Revenue…

The B&O tax (short for “Business & Occupation Tax”) is a gross receipts tax. It is measured on the value of products, gross proceeds of sale, or gross income of the business.

Washington, unlike many other states, does not have an income tax. Washington’s B&O tax is calculated on GROSS income from activities. This means there are no deductions from the B&O tax for labor, materials, taxes, or other costs of doing business.

The Business and Occupation (B&O) tax is a gross receipts tax levied on a business for the privilege of doing business in Washington. Almost all businesses located or doing business in the state of Washington are subject to the state B&O tax. It is an out-of-pocket cost for engaging in business activities.

The classification and rate of the B&O tax are based on the type of business activity conducted in this state. A business may perform more than one type of activity. Businesses performing multiple activities may be subject to tax under one or more B&O tax classifications.

Learn more about the Washington State B&O Tax. 

Learn about your city’s B&O Tax rates. 

Ask SCORE: How can I protect my intellectual property when working with strategic partners?

One way to grow your business is by reaching out to strategic partners who offer complementary products or services or who otherwise can work with you to the mutual advantage of both your businesses. Strategic partnerships can expand your market reach and help you achieve more sales. But giving another business intimate knowledge about your company’s inner workings may make you a bit uneasy. There’s some inherent risk involved in sharing confidential information and intellectual property (IP).

According to Marc Goldberg, a SCORE mentor with business startup and management expertise, “It is very easy to steal your ideas or even your unique approach to customer fulfillment. Very quickly you could generate a competitor by sharing information with the wrong people.”

For that reason, you need to take measures to protect your ideas, information, and innovations from theft.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: How can I improve my selling skills?

As the owner of a small business, you may be struggling with a frustrating reality. You are confident that you have excellent products and services, but people aren’t just lining up to buy them.

You know that you can solve problems for your customers and deliver significant value for a reasonable price. All you have to do is convince them to place an order.

Unfortunately, sales skills don’t come naturally to everyone, but they are essential if you want to build relationships with potential customers and generate orders for your products and services.  Continue reading

Ask SCORE: What’s the best way to use social media for my small business?

You can bring out the human side of your business on social media.

Social media gives small businesses an interactive way to connect with prospects and customers, yet many businesses struggle with building relationships via the platforms they’re using. They fail to make their brands “human” on social media.

According to nationally known social media professional, Rachel Strella of Strella Social Media, “People relate more to other people than to a logo or brand image. This can give small businesses and solopreneurs an advantage over bigger businesses.”

Taking the human approach is successful for one simple reason, relationships are built on trust.  Continue reading