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Is your businesses in transition? Stay focused.

by Kelly Deis of SoundPoint Consulting 

It can be a very chaotic time when a company is in transition or in need of a turnaround. Management is (or should be) fretting over revenue, placating lenders and/or investors, managing suppliers, and reducing costs all while keeping employees motivated. There is an inordinate amount of things that need to get done. How do you know what to prioritize?

A disciplined process can help bring order out of chaos and lead to a successful transition. Of course, solid management, great employees, and accommodating suppliers and creditors also helps. Continue reading

IRS Statement on 2nd Economic Impact Statements

The IRS updated the Get My Payment tool with information related to the second round of Economic Impact Payments. There is currently heavy demand on the tool given the large number of payments going out and people using the tool.
While the IRS has been able to deliver the second round of Economic Impact Payments in record time, we understand there are many questions and we appreciate everyone’s patience during this period.
Here are answers to some common questions coming up related to Get My Payment and the second round of Economic Impact Payments.

I’m having trouble accessing the Get My Payment tool.

Some people visiting the site may get a “please wait” or error message due to the high volumes coming in. The “please wait” message is a normal part of the site’s operation. We encourage people to check back later. Also, there is a limit to the number of times people can access Get My Payment each day. When people reach the maximum number of accesses, Get My Payment will inform them they will need to check back the following day.

I didn’t receive a direct deposit yet. Will I get a second Economic Impact Payment?

Maybe. IRS updated Get My Payment (GMP) for individuals who are receiving the second Economic Impact Payment on January 5, 2021. If you checked GMP on or after January 5 then:
  • If GMP reflects a direct deposit date and partial account information, then your payment is deposited there.
  • If GMP reflects a date your payment was mailed, it may take up to 3 – 4 weeks for you to receive the payment. Watch your mail carefully for a check or debit card. (See the FAQ for EIP Card)
  • If GMP shows “Payment Status #2 – Not Available,” then you will not receive a second Economic Impact Payment and instead you need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return.
Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of Economic Impact Payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar. By law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS; they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. If Get My Payment shows “Payment Status #2 – Not Available” you will not receive a second EIP.
The IRS advises people that if they don’t receive their Economic Impact Payment, they should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.

What if I have a different bank account than I had on my 2019 tax return? What should I do?

If the second Economic Impact Payment was sent to an account that is closed or is no longer active the financial institution must , by law, return the payment to the IRS, they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. The IRS advises people that if they don’t receive the full Economic Impact Payment they should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.

Why can’t the IRS reissue the second Economic Impact Payment to me?

The IRS is working hard to deliver the second Economic Impact Payment quickly, as required by law, while still preparing for the upcoming 2021 tax filing season. Due to the compressed timeline, the IRS is unable to reissue and mail checks and instead encourages people to file their 2020 tax return electronically to claim and receive the Recovery Rebate Credit quickly as possible.

Can I call the IRS, software company or bank to resolve issues with my Economic Impact Payment?

People should visit IRS.gov for the most current information on the second round of Economic Impact Payments rather than calling the agency or their financial institutions or tax software providers. IRS phone assistors do not have additional information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.

Where can I get more information?

For more information about Economic Impact Payments and the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit, visit IRS.gov/eip. People can check the status of their payment at IRS.gov/getmypayment. For other COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/coronavirus.

8 Local SEO Tips To Improve Local Search Rankings

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How can a small business get more visibility online? Look no further than the local search pack, which is made up of Google My Business (GMB) profiles featuring prominent local businesses within close proximity of a searcher.

Local search results level the playing field for small and local businesses. Ranking for competitive keywords can be a tough task for a small business going head to head against a large enterprise.

So if local search is a way to get more visibility, where should a small business start? To help answer this question, we asked for local SEO tips from eight search engine optimization experts and small business owners.

Continue reading

PPP Borrowers — Be Aware of Potential Fraud Threats.

On December 1st the Small Business Administration (SBA) was ordered by a Federal Judge to release data on all SBA PPP borrowers. 

The timing of the release of this information by the government is awful because it is the beginning of the forgiveness application window. The SBA complied with this order.  The information released by the SBA includes: 

  • Borrowers Name
  • Borrowers Address
  • Loan Amount
  • Lender Name 

There are already confirmed efforts by fraudsters and scammers to approach the borrowers impersonating the Financial Institution listed as the Lender in an effort to get information they can use to take advantage of the borrower. 

PPP borrowers shouldnot divulge any details in calls or emails from unknown numbers or email domains and contact their financial institution directly if they receive any contact from an unknown person or source. 

Thank you Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce for sharing this information.

Quick tips if you’re applying for the new round of Working Washington business grants.

The application for the new round of Working Washington business grants is now open. Businesses can apply for up to $20,000 to offset costs or expenses due to COVID-19. The grants are targeted primarily for small businesses with $5 million or less in annual revenue that have had to close or significantly curtail operations as a result of current or ongoing public health measures. Examples include full-service restaurants, fitness centers, bowling alleys, or music and event venues.

Priority will be given to applications received by Dec. 11. Some businesses have heard this grant is being processed on a first-come-first-served basis and that is causing many business owners tremendous anxiety. Don’t worry – that’s not the case! If it takes you a few days to complete the application, that’s ok. Applications received until Dec. 11 will all be considered together. If Commerce is able to fund all the eligible applicants who submit by that time, the department may be able to consider eligible applicants who submit after Dec. 11.

The Washington Small Business Development Council, which has generously been partnering with us to provide support and help to businesses applying for these grants, hosted an informational webinar earlier today and answered a lot of the most common questions and problems business owners are asking about. If you missed it, you can watch it here.

Continue reading

Social Media Marketing Tips

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Focus on The Platforms Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out

by Valarie Harris, Varris Marketing

Social media is the fastest way to cast a wide net to catch the attention of potential customers and create a community. There are more social media platforms than any one entrepreneur can tackle effectively – even if they had all day to devote to being social.

When you began your business, you likely got great advice to narrow your niche and focus on a target audience. These are the ideal clients and customers who want what you have to offer. Furthermore, you should have been told to market to this ideal audience and focus on their needs, their wants, and solving their problems. If you agreed and followed that advice, then you have a pretty good idea of who you want to engage and where they hang out.

This is an important step as it relates to social media. Knowing where your audience hangs out is the key to building a social media presence that maximizes your time and marketing budget. Once you know where your customers naturally hang out, you can simply master those specific platforms and dominate the market.

SBA and Treasury Announce Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

On October 8, the U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
  • Click here to view the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the instructions for completing the simpler loan forgiveness application.
  • Click here to view the Interim Final Rule on the simpler forgiveness process for loans of $50,000 or less.

Tips for Driving Small Business Success with Strengths-Based Leadership

The philosophies surrounding business leadership practices have changed dramatically over the past several decades. Years ago, it was common for a single owner to call the shots and dictate orders to his or her employees. Today, the research is undeniable, showing that the most successful companies are the ones with leaders who focus on taking care of the team so the team can take care of the business.

Small business ownership is less about running a company and more about leading a team.

One of today’s most respected business leadership approaches comes from a landmark study on leadership strengths that sought to better understand how successful business leaders lead. Tom Rath and Barry Conchie’s international bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 distills 30-years of their research on strengths-based leadership into one of the most thorough accounts of what it takes to successfully lead an organization.

StrengthsFinder 2.0 reveals the study’s discovery of three keys to effective leadership: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting a set of basic needs of those who look to you for leadership. Continue reading

Three Things You Should Understand Before Hiring a Search Engine Optimization Expert

A website is a critical sales and marketing tool for just about every business. It’s a hub for product information, a conversion point for capturing leads, the holding place for marketing materials and company news, and many times serves as your potential customer’s first impression of your business.

However, before any prospect can interact with your website, they first have to find your website. This discoverability is the culmination of a strong SEO, or search engine optimization, strategy and an SEO expert behind the scenes.

Most business owners are digital marketing novices making it hard to know what you’re really buying when you hire an SEO expert.

If you’re like most business owners, you understand the role of an SEO expert from a high level but aren’t as familiar with the full scope of what’s involved or the time required. This makes it a lot harder to confidently hire the right SEO expert and forces owners to take these professionals at their word. Continue reading