Tag Archives: Kitsap SCORE

It’s time to write your business plan.

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Creating a new business can be a tough journey. Doing so while working full-time may seem tougher, but this route actually offers several benefits. You can continue earning money to put towards your startup. But even if you only work an hour a week building your company, you still need a business plan.

A business plan is critical to every small business, even for pre-startups. Why do you need one so early? It serves as your map through what might be a bumpy journey. A business plan gives you the best shot at a smooth ride.

Business plans typically have four sections: the Executive Summary, the Business Details, Financial Forecasts and Supporting Data.  Continue reading

How you manage employees impacts your bottom line.

In an article on “Workplace Civility,” CEO Coach Mary Marshall painted a very clear picture…

I was in a meeting once as a fairly new CEO and inquired about a particular metric. The COO all but called me an idiot and pointed out that they knew what they were doing. I watched the faces of the rest of the staff in the room and they all avoided eye contact with me, which led me to believe this was a common occurrence. I didn’t say anything in the moment but took the person aside after the meeting and asked why she responded with such condescension. Her response was even more surprising and she said that she knew I could take it, but she wanted to show how she was standing up for her team. I calmly explained how she actually had the opposite effect and bottom line, it was rude and uncivil and no one should be spoken to that way…ever again.

I later found out that the entire company was run by fear of her and although no one would directly confront her, it was hurting creativity, security and performance. This type of behavior leads to poor performance, not compliance as is pointed out in the article.

To learn how to start a “civility movement,” read the article on Mary’s website.

Which credit card is best for your business?

If you own a business, chances are you have company expenses that you’d like to track.

Having a business credit card is a smart choice for business expenses, because you can keep a tally on every charge you make while earning rewards on everyday purchases.

Not all business credit cards are built the same, however. Different companies have different needs. It seems foolish to have a credit card that earns travel rewards when your company doesn’t take business trips or you don’t plan on using the miles for a vacation.

Luckily, different cards offer different advantages and that means there’s a business credit card out there that might be beneficial for you.

Read more at the Puget Sound Business Journal.

You can work with independent contractors and avoid an IRS crackdown.

Independent contractors, consultants and freelancers are one of the fastest growing business types in the U.S. Freelancers alone represent 34 percent of the U.S. workforce and provide other businesses with services and expertise that can’t be found in-house, oftentimes becoming an integral part of a company’s workforce. This perception, however, can sometimes become problematic.

On the surface, independent contractors often fulfill the same duties as a regular employee, but sometimes the lines between independent contractors and employees get blurred. And that can get you into hot water with the IRS. Here’s why:

Why you need to consider the IRS when hiring contractors.

One of the benefits of hiring independent contractors is that you aren’t required to pay them a salary, benefits or withhold employment taxes in the way you would for employees. The IRS has upped its efforts to collect employment taxes and is clamping down on employers who misclassify employees as independent contractors (deliberately or otherwise).

Statistics suggest that up to 30 percent of firms are misclassifying contractors so understanding the difference between an employee and an independent contractor is hiring 101. The consequences of getting it wrong can be painful – no one wants to deal with IRS penalties, back payments and interest on uncollected payroll taxes.  Continue reading

What’s more important to business strategy, predicting change or the lack of change?

Jeff Bezos as quoted by Bill Gurley:

“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.”

Read more on VentureBeat…