We've talked about cutting costs a lot in our blog, from going paperless to outsourcing, and the latter just might have gotten a little easier. There are so many companies in the US that outsource to India, and while some may feel bitter about sending our dollars overseas, sometimes it has to happen in order for a US company to survive, though big corporations are starting to turn towards rural outsourcing. There are many companies right here more rural parts of the US thriving because of this. The reason why rural outsourcing is becoming so popular is because, even though their costs might still be higher than outsourcing in India, from 10-150 percent higher, it's just easier to deal with a stateside company. The reason why these outsourcing companies can do business at such a low cost, is because they're located in areas where cost of living is lower than on either coast. If you're looking to start your own outsourcing company, it's no longer a requirement that you'll only gain business by being located overseas, give us a call with questions on how to start your own business 866-999-8200.
So many brick and mortar businesses go unnoticed, and though many factors can play into why that is, a big reason is the business not having a web presence. At the very least you should have a website that lists your location, phone number and business hours. Many small businesses are under the misconception that a website must contain a wealth of information and be extremely interactive, and that's not true. If you've got a good web designer, your website can be attractive and simple. What's great about web, is that it can be updated as soon as you need it to be. For example a restaurant might have weekly or monthly specials, and the best place to advertise that is their website, it's quicker and more cost efficient than printing out flyers. Even if you have a simple website less than five pages, it will pay off. In a time when no one uses a phone book anymore, search engines are the key, if your business doesn't have a site to find, the majority of consumers out there will never find your business. If you need help creating a website, our sister company provides websites for all types of businesses, big and small, if you're interested call us at 866-999-8200.
Many small businesses have been struggling, and in this economy it seems like small business owners have to keep cutting costs in creative ways. Lots of companies have cut hours, abolished company perks, and even downsized in order to stay afloat. Although it might not seem like much of a prize for your recently or not-so-recently formed corporation, or L.L.C., Microsoft has announced that they will be providing their Microsoft Security Essentials for free to small businesses. Now the Security Essentials, have been free since they replaced One Care Suite last year, but this license allows small business owners to install the software onto 10 of their computers legally. Many businesses are cutting back, and that includes on subscriptions to other anti-virus software, while it may seem like a cost that you can do without, if one of your business computers gets a virus, it will not only be difficult to remove but it will also put that computer out of commission for a while. Small businesses out there can rejoice in knowing their computers can be protected for free!
The new rules that our government has put in place to protect consumers from Banks high fees are getting a wake up call. Banks are now using other means to charge higher fees to consumers to make up for revenue lost from not being able to charge outlandish fees on overdrafts. Customers may now see fees in services where they were normally free or higher fees on some current fees.
Banks are looking to technology to squeeze out some additional fees. Such as USAA and Chase have the ability to deposit check by taking pictures of the check from a smart phone. All that you need to do is to take a picture of the front and back of the check and hit send. Some customers would actually pay for such a service. It would be a major convenience to deposit a check this way instead of having to stuff checks into an ATM.
As bank fees rise, will be ever see the level of service years ago? Maybe not, banking is eventually going more online every year. More and more people are doing their banking electronically and the need to do any banking now at the teller is going down. Banks such as Bank of America have accounts strictly for online use. It is a trend of the times.
DBAs can be called many things in different states, counties, cities and parishes. DBA stands for Doing Business As, the term is also referred to as Trade Name, Assume Business Name (ABN), or a fictitious business names, regardless of what a DBA is called in your area, they term for the same thing, doing business as another name other than your own, or the legal name of your business entity. With a DBA you can be paid in the DBA name, rather than your own name, which looks more professional.
A good example is, if someone was to open up a store and calls it "Michael's Skateboards," any payment the owner receives will have to be made in his own name, so if someone was to pay with a check, it would have to be made out to the owners name. Therefore if Micheal Smith is doing business as "Michael's Skateboards" without having filed for a DBA and having a bank account which is associated with "Michael's Skateboards" he will always have to accept checks and charge customers under Michael Smith, his legal name. It always appears more professional when you are running your business under a recognized name.
Filing for a DBA is often the first step people take when going into business, it gives them a feel on what running a business is like. DBAs do not hold any liability protection like corporations or LLCs, but sometimes a business' entire existence is through a DBA. We help form DBAs in many states, please see our DBA page for more information, if you have any questions about forming a DBA, LLC or corporation, please give us a call at 866-999-8200.
Many people call us asking why they should incorporate. While we think it's best to speak to your CPA or attorney regarding what type of entity you should file, there are many general reasons why incorporating is a good direction to take. Most people incorporate to separate themselves from their business, what that means is that once a business is incorporated it is a legal entity in itself. The corporation cannot be held responsible for personal transactions and vice versa. When you form a corporation you must make sure that you're not crossing any business and personal transactions, for example, if you're obtaining corporate credit, you will not want to use your own social security number, by doing this you can compromise your corporate liability protection.
The other reason why people incorporate their businesses is because there are certain tax benefits to having a corporation. Corporations are by default taxed separately from the owners, so you will file one tax return for yourself, and a separate tax return for the corporation. Many of our clients like to file for s-corporation status, what that means is that the filing is the same with the state, you are a regular corporation, but when it comes to file your taxes with the IRS, you will file one tax return for yourself and the corporation, this method of taxation is easier for a lot of our clients as they are just starting out and may be trying to find the easiest way to be taxed.
If you have any questions about filing for a corporation or about the filing times of different states, please give us a call at 866-999-8200, we're here to help Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm Pacific Standard Time.
USA Today has an interesting article on why it's not always the best idea to rapidly grow your business. Many small businesses make the mistake of thinking that a sudden increase in revenue will last forever. Whether you're just opening an LLC or forming a corporation or if you've been in business for a long time, there are certain factors that can cause a spike in sales. The USA Today article talks about a small candy making company who had a small profile in Oprah's O Magazine, this increased their call volume from about 15 a day to 100 a day, while the small business quickly resolved things by hiring interns, many businesses in similar situations are quick to hire a lot of employees and buy new equipment to meet up with their new demands. The problem with growing too quickly is that you're never sure if the demands are going to be consistent. It's important to pace yourself while growing your business, overwhelming yourself with too much will most likely result in a service and product that not of the highest quality. If you can't meet the demand, don't be afraid to tell your clients that you're sold out, or you cannot accommodate them, most people will understand.
You can also use your company’s popularity as an advantage, for example, if you run a bake shop, and everyone loves your butter toffee cupcakes, you might often sell out, but you can also offer your clients the ability to pre-order a dozen or more cupcakes, giving you more time to fill the orders. This creates a good buzz, and people want to buy your product so much that they're willing to come early to get it. If you're providing a service or product that is of quality, a lot of people don't mind waiting, and they will still come back. You do not need to feel the pressure to supply all the demand at once, you can start slowly by maybe making an extra dozen, and when you have that system worked out, you can maybe take the product that sales the least and replace it with the product that's selling the most. There are always creative ways to provide more to your clients, and in small business, there's not always a black and white picture of what's right and what's wrong. Do the best you can, and take your time growing your business. Good Luck!
It may be a sign of the times or just people rather use cash. The use of credit cards is down across the country. In a recent survey, 56% of Americans are using credit cards for their purchases. This is down from 87% only 3 years ago. Granted, this drop may be the result of people just not spending any money. Experts believe that the weak economy is changing the way that people make their purchases opting for using debit cards, prepaid cards or simply using cash.
The economic situation is that many people are facing the fact they can't buy on credit anymore. Credit is quickly becoming a bygone era with interest rates on most cards hovering around 16 to 20 percent. Many families that are already budget strapped because of the economy isn't going to be going into debt and having to pay high interest rates. The economy is really making people be smarter about their purchase decisions on how they make their purchases.
Credit card companies are scrambling to meet this change in consumer purchase patterns by offering unique deals to entice more credit card usage. Now there are a handful of companies that offer great cash back rewards such as American Express with their Costco partnership, Schwab, Chase and others. In the end, these new plans are a win for consumers.
The nations retailers showed some signs of life. The economy has been sputtering lately with good news and some bad news. The economy isn't showing any real direction as it has been stagnant latley. The numbers from the retailing sector is definitely good news. The numbers may be due to heavy discounting from retailers for the back to school period. Many of the retailers posted better than expected numbers. Analysts expected a 2.5% sales gain amongst major retailers however they pulled in a sales gain of 3.3%.
With the better than expected numbers, consumers are still being very cautious. This cautiousness may continue for some time as people realize that they are better off buying necessities rather than luxuries.