5 (More) Tips to Get Paid Faster

5 (More) Tips to Get Paid Faster

It’s no secret that steady, on-time cash flow is crucial for a business’ survival. But what about when a client is consistently late for payments? Back in August we brought you 5 helpful strategies small businesses can employ to get paid faster, and now, we’re back at it again with 5 more to make the list. 1) Write Detailed Contracts So much hassle can be avoided with a little extra effort put into your contracts. As the legal foundation to all your business transactions, if you don’t have every detail laid out to both guide and enforce healthy client interaction, problems are bound to arise. Save yourself and your client the trouble by detailing the terms for prices, payment schedules, fees if a project is canceled unexpectedly, and how additional work or revisions are to be handled. 2) Ask for Deposits Though mentioned briefly in our last blog post, for projects that are expensive or lengthy in nature, this one is pretty much a must. I’m just going to say it again: it’s perfectly acceptable for a business to ask for a portion of the payment upfront! Plenty of owners do it, and 50% at the start of a project, 50% upon completion is a well used percentage. Ensure that your cash-flow is still there, regardless of project or timespan, and ask for initial deposits! 3) Schedule Your Invoices Just like you have a payment schedule for your clients, so should you also set the times you send your invoices to a certain day of the week or month. That way, your client can expect when payment is due...
IRS Confirms New Meal Tax Deduction

IRS Confirms New Meal Tax Deduction

Since the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), there’s been a lot of questions and rumors in the tax community, while the IRS has been hard pressed to clear up some of the confusion. Their latest Notice? Whether or not entertainment and meal tax deductions were cut. Turns out, the rumors surrounding that decision were true – the IRS officially confirming that entertainment write-offs are no longer accepted, while meal deductions will remain at 50%. With the new Notice 2018-76, comes a few simple rules: • All meals must qualify as a standard business expense in accordance with Section 162(a); • The expense cannot be extravagant, a luxury item, or over the top; • An employee or the business owner themselves must be present for the meal; • The meal purchased is given to a current or prospective client, customer, consultant, or business contact; and • If the meal is provided along with entertainment, such as purchased at a ballgame, the cost of the food or drink must be bought separately from the entertainment, or otherwise reported individually on tax records. In upcoming months, the IRS plans to release more publications on the details behind what qualifies as nondeductible entertainment and when business meals may be eligible for 50% deductions, but until then, taxpayers are advised to follow the regulations given in Notice 2018-76, as well as seek the advice of their tax professionals. If you have questions on how this change applies to you, consult with your CPA and see how this may affect your tax return. (Thanks to this article by Ken Berry for the...
6 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

6 Ways to Prepare for a Disaster

Not too long ago we brought you an article describing the 6 principles every business should have to survive the aftermath of a crisis… but what about being prepared for the crisis itself? Here are another 6 tips to help protect your company in the face of a disaster. 1) Make a Plan While most people and businesses have safety protocols in place like evacuation routes, emergency supplies, and first aid kits, few think about rescuing records, tax information, and other important documents until it’s too late. Make a detailed emergency plan that includes where important data is stored, what to grab first in accordance to the amount of response time you have, and what steps to follow before, during, and after a disaster. 2) Keep Copies of Important Documents While important original documents like bank statements, deeds, titles, tax records, and insurance policies should always be kept in secure, waterproof – or even fireproof – containers, the IRS recommends making additional copies of each and storing them someplace safe, off-site. Even by scanning documents electronically to keep on the cloud, or in a device, can help protect your business if there’s no time to retrieve any important data stored inside the workplace. 3) Record What You Own To help aid in insurance claims after a disaster, the IRS recommends businesses take detailed pictures or walk-through videos of their workplace and all that’s inside – with an emphasized focus on all high-value items. This photographic proof of ownership smoothens the claim process, while businesses can further compile lists of belongings by following IRS Publication 584-B. 4) Check with Your...
6 Principles for Surviving a Crisis In Your Business

6 Principles for Surviving a Crisis In Your Business

It’s certainly been a year for natural disasters. From hurricanes on the east coast, to fires in our home state of California, the unexpected and uncontrollable has crippled many lives and businesses. But did you know that there are a few preventative measures you can encourage in your company to make surviving a crisis – or even reopening after one – manageable? Here are 6 core principals to ensure your business isn’t counted among the casualties. 1) Know Your Company’s Purpose This may seem business-101, but for a surprising number of companies out there, few actually have a set purpose behind their service. As a business owner, take the time to establish your “why” for what you do – including the community impact you want to leave, what you sell, and your company’s big picture of accomplishment. 2) Avoid Straying Off Purpose It’s easy when there’s no clear business guidelines to get distracted with new service opportunities, new tasks for employees, and new shiny ideas that don’t coincide with your company’s purpose; especially for a business that’s so successful, management has a hard time keeping track of everything. But if a crisis hits and a company is spread too thin to prioritize on what’s important, with employees focused on tasks ill-suited to their skill sets, it can be nigh impossible for that company to find its feet again in the midst of chaos. Know your business purpose, and stick to it! 3) Encourage Employee Greatness There’s arguably nothing more impactful than an employee who’s passionate about their job. It affects service, the quality of work, the customer, the workplace...
Business Email Compromise and What to Look Out For

Business Email Compromise and What to Look Out For

Hopefully, by now we all know not to click on the links broadcasting free $100 Walmart gift cards that frequently litter our inboxes – most of us are on the lookout for phishing tactics and malware that just scream “spam”. But what about an email that by all accounts looks to come from your boss? Ever since the FBI started investigating them back in 2013, Business Email Compromise scams (BEC) have affected companies of all sizes, across all-states, and indeed the globe; costing businesses an estimated $3 billion in damages since 2015, while compromising sensitive company and personal data. According to FBI organized crime investigator, Special Agent Martin Licciardo,“BEC is a serious threat on a global scale. And the criminal organizations that perpetrate these frauds are continually honing their techniques to exploit unsuspecting victims.” What to Look Out For Today, scammers have gone far beyond offering free gift cards with questionable addresses. Using tactics such as malware, spear-phishing, identity theft, email spoofing, and social engineering, these criminals have become masters of deception, and as such are extremely hard to detect. A common strategy used by fraudsters, many will first gain access to company networks through viruses or spear-phishing, before spending weeks, sometimes months of time researching everything from the company’s billing practices and trusted vendors, to the CEO’s email style and travel schedule. After sufficient data has been collected, scammers will then wait until the perfect time – such as when the CEO is away on a business trip – before sending an email to the finance department under the guise of the CEO, asking for a money transfer....
Small Business Tips to Survive a Recession

Small Business Tips to Survive a Recession

It’s no secret that times are good in today’s economy. With small business optimism escalating to record heights, entrepreneurial spirit on the rise, and overall success for Main Street, a recession is likely the last thing on a business’ mind. But, if history has taught us anything, it’s that economies rise and fall – fluctuating with the times – while it’s up to small businesses to survive it all. If you’re a small business that’s just finding your feet in today’s prime economy, here are four tips on how to plan ahead for a possible recession. Always Be Open for More Work It’s easy to stop accepting new clients or avenues of growth when business is booming. After all, if the money is there, why take on more work than you can handle? While this line of thinking is understandable, it can be risky to not put your absolute all into growing your business should a time come when customers aren’t so easy to acquire. If the opportunity for more business is there, take it and hire new employees to handle the increased workload. That way should the economy take a downturn, your business will have the income to carry it through safely, while downsizing staff as necessary. Don’t Cut Your Marketing Budget It’s a sad truth, but should a recession arrive, it’s the well-known name brands who will survive, versus the quaint but obscure mom-and-pop establishments. When money becomes tight, marketing is often the first expense cut from a business’ budget. However, this can cause more harm than good in the end, as aggressive marketing is often exactly...

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