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Three Crucial Questions for Small Business Owners

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on October 6, 2009 in Small Business Leadership, Small Business Management |

There’s no doubt that most organizations, from small businesses to large corporations, are struggling. It’s been a darn hard time for most people. And yet giving up just really isn’t an option for many small business owners since the job market doesn’t offer a lot of hope and many retirement plans have suffered serious setbacks.

But even though the economic situation is less than perfect, it does present us small business owners with a perfect opportunity to ask some penetrating questions. It allows us to ask ourselves what is important about our small businesses. It helps us remember why we started our small businesses, and determine whether those reasons are still important to us. read more

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Finding a Good Small Business Accountant

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on October 1, 2009 in Employment and Jobs, Small Business Cash Flow, Small Business Management, Small Business Tax Tips |

A while back I wrote a blog post on finding a great accountant for your small business. Recently, I decided to take my own advice. I have used the same accounting service for almost a decade, and have always had a great relationship with them.

However, I found that as my small business focus shifted away from a “bricks and mortar” city environment to an online environment mixed with country living, I needed an accountant with different specialties and skills.

Where to Find a Good Small Business Accountant
I’m of the generation who “Googles” everything first. It hardly ever occurs to me to peel open a phone book if online access is just a few clicks away. Digging around on Google, I found several “accountant search” sites, and entered my request on several. Most sites asked for the following information: read more

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Now is a Time for Mavericks and Old-Fashioned Values

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 29, 2009 in Small Business Management, Small Business Opinion-Making |

It pays to be a maverick these days because nothing seems to work like it used to. Sure, a lot of people are doing their best ostrich act, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping that when the alarm beeps in the morning the world will have returned to its normal order.

Not gonna happen, folks. “Business as usual” isn’t going to cut the mustard in this new economy, this time of prolonged uncertainty. By the way, did you know that prolonged uncertainty is one of the greatest causes of stress a human being can suffer? They’ve done studies that prove it. So here we are, in a time of prolonged uncertainty, and we are, well, uncertain. read more

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First Goals for New Home-Based Business Owners

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 24, 2009 in Small Business Leadership, Small Business Strategy |

With the economic uncertainty swirling around us all the time, many people are turning to home-based businesses as a way to create an alternate stream of income in their lives, even if they are currently employed.

If you are a new home-based business owner, then you are probably up to your eyeballs in getting your new business off the ground. In the midst of all of this activity, though, one important step that will really help your business grow is to define some initial goals for your new business. read more

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3 Time Management Tips for Small Business Owners

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 22, 2009 in Small Business Management |

Time is one of the most precious commodities for a small business owner. Between business development, client work, employee or contract worker management, marketing, and fire-fighting, there’s hardly enough time for coffee and bathroom breaks.

In fact, recent studies show that time management issues are among the main obstacles to small business owners being successful and keeping the doors to their businesses open. So what’s a small business owner to do? Here are some time management tips I recently gathered from a workshop sponsored by my local chamber of commerce. read more

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The Rules of the Pool Post by Chris Brogan is Worth Reading

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 17, 2009 in Small Business Marketing |

I love reading Chris Brogan’s stuff. Here’s this social media guru who is humble, funny, and really knows his stuff … and even though I know he is brilliant he frequently manages to catch me by surprise with a post from out of left field. I read this “Rules of the Pool” post recently and I was blown away.

Read Chris’ post here.

I have always felt that the people who call themselves “experts” in online marketing are the ones I should stay far, far away from. I’ve never felt that their advice was right for small business. For big business with a big budget? Probably. But for us little guys swimming around in the big scary online pond, a lot of their advice is good but totally out of reach. Asking a small business to do online marketing at the rate the experts advise is, frankly, impossible, both in terms of time and money. read more

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Do a Dreaded Task per Week – Improve Work Productivity, Decrease Procrastination

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 15, 2009 in Small Business Management |

Doing a dreaded task once a week is a big time key to success in business and in life. Now don’t get me wrong … most of the time I’m a huge believer in positive thinking and an enthusiastic outlook on life. But, like most people, there are certain tasks associated with my business that I dread. I’d rather muck horse manure for 8 hours straight than do some of these tasks. I’d rather join Mike Rowe for a stint on “Dirty Jobs” than tackle these dreaded tasks. And that’s silly, considering that most of these tasks take an hour or two to complete. Can you say procrastination? read more

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The Winchester Approach to Work Productivity

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 10, 2009 in Small Business Management |

The Charles Emerson Winchester III character on the sitcom M*A*S*H used to say, “I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and I move on.” Now Charles was a total pompous ass on the show, but his approach is very applicable in this day and age of business.

In modern times, when people can’t even have a normal face-to-face conversation without being interrupted by phone calls, text messages, pagers, and other such nonsense, the principle of doing one things at a time is a very useful maxim when it comes to work productivity, especially for small business owners. read more

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Worry-Free Small Business Tax Deductions in 19 Minutes

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on September 8, 2009 in Small Business Tax Tips, Small Business Technology |

19 minutes is all it takes me per week to have a worry-free tax season for my small businesses. I timed it, literally. You see, I’ve been studying up on how to maximize my small business tax deductions, and I’ve discovered what it takes to keep the IRS happy:

1. Know the rules as they apply to your business and follow them
2. Keep orderly small business tax documents
3. Have a great accountant

Now that might sound like a lot of work, especially the part about knowing the rules and documenting everything, but it doesn’t take long, really.

Discovering Small Business Tax Deduction Rules

So everyone knows that the IRS has rules, lots of them, and that if you don’t follow them you will get in dutch. What most people don’t know, though, is how to interpret those rules so they apply to you and your small business. And being that the tax code is some 18,000 pages long, it’s going to be pretty hard to figure out which small business tax deductions apply to your organization, and how, just by reading the tax code. read more

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Alternative Ways to Avoid the Cash Flow Crunch for Small Businesses

Posted by Stephanie Valentine on July 14, 2009 in Small Business Cash Flow |

In my last few blog posts I’ve highlighted different ways that small business can increase their cash flow, with strategies that vary from bartering with other companies to turning away slow/no pay clients. Here’s a list of those blog posts in case you want to know more about ways to bring more cash into your small business.

In this blog post, I explore some more adventurous alternative ways that small business owners are discovering for avoiding the cash flow crunch.

Adventurous Ways to Avoid the Cash Flow Crunch
The methods I discussed in my previous blog posts are fairly common sense and standard; ask any good accountant and you’ll get some, if not all, of these suggestions. The two methods I cover in this blog post are less standard, and you may or may not have heard of them. Even if you have heard of them, you may not have considered them as viable options for you. But with the economy being the roller coaster that it is right now, you may want to keep your options open. So what are these two adventurous options? read more

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