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Posts tagged ‘Insurance’

How To Convert a Client Meeting Into A Secured Client

Ok, so you’ve done the networking, and you did so well, you got someone to want to meet with you to learn more about you and your services. YAY! Don’t celebrate too soon though; before you start imagining your future together,  you have to make sure you nail that first meeting with these crucial steps, or else, the time and focus you put towards that meeting will be all for not.

Before meeting with the prospective client, do a little homework. Google them to learn as much as you can about their industry and about them as well. You may find information that will help you build  a rapport with this person. Finding that common thread will build trust and commonality-the first step in closing a deal!

Although you normally keep your smartphone no more than 3 inches away from you at all times this may be the best time for you to put that phone away. You wouldn’t interrupt a potential employer with your phone, would you? Don’t do it with a potential client either. It leaves an impression that you are not fully engaged. Securing a client should be your top priority-everything else can wait.

As much as I would love to think this person is at least 80% committed to you, chances are they’re really at more like a 50%. They can really go either way. Try to keep the conversation light, positive, and a fair give and take-almost like a first date. Ask them questions, and make eye contact; talk about your business in a way that may interest them, and do your best to find more commonality to further thread you closer together until that person is a secured client.

Lastly, a successful meeting will always lead to a second meeting-give them all the information they need to help them decide whether your business is the right fit for them, but leave the detailed specifics for the next meeting-taking you to that next step.

Good luck on securing that client!

 

30 (+1!) Small Business Tax Deductions You Should Know About

 

So many small businesses have yet to file their taxes (ahem…) and when you own a small business, it’s important to know what you do and don’t qualify for. Sure, you can deduct your miles, and portions of your home, and your computer, etc. But what about all the other things that you didn’t even know about? What if there are some deductions you can be benefiting from, and haven’t yet? I say, if there’s a piece of pie left on that plate then by golly, I’m eating it! (gluten-free, of course), and the same goes for your business. If there are tax deductions you can benefit from, you should find out what those are, and how you can take advantage of them.

Remember, having a great accountant, and a great bookkeeper will make sure you pay the appropriate taxes at the appropriate time. The last thing you want is to have to pay back taxes or have the IRS come after you for taxes you neglected to pay. Tax laws are complex and ever changing. Hire a good bookkeeper to keep you updated and reconciled, and hire a great accountant to file your papers properly. Here’s a checklist of tax deductions for small businesses:

1. Auto Maintenance and Mileage: There are two ways to calculate vehicle deductions: actual expenses (gas, maintenance, etc.), and standard mileage. Use the method that will be most beneficial for you.

2. Utilities: Everything you have to keep your office going is 100% deductible; power, trash, telephone, water, etc. If your phone is used for personal calls as well, deduct only the business calls.

3. Inventory (Cost of Goods Sold)

4. Profit-Sharing or Pension Plans: Deduct contributions you made to your employee’s SEP, SIMPLE, or other qualified plans.

5. Advertising and Marketing: business cards, ads, anything related to your business.

6. Home Office: to calculate how much of the home-related expenses are tax deductible, measure your work area and divide by the square footage of your home. The percentage you end up with is the fraction of rent, mortgage, insurance, electricity, etc. that you can claim. Claiming your entire room will get you into trouble. Take the time, and calculate precisely.

7. Employee Benefits: Health plans, educational assistance, life insurance for your employees and even adoption assistance are generally tax deductible.

8. Employee’s Pay

9. Office Supplies

10. Depreciation: If you buy property to use in your business, you generally can’t deduct the entire cost in the ear of purchase, but you can spread the cost over more than one tax year and deduct part of it each year.

11. Professional Fees: Accountants, lawyers, and any professional consulting fees.

12. Travel Expenses: This includes eating out which is 50% deductible

13. Education: Magazines, books, CD’s, DVD’s, trade shows and seminars are all 100% deductible

14. Entertaining: Prospective or current client’s meal and drinks are 50% deductible, but it has to be within a business setting or take place before or after a meeting.

15. Office Equipment: save those receipts! Take it all in one year, or depreciate it.

16. Bad Debts: Deductible only if the amount owed to you was previously included in gross income.

17. Furniture: either deduct in whole in one year, or depreciate it over several years.

18. Service Fees: Credit Card processing fees are 100% deductible.

19. Charitable contributions: If you contribute $250.00 or more and claim the deduction you need to have a letter from the organization which verifies your donation.

20. Startup Expenses: You can choose to deduct up to $5000 of startup costs, which include any research costs incurred for creating your business.

21. Employee or Client Gifts: 1000% deductible up to @25.00 per year per person

22. Theft and Loss: Only if it was unavoidable.

23. Petty Cash and Tips

24. Taxes: taxes incurred in running your business are deductible

25. Insurance Premiums: Credit, liability, malpractice, and worker’s compensation insurance are all deductible.

26. Interest: Mortgage, Finance, and payment plans, or even interest paid on other loans are all 100% deductible.

27. Software

28. Licenses: regulatory fees are deductible also

29. Freelancers: If you hire an independent contractor and pay more than $600.00 in one year, you can deduct their pay as a business expense

30. Rent: You can deduct rent if the rent is for property you use for business. You cannot, however, deduct if you have even partial equity) or receive equity) in the property.

31. Repairs and Maintenance

 

For more information, follow these links posted by the IRS

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p334/index.html

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p535/index.html

http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/index.html

Do You Need Insurance For Your Home-Based Business?

It seems these days you have to have insurance for everything: there’s car and health; homeowners and rental; business and even pet insurance. You have to make sure your bread and butter-the thing that pays for everything else-is covered tightly and securely by an insurance policy, but where do you start, and what do you consider?

First, you have to ask yourself what you would want to have covered. If you’re a photographer, you would have your cameras and other tools of your trade; a graphic designer, and all your software and computers would have to be covered. It’s important to identify what kind of business you run from your home, who enters your place of business, and what you have that could potentially be broken or stolen.

But, you have business insurance coverage, you say? Well, take a look at your policy and be certain you are covered according to the specifics of your business, not just the generic coverage you generally get with a business insurance package. Also, don’t think that if you don’t have business insurance, that surely your homeowners insurance will cover the costs; most homeowner policies limit loss of business property to $2,500 and don’t cover losses away from the home, and exclude liability coverage for business related activity.

  • There are three different types of insurance. To determine which you need you must ask yourself the following:
  • How much would it cost me to replace all my equipment?
  • How often do I take my laptop and cellphone out to meet with a client?
  • How often do clients meet me at home?
  • How often are there business deliveries to my home?
  • Do the products I sell have the potential to harm or cause someone to claim harm?
  • What would happen to my business if I were temporarily displaced from my home?

 

Types Of Insurance:

  1. Business Owner’s Policy: This includes both liability and property damage coverage, and also provides some off-premises coverage. Things like flood protection or insurance for outdoor signs are optional.
  2. Home Office Policy-this policy combines homeowners and business insurance, eliminating duplicate coverage or gaps.  It also covers general business liability, lost income and ongoing expenses like payroll for up to one year if your business can’t operate due to damage to your home. Loss of records, accounts receivable, and even some off-site business property, fire theft and personal liability are also covered.  Flood insurance is, again, optional.
  3. Business Pursuits Endorsement: This is part of your homeowner’s policy and offers the least amount of protection. Not recommended if you have costly equipment or if you have any onsite visits.

Of course, be smart about your business, and be smart about your insurance. Choose the one that fits best for you, and take the necessary precautions to keep from ever having to use it.

 

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