Small Business Resources

Banking: Washington Mutual offers free business checking with no balance requirement. Plus, you can sign up for free enrollment into the WaMoola For Schools Program where you can benefit your local school with Debit Mastercard purchases. You can get downloads of your banking account information into Quickbooks.
Payroll:
I met Brian Barrett from Prime Pay, a payroll service. They handle all line items associated with payroll including flexible spending accounts, payroll taxes and 401K deductions. They have account executives who are assigned to their payroll clients so you have a consistent person who you contact for your payroll needs.

I also met someone from CHS Payroll which does payroll including union benefit reports and job and labor costing reports.

Website:
Microsoft Office Live offers a free basic website with free domain name registration, email accounts, 500 MB storage, and free site reports.
For website design, you may want to contact 304media.com. I review their portfolio and their
business sites are well done.

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NY XPo For Business Highlights

Yesterday, I attended the New York Expo for Business, and I got a wealth of information for small businesses. Plus, I got a CD of Microsoft Accounting 2007 which I plan to install today.  There were a lot of vendors who are great resources for my bookkeeping client and there were vendors who may to employ my services as well.

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Trademark Advice

My business colleague, Nance Schick, offers excellent advice about trademarks and intellectual property.

Make sure you know the differences among the various forms of intellectual property (IP). Many agencies, including attorneys, prey on entrepreneurs who do not know the differences. Trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and patents all describe different types of IP, and each has a unique process for protection. You may also find that it is a complete waste of money to apply because, for example:

  1. Trademark protection is granted to the first to use the mark in interstate commerce, regardless of whether the mark is registered;
  2. Patents are rarely granted, are expensive to obtain and are even more expensive to litigate;
  3. Ideas cannot be protected;
  4. It may be most cost-effective to negotiate with IP owners rather than litigate; and
  5. IP alone is unlikely to make you rich, despite what popular culture may lead you to believe.

If you are confused about the different types of intellectual property, then it is recommended that you read up more on them before trademark application.

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1099s

If you are a small business owner, you may very likely have independent contractors working for you.  You must sent out 1099 tax forms to contractors by January 31.

Now is the time to evaluate whether the independent contractor is eligible.  If they provided more than $600 of services, then they must be sent a form.

You can order the forms through Quickbooks and print them out.

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Instant Assessment BullPen: November 29

From the New York City Business Solutions website:

The New York Business Solutions will conduct the 2nd annual Instant Assessment Bullpen at the NY Xpo for Business on November 29, 2006, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

The Instant Assessment Bullpen will bring together over 20 business experts, from City, State, and Federal agencies, to assist New York’s small businesses by providing on the spot advice, program applications and assistance accessing these programs. Participating businesses will have access to a range of programs and services on business topics including financing, incentives, licensing requirements, business planning and government procurement opportunities.

In addition to the Instant Assessment Bullpen, the NY Xpo for small business will feature 400 exhibitors and conduct over 30 free training sessions on topics including growth strategies, sales, marketing and technology. The event will feature a 5-Borough Chambers of Commerce Business Luncheon with the Honorable Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the keynote speaker.


The entire event is FREE , but registration is required.

Creative Public

If you need to develop contracts and/or service level agreements with your clients, then you may want to check out Creative Public.Com . It’s more effective to get the terms of an agreement up front in writing before any work is done in avoid to hassles later. Also, if their are problems later, re-communicate to your client the terms of the contract, so that everyone is on the page.