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.
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.

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 I review their portfolio and their
business sites are well done.

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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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.

This Does Not Compute

Why would banks offer business checking accounts that do not have compatibliity with Quickbooks so that users can download banking information? It’s outrageous that it is not available since the account data should be easily downloaded. Some banks have the download ability for Quicken, but Quicken is more often used for personal finance. By the way, Quicken and Quickbooks are both products of Intuit so it seems to me that if a bank has a file that is downloadable to Quicken, then it also should provide one for Quickbooks. Citibank and Bank of America provides for easy downloads, so keep that in mind if you want to get your banking information on a “as it happens” basis.

Why is this important? If there is a high volume of cash inflows and outflows during the month, then it’s better to manage your cash flow by downloading bank account data on a daily or weekly basis to keep your bookkeeping up to date. This also makes it easier to do monthly bank reconciliations. If a business does not know what is going on with their finances, then they cannot make critical decisions about their operating budget.

Microsoft Accounting

For the longest time, Intuit’s Quickbooks has been THE software for small businesses. There is some good functionality to Quickbooks and compared to other software, it is OK. However, as I continue to work with Quickbooks to service my bookkeeping clients, I find that it could be better especially with online retail businesses that employ shopping carts or highly customized service firms that need more options for billing. Plus these companies need accounting software that be compatible with PayPal like other Web 2.0 applications.
Well, I just read today that Microsoft is offering free Accounting Software.


Starting today, you can download Microsoft Office Accounting Express 2007 for free–always a nice word when just starting out. The software can help you keep track of your business by organizing all your information in one place, and includes 22 templates for reports that you can customize to fit your needs. For an extra cost, you can also access third-party online services from companies like eBay, PayPal, Equifax and others.

I am going to download myself and see how it works!

South DaKota is Most Small Business Friendly State

The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council created an index that measures that are the most and least friendly to small businesses. South Dakota was named number in the country.
The least small business friendly, after the District of Columbia, are, in order, New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, Maine, Minnesota, New York, Hawaii and Massachusetts.

What does mean for small business owners in New Yorkers? It maybe time to move! (Just kidding!) Well, I think it absolutely important to ask questions and learn from others who are also entrepreneurs. You can read all the books on starting a business, but the practical truth is that you will not know until you take the plunge. Sharing information wwith others and leveraging knowledge can save you time and money.