Strategic Planning: Not Just For Big Corporations

Kick off 2008 by taking a good look at your business.  Create a strategic business plan for your business.  Strategic planning is not just for big corporations; it is an excellent way to monitor your goals and motivate you.  For small businesses, there’s no need for boring board meetings, but you can develop a good plan that will guide you throughout the year. Ask yourself what has worked well for your business, what is profitable and review your goals and budget. Indulge in a bit of business navel-gazing as you take the time to plan how you want your business to succeed in 2008. Then review it quarterly to see how the business is progressing.  Work smart, be patient and prosper!

Read the Newsday article about Strategic Planning.


Preparing For Your Tax Bill Now May Save You Money Later

An excellent post about getting the right accountant and preparing for next year’s tax bill. I hightly recommend checking in with an accountant in December to see what you expected tax bill will be. Also, get organized on Quickbooks or some accounting system where can actually review your P/L and Balance Sheet.



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If you’ve ever run your own business or been a freelancer, you know the pain of scrambling to pay an unexpectedly large tax bill. Be aggressive with the amounts you pay on your quarterly payment schedule and you’ll spare yourself a lot of pain down the line.

  • Even if you handle taxes yourself, you should see a trusted accountant every December with your estimated year-end totals on revenue and spending to figure out where you’ll stand come April

Every tax day for the last four or five years I’ve owed the IRS thousands of dollars. For the last two years, I’ve met with an accountant in December to handicap where I’d stand come April. It’s been a godsend because I’ve been prepared both times for the worst, and had plenty of savings ready to pay the bill. A December accountant visit is also good for determining if your estimated taxes are inline with your earnings — whether you should be putting away more or less the same amount the next year.

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Five Simple Ways To Save Time And Sanity

Marci Alboher has a great post on her Shifting Careers blog which gives 5 tips on time management.

  1. Tame the Email Beast. [Have you read Bit Literacy?]
  2. Eliminate unnecessary meetings. [Sometimes a meeting isn’t necessary when there is nothing but a recap or review]
  3. Put up boundaries.  [Get off the IM/Facebook/Google Chat when you have to focus on one thing]
  4. Find your rhythm and schedule around it.  [A CEO friend of mine believes in following your biorhythms to be more productive.]
  5. Say no. [This is the hardest one for me, but the holidays have forced me to start doing this now.]

H&R Block’s Digits Provides AMT Information

A friend tipped me off to a H&R Block’s new web community, Digits. I just checked it out, and it provide great valuable information about the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT).

What is AMT?

AMT stands for the Alternative Minimum Tax. First introduced in 1969, the AMT was created to ensure that the wealthiest American households didn’t avoid paying income tax. Because the AMT has not been adjusted for inflation, the tax would affect middle-income tax filers if Congress does not fix it. Congress has increased or extended the AMT exemption three times since 2001. The last extension expired at the end of 2006.

How Many Taxpayers Will Be Affected By The AMT?

If a new AMT “patch” is not approved by Congress, the number of taxpayers subject to the AMT will jump from 4 million (in 2006) to 25 million in 2007. Taxpayers making $45,000 and above as a married couple in ’07, or $33,750 and above as a single filer, may be subject to the tax.

What’s being done to fix it?

Congress is late in creating a temporary AMT “patch” for tax year 2007. In November, the House of Representatives approved a one-year AMT “patch,” and the Senate passed a different version on Dec. 6. The two houses must reconcile their differences and win presidential approval for the bill to become law. We expect that will happen before Congress recesses on Dec. 21.

My advice: Contact your Congressman/woman to make sure the patch gets passed. Let’s not make your tax bill bigger.

Dyslexics Delegate

Today, I read the blog post on about how dyslexia is common among small business owners.

It’s not surprising that dyslexics are drawn toward running their own businesses. As business owners, they can play down their weaknesses when it comes to reading and writing, and focus on the more creative tasks at hand. But a new study of American entrepreneurs shows that dyslexia may be more even more common among small-business owners than once thought. According to The New York Times , a recent report compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that about 35 percent of respondents said they were dyslexic. The study also found that dyslexics are more likely to be better at oral communication and problem solving, in addition to delegating authority. “We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” said Logan. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”

Since small business owners with dyslexia are often excellent at delegating and communicating orally, it’s no surprise that they succeed.

Wesabe Helps Quickbooks Set-Up

I discovered a new use for Wesabe today while working with a new client doing Quickbooks set-up. See my client has a personal banking account with a bank that doesn’t allow for data transactions to be easily uploaded into Quickbooks Pro for Mac. So I downloaded an OFX file from the bank, and did a manual upload into Wesabe so that I could easily copy and paste the bank transactions over to the Quickbooks. Copying and pasting taken longer than an automatic upload, but it’s better for data integrity than entering each line manually. This is an example of how I used Web 1.0 (Quickbooks) and Web 2.0 (Wesabe) to serve my client efficiently.