Using Microloans to (Finally) Operate at a Profit [Infographic]

The Top 4 Financial Mistakes Your Small Business is Making

The Top 4 Financial Mistakes Your Small Business is MakingSmall business owners know better than just about everyone that mistakes can be costly. Financial mistakes can cost a small business owner everything. The best way to avoid common financial pitfalls is to know about them in advance and plan to avoid them. Here are some of the top financial mistakes that small businesses make, along with advice on how to avoid these pitfalls. Read the full entry

Why Even a Small Business Needs Workers’ Compensation Coverage

why small businesses need workers' compensation insuranceStarting a business? Then you’ve probably heard the insurance speech and how you need to protect it. Yes, you do need liability coverage in case a client or customer slips and falls on your premises. You do need commercial-property insurance in case there’s a fire or other devastating event at your location. And, yes, if you have employees, you do need workers’ compensation insurance. Read the full entry

The Working Dead (Until You Plan for Retirement)

small business retirement plansZombies are all the rage now. Mindless rambling beings who pursue their day-to-day culinary fixes with nary a concern for the future. (Sounds suspiciously like my uncle Tim.) Now what works for zombies doesn’t necessarily work for retirement planning. The only way to really get a retirement plan going is to put a little forward thinking into it. What stops most people from doing that, though, is a lack of knowledge. The retirement world can be a little confusing as to its options, and nobody likes to jump into a pool of confusion. To help alleviate that situation, here’s a breakdown of the most common retirement plans that are available for small businesses. Read the full entry

How to Navigate the Affordable Care Act as a Freelancer

affordable care act for freelancersSmall business doesn’t get much smaller than freelancing, but freelance issues don’t come much larger than health insurance. In the past, a freelance writer, artist, or other practitioner basically had two paths to health insurance – a costly standalone policy from a private provider or family coverage from a spouse’s employer. But for many of the 42 million freelancers in the U.S. today, those “paths” often meant going without coverage. Read the full entry

How Lenders Use Personal Credit to Approve Small Business Loans

How Lenders Use Personal Credit to Approve Small Business LoansIf you’ve considered applying for a small business loan to grow your business and pay for your business expenses, you may be wondering why your personal credit is so important – and how lenders use it when you apply for small business loans. Let’s talk about the basics of how a lender uses your personal credit profile when deciding if they will approve or deny your small business loan applications. Lenders determine your creditworthiness using five major factors from the credit report: Read the full entry

Should Freelancers Form a Business Entity?

should freelancers form an entity?Freelancers inhabit a nebulous grey area of employment. They don’t exactly work for someone else, but most freelancers wouldn’t call themselves their ‘own boss’ either. I work with a lot of freelancers, and the most common question they ask is whether or not they should form a business. The answer, of course, is that they are already had. The minute they started selling their services as a freelancer, they started a small business – at least in the eyes of the IRS. Any income earned as a freelancer is reported as business income, and freelancers are responsible for self-employment taxes. Since freelancers are already entrepreneurs, I often recommend they treat their budding business as any other sole-proprietor would. Read the full entry

The 3 Biggest Startup Business Financing Mistakes & How to Fix Them

3 small business financing mistakesIf you are a new entrepreneur in need of startup business financing, it’s important to know the three biggest small business financing mistakes made by entrepreneurs in their first 1-2 years. Knowing and understanding these mistakes will empower you to make the right decisions. The small business financing world can be complicated and confusing for entrepreneurs and small business owners. It has not only changed dramatically since The Great Recession but it’s a daunting terrain that is constantly changing.

Most new entrepreneurs are often “solopreneurs” that have one or two employees, including themselves. According to statistics complied by Clate Mask, approximately 83% of small business owners are solopreneurs. The three biggest startup business financing mistakes made by new entrepreneurs are often made by solopreneurs and the information outlined here will be particularly beneficial for this group of people (specifically those who are seeking debt financing). So for all of the solopreneurs out there, what are the three biggest startup business financing mistakes that you make? Read the full entry

How to Manage Remote Employees

For Small Businesses: How to Manage Remote Employees

For small businesses nowadays, it’s not uncommon for many employees to work virtually; your IT manager could be in California, your sales reps could be scattered throughout the Midwest, and your marketing specialist could be in Vancouver. This approach helps small businesses increase employee productivity and creativity while decreasing discontent and complicacy.

While there are many advantages to this model, it also presents some challenges. If you can’t see what your employees are doing, it’s easy to draw the conclusion that they aren’t contributing effectively. Also, no matter how advanced your technology, sometimes face-to-face communication is just easier and more effective.  Lastly, remote employees are a risk to your company’s network security. Each business is different, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of remote employees. However, no matter what side you’re on, one thing is clear: more people are working remotely than ever before, and the numbers are expected to increase in the future. Read the full entry

Financing Options Spur Small Business Optimism for 2014

financial optimism and financial optionsNumerous business and financial website publications forecast that business optimization is on the rise for 2014. If you manage a small or mid-sized business, things are looking up for you this year. The state of the US economy is improving through expansion and the unemployment rate continues to decline. In the 4th quarter of 2013, the US Labor Department reported that more jobs were created in the economy since the initial decline, decreasing the unemployment rate to an all-time low of 7 percent. This, combined with consumer earnings, factory spending and international trade, is working together to inspire warranted optimism in business owners regarding overall economic growth. Read the full entry