The one way to absolutely, positively ruin your business

Deposit your payroll taxes

Small business owners can be very creative when it comes to making bad business decisions for their companies. Some business owners negate their liability protection by failing to respect their various legal entities and intermingling personal expenses in their business. Others overspend at year-end on equipment and supplies that they do not need just to reduce their income tax bill for the year. And many fail to plan for business continuity upon their death or disability. Related: The truth about year-end income tax planning However, you do not have to be too creative to make perhaps the worst mistake any business owner can make – the willful decision to not submit timely payroll tax deposits. The one bill that has to be paid. Every. Single. Time. Ever had one of those weeks where you were barely able to pay your employees, much less make minimum payments to your suppliers? Many ...

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Now is the time to execute your small business succession plan

Succession Plan

What will happen to your small business if you die? If your answer is, “I don’t know,” then consider yourself in the majority. According to a survey conducted in 2015 by CNBC and the Financial Planning Association, less than 30 percent of small businesses have a written succession plan. This figure is staggering, especially in the context of today’s aging population. Consider this: over one-half of the nation’s 28 million small business owners are older than 50. Not that succession plans are just for the aged. Young, budding entrepreneurs also need to consider the possibility of their death or their disablement affecting their business. Young or old, if you do not have a succession plan, now is the time to decide who is going to run the company in your absence and how they are going to assume ownership. Keeping it in the family Many small businesses are started with ...

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Challenge yourself: New Year’s resolutions for small businesses

New Years Resolution

It’s the end of the year. And that means it’s time to make your New Year’s resolution. For the small business owner, this is your opportunity to resolve to make your business better. Most Americans fail to keep their resolutions According to, 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions. Of these, only 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s resolution. According to the article, many fail because their resolutions are too grand in scope. Some resolutions are fuzzy and not fully measurable. Sharing your resolutions with family and friends can increase your probability of success. Most importantly, you must believe that you can achieve your goal. Resolution ideas for the small business owner Now that you have a better idea of how to increase your probability for success, here are some ideas for a New Year’s resolution to improve your small business: Start using a computerized bookkeeping system. ...

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Do you want to be a successful small business owner?

Buy a Small Business

The baby boomers are retiring, and there are a lot of them. Some of the baby boomers own very successful businesses. If you are considering becoming a small business owner, then you should consider buying an existing business from a retiring owner. The case of the retiring small business owner This year alone, I worked with three different small business owners who had made the financial decision to retire. Two of the business owners desired to transfer their ownership to the next generation. (See my related article, Family business and the second generation curse.) The third business owner does not have any family member either working in the business or interested enough in the business to take over operations. This particular business owner was born in 1944. A little old for a baby boomer, but close enough for this discussion. He started a very successful, highly profitable business many years ago ...

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Helpful retirement options for successful entreprenuers

Entrepreneur Retirement Options

I had a great meeting with one of my long-time small business clients last week. The client is a family business established many years ago by Mom and Dad and is currently in a transition period. Mom and Dad are in their seventies and their two sons are beginning to take over daily operations of the company. All four family members are stockholders. The meeting was with the four to discuss the current fiscal year-end. One topic that came up concerned Dad’s ability to continue to receive income from the company. He is looking ahead at either fully retiring or substantially stepping away from daily operations. Dad, who I will refer to as Jerry, has been contributing to the company’s retirement plan. But he is concerned that distributions from the plan will not be adequate for his retirement. More importantly, he wants to receive an income stream from the company ...

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What is your personal definition of success?

It its simplest terms, success can be defined as accomplishing a goal. Many individuals define success as achieving a certain annual salary or a certain amount invested. How often do you see headlines on reputable business and investment websites telling you how to become a millionaire by age 30 or how to increase your annual income? These headlines must appeal to a lot of people. Otherwise, you would not see them so often. As a small business owner, there are many things to consider when you think about success. First of all, why limit yourself to a strict dollar amount? Any goal that you set needs to consider all aspects of your life. Do not focus solely on your business. If you do, you run the risk of forgetting why you became a small business owner in the first place. Suddenly, spending more time with your family or taking that ...

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The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts

the 5 love languages

Communication is key to successful relationships. In business and professional circles, the focus is generally on clear verbal communication. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts focuses on the nonverbal communication between married couples. However, I believe that the skills learned in the 5 Love Languages is applicable in all areas of life, including business and professional life. What is The 5 Love Languages About? The 5 Love Languages is a book written by Gary D. Chapman, first published in 1992. The book’s underlying premise is that love is a choice that we must make. It is not simply a feeling that you feel. Chapman explains that people express love differently. He identifies five basic ways that people express love – Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. These five ways to express love are what he collectively calls the five ...

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Practical reasons to have a business coach

I am a small business owner and I have a business coach. Having a business coach has been a rewarding experience. But I would never have experienced the benefits of coaching without a recommendation from my client and friend, Mike Wesner. Mike was starting enrollmentFUEL and was looking for individuals to help him with the startup process. He was making lots of connections with people he had come across throughout his past, including me. One of the people he reconnected with was a friend of his from the U.S. Navy, David Quick. Dave had an executive coaching business and had begun coaching Mike through establishing his new company. I was also going through a transition, having become the managing partner of my accounting firm. As such, Mike suggested that I give Dave a try as a coach, which I did. It’s fair to say that I was skeptical of the ...

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Is your employee turnover too low?

employee turnover

Back when I was working on my Master of Accounting degree at NC State University, I worked as the manager of a local sporting goods store. I was the manager of the home store, which also contained the corporate office. While there, management hired a consultant specializing in customer service. It was his job to help improve sales at the chain’s seven locations. Ed spent a lot of his time at the corporate office, which meant we got to spend a lot of time together. Not long after Ed was hired, the store manager of one store turned in his resignation. He had been with the company for a very long time, and his resignation was not expected by corporate management. I distinctly remember talking with Ed about this. He said the owner “was very upset. But I told him this is what we want. We want our employees to ...

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The truth about year end income tax planning

Heavy Equipment

At Seiler, Singleton, & Associates, PA, I do a lot of year end income tax planning for small businesses. In fact, income tax planning will occupy a majority of my time from now through the end of the year. This service is an important part of the financial health of many of our small business clients. Year end income tax planning consists of two parts. First, a projection of taxable income for the business and its owners is made. Second, recommendations are made to the business to decrease or increase taxable income. These recommendations are made based on the unique situation of the company and the business owner’s long-term goals. For instance, a business may be looking to make a significant loan to fund the purchase of a major piece of equipment. Planning may include ways to increase business taxable income before year end to help meet bank loan requirements. ...

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How to build a remarkable business that thrives without you

Build a Successful Business

Last month’s article, “Family Business and the Second Generation Curse” discussed the issues of succession in family businesses. The article noted that only 30% of family businesses survive the second generation. It listed five suggestions for improving the successful transition of a family business from one generation to another. The first suggestion was to build a business that can run without you. Whether your long-term goal is to pass your business to the next generation or to sell your business, you are not going to be very successful if you are still integral to the daily operations of your business. Any potential buyer will be able to quickly determine your daily involvement in the business operations before an offer is made. And family members involved in a family business already know. Once the secret is out, you may find that you have fewer parties interested in buying your business. The ...

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Family business and the second generation curse

The Second Generation Curse

One of my retired partners, Bill Zachman, used to tell me, “The first generation is the innovators, the second generation is the administrators, and the third generation is the trust beneficiaries.” Isn’t that true? One person takes a risk, invents a product, goes out on a limb, whatever. Through that person’s efforts, a business is founded. Eventually, the reigns are left to the son or daughter. Things are good, business is good, money is flowing, son or daughter is running the business. Then one day, son or daughter realize that they have neglected one thing, their own children. Not only are their children not prepared to run the business, but they are not prepared to manage their personal finances. Having been the product of successful parents, they do not value the hard work that their parents and grandparents needed to build the business. They are spendthrifts. So, son or daughter ...

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About David

About David

David is an accountant and adviser for small business owners. He also coaches clients on leadership and success. David is an avid reader. He blogs regularly on the books that he is currently reading.

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