Tax Strategies for Home-Based Businesses

Why start a home-based business

Although the primary reason for starting a home-based business is to make money, there are a number of other reasons for starting your own business including:

Freedom

You have the ability to make your own schedule and not live by a time clock or be subjected to working hours that are not conducive to your family life.

No bosses

You never have to answer to anyone but yourself so no bosses will be hounding you or threatening you with your job if you don’t perform to their expectations.

Mobility

You’re never chained to a desk or stuck in some cramped cubicle.

Earnings potential

You get out of your business what you put into it, so your earnings potential is only limited by you – not the whim of the company or employer that you are working for.

Just be aware of the fact that owning your own business involves a great deal of discipline, maturity, and responsibility. The freedom involved with creating your own work schedule could also be a double-edged sword if you aren’t careful.

IRS and tax considerations

Despite the above advantages of having your own home-based business, there are other important aspects that need to be taken into consideration, namely tax planning. Taxation is a completely different animal when you own your own business because unlike having an employer that makes the deductions for you, you are accountable and responsible for handling this issue on your own. If you want to minimize your annual tax bill, tax planning is critical and needs to be an ongoing event.

Understanding the tax write-offs involved with home-based businesses The biggest mistake that many new home-based business owners make is that they focus on whether to start up that business inside or outside of the home. What they should be focusing on is the tax advantages involved. Surprisingly there are tax advantages when owning a home-based business that you wouldn’t be able to enjoy in a different endeavor. Learning more about your allowable deductions and the numerous write-offs you can take advantage of is the key. Here are a few aspects to consider:

To take or not to take the home office deduction – of all the allowable deductions and other numerous write-offs, this is probably the biggest decision that you will need to make. Even tax accountants debate over whether or not this is a smart idea. This deduction covers both the depreciation and the operating costs associated with maintaining your home office. The percentage of your home’s square footage that is dedicated to your office is normally deductible.

Maximizing the deductibility of your expenses – there are numerous legitimate expenses that may be considered for deduction over and above the ones mentioned in the prior paragraph. Home-based business overhead typically includes a variety of expenses such as advertising expenses, travel expenses, office supplies, equipment depreciation, etc. Chances are, you’re going to be surprised when you realized how many of your daily expenses are actually tax deductible.

Plan your errands with your taxes in mind – the first mile that you travel away from home is deductible so you want to incorporate a component of your home-based business into every trip you make away from home, even if you are running personal errands. For instance, if you have a PO Box set up for your business mailings, make sure that you fit in as many business cold calls as possible when travelling from your home to the post office and back.

Remember, the key to allowable home-based business deductions as well as any brick & mortar business deductions is thorough record keeping. I recommend consulting with your accountant.

Online Network Marketing – Home Business For Baby Boomers

The time is right for baby boomers to embrace their new home business. The baby boomers have been a major force to be reckoned with ever since the first one was born in 1946 and until the last one came along in 1964. If you were born during this time period, then you are a baby boomer. There are about 80 million of us and we represent about one third of the U.S. population. It’s estimated that we control 65% of the money.

If you were in the right industry (or picked the right stock) as the wave of boomers grew, then you could have enjoyed a ripe harvest. While the first wave may be retiring, the rest of us need to make sure that we are positioned correctly to enjoy our turn when the time comes.

Year of the Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur magazine says that 2010 is the year of the entrepreneur. And I want to challenge you to claim your spot as a new home business owner. Are you ready to stretch and grow into a business model that’s a perfect fit? We have tons of experience and a lot to offer. Have you ever thought about starting your own business? If you genuinely want to help people, a home based business works well because you can start it part-time with less than $1,000.

What would it be like being the boss? Would you work harder for yourself than you have for your employer? Are you ready to start building the life you see when you close your eyes and dream? We were taught to go to school, get a good job, work hard, and then retire to do the things we always wanted to do. How is that working out for you? The old way is broken and doesn’t work anymore. Putting your future in your boss’ hands just doesn’t make sense – emotionally or financially.

Four Keys to the Right Business

But how do you decide to start a business? What should you consider before you begin your new enterprise? Let me give you four essential keys to help put the odds in your favor. There’s nothing fancy or mysterious about them. They are just common sense.

1. The first key is to look for a market that is growing. Being part of the baby boom generation, you’ve had a huge impact on markets throughout your life. Ask yourself, ‘What is important in your life, right now?’ What kinds of products and services will you be looking for and buying over the next ten to fifteen years?
2. The second key is to look for something that is purchased over and over again. If you market a product or service that is used rarely or doesn’t run out, then your next paycheck will depend on finding a new customer. If you offer a widget that gets used up on a regular basis, you will build up a steady clientele that will buy from you on a consistent basis. Which would you rather have?
3. The third key is finding a product that cannot be purchased just anywhere. Most commonly available products are purchased on either convenience or price. People will pay more for something if it’s something they need right away and they don’t want to run all over town to get it (e.g., convenience stores). If price is important to them, then they will buy what they need at the lowest cost (e.g., Walmart). You want to make sure that you are not competing on either of these levels.
4. The fourth key is to find a business model that allows you to leverage the efforts of other people. There are only so many hours in each day. If you are the sole worker in your business, then your business will grow only as fast as eight hours each day will allow. However, if you train others to build their business inside of yours, then you will benefit from the efforts of others in addition to your own.

Carpe Diem

The time is now. It’s important to understand the four keys to choosing the right business in order to set yourself up for success. Decide today that this will be your year. Isn’t it time for you and your family to win? Seize the day and create long lasting prosperity in your home business today.

MLM Business Opportunity Network Marketing – What You Should Know

So you want to know where to go to make money with an MLM business opportunity in network marketing. You will go to many websites that will try to persuade you to sign up with them and they will show you how to succeed.

The truth to all of this network marketing business is that you need to do real work to achieve real results. There are many scams out there and there are many reputable companies. Pick a company that you are passionate about and learn the business inside and out.

Business Opportunity

Many companies that have a service or sell a product will offer affiliate commissions if you sell them. The MLM companies realize the power of direct sales and business by referrals. This is often the cheapest and easiest way for them to start a business and to experience growth. They do not have to spend millions of dollars on up front advertising. They can just pay people to sell their product AFTER the product is already sold. This is great for them because the sales person is motivated by the sale and the company does not have to spent any money until their is already a sale.

The business opportunity for the sales person is a great opportunity only if you have the correct knowledge on how to sell and how to recruit people into your business. This is the most important part. The company does not care if you sell a couple packages and then quit of give up. They will just have more people sell and do the same thing.

You see, it is really up to you to be successful and grow your own business. This is also nice because you are working for yourself and you should be growing your own list so if the company goes out of business you can refer a different product or service to your list of people

A lot of people do not realize that this takes some time and a great deal of work in the beginning. This will all pay off in the future.

Compensation

The payment plan for these MLM businesses are very attractive when looking at the possible growth and income you will make by selling products and services. Realize the work and commitment involved in selling the products. This takes great endurance and patience.

MLM companies always pay on multiple levels and reward you for the performance of the people that you sponsor beneath you. This is very important. Many people become really successful because of the performance of others. Essentially they are earning money while they sleep because people are working for them all the time.

This only happens when you are a great leader and are able to duplicate your success with others. I would highly suggest before getting into an MLM system to review training systems and learn how to market effectively.

How to Implement a Business Strategy in Your Organization

Ask any successful business owner and they will tell you their success was not based on luck. The success – and failure – of a business is dependent upon the strength of their business strategy. A successful strategic plan employs cost reduction, development, and sustainability techniques to ensure a bright future. You need to know your business inside and out in order to create a comprehensive and realistic plan.

Your strategy should help you achieve the objectives of your business. A business strategy is the driving force behind any organization, and takes the form of an official report. Businesses are self-sustainable systems, when you change one thing in the system; it has a positive or negative chain reaction. Like an organism, businesses learn how to adapt to the change if it is positive, and rectify the situation if it is negative.

Organizations have several phases of development, including creativity, direction, delegation, and consolidation. A company may start out with lenient rules and regulations, but as time progresses management adopts more efficient policies that hinder creative thinking. Companies mature and lose sight of their goals and mission statements, with more of an emphasis placed on individual projects or initiatives. As a business enters maturity processes, departments, and policies are refined to reunite the organization.

Ways to Conduct Business Strategy

Historically there are two ways to develop a business strategy, using the “bottom up” and “top down” models. The bottom up method is when employees generate ideas on the floor and the best results are passed onto management. The top down strategy is when business owners create the strategy and implement the changes without seeking employee feedback. Unfortunately, both models fail to include all of the employee feedback.

The new method of developing a business strategy uses a collaborative process, which is when managers and employees exchange information and work together to create a sustainable solution. It is a team-oriented process that bridges the gap that exists between managers and workers. Before you create a business strategy ensure you have the additional resources to carry out the task without interfering with normal operation. Assign tasks and delegate responsibilities while keeping to a defined chain of command.

Functional versus Operational Business Strategies

There are two types of business strategies: functional and operational. The functional strategy focuses on general ideas and a variety of tasks for different departments. The generality is a major disadvantage, however; areas of concentration include marketing, new product launches, human resources, financial assets, and legal issues. Functional strategies provide a nice overview of the business but do not tackle the important issues employees encounter day-to-day.

Operational strategies are ideal for businesses that want to reduce costs and streamline processes because it is much narrower in scope and requires accountability on all levels. The detail oriented plan encompasses everyone and everything, from the number of cashiers on duty to how much inventory is carried at a given time. A strategy is unique to each business and reflects the needs and requirements of the company’s management.

Implementing a Business Plan

A business plan is the textual version of a strategy, as it includes pertinent information regarding the company, including: vision and mission statements, measurable objectives supporting the vision, actionable tactics meeting the objective, resources, milestones and timeframes, accountability and role designations, as well as internal and external risks. The business strategy is not evergreen and should be evaluated routinely to ensure the company still has the competitive edge.

A business plan includes the primary and secondary objectives of your organization, an analysis of current policies and procedures, and the development of new policies or procedures to correct weaknesses within the organization. Before beginning a strategy, it is helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis, which helps identify weaknesses and loopholes within the organization. Your competition capitalizes on your weaknesses, thus it is essential to continuously evaluate your business.

Developing a Competitive Strategy

Brainstorming and collaboration are essential to the development of a successful business strategy. Begin the process by identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the organization. Without erasing responses, continue to identify current opportunities that help your business succeed. Finish the SWOT analysis by identifying threats or risks that place your business in danger. Identify how your company beats the competition, outlining the various strategies already in place.

Identify your current target audience and list potential audiences in the form of demographics. Assess current market conditions and how your company can defeat the competition. Reevaluate how you are reaching current and potential customers and consider your overall marketing plan. Think positively and develop solutions to overcome any weaknesses that you have discovered thus far. Admitting your weaknesses is the hardest part of drafting a business plan, as most companies want to appear strong and mighty. Research why you have these weaknesses and find realistic solutions to the problems.

Business owners often become so caught up with their work that they fail to concentrate on their business strategy, which is a significant source of cost reduction. Achieve your goals by dedicating time each month or week to address issues surrounding the operation of your business. Make the process a tradition, ensuring operations are aligned with current goals and future forecasts. Make your business stand out from the competition by utilizing different techniques to attract the most people.

A successful strategy overcomes organizational hurdles by understanding customer needs and predicting the unpredictable. The formation of a business strategy is a science that combines current circumstances with a variety of internal and external variables, addressing immediate and long-term goals of the organization. The implementation of the strategy is rolled out slowly, starting with management. The plan encompasses everyone; however, customers are indicative of the final result.