November 8, 2010 |
Tax planning may not seem like the most exciting part of starting a new business, but down the road when it saves a lot of money, the payoff can be exhilarating. "Starry-eyed entrepreneurs who skip planning could get caught in the taxman's net," said Daniel D. Morris, a partner at accounting firm Morris & D'Angelo in San Jose. Some budding businesspeople don't realize they may have to file a tax return, even if they've not yet made a penny in revenue or even started formal operations.
September 1, 2010 |
Among the promises Frank McCourt made on the day he took over the Dodgers in 2004: He would maintain the Dodgers' player payroll within the top one-quarter of major league teams, and he had no plans to consider selling naming rights to Dodger Stadium. The business plan he filed with Major League Baseball tells a different story on both counts. In two largely similar versions of the plan, the document explains how he plans to reverse the Dodgers' financial losses in part by slashing payroll--from $100 million in 2004 to $85 million in 2006--and limiting annual growth to about 4%. The document also notes the "iconic status of Dodger Stadium" and says "there may be initial resistance to re-naming the ballpark.
August 22, 2010 |
With corporate jobs in short supply, out-of-work Americans are going into business for themselves like never before. But starting a business can be a perilous journey that most of us — even those who seem to be born entrepreneurs — can have difficulty navigating. No matter how much planning people do, pitfalls lurk. It's here that the real entrepreneurs show their spirit, experts say — by learning from their mistakes and moving forward. Some retool their companies, others shut down a failed business, only to open another.
August 22, 2010 |
The Small Business Administration offers a variety of assistance, including online workshops, seminars and classes. The agency also has step-by-step instructions for starting a business, including tips on market research and creating a business plan. The main national website has links to local SBA district offices throughout the country. Try them at http://www.sba.gov . Click on the tab labeled Small Business Planner for tips on what you may need to know before you start.
June 12, 2010 |
President Obama urged passage of his proposals to stimulate hiring by small businesses through tax credits and lending incentives, arguing that similar measures are partly responsible for the economic recovery over the last few months. Small businesses have historically been responsible for two out of every three new jobs created in the U.S., Obama said Friday, and they must be a crucial part of the economic recovery. "To replace the millions of jobs lost in the recession, we need to make sure small companies are able to open up, expand and add names to their payrolls," Obama told reporters gathered in the White House Rose Garden.
May 31, 2010 |
Dear Karen: I'm having trouble maximizing profit. How can it improve? Answer: Keep better track of your revenue and expenses, and measure actual performance against goals. One way to do this is to define profit centers, such as your sales staff, and cost centers, such as your marketing staff. "Create reports showing how much each center costs to run and how much profit it contributes," said Leon Presser, author of "What It Takes to Be an Entrepreneur." Compare actual numbers with projections from your business plan.
April 19, 2010 |
Dear Karen: Can you give me some tips for starting a gardening business? Answer: Make sure you are passionate about gardening and knowledgeable about the industry. Be persistent in setting and meeting start-up goals. "Change can only occur when you make a conscious decision to make it happen," said Tamara Monosoff, author of a new book, "Your Million Dollar Dream." Research the top issues for gardening businesses, and write down how you will approach each one. This will be the beginning of your business plan, which you should formalize before you start.
January 12, 2010 |
Dear Karen: I'm shooting educational foreign language videos. Where can I get information on pricing, Internet sales and grants? Answer: Write a simple business plan and you'll learn about all the issues you must address as a start-up business owner. Diligent research -- online and at your local library -- can help you answer questions about pricing structure, sales and funding, all of which will come up in the planning process, said Bryan Howe, chief executive of MasterPlans, a professional business planning firm based in Portland, Ore. A business plan will also make you confront important issues you might not otherwise think of, such as intellectual property protection.