July 28th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
And boy do we need it. Apparently the government calls those businesses that are self-proprietorships, or self-employed as “personal businesses”. And fortunately for people that qualify, there are several things that are going to help just a smidgeon these next two years.
There is the Make Work Pay tax credit which is several hundred dollars, and an accelerated depreciation for certain assets. Neither of which will give you a tremendous boost, but when you must count pennies in this economy, every little bit counts. Obviously you should consult your tax professional before going off and buying a bunch of things or counting on those dollars to come back into your business to make sure that you actually land in the qualification realm.
What this means for us? Well, it just reinforces the fact that there are at least twenty three million personal businesses out there that all need some sort of accounting software. And with what you’d save from the tax credit, isn’t it time to switch over to something that also functions better?
Photo Credit: (spcbrass)
July 20th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
It’s interesting that even those in Redmond are seeing the writing on the wall. Cloud computing is here to stay and this is reinforced by the fact that one of the major league players in the software application development world, Microsoft, is launching an online version of Office 2010.
This move not only justifies where small businesses are going, but it also shows that pretty much everyone is moving towards an cloud driven world where your applications do not exist on your own local machines anymore. Obviously, this still requires you to have an Internet connection of some sort and the move to a cloud based solution is a difficult one still for many to swallow in the development world. But with Microsoft making the leap, it actually shows that almost all of the major software developers are now backing cloud based computing.
One of the significant key moves here is that the company that hosts the cloud now has full control over the versioning. No longer will you have support questions that are determined by older version A, B, or C but instead the questions will start migrating towards actual usability and functionality. This not only creates ease for the support staff, but it also helps the development cycle flow better.
Small businesses benefit from all of this because the cost of doing business on a cloud based system is inherently less than a desktop system. After you have calculated all of the costs associated with data retainment, the answer is simple when it comes to choosing what to use for your small business accounting, office applications, and the rest. This move by Microsoft signifies not only a competitor-driven move towards Google Apps, but the fact that Google Apps is actually making a difference. Welcome to the age of cloud computing.
July 13th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
One of the ways to keep your costs in check when you begin with a small business is to get acquainted with web-based products. There are many out there to choose from and the brilliance of it is that what it requires from you is an Internet connection. This way, you can conduct your business from any computer, anywhere in the world. If the computer that you were working on crashes, you probably won’t have to worry since the data is safely stored on the Interweb.
Having been a small business owner, I can definitely tell you the amount that I have saved in using web based services is incalculable. One of the cost effective moves I made was to move a lot of my administrative costs such as email and business office tools like my small business accounting to web services. This allowed me to conduct my business anywhere in the world while I traveled and didn’t have to carry a heavy duty laptop. Instead a netbook, or mobile device was all I needed to keep on top of the business while at conferences and meetings. And you can find Internet service pretty much anywhere in the world through hotels, coffee shops and Internet cafes.
Online services in the end provide a way to streamline your business costs into manageable amounts a month instead of huge fees that hit you on an annual basis. And when your monthly service fees multiplied by twelve are less than your previous annual fees, that’s when you realize that there are products out there that you should be avoiding unless there’s an absolute need for it by your business.
July 6th, 2009 by Ben Hwang
When you start an Internet based business, there are several steps that you have to make sure that you follow. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to do, but these are a few of the major things that you should never miss out.
The first is to incorporate your business. This will make you official with the state. Being official also means that the state is now tracking where you’re going and if you will owe taxes and such.
I would also recommend getting an EIN number from the IRS. This is like your social security number for your business essentially. So it’s very important not to just toss this number anywhere and keep it safe just as your social security is used for documentation and forms but you don’t put it on your checks.
The next thing I would do is to find out what taxes and business licensing you will need. Depending on if you’re in retail or not, will determine what taxes you need to pay and licenses you need to obtain for operation of your business. You should probably determine what sort of small business accounting software that you use at this moment since it’s important to keep track of everything in your books in case the IRS comes knocking with an audit. Then you have evidence of how you spent your money getting the right documentation and such which hopefully will reduce your risk of any fines.
Finally, I would look at the tools that are needed to start the eBusiness itself. Most of the time, you’re better off with a lot of the free or open source tools if you understand how to manage them. If you do not, there are many inexpensive and/or free services out there for business use. From email to collaboration suites, it’s all out there. These keep your costs low and allow more of your funding to go towards establishing your business itself.