business owners http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/9108/all en-US 6 Reasons Average People Should Consider a Prenup http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/giving_them_a_happy_send_off.jpg" alt="Giving them a happy send off" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Prenuptial agreements are pretty standard when the rich and famous get married. Considering the amount of wealth these high-profile couples have, it makes perfect sense why prenups are as common as their giant engagement rings.</p> <p>But what about us common folk? Are prenups a good idea for people without millions of dollars to protect?</p> <p>Depending on your finances and relationship, a prenup might be a good idea for you and your sweetheart. Here are six reasons why people without multimillion-dollar net worths might choose to sign a prenup before saying &quot;I do.&quot;</p> <h2>1. If either of you have children from a previous relationship</h2> <p>As of 2013, <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/11/14/four-in-ten-couples-are-saying-i-do-again/" target="_blank">40 percent of new marriages</a> include at least one spouse who has previously been married. Couples who have been down the aisle before are more likely to bring children into their new marriage, which adds a level of financial complication to their union. These parents often want to make sure children from their previous relationships will be financially taken care of in case of either death or divorce.</p> <p>A prenup can help parents protect assets for their children, especially in terms of estate planning. For instance, state laws generally consider marital property to belong solely to a surviving spouse after one partner dies. A prenup could ensure that a portion of that property, or assets that the parent brought into the marriage, would go to the child of a previous marriage or relationship rather than the surviving spouse.</p> <p>While wills can cover this same ground, having just a will that leaves your spouse less than an elective share of your estate (between one-third and one half) does not necessarily preserve assets for your children, since your spouse can make a claim against your estate for the elective share. Having a prenup that spells out what assets go to children of a previous relationship, along with a will that cements the terms of the prenup, will be a much more solid method of protecting your children.</p> <h2>2. If either of you has a great deal of debt</h2> <p>We tend to think of prenups as being a way of protecting our wealth, but they can also protect you from your partner's debts (or vice versa). If you are entering into a marriage with a great deal of individual debt, a prenup can delineate who has responsibility for the debt payments during the marriage, as well as how the debts will be handled in the event of a divorce.</p> <h2>3. If either of you is an entrepreneur</h2> <p>Figuring out the specific valuation of assets, such as closely-held business interests or stock options, can be tricky. These things can cause a messy delay in the event of a divorce. If either spouse is an entrepreneur or small business owner, drafting a prenup that spells out exactly how these kinds of assets will be valued will save you a great deal of heartache, time, and lawyer's fees if you ever need to split them up in a divorce.</p> <h2>4. If either of you plans to get an advanced degree while the other works</h2> <p>It's common for one spouse to financially support the family while the other gets an advanced degree or other higher education. The problem with this division is if the marriage does not survive.</p> <p>The fallout can happen in a few ways. Maybe, for example, the degree-seeking spouse ends up much better off financially because their new education helps advance their career. Meanwhile, the supporting spouse may be stuck toiling away for a lower paycheck. Or, in another example, maybe the supporting spouse makes good money, but the degree-seeking spouse is unable to find a job or is crippled by student loans post-divorce.</p> <p>A couple who knows that one partner will work to support the family while the other goes to school may want to draw up a prenup that will make sure both of them will be financially OK if the marriage does not last.</p> <h2>5. If either of you plans to be a stay-at-home parent</h2> <p>A spouse who stays home with the children may not be bringing in a salary, but he or she is certainly saving the family money. According to a 2016 Salary.com estimate, stay-at-home parents are saving their families <a href="http://www.salary.com/2016-mothers-day-infographics/" target="_blank">over $143,000 per year</a> by doing all of the work that would otherwise have to be contracted out.</p> <p>Unfortunately, there is no real way to quantify those cost savings if a marriage dissolves, which can leave the non-paycheck-earning parent at a distinct disadvantage. A prenup can do a great deal to protect both of the spouses.</p> <h2>6. If you live in a community property state</h2> <p>In the nine community property states, which include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin, everything purchased during the marriage is split 50/50 in the event of a divorce, no matter who made the purchase.</p> <p>For most couples in these states, there is no problem with the community property laws. However, suppose one spouse purchases property on her own during the marriage? For instance, a real estate developer marrying someone outside of the real estate business might use her own funds to purchase properties as part of her business, even after they are married. If the developer wants to make sure those properties remain under her control should the marriage dissolve, then a prenup would be a good idea to protect that property.</p> <h2>Making sure your prenup is mutually beneficial</h2> <p>There is a stigma to prenups, which is part of the reason why they are often seen as just being for the uber-wealthy. We tend to think of them as proof that spouses are not committed to their relationship.</p> <p>However, a prenup should be mutually beneficial, and it can be a way for you and your beloved to show your commitment to each other. You should both be satisfied that you will each be taken care of in case life doesn't turn out the way you planned.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-i-learned-about-money-after-getting-married">8 Things I Learned About Money After Getting Married</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-family-money-matters-your-kids-dont-need-to-know">9 Family Money Matters Your Kids Don&#039;t Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-smart-financial-gifts-to-give-your-kids-this-year">6 Smart Financial Gifts to Give Your Kids This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/teach-your-kids-about-money-with-their-holiday-gift-lists">Teach Your Kids About Money With Their Holiday Gift Lists</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family business owners children debt education entrepreneurs marriage prenup prenuptial agreement protecting spouses Tue, 13 Jun 2017 08:30:17 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1959137 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Bedtime Routines of Famous Financial Gurus http://www.wisebread.com/5-bedtime-routines-of-famous-financial-gurus <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-bedtime-routines-of-famous-financial-gurus" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_young_woman_at_home.jpg" alt="Beautiful young woman at home reading book" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're Joe Schmo or Bill Gates, there are just 24 hours in a day. Of course, not everybody spends them in the same way. Let's face it: Some people are better at managing time than others. And in a world where time equals money, it's often those with the best time management skills who are raking in the dough.</p> <p>It's not just how we spend our waking hours that counts &mdash; our habits pertaining to slumber also affect our income, stamina, success, and productivity.</p> <p>Read on for our roundup of evening rituals of these famously successful people. Because who wouldn't want to sleep like the fabulously wealthy?</p> <h2>1. Read a book</h2> <p>Bill Gates, who reads around 50 books per year, reserves the last waking hour of his day for reading. Yes, even on the stressful, exhausting days, Gates always makes time before bed for a good book.</p> <p>If you're wondering why someone like Gates has made this a priority, wonder no more: Not only does reading fuel creativity, it also helps a person de-stress while introducing new perspectives and expanding their knowledge. Hard up for something fresh to read? Here's <a href="http://time.com/4686426/bill-gates-book-recommendations/" target="_blank">every book recommendation</a> that Gates, the richest man in the world, has ever shared publicly.</p> <h2>2. Unplug the phone</h2> <p>On the brink of slumber, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg checks her email one last time. Then she turns off her cellphone, signaling an end to the day. Unplugging this way can be &quot;painful,&quot; Sandberg has admitted, but she conceded that she has found it to be the key to a good night's sleep. If the phone is on, she's said she is much more likely to be disturbed during the night.</p> <p>This is a smart habit to take up for yourself. Not only can waking up to check your phone in the middle of the night reduce the quality of your sleep, it can also cause anxiety, according to researchers at California State University.</p> <h2>3. Track your sleep</h2> <p>In complete contradiction to Sandberg's routine, business magnate Elon Musk uses his cellphone to track his sleep. His nightly sleep count averages about six hours, he admitted in a 2015 Reddit AMA. In preparation for this shut-eye, Musk, an avid consumer of coffee and Diet Coke, cuts himself off from caffeine six hours before bedtime.</p> <p>There are a number of smartphone apps that can help you track and understand your sleep cycles. Experts recommend seven to eight hours for most adults, though the true number is individualistic and likely depends on genetics. Getting enough sleep is critical to a satisfying social life and a high performance career. Here are a few top-rated sleep app options: <a href="https://mysleepbot.com/" target="_blank">Sleepbot</a>, <a href="https://www.sleepcycle.com/" target="_blank">Sleep Cycle</a>, and <a href="http://24-7.motionx.com/" target="_blank">MotionX 24/7</a>.</p> <h2>4. Treat yourself to quiet time</h2> <p>Oprah Winfrey designates 20 minutes at the end of her day for <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Oprah-on-Stillness-and-Meditation-Oprah-Visits-Fairfield-Iowa#ixzz2XoJNWPAR" target="_blank">meditation and silent reflection</a>. By allowing herself a regularly scheduled window during which she can decompress, Winfrey says she has reaped more benefits than she ever imagined. &quot;The results have been awesome,&quot; she said. &quot;Better sleep. Improved relationships with spouses, children, coworkers &hellip; Greater productivity and creativity all around.&quot;</p> <p>We all know how to sit quietly, but meditation takes a little bit more know-how and guidance. That's where a meditation aid can be helpful. Try the smartphone apps <a href="https://www.sattva.life/apps" target="_blank">Sattva</a> or <a href="http://buddhify.com/" target="_blank">Buddhify</a>. You can also find guided meditations on YouTube.</p> <h2>5. Skip the wine &mdash; soak in the tub</h2> <p>Entrepreneur Arianna Huffington's nighttime routine is ceremonious, and it comes in two stages. The first is simple: Skip the nightcap. Booze before bed can certainly help a person fall asleep, but the quality of that sleep will suffer. Instead, Huffington, who says she endeavors to clock seven or eight hours of shut-eye each night, indulges in a candlelit bath with piping hot water and Epsom salts. Then, after she gets under the covers, she takes a moment to count her blessings.</p> <p>&quot;I pause to think about the things that I'm grateful for in that moment,&quot; she wrote for The Telegraph. &quot;That way my blessings, not my worries, get the closing scene of the night.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-bedtime-routines-of-famous-financial-gurus">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-wise-tips-famous-ceos-would-give-their-younger-selves">8 Wise Tips Famous CEOs Would Give Their Younger Selves</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-lessons-we-could-all-learn-from-dwayne-the-rock-johnson">6 Money Lessons We Could All Learn From Dwayne &quot;The Rock&quot; Johnson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-inspiring-quotes-about-money-from-successful-women">6 Inspiring Quotes About Money From Successful Women</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-things-you-can-do-in-denver-that-you-cant-do-anywhere-else">8 Things You Can Do in Denver That You Can&#039;t Do Anywhere Else</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/spice-up-the-conversation-by-skipping-what-do-you-do">Spice Up the Conversation by Skipping &quot;What Do You Do?&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Lifestyle bedtime business owners celebrities CEOs entrepreneurs famous habits routines sleep success Mon, 05 Jun 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1955704 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-121277252.jpg" alt="Learning surprising ways real estate cuts taxes" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Once you own property, you may be eligible for a long list of tax breaks, whether you use it as your primary home, for rental income, or sell it for profit. Let's run through familiar benefits, such as the mortgage interest deduction, and also the various (stunning!) tax breaks real estate investors, landlords, and homeowners enjoy.</p> <h2>1. Mortgage Interest<strong> </strong></h2> <p>This is the most familiar of all deductions and one of the very few times that you can use the interest that you're paying to reduce your tax bill. Besides deducting mortgage interest that you're paying for the purchase of your primary residence, you can also deduct mortgage interest from a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit (HELOC).</p> <p>You can deduct up to $500,000 ($1 million if married filing jointly) in all mortgage interest used to buy, construct, or make substantial improvements in your first home (and second, if applicable). You can't, however, deduct any mortgage interest for purchases on a third home and so on. You can also deduct up to $50,000 ($100,000 if married filing jointly) from all home equity debt for reasons other than to buy, build, or substantially improve your first or second home.</p> <h2>2. Mortgage Interest Credit</h2> <p>Recipients of a mortgage credit certificate (MCC) by a state or local government under a qualified mortgage credit certificate program could be eligible for a federal income tax credit of up to 20% of their annual mortgage interest. Figure this credit on Form 8396. The best part is that the remaining 80% of your mortgage interest is still eligible as a deduction!</p> <h2>3. Points</h2> <p>Charges paid by a borrower to secure a mortgage (also known as origination fees, maximum loan charges, or discount points) can generally be deducted. However, if you were to pay points to refinance an existing mortgage, you would amortize the points over the life of the mortgage. When you refinance a loan, your lender will send you a Form 1098 listing the points that you paid, but in the event that they don't, look for your points in your HUD-1 settlement sheet.</p> <p>Page 6 of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p936.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Publication, 936 Home Mortgage Interest Deduction</a> provides a useful diagram to determine whether or not your points are fully deductible for this year.</p> <h2>4. Real Estate Taxes</h2> <p>You can deduct real estate taxes, including state, local, or foreign, you paid on real estate you own that wasn't used for business. Tally only taxes paid to government institutions and don't include itemized tax charges for services to specific property or people, such as a gardener or trash collection service. If you were to sell your property and receive a refund or rebate of real estate taxes, you would reduce your deduction by the amount of the refund or rebate.</p> <h2>5. Mortgage Insurance Premiums</h2> <p>You can deduct eligible mortgage insurance premiums provided by government authorities, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Rural Housing Service, as well as private mortgage insurance (PMI) issuers on loans issued after December 31, 2006. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What Is Private Mortgage Insurance, Anyway?</a>)</p> <p>In 2017, you can't deduct your mortgage insurance premiums if your adjusted gross income is more than $54,500 ($109,000 if married filing jointly). If your adjusted gross income falls between $50,000 and $54,500 ($100,000 and $109,000 if married filing jointly), your deduction is limited and you must use the Mortgage Insurance Premiums Deduction Worksheet to figure your deduction.</p> <h2>6. Capital Gains Exemption</h2> <p>Eventually, you may sell your real home. Depending on several factors, such as years of ownership, substantial improvements, and neighborhood developments, your home may have appreciated by several thousands of dollars. To lessen the tax hit on taxable capital gains from the sale of your property, the IRS may exempt up to $250,000 ($500,00 if married filing jointly) of that gain from your income.</p> <p>In general, you qualify for a capital gains exemption as long as you have owned and used your home as your main home for a period aggregating at least two years out of the five years before its date of sale. Consult <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p523/index.html" target="_blank">Publication 523, Selling Your Home</a> for more details. The beauty of this tax break is that there is no restriction as to how many times you can use it!</p> <h2>7. Investment Interest</h2> <p>Real estate investors also get a tax break on interest paid on money they borrowed that is allocable to property held for investment. Such investors need to use Form 4952 to figure out their investment interest expense deduction.</p> <p>Despite its name, this investment interest deduction doesn't cover interest gained from passive-income activities or securities that generate tax-exempt income.</p> <h2>8. Expenses for Business Use of Homes</h2> <p>Freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners can deduct expenses for business use of their homes. With Form 8829, you can claim the area used regularly and exclusively for business to allocate a deductible portion from a wide range of expenses, including utilities and depreciation.</p> <p>If your deductions for home business are greater than the current year's limit, you can carry over the excess to 2017! This carry-over will be subject to the deduction limit for that year, whether or not you live in the same home during that year.</p> <h2>9. Tax Credits for &quot;Green&quot; Improvements</h2> <p>To encourage more energy efficient home improvements, the IRS provides tax credits for qualifying expenses. Here are two examples:</p> <ul> <li>Windows, doors, and skylights that met the ENERGY STAR program requirements and were installed between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2016 at the homeowner's primary residence may grant you up to $500 in energy efficiency tax credits.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Solar energy systems provide a tax credit of 30% of cost with no upper limit through December 31, 2019. The credit will decrease to 26% in 2020, drop to 22% in 2021, and goes away in 2022.</li> </ul> <p>To learn about other tax credit opportunities from energy efficient home improvements, visit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.energystar.gov" target="_blank">EnergyStar.gov</a>.</p> <h2>10. Deductions From Rental Income Activities</h2> <p>Rental real estate provides several tax breaks to landlords. For example, landlords could potentially deduct:</p> <ul> <li>Local transportation expenses to collect rental income or to manage, conserve, or maintain rental property;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Expenses for managing, conserving, or maintaining rental property from the time it was made available for rent;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Depreciation expenses for the wear and tear of rental property;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Local benefit taxes for maintaining, repairing, or paying interest charges for the benefits;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Legal and professional fees directly related to operating expenses; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Prepaid insurance premiums.</li> </ul> <p>To learn the full list of rental expenses and guidelines for deduction, consult <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p527/ch01.html#en_US_2016_publink1000218979" target="_blank">Publication 527, Residential Rental Property</a>. If you use some of your rental properties for personal purposes throughout the year, then you should hire a tax pro to appropriately deduct expenses for rental income. Hiring an accountant to report income from your rental activities is itself an eligible deduction, after all! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-you-should-splurge-and-hire-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Times You Should Splurge and Hire a Pro</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tax-deductions-new-homeowners-shouldnt-skip">4 Tax Deductions New Homeowners Shouldn&#039;t Skip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra">What&#039;s Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-why-a-30-year-mortgage-is-a-smart-financial-choice">Here&#039;s Why a 30-Year Mortgage Is a Smart Financial Choice</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-equity-in-your-home">How to Build Equity in Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-9-most-important-lessons-i-learned-about-money-when-i-became-a-landlord">The 9 Most Important Lessons I Learned About Money When I Became a Landlord</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing Taxes business owners capital gains credits deductions energy efficient homeowners interest landlords mortgages rental properties Fri, 24 Feb 2017 10:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1897585 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Best States to Start a New Business In http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_open_sign_517678150.jpg" alt="Man learning best new states to start a new business in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>America is the land of entrepreneurship. The dream of quitting the 9-to-5 rat race and becoming your own boss is alive and well: There are an estimated 54 million independent workers out there today.</p> <p>Regardless of their generation, many Americans are becoming entrepreneurs, freelancers, or small business owners. Baby boomers are starting <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/columnist/brooks/2015/02/24/retirement-entrepreneur-small-business-401k/23845271/" target="_blank">50% of new business</a> and 66% of Millennials would like to <a href="http://www.slideshare.net/BentleyU/preparedu-the-millennial-mind-goes-to-work-41415813" target="_blank">start their own business</a>.</p> <p>As with everything else business-related, the old maxim of &quot;location, location, location!&quot; also applies to starting a new business. Improve the odds of your business surviving its first years and thriving throughout all of its life by choosing one of the best states to start a new business in.</p> <h2>1. Utah</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/salt_lake_city_474192330.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>In 2016, the Beehive State topped Forbes' annual ranking of the <a href="http://www.forbes.com/best-states-for-business/#7992ccc718cc" target="_blank">best states for business</a> across 40 business metrics. And it has done so for the sixth time in the last seven years of this survey. With 93.5 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population, Utah has the third-highest density of startup businesses.</p> <p>One of the top reasons that Utah is so friendly to business is its track record of showing entrepreneurs the money. In 2015, business owners in Utah held the most Small Business Administration (SBA) <a href="https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/small-business/most-entrepreneurial-states-where-small-business-loans-rule-2015/" target="_blank">guaranteed loans per 100,000 people</a> in the nation, with an average SBA loan size of $278,754. In 2014, Utah companies raised over <a href="https://medium.com/startup-nuggets-from-the-silicon-slopes/utah-beats-new-york-in-per-capita-venture-capital-45dd896a02f8#.fay2fm87f" target="_blank">$800 million in venture capital</a>, more than twice the $316.2 million raised the year before. With a population of just three million, Utah is able to outrank major states, including New York, based on venture capital dollars raised per capita.</p> <p>Key hotbeds for entrepreneurial activity in Utah are Provo and Ogden. The Provo metro area offers Camp 4, a collaboration between the public and private sector to help startup tech businesses with office space and other resources, and Brigham Young University's Innovation Academy, a small business incubator for university students. For its part, Odgen starts off Utah's well-known ski corridor that has been dubbed &quot;Silicon Slopes.&quot;</p> <h2>2. Texas</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/austin_texas_501154548.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Everything's bigger in the Lone Star State, including entrepreneurial spirit. While Texas came in fourth place on Forbes' 2016 list, the state makes it up by being home to four of the top 10 <a href="http://www.cnbc.com/2016/08/11/the-top-20-metro-areas-to-start-a-business-in-america.html?slide=1" target="_blank">metro areas to start a business</a> in America, according to CNBC. With its city of Austin taking the top spot in the nation, Texas also offers Houston, Dallas, McAllen, El Paso, and San Antonio as attractive alternatives for would-be business owners.</p> <p>Austin has consistently drawn Internet companies, including the recruiting site Indeed.com, digital coupon site RetailMeNot.com, photo-entertainment site TheChive.com, and technology investments, such as Google Fiber in 2013.</p> <p>Affordability is a major force enabling entrepreneurial growth. A combination of no state tax on personal and corporate income, a median home price below the national average, and an overall lower cost of living compared to other states in the nation allow Texas to provide a cost of doing business that is <a href="http://www.forbes.com/places/tx/" target="_blank">10% below the national average</a>. Many small business owners are taking note of the business-friendly Texas climate because the number of SBA loans per 100,000 grew by 41.90% during the 2012&ndash;2015 period.</p> <h2>3. Colorado</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/colorado_convention_center_498249160.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Since 1993, the nonprofit Kauffman Foundation has been providing educational resources for U.S. entrepreneurs, working to accelerate metro-area entrepreneurship hubs. Through its indexes of startup activity, main street entrepreneurship, and growth of entrepreneurship, in 2016 the Kauffman Foundation provided a positive outlook for potential and current <a href="http://www.kauffman.org/microsites/kauffman-index/rankings/state?Report=MainStreet&amp;Indicator=LRank" target="_blank">business owners in the Centennial State</a>:</p> <ul> <li>8.56% of adult residents list business owner as their main occupation (highest in the nation);<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>70.28% of firms 10 years or younger that started small grew to employ 50 people or more by their tenth year of operation;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>87.2 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>47.93% of small businesses remained in operation throughout their first five years.</li> </ul> <p>Colorado also fared well on Forbes' list, ranking #5 for the best states for business. Three key factors contributing to Colorado's high ranking are its young and highly-educated labor force (38% of adults have a college degree, a figure behind only Massachusetts), robust current economic climate, and expected second-fastest job growth in the nation over the next five years.</p> <p>One key area in Colorado that is experiencing extraordinary growth is the Denver metro area, in part due to the legalization of marijuana in 2012. The legal marijuana industry has been estimated to be worth <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2016/02/21/from-colorado-glimpse-life-after-marijuana-legalization/rcccuzhMDWV74UC4IxXIYJ/story.html" target="_blank">$1 billion per year</a> since 2014 and created more than <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/2016/10/26/colorado-weed-economic-impact-report/" target="_blank">18,000 full-time jobs</a> in 2015.</p> <h2>4. North Carolina</h2> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5171/north_carolina_476250858.jpg" width="605" height="340" alt="" /></p> <p>Ranking second on Forbes' list (and in the top five overall for 11 straight years), the Tar Heel State generated $2.7 billion in <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/kurtbadenhausen/2016/11/16/the-best-and-worst-states-for-business-2016/#69ce73d2112b" target="_blank">foreign direct investment</a> and 5,300 jobs in 2015. Key reasons for these numbers are that North Carolina's business costs are 11% below the national average (fourth lowest in the nation) and only 3% of the state's workforce is unionized.</p> <p>In 2016, the Kauffman Foundation provided the following key details about North Carolina:</p> <ul> <li>49.28% of small businesses remained in operation throughout their first five years;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>75.5 startup businesses per 1,000 business firm population;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>0.33% of adults became entrepreneurs in a given month (fourth in the nation).</li> </ul> <p>Key hotbeds for entrepreneurial activity in North Carolina are Charlotte and the tri-city region of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh (known as the Triangle). Over the past few years, attracted by fairly low property taxes, affordable home prices and living costs, and low tax rates (5% for corporate tax and 5.75% for personal income tax), many Americans have been moving into these two areas and looking to establish businesses of their own.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-14"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fundamentals-of-naming-a-small-business">10 Fundamentals of Naming a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-signs-its-time-to-close-your-business">5 Signs It&#039;s Time to Close Your Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-after-you-start-a-small-business">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After You Start a Small Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-fund-your-new-business-without-borrowing-a-dime">4 Ways to Fund Your New Business Without Borrowing a Dime</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-moves-every-first-year-freelancer-should-make">6 Moves Every First Year Freelancer Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship best states business owners growth job markets self employment small businesses Fri, 13 Jan 2017 11:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1873232 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/divorced_couple_000027585457.jpg" alt="Business owners trying to protect themselves through divorce" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting a divorce can be one of the most emotionally devastating times in your life. Combine this with running your own business and next thing you know, your life has become extremely stressful. I know, because I've been there.</p> <p>If you're <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/can-a-failed-marriage-lead-to-business-failure">going through the a divorce</a>, here are some important financial steps to take to protect yourself and your business.</p> <h2>1. Get Organized</h2> <p>The first step when dealing with a divorce as a business owner is to get organized and find a lawyer who can help you take the right steps.</p> <p>Gather all your financial documents, business and bank statements, agreements, and other information that pertains to your business and marriage. Any debts and assets you and the business owns will have to be calculated and divided up. Examine all the bank accounts and documents, as you don't want to be out of the loop in a situation like this.</p> <p>Depending on the state you live in, and whether or not you signed a prenup, you and your spouse could be forced to split the business profits &mdash; and everything else &mdash; 50/50. If you and your spouse work in the business together, the operating agreements should outline directions for each spouse to protect themselves during a divorce or other separation.</p> <h2>2. Fill In the Details</h2> <p>What assets or savings did you bring into the relationship? How much do you have personally invested into the business? What are the balances of your personal, joint, and business accounts, investments, credit cards, and loans?</p> <p>Work with your spouse (or a lawyer if you need help mediating) to fill in all these details. Put the information on paper, or in a spreadsheet, so you're both on the same page. Ask your accountant for all the financial reports, profit and loss statements, and balance sheets for the business, too. Everything needs to be accounted for.</p> <h2>3. Protect Yourself</h2> <p>The next step involves dividing up the assets and agreeing on whether to sell the business, dissolve it, or keep it up and running. If you jointly own a home, the mortgage will have to be refinanced into your or your spouse's name, unless you both agree to sell it.</p> <p>By the end of the divorce process you want all of your assets divided fairly. Leaving joint accounts after a divorce can lead to credit reporting inaccuracies and even fraud.</p> <p>Take steps to protect yourself and your business during this process by separating all joint accounts, assets, and debts. Until a property is sold or refinanced into your name, you're still liable for the entire mortgage or rental payment &mdash; whether or not your spouse helps split the bill.</p> <h2>4. Keep a Paper Trail</h2> <p>Any conversations you have with your spouse need to be in writing. Save all your emails, notes, and text messages. This is especially important when it comes to figuring out the important details of how you'll handle the business together.</p> <p>In the event that you and your ex can't discuss things in a calm fashion, you'll need written proof of what each other has agreed upon so you can move forward with the divorce. Keep a paper trail of all the bank accounts you've dissolved, assets you sell, debt settlements, loan refinances, and any other financial paperwork. You may need written proof of these transactions in the future.</p> <h2>5. Start Fresh</h2> <p>Continue protecting yourself as you move forward and rebuild your life. This means opening up new bank accounts in your name only, for both personal and business, and making a plan to get back on track.</p> <p>Check your credit report using a secure site like <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com/">annualcreditreport.com</a>, to make sure everything is accurate. If you see any incorrect accounts, numbers, or names, reach out to the top three credit bureaus and get it corrected.</p> <p>When my divorce was finalized I was left with over $14,000 of consumer debt that we accumulated during our marriage. I had to find a new job and start making a plan to pay it down. Our credit was also conjoined since we had shared accounts, and these took some time to separate. It was rough to say the least.</p> <p>You don't have to lose your business just because you and your ex aren't on speaking terms. Work with a legal representative you trust and make sure everything's in writing.</p> <p><em>Have you ever gone through a divorce as a business owner? What was your experience?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-smith">Carrie Smith</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-manage-your-money-during-a-spousal-separation">How to Manage Your Money During a Spousal Separation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-average-people-should-consider-a-prenup">6 Reasons Average People Should Consider a Prenup</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-love-not-money-sort-of">Make Love, Not Money (Sort Of)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Family business owners dividing assets divorce marriage pre-nup small business Tue, 01 Sep 2015 09:02:44 +0000 Carrie Smith 1538268 at http://www.wisebread.com 250+ Tips for Small Business Owners http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/250-tips-for-small-business-owners" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012734174Small.jpg" alt="businessman with books" title="businessman with books" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's not easy owning and running a small business, but Wise Bread can help. Here, you'll find expert tips for sales and operations, taxes and recruitment, tools and hacks, and more! Be sure to check out Wise Bread's <a title="Small Business Resource Center" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business">Small Business Resource Center</a> for more helpful articles.</p> <h2>Starting Out</h2> <p><a title="how to choose a business name" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-16-great-companies-picked-their-unique-names"><strong>How 16 Great Companies Picked Their Unique Names</strong></a> &mdash; Ever wonder how companies like Google, Lego and IKEA found their names? Were they complete accidents or results of savvy marketing? The answer may surprise you.</p> <p><a title="8 Great Business Ideas You Can Start Today" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-great-businesses-ideas-you-can-start-today"><strong>8 Great Business Ideas You Can Start Today</strong></a> &mdash; Become an environmental consultant and teach companies how to make themselves more green.</p> <p><a title="How to Write a Business Plan" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-write-a-business-plan"><strong>How to Write a Business Plan</strong></a> &mdash; It's helpful to break the planning process down into separate topics, and then look at how they fit together in the overall plan.</p> <p><a title="How to Get a Business Line of Credit" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-get-a-business-line-of-credit"><strong>How to Get a Business Line of Credit</strong></a> &mdash; As with any loan, you must present reasonable financial documents that follow standard accounting practices to obtain a line of credit.</p> <h2>Tools and Hacks</h2> <p><a title="7 Essential Small Business Tools to Save Money, Time, and Space" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/7-essential-small-business-tools-to-save-money-time-and-space"><strong>7 Essential Small Business Tools to Save Money, Time, and Space</strong></a> &mdash; With EchoSign, contracts can be filled in and signed, verified and secured, and a PDF copy distributed to everyone in no time at all.</p> <p><a title="business apps" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/save-time-and-money-with-business-friendly-smartphone-apps"><strong>Save Time and Money with Business-Friendly Smartphone Apps</strong></a> &mdash; The iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and other smartphones are changing the way we do business. There are numerous apps for these devices that enable you to perform activities while on-the-go, which can save you both time and money.</p> <p><a title="Cyber Security on the Road" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/cyber-security-on-the-road"><strong>Cyber Security on the Road</strong></a>&nbsp;&mdash; CrashPlan has a free option that lets you back up your data to other (remote) computers. The data is encrypted while being transmitted, and is easily recoverable should you need to access it.</p> <p><a title="14 Travel Hacks and Airfare Saving Tips" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/14-travel-hacks-and-airfare-saving-tips-for-businesses"><strong>14 Travel Hacks and Airfare Saving Tips</strong></a>&nbsp;&mdash; Be sure to check out what the smaller regional airports can offer. Regional airports often cater to business travelers, so the quality of travel and service can be superior.</p> <p><a title="30 Easy Ways to Go Green in the Office" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/30-easy-ways-to-go-green-in-the-office"><strong>30 Easy Ways to Go Green in the Office</strong></a> &mdash; U.S. citizens alone throw out over four million disposable pens &mdash; daily. Consider stocking reusable pens instead and only buy refills for these pens.</p> <h2>Cash Flow and Funding</h2> <p><a title="crowdfunding" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-raise-money-on-crowdfunding-sites"><strong>How to Raise Money on &ldquo;Crowdfunding&rdquo; Sites</strong></a>Crowdfunding enable entrepreneurs in artisanal and creative businesses to collect small donations from friends, family, and acquaintances to bring a project to fruition.</p> <p><a title="bootstrapping tips" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-think-like-a-bootstrapper"><strong>How to Think Like a Bootstrapper</strong></a> &mdash; Good management practices are far more important to your success than big piles of cash are. Here are a dozen tips to help you start and grow your business with little or no money.</p> <p><a title="5 Ways to Earn More Every Week" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-earn-more-every-week"><strong>5 Ways to Earn More Every Week</strong></a> &mdash; Use your social media pages for market research. They can be great places to float ideas for new products or services, so you can act on them quickly.</p> <p><a title="40 Tips to Accelerate Your Cash Flow" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/40-tips-to-accelerate-your-cash-flow"><strong>40 Tips to Accelerate Your Cash Flow</strong></a> &mdash; Offer several convenient payment methods. Customers should never have an excuse for late payment related to your lack of convenient payment options.</p> <p><a title="5 Budgeting Ideas for Any Small Business" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-budgeting-ideas-for-any-small-business"><strong>5 Budgeting Ideas for Any Small Business</strong></a> &mdash; Be as realistic in your cash-flow projections as possible. It's better to underestimate your potential business income than to overestimate when you come to budgeting.</p> <p><a title="27 Money-Saving Tips from Successful Small Businesses" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/27-money-saving-tips-from-successful-small-businesses"><strong>27 Money-Saving Tips from Successful Small Businesses</strong></a> &mdash; Next time you put up a job ad, eliminate the line that says, &quot;Must have X years of experience,&quot; and replace it with &quot;Recent graduates welcome to apply.&quot; Experience isn't everything, and it costs more.</p> <h2>Taxes</h2> <p><a title="small business tax deductions" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/31-small-business-tax-deductions"><strong>31 Small Business Tax Deductions</strong></a> &mdash; Not deducting all of the expenses that you are allowed leaves money on table. Use the following checklist of rules to reduce your taxable income as much as legally possible.</p> <p><a title="deductible expenses" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/when-is-lunch-deductible"><strong>When Is Lunch Deductible?</strong></a> &mdash; There are many situations in which your lunch isn't deductible, even if you're eating it at your desk. Knowing the difference can make a big difference in your tax burden.</p> <p><a title="6 Tax Penalties You Can Easily Avoid" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-tax-penalties-you-can-easily-avoid"><strong>6 Tax Penalties You Can Easily Avoid</strong></a>&nbsp;&mdash; Pay the tax on time, even if this means requesting an installment payment agreement on Form 9465 or by charging the outstanding amount to a major credit card.</p> <p><a title="8 Invitations to an IRS Tax Audit" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/8-invitations-to-an-irs-tax-audit"><strong>8 Invitations to an IRS Tax Audit</strong></a>&nbsp;&mdash; Be especially careful to report all your income. If you've received a 1099, so has the IRS and their computers will notice if they don't match up.</p> <p><a title="small business accountant" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/how-to-choose-an-accountant-for-your-small-business"><strong>How to Choose an Accountant for Your Small Business</strong></a> &mdash; The role of an accountant doesn't have to be limited to tax preparation. He can be a valuable adviser for your business year round.</p> <h2>Hiring</h2> <p><a title="6 Steps to a Good Hire" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/6-steps-to-a-good-hire"><strong>6 Steps to a Good Hire</strong></a> &mdash; Calculate your revenue per employee, and compare where you stand with your historical performance and with others in your industry. This metric, more than any other, will let you know when you should hire, fire, or hold.</p> <p><a title="10 Tips to Landing the Right Freelancer" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-tips-to-landing-the-right-freelancer"><strong>10 Tips to Landing the Right Freelancer</strong></a> &mdash; Know what skills are required. If you're not sure, you probably need to think more carefully about what you want to accomplish before you go looking for help.</p> <p><a title="Independent Contractors vs. Employees: Keeping Them Straight" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/independent-contractors-vs-employees-keeping-them-straight"><strong>Independent Contractors vs. Employees: Keeping Them Straight</strong></a> &mdash; For the IRS, telling the difference between a contractor and employee is a matter of determining just how independent the individual is from the company he's working for.</p> <h2>Sales and Customer Service</h2> <p><a title="16 Simple Ways to Keep Customers" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/16-simple-ways-to-keep-customers"><strong>16 Simple Ways to Keep Customers</strong></a> &mdash; Present carefully-selected merchandise, broad enough to cover a range of needs and style preferences in key categories but not overwhelming in choices.</p> <p><a title="great customer service" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/5-ways-to-make-your-customers-feel-warm-and-fuzzy"><strong>5 Ways to Make Your Customers Feel Warm and Fuzzy</strong></a> &mdash; Retaining customers is easy when you treat them well. Use these easy, low-cost ideas to make your customers feel extra special.</p> <p><a title="great customer service examples" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/10-examples-of-shockingly-excellent-customer-service"><strong>10 Examples of Shockingly-Excellent Customer Service</strong></a> &mdash; Some companies actually go above and beyond the call of duty to provide excellent customer support. Here are a few recent examples of companies that have decided to put consumers first.</p> <p><a title="bad customers" href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/get-rid-of-bad-customers"><strong>Get Rid of Bad Customers</strong></a> &mdash; Bad customers are costing you more than you realize. Here are some types of bad customers and techniques to get rid of them (without alienating your good customers).</p> <p>Please check out our <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business">Small Business Resource Center</a> for more articles on small business and leadership.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amy-lu">Amy Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-small-business-mentors-you-can-access-for-nearly-free">6 Small Business Mentors You Can Access for Nearly Free!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-small-business-credit-cards-affect-your-personal-credit">How Small Business Credit Cards Affect Your Personal Credit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-build-business-credit-when-youre-self-employed">5 Ways to Build Business Credit When You&#039;re Self-Employed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Small Business Resource Center business advice business owners small business Fri, 29 Apr 2011 10:36:09 +0000 Amy Lu 533516 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Apps for Business Owners on the Go http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2086643318_870280d021.jpg" alt="businessman with phone" title="businessman with phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you're a business owner, chances are you have a smartphone. Whether it is a Droid, iPhone, or BlackBerry, these high-tech handheld gadgets are essentially on-the-go computers, able to perform numerous advanced automated tasks. There are hundreds and hundreds of apps out there, many of which help businesses move more efficiently. Here's a list of five great smartphone apps for business owners on the go.</p> <h2>WorldCard Mobile</h2> <p>Business cards almost seem obsolete in today's expansive online environment, despite the fact that they are still a staple for most working professionals. But where does one store all those business cards? When you're not near your desktop drawer, but you need to find a business contact, this app allows you to conveniently store your contacts on your phone &mdash; where most of your business takes place, anyway. By snapping a photo of a business card on your iPhone, WorldCard's scanning technology reads the text and inputs the information to the proper fields on your phone. You can edit the information if need be and even add a photo of the person, which is then automatically stored in your phone's address book. <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/app/worldcard-mobile-business/id333211045?mt=8">WorldCard is available for $5.99</a>.</p> <h2>ProOnGo Expense with Receipt Reader</h2> <p>Tracking business expenses can be a tiresome chore. Filing away receipts and invoices can be time consuming and amounts to unnecessary clutter. But with the ProOnGo app, it no longer needs to be. Customizable charts and graphs nicely organize your different expenses all from your phone. You can simply snap a photo of your receipt from your iPhone camera and the information is automatically imported into your expense sheet. From here, you can also easily export your expense chart as an Excel spreadsheet or upload it to Quickbooks. <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/app/proongo-expense-receipt-reader/id324174636?mt=8">ProOnGo is available for free</a>.</p> <h2>Evernote</h2> <p>The versatility and simplicity of Evernote means you can easily store and retrieve important bits of personal data. Any entrepreneur knows good business ideas can come at any time, and having a place to write these down is important when you're busy multitasking on the go. Write a quick note, snap a photo and write a caption, or leave a voice note to be retrieved for later. Whether text, audio, image, or any other file type, Evernote gives you the possibility of making your smartphone wholly unique to you. Evernote easily synchs back to your laptop and other web devices for access and convenient compatibility. <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/app/evernote/id281796108?mt=8">Evernote is available for free</a> and also with paid options.</p> <h2>XE Currency</h2> <p>It truly is a global economy today. With the speed and reach of the Internet, the pace of business continues to accelerate. As more business deals and partnerships are established across borders, the need for international business travel is high. If you happen to be a frequent international business traveler, this app's for you. Most countries use their own form of currency, and with this app, you get real-time updates and conversions with international markets. You can easily switch your base currency and monitor up to 10 currencies at any one time. This app will also appeal to anyone working in international trade, finance, and futures. <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/app/xe-currency/id315241195?mt=8">XE&nbsp;Currency is available for free</a>.</p> <h2>Battery Go!</h2> <p>Battery life, or lack thereof, is a regular complaint with many smartphone users. As a business owner, it's crucial that your phone doesn't die while you're on an important call or project. Battery life depends largely on what phone capabilities are being utilized. For instance, watching video and Wi-Fi web surfing are going to eat up more battery life in shorter time spans than listening to music and talking to business associates. This app breaks down your iPhone's specific energy usage lifespan so that you'll have a much better idea of what activities you can actually do on your remaining charge. While the app suggests, &quot;the times should be used only as rough estimates and not as exact fact,&quot; it's clear that it's much more useful than the standard default battery meter. <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/app/battery-go-battery-life-tool/id320069715?mt=8">Battery Go! is available for $0.99</a>.</p> <p><em>What smartphone apps do you use for your business on the go?</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Michael Dykstra. Michael is an expert writer on <a href="http://www.resourcenation.com/business/phone-systems">phone systems</a> based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as <a thref="http://www.voipservice.com/">VoIP service</a> at <a href="http://www.resourcenation.com/">Resource Nation</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/michael-dykstra">Michael Dykstra</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-apps-for-business-owners-on-the-go">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-apps-that-monitor-your-credit-for-you">7 Apps That Monitor Your Credit for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-apps-that-actually-pay-you-to-shop">7 Apps That Actually Pay You to Shop</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-couponing-apps">The 10 Best Couponing Apps</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-free-debt-management-tools">6 Free Debt Management Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-apps-turn-saving-money-into-a-game-are-they-worth-it">These Apps Turn Saving Money Into a Game — Are They Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Technology apps business owners smartphones Fri, 17 Sep 2010 12:00:06 +0000 Michael Dykstra 238803 at http://www.wisebread.com Six Tips to Good Business Management http://www.wisebread.com/six-tips-to-good-business-management <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/six-tips-to-good-business-management" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tips to good business practice-use this one!.jpg" alt="precarious" title="precarious" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="333" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText">You don&rsquo;t have to be a fortune 500 (or even a fortune 500,000) company to take advantage of these tips for good business practice. In fact, some of the best small businesses have evolved and succeeded by implementing some of these principles.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>I will be using the restaurant industry as anecdotal examples throughout this article, but you will see that the principles below apply to any industry. Maybe you will identify some restaurants in your area that aren&rsquo;t following these tips. Watch them struggle for business, and ultimately close down as a result.</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Know-How is Not Enough.</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Just because you&rsquo;re an expert in your field doesn&rsquo;t mean that you have what it takes to be a business owner. When you hang out that open sign on day one, it is unlikely that customers will flock to you right away just because you know what you&rsquo;re doing. You&rsquo;ll need marketing and administration (at the very least) to grease the wheels of your company.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>How many chefs or self-professed foodies have you met or known to open a restaurant because they love food and cooking, only to have it close down months or years later because people weren&rsquo;t beating a path to their door when they opened? Making good food isn&rsquo;t enough; people have to know about it to experience it. You also have to run a tight ship financially, which requires the advice of tax and financial experts, and ultimately an experienced general manager at the helm.</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hire the Right People.</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">If you are technically proficient in your field but lack marketing knowledge and expertise for example, then be prepared to hire the right people to fill in the blanks. This will start the trend of people beating a path to your door. The next trick is to keep them coming back and referring their friends.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Hire your Friends!</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">This may seem obvious to some, yet I&rsquo;ve seen it done over and over again. Not only can it compromise (and in some cases destroy) a perfectly good friendship, but it can do the same to the business.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Sometimes, it works. But hire with caution, and a heck of a lot of communication (both in the friendship and business). Be prepared to wear different hats while at work and after work.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Don&rsquo;t Make Snap Decisions. Planning Strategy is Everything.</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>I have an acquaintance who recently stepped in as part-owner of a restaurant. The restaurant is well-situated and ultimately successful, but with a slow-down in businesses in the area, they have to work extra hard to keep enough customers walking through the door and keep them leaving happy. </em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>After one particularly harrowing night when everybody in town decided it was the place to dine and not enough wait staff were scheduled, their patio was drowned out with rain, and one of their head chefs walked out, the owners made some snap decisions during the aftermath. One of their decisions was to double the number of wait staff on shift all the time. It is my feeling that they didn&rsquo;t truly see this idea through to conclusion before implementing it; they now characteristically have way more wait staff than necessary on shift. The hourly wages paid out are increasing exponentially (and unnecessarily). Each servers&rsquo; share of the tips has significantly decreased, and often a number of them get cut before the night is over. The restaurant will likely lose their best servers because of this. </em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>You may say &ldquo;so? Big deal. Hire more servers,&rdquo; but servers are the front lines of a restaurant. Poorly trained or inexperienced servers can be the death of a perfectly good restaurant; retaining the good ones is crucial. This was a snap decision may be a critically detrimental one.</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Hiring/Promoting From Within isn&rsquo;t Always Good.</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">Although promoting from within encourages staff to &ldquo;reach for the stars&rdquo; and gives certain personality types something to work for, it isn&rsquo;t a good idea to categorically hire from within. Sometimes the skill sets just aren&rsquo;t there within the existing employee base.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>A bar/restaurant I know of only hires bartenders from within. If a server has proven themselves with blood, sweat, and tears, they may be so lucky to be promoted to bartender. Sadly though, servers and bartenders are not one and the same. The skills are not transferable, and not all servers understand the finer points of tending a busy bar. Hence, their bartenders are more often than not under-skilled and unprepared for being in the trenches. They don&rsquo;t have mixology knowledge at their fingertips, they can&rsquo;t make drinks quickly, and they don&rsquo;t have the rhythm to manage a fast-paced bar when it gets crowded. They are simply thrown into the fire and made to survive by trial &amp; error or go down in flames, ultimately quitting or being fired. </em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>They are losing business because they insist on promoting servers from within to become incompetent bartenders, instead of hiring proficient bartenders to begin with. And when you&rsquo;re running a busy bar, a good bartender is an essential element to make things run smoothly.</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <h2>Good Business is in Consistency.</h2> <p class="MsoPlainText">This could be the very key itself to good business practice. <strong>If you do nothing else, be consistent.</strong> <a href="&lt;a mce_thref=&quot;http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&amp;keywords=E-Myth&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;index=blended&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325&quot;&gt;E-Myth&lt;/a&gt;&lt;img mce_tsrc=&quot;http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1&quot; width=&quot;1&quot; height=&quot;1&quot; border=&quot;0&quot; alt=&quot;&quot; style=&quot;border:none !important; margin:0px !important;&quot; /&gt;" target="_blank">E-Myth</a> is an excellent book by Michael Gerber centered around this crucial concept.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">Consistency is what franchises are built around. McDonald&rsquo;s pioneered and epitomizes this idea. When you walk into a McDonald&rsquo;s anywhere in the world, you know exactly what you are going to get when you order a quarter pounder, right down to the exact ingredients, quantities, and order of toppings.</p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><em>A fledgling restaurant I worked for many years ago liked to think it was fancier than it was. The chef often played around with both presentation and ingredients for their standard entrees, thinking that he was adding variety and constantly improving upon the dish. Unfortunately when I ordered the salmon I never knew how spicy it was going to be, what it came with, and even how it was prepared. You don&rsquo;t create a loyal clientele or repeat business with discrepancies; you do so with dependability and consistency.</em></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoPlainText">With consistency, professionalism, proper planning of strategies, and alignments with the experts, you can run a top-notch successful business. Don&rsquo;t reinvent the wheel, or ever find yourself saying &ldquo;my business is different, I don&rsquo;t have to follow that rule&rdquo;. Because the wheel is pretty darn efficient, and I&rsquo;m sorry to say, your business just isn&rsquo;t that different. Good business management equals good business. Period.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fsix-tips-to-good-business-management&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSix%2520Tips%2520to%2520Good%2520Business%2520Management.jpg&amp;description=Six%20Tips%20to%20Good%20Business%20Management"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Six%20Tips%20to%20Good%20Business%20Management.jpg" alt="Six Tips to Good Business Management" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/six-tips-to-good-business-management">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-best-states-to-start-a-new-business-in">4 Best States to Start a New Business In</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/starting-your-dream-business-is-easier-than-you-think-heres-how">Starting Your Dream Business Is Easier Than You Think — Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-protect-your-business-during-a-divorce">5 Ways to Protect Your Business During a Divorce</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-deal-what-to-expect-when-starting-your-own-business">The Real Deal: What to Expect When Starting Your Own Business</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship business management business owners business practice E-myth starting a business starting a company Wed, 16 Apr 2008 22:29:47 +0000 Nora Dunn 2013 at http://www.wisebread.com