Friday, March 8, 2013

How To Prepare A Business Plan That Guarantees Big Profits

It is always said "If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail"
Success in business comes as a result of planning. You have to have a detailed, written plan that shows what the ultimate goal is, the reason for the goal, and each milestone that must be passed in order to reach your goal.
A business plan is written definition of, and operational plan for achieving your goal. You need a complete but success tool in order to define your basic product, income objectives and specific operating procedures. YOU HAVE TO HAVE A BUSINESS PLAN to attract investors, obtain financing and hold onto the confidence of your creditors, particularly in times of cash flow shortages--in this instance, the amount of money you have on hand compared with the expenses that must be met.
Aside from an overall directional policy for the production, sales effort and profit goals of your product--your basic "travel guide" to business success--the most important purpose your business plan will serve, will be the basis or foundation of any financial proposals you submit. Many entrepreneurs are under the mistaken impression that a business plan is the same as a financial proposal, or that a financial proposal constitutes a business plan. This is just a misunderstanding of the uses of these two separate and different business success aids.
The business plan is a long range "map" to guide your business to the goal you've set for it. The plan details the what, why, where, how and when, of your business--the success planning of your company.
Your financial proposal is a request for money based upon your business plan--your business history and objectives.
Understand the differences. They are closely related, but they are not interchangeable.
Writing and putting together a "winning" business plan takes study, research and time, so don't try to do it all in just one or two days.
The easiest way to start with a loose leaf notebook, plenty of paper, pencils, pencil sharpener, and several erasers. Once you get your mind "in gear" and begin thinking about your business plan, "10,000 thoughts and ideas per minute" will begin racing through your mind...So, it's a good idea when you aren't actually working on your business plan, to carry a pocket notebook and jot down those business ideas as they come to you--ideas for sales promotion, recruiting distributors, and any other thoughts on how to operate and/or build your business.
Later, when you're actually working on your business plan, you can take out this "idea notebook" evaluate your ideas, rework them, refine them, and integrate them into the overall "big picture" of your business plan.
The best business plans for even the smallest businesses run 25 to 30 pages or more, so you'll need to "title" each page and arrange the different aspects of your business plan into "chapters." The format should pretty much run as follows:
Title Page Statement of Purpose Table of Contents Business Description Market Analysis Competition Business Location Management Current Financial Records Explanation of Plans For Growth Projected Profit & Loss/Operating Figures Explanation of Financing for Growth Documentation Summary of Business & Outlook for The Future Listing of Business & personal References
This is a logical organization of the information every business plan should cover. I'll explain each of these chapters titles in greater detail, but first, let me elaborate upon the reasons for proper organization of your business plan.
Having a set of "questions to answer" about your business forces you to take an objective and critical look at your ideas. Putting it all down on paper allows you to change, erase and refine everything to function in the manner of a smoothly oiled machine. You'll be able to spot weakness and strengthen them before they develop into major problems. Overall, you'll be developing an operating manual for your business--a valuable tool which will keep your business on track, and guide you in the profitable management of your business.
Because it's your idea, and your business, it's very important that YOU do the planning. This is YOUR business plan, so YOU develop it, and put it all down on paper just the way YOU want it to read. Seek out the advice of other people; talk with, listen to, and observe, other people running similar businesses; enlist the advice of your accountant and attorney--but at the bottom line, don't ever forget it has to be YOUR BUSINESS PLAN!
Remember too, that statistics show the greatest causes of business failure to be poor management and lack of planning--without a plan by which to operate, no one can manage; and without a direction in which to aim its efforts, no business can attain any real success.
On the very first page, which is the title page, put down the name of your business-ABC ACTION--with your business address underneath. Now, skip a couple of lines, and write it all in capital letters: PRINCIPAL OWNER--followed by your name if you're the principal owner. On your finished report, you would want to center this information on the page, with the words "principal owner" off-set to the left about five spaces.
Examples: ABC ACTION 1234 SW 5th Ave. Anywhere, USA 00000
That's all you'll have on this page except the page number -1-
Following your title page is the page for your statement purpose. This should be a simple statement of your primary business function, such as: We are a service business engaged in the business of selling business success manuals and other information by mail.
The title of the page should be in all capital letters across the top of the page, centered on your final draft--skip a few lines and write the statement of purpose. This should be direct, clear and short--never more than (2) sentences in length.
Then you should skip a few lines, and from the left hand margin of the paper, write out a sub-heading in all capital letters, such as: EXPLANATION OF PURPOSE.
From, and within this sub-heading you can briefly explain your statement of purpose, such as: Our surveys have found most entrepreneurs to be "sadly" lacking in basic information that will enable them to achieve success. This market is estimated at more than a 100 million persons, with at least half of these people actively "searching" for sources that provide the kind of information they want, and need.
With our business, advertising and publishing experience, it is our goal to capture at least half of this market of information seekers, with our publication. MONEY MAKING MAGIC! Our market research indicates we can achieve this goal and realize a profit of $1,000,000 per year within the next 5 years...
The above example is generally the way you should write your "explanation of purpose," and in subtle definition, why you need an explanation. Point to remember: Keep it short. Very few business purpose explanations justify more than a half page long.
Next comes your table of contents page. Don't really worry about this until you've got the entire plan completed and ready for final typing. It's a good idea though, to list the subject (chapter titles) as I have, and then check off each one as you complete that part of your plan.
By having a list of the points you want to cover, you'll also be able to skip around and work on each phase of your business plan as an idea or the interest in organizing that particular phase, stimulates you. In other words, you won't have to make your thinking or your planning conform to the chronological order of the "chapters" of your business plan--another reason for the loose leaf notebook.
In describing your business, it's best to begin where your statement purpose leaves off. Describe your product, the production process, who has responsibility for what, and most importantly, what makes your product or service unique--what gives it an edge in your market. You can briefly summarize your business beginnings, present position and potential for future success, as well.
Next, describe the buyers you're trying to reach--why they need and want or will buy your product--and the results of any tests or surveys you may have conducted. Once you've defined your market, go on to explain how you intend to reach that market--how you'll these prospects to your product or service and induce them to buy. You might want to break this chapter down into sections such as..publicity and promotions, advertising plans, direct sales force, and dealer/distributor programs. Each section would then be an outline of your plans and policies.
Moving into the next chapter on competition, identify who your competitors are--their weakness and strong points--explain how you intend to capitalize on those weaknesses and match or better the strong points. Talk to as many of your "indirect" competitors as possible--those operating in different cities and states.
One of the easiest ways of gathering a lot of useful information about your competitors is by developing a series of survey questions and sending these questionnaires out to each of them. Later on, you might want to compile the answers to these questionnaires into some form of directory or report on this type of business.
It's also advisable to contact the trade associations and publications serving your proposed type of business. For information on trade associations and specific trade publications, visit your public library, and after explaining what you want ask for the librarian's help.
The chapter on management should be an elaboration on the people operating the business. Those people that actually run the business, their job, titles, duties, responsibilities and background resume's. It's important that you "paint" a strong picture of your top management people because the people coming to work for you or investing in your business, will be "investing in these people" as much as your product ideas. Individual tenacity, mature judgement under fire, and innovative problem-solving have "won over" more people than all the AAA Credit Ratings and astronomical sales figures put together.
People becoming involved with any new venture want to know that the person in charge--the guy running the business knows what he's doing, will not lose his cool when problems arise, and has what it takes to make money for all of them> After showing the "muscle" of this person, go on to outline the other key positions within your business; who the persons are you've selected to handle those jobs and the sources as well as availability of any help you might need.
If you've been in business of any kind scale, the next chapter is a picture of your financial status--a review of your operating costs and income from the business to date. Generally, this is a listing of your profit & loss statements for the six months, plus copies of your business income tax records for each of the previous three years the business has been an entity.
The chapter on the explanation of your plans for the future growth of your business is just that--an explanation of how you plan to keep your business growing--a detailed guide of what you're going to do, and how you're going to increase your profits. These plans should show your goals for the coming year, two years, and three years. By breaking your objectives down into annual milestones, your plan will be accepted as more realistic and be more understandable as a part of your ultimate success.
Following this explanation, you'll need to itemize the projected cost and income figures of your three year plan. I'll take a lot of research, an undoubtedly a good deal of erasing, but it's very important that you list these figures based upon thorough investigation. You may have to adjust some of your plans downward, but once you've got these two chapters on paper, your whole business plan will fall into line and begin to make sense. You'll have a precise "map" of where you're headed, how much it's going to cost, when you can expect to start making money, and how much.
Now that you know where you're going, how much it's going to cost and how long it's going to be before you begin to recoup your investment, you're ready to talk about how and where you're going to get the money to finance your journey. Unless you're independently wealthy, you'll want to use this chapter to list the possibilities and alternatives. Make a list of friends you can approach, and perhaps induce to put up some money as silent partners. Make a list of those people you might be able to sell as stockholders in your company--in many cases you can sell up to $300,000 worth of stock on a "private issue" basis without filing papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Check with a corporate or tax attorney in your area for more details. Make a list of relatives and friends that might help you with an outright loan to furnish money for the development of your business.
Then search out and make a list of venture capital organizations. Visit the Small Business Administration office in your area--pick up the loan application papers they have--read them, study them, and even fill them out on a preliminary basis--and finally, check the costs, determine which business publications would be best to advertise in, if you were to advertise for a partner or investor, and write an ad you'd want to use if you did decide to advertise for monetary help.
With listing of all the options available to your needs, all that's left is the arranging of these options in the order you would want to use them when the time come to ask for money. When you're researching these money sources, you'll save time by noting the "contact" deal with when you want money, and whenever possible, by developing a working relationship with these people.
If your documentation section, you should have a credit report on yourself. Use the Yellow Pages or check at the credit department in your bank for the nearest credit reporting office. When you get your credit report, look it over and take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate any negative comments. Once these have been taken care of, ask for a revised copy of your report and include a copy of that in your business plan.
If you own any patents or copyrights, include copies of these. Any licenses to use someone else's patent or copyright should also be included. If you own the distribution, wholesale or exclusive sales rights to a product, include copies of this documentation. You should also include copies of any leases, special agreements or other legal papers that might be pertinent to your business.
In conclusion, write out a brief, overall summary of your business- when the business was started, the purpose of the business, what makes your business different, how you're going to gain a profitable share of the market, and your expected success during the coming 5 years..
The last page of your business plan is a "courtesy page" listing the names, addresses and phone numbers of personal and business references--persons who have known you closely for the past five years or longer--and companies or firms you've had business or credit dealings with during the past five years.
And, that's it--your complete business plan. Before you send it out for formal typing, read it over once a day for a week or ten days. Take care of any changes or corrections, and then have it reviewed by an attorney and then, an accountant. It would also be a good idea to have it reviewed by a business consultant serving the business community to which your business will be related. After these reviews, and any last-minute changes you want to make, I'll be ready for formal typing.
Type and print the entire plan on ordinary white bond paper. Make sure you proof-read it against the original. Check for any corrections and typographical errors--then one more time--read it through for clarity and the perfection you want of it.
Now you're ready to have it printed and published for whatever use you have planned for it--distribution amongst your partners or stockholders as the business plan for putting together a winning financial proposal, or as a business operating manual.
Take it to a quality printer in your area, and have three copies printed. Don't settle for photo-copying..Have it printed!
Photo-copying leaves a slight film on the paper, and will detract from the overall professionalism of your business plan, when presented to someone you're trying to impress. So, after going to all this work to put together properly, go all the way and have it duplicated properly.
Next, stop by a stationery store, variety store or even a dime store, and pick up an ordinary, inexpensive bind-in theme cover for each copy of your business plan. Have the holes punched in the pages of your business report to fit these binders and then slip each copy into a binder of its own.
Now, you can relax, take a break and feel good about yourself..You have a complete and detailed business plan with which to operate a successful business of your own. A plan you can use as a basis for any financing proposal you may want to submit..And a precise road-map for the attainment of real success...
You just complete one of the important steps to fulfill of all your dreams of success.

The Secrets of Starting Business Successfully

Starting Business Secrets will help you to start your own business successfully.
The American Dream is, and always will be, to come up with an idea, start a business and become rich from your own efforts. Based upon this motivation, thousands of businesses fail each year, due primarily to not being familiar with the basics involved in running a business.
This report will enlighten you, and give you a number of suggestions you can use to better guarantee your chances for success. This report is written with the warning that any and every business venture contains certain inherent risks, and any number of alternatives. We do not espouse that any one way is the right way or that our suggestions are the only way. On the contrary, we advise that before investing any money in a business venture, you seek counselling and help from a qualified accountant and/or attorney.
Just about the first thing you should consider before deciding to start or purchase a business is the legal form you'll be operating under. There are basically four choices: sole proprietorship, partnership, limited partnership, and/or corporation.
Each has a number of advantages and disadvantages. We'll try to enumerate some of them for you.
As much as anything else, for many people starting a business is a form of ego-gratification, and they form a corporation for some sort of prestige gain - just to say, "I own a corporation."
With just a little bit of observation, you'll find that one of the major causes of business failures is due to the founder wasting start-up capital on frills, such as an impressive store- front office, expensive furnishings, and corporate legal costs.
One of the basic traits you must develop it you're going to be successful in business, is a tight hold on your expenditures. In fact, a good rule of thumb is that anything that does not make money for yo or protect your investment, should not be purchased at this time. Very definitely, this applies to the expense of setting up your own corporation.
Unless you have a partnership and start your business as such, the only real advantage to forming a corporation would appear to be that a corporate structure will semi-protect the property you personally own.
As an example, you own a home and car. You form a corporation to protect these possessions from business losses. Yet, if you can be found guilty of misusing corporate funds, your business creditors can pierce the corporate shield and come after your possessions.
Basically, if you invest everything you have in your business, as most newcomers do, you don't usually need a corporation because you have nothing to protect. Your household possessions, personal belongings, generally your car, and even a portion of the equity in your home is protected by the homestead provision of the Federal Bankruptcy Act, and cannot be taken away from you.
As a sole proprietor or partner of a business you'll be paying taxes on your overall earnings, much the same as if you were holding down a salaried or hourly paid job. Whether you do or don't take out money as a salary will have no bearing on the earnings of your business and tax return.
The often advertised advantage of incorporating, that you can manipulate your salary in order to save on tax dollars, is real because of corporation laws. However, the IRS frowns on this practice. When your business is successful and making a lot of money, definitely check with your accountant on the advantages of incorporating.
As a corporation, you'll be subject to a number of other drawbacks as well: generally higher state taxes, stricter laws concerning the operation of your business, more elaborate accounting procedures, and legal papers that are required just about every time you make a major move or sign almost any contract. Thus, your legal and accounting fees will be much higher as a corporation than will those required for a sole proprietorship type of business.
As a sole proprietor or partnership, you'll find many areas require the registration of your business name. The cost however, is minimal, ranging from $5 to $100. About the best way to find out what laws apply in your area, is to call your bank and ask if they need a fictitious name registration card or certificate in order for you to open a business account.
Selecting a name for your business is quite important to you and particularly relative to advertising. Your business name should describe the product or services you offer. Fancy names such as, Linda's Clipping Service will lose potential "walk-in and passing" customers to the beauty shop across the street that calls itself, Patti's Beauty Salon or Jane's Hair Styling Shop.
The advantage of using your full name in the title of your business, such as Johnny Jones' Meat Lockers, has the advantage of making credit somewhat easier to come by - provided you pay your bills on time - but it also includes the disadvantage of confining your services to a local or at most, a regional area.
Should you buy, lease, or rent a space for your business? think twice before you make any decision along these lines. Most businesses tend to grow quickly or they never get off the ground.

How To Raise Money to Start Business and Where to Get Money for Business

The common questions for anyone who want to start business are: How to raise money to start business, and where to get money for my business?
To raise money to start business is not as difficult as most people seem to think. This is especially true when you have an idea that can make you and your backers rich. Actually, there's more money available for new business ventures than there are good business ideas. We will help you for where you can get money for business.
A very important rule of the game to learn: Any time you want to raise money, your first move should be to put together a proper prospectus.
This prospectus should include a resume of your background, your education, training, experience and any other personal qualities that might be counted as an asset to your potential success. It's also a good idea to list the various loans you've had in the past, what they were for, and your history in paying them off.
You'll have to explain in detail how the money you want is going to be used. If it's for an existing business, you'll need a profit and loss record for at least the preceding six months, and a plan showing how this additional money will produce greater profits. If it's a new business, you'll have to show your proposed business plan, your marketing research and projected costs, as well as anticipated income figures, with a summary for each year, over at least a three year period.
It'll be advantageous to you to base your cost estimates high, and your income projections on minimal returns. This will enable you to "ride through" those extreme "ups and downs" inherent in any beginning business. You should also describe what makes your business unique---how it differs form your competition and the opportunities for expansion or secondary products.
This prospectus will have to state precisely what you're offering the investor in return for the use of his money. He'll want to know the percentage of interest you're willing to pay, and whether monthly, quarterly or on an annual basis. Are you offering a certain percentage of the profits? A percentage of the business? A seat on your board of directories?
An investor uses his money to make more money. He wants to make as much as he can, regardless whether it's short term or long term deal. In order to attract him, interest him, and persuade him to "put up" the money you need, you'll not only have to offer him an opportunity for big profits, but you'll have to spell it out in detail, and further, back up your claims with proof from your marketing research.
Venture investors are usually quite familiar with "high risk" proposals, yet they all want to minimize that risk as much as possible. Therefore, your prospectus should include a listing of your business and personal assets with documentation---usually copies of your tax returns for the past three years or more. Your prospective investor may not know anything about you or your business, but if he wants to know, he can pick up his telephone and know everything there is to know within 24 hours. The point here is, don't ever try to "con" a potential investor. Be honest with him. Lay all the facts on the table for him. In most cases, if you've got a good idea and you've done your homework properly, and "interested investor" will understand your position and offer more help than you dared to ask.
When you have your prospectus prepared, know how much money you want, exactly how it will be used, and how you intend to repay it, you're ready to start looking for investors.
As simple as it seems, one of the easiest ways of raising money is by advertising in a newspaper or a national publication featuring such ads. Your ad should state the amount of money you want--always ask for more money than you have room for negotiating. Your ad should also state the type of business involved ( to separate the curious from the truly interested), and the kind of return you're promising on the investment.
Take a page from the party plan merchandisers. Set up a party and invite your friends over. Explain your business plan, the profit potential, and how much you need. Give them each a copy of your prospectus and ask that they pledge a thousand dollars as a non-participating partner in your business. Check with the current tax regulations. You may be allowed up to 25 partners in Sub Chapter S enterprises, opening the door for anyone to gather a group of friends around himself with something to offer them in return for their assistance in capitalizing his business.
You can also issue and sell up to $300,000 worth of stock in your company without going through the Federal Trade Commission. You'll need the help of an attorney to do this, however, and of course a good tax accountant as well wouldn't hurt.
It's always a good idea to have an attorney and an accountant help you make up your business prospectus. As you explain your plan to them, and ask for their advice, casually ask them if they'd mind letting you know of, or steer your way any potential investors they might happen to meet. Do the same with your banker. Give him a copy of your prospectus and ask him if he'd look it over and offer any suggestions for improving it, and of course, let you know of any potential investors. In either case, it's always a good idea to let them know you're willing to pay a "finder's fee" if you can be directed to the right investor.
Professional people such as doctors and dentists are known to have a tendency to join occupational investment groups. The next time you talk with your doctor or dentist, give him a prospectus and explain your plan. He may want to invest on his own or perhaps set up an appointment for you to talk with the manager of his investment group. Either way, you win because when you're looking for money, it's essential that you get the word out as many potential investors as possible.
Don't overlook the possibilities of the Small Business Investment Companies in your area. Look them up in your telephone book under "Investment Services." These companies exist for the sole purpose of lending money to businesses which they feel have a good chance of making money. In many instances, they trade their help for a small interest in your company.
Many states have Business Development Commissions whose goal is to assist in the establishment and growth of new businesses. Not only do they offer favorable taxes and business expertise, most also offer money or facilities to help a new business get started. Your Chamber of Commerce is the place to check for further information of this idea.
Industrial banks are usually much more amenable to making business loans than regular banks, so be sure to check out these institutions in your area. insurance companies are prime sources of long term business capital, but each company varies its policies regarding the type of business it will consider. Check your local agent for the name and address of the person to contact. It's also quite possible to get the directories of another company to invest in your business. Look for a company that can benefit from your product or service. Also, be sure to check at your public library for available foundation grants. These can be the final answer to all your money needs if your business is perceived to be related to the objectives and activities of the foundation.
Finally, there's the Money broker or Finder. These are the people who take your prospectus and circulate it with various known lenders or investors. They always require an up-front or retainer fee, and there's no way they can guarantee to get you the loan or the money you want.
There are many very good money brokers, and there are some that are not so good. They all take a percentage of the gross amount that's finally procured for your needs. The important thing is to check them out fully; find out about the successful loans or investment plans they're arranged, and what kind of investor contacts they have---all of this before you put up any front money or pay any retainer fees.
There are many ways to raise money---from staging garage sales to selling stocks. Don't make the mistake of thinking that the only place you can find the money you need is through the bank or finance company.
Start thinking about the idea of inviting investors to share in your business as silent partners. Think about the idea of obtaining financing for a primary business by arranging financing for another business that will support the start-up, establishment and developing of the primary business. Consider the feasibility of merging with a company that's already organized, and with facilities that are compatible or related to your needs. Give some thought to the possibilities of getting the people supplying your production equipment to co-sign the loan you need for start-up capital.
Remember, there are thousands upon thousands of ways to obtain business start-up capital. This is truly the age of creative financing.
Disregard the stories you hear of "tight money," and start making phone calls, talking to people, and making appointments to discuss your plans with the people who have money invest. There's more money now than there's ever been for a new business investment. The problem is that most beginning "business builders" don't know what to believe or which way to turn for help. They tend to believe the stories of "tight money," and they set aside their plans for a business of their own until a time when start-up money might be easier to find.
The truth is this: Now is the time to make your move. Now is the time to act. the person with a truly viable business plan, and determination to succeed, will make use of every possible idea that can be imagined. And the ideas I've suggested here should serve as just a few of the unlimited sources of monetary help available and waiting for you!
Now you should get idea for how to raise money to start business, how to get money for business, and where to get money for my business.

Popular Business Misconceptions Cost You Money!

Faulty information costs you money! Which of these
popular business misconceptions do you believe?
Popular Misconception #1:
"We Only Need Our Books Done Once A Year For Tax Purposes."
Are Your Accounting Records Adequate To Run Your Business?
Although it is important to keep records for tax purposes,
it is not the only reason (or even the primary reason) good
accounting records should be kept. Another frequent reason
clients request financial statement preparation is to obtain
bank financing. Although important, this also is not the
primary purpose of keeping good records for your business.
Good recordkeeping will enable you to extract meaningful
financial information for your business that will help you
to manage it properly. If you can`t access this information,
you will not be able to manage your business properly. Bad
management leads to business failure.
Yes, the primary reason good accounting records should be
kept is to produce periodic (at least on a monthly basis)
financial statements for management information purposes.
Only with this current financial information can you properly
manage your business. This information can alert you to
declining sales, excessive expenses, tax opportunities,
cashflow problems, and many other vital concerns for your
To be of value, this accounting system should be set up
with meaningful account categories and departments. It may
be cost-effective to have an outside accounting service do
the monthly bookkeeping. However, with accounting software
that is readily available, you don`t have to be an expert
bookkeeper to do your own books and extract meaningful
financial information.
If you do your monthly statements yourself, it would still
be prudent to have your accountant or business advisor help
you set up your system and, as well review such information
with you to discuss problems and opportunities.
Popular Misconception #2:
"Writing My Hobby Off As A Business Loss
Saves Me A Lot Of Income Tax!"
Is Your Hobby A Tax Write-Off?
If your business has no reasonable expectation of profit, if it is a
hobby and not really a business, you will ultimately fail in your tax
objective. Since your losses are being incurred for a hobby and not a
true profit generating business, the tax authorities will take the
position that you aren`t entitled to any deductions. This is a double
blow. First, you`re losing money. Second, you`re denied tax deductions.
It is true, however, that if you enjoy what you`re doing, you`ll do
better at it. You`ll be willing to work longer hours and you`ll be
willing to put up with more hardships in order to make your business a
Rather than attempting to have the tax system subsidize your hobby,
why not turn that favorite pastime into a real, profit generating
business? This is a doubly rewarding. First, you make money at
something you love doing. Secondly, the tax authorities legally have to
allow your reasonable expenses to earn your now substantial business
Prove that you`re running a business by running a business. Prepare and
follow a proper business plan. Keep good accounting records with at
least monthly financial statements to give you the information you need
to manage your business. Above all, make money from what you do.
Popular Misconception #3:
"I Don`t Make Enough Money to Incorporate!"
Will Incorporating Really Benefit You?
Some persons resist the idea of incorporating themselves because
the tax savings may not justify the added costs of incorporation,
annual minutes, and extra tax returns. However, incorporation gives

advantages that go far beyond tax savings.
Insurance may give you some protection against loss. However, you
may suffer business losses and lawsuits that may not be covered. For
extra protection, consider incorporating yourself. The limited
liability of your own corporation alone may justify the additional cost
and complexity.
Corporations may also be used for income-splitting with your family,
as well as estate planning and retirement planning objectives.
Additionally, corporations lend some credibility to smaller businesses
and may enhance your image and prestige in the eyes of clients or
Lower corporate tax rates will generally apply on small business income.
Even in loss years, wages can be paid by the corporation to you so that
you may utilize personal tax credits available. If unincorporated, these
credits might be lost forever. The now larger corporate losses can be
carried forward to future (hopefully more profitable) years.
A full analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of incorporation is
beyond the scope of this report. However, being incorporated may give
you more flexibility and advantages than you originally anticipated.
Certainly, it is not prudent to reject it as an option simply because it
is more complicated and costly. In fact, it may be one of the best
investments you ever made.
Popular Misconception #4:
"I really need an office out.
Being home-based makes me look amateur!"
Is A Home Office REALLY Professional?
Many times small business persons make the mistake of generating
unnecessary overhead in order to impress clients and prospects. Often
this attitude leads to escalating debt and business failure. One such
example is getting an impressive, but expensive, commercial office
Customers aren`t stupid. They can see when such outside space is
necessary or advantageous for them. They can also see when it is a
waste of money and designed to fuel your ego. What matters most to
clients is whether they are getting cost-effective results or not. If
your product or service delivers such excellent value, your customers
will be impressed and come back. In contrast, if one allows his ego to
get in the way of satisfying the customers` needs, they will go
With the move to telecommuting, downsizing, networked communications,
and home-based businesses, operating from your home office is actually
smart and trendy. Can you think of a more appropriate location for a
consulting firm specializing in home-based businesses? They of all
businesses should set the example in cutting unnecessary expenses and
operating efficiently.
This is not to say that there aren`t any disadvantages to being
home-based. One certainly must be well organized, disciplined, and
willing to follow good time management principles. This alone could
mark you as more professional than other businesses, home-based or not.
Expensive office space is not the answer to reflecting a professional
image. If you are truly concerned about your image, offer quality
service. Make sure that all your corporate communications (telephone,
websites, printed materials, et cetera) reflect the professional nature
of your business.
Popular Misconception #5:
"Since we`re not seeking financing,
we don`t need a business plan."
Do You REALLY Need a Business Plan?
To obtain financing, many persons will prepare a business plan.
Although entrepreneurs will go to great lengths to get their loan or
capital, these same business persons will not bother to plan ahead very
far or analyse their business. Even if you required no additional
money, preparing a business plan can help you to succeed in your
Running a business without a plan is like going on a trip without a
map,sufficient gas, money, or even a destination. Just as you wouldn`t
go on a vacation without some planning, no business can be successful
without it. Putting that plan in writing helps you to think out a
strategy for successfully operating and growing your business.
Where is your business today? Where will it be tomorrow? What is your
mission statement? What product lines are profitable? Which ones
aren`t? What business do you think you are in? What business do your
clients think you are in? Should you be in a different business? Is
your product or service less attractive to your clients? How are
competition, global commerce, technological and social changes affecting
your company? What is your competitive strength? What are your
weaknesses? Who are your biggest competitors? What are their
weaknesses and strengths? What is your marketing strategy?
What are your projected income and expenses and cashflow for the next
year? How about the next five years? Do you have a capital budget?
What determines whether you buy an asset or not? Do you have an exit
strategy? How will you manage growth? Do you have a financial plan? Do
you have an operations plan? What definite sales and net profit targets
have you set for this year and the next five years? What factors could
interfere with the attaining of these goals? What contingency plans have
you made to deal with such problems?
The purpose of these questions is to get you thinking and planning.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Although your accountant or
business advisor can help you prepare your business plan, only you can
set the appropriate goals and follow through on them. Yes, you
definitely need a business plan, not just for obtaining capital, but as
a roadmap for your business.
Popular Misconception #6:
"I like bartering with clients
because it saves paperwork and taxes."
Are You Reporting Barter Transactions?
Bartering is an excellent way of doing business. However, contrary to
popular belief, some barter transactions are taxable, both for income
and sales tax purposes.
Legally, you must maintain adequate financial records for your business.
Barter transactions made by your business must be reported to the
appropriate taxation authorities and taxes paid. However, transactions
between friends not engaging in business with each other may not be
If you are an auto mechanic and I am an accountant and I swap accounting
services for your car repair services, the transaction in this case is
most likely taxable, even if we are friends. However, your accounting
fees should be deductible as a business expense and so should the
business portion of my car expenses. Note also that sales and similar
taxes may apply on this transaction.
On the other hand, if I trade accounting services for a vacation for my
family, I should really declare the value of such services as income.
The firm supplying the vacation would be able to deduct that value as
accounting fees. Any sales or similar taxes would have to be paid on
such transaction.
Many persons don`t record such transactions. For some, it may be a
matter of wanting to believe that you don`t need to be bothered with the
extra paperwork or taxes. Remember, though, that ignorance of the law
is no excuse. Legally, you must keep proper records and pay all taxes
Popular Misconception #7:
"All My Workers Are Self-Employed, So I Don`t Need
To Bother With Payroll Or Workers` Compensation."
Do You Need To Pay Payroll Taxes?
To save on payroll taxes and workers` compensation premiums, many
employers arrange their affairs in such a way that those working for
them are self-employed, independent contractors. This is good tax
On the other hand, some employers take the position that all those
working for them are self-employed, whether they are or not. Although
it is tempting to eliminate payroll taxes and workers` compensation
premiums, care should be taken to do so legally.
Whether those working for you are employed or self-employed is a
question of fact (which can be determined by the Courts). Do you supply
the tools and vehicles? Do you determine the working hours? Do you
have the right to control how the job will be done? Do you pay a
flat-rate or by-the-hour or a salary? Does your worker have other
By asking several such questions, a pattern will emerge as to whether
your worker is employed or self-employed. If it turns out that your
worker fits all the criteria of an employee, don`t say he`s
self-employed. On audit, you would still be responsible for the payroll
taxes (and penalties and interest as well).
Even if your workers are considered independent contractors by the
Income Tax Department, it is still possible that they will be considered
to be "workers" for purposes of Workers` Compensation legislation.
Thus, it is the responsibility of the employer to determine whether such
coverage is necessary or not. Failure to obtain proper coverage could
subject you to substantial (and unnecessary) costs.
In review, calling someone self-employed, doesn`t necessarily make them
self-employed. If you have a dog, call it a dog. Your position that
your dog is really a cat will not be successful. Likewise, make sure
that your position regarding your workers is legally correct.
Popular Misconception #8:
"My Accountant Charges Too Much.
I Can`t Afford It Anymore."
Is Your Accountant Worth His Fee?
Many business persons view bookkeeping, accounting, and tax preparation
as necessary evils. In their view, accounting fees are an expense to be
reduced, deferred or even completely eliminated.
A good accountant, however, can give you benefits far in excess of the
fees charged. Well-designed accounting systems will enable you to
extract meaningful financial information for your business that will
help you to manage it properly, avoid business failure, and alert you to
declining sales, excessive expenses, tax opportunities, cashflow
problems, and many other vital concerns for your business.
Your accountant can save you lots of money with the advice you receive
on tax and other business matters. As well, a competent accountant can
be a valuable resource in discussing business problems and opportunities
with you.
Popular Misconception #9:
"Nobody Makes Money On The Internet."
Can You REALLY Profit From The Internet?
Many people feel that the Internet is all hype. Many others feel that
it is overrated. Still others are of the opinion that it may be good
for some types of business, but not theirs.
Typical comments heard include: "I`ve lost money on the Internet...Major
corporations have lost millions...Do you personally know anyone who has
made money from the Internet?"
However, if you check out the list of recent billionaires, a high
proportion of these are Internet-related, and many of them under
forty years of age. As well as the very rich, you can find many cases
of more modest financial prosperity resulting from Internet commerce.
It is true that many are losing money on the Internet. It is also true
that many don`t know what they`re doing. However, with the proper
assistance, you, too, could profit from the net.