Following debates surrounding the federal minimum wage, small business owners are now in the center of yet another struggle regarding a proposed change in the way they must pay their employees. As reported by smallbiztrends.com, President Obama signed an executive order last month calling for an increase in the threshold of earnings over which employees become eligible for overtime pay. In plain English, the law would raise the threshold from the current $445 per week mark to somewhere around a suggested $640 and include more white collar and managerial employees in the group who would qualify for overtime pay. The rationale behind the law is to give back to those who work hard for the economy. As corporate America has begun to make more profit, the idea that these revenues should be shared with the employees who put in extra hours to make them seems like it makes a lot of sense. However, many warn that small businesses will become unintended collateral damage. While profitable corporations

Small businesses bring diversity and charm to a community, but it can often be hard for them to compete against corporate chains and outlet stores, which, while they usually don’t have the same basic appeal have the resources and often the price points that allow them to siphon business away from local competition. With this in mind business owners and local governments can put together local business campaigns that can help them to raise awareness of local businesses. Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons surrounding the organization of a local business campaign. It takes time to plan a local campaign. No matter what the scale of the campaign you put together, in the end it is going to take time away from your schedule to plan it. An answer to this is to try and get other local business owners on board and spread out the responsibilities involved in an awareness campaign. Ideas for supporting local business include printing posters or decals

Tax season is here, and what that means for many small business owners is that they are now meeting with their CPA in order to get their filings done. For one thing, small business owners usually don’t have the time to go through their tax filings themselves, and for another, since they are (usually) not trained in tax law, they might miss some key ways to maximize their tax returns and exemptions. In the end, putting a CPA on your roster is usually worth it if you take the time to make sure the one you choose is the correct fit for your business. Ensure that your CPA works with businesses like yours. If possible, finding a tax professional who specializes in small business is the strongest move you can make. These pros will be able to get you the best return since their specialty allows them the tie and the incentive to keep up to date on changing small business law and regulations. There will

Small business owners may or may not be aware of the phenomenon of cryptocurrency, which in plain English is the use of digital currency that is unregulated and exists purely in a digital form, usually encrypted in some manner to protect against hacking and other forms of fraud.  Bitcoin is the first, and most prominent of these currencies, and has received much media attention as it’s prices have fluctuated wildly, with peak values of the cyber money reaching an impressive $1,200 a piece. The increasing prominence of Bitcoin enters the small business picture as some bold small business owners have begun to accept the cryptocurrency as payment. As reported in the Oneida Daily Dispatch, multiple NY businesses are making sales with the digital dollars, with one business reporting that a full 8% of its sales were made in Bitcoins. The payments are made using an app, and customers can buy more bitcoins through ATM like kiosks, which appear in some business locations. Aside from being another

A proposed increase of the Federal minimum wage, to $10.10 from the current rate of $7.25 per hour, has small business owners taking sides both for and against the motion. The Daily Beast has put out an article citing studies that indicate a wage increase would do more good than harm to the economy by putting some spending power back into the hands of our lowest paid workers. This sentiment has been echoed by small business owners who are for the wage increase, many of whom already pay their employees a higher wage but support the idea of a wage hike as beneficial for the economy. On the other side of the issue are small business owners and lawmakers who worry that a wage increase could put small business owners who are already standing on shaky ground six feet under. In an article contributed to Forbes by William Dunkleberg, the wage increase is argued to be a sure job killer that only makes it more

While small business indicators in the Winter showed that both confidence and loan volumes are present among the small business community, the icy climates that held sway over much of the continental US made it so that many small business owners had to put their plans on hold, or even cancel them entirely as a result of lower than anticipated sales volumes. Some industries were more hard hit than others, for example, commercial trucking businesses had to cope with the weather and its effect on their business even if they were not directly in the path of major storms. Still, the storms could not freeze out the hope of a recovery this year, and as the ice and snows thaw, the will and means for economic growth could come back stronger than the past few years. Business hopes for recovery are not merely founded on conjecture. Kiplinger’s reports that the forecast for 2014 should be strong as weather becomes less and less of a barrier for

2013 was not without its challenges for small business owners, who had to contend with a variety of man made and natural obstacles in order to make it to the new year. In the recently released Insperity small business survey, around half of small business owners surveyed loaned their voices to the growing crowd of those planning on hiring, which represents a significant increase from the numbers reported last fall. Additionally, compensation rates for employees went up by 2.9% on average, exhibiting confidence on the part of small business owners that they can  continue to recover and support more dedicated staff. Small businesses as a whole are looking forwards to the new year. The optimistic stance that these business owners have adopted reflects on the longer term recovery of the economy, although that’s not say that there are no more logistical and external issues looming down the road. In New York, for example, Eweek.com reported that there is a healthy chunk of business owners who are

The term “bootstrapping capital” refers to the practice of small business owners scraping together the funds they need to get started, and it’s a term that many visitors to the SBA’s forum on Loans and Grants are introduced to after posting about their need for financing. A typical message on the boards will start out with a business owner speaking about their unique model, touting the benefits that it will bring to their community, and then asking if there are any grants that exist that can help them to develop their project. The answer to their inquiry is usually “no, there are no grants for for profit businesses.” While Federal grants do exist, they are primarily set aside for non-profits and medical research, leaving business owners, in particular female, minority and veteran entrepreneurs wondering what is available for them. While it is a misconception for business owners to think that there is free money for their enterprise available from the Government, the SBA does have

The Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, has received mixed reviews on the part of small business owners. For some, the new regulations on what kind of coverage must be provided to employees does not currently apply because they have a low enough head count. For others, they must work on complying with the regulations by a deadline that has been recently moved back a year to 2016. CNBC reported that there was also an announcement of looser requirements on the percentage of employees at firms. Instead of being required to offer coverage to 95% of their workforce by 2015, the quota was moved down to 70%. The official word on the less severe changes required is that in order for Obamacare to begin to take effect in a constructive way that does not overly punish small business owners, it must be phased in gradually, hence the more lax deadlines in place. The administration also pointed out that the majority of businesses set to be

February is a month of transition, if not always weather-wise, at least mentally as thoughts of Spring’s thaw start to get more frequent and Valentine’s Day trappings appear in store windows. While Spring is still relatively far off, the preparation that a bad credit business loans itself now can yield dividends as the weather begins to get warmer and for many business starts to pick up. Spring cleaning imagery is often based on physically tidying up, but in February, setting a mental game plan is more important, especially for seasonal business owners. This foundation will be carried with you, and should be created now so that new ideas can be tested out and expansion planned for, if necessary with required capital accounted for or at least ready to be applied for and put to use. Here are some of the priorities that business owners should put high on their lists in order to plant the seeds for a productive end to the Winter months. Recalculate

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