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30 Do’s And 20 Don’ts In Starting A Small Business

Small scale businesses are easier to set up compared to the middle or large scale businesses that require more time, feasibility reports, ad...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What Questions Should A Start-Up Small Business Ask A Venture Capitalist?

These are NOT meant to be all inclusive of what questions to focus on ..... but will arm you with a solid framework to work from.

1) What resources do they bring to the table from a high-level perspective - all VC's claim they add value, but in what ways?

2) How often would board meetings be held, how often and in what manner do we maintain communication? Weekly calls, email reports, KPI's, or do they want access to internal systems, bank access. What's the threshold before a purchase, hire, expense/expenditure should be shared with them? (Is it $500, $5000, or $50,000?)

3) If they claim they know everyone under the sun, what is the "process" to make those introductions. Do you share a spreadsheet of contacts you want to meet, do they "go to bat for you" and "tee up" the introduction, do you have to go to their events/meetings, or are you suppose to drop their name and expect a callback?

4) What boards of other companies is the "VC on your board" sitting in on? How much time does he have for you - what is the caliber of those companies versus yours? If Mark Zuckerberg calls an emergency board meeting, and he has to go - he will go, let's face it, you're not quite FaceBook yet.

5) Which law firms do they work with, have worked with, and feel comfortable with. How much do they charge, what are the estimates for closing funding (negotiate for a cap!)

6) I assume you are talking to early-round VC's, how many companies have the VC participated in their portfolio companies' later round? Do they pump and dump or do they stick it all the way through?

7) Look at their portfolio companies and find out whether they were the lead investors or just follow-ons. Do they usually lead or follow?

8) What's a typical due-diligence process like? (Yes, you own your code, right? You have all the work-for-hire agreements and intellectual property transfer agreement... if not, you better get them quick).

9) Most VC's will show you a their tombstones (trophy) of startups that went public, or sold for many millions of dollars. Ask for the real tombstones, which companies have they funded are in the deadpool or delisted from their glossy website. What happened? (Don't dwell too much on this, makes everyone uncomfortable, but it’s good to know how they treat the founders of companies that didn't make it versus claiming how they are BFF with Sergei and Larry)

10) When did they close their most recent fund. How big is it? Are they towards the end of the fund (it’s about to dry up, son) or at the beginning (happy days are here again).

11) What is their investment thesis. (What's yours?) What is their exit expectations (ask for a ballpark range - the real answer will be revealed in the term sheet hidden somewhere in the text between their liquidation preferences and protective provisions <--- Google it)

12) Can I have some references of other founders and companies you have funded? (No, their internal EIR does not count, he already made money and will have nothing but happy roses to talk about how they came in at the last moment and saved their asses and now its kumbaya and happily ever after)

If you ask at least the above questions … you’ll be much better off than 95% of other start-up business who don’t ask these questions. Be prepared.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Starting A Small Business …. You Need A Business Plan

A business plan is the vehicle by which you conduct the research for your market, decide which individuals to involve in the sales of your product and validate your revenue and expense financial forecasts. It is the means by which you will convince first yourself and then others who can help you that your company has a road map to success.

New entrepreneurs should go to the SBA web site at Writing A Business Plan that guides them through the business planning process. They should follow the site presentation and note the factors to consider in starting a business.

You can find examples of business plans here:

Sample Business Plans

Entrepreneurs can also choose a counselor at the third link below who is experienced in their industry and that they feel can help them. They should their plan out on the counselor. The counselor will put on a banker's or investor's hat and give them a reaction, then make suggestions to improve the plan and how to communicate it to a financial institution.

Above all - PLAN --- to Succeed!

If you can't plan it how are you going to do it --- or convince a financial source you can?

Finally take advantage of the assistance available through your nearest SCORE office. You can learn more about SCORE here: SCORE

Most SCORE volunteers have been in business and know the practical ways to assist, but a structure is needed for that communication as well.

A business plan fills the bill.

Here’s some additional tips to help you through those first days of your small business …..

1. Do not promise what you cannot deliver

2. Do not overextend your resources and get a poor reputation for poor performance.

3. Do not tell the customer what he or she wants to hear. Tell them what they need to know. They will respect you for it.

4. Network constantly on professional sites such as Linked In. Hit the "Answers" feature and accumulate an "Expert" rating from your peers in your field.

5. Blog like there is no tomorrow. A blog is quite different than a web site. Provide good, solid information free of charge and use blog searches for synergistic businesses to team with. Teaming is an absolute necessity these days.

6. Be prepared to provide information, samples and valuable service gratis as a marketing tool. Introduce yourself and then immediately engage the client with your presentation tools available to bring your expertise to whatever topic they are interested in. Let them take you where they want to go with their concerns and their needs. Apply your presentation tools and expertise dynamically on the fly in a sincere manner to those concerns and needs and you will be in demand for follow up business.

7. Quote and bill what the client can afford and grow with him (in content and resources).

8. Be dedicated to working yourself out of a job with a specific customer and having your client take over by training him. He will remember you and recommend you to 10 others.

9. Remember growth is a function of persistence and foresight. Know where your market is headed and get their first - then write and speak about your success indirectly by helping others. Demonstrate humility and a satisfaction in helping others succeed. They will find ways to give you credit. There are ways of tooting your horn without making peoples' lights go out.

10. Word of mouth advertising from pleased clients is a sure ticket to success.

Take to heart the above insights and your experience starting a new small business will be easier … and more successful …. Than those who don’t.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Pearls Of Wisdom For Fledgling Entrepreneurs

The first thing that you must do is get a mentor. This is the person that you go to with all of your questions, concerns and anxieties.

Find several business owners who are doing what you want to do and interview them. Ask them how they got started, and do they have any suggestions or warnings for you.Tell them to give it to you straight. Find out from these business owners if this idea will sustain you financially.

Assemble your team: accountant, lawyer, web designer, marketing, sales coach and support group(s), etc. You will need support groups to bounce ideas off of, and hear ideas that are working in other areas of business that might work in your area of business.

Attend conferences and trade shows in your area of interest. Attend meetings and conferences at your local Chamber, BNI, etc. Do not join any groups or organizations until you have visited them at least twice to get a feel for the type of people that are in the group.

Be ready for looooong hours of research and product/service preparation. It won't happen overnight....be patient.

Does your product/service sell itself? Can you sell? If you can't you will need a sales coach.

You must have a business plan, and someone to show you how to market your product/service.

Here are a few more items you might like to ponder:

1) There are some dreams you need to follow, and others you need to wake up from.

2) You only lose when you quit.

3) And the old Kenny Rogers advice:

Know when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
And KNOW WHEN TO RUN!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Advice For The Start-Up Entrepreneur

This advice isn’t meant to be all inclusive …. but should give you a good foundation to jump off from. Hopefully it’ll help you avoid some of the problems or issues you face when you begin.

For starters (pun intended) …. Read "Art of the Start" by Guy Kawasaki to give you the right foundation.

My number one piece of advice would be to do your research BEFORE you start. Talk to potential customers, suppliers, and industry associations. Find out for sure if your business model is in demand - especially in this economy.

Is there too much competition? Are profit margins adequate? What are the key skills needed to suceed and do you have those?

In short - find out about the business before you start.

Some very general but practical tips are …..

1. Whatever it is you are trying to build, build it fast (even a prototype) and hit the market right away. You will almost never get it right the first time. But if you are lucky you will get a lot of feedback from the customers about your product.

2. Best thing that can happen to a start up is getting an industry leader as your beta customer. If you can find one, you have got a game to play.

3. If you are product company, invest in your first few accounts. Don't start being transactional and look for profit from day one. (if you can afford to do this). Products only make money when there is scale. Remember, all you are looking for from your first customers is "yee ha! this product rocks." comment. Ensure you get it.

4. When the going gets tough (and invariably it will), have the patience and the determination to stick through.

Another piece of wisdom that deserves stand alone mention for anyone starting a business is ….. "Find out what the customer wants and give it to them'. Which means listening to prospective customers and making changes to your product and service - fast.

The faster you do this the faster you will grow.

The problem is most people start a company for their own reasons and are slow to accept 'change'.

Some final insights to keep in mind are ……

1. Find something that you enjoy doing, that you are really good at and tweak it to provide a product or service of real value to people that people really need.

2. People who are looking for solutions to their problems can often be your best customers if you can squarely meet their need and add value.

3. The cost of your product or service should be a small fraction of the value they receive and you need to think of scale to drive more revenue in most cases.

4. In a competitive market find what the others are not doing well or find a segment that they are not serving and focus on that niche.

5. In real estate it is all about location, location, location. In entrepreneurship and small business it is all about specialization and niche marketing. You cannot do everything equally well.

6. Starting a company is not just knowng all about the product or service. It is also accounting, finance, strategy, cash flows, banking, taxation, contracts, legal issues, intellectual property, human resources and a lot of other things. You need the right resources.

7. Many people feel threatened by people who are smarter than them but if you need to be succesful you need to surround yourself with real smart people and you need to manage and reward them well.

8. Be generous and big hearted else the high achievers may not stay with you for long but will look for other prospects.

9. Understand your customer's needs and position your product well in the market to meet your segment's needs.

10. Be aware of barriers to entry to your market for others and think about how you can build sustainable long term competitive advantage.

Commit to your idea 100%. Dabbling in it, worrying about your day job, telling yourself you just can't afford to work at it full time because it doesn't pay yet - that will kill your business.

If you tell yourself you just can't afford to go all in, all at once, then it's just a hobby. You only get out of it what you put in.

Watch and track cash like a hawk...especially as growth increases (that is when you are most likely to run out of cash).

Be marketing and selling continuously.

Under-promise and over-deliver.

Clearly communicate why you're different than your competitors - and why they should choose you over your competitors or just doing nothing (or staying with their current provider).

When you hire, hire good people who are willing to chip in to do whatever is required - you won't be at the point for hiring specialists until you get much larger.

Enjoy the excitement and fun of a startup enterprise. As you build your business you'll think back to this time with fond memories (and forget some of the painful ones and long days).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How Do You (or Should You) Do Your Business Planning?

Also called your strategic plan … your business plan is generally done prior to going in business and involves a lot of marketing research and forecasts...often used to obtain funding.

Your strategic plan is about how to get where you want to go. It includes your organization's Vision, Mission and cultural statement as well as goals, objectives, strategies and tactics to get from Point A to Point B. A good plan usually covers 3-5 years and should be a living, breathing document providing focus, but that allows for changes in direction should opportunities or threats arise.

If you’ve had training in the process you can do your own planning. But, it depends on your company, its size, if you have someone on staff who can handle the process, etc. You should review your plan quarterly to assure you are on schedule and on track, and each year, review the plan and update it for the coming year (drop out the completed portions and add new ones to keep you moving forward).

It is alarming how few people create plans for their success, isn't it? Instead, they spend their time running in circles and putting out fires all the time.

I am amazed how many people spend weeks planning their vacations, but never set aside time to plan the year(s) for their business or life. I also see the opposite, people who over complicate their strategic planning and get overwhelmed and discouraged in the process.

I believe your plan should excite you. It should make it clear how to reach the goals you set out to achieve.

Without a planning road map you will not know what it will take to achieve success, nor will you know what success looks like; therefore, the likelihood of success is , at best, minimal.

The first step in developing a business plan is to understand what these plans are supposed to achieve. A good business plan should provide detailed guidelines, objectives and action that will enable you to:

1. deliver a product that satisfies the customer
2. become more efficient than your competition
3. become more profitable

Remember that it is a team process …. Get your leadership team involved and get feedback from your employees. Just as important it requires regularly scheduled reviews (e.g. quarterly).

For more detailed information including examples to help you craft your own quality business plan …. check out the links listed in the left side menu.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Biggest Threat To Small Business In 2010

I'm wondering if entrepreneurs realize that it's the same threat that causes 80% of business to fail in 5-years.

Would you be surprised if I told you it's that same threat that been taking down entrepreneurs for a thousand years?

Imagine what would happen if every entrepreneur took the time to thoroughly research their market before they did anything else.

You would see and hear about many less business failures.

From my research and experience, to many entrepreneurs with amazing technical experience jump into a business with little or no research as to whether there is a tested and proven market that can afford the products, services or ideas they offer.

And even worse, why is it that some entrepreneurs jump into a business and have no idea how to market or sell what they are offering?

Do solid research. Learn how to market and sell.

Then you’ll eliminate 80% of the biggest threats to entrepreneurs.

Now that said …. I do have a personal opinion on the elephant in the room.

The single biggest threat to entrepreneurs is the same as it has been for decades: All forms of government have been, are, and will be a bane to entrepreneurs.

Simply put …. that our government - both federal and state - makes it hard to be a small business, despite the fact that 80% of American workers are employed by companies with 500 or less employees.

In my opinion, the biggest threat is government intervention.

- The higher tax rates dry up the supply of investment capital.

- Voluminous labor laws (and benefit laws) make it too complicated to hire.

- Complicated tax laws and un-funded mandates are demoralizing, and they distract businesses from pursuing their core competencies - Any business that makes a decision based on tax savings is not wise. IE: The browns moving to Baltimore; Oil companies who tried to become conglomerates in the 70s and early 80s.

Point blank ….. progressives and Big Government are the single biggest threat to entrepreneurship.

Most any other potential hurdle is a personal issue that an entrepreneur can solve through personal growth, innovation, and creativity.

It will take an army of entrepreneurs, though, to stop the absolute bombing run the progressives (on both sides of the political aisle) are on to get into small business' pocket to fund their maniac spending habits.

Even the best entrepreneur with the best technology and unlimited bank loans cannot build a thriving business if 70+% of their resources goes to fund big government, entitlement programs, and wasteful spending.

Everything is in flux and very little of it appears to be friendly to small businesses...higher taxes and/or 'fees' in unknown amounts are coming, putting plans for expansion, innovation or growth in a limbo situation. The best we can do at this point is plan as we have in the past, knowing that we may have to change those plans soon and quickly to incorporate government mandates that will surely affect our bottom lines.

If you have any thoughts on the subject …. Feel free to leave a comment. I’m sure your fellow small business entrepreneurs would benefit.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Are You Really Cut Out To Be An Entrepreneur?

You hear lots of discussion everyday about the personal "failure rate" amongst those who "work for themselves". It's a pretty popular subject for forum discussions. There's plenty of sad stories passed around. Note: some stories are definitely legit, don't get me wrong here. But often there's "more to the story" as Paul Harvey would say.

Folks complain about their "lack" of results (notice I said "their" lack), blame everything but themselves (usually), constantly search for "the" way to turn things around (e.g. "the right system"), and/or routinely jump to the next "thing" because the last "thing" didn't work.

Now hold on their Cowboy (errrr....Cowgirl too).

"You" need to step back....breath deep....and take another look.

I believe there are some who are cut out to be their own boss and some who are not. We come across people everyday looking into starting their own business....using all kinds of models and business types. But unfortunately many don't really know if they have what it takes. Too often they're coming from the "give my boss 40 hrs/wk, collect a paycheck" mentality. Or worse yet..."sit on the couch eating Doritos 'cuz it should be so easy". That just doesn't work.

Before they/you get started into business for themselves/yourself there's a simple test called the “Self-Employment Test”.... specifically designed to measure your prospects for success. This is the perfect self examination to get people thinking about "working for themselves".

Self Employment Test

The test is from the book, “Is Self-Employment for You? by Paul Casey (you can get it at Amazon.com if interested). This book goes beyond the ABC’s of how to write a business plan but examines the potential entrepreneur’s emotional readiness and personality traits that ultimately make the difference between success and failure.

This test is very simple. Read the questions and assign yourself a number between 1 and 5, where 1 is the lowest score, and 5 is the highest. For example, in the first question, "Are you a leader?" A score of 1 means, "I have absolutely no leadership skills whatsoever. My dog doesn’t even follow me on walks." A score of 5 means, "I am an experienced leader in every sense of the word. If not for my dream of starting my own business, I would be running for president."

As Paul says....you need to be completely honest with yourself on this test! Do not make yourself out to be more or less than you really are. Again, this test will help you to determine your prospects for success, but only if you are honest in assessing your own strengths and weaknesses.

Anyway don't despair if you don't score well it just means you may have a few things to work on. If you're willing to that is.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 Is Just The Begining .... The Worse Is Yet To Come

Most small business people I speak to can't wait for 2009 to be put to bed. They suddenly awoke to the realization that everything they have worked so hard to achieve in their lives could be seized from them, because their economy had failed them.

Like everything else in this world, we always wait until its too late before taking drastic action, and 2009 epitomized this reactionary mindset that dominates so much of our society.

But what really gets my goat is that we keep on making the same mistakes over, and over again. One can only hope that the lessons of this year will have broader ramifications than simply learning how to bail out banks and save our stock market from total collapse. Somehow I doubt it; 2009 was just the beginning of the realization that our short-term mentality has to change, but we will - alas - likely need to endure another bout of pain and hardship before we'll eventually do something about it. We got off too easy this time and somehow managed to paper over some pretty cavernous cracks.

For example, the same "boom/bust" cycle seems to be kicking back in. Wall St. realized it was too important to fail, and the taxpayer footed the bill. Now it's starting all over again... the stock market is rising despite uncertain economic conditions and continual rising unemployment. The environment continues to be destroyed and our governments can only (again) paper over the cracks. We've never seen a global response to saving our wealth like this, so why can't we do something to save our world for our children? It seems that as soon as we stabilize our stock market and our house valuations, all is well in the world again.

But that is way too rosy an outlook.

We reached into the future, took the money out of our kids and grandkids wallets, and used it to paper over the cracks. We only "got off easy this time" because we handed the bill to future generations, stole from them, and bankrupted them.

We doubled down on the profligate spending of the last administration and are intent on borrowing our way out of a debt crisis.

Until this generation realizes that WE are the ones who ought to pay for our own economic stupidity and not kick the can down the road we will have learned nothing and we will continue to be a danger to America's future. I believe we will rightfully be damned by history for generations to come for what we are doing to America. Sadly, we won't be alive to realize the full measure of our guilt and our shame.

Whether or not the average US Citizen knows it, the United States is creating the second-largest government/industrial complex in our nation's history. It is envisioned as a tail of bailouts to the financial industry, the automotive industry and others who show up with their hands out and their lobbyists in tow. It is also comprised of state governors who are poised to invent yet another form of pork with federal representatives and senators at their sides while raising local taxes for the citizen back home. This speculative panacea cannot survive.

HISTORY

The longest running and largest consortium of this type is the US Military Industrial Complex (MIC), funded historically at an amount many times the Wall Street and automotive bailouts combined. It is the elephant in the room in the burgeoning financial crisis, carrying the weight of wars, weapons systems and a pentagon/corporate financial relationship based on cost plus and time and material contracts since World War II.

IMPORTS AND EXPORTS

We are importing goods and services and borrowing money from the Chinese, the European Union, Japan, Korea, India and other developing countries at a rate unmatched in our history. Loan proceeds are being used to fight wars and bail out our bankers, carmakers and state governors.

Our largest export today is our public debt and our credit rating is slipping.

FACTS

The MIC will be scaled down by collapse. The Russian MIC led to that country's financial demise. It is now apparent that we did not outspend the Russians at weaponry and interventions. We simply had a better credit rating that is now maxed out

The other government agencies will be re-scaled and downsized as well but not by any specific action taken by the pending or future federal establishment. The over 50 entities that make up the federal government, together with their corporate outsource services, will be shrunk dramatically because the US is broke. The feds will fight to preserve the artificial reality, but US financing and credibility on the world stage are drying up and the creditors are suffering.

No new administration can change the above facts by riding on the taxpayer's back with "Social Improvement", " Public Works" and "Creating Democracies in Other Countries" mantras. Such policies in the past have led to foreign interventions, thousands of young soldier’s s, bureaucratic growth in Washington and bloated corporations performing low quality service contacts.

Annual budget deficits and the national debt are at intolerable levels.

ECONOMIC REALITIES

The US will come home from military adventures abroad because it will no longer have the money to run them and it will cease bailing out failing commercial establishments because there will be no funding for that.

The US will re-align priorities at the state and the national level much like all the little "Joe the Plumbers" throughout the country, who are toting skinny 401K's without jobs. They represent the present and future tax base upon which this country will run. America will not spend its way out of this dilemma because there will be no cash or credit left to spend.

The US will demonstrate financial prudence out of necessity, align spending with available revenue, downsize the federal government and its corporate cadre, cultivate technology and the small business base and take care of its most important constituent here at home - the average tax payer.

The US will understand the above are not political objectives but economic realities that are here and now. World economics will not allow a new, financial, government/industrial complex to emulate or replace the MIC.

Bottom line ... we can't keep doing what we're doing now. And we can't have those "doing it" (politicians and White House) ...... be allowed to last past the end of their current terms. Otherwise it will just get even worse.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Eliminating Fraud And Waste In Medicare

The lack of action in this area has (and will continue to have) a big impact on the overall cost of health care to small business. This is a low hanging fruit that doesn't get the attention it needs.

The President told the American people that he could pay for a large portion of Health Care Reform by reducing the fraud and waste in Medicare. If that is the case why is he waiting for Health Care reform legislation? Why not begin the eliminate it last February when he first said it?

This is not the first time rhetoric is followed up with maintaining the status quo in the health care debate. It's much easier to first lock people into an expensive health care bill and then go about cutting waste and fraud. We could always say, "Well, we have a budget for it (the Health Care bill with or without a public option) and we tried to cut waste but we didn't find that much, really..."

For example, in 2002 a biotech in St. Louis, MO, published a peer-reviewed study showing that 90% of kidney dialysis patients wouldn't need the treatment, potentially saving a substantial portion of the $35 billion and growing budget currently spent on this often fatal treatment in the US alone. The NHS refused to acknowledge the scientific results. A more recent study by AstraZeneca confirmed the 2002 findings. Again, nobody cared. This year, legislation in Congress noted that kidney disease and associated treatment options is the largest and also the fastest growing cost component of MediCare, yet nobody cared to look for a cost-cutting solution. Rather, Congress focused on increasing the budget to allow for the cost increase.

Now that the President has proposed to cut MediCare and shift the funds to a different part of the budget, you are right, there is again no solution. Of course, vested interests have a lot to lose, yet change is inevitable. The quality of health care in this country is declining rapidly. The model we have now doesn't focus on results (healthy people), instead it rewards doctors and pharma companies who keep people coming back for more.

We need more competitive health care options, not fewer. Deborah Williams, Dir. of Policy at Baxter wrote "We as the health care community should begin with building incentives for the right care at the right place. If we can't do it in an area where the answers and data are readily available and relatively robust, it points to a serious societal problem." Note her choice of words, "relatively," not "absolute." She acknowledges that nobody is perfect, but she does stress that we need to focus on the right care for patients.

In the January 2008 Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report on Technological Change and Healthcare Spending, CBO points to development of dialysis of patients with kidney failure as increasing costs. The development of renal dialysis therapy and the many improvements made to it over the past several decades have vastly improved the ability of providers to care for these patients, but at the same time this led to higher costs because patients stayed in treatment longer. In other words, no effort was made to prevent the onset of kidney disease... It further noted that the costs will continue to increase as the prevalence of patients with end stage renal disease has been estimated to increase by 62% by 2020 (Gilbertson and Collins, USRDS (the NIH US Renal Data System)). Whatever happened to prevention...don't we need an SEC type body for health care?

To answer the question in the post title ..... I can give you two reasons:

1. The Congress (both Republican and Democrat controlled) has consistently failed to fund staff and technology in order to do so. (For every $1 spent on exam of suspicious claims $50 comes back to Medicare, yet Congress keeps cutting the exam and technology budget)

2. The President has little influence on the process beyond the selection of an Administrator who will focus on the issue.

Congress micro-manages Medicare and Medicaid, that micro-management is single largest contributor to the 9% of each year’s payments, which constitute Fraud, Waste and Abuse. Yes, that is roughly $22 billion and over the last 20 years the only impact made on fixing that problem was in the first term of the GWB administration when the number went from 11% to the current 9% number.

However, remember, the currently Democratic controlled Congress is telling us they will add millions of people to Medicare and Medicaid and yet it will cost us less than it does today.

I guess they really think we are just that stupid, and from the look of the current polling and who we elected maybe they are correct.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Small Business Tax And Accounting Resource …. Consulting And Education

Fred Daus, CEO & Founder of Fredrick James Accounting, Tax & Consulting has built his entire approach to taxes & consulting on educating clients to help them make better informed decisions that result in financial growth while reducing tax liability. This applies to both business and individual clients.

His firm is offering a new personalized, 1 hour consultation & education course for those who have recently become self employed, independent contractors, independent business owners and even those who are taking on side work while retaining their regular employment. The consult is designed to provide a solid foundation of practical and accurate tax advice that, if followed, will prevent costly mistakes that can lead to a shockingly large tax bill at the end of the year. Each consultation is developed according to individual clients situations & needs. During the hour consultation with CEO Fred Daus, clients will also have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have. The cost is $147 for one hour and comes with a money back guarantee.

For more information on this service please visit: Self Employment Tax Consultation

Mr. Daus also offers expert advice through his blog: Educating the Masses to Help You Save on Taxes. Business owners may find some of the free advice helpful as well as the small business topics delve into some of the financial/tax issues small business owners and independent contractors face.

Below are two examples of recent posts that can be found on the Fredrick James blog. Entries are posted weekly and they do accept suggestions and requests to cover issues of particular interest.

….. Finding the Right Accountant to Help Build Your Business

Excerpt:

“...I want to clarify that accounting is an investment in your business, rather than an annoying expense. Finding the right accountant who understands your goals and is willing to work with you toward achieving them is worth his weight in gold. You will see a much higher return on your investment through smart tax planning and good financial reports that will help you more easily obtain credit in these credit-strapped times."

….. Starting Your Own Business: Choosing Your (Tax) Words Carefully

Excerpt:

"One of the most important issues, related to your tax situation, is how you will define the people who work for you or, if you work for yourself, how you define your relationship to your business. Do I classify workers as employees or independent contractors? And why does it matter?"

Small Business owners may also find the new "Ask Fred" section helpful as it allows them direct access to Fred's expertise in regards to a specific question they may have.

To see more of what Fred’s blog has to offer go to: Educating the Masses to Help You Save on Taxes