Archive for February, 2018

Ukraine’s Naftogaz claims $2.56bn legal victory over Russia’s Gazprom

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Time is Running Out! Remember These 5 Tax Challenges and the Solutions to Overcome Them

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

The 5 Biggest Small Business Tax Issues (and How to Beat Them)

It’s tax season, and that means small business owners everywhere are starting to worry about how and when they’ll file their year-end returns. Tax season is a stressful time for everyone, but especially for small business owners, who often have more complex financials to work with than individuals — but considering there are close to 28 million small businesses in the United States, at least you’re in good company.

It helps to thoroughly understand why the season is stressful, pinpointing the biggest and most significant worries so you can address them proactively. So what are the chief concerns of small business owners during this hectic period?

The Biggest Small Business Tax Issues

These are usually their most pressing concerns:

1. Timing. Timing is an issue for all small business. Between daily operations and long-term management issues, you have enough to worry about — adding a heap of tax considerations at the beginning of the year makes it even more difficult to properly manage your time. That’s why online services have cropped up to try and streamline the process; they can shave hours off the manual process of filing taxes and give you checklists to ensure you haven’t missed anything, but can’t eliminate the burden entirely. On top of that, many small business owners end up filing late, which comes with its own share of problems.

2. Record keeping. There’s a lot to keep track of in a small business, including your revenue and expenses. You should have every receipt for business-related purchases stored somewhere you can access them easily, but for most small business owners, that’s a tall order. One of the best solutions for this is utilizing a receipt scanning app, like Shoeboxed or Wave, which will automatically and digitally store this information. You’ll still have to make a concentrated effort throughout the year to scan and store this information properly, but it will be worth it when you shave hours off your time and rest easy knowing all your records are kept accurately.

3. Underreporting. Unfortunately, many small business owners run into the problem of underreporting income or expenses. Because they often deal with a larger number of small clients, they might forget about a section of income, or neglect to take advantage of a significant deduction. Underreporting in small amounts generally isn’t an issue, but in large enough volume, it can land your business in hot water. Accurate record keeping and detailed reporting are your best preventative tools here.

4. Complex advantages. There are some significant advantages specifically meant for small businesses, such as the Section 179 expense deduction and certain capital gains taxes. However, many of these are complicated, with special requirements that make them harder to take advantage of. In addition, some of them expire and are replaced practically every year. Knowing how best to utilize these savings is an elusive art form, but working with a professional can help you sort things out.

5. Ambiguous deductions. Small business owners can also be confused by the nature of deductions; what counts as a business expense isn’t always clear, especially when your personal and professional lives seem to blur together. For example, should you deduct the costs of maintaining a home office if you only use it one or two days a week? Again, the best solution here is to work with a professional, who will help you figure out the exact requirements here.

High-Level Goals

Overall, there are three simple actions you can take to make your life much less stressful:

  • Plan ahead. The further ahead you plan, the better, for nearly every aspect of the tax filing process. Thinking ahead will keep your records better organized, and will help you manage your time so you can file before the deadline.
  • Work with a professional. Even if you’re experienced in filing business taxes, it’s a good idea to work with a professional. They may know things you don’t, giving you greater advantages, and they’ll be able to do the work more efficiently as well.
  • Keep things organized. As much as possible, keep your records organized throughout the year. It will save you time and stress come tax season.

There isn’t much you can do to restructure the tax system, but you can take control over the issues in front of you. Work with your team to proactively identify your most significant problem areas, and squash them in time to feel confident about your tax strategy.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “Time is Running Out! Remember These 5 Tax Challenges and the Solutions to Overcome Them” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Cisco, Apple, Aon and Allianz Work to Shield Small Businesses From Cyber Attack

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Is This New Cyber Risk Management Partnership Right for Small Business?

A new partnership between Cisco, Apple, Aon and Allianz seeks to protect small businesses from the growing threat of cyberattack. The threat to small business is growing, with around 43 percent of all cyber attacks squarely aimed at this segment.

The Cisco, Apple, Aon and Allianz Cyber Security and Insurance package was established so small businesses can manage the risks they face from the threats of common malware and ransomware. And when they do become victims of an attack, the service gives them the resiliency to quickly recover and minimize their downtime, the companies say.

The cybersecurity threat small businesses face is alarming. More than 72 percent of successful data breaches happen in smaller companies, and around 71 percent of owners say they don’t have confidence in the cybersecurity measures they currently have in place. With all the associated risk, and many citing data breaches as their number one concern, almost two thirds or 65 percent go without cyber insurance.

Cyber Risk Management Partnership

The cyber insurance and security package created with the collaboration of Cisco, Apple, Aon, and Allianz is a comprehensive solution designed to protect the organization as a whole.

Jason Hogg, CEO of Aon Cyber Solutions, explains the approach in a release announcing the new service. He says, “This holistic solution provides our clients with an integrated approach to addressing ransomware risk. We can provide customers with guidance on what cyber defenses, resources and processes to deploy to improve their cyber posture. It’s the improved cyber posture that makes them eligible for enhanced/broader cyber insurance protection.”

As part of the Cyber Risk Framework, this solution allows organizations to act on the risks they face with streamlined access to the right tools to strengthen their security while reducing cyber risk.

The process starts with an evaluation of your digital ecosystem to provide the insights you need to bolster the security posture of your company. Once your security profile has been strengthened with tools from Apple and Cisco, your organization can qualify for enhanced cyber risk insurance. This is where the insurance underwritten by Allianz and sold by Aon comes in to add another layer of protection.

According to the partnership, “This enhanced insurance offers broader coverage terms and conditions than generally existing insurance coverage.”

With this solution in place, you will be able to respond to advanced threats faster, empower your employees, increase your cyber insurance profile to get protected from additional risk while gaining security expertise.

Though information on the total cost of the program was not provided, more information is available by contacting any one of the partners for more.

Image: Cisco

This article, “Cisco, Apple, Aon and Allianz Work to Shield Small Businesses From Cyber Attack” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Big freeze creates 12-year spike in UK gas price

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

First significant test of market since closure of Rough storage facility

‘Small Business Revolution – Main Street’ Returns for Third Season

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

City Selected for Third Season Of Small Business Revolution-Main Street is Alton Illinois

Have you seen “Small Business Revolution — Main Street”?

It’s the show where a whopping $500,000 revitalization prize is awarded to one city, by Deluxe Corp. This month, Small Business Trends connected with Amanda Brinkman from the program to discuss its third season, which begins later this year with co-host Ty Pennington. We discuss Brinkman’s role at Deluxe, what businesses can learn by watching their past and upcoming content, and how they’re using Facebook Live.

Third Season of Small Business Revolution-Main Street

A creative visionary in marketing and media, Amanda Brinkman has innovated for brands like Reebok, BMW, Sony, Toro, Virgin Mobile and more. Her work on BMW Films kicked her career into overdrive. Brinkman currently works with Deluxe Corp. as chief brand and communications officer, and in 2015 she made a bet that an authentic program — branded as the Small Business Revolution championed by Deluxe — would garner more results than she could buy with traditional advertising.

The show, named “Small Business Revolution — Main Street”, chronicles the program’s impact on communities and countless lives. The winning city for the show’s new season was announced on Feb. 27, 2018 via Facebook. Content from the two previous seasons have gained 11x the reach and impressions of a traditional media buy with the same spend.

Brinkman is honored to serve on the boards of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Make-A-Wish, the Children’s Theatre Company and the Women’s Business Development Center’s (WBDC) Chicago Board. She also passionately volunteers for an array of causes, including the Special Olympics, Feed My Starving Children, People Serving People, the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota, the Jeremiah Program and more. She’s also a member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable. Engage with her on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @amandakbrinkman.

City Selected for Third Season Of Small Business Revolution-Main Street is Alton Illinois

Small Business Trends: What is the Small Business Revolution all about and which city won Season 3?

Amanda Brinkman: The Small Business Revolution is a movement. We are creating a revolution across the country to celebrate small businesses and their critical impact on our economy and our communities. This year marks the third season of “Small Business Revolution – Main Street”, which annually awards one small town with a $500,000 revitalization for its Main Street and its small businesses. We received thousands of nominations from towns across America and spent the last couple of months visiting and researching the finalist. After naming five finalists and inviting the public to vote for their favorite, Alton, Illinois was named the winner.

FacebookLive

Small Business Trends: How has Facebook Live been helpful even before the third season of ‘Small Business Revolution — Main Street’ begins?

Amanda Brinkman: Facebook Live has been an incredible tool for energizing our passionate Small Business Revolution audience and engaging with them in real time — especially at key points throughout the program. For example, when we visited 10 short-listed towns in January to determine our five finalists, we did a Facebook Live broadcast from each town with a local representative. It was an amazing way to shine a spotlight on all of the communities and share with our followers the amazing communities we were visiting. We’ve also used Facebook Live to make major announcements, such as the reveal of our five finalist towns for Season 3 and the inclusion of Ty Pennington as our new co-host. It’s fun — and effective — to have everyone learning the news simultaneously and weighing in with their comments.

Small Business Trends: Let’s hear a recap of what Deluxe is, for those who don’t know.

Amanda Brinkman: Deluxe was founded more than 100 years ago with a legacy in the check-printing space. Today, it is a growth engine for small businesses and financial institutions, serving 4.4 million small business customers across the country. Deluxe provides small business services and products such as website development and hosting, email marketing, social media, search engine optimization and logo design — helping small businesses with marketing so they can focus on the aspects of their business that they love most.

Small Business Trends: When does the new season air? How does Ty Pennington fit into the show?

Amanda Brinkman: Season 3 will debut this fall on Hulu, YouTube and SmallBusinessRevolution.org. Seasons 1 and 2 are both on SmallBusinessRevolution.org where you can see what’s at stake for Season 3, and how small businesses in these inspiring communities have overcome challenges with help from Deluxe. We enlisted Ty as a co-host for Season 3 because of his proven track record of working on projects that help transform and improve lives, homes and communities. Now, he’s going to help us transform an entire community!

Images: Deluxe Corp.

This article, “‘Small Business Revolution – Main Street’ Returns for Third Season” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Oil slips, eyes first monthly loss in 6 months after US inventories data

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Noble shareholder questions trader’s management

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

Goldilocks Investment expresses concern over rescue plan after $5bn annual loss

The Worst Advice 5 Founders Received For Their Growing Businesses

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

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The Worst Advice Five Founders Received For Their Growing Businesses

Good advice can be a game-changer for entrepreneurs. As any founder or CEO can tell you, it’s critical for anyone growing a business to have help from trusted advisors. If advice is given well (and taken) it may be easier to navigate that path to success. But in this day and age, good advice can also be hard to find. We asked these five founders about the worst advice they’ve gotten for their growing businesses. Read their answers below to find out what advice you should avoid.

What’s the worst advice you’ve received for your growing business? 

Sallie Krawcheck

CEO and Co-Founder of Ellevest

I’m all about moving fast as an entrepreneur. But the worst advice I received as an entrepreneur involved moving too fast. As we were building Ellevest, one potential investor urged us to launch the business in January, months before I thought we would be ready. His reasoning: January is the busiest month of the year for investing, people make lots of decisions at the beginning of the year, and we wanted to be available for that. If that meant there were some bugs in the product, so be it — and if we wouldn’t commit to this, no investment. Here’s the problem with that thinking: in Ellevest, we were building a product that requires our users’ trust, and there isn’t a great deal of tolerance for mistakes when you’re asking them to trust you with their money. We didn’t launch the product in January, so we ended up losing that investor… but now we’re one of the fastest digital investing platforms out of the shoot, so clearly it worked out for us.

Roddy Lindsay

CEO, Hustle

“Enterprise sales means going out and hiring a team of white dudes with rolodexes.” This advice was so ridiculous that it never even occurred to me to follow it, and Hustle is doing very well with a diverse team of people, many from non-traditional backgrounds. We value scrappiness and hustle far more than the rolodex, so this advice was best left untaken.

Gregarious Narain

Co-Founder, Before Alpha

Honestly, most of the advice anyone receives as an entrepreneur is useless, as other people’s experiences rarely translate perfectly. One key example was when a venture capitalist told us our business was unsustainable because he saw our core functionality, a mobile backup application, as something the phone manufacturers would soon offer, effectively putting us out of business. It got us thinking, and we could sort of imagine how what he was saying was true… Of course, he ended up being completely wrong. That was 7 years ago and still, to this day, no phone manufacturer, save Apple partially, offers the level of backup we offer. More importantly, we ceded a very early position in the space only to see one of our own batchmates get acquired by Dropbox to fulfill the same purpose (though Dropbox also didn’t implement it). The bad advice wasn’t that competition exists — everybody knows it does, and no one founder should live and die by the actions of their competition. The bad advice was that large companies could be nimble enough to take down smart, nimble founders without a fight. Everything takes longer than it seems, even for startups, and especially for enterprises.

Kyle Porter

CEO, SalesLoft

Not just bad advice, I received unethical advice. When discussing sales account coverage strategies, an industry sales leader whom others looked up to suggested we change a few of our sales development reps’ names to “be more attractive to the prospect.” I couldn’t think of a worse idea! Our people are unique and special; we’re connecting with customers and prospects to build sincere relationships, so this is the EXACT opposite of what we want to be doing. Needless to say, I turned down this advice without hesitation.

Deepa Subramanian

Co-Founder and CEO, Wootric

I knew we had a venture-backable business in Wootric a few short months after our early software product took off. For our first fundraiser, I had the good fortune of receiving interest from a few investors. Several founders and friends advised me to choose the investor with the largest check size — and of course this was tempting. A big investment would have enabled me to put my foot on the gas and hire a team quickly. However, I realized that this is very short-term thinking, especially for a first-time tech founder like me. I was entering into a long-term relationship that requires a lot of trust and compromise. I chose instead to prioritize investors who would add value in other ways: investors who would be hard on me and hold me accountable in good times, but would also go to bat for me when things get challenging. The investors we chose have done more for our growth in lean times than a bigger check alone would have.

Republished by permission. Original here.

Photo via Shutterstock

This article, “The Worst Advice 5 Founders Received For Their Growing Businesses” was first published on Small Business Trends

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Jerome Powell's game of Kerplunk

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

THERE is an old children’s game called Kerplunk. It is similar in concept to Jenga. Marbles are poured into a plastic tube through which sticks have been threaded. The players take it in turns to remove the sticks with the aim of avoiding the fall of marbles. The normal pattern is for a few marbles to drop until the unlucky player removes the strut that keeps up the rest. A noisy crash ensues.

Jerome Powell (pictured), the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, may be that unlucky player. Janet Yellen, his respected predecessor, managed to pull out five sticks (ie, raised rates five times) before she departed, leaving both the economy and the markets in fine shape. Doubtless, Ms Yellen was not happy when President Donald Trump denied her a second term. But it may have been a blessing in disguise. The task of the central banker gets a lot more difficult from here.

Mr Powell’s first Congressional testimony as Fed chair yesterday was seen as bullish on the economy…Continue reading

Forecasting congressional votes could yield juicy returns

Wednesday, February 28th, 2018

STOCK traders hang on central bankers’ every utterance. They scan news sites for market-moving events, such as terrorist attacks, and monitor President Donald Trump’s tweets for hostility towards publicly traded firms. Curiously, though, few analyse goings-on in Congress, which can shift the course of the world’s largest economy. Jonathan Strong, a former reporter (including at Roll Call, a sister publication of The Economist), hopes to change that.

With the help of 0ptimus, a firm of Republican data wonks, he has spent three years building Legis, an algorithm powered by vast quantities of data and a neural network (a computer system modelled on the human brain), which predicts the outcome of congressional votes. Each of the 44 votes it has forecast so far has been correct. Last year a hedge fund (which does not want to be named) began trading derivatives using its predictions.

According to legend, carrier pigeons brought news of the Duke of Wellington’s…Continue reading

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