4 Tax Deductions for Small Business Owners

It is nearing that time of year when small business owners are gathering the paperwork necessary to prepare this year’s taxes. However, don’t overlook these tax deductions for 2015:

  1.  Entertainment

One of the most common business expenses is entertainment. Having a breakfast or lunch meeting with a client or prospect at a restaurant , or just getting together for coffee is tax deductible as long as it is a genuine business meeting. You should keep a record of the meeting, including the client’s name and what was discussed as well as the receipt from the restaurant.  Only 50% of the bill is tax deductible, however.

  1.  Email Marketing

How many social media posts do you read each day versus your emails? If you are like most people, you read a few social media posts every day, but you read all of your non-spam email. Therefore focusing on email marketing makes sense. There are several companies that can provide you with paid email campaigns to send communications to your prospective client list. And although you will have to pay a fee for this service, you can deduct all of it.

  1.  Networking

One of the most effective marketing activities for small businesses is networking, in person and online. Networking allows you to build relationships that eventually will lead to referrals of new clients. Networking activities are tax deductible, including membership fees to such organizations as your local chamber of commerce or service organization.

  1.  Sponsorship Marketing

Your business may not yet have enough income to advertise in print or television media, which can be very expensive. But there are other ways to keep your business before the public. Sponsoring the local football team or participating in a local charity event are examples of strategies that can promote your business to attract new clients. Your efforts are deductible as advertising costs. To be seen supporting the community and contributing to its economic development is extremely powerful and creates enormous goodwill.

Conclusion

Taking advantage of these tax deductions can go a long way to helping small business owners lower their overall tax bill.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Decatur, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

 

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Funding Options for Veteran-Owned Businesses

Veteran Owned BusinessAs Veteran’s Day draws near, I thought it would be a great time to direct attention to the number of veteran-owned businesses operating in the United States.  Some estimates show over 2.45 million small businesses in the United States are owned by veterans, representing over 9% of all U.S. businesses. Most of these businesses specialize in technology, consulting or construction and require less start-up capital than a typical small business. Fortunately, the process of obtaining veteran funding is becoming much easier.

Where Do I Start?

If you are a veteran or you know a veteran who is seeking a business loan, a great place to start is with the Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD), an offshoot of the US Small Business Administration (SBA). The OVBD offers a wide variety of programs designed to assist veterans – counseling, training, and business support are all within the OVBD scope of services. The organization actually maintains dozens of localized resource centers around the country so veterans can receive one-on-one, in-person business assistance when they are ready to start a business.

What Funding Options Are Available for Veterans?

Funding for veteran-owned businesses is becoming easier to procure. If you are a veteran or service-disabled veteran, the SBA has resources to help you start and grow your small business. From creating a business plan to finding your first customer, the SBA has solutions to help you succeed.

One popular resource the SBA offers for veterans is the Patriot Express Loan Program. Under this program, eligible veterans who apply to receive a small business loan can receive approval in as little as ten days. This type of funding is ideal to cover start-up costs, growth and expansion as well as inventory expenses.

There are several options available to veterans who are trying to obtain financial assistance when starting a veteran owned business. Traditional banks offer small business loans to veterans, but it is often more difficult to get approval. However, alternative lenders such as Triton Financial Solutions offer veteran loans from a few thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars at surprisingly low rates and are a great choice in cases where a veteran may have been turned down by a traditional bank.

Who Should I Talk To?

If you are looking for more information on how to start your veteran-owned business, contact your local chapter of the Office of Veterans Business Development. Once you receive business counseling and work with an advisor to create a business plan, you can call Triton at 770-249-2357 to find out more about small business funding for veterans.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

Posted in Alternative Lenders, Alternative Lending, Business, Business Financing, Business Ideas, Business Lines of Credit, Business Loans, Business News, Business Owners, Business Startups, Business Tips, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Finance, Small Business, Small Business Owners, Small Business Tips, Start-ups, Startups, Success, Veterans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

When Is The Best Time to Start a Business?

It may be surprising, but it can be easier to start a business in a slow economy. You might have less competition because other would-be entrepreneurs are often more reluctant to risk launching a new business, and existing business owners commonly cut back on costs (especially marketing), limiting the number of new customers they can attract. Of special note is that consumers do not completely stop spending during economic downturns; most simply look for better deals and the companies that can provide those better deals are stronger once the economy improves.  Consumer loyalty to those companies frequently remains strong even after the economy recovers and spending increases again.

Below are some notable examples of successful businesses that were started during economic downturns in U.S. history:

  • FedEx Corporation began operations on April 17, 1973 as Federal Express, and today manages daily shipments worldwide.
  • GE (General Electric Company) was established in the mid-1870s by Thomas Edison.  In the middle of the Panic of 1873, Edison created one of the best-known inventions of all time, the incandescent light bulb.
  • HP (Hewlett-Packard) was inauspiciously born in a Palo Alto, CA, garage at the end of the Great Depression, and now operates in nearly every country in the world.
  • Hyatt Corporation opened its first hotel’s doors at the Los Angeles International Airport on September 27, 1957 during the recession of 1958.  The chain rose to worldwide fame in the following decades and now operates more than 365 hotels in 25 countries.
  • Microsoft Corporation wasn’t always the company it is today.  In 1975, when it was started by Bill Gates and Paul Allen, Microsoft was just a little company in Albuquerque, NM.  Currently, the company is estimated to earn more than $60 billion in revenue per year.
  • CNN might be a news giant now, but in recession-plagued 1980, it was a little-known station called The Cable News Network founded by Ted Turner.  It revolutionized how people received information when it premiered as the first 24-hour all-news channel.  Today, 1.5 billion people around the globe watch CNN.
  • MTV Networks brought something new and different to the music scene when it debuted in the economic slump of 1981 and is now a global brand with dozens of television shows.
  • Burger King Corporation is another recession startup.  The company began in 1954in Miami, FL.  During another recession in 1957, the company introduced its successful signature burger:  the Whopper.  The company currently operates more than 11,000 locations in over 60 countries.
  • The IHOP Corporation chain opened its doors July 1958 in Toluca, CA. The fast growing company, which began franchising just three years later, today has more than 1,300 locations across the U.S.

Recessions, however, are not only advantageous to startups.  Existing companies can make incredible gains in years when the economy is down.  Some of the most recent success stories include Google and PayPal.  From 2000 to 2001 each of these companies thrived, leading PayPal to go public in 2002 and Google in 2004.

If your dream is to start your own business, give us a call.  Not only do we provide financial solutions for our clients (including startups) we also offer business consulting services, ensuring that our clients have long-term success.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

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3 Essentials for Operating Your Business

TritonOver the years, I have had several discussions with clients and other business owners about the challenges of operating and sustaining a successful business. These discussions are a reminder that small business owners should return to the fundamentals of running a business and not allow poor decision making to affect their long-term success. For instance, many business owners decide to save money by cutting back on marketing, customer service and accounting. This decision can have long-term consequences and affect the future success of the business. Below are three essentials for operating almost any type of business:

1. Marketing: When money is tight, many business owners decrease their marketing budgets. However, this is when you should be increasing your marketing efforts so that you can attract more customers as well as promote your products and services in different and more creative ways. Your competitors are likely reducing the amount they are spending on marketing in order to save money, so now is the opportunity for you to entice their potential customers to your product or service. Be creative, be constant, be aggressive and be smart. Marketing is more important now than ever.

If you are attracting fewer customers than normal, expand your market to other industries or a larger geographical area. Perhaps you have been heavily marketing to prospects in only one or two industries, but try to find out if there are other industries that could also benefit from your product or service. You can easily expand to a larger market area by using internet marketing.

2. Customer Service: Don’t forget these customer service basics: always be polite, professional and helpful to potential customers, return calls to existing customers as soon as possible and do everything possible to ensure each customer contact ends on a positive note. Most importantly, make sure your product or service delivers on its promise; if for some reason the product or service cannot produce the expected results, let the customer know immediately and offer a satisfactory solution.

Being friendly and helpful to potential customers should be clearly understood by any business owner, but I am often amazed at how rude or disinterested some receptionists and salespeople are when I call a business or when shopping in a store. Believe me, almost nothing makes a potential customer more disinclined to purchase your product or service than poor customer service.

3. Accounting: Many small business owners overlook hiring an accounting professional and try to do everything themselves. Not only can this become overwhelming as your business grows, but you could also get into trouble with the IRS and your state and local taxing agencies. Tax laws, especially for small businesses, can be a quagmire difficult to sift through even for the most educated; don’t skimp on hiring a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), tax attorney or bookkeeper. Typically, CPAs and tax attorneys must remain current on all new tax laws in order to ensure license renewal, and bookkeepers know the basics of accounting and will keep your books in order. The CPA or bookkeeper can track your business transactions daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly to generate comprehensive financial reports. You can then use this information to focus on your most profitable products or services and eliminate anything that does not make a profit.

I know that reducing your marketing and accounting budgets may save money in the short-term, but in the long run you will be much worse off. Keeping the doors of your business open is vital and anything that accomplishes this should never be eliminated.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

Posted in Business, Business Management, Business News, Business Owners, Business Startups, Business Tips, Customer Service, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Small Business, Small Business News, Small Business Owners, Small Business Tips, Start-ups, Startups, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What Do You Know About Invoice Factoring?

Is Invoice Factoring for you?  If you own a small business that needs access to working capital and you:

  • Have been unable to obtain financing from a traditional bank;
  • Have little or no credit history;
  • Need financing more quickly than a traditional bank can provide;
  • Have exceeded the credit limit set by your bank;
  • Have customers who are paying beyond terms.

Then invoice factoring is a great opportunity for you. Traditional banks are no longer the only choice for business owners because invoice factoring offers flexible, customized lending options to qualifying small businesses.

The Basics - Usually, invoice factors purchase a company’s accounts receivables or assets at a discount, providing the business owner with the financing they need. The assets can be of any type, but more commonly these are assets not typically utilized in traditional loans.  This could be commercial accounts receivables, inventory, purchase orders, or any combination of these and other like assets.  Most often, funds are received in the form of a line of credit collateralized by these assets, with the total being equal to a percentage of the assets being collateralized.  The interest rates are generally higher because the lender is assuming a higher level of risk than a traditional bank, but interest is only paid on funds drawn.  For many businesses, the increase in interest rate is worth it for quick and flexible availability of funds.  Invoice factoring has become quite common and is one of the most popular options for business owners seeking funding alternatives from Triton Financial Solutions.

How It Helps – Invoice factoring can help a small business grow in many ways.  Unfortunately, a business can be hindered before ever getting started because it cannot afford growth opportunities when they occur.  For example, if a new business were to get a larger order than is typical, one of two things can happen.  It could fill the order, reap the profits, reinvest these profits into the business, and continue to take larger and larger orders.  The opposite of this scenario would be that they have to turn down the order due to the lack of funds needed to order the necessary inventory, materials, etc.  In this scenario, the vicious cycle continues and growth is continually stunted.  However, with invoice factoring, the business owner would have access to funds from the line of credit and be able to easily fulfill the order.

Another possibility is that a small business is presented with the opportunity to purchase an existing business and absorb it into itself, thus growing by taking in the other business’s customers.  Without the available cash flow, this may not be possible.  However, the ability to draw on an asset based or invoice factored line of credit could allow for the buyout and facilitate the growth of the business.

Other Uses – Of course, these funds can be used for many other reasons.  They are frequently used as an advance on receivables or sales (collateralized by commercial receivables and/or inventory) to handle day-to-day finances.  They can also bridge any cash flow gaps due to seasonal market changes or a period of high growth with less cash reserves on hand.  In today’s market, traditional loans are simply not an option for many small business owners for various reasons.  Invoice factoring offers a practical alternative to help support growth when needed.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

Posted in Alternative Lenders, Alternative Lending, Business, Business Financing, Business Lines of Credit, Business Loans, Business Tips, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Factoring, Finance, Invoice Factoring, Small Business, Start-ups, Startups, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2014 Finance Conference

2014 Finance ConferenceOn March 21st, I will be a guest speaker at the 2014 Finance Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina, to help entrepreneurs and startups better understand how to utilize business loans and lines of credit for their small businesses. The business loan application process can sometimes seem intimidating, which is why I want to make sure business owners have the tools necessary to navigate the many opportunities available.

The conference will connect participants with other speakers to ask questions about business finance opportunities and learn how your business can become a solid competitor in the small business space. This event is open to everyone, but registration is required due to limited space. Please contact my office at 770-249-2357 to reserve your spot.

I am committed to helping small business owners succeed. Whether you are just starting out or hoping to grow an already successful business, my office can guide you on how to obtain and best utilize various financial resources to reach your goals.

We can provide an introduction to the business lending process as well as a variety of other services including business consulting, franchising and exporting opportunities. We can help you understand the various programs available to businesses depending on size, industry type and location.

Supporting small business owners so they can thrive is our top priority. Starting a business from scratch is a huge challenge with great potential reward, but those who undertake that challenge can sometimes feel like they are doing so alone.

My office is here to help entrepreneurs looking to start or grow their businesses. These businesses are vital to the overall economy and to our communities, and we want to make sure you have the tools you need to succeed.

Please contact my office if you’d like to attend the Finance event on March 21st. If you cannot attend but would like more information about the various finance options available from Triton, give us a call at 770-249-2357.

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

 

Posted in Alternative Lenders, Alternative Lending, Business, Business Conferences, Business Events, Business Financing, Business Ideas, Business Lines of Credit, Business Loans, Business News, Business Startups, Business Tips, Conferences and Events, Customer Development, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Events, Finance, Small Business, Small Business News, Start-ups, Startups, Success | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Is There a Franchise in Your Future?

Have you thought about starting a business, but have no idea where to begin?  If so, perhaps you should consider buying a franchise.  There are several reasons why buying a franchise can be a better option for new entrepreneurs.  In many cases, franchising can be less of a risk than starting a brand new business.  Below are only a few of the advantages to becoming a franchisee instead of starting a business from scratch:

    • A franchise already has brand recognition and is a proven business model.  As a franchise owner, you will also have corporate support.
    • Franchises already have an existing customer base that will be very familiar with your product or service.
    • Franchises already have a built-in marketing plan to attract new customers, a plan in most cases already well-established by the franchisor.
    • There are numerous franchise opportunities available in a variety of industries, such as restaurant chains, tax services, learning centers and even fitness clubs.

The decision to become a franchise owner is just the first step. One of the most important decisions is to evaluate franchise opportunities and select one that best suits your needs as well as one that can provide a good income for you and your family. There are numerous online resources where you can find more information, such as the International Franchise Association.

Once you decide which franchise opportunity is best for you, contact Triton and we can provide you with funding options.  Get started today!

La Mancha Sims is the Founding Partner and CEO of Triton Financial Solutions, a business funding consulting firm located in Atlanta, Georgia. You can reach La Mancha at 770-249-2357.

Posted in Business, Business Ideas, Business Loans, Business Startups, Business Tips, Credit, Economics, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Franchises, Franchising, Small Business, Small Business News, Start-ups, Startups, Success, Women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments