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Posts Tagged ‘Deborah Sweeney’

How to Make Your Home-Based Business a Partnership

How to Make Your Home-Based Business a PartnershipBy Deborah Sweeney

The vast majority of home-based businesses are sole-proprietorships – according to the SBA a mere 4% of firms based out of a private residence operate as partnerships. And while going it alone may fit the standard idea of a home-based business, running yours with a partner can be a real boon for your burgeoning company. Not only is the total number of partnerships on the rise, but according to the IRS, the average revenue of partnerships grew at triple the speed of sole-proprietorship between 1980 and 2007.

So why the low number of home-based partnerships?

Well, running a business from your home is a very personal undertaking, and it’s uncomfortable inviting someone into your house to help run a company. But if you think someone would make a great business partner, and you can move past that discomfort, a partnership may be a great option for your home-based business as long as you properly set it up.

Decide Exactly Where You’re Going to Work 

One of the trickiest parts to running a home-based business is corralling off an area specifically for your company. It’s very easy to let your home and professional lives bleed into each other when a door or hallway is the only barrier separating the two. Running a partnership from home makes this arrangement even more complicated, so it’s important to set boundaries early on. (more…)

Posted in Work at Home

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How Businesses Should Approach the End of The Year

How Businesses Should Approach the End of The Year By Deborah Sweeney

According to the Kauffman Foundation, after falling for five years, the amount of new entrepreneurs as a percentage of the population finally picked back up. That means, for many, we aren’t just approaching the end of the year – we’re also approaching the end of their first year of business. And as exciting as that is, a lot of new entrepreneurs aren’t quite sure what they should be doing to prepare for the new year. Sure, most know they have to get their books in order for tax season, but many are still asking “what else?” Honestly, the answer varies from business to business, but there are a few, generic end-of-the-year tasks that can help nearly any new company heading into 2016.

Review Your Company’s Staffing Needs

The vast majority of small businesses do not have any employees – 79% of all small firms are non-employers, according to the Small Business Administration. So you shouldn’t feel like you need to hire someone in 2016. (more…)

Posted in Business

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Can a One-Woman Operation Still Provide Over-the-Top Service?

Can a One-Woman Operation Still Provide Over-the-Top Service?By Deborah Sweeney

Over-the-top service is about providing every, single customer with the best possible experience. And while that sounds simple, it’s a concept with which plenty of small business owners struggle. It’s a tall order, especially when you’re a one-woman operation, since you may think the infrastructure just isn’t there to provide the same level of service as bigger competitors. But, believe it or not, your lack of infrastructure is more of a strength than a weakness. Over-the-top service isn’t about smiling before you answer the phone, or placating irate customers with coupons and freebies. Instead, it’s about approaching each and every one of your customers with an honest intent to ensure their experience is absolutely amazing.

Over-the-Top Service Isn’t About Making Dissatisfied Customers Happy

Too many people think OTT service is just about giving stuff away. A customer gets upset, so you solve it either by discounting their next order, or making it free. When you’re just starting out, though, every dollar is precious and you really can’t afford to just give everything away (more…)

Posted in Marketing & PR

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Handling Your Finances as a 1099 Contractor

Handling Your Finances as a 1099 ContractorBy Deborah Sweeney

Working from home is a dream of many, and running your own business is a great way to do just that. Chances are that, unless you’re selling a product, you’re doing a lot of freelance work. And when you freelance, businesses treat you as an independent contractor, or a 1099 contractor, which alludes to the 1099-MISC form businesses send to contractors they paid.

Being a 1099 contractor is a great way to make money while working from home, but you have to understand what your responsibilities are when you do 1099-eligible work. The Department of Labor is cracking down on businesses who misuse independent contractors, so the burden is on you to prove you do qualify as an independent contractor. That means handling your finances in a particular way.

1. Bill as Your Company

There is a slightly complicated test courts apply when judging worker classification, but the short of it is an independent contractor is a business, and the hiring company is a client. It is a business-to-business relationship, rather than an employer-to-employee one. So, to protect yourself and your clients, bill as your company.

This means you’ll need a DBA (doing-business-as) name and, for some banks, an EIN (Employer Identification Number). But after you get those in order, you can open a business bank account and accept checks payable to the company. (more…)

Posted in Money

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Five Ways to Treat Your Blog Like the Small Business It Is

Five Ways to Treat Your Blog Like the Small Business It IsBy Deborah Sweeney

Blogging is a rapid growth industry, and plenty of people have found successful careers as bloggers. Still, few bloggers tend to describe their site as a small business. Only around 14% of bloggers claim a salary earned through blogging, so the vast majority of bloggers are hobbyists. Unfortunately, the makeup of the majority has meant that even those who monetize their blogs treat them as hobbies, rather than small businesses. But if you blog with a mind for earning an income, you are building a small business. It is important, then, to treat your fledgling blog like any other start-up.

1. Write a Business Plan

A blog, like a small business, is normally founded to fill a gap or niche. When a business owner writes out their plan, then, much of it has to do with meeting the demands and needs of that small group of consumers. You have to do the same thing – you may not be selling anything yet, but your audience is still your customer-base. Think beyond growing traffic. Traffic is going to be low for a bit and, with banner ads and Google AdSense boasting a dismal .1% CTR average, you won’t survive with ads as your sole plan. Instead, answer a few key questions:

(more…)

Posted in Blogging

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