web analytics

Archive | Business

Five tips to save money and time 

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monkey Business - Fotolia.com

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Monkey Business – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) There are two things most small business owners have in common: limited time and limited finances. If you’re an entrepreneur, finding ways to make the most of both is crucial for your sanity and success.

The key to becoming more efficient with these two key resources is organization, says “SmallBizLady” Melinda Emerson, small business expert and author of the bestselling book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months.” She has teamed up with Sam’s Club to help small business owners save time, money and energy as they tackle their day-to-day tasks. Here are some of her top tips:

• Stop creating never-ending to do lists. Focus on completing only five things before 11 a.m. each day. By selecting your top priorities at the end of each day, you will become much more selective and effective with your time.

• Focus on a niche target customer. You have limited time and resources for your marketing efforts. It is best if you pick a niche target customer you can actually reach; don’t just chase any customer that you think has money. Remember, if everyone can use your product or service, no one will.

• Look for one-stop shopping for supplies and services. For example, a Sam’s Club Business Membership not only saves you money on business and restaurant supplies, it also provides members-only savings on a suite of business services that can save you time. Services include solutions for human resources, payroll, payment processing, and legal needs. Sam’s Club has joined forces with such trusted brands as First Data, LegalZoom and Execupay to provide members-only savings. You can find more information at www.SamsClub.com/services.

• Use a timer when you are on social media. Facebook and many other social media sites can be a huge time suck if you are not strategic. Focus your efforts on just one social site to build your online brand.

• Organize your files.  You can waste a lot of time looking for things on your laptop if you’re disorganized. Don’t store everything on your computer desktop. Create files by category and year, such as “2015 Contracts,” to find things quickly. You should also use a cloud storage backup system. This way, you can work from anywhere and your files will be safe if something happens to your computer.

Running a small business is a full time job and then some. If you are your own boss, take easy steps to maximize your resources and make certain tasks less time consuming.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments Off on Five tips to save money and time 


Mac’s Rustic Sports Shop

Rustic Sports Shop, 519 Ensley Street, in Howard City, has been in business over 50 years, and changed ownership May 1, 2014. The business is now owned by Nick and Bob MacTavish. This all around outdoor/hunting and fishing sports shop carries fishing and hunting equipment, including muck boots, bows, arrows, guns and much more. They also offer archery classes at certain times of the year, and even have an archery range upstairs for practice.

“We have a very friendly and interactive environment with our customers,” said the MacTavishes. “Customers tell us all the time, ‘You are always so helpful and informational—that’s why we keep coming back.’”

They said they intend to continue to grow the business and become the best sports shop around.

Hours are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more info, call (231) 937-4372.


Mecosta County Collision

Ted Schneider is well-known in the area as the owner of Tri County Body, since 2001. He recently opened a second business, in Morley, called Mecosta County Collision. The business, located at 505 N. Cass Street, offers full service auto collision repair for all makes and models, auto glass replacement, detailing, motorcycle repairs, towing, and free loaner autos. They also do a tintable stone guard for vehicles.

“We strive to make the customer happy at all times,” said Ted. “And we will come to your location for onsite estimates. Customers say all the time ‘you always bend over backwards for us that’s why we keep coming back!’”

Mecosta County Collision is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Call (231) 307-3101 for more information.

Posted in BusinessComments Off on BUSINESS BITS

IRS Can Help if W-2s Are Missing


In most cases you get your W-2 forms by the end of January. Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, shows your income and the taxes withheld from your pay for the year. You need your W-2 form to file an accurate tax return. If you haven’t received your form by mid-February, here’s what you should do:

Contact your employer.  Ask your employer (or former employer) for a copy. Be sure that they have your correct address.

After Feb. 23.  If you can’t get a copy from your employer, call the IRS at 800-829-1040 after Feb. 23. The IRS will send a letter to your employer on your behalf. You’ll need the following when you call:

Your name, address, Social Security number and phone number;

Your employer’s name, address and phone number;

The dates you worked for the employer; and

An estimate of your wages and federal income tax withheld in 2014. You can use your final pay stub for these amounts.

File on time.  Your tax return is normally due on or before April 15, 2015. Use, Form 4852, Substitute for Form W-2, Wage and Tax Statement, if you don’t get your W-2 in time to file. Estimate your wages and taxes withheld as best as you can. The IRS may need more time to process your return while it verifies your information. If you can’t finish your tax return by the due date, you can ask for more time to file. Get an extra six months by filing Form 4868, Application for Automatic Extension of Time to File U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You can also e-file a request for more time. You can do this for free with IRS Free File.

Correct if necessary.  You may need to correct your tax return if you get your missing W-2 after you file. If the tax information on the W-2 is different from what you originally reported, you may need to file an amended tax return. Use Form 1040X, Amended U.S. Individual Income Tax Return to make the change.

Note: Important New Health Insurance Form. If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace, you should have received a Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. You will need the new form to help you complete an accurate federal tax return. You will use the information from the Form 1095-A to calculate the amount of your premium tax credit. The form is also used to reconcile advance payments of the premium tax credit made on your behalf with the amount of premium tax credit that you are eligible to claim.

If you did not receive your Form 1095-A, you should contact the Marketplace from which you received coverage to get a copy. You are not required to send in proof of health care coverage, including Form 1095-A, to the IRS when filing your tax return. However, it’s a good idea to keep these records on hand to verify coverage. Additional information about Form 1095-A is available on IRS.gov/aca and on HealthCare.gov/taxes.

You can visit IRS.gov/forms to view, download or print the tax forms you need right away. To get IRS forms by mail go to IRS.gov/orderforms and place an order.

Posted in Tax TimeComments Off on IRS Can Help if W-2s Are Missing

Six tips on who should file a 2014 tax return


Most people file their tax return because they have to, but even if you don’t, there are times when you should. You may be eligible for a tax refund and not know it. This year, there are a few new rules for some who must file. Here are six tax tips to help you find out if you should file a tax return:

1. General Filing Rules.  Whether you need to file a tax return depends on a few factors. In most cases, the amount of your income, your filing status and your age determine if you must file a tax return. For example, if you’re single and 28 years old you must file if your income was at least $10,150. Other rules may apply if you’re self-employed or if you’re a dependent of another person. There are also other cases when you must file. Go to IRS.gov/filing to find out if you need to file.

2. New for 2014: Premium Tax Credit.  If you bought health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2014, you may be eligible for the new Premium Tax Credit. You will need to file a return to claim the credit. If you purchased coverage from the Marketplace in 2014 and chose to have advance payments of the premium tax credit sent directly to your insurer during the year you must file a federal tax return. You will reconcile any advance payments with the allowable Premium Tax Credit. You should receive Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement, by early February. The new form will have information that will help you file your tax return.

3. Tax Withheld or Paid.  Did your employer withhold federal income tax from your pay? Did you make estimated tax payments? Did you overpay last year and have it applied to this year’s tax? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you could be due a refund. But you have to file a tax return to get it.

4. Earned Income Tax Credit.  Did you work and earn less than $52,427 last year? You could receive EITC as a tax refund if you qualify with or without a qualifying child. You may be eligible for up to $6,143. Use the 2014 EITC Assistant tool on IRS.gov to find out if you qualify. If you do, file a tax return to claim it.

5. Additional Child Tax Credit.  Do you have at least one child that qualifies for the Child Tax Credit? If you don’t get the full credit amount, you may qualify for the Additional Child Tax Credit.

6. American Opportunity Credit.  The AOTC is available for four years of post secondary education and can be up to $2,500 per eligible student.  You or your dependent must have been a student enrolled at least half time for at least one academic period. Even if you don’t owe any taxes, you still may qualify. However, you must complete Form 8863, Education Credits, and file a return to claim the credit. Use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you can claim the credit. Learn more by visiting the IRS’ Education Credits Web page.

The instructions for Forms 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ list income tax filing requirements. You can also use the Interactive Tax Assistant tool on IRS.gov to see if you need to file. The tool is available 24/7 to answer many tax questions.

Posted in Tax TimeComments (1)

Make 2015 your year to improve financial fitness


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Family Features


Lose weight, quit smoking, find a new job and get out of debt…does this sound familiar? Millions of Americans will resolve to change their lives in the New Year, but few will stick with their goals.

In fact, a recent survey by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) finds six in 10 people will strive to improve their financial well-being in 2015. Changing your financial habits is a resolution you cannot afford to overlook. It’s time to flex your financial muscle.

The experts at the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education offer these seven tips to help make your financial resolutions stick:

Do it now. Many will wait until they feel the time is right to begin new behaviors. If you wait until after the big party to start watching your diet, or until after that big purchase to start saving money, the ideal time will never present itself.

Write down your financial resolutions. The NEFE survey finds setting a budget, making a plan to get out of debt, and boosting retirement savings are the top priorities for Americans in the coming year. Clearly articulate why you think your resolution is a good idea, steps you can take to reach your goal, and what you hope to gain. Post your list where you will see it each day.

Identify your money morals. Understanding your values and attitudes about money will bring clarity to the decision-making process. NEFE offers various online tools, such as the LifeValues Quiz, which will help you identify your values and make resolutions based on those values. You can find the LifeValues Quiz at www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

Recruit a “financial buddy.” Share your resolutions with a trusted family member or friend who can provide support in helping you meet your financial goals. Find someone who will hold you accountable and will set a good example for you to follow.

Vary goal intensity. Give yourself a short-term objective such as paying more than the minimum on one credit card this month. A long-term goal could be setting up – and adding to – the emergency savings account you know you should have but didn’t get around to starting last year.

Monitor your progress regularly. If you are trying to reduce debt, make sure you check your balances often. Set aside a couple of hours each week to address your finances. Over time this will become second nature and part of your normal routine.

Address conflict logically. If you find yourself breaking a financial goal by reverting to old spending habits, identify what value might be causing you to stray and take the time to ask yourself if the decision is appropriate given your current financial situation.

For help with setting goals and getting your finances in order in 2015, visit www.SmartAboutMoney.org.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments Off on Make 2015 your year to improve financial fitness

New salon opening soon! 

HairExpressions-logoIf you are looking for the latest hairstyle and want to try out a new salon, Hair Expressions, soon to open at 11555 Edgerton Rd., Rockford, may be just what you are looking for. Owners Alyssa Kimble and Rachel Denton say they will offer hair coloring, facial waxing, and haircuts for men, women and children. “We take the time to make our client’s experience all about them,” they said.

The owners say they are consistently up to date with the latest fashions, will offer flexible hours to work with a client’s schedule, and offer affordable prices for your family’s hair care needs.

Hair Expressions will have a grand opening in early February. For more info, give them a call at (616) 401-1707.

Posted in BusinessComments Off on New salon opening soon! 

Curves partners with Jenny Craig


Curves (www.curves.com) and Jenny Craig (www.jennycraig.com) are now under one roof and have teamed up to help people in the Cedar Springs community reach their health and weight loss goals in 2015 and beyond. The business is located in the same building, at the northwest corner of Main and Elm Streets. A dedicated Jenny Craig consultant is there to help guide members step-by-step with personalized menu planning, strategies for various eating situations, support and more, along with a Curves coach, who is there to lead a 30-minute full-body workout with strength training, cardio and stretching for every fitness level. The Curves/Jenny Craig of Cedar Springs is among the first in the nation to offer the combined weight loss and health solution from both brands.

“I am excited to be chosen as one of the first Curves/Jenny Craig centers and am thrilled to bring this new innovation in weight loss to the Cedar Springs, Mi community,” said Christine Holman at Curves/Jenny Craig of Cedar Springs. “Those looking to kick off the new year with a renewed focus on health and weight loss now have a simple and effective solution in one location.  It is simple to get started–just walk right in.”

The center will host an Open House from January 12-22. During this time, prospective members can enter to win a free Curves and Jenny Craig membership* plus learn about a special offer.

Open House activities will include:
• A free tour of the Curves / Jenny Craig center
• Receive a FREE health assessment
• Try out the renowned Curves circuit, including Curves Workouts with Jillian Michaels
• Free Jenny Craig popcorn
• Meet with a Jenny Craig consultant to learn about the many ways to customize your weight loss expe-rience
• A special offer, raffles and giveaways

For more information visit www.curves.com and www.jennycraig.com.

*No fee to enter and no enrollment required. Prize is one (1) All Access Curves plus Jenny Craig membership for 12 months, including enrollment fee and monthly membership fees. Plus the cost of food. Plus the cost of shipping. Time and date of drawing subject to location. Must be redeemed within two weeks of notification of winning. Drawing to be held no later than January 31, 2015.


Posted in BusinessComments Off on Curves partners with Jenny Craig

Alpha Omega Coffee and Games closes


Kelly and Jarvis Roach, owners of Alpha Omega Coffee and Games, at 32 S. Main Street, have decided to close their storefront, and sell games exclusively online as of January 31. They stopped serving drinks last week, and are selling off many things inside the shop.

The coffee shop, opened in September of 2010, and offered specialty coffees and drinks, board games and gaming tournaments, in a family-friendly atmosphere.

“We decided that we would rather end this chapter of our life on a good note, rather than a bad one,” said Kelly. “By having the shop open, we’ve had the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people, and we’ve made some lifelong friendships. We will sincerely miss having the shop open, but we look forward to continuing to be a part of the Cedar Springs community.”

Kelly has taken a job at the Cedar Springs Public Library, and hopes to make many of the events she hosted at the coffee shop a part of the things offered at the library.

Customers can still buy games from their shop at Amazon.com.


Posted in BusinessComments Off on Alpha Omega Coffee and Games closes

Cedar Springs Brewing update


The Post spoke with David Ringler, of Cedar Springs Brewing Company, to get an update on when they might start the building process on the southwest corner of Main and Maple.

“We have finally moved past a few of our regulatory setbacks as our approvals have all come in since the first of the year,” explained Ringler. “We’re happy to report that the major hurdles appear to be cleared, barring anything else unforeseen. We are in the process of ordering our building supplies and will begin actual construction as soon as we can obtain materials—primarily steel—to remain efficient on our construction timing.”

He said that they would most likely begin some time in March.

“Thank you to the entire community for your support,” added Ringler. “We’re looking forward to building something wonderful together!”

Get updates through their website www.csbrew.com or follow them on Facebook.


Posted in BusinessComments Off on Cedar Springs Brewing update

Arroway Self-Storage under new ownership


It was announced recently that local Rockford resident and businessman Roman Puchala has acquire Arroway Self Storage, located at 4121 14 Mile Road, from Ty and Donna Reminga. “What started as one building in 1987 grew to 11 buildings, with over 43,000 square feet of storage space,” said Ty. He added that when selling it, an important consideration was that they wanted to see the business continue as a family-run type of operation. “Mr. Puchala, we felt, will help fulfill that goal, utilizing his past years of business experience.”

Ty stated that he and his wife, Donna, who ran the day-to-day operations, want to thank all of the many loyal customers and friends for 28 years of support and great memories. “In looking ahead, we plan to focus on our other business interests,” he said.

Posted in BusinessComments Off on Arroway Self-Storage under new ownership