Posted on 15 March 2012.
A lack of preparation could easily spell disaster for a business.
(NAPSI)—Despite the many risks small businesses face, many remain unprepared to handle the unexpected. One way they can minimize their risks is to create a Business Continuity Plan.
Only 6 percent of small-business owners say they’re not at all confident about being adequately protected against a disaster, according to a survey conducted by Travelers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce America’s Small Business Summit. That same survey found that 44 percent of small businesses are operating without any type of business continuity plan, a plan designed to keep the business operating after an unexpected event.
That false sense of security and lack of preparation could easily spell disaster for a business. One- quarter of small businesses hit by a major disruption never reopen their doors, according to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety. Other data suggests that even if businesses did reopen, most wouldn’t fully recover.
A strategic business continuity plan, combined with securing the right insurance coverage, is critical in making sure a business can continue to thrive after a disaster. Policies to consider include a standard multiperil or business owner’s policy and business interruption coverage. Business owners should also talk to their agents about additional options like flood coverage.
Formulating a business continuity plan, depending on the complexity of the business, may only take a few hours and can help ensure a business lasts years after a disaster.
The plan should include everything from important phone numbers of service providers to locations of backup data. For help getting started, business owners can visit www.travelers.com for free tips on developing a plan. These plans can provide the necessary road map to assist in handling a crisis, but they work best when communicated effectively and frequently with employees. Once a business continuity plan is developed, owners should walk employees through different scenarios that can significantly affect a business and explain how to manage the consequences.
Small businesses play a vital role in helping the nation’s economic recovery. Properly protecting a small business through risk management is essential to its long-term survival.
Posted in Business, Featured
Posted on 08 March 2012.
If you are a small employer with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees that earn an average wage of less than $50,000 a year and you pay at least half of employee health insurance premiums…then there is a tax credit that may put money in your pocket.
The Small Business Health Care Tax Credit is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations. The credit can enable small businesses and small tax-exempt organizations to offer health insurance coverage for the first time. It also helps those already offering health insurance coverage to maintain the coverage they already have.
Here is what small employers need to know so they don’t miss out on the credit for tax year 2011:
Qualifying businesses calculate the small business health care credit on Form 8941, Credit for Small Employer Health Insurance Premiums, and claim it as part of the general business credit on Form 3800, General Business Credit, which they would include with their tax return.
Tax-exempt organizations can use Form 8941 to calculate the credit and then claim the credit on Form 990-T, Exempt Organization Business Income Tax Return, Line 44f.
Businesses that couldn’t use the credit in 2011 may be eligible to claim it in future years. Eligible small employers can claim the credit for 2010 through 2013 and for two additional years beginning in 2014.
For tax years 2010 to 2013, the maximum credit for eligible small business employers is 35 percent of premiums paid and for eligible tax-exempt employers the maximum credit is 25 percent of premiums paid. Beginning in 2014, the maximum credit will go up to 50 percent of qualifying premiums paid by eligible small business employers and 35 percent of qualifying premiums paid by eligible tax-exempt organizations.
Additional information about eligibility requirements and calculating the credit can be found on the Small Business Health Care Tax Credit for Small Employers page of IRS.gov.
Posted in Tax Time
Posted on 23 November 2011.
Everywhere you turn, you hear and see ads and commercials promoting Black Friday specials at the big chain and department stores. But what about the small mom and pop shops—the small businesses—whose survival depends on you shopping there?
Charlie Owens, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, the state’s leading small-business association, is encouraging holiday shoppers to invest in their communities by shopping at small businesses the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving.
“Black Friday is when a lot of people get up early and line up outside the giant department stores, but if you’re looking for something unique and want to support your community, then you need to shop at small businesses, too,” said Owens.
According to a 2011 report by Ernst & Young, more than 90 percent of all businesses in Michigan are registered as flow-through companies, usually sole proprietorships, partnerships and other small operations. They account for more than half of all jobs in the state.
“Small businesses drive our economy, and if we’re going to create jobs in this state, we need a healthy small-business community,” said Owens.
“Small and independent business owners are among the most generous supporters of civic groups, local charities, youth sports, school activities and virtually every other form of community activity,” Owens said. “Shopping locally is a way for people to help their friends and neighbors and create jobs and opportunities in our communities.”
Check out the ads and specials in this week’s paper to find small businesses in our area. And check out our website at home page for some Internet-only coupons!
Posted in News
Posted on 15 September 2011.
(NAPS)—If the thought of saving time, trouble and money on your company’s phone service rings the bell for you, technology may bring you good news.
You can act, sound and function more like a future Fortune 500 business using the equipment you have—better.
How To Do It
For one thing, you can wed your phone system to software that helps you care for customers and empower your sales team. It can also provide sophisticated auto attendant on-hold music or messaging, record a call on demand and send you your voice mails transcribed in an e-mail.
How It Works
That’s because cloud computing can eliminate hardware and its headaches. The cloud is simply computers connected though the Internet or an intranet with the ability to reach out and retrieve data processed elsewhere by supercomputers. It’s now possible to add business voice service to the cloud—especially when it’s fine-tuned for quality and ease of use. It’s even possible to create different greetings according to the time of day and the day of week.
It works through “VoIP,” which stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol.” In other words, your phone system works over the Internet rather than over traditional phone lines.
What You Get
Other features include:
• Reports for all incoming and outgoing calls in the system
• The ability to literally link dozens of phones in dozens of places
• A dashboard that shows real-time status of co-workers
• Integration with Outlook or other calendaring
• A dial-by-name directory
• Command and control functionality from your smartphone
• You pick your phones, then plug and play with confidence.
What Others Say
In a recent Microsoft survey, 50 percent of small businesses using the cloud say it improved their bottom line.
It’s all available, without a contract, from Vocalocity.
What Else To Do
Other technologies to consider, say the experts at the U.S. Small Business Administration, include:
• Accounting software. It lets you see profits and losses at a glance and can help you design and maintain a budget.
• A calendar system
• Time-tracking software. It can help you determine which tasks result in profit and which don’t.
• E-mail management. Streamlining all your e-mails to one account can help you stay organized.
Posted in Business