NASE Blogs

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Posted by Molly Nelson - I hope everyone is looking forward to some fun Thanksgiving plans with family and friends this week. In the meantime, here are a few small-business news stories before the turkey-and-pie food coma kicks in. How can small businesses best handle online reviews? Some tips from Angie (of Angie's List) herself via OPEN Forum. The IRS is extending tax deadlines for businesses and individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. Learn more here from Small Business Trends. Filing for a patent? Here's what you need to know about the new system (hint: we're moving from first-to-invent to first-to-file). ...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The NASE joins the self-employed think tank, the Kauffman Foundation, in celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week. According to Kauffman, it's the world's largest celebration of the innovators and job creators who launch startups that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare. During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. Now in its fifth year, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to 130 countries—empowering nearly 20 million people through 125,000 activities over ...
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The self-employed want Congress to take pains to protect the middle class from tax increases, according to a new study published by the NASE. When asked about preference in proposals to address expiring tax rates, 46% of micro-businesses chose a one-year extension of current tax rates for those making under $250,000. Thirty-four percent indicated that they would like to see the extension applied to all income brackets. Nearly 100 percent of business owners said it is very or moderately important for Congress to address these reforms. "The findings of our tax survey re-emphasize the growing impatience ...
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - With the election behind us, the NASE is evaluating and analyzing the impact of the 2012 election on the self-employed agenda.  To that end, we invite you to participate in our “Post-Election Webinar” on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 11 a.m. (EST).  The NASE Advocacy team will provide an analysis on the election results, along with laying out the issues that congress must address in the lame duck session, and finally, the NASE’s advocacy agenda for 2013. The webinar will be facilitated by NASE’s Director of Government Affairs, Katie Vlietstra and will include a welcome ...
Friday, November 09, 2012
As residents of the Northeast began to get power back last week, most are still faced with difficult times ahead.  Communities will begin to rebuild as homeowners and businesses attempt to recover and get back to where they once were.  However, the damage in the wake of the storm has left many with an inability to act without assistance.  The Small Business Administration is helping to alleviate some of the hardships caused by the hurricane as noted on their website. The SBA is encouraging small businesses and nonprofit organizations to go to their website and apply for Economic Injury Disaster ...
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
In light of the election results, The NASE's President and CEO Kristie L. Arslan had the following comments: “President Obama won re-election last night; capturing all but two of the states he carried in 2008 and without a determination in Florida. The critical issues facing the country and America’s self-employed remain, tax reform being the utmost importance to ensuring continued economic recovery.  The 2012 election will be analyzed for many months; however, the real work begins today.  The NASE will aggressively champion the self-employed and work to address the continued tax inequities and ensure a level, competitive business environment that ...
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
President Obama won re-election last night, Democrats held the U.S. Senate, and the Republicans remain in control in the U.S. House of Representatives. For a full run down of races in your state, check out RCP Live Results Page.
Friday, November 02, 2012
Posted by Gene Fairbrother (NASE Lead Small Business Advisor)-  While few of us will ever experience the ravages of a disaster like Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, every day entrepreneurs’ lives are devastated by tragedies that don’t get national attention. In the every-day business world disasters come in all shapes and sizes like a home based consultant who looses their home to a fire or an ice storm in Massachusetts that takes out power for a week. The difference is that losing a home to fire or falling off a ladder and being laid up for two months doesn’t bring the ...
Thursday, November 01, 2012
Posted by Gene Fairbrother (NASE Lead Small Business Advisor) - When people think about retirement planning the first challenge they face is trying to understand all the government-eeze written in the Internal Revenue publications. Like a foreign language, all those rules and regulations don't make it easy for middle income America to take advantage of building for their retirement years. In reality, what most people need to understand are a few basics and leave the rest to the financial pros from Dover. There are two primary issues to consider in retirement plans with the first being what type of plan is ...
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Colleges and universities have been welcoming students back this fall in full force. Thirty-seven percent of self-employed families have a child that is working toward a degree this fall. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) knows that financing one or more college educations can be tough for the small-business owner and conducted a poll to dig deeper into the impact. When parents were asked about how concerned they were about the debt taken on to cover education expenses, 71% were somewhat to very concerned. Forty-two percent of parents were somewhat optimistic about post-graduation career prospects; ...
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The NASE was recently featured in the news regarding Women's Small Business Month. Read more here.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
The 2012 Presidential debates are in the history books and the Washington Post's political writer, Chris Cillizza has great, quick read on how the debates may be viewed in perpetuity. Click here to find out more on our Election Watch page.
Friday, October 19, 2012
The fourth and fifth ACA educational webinars will be made available early next week, in the meantime you can review the slidedecks. ACA Educational Webinar #4  ACA Educational Webinar #5
Friday, October 19, 2012
Ellen Bruseau has been an NASE Member since 2008. She is also part of the NASE's 2012 Member Council. She owns Handy Human LLC in Manassas, Va. Tell us about your business. Handy Human LLC is a fully licensed and insured company offering exceptional service in painting, tile and flooring for residential properties. After leaving academe, I started doing things in my own home. Soon neighbors and friends began asking me to paint, tile, build things and lay flooring for them as well. The business grew out of those grass roots. Besides basic home improvements, I also reupholster and refinish ...
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The Washington Post has an article outlining the candidates positions on issues important to the self-employed community, including: taxes, health care, regulation, immigration, government contracting, SBA, and exporting. You can read the article here.
Friday, October 12, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - Last night's Vice-Presidential debate was predictable, both VP candidates taking a much more aggressive attack towards the other campaign, however, for VP Biden, this incredibly important to help swing momentum back towards the Obama-Biden ticket.  Pundits agree that both Biden and Paul did exactly what they needed to do, while most calling the debate an even draw.  What did you think? Washington Post Vice-Presidential Debate Analysis
Thursday, October 11, 2012
The first time customers buy goods or services from a business it’s usually because of reputation, product value, or marketing. But once you get them in the door the challenge is to keep them coming back! It doesn’t do any good to spend marketing dollars to create an image that says, “buy from me” if you’re going to lose the customer with a bad impression from poorly handled telephone calls, an unkempt appearance, or the lax attitude of an employee. One of the most important marketing tools a business has is the image generated in the minds of customers. Images ...
Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - I'm making a departure from my usual end of the week roundup and trying something new. This time, we'll focus on the news that happens at the beginning of the week. The Small-Business Issue the Candidates Are Not Talking About (You're The Boss, NY Times) Fewer Start-Ups? Depends Whom You Ask (Small Business Small Talk, WSJ) What An Online Sales Tax Could Mean For Small Business (On Small Business, Washington Post)
Thursday, October 04, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - As in many presidential elections, both sides are touting the importance of small business and offering plans to help them grow. The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) is used to hearing lip service from politicians who say they want to help, but rarely follow through with policies for the self-employed. This year, we decided to send a questionnaire to both President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s camps about what specific policies they would put in place to help the nation’s most plentiful and smallest companies. Click here to read the questionnaire for Pres. Obama and ...
Wednesday, October 03, 2012
In preparation for tonight's first debate, NASE President Kristie L. Arslan had the following to say: “Tonight will be an important night for both candidates to articulate their vision for the 22 million self-employed Americans, 78% of the total small business community.  Over and over, polling has emphasized that the economy is the #1 issue for voters and yet, both candidates continue to be vague in their answers as to how they will recalibrate our economy and government to ensure brighter days are ahead.  Tonight, we expect answers.  The self-employed need to hear from the candidates the specifics, how will ...
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Women business owners are on the rise with nearly half of all self-employed companies being led by females. According to the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), Boomers are taking the stage when it comes to business ownership, with the average age of owners at 50 years old.  “Women business owners are superb multi-taskers and know how to do more with less,” said NASE President Kristie L. Arslan. “We are proud to honor their yearlong contributions to the nation’s rebounding economy.”  This October, the NASE joins the Small Business Administration (SBA) to celebrate the role of women in small business. ...
Friday, September 28, 2012
For many micro businesses, one of the first successes is landing a big client that creates a steady cash flow. Then you get so busy that you don’t make time to diversify your customer base. If your business is dependent on one or two clients … they could be the most dangerous clients you have. NASE business consultants hear this scenario all too often; “I just lost my biggest client and don’t know if I can keep the business going unless I find someone to replace them.” To keep any business solvent you have to have a diverse customer base. ...
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
There is something special with entrepreneurs and their children. We hope those risk taking genes have been passed on and that someday our kids will take over the business and make it bigger and better. The problem is that all too often trying to get our heirs involved in "the business" is more of a nightmare than an American dream. That’s not to say that getting children involved in business is not a good idea. Quite the contrary, it’s a mistake not to get them involved. Beyond the tax benefits, there is a lot to be learned during those young ...
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - As Congress looks towards adjournment, having just completed an eight-day work period before heading out of town until after the November 6, 2012 election, elected officials have started giving the American people the “heads-up” that the Payroll Tax Holiday will indeed come to a close on December 31, 2012. Members of both parties and both Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee have expressed that the “holiday” was just that, a reprieve for the crunched economy for a specific period of time.  The end of the payroll tax holiday would impact 160 million ...
Friday, September 14, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - A lot happened this week, mostly in the financial arena (with the Fed announcing QE3) and in foreign policy, with the unfortunate events that took place at the embassy outpost in Libya. However there were a few other noteables that I've mentioned below. Please read and, if you like, share. Small-business groups are pressuring Congress to take up legislative tax policy, so that the climate for business owners will be less fiscally uncertain. The NASE started its own 13 Work Days campaign to encourage Congress to address self-employed issues before adjourning until the November election. ...
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Join the NASE's latest educational webinar series on the nuts and bolts of the Affordable Care Act and how it will affect your business when state health insurance exchanges go into effect. Find out more and register here. 
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Click here to visit the NASE's new site devoted to the presidential election. Find convention speeches and news of the day on our constantly updated page. Election Watch website
Friday, September 07, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Check out this week's top news stories: How Not to Pitch Your Business in Social Media (NY Times) Google doodle (Google.com celebrates Star Trek) Survey says: Workplace culture matters to employees (Inc.com)
Friday, August 31, 2012
In response to the Republican convention and official nomination of Gov. Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan, the NASE's Director of Government Affairs Katie Vlietstra had the following  comments: "Last night Governor Romney accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency. The NASE looks forward to hearing in specific detail from the Romney-Ryan campaign as to how, if elected, they will embrace policies that directly speak to the self-employed. It is of significant concern that the self-employed will equate itself with the empty chair so prominently displayed last night, invisible and largely ignored and continually marginalized by empty promises and backwards ...
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
About two months from now we will elect about 33 senators, a whole slate of house members, 435 of them, and even a President.  Some will be new and some will return for another chance to help their constituents.  So what should you do?  What can you do? First and foremost, VOTE!!!  Regardless of whether you lean to the left or lean to the right or even if you focus your political views right down the middle, make sure that you VOTE!!!  Your vote counts and the most important thing that you can do in this election year is to ...
Monday, August 27, 2012
A friend of mine made the break from the corporate world a number of years back and set up her graphics business in a spare bedroom. After struggling for over a year to get out of the red, she realized that her years in the corporate world had left an ingrained corporate office mind-set. The end result was that she rented office space and got her entrepreneurial attitude, and her business, going in the right direction. Some people can be their own worst bosses and the home office environment requires a special set of attitudes. Basing your business out of ...
Friday, August 24, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - If you nothing about me, you know I do love scouring the news for interesting and fun small business stories. Here are my top pics for this week: Inc.com always has great and quick how to articles. I check them on the regular for posting on the NASE's Facebook page, too. This week's article is on common marketing mistakes. The Washington Post has a dedicated Small Business section that you might like - always topical stuff. This article is on polls indicating the small business vote could be leaning toward Romney. The Wall Street Journal ...
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall, NASE National Tax Advisor - You have probably heard the general advice that it is always a good idea to have a professional help you with your tax and accounting issues.  The same goes for marketing and legal and information technology and whatever else you can name.  But I guess I am becoming less and less sure that this is the right philosophy. As a Certified Public Accountant myself, I hate to say that you don’t need to go out right this minute and engage one of my peers to help in your business, but I ...
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
At some point in many of our lives we come to the realization that we haven't socked away enough money for those financial milestones. Things like our kid's college education or a comfortable retirement. For some reason we think there's plenty of time: later when our business is generating high profits. The reality is that most of us are afraid to take our financial temperatures, afraid of what we might discover. So, unless you’re in a wealthy relative's will the time for some serious financial planning is NOW. It’s time to look at your lifestyle, how you want to live ...
Friday, August 10, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - From the depths of the internet, I bring you my favorite stories making the rounds today: 11 Reasons A 23-Year-Old Shouldn't Run Your Social Media (Inc.com) What You Can Learn About Branding From Project Runway (Entrepreneur.com) Visa And MasterCard Settle Lawsuit, But Merchants Aren’t Celebrating (NY Times) Microloans Meeting Credit Needs For Entrepreneurs (Boston.com)
Thursday, August 09, 2012
It’s a good news bad news story. The good news is that your business is growing and needs to hire your first employee. The bad news is ... you need to hire an employee. There is no question that employee will change your business life. You have to deal with increased costs, new legal issues, added taxes, finding the right person ... and the list goes on. So, how do you get your ducks in a row? Budgeting While employees need to be profit generators, hiring that first employee will take extra dollars. • The hiring process can cost from ...
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - The Senate and House formally adjourned for the August District Work Period on August 7th, the month long work period is long-held tradition, going back to the days of when travel to and from was not as convenient as it is today.   When Congress returns in September, they have a massive amount of work to address prior to the election recess, which is traditionally the entire month of October through the November election.  First up, both chambers will need to agree to a six-month funding of the federal government, pushing it past the election and ...
Friday, August 03, 2012
We know you work hard each day promoting your business and reaching out to new customers. Based on the conversations we’ve had with you, we understand that you’d like more training and support related to marketing.  We need your help to put together the best and most useful marketing tips, videos, webinars and articles for you.  Please click here to take our one-question survey and tell us what your greatest challenge is. Wondering how to get the most for your marketing dollar?  Curious about how to put together a marketing plan?  Looking for tips on finding the right marketing firm ...
Thursday, August 02, 2012
Posted by Gene Fairbrother - Contrary to what you hear or read, debt is not always bad! Especially for entrepreneurs, debt is almost unavoidable and making all debt one bad bogeyman is bad financial thinking. The secret is to control debt and use good debt as an investment tool. If all debt were bad few people would own their own home or live in a 750 square feet adobe. As for starting or expanding a business ... without debt, that would be nothing more than a great American dream. The real issue is whether your debt is controlled or uncontrolled. ...
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - On behalf of the 21 million self-employed Americans, the NASE is, once again, holding Congressional leaders accountable for the lack of true small business legislation in the 112th session. Earlier this week, the NASE submitted a letter to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Tax and Select Revenue formally requesting a hearing on H.R. 6102, America’s Small Business Tax Relief Act of 2012. In June 2012 the NASE released its national health care survey, in which 85% of respondents indicated that rising health coverage costs have been detrimental to themselves, their families, their businesses and ...
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Friday, July 27, 2012
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Take a peak at today's top stories in small business. I present to you, my favorite small biz stories of the day: These 3 Questions Will Help You Close (INC.com) Small Retailers Open Up Storefronts On Facebook Pages (New York Times) 3 Personality Types That Can Harm Your Business (Entrepreneur.com) Businesses Confront 'Swipe Fee' Conundrum (Wall Street Journal)
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Posted by Katie Vlietstra - Come August 1st, some members of the self-employed community will receive rebate checks from their health insurance companies if they failed to spend 80% of health care premiums on medical care. The 80/20 rule or Medical Loss Ratio rule was included in the Affordable Care Act as a mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability between the consumer and health insurance companies.  It is estimated that a family of four that purchases its own health insurance could receive a rebate up to $151. Based on data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, it is ...
Monday, July 23, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (NASE National Tax Advisor) - I think you are probably like me and are extremely proud to be an American.  To live in the most powerful and most free country in the world is truly a blessing.  But sometimes, we take that for granted.  For me, I seem to think more about this during a Presidential election year, during a year that we will elect our leader, all of our Congressional representatives and one third of our Senators.   But what is our role?  I won’t get elected, so what am I supposed to do?  First, ...
Friday, July 20, 2012
Posted by Ben Seidel - In the small business environment, companies are looking for ways to improve efficiency when it comes to computer usage. But before you spend money on a faster processor or a larger hard drive, I would challenge you to consider upgrading to a dual monitor setup. What is a dual monitor setup? Essentially a dual monitor setup uses two screens operating from a single computer. Think of it as an extension of your visual workspace. With the right components, computers can even support 3 or more monitors. From a technical standpoint, most dedicated video cards come with ...
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Posted by Keith Hall (National Tax Advisor) -  Investing in your own future is always a good idea, but it’s even better knowing that Uncle Sam will help by making qualified retirement plan contributions tax deductible.  Congress and the IRS will actually let you pay less tax simply for investing in your own future. Only in America! So which plan is right for you?  There are lots of options to choose from, including making a contribution to a traditional IRA, setting up a 401(k) plan for your business, and setting up a Simplified Employee Pension Plan.  Most of us can ...
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
President Barack Obama announced he will support a 1-year tax cut extension for earners making $250,000 or less, Kristie Arslan, President and CEO of the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) reacted today with weariness over one more temporary fix in the tax code: “The symbolic approach to leveling the tax playing field for millions of small businesses across the country is appreciated, yet this solution cannot be applied piecemeal to the tax code. Self-employed business owners contribute nearly a trillion dollars to our economy and they need a more permanent solution. Temporary tax provisions do nothing but make for ...
Thursday, July 05, 2012
Posted by Mike Beene - Almost lost in the frenzy is the surprising (to most) second part of the Supreme Court’s ruling on the health reform law that designates unconstitutional the portion of the ACA requiring states to accept new Medicaid obligations or else lose all funding. Thus, a state can say no to accepting new Medicaid participants (a projected 2 million people in California, 1.8 million in Texas, 950,000 in Florida…) and not lose the Federal funding they receive for their current Medicaid program. Briefly, Medicaid is a state-federal partnership which was enacted in 1965 and had obtained full ...