NASE Blogs

Monday, November 01, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The following post is from our Senior Health Advisor, Mike Beene. Like many of us here, Mike wears many hats, as he is also the NASE's chief council. Here are his comments from a recent speaking engagement before some self-employed members in the mulch and soil field: On Health Care And The Self-Employed, By Mike Beene         The subject: Health care reform         The setting: The Mulch and Soil Council annual meeting         The engaged audience: The national membership of the Mulch and Soil Council Nothing is more energizing than speaking to a large, engaged audience. Better still, ...
Friday, October 29, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Even if you're not dressing up as the iPhone 4 for Halloween this year, I hope these technological articles from this week's news will be helpful! Freelance Folder asks if adding an FAQ page to your website will bring in more clients, while CNN points out three online punctuation lapses to avoid. Mashable shares a legitimately scary article about some malicious code that allows hackers to access information that your browser has stored in "cookies" (like web logins and passwords) if you're accessing the internet via a wireless network that isn't password protected. Check out ...
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - The NYT's "Your Money" column asks the interesting question, "should you invest in your child's business?" While not offering advice on assistance with your elementary schooler's lemonade stand, the article does have suggestions for parents whose children have approached them for a significant investment in a business venture. "Your Money" suggests that parents approach the request (and accompanying business plan) like an outside investor, and ask themselves if they are really investing in a viable new business or if they are just buying their children a job. Did you start your business with investment from ...
Monday, October 25, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Check out this great post from the NYT's Your The Boss blog about the importance of using unique and hard to guess passwords for all of your various online accounts. According to the experts, you should find a password creation "formula" that you can remember, and then apply it to all of your passwords. In addition, you should strongly encourage your employees to do the same. How a Pas5woRd Can Sink Your Company
Friday, October 22, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - This post is the last in a four-part series on the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, which was signed into law last month. The following is a summary of the increase in training and counseling provisions within the law. Many thanks to the Small Business Administration for providing this information. Major Investment in Counseling and Training - In coming months, the law will provide $50 million in grants available to Small Business Development Centers. Export Express Pilot Becomes Permanent - The law turns the Export Express pilot loan program into a permanent program with ...
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - This post is the third in a four-part series on the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, signed into law last month. The following is a summary of the tax cuts and other lending  provisions within the law. Thanks to the Small Business Administration for providing this information. Extension, Expansion of Tax Cuts — 8 Tax Cuts 1. The highest small business expensing limit ever, of $500,000 2. Carry-back provisions on net operating losses of up to 5 years 3. Accelerated/bonus depreciation 4. Zero capital gains taxes for those who invest in small businesses 5. ...
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - This post is the second in a four-part series on the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, signed into law last month. The following is a summary of the increased federal contracting  provisions within the law. [Hat tip: Small Business Administration] Equal Treatment across Federal Contracting Programs - The law reaffirms "parity" among federal small business contracting programs. Contracting officers will be free to choose among businesses owned by women and service-disabled veterans, as well as those participating in HUBZone and 8(a) programs, and soon the women’s contracting program when conducting contracts that are set-aside ...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - If you're looking for a new way to market your business (and reach new customers), group buying may be an option to consider. The success of websites like Groupon and Living Social has spurred the creation of similar collective buying websites, and prompted numerous small businesses to create their own "deals" with one (or more) of the websites.  For those that might be skeptical about group buying, Mashable has interviewed seven small businesses that have used group buying about their experience and any advice they have to offer about the process. If you've used a ...
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - This post is the first in a four-part series on the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, signed into law recently. The following is a summary of the lending provisions within the law. [Hat tip: Small Business Administration] SBA Enhanced Loan Provisions – $14 billion more in lending support - The law extends SBA loan provisions (with the 90% guarantee and reduced fees) through Dec. 31. The $505 million in subsidy for Jobs Act loans will support about $14 billion in overall small business lending.  In the first week of the Jobs Act, SBA provided ...
Monday, October 18, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - It's hard to find a person or organization who doesn't use Facebook, but the social media site has faced numerous inquiries about its privacy policies and about just how effective it is in protecting personal information. The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about how top apps on Facebook have created a new privacy snag. Here are some highlights from the article, in no particular order: "The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have ...
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Staying up-to-date with the latest technology news can be overwhelming. Here are some recent stories you may have missed. Amazon is offering a new self-publishing format called Kindle Singles for aspiring authors whose work hasn't yet reached the length of a typical book. If you would rather use technology to process payments using a mobile device instead of to become the next Hemingway, OPEN Forum has a handy guide to getting started.  After reading this article, I may have to reconsider taking advantage of the free Wi-Fi at places like Starbucks - apparently some of ...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Read any book on small business or take any entrepreneurial course and it's almost guaranteed that sooner or later you'll be hit with; "If you don't have a business plan you're on the road to disaster". Sounds a lot like your mother when you were a kid doesn't it? "What do you mean you didn't change your underwear? What if you're in an accident? What will the Doctors think?" Well I'm not your mother and I'm not going to put a guilt trip on you for not having a business plan! I'm also not going to tell you that you ...
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - WhiteHouse.gov is kicking off Tuesday Talks, a weekly live video chat, with Elizabeth Warren, who is leading efforts to get the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau -- one of the central features of Wall Street Reform as explained in an animated video -- off the ground. Join the discussion with Elizabeth Warren today, October 12th at 1:00 p.m. EDT. Ask your questions in advance on Facebook Watch the chat through WhiteHouse.gov/live Join the discussion live through the White House Facebook application  And tune in for Tuesday Talks all month: Tuesday, October 19th at 1:00 p.m EDT: ...
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Before Congress left for their home states, they were able to vote to fund the federal government for another few months with a Continuing Resolution (often referred to simply as the "CR"). A CR is a temporary extension of the federal budget, in this case until December 3rd, when no final agreement has been reached. Fiscal year 2011 began October 1st, but neither side of the aisle had been able to come to an agreement on bugetary cuts for that year, seen as a necessary first step in reducing the federal deficit. Extending the CR at current levels allows Congress ...
Thursday, September 30, 2010
On September 27, 2010, the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R.5297) was signed into law. The legislation provides an important tax break for the over 23 million self-employed Americans that represent 78 percent of all small businesses in the U.S. The self-employed have not received the same tax benefit related to health insurance expenses that all other businesses entities have enjoyed. Various business entities are able to fully deduct the cost of health coverage as a business expense, saving them a significant amount in payroll taxes. With the passage of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act, ...
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - “Of the small businesses that are forced to close due to a disaster, at least one in four never reopens.” Yikes! I've never been to Las Vegas, but those don't sound like good odds. However, Diana McClure of the Institute for Business & Home Safety does have suggestions for preparing your business for a potential disaster via OPEN Forum. [How to Plan for the Unexpected]  
Monday, September 27, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Sometimes it's hard to get your productivity engine started on a dreary and rainy day (not that I would know from personal experience). However Mashable has come to the rescue with a list of suggestions for getting more work done, no matter where you're working from. Similarly, Inc. suggests taking an Action Day to devote to finishing a project you keep putting off. Also, if you use Gmail for your work email, these tricks may save you some time and energy!  Share any other productivity tips or favorite motivators in the comments! [37 Productivity Tips ...
Friday, September 24, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - SBA Administrator Karen Mills will be answering questions from small-business owners during a Q&A on OPEN Forum on Wednesday, September 29th. If you have a question for Administrator Mills, submit it here before 5 p.m. ET on Monday September 27th. [Hat tip: Denise O'Berry]
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - According to a new SBA Office of Advocacy report, the cost of complying with federal regulations is disproportionately higher for small businesses than for larger firms. "Today's report shows that on a per employee basis it costs small firms $2,830 more than larger firms to comply with government regulations. That is a 36% difference and that is an unfair burden to place on American small business," stated Winslow Sargeant, Chief Counsel for Advocacy, in a press release. Read the full report here.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
On Monday, a group of NASE Members attended a town hall-style meeting with President Obama, hosted by the cable news network, CNBC. The president mentioned small business often throughout the hour, but spent the majority of his time addressing concerns on the economy, Bush tax cuts and recent business tax cuts. Read the town hall full transcript here. Read CNBC's analysis of the event here. NASE Member comments on the event and the message: Gwen Moulton of GM Authoring Services in Maryland - The President's message that the economy has stablized is good news, but we need the federal government ...
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Q. I thought that the Section 179 limit was just $134,000 for this year. But I’ve heard it was increased. What’s the limit for 2010? A. The cap on the Section 179 deduction was scheduled to be reduced from $250,000 to $134,000 for 2010. But, the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act keeps the maximum Section 179 deduction at $250,000, which is the same as 2009. This deduction is for qualifying depreciable business assets placed in service in tax years starting in 2010. The result is that micro-businesses can deduct significantly larger amounts of the cost of qualifying property ...
Monday, September 20, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Late last week, the Senate passed legislation to cut taxes and ease credit for small businesses. The measure will go next to the House for a final approval before President Obama will sign it. If you have questions about the legislation, register here to listen in to a conference call about the bill with experts from the NASE and the Small Business Majority. If you're planning on passing on your small business to your children, be sure to follow OPEN Forum's advice for a smooth transition. And, the New York Times shares creative ways for ...
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Q.        I have a corporation that I registered in Nevada using a Nevada company as my registered agent but my business is actually located in Colorado. I went to a seminar and was sold on the benefits of having a Nevada corporation versus just filing in my own state. Now, I am questioning why I have the Nevada Corporation because I have not seen any of the benefits that I was told I would get. Can I ... and should I ... un-register in Nevada and re-register in Colorado?   A.        The answer to your question “can I” is yes ... ...
Friday, September 17, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) applauds the Senate in their passage today of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010 (H.R. 5297). In an era where the self-employed and micro-businesses (fewer than 10 employees) have grown faster than any business type, yet receive the least recognition and support from the federal government, this bill is a key first step in providing tax and access to capital relief for America’s smallest businesses. A key victory and top legislative priority for the NASE for the past decade, is the inclusion of a one-year ...
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - As an NASE Member, you have access to discounts on incorporation services and DBA registration through BizFilings. If you have questions about whether or not to take on a new employee, our guest blogger, Julie Henningfield, offers some pointers to help you decide. Remember to consult with our small business experts at ShopTalk if you have any additional questions! Self-employment cultivates independence, pride and control. But when the workload gets to be too burdensome, you may start to think bringing someone else on board isn’t such a bad idea. One of the first things you need to ...
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Online shopping is steadily growing in popularity. Have you ever wondered what online shoppers are purchasing? Check out this neat infographic (via The Daily Dish) for an illustration of where those shopping dollars are going. If you want to get your business in on the online shopping action, the NASE can help with our Web Design and eCommerce benefit.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This piece also appeared in the Washington Post's magazine, Capital Business. Posted by Kristie Arslan - Last week, President Obama proposed to spur job growth in small businesses through an extension of a tax credit used when they spend money on research and innovation in the United States. While this is a step in the right direction, it will do little to help our constituents -- the self-employed. Government policy often favors the larger small business, regarding the self-employed merely as people working on their hobbies at home in their pajamas and bunny slippers. But in reality, the self-employed represent ...
Monday, September 13, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - There's no time like the present to think about taxes. While you may not be thinking about filing quite yet, there are always questions to be answered and information out there that can help you be better prepared and more tax-savvy. If you're concerned about an audit, smallbusinessnewz points out that the IRS has recently released an online audit guide for small businesses. And OPEN Forum has a comprehensive primer on what is and isn't deductible on your next business trip.  Still have questions? Don't forget to ask the experts at TaxTalk!
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Q. Can you explain the tax benefits of the HIRE Act?   A. The Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment (HIRE) Act that passed this year created two new tax benefits to encourage employers to hire and retain new workers.   Employers who hire unemployed workers after Feb. 3, 2010, and before Jan. 1, 2011, may qualify for a 6.2-percent payroll tax incentive. The incentive effectively exempts employers from their share of the Social Security tax on wages paid to these workers after March 18, 2010.   In addition, for each unemployed worker retained for at least a year, business owners may claim a ...
Monday, September 06, 2010
You work seventy hours a week. Spend thousands of dollars a year to market your business and attract customers. You demand employees give nothing less than pristine service and demand even more from yourself, often working past midnight to meet a promise made to a customer. The battle is half won. You met all your commitments and the customer is ecstatic about the great job you've done. So what's the final battle ... Getting paid ... in full and on time?   It doesn't matter what kind of business you have; graphic design, consulting, construction, plumbing, or a lawn service ...
Friday, September 03, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Here's hoping everyone has a great (and uneventful) Labor Day weekend! Before you fire up the grill, here is some news from the past week. The SBA scorecard notes that small businesses received $3 billion more in federal contracts in fiscal year 2009 than in fiscal year 2008, for a record $96.8 billion in contacts. OPEN Forum highlights some tax rules you should be aware of for 2011, and the NYT shares tips on finding a mentor and what you can do as a mentee to get the most out of the relationship. And just ...
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - The WSJ profiles three small-business owners who started their businesses on shoestring budgets of less than $150. If you have questions about starting a business on a shoestring budget, be sure to ask the experts at Shop Talk for advice, and check out an article on shoestring's cousin, bootstrapping, in the September/October issue of Self-Employed magazine. Did you start your business on a shoestring budget? Share your experience and any advice in the comments! [Start-Ups on a Shoestring]
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Q. I have an S corporation. I didn’t file my federal corporate taxes until June. Will I have to pay a penalty for late filing?   A. If you didn’t request and receive an automatic six-month extension for filing your corporate taxes, then yes, you’ll be subject to a late filing penalty.   The penalty is imposed on any S corporation or partnership that files a return past the due date, including extensions, or files a return with incomplete information.   For the tax year 2009, the penalty is $89 and is owed by every partner or shareholder for each ...
Monday, August 30, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Hate paying airline bag checking fees? If you're traveling between Sept. 1 and Dec. 30 and use a Visa card to book a weekend stay at any Holiday Inn or IHG-brand hotel, they will pay up to $50 of your checked baggage fees. The deal applies to weekend stays at: Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites hotels. To claim your reimbursement, you'll need your hotel bill (or third-party booking receipt) showing Visa payment method and travel dates, and your receipt (with travel ...
Monday, August 30, 2010
Posted by Maureen Petron -- Looking to create – or recreate – your business brand with a logo? This article from Mashable gives 4 things to consider when creating your own logo, or outsourcing the design. If you do look for a logo designer, the article suggests finding a recommendation from a colleague, or making sure to browse the designer’s work before engaging them for your project. An NASE Member benefit lets you go a step further than just browsing a designer’s portfolio. CrowdSPRING lets you work with dozens of designers, see hundreds of concepts – for your specific project ...
Friday, August 27, 2010
Posted by Rosemary Hambright – Hello, NASE Members and NASE Staff Blog readers!  But, alas, now is also the time to say goodbye.  This will be the last of my weekly Hot Links because it is the final week of my internship at the NASE.  It’s been really fun for me to scour the web for interesting articles and relevant small biz news, not to mention educational. Speaking of the internet, social media has been a popular topic this week (as per usual!).  Philadelphia might start taxing bloggers.  Entrepreneur.com gave advice for making merchandise sites Mobile-friendly.  Inc. explained how to ...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Q.        I have my real estate license and am being told that I have to use my own name as a sole proprietor and can not form a Corporation. Is this correct?   A.        Every state has different rules so you should ultimately check with your state real estate licensing board for the specifics of your state. However, real estate agents ... and other licensed professionals such as insurance agents ... commonly operate under a Corporation.   The confusion generally occurs because state laws require commissions for some licensed professionals to be ... paid in the name of the license holder. Because ...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Posted  by Molly Nelson - You're probably reading this on the screen of some digital device, but when you're finished you may want to (gasp!) leave all of the screens in your life alone for a few minutes. According to an article in the New York  Times, scientists are concerned that the constant checking of computers and smartphones is harmful to the brain. While downtime allows the brain to go over past experiences and solidify them into permanent long-term memories, constant stimulation of the brain prevents this learning process, according to scientists. The article describes a study that "found that ...
Monday, August 23, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Have you been feeling forgetful lately? Chief Home Officer shares a few tips to help deal with all of the competing demands on your attention. The main takeaway seems to be cultivating focus. Meaning, the reason you didn't remember that you had already turned off the stove was because you were thinking about that email you needed to send, instead of the action of turning the stove off. Share your suggestions for combating forgetfulness in the comments! UPDATED: Check out these ideas from OPEN Forum as well.   [Multi-tasking Madness: Don’t Play Games]
Friday, August 20, 2010
Are you seeing green—by going green?  It’s no secret that many efforts to make businesses eco-friendly are also eco-nomically friendly to the wallets of small-business owners and the self-employed.  But is that all there is to the buzz? Natural resources and other aspects of environmentally aware business practices such as sustainable development or natural disaster recovery provide fertile launching pads for adaptable entrepreneurs.  Small Biz Survival pointed out that natural resources could be the next wave of opportunity.  Making an even bigger splash is the New Orleans’ push for renewed economic development through public-private partnerships. Business Week urged the business ...
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - If you're near a City National Bank branch, you may want to head in for a chat about starting the SBA Loan process. According to smallbuzinessnewz, City National has announced that it will pay half of the standard loan guarantee fees up to $3,000 for SBA 504, 7(a) and SBAExpress loans to help encourage small business lending. Standard loan fees typically range from 2 percent to 3.75 percent of the guaranteed portion of the loan. Hopefully City National's offer will spur other banks to do the same! [Bank Offers To Pay SBA Loan Fees]
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Posted by Molly Nelson - Are your (supposedly) innocuous tweets and shared photos actually making you a target for hackers and thieves? If you haven't been careful with the settings related to your location data, then maybe. This New York Times article explains how geotags (small amounts of information embedded by GPS-enabled phones and digital cameras that provide the latitude and longitude of where a photo was taken) can potentially allow hackers with even the most basic programming skills to find out that you're on vacation and your brand new flat-screen television is unattended. Read the whole article for more ...
Friday, August 13, 2010
The Small Business Jobs Act (H.R. 5297) would create a $30 billion lending fund for small businesses, offer $12 billion in tax breaks and strengthen SBA outreach and lending programs. The NASE supports this legislation, as does the White House. Due to a short window of opportunity and partisan wrangling, the Small Business Jobs Act has been put on the back burner until the Senate returns next month. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set the stage for mid-September votes on Democratic and Republican proposals to repeal increased 1099 reporting that was passed under the health care law. Senator George ...
Friday, August 13, 2010