NASE Blogs

Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arslan - Tonight is a big night for the President. In case you haven’t heard, President Barack Obama will be addressing a special joint session of Congress on health care reform tonight at 8pm ET. The address will be broadcast on most major (ABC, CBS, NBC) as well as cable news (CNBC, CNN, FNC, MSNBC) networks, and will also be available online at barackobama.com. I encourage all to tune in. The million dollar question, or rather the $1 trillion dollar question in this case, is what exactly will President Obama be saying in his address this evening? ...
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron -- Last week I was catching up with my Google Reader*, and came across this post on BusinessWeek’s The New Entrepreneur blog. It’s the author’s top 20 recommended people to follow on Twitter if you’re an entrepreneur. It’s a great place to start if you’re new to Twitter, or want to use Twitter in your business. The list covers small-business writers (@smallbiztrends), government agencies (@BusinessDotGov), uber-entreprenuers (@richardbranson), and once-small businesses that have made it big, largely online (@zappos). (Unfortunately, @NASEtweets didn’t make the list, but I still hope you’re following us!) The recommendation I’ve been most ...
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
The LLC will actually have to elect how it will be taxed for federal income tax purposes. If you are the only owner of the LLC, it can choose either to be taxed as a sole proprietorship or as a corporation. If there are more than one owners then the option is to be taxed as a partnership or as a corporation. Most small-business owners organized as an LLC choose to be taxed as a sole proprietorship or as a partnership and not as a corporation in order to maintain pass through taxation. If you are the only owner and ...
Monday, September 07, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Determining the proper classification of workers can be a tricky proposition for many small-business owners.  Hiring workers as employees or as independent contractors can impact many aspects of operating your business - the amount of taxes you pay, the amount of taxes you withhold from workers' paychecks, what documents and information workers must provide to you, what tax documents you must give them - and a wrong classification could mean major headaches at tax time.  Don't forget to enjoy your last bit of summer, but be sure to check out these tips on classification from the ...
Friday, September 04, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Here are the week's top news stories relating to the health care reform effort: Commentary: Open Your Minds, America (CNN) Democrats Target High Earners To Help Fund Health Plan (Wall Street Journal via Fox News) Sources: Obama, GOP's Snowe Work On Health Care Compromise (CNN Politics) Are High Deductibles And Health Savings Accounts The Answer? (NY Times "You're the Boss" blog) The Crazy Math Of Health-Care Reform (CNN Money) Tangible And Unseen Health-Care Costs (Wall Street Journal) Obama Aides Aim To Simplify And Scale Back Health Bills (NY Times) The Big Riddle: How To Lower ...
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Customer service is an important consideration for any small business.  Scott Reynolds over at the Good Plum blog wrote a great post reminding small business owners why customer service is so important to them in particular, advising: "Make sure you treat every customer the same and provide the kind of customer care you’d want to have if it was you on the other end of the line making the call. Sometimes, you might lose a customer based on his or her dissatisfaction, but don’t let it cause you to tarnish your reputation by being rude ...
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron -- I’m fiercely proud of the NASE Member magazine, Self-Employed. So I’m thrilled to bring you September’s issue, one of my favorites for this year. In the cover story, Words of Wisdom, NASE Members give advice on how they have weathered the current economic storm. We debate the social media outlet Twitter, and whether it can be good for your business. There’s advice for you if your family members ask you for a job, or if the big anchor store in your shopping center closes. And if you haven’t already read about the 2009 NASE Future ...
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - While perhaps somewhat anecdotal, this Wall Street Journal article points to an interesting trend of small businesses banding together to help each other survive the economic downturn.  While some partnerships seem to be between diverse businesses, the article also cites former competitors finding success after working together,       "For other business owners, collaborating is more a matter of playing to their strengths. After witnessing a 50% drop in January sales this year, Erin Smith, the founder of the Stitch Smith, a custom embroidery and screen print apparel company in Greenwood, Ind., teamed-up with Susan McCarty, ...
Monday, August 31, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - I know "Shark Week" is over, but this article on cybercrime from Inc. Technology is just as scary.  According to the article, sophisticated gangs of cyber criminals aren't just targeting big businesses, they are out to get your small business, too.  Money quote: 'Organized cybercriminals are after two things that every company, large and small, has. The first is computers, which, if vulnerable, can be used as part of a botnet, sending out spam or performing other tasks without their users’ knowledge. The second is personally identifiable information, such as credit card or Social Security ...
Friday, August 28, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Here are the week's top news stories relating to the health care reform effort: Kennedy Death Adds Volatile Element to Health Fight (New York Times) Kennedy Did His Life's Work Until the End (Washington Post) Can Anyone In the Senate Match Ted Kennedy's Clout? (CNN) High Health Care Costs Hurting Small Businesses (Baltimore Sun) Small Business Groups Worry About Reform (Kaiser Health News) Are High Deductibles and Health Savings Accounts the Answer? (You're The Boss - NY Times blog) Lieberman Suggests Putting Off Parts of Health Care Reform Until After Recession (Fox News) Obama, Democrats Urged to Find Unity on Health Care Reform (CNN)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Still looking for an SBA 7(a) or 504 loan?  If so, check out these 6 steps to speed up loan approval from the Wall Street Journal. If you need help completing some of these steps (or in general!), don't forget to ask the consultants at ShopTalk about your business plan or find a Small Business Development Center near you for many free resources.  
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron -- I was shopping at Macy's on Sunday and saw a mannequin wearing the perfect dress. I wanted The Dress. No, I needed The Dress. With the help of a saleswoman, we went in search of The Dress. As luck would have it, the mannequin was wearing the only one in the store in my size. I thought the solution was simple. “Ok, I’ll take the one on the mannequin.” No can do, the saleswoman said. First, she’d have to put in a request to the “Visuals Department” to come get the dress off the mannequin. ...
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Just because summer is almost over doesn't mean that you have to wait a whole year to implement an internship program at your business.  As this Wall Street Journal article notes,  "Large employers have slashed the number of internships by around a fifth this year as part of recession-related budgets cuts. At the same time, demand for internships is rising among students facing a tight job market where employers are increasingly putting a premium on work experience."From someone who had a few internships during college, I think the following paragraph makes some great points about ...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arslan- Are you fed up with the credit card companies? Are you sick of unexpected rate increases, late fees, and those Terms & Conditions pamphlets you get in the mail with the font so tiny and the language so confusing you need a lawyer with a magnifying glass to comprehend it?!  Well have no fear, President Obama is here!  Last Thursday, August 20th, the first consumer protection bill signed into law by President Obama went into effect and the White House is celebrating.  This law, the Credit Card Bill of Rights, protects consumers from a number of burdensome, unpleasant practices that the credit card ...
Monday, August 24, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - There is some good news from the Small Business Administration (SBA) this week for those interested in pursuing government contracting opportunities and/or in getting a microloan.  SBA Administrator Karen Mills and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a government-wide effort of more than 200 events over the next three months to spread information on government contracting opportunities.  "Small and minority-owned businesses must play a significant role in our efforts to restore economic growth. Small businesses employ half of the nation’s private sector workforce; create a large share of the Nation’s new jobs; and introduce many groundbreaking ...
Friday, August 21, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Here are some of the week's top news articles on health care reform. See one I missed? Submit it in the Comments section. You can also email me at media@NASE.org and I'll include relevant articles in the next post. Does Universal Health Care Encourage Small Businesses? (NY Times - You're The Boss blog) False rumors influencing health care debate and Test your health care debate knowledge (CNN)  Entrepreneurs: They're Not Who You Think They Are (Bizbox by Slate) The Self-Employed Push to Repeal the 'Health-Care Tax' (BusinessWeek) - featuring the NASE's Kristie Arslan
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Is your business prepared for a potential swine flu pandemic?  Although the coverage of swine flu seems to have somewhat tapered off in favor of other news, that doesn't mean that the outbreak could be any less dangerous when flu season picks up again this fall.  While certainly not the happiest thing to think about, ignoring the potential impact of a pandemic on you, your employees and your business isn't going to help, either.  This thorough BusinessWeek article offers some great ideas to help you create a continuity plan for your business to prepare for ...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arslan - I was asked to speak today on the Ms. CEO Show, a national talk radio show for women entrepreneurs, regarding health reform.  It got me thinking about whether women entrepreneurs and their male counterparts had differing perspectives on health reform.  Luckily, the NASE released a study in June of last year, Health Coverage: A Micro-Business Perspective, which offers some insight on the varying viewpoints of the sexes. Interestingly, the NASE found that women micro-business owners were less confident then male  entrepreneurs about where to go to find health coverage for themselves and their employees. Yet, more women-owned businesses felt it necessary to offer ...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Want to take advantage of the expanded business loss carryback provision from this year's economic stimulus legislation?  If so, it's time to get started on that paperwork!  Eligible calendar-year corporations have until September 15 to file a claim, and eligible individuals have until October 15 to choose the expanded carryback option. Eligible small businesses that had expenses exceeding their income for 2008 can choose to carry the resulting loss back for up to five years instead of the usual two.  This provision could mean a special and larger tax refund for eligible businesses because the ...
Sunday, August 16, 2009
As part of health reform, Congress and the Administration want to mandate that all Americans be required to purchase coverage.  There will be a tax or fine for those that go without.  Additionally, Congress has also included an employer mandate, requiring businesses above a certain size (above $750,000 in payroll or more than 50 employees) to provide group coverage to their workers and pay for at minimum 50% of the cost of that coverage. What are your thoughts on both the individual mandate and the employer mandate?  
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - I will freely admit that I'm a big fan of planning.  Various calendars, checklists, sticky notes, and the occasional Outlook reminder give me a handle on what I'm doing and where I'm going from day to day.  Planning, especially in the form of a business plan, is also important for your business, as this post on The Industry Word blog makes clear.  The author encourages business owners to, "Take business planning as a process that involves changing assumptions and regular review and corrections....It's a step in a process that helps to manage change and steer ...
Friday, August 14, 2009
The issue of complexity and inequity within the tax code has consistently been a top concern for our nation’s self-employed. Congress is poised this year to debate simplifying the tax code and proposals to increase tax compliance. Tell us your experience with complying with the tax code.
Friday, August 14, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Here's a sampling of this week's top health care reform articles in relation to small businesses: Obama to Push Health Care Reform in Town Hall Meetings (Washington Post) As Health-Care Debate Rages, Obama Takes to the Stump (New York Times) AARP Faces Backlash From Seniors Over Health Care Reform Stance (Fox News) Health Insurance Reform and Small Business (Duct Tape Marketing) White House Launches Web Site to Battle Health Care 'Rumors' (Fox News)
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson -Why is a small change to the tax code that would help make health insurance more affordable for 8 percent of the total U.S. labor force missing from current health reform legislation?  As this BusinessWeek article explains, the tax code does not allow self-employed workers to fully deduct the cost of their health insurance premiums Tax equality in health insurance premiums for the self-employed has long been a legislative priority for the NASE, and as Executive Director of the NASE's Legislative Offices Kristie Arslan notes in the Business Week article, "You correct this, think of the ...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron - Are you hitting the back to school sales for your kids? Picking out new shoes, clothing and school supplies? Doing the same for yourself? Continuing education for micro-business owners is important -- but often left by the wayside due to time or cost concerns. A great article on the Freelance Folder blog explains why you should think again about investing in yourself to grow your business. The article offers some great tips on traditional (colleges, seminars) and nontraditional (Webinars) places to get continuing education for yourself. Don't forget about Small Business Development Centers, located all across the ...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - According to a study recently released by the Kauffman Foundation, the more credit card debt a new business has, the less likely it is to survive its first three years of operation. The study found that more than half of all new firms rely on debt financing at the start of operations, and credit card debt is the method of choice for the majority of businesses.  Credit cards can be appealing to small businesses because they can help manage finances, are easier to procure than traditional bank loans or government grants, and credit card companies ...
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
If the income from the other states in indeed earned within that state then they will want their piece of the pie. You will need to file a non-resident income tax return in the other states and in effect pay their tax on the portion of your income earned within that state.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arslan -  The recent rancor at various district events has left Members of Congress asking for "a little respect, just a little bit, ooo, just a little bit."  Where's Aretha when we need her?!  I am all for a hearty debate and an impassioned constituency, but ladies and gentlemen, I think we all need to stop, take a deep breath and count to ten.  Call me crazy, but maybe our point of view would be taken a bit more seriously if we tried a different approach.  One that did not include screaming, hurling insults and violence. Yes, change is scary. Especially ...
Sunday, August 09, 2009
The rate of savings in America has decreased substantially since 1986.The current personal savings rate is approximately 4% of disposable income. Are you saving enough for your retirement? What suggestions do you have for changes to retirement plan options and savings incentives that would help you save more?
Friday, August 07, 2009
The NASE is working hard to alleviate the burden of onerous federal regulations on the self-employed and micro-business owners. Please tell your story about how federal and state regulations affect your business. What regulations affecting your business are the most burdensome? Has there been a significant monetary cost to your business due to regulatory compliance issues?
Friday, August 07, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - Here's a sampling of this week's top health care reform articles in relation to small businesses: Health Care: Small-Business Owners Are Watching (Virginian-Pilot) No Recess From Work on Health Care (Congressional Quarterly) Health Reform Follies: How To Keep Up (CNN Money) House Small Business Committee Chair Speaks Out On Health Care Bill (House Small Business Committee Web Site) What Now For Obamacare? (The Economist) Digital Health - Struggle Or A Pipedream? (CNN Money)
Thursday, August 06, 2009
It's not easy for the over 22 million self-employed business owners in our nation to gain access to the financing they need to manage and grow their business.   Tell us what your experience has been in obtaining financing to start or grow your micro-business. 
Thursday, August 06, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - From receiving email, to live-Tweeting events, to communicating with colleagues when I'm away from the office, my mobile phone helps me with work in many different ways.  I was opposed to data phones before I had one, but the functionality of mine has won me over.  Not sure if a data phone right for you and your business?  This article might help you decide if (and which) phone is best for you. While everyone's least favorite part of phones might be paying the associated bills, according to this Wall Street Journal article, now might be ...
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron - I come from a big family of "thank you" note writers. I love sending them. In today's Web world, getting a note in the mail in recognition of a present, a dinner, an introduction -- it's so unexpected nowadays that, well, it just has an impact. I like getting "thank you" notes also, naturally. I get to see "thank you" notes from the NASE grant recipients, and scholarship recipients, grateful for the help NASE is giving their business. And sometimes, I get to pass along "thank you's" and "congratulations," even when they aren't from me. Just ...
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
In today's workplace, there has been an increasing emphasis on independent business relationships. More and more, independent entrepreneurs seek our individual contract, apply their expertise and move on to the next opportunity. The members of this new workforce are often described as Independent Contractors. If you utilized independent contractors, have you had problems with the IRS's unclear classification of an independent contractor? If so, how has it affected your business?
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson -While the SBA's new America's Recovery Capital (ARC) Loan Program was supposed to be a lifeline for small businesses - offering loans of up to $35,000 for viable small businesses with immediate financial hardship to allow them to stay open while they get back on track - many lenders seem reluctant to participate in the program. The New York Times' You're the Boss blog has been compiling anecdotal evidence from their comments showing that even reliable, long term banking clients are being turned down for these loans. Share with us in the comments (and with You're ...
Monday, August 03, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arlsan -  Did you know that there are over 22 million Americans that are self-employed?  And in this economy that number is growing larger every day. You would think that with so many Americans taking care of their families and creating jobs through self-employment, Congress would be certain to pay more attention to the needs of this growing demographic.  Unfortunately, that is not the case, especially when it comes to health reform. There are two items of importance to the self-employed that are glaringly absent from all of the reform proposals currently being put forth by Congress.  One missing item ...
Monday, August 03, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - I think it is less the current economic climate and more the personality of many entrepreneurs to be collaborative instead of exclusionary.  Two articles on this topic happened to catch my attention recently, one about a group of entrepreneurs working to bring other small business owners back to New Orleans, and one about small online software vendors working together and allowing other companies to build off of their tools.  One of the New Orleans business owners said, “I have never been in a place that is so community-oriented.  Competitive gets you nowhere. It’s about being ...
Saturday, August 01, 2009
The NASE would like you to tell us your small business story on issues affecting your micro-business that may not be included in an exhibited category.
Friday, July 31, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arslan - The Council of Economic Advisors for the Obama Administration recently released a report indicating that health reform will help small business.  While we certainly appreciate the Administration focusing on the needs of small business, the results are not exactly groundbreaking or new.  The Administration has been playing the role of publicist, trying to make the case to the media and public that reform is essential and must be done now.  Yet, they have taken a back seat on the creation of health reform legislation, leaving Congress to do the heavy lifting on pulling together a health reform ...
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Some progress may have been made on the Obama Administration's goal of health care reform this week with negotiations between Democratic leaders and critics of the legislation in both the House and the Senate.  In the House, Democratic leaders reached a compromise with the fiscally conservative "Blue Dog" Democrats, allowing stalled discussions to resume on the Energy and Commerce Committee.  The agreement would decrease the costs of the legislation and include a provision that would exempt many small businesses from an employer mandate. Meanwhile in the Senate, Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mo.) announced that ...
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron -- Last week, my husband was stung by a bee. Big, big husband v. little, little bee. But the bee won. Thankfully, my husband did not have a dramatic allergic reaction -- no difficulty breathing, no hives, no nausea. But he did have quite a local reaction of swelling, sensitivity, and ultimately, a skin infection from the sting. The bee sting happened on Thursday afternoon, so we weren't really worried about it for the first 24 hours or so -- the swelling just seemed normal. But as Saturday morning rolled around, we worried it might be ...
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Healthy habits are important for everyone, but especially for those of us that sit in front of a computer for most of the day.  A little friendly competition can be great motivation, as we saw this past weekend when some members of the NASE's Board of Directors and NASE Staff members got together for an evening 5k road race.  Running is just one route to fitness, so be sure to check out Freelance Folder's handy health tips for freelancers and the Wellness Tools and Resources on the NASE Web site for more ideas!
Friday, July 24, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - The latest reform debate is centering around small businesses and reform package cost estimates:  Leaders Facing a Big Sales Job on Health Bill (Roll Call) Paying for health care: Wealth tax is 'legitimate' (CNNmoney.com) Governors Fear Medicaid Costs in Health Plan (NY Times) Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, House Minority Leader John Boehner lock horns with health care reform package (MSNBC.com) Obama administration officials bite back on CBO cost estimate (Washington Post) Health Care and Taxes: 10 Worst States for the Rich (ABCnews.com) Obama Push Senate On Health Care (Bloomberg on YouTube)
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - I will admit, with being in my 20s and not knowing what I could possibly do all day if I wasn't working (more time for yoga, I guess) means retirement isn't something on my mind a lot these days.  However, after attending another IRS Small Business Forum this week and hearing from Anita Bower of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities - Employee Plans division of the IRS, I'm starting to think I should be doing more thinking. Did you know that according to the IRS, Americans will need 70 to 90 percent of their ...
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Posted by Maureen Petron - I'm just going to put this out there: I have the best job. I was traveling in New England this past week, and took the opportunity to pop into a member business in Portsmouth, N.H.: the Blue Mermaid Island Grill. Not only did I get to meet NASE Member and owner Karen Logan (husband and co-owner Scott was out of town, unfortunately), but I was able to drop off the $5,000 NASE Business Development Grant they applied for and received, and have lunch. Two consultants from the NH Small Business Development Center joined us for ...
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - Both the House and the Senate recently voted to pass legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.  The programs were set to expire at the end of this month, and the legislation is now headed to conference committee so differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation can be worked out.  Congress has until July 31st to conference the bill. If passed, the legislation would reauthorize SBIR and STTR for eight years and add some improvements to the current state of ...
Monday, July 20, 2009
Posted by Kristie Arlsan - In an interesting turn of events last week, Congress’s own nonpartisan agency specializing in budget analysis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), may have temporarily derailed health care reform with its recent report indicating that current reform proposals will ultimately increase the deficit by $239 billion dollars over ten years. Not a small sum, giving credence to concerns voiced by the fiscally-minded Blue Dog Democrats over the past few weeks. With the overall price tag of reform well over $1 trillion dollars, this again leads me to pose the question: why is Congress and the Administration ...
Friday, July 17, 2009
Posted by Kristin Oberlander - This week's reform debate focuses on a possible tax increase for certain small business incomes and more general health care news: NASE, Other Small Business Groups Write To Congress About Health Reform (NASE Staff Blog) The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Bloomberg, The Atlantic and CNS News were just a few of many news outlets talking about the effects of a proposed income tax rate increase to help pay for the nation's health care overhaul. If enacted, the increase would apply to individuals earning $280,000 or more and to households earning at least $350,000. President Obama has tapped Dr. Regina M. Benjamin (profile) to ...
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Posted by Molly Nelson - This week the NASE, working with the two other leading small business groups, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and the National Small Business Association (NSBA), sent a letter to Congress to remind our legislators to remember small businesses and the self-employed as they work to address healthcare affordability. The letter reminds members of Congress that since 1999, health insurance costs for small firms have increased 113 percent, and that the nation's smallest firms pay an average of 18 percent more in health insurance premiums for the same benefits as the largest firms. Small ...