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To Lease or to Buy Your Small Business’s Office Space?

To Lease or to Buy Your Small Business’s Office Space?Anybody who starts a small business is immediately faced with a seemingly never-ending series of decisions. Some are small, and some are large, but they all have the potential to impact your bottom line. One of the most important decisions a business owner will face early on has to do with office space. Is it better to lease or to buy your small business’s office space? Here are some things to keep in mind while you make this decision. Upfront costs: When you buy commercial real estate, you may typically have to invest up to six times in upfront costs compared with leasing commercial real estate according to an article on FitsSmallBusiness.com. Most purchasers of commercial real estate finance the purchase with a loan that may require up to 20 percent as a down payment. Add in due diligence fees and closing costs, and this becomes the largest drawback to purchasing commercial…

Picking the Right Structure for Your Business

Picking the Right Structure for Your BusinessStarting a business means making dozens of choices both big and small. One of the most important choices you will make is how you will structure your business entity. Two of the most common options are the S corporation (S corp) and C corporation (C corp). If you don’t understand the difference between the two, you’re not alone. Many budding entrepreneurs ask questions about which business structure they should choose. And yet it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll make about your business. C Corporations are the standard corporation, whereas the S corporation takes advantage of a special IRS tax status. S corporations are so named because they are defined by Subchapter S of the Internal Revenue Code. IRS Form 2553 must be filed to elect S corporation status and all S corporation guidelines must be met. How S Corps and C Corps are Similar C corps and S…

Why Many Women Prefer Hiring a Female Attorney

Why Many Women Prefer Hiring a Female AttorneyWhen people seek legal representation, they want someone who understands their experience. Clients often feel more comfortable with an attorney they can relate to, which is one of the many reasons women seek female attorneys to represent them. Rebekah Lusk is a fierce advocate for female clients and a successful entrepreneur in her legal practice. She realized early in her career that to gain respect from others in the legal field, she would need to have her name on the door. Naturally independent, outspoken and authentic, Rebekah found that playing to those strengths were essential to establishing herself in her field. We asked Rebekah Lusk about the work she’s done for her clients, to learn more about her experience as an attorney and businesswoman. Question: You have heard from several female clients that they were specifically seeking a female attorney. Why do you think that is? Rebekah Lusk:  I think women…

Should You Hire an Employee or a Contractor? 

Should You Hire an Employee or a Contractor? Many small business owners will need to hire someone at some point. There’s no formula for determining when you’ll reach that point, but if you feel you’ve been working around the clock, or you can’t keep up with your current volume of business, now may be the time to bring someone on board. First, you’ll need to figure out whether you need an employee or an independent contractor. The following is an overview of the pros and cons of hiring employees or contractors. Hiring Employees: Factors to Consider If you hire an employee, you control how, when, and in what capacity they work. So if you need someone to work specific times, or at a specific location, you’ll need an employee. And if you need someone to fulfill an essential role – like management – you’ll definitely want an employee instead of a contractor. Before hiring an employee, you’ll have…

Gallup Poll Finds Small-Business Owners Optimistic

Business StructureAccording to a poll conducted in October, 71 percent of small-business owners said their company finances were “very good” or “somewhat good” – that’s an increase of 5 percent, compared to the same quarter in 2016. The quarterly Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index poll asks business owners about their current business profile, as well as their expectations for the next 12 months. About a third of the 602 October respondents said they plan to hire more workers in the coming year, and only four respondents said they plan to reduce staffing levels in the coming year. Small Business Trends The Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index is a numeric score between -60 and 150, based on finances, revenue, cash flow, capital spending, number of jobs, and ease of getting credit. The index began in 2003, and its lowest point was in October 2010, at -28. Since then, it’s crept upward –…

Tax Tips for Small Businesses

Maryland Tax AttorneyDecember is just around the corner, so if you pay your taxes based on the calendar year, now’s the time to take a look at your income and expenses. Depending on your 2016 profits and your earnings projections for next year, you may want to make some adjustments before year-end. Cash vs. Accrual Accounting The type of accounting method you use may dictate your end-of-year tax strategy. Businesses use either cash or accrual accounting. With cash accounting, your income and expenses are not counted until actually paid. So, if you send someone an invoice in December and they don’t pay it until January, you wouldn’t claim that income on your 2016 tax return. Accrual accounting records transactions immediately – that December invoice would be considered part of your 2016 income, even before you receive payment. If you use accrual accounting and want to reduce your taxable income for 2016, you…

Developing a content marketing strategy

Having a content marketing plan is very important for Maryland business owners. While the strengths of the product or service that is being sold is crucial, the target customer must be told about the product or service before they can purchase it. To attract potential customers, businesses can use content marketing strategies to promote their products on the platforms that their target customers visit. Identifying the right platform is a crucial part of any content marketing strategy. Before advertising products that are aimed at a target customer, business owners must understand the habits of their target customers so that they can reach them on the websites that they frequent. The content that is used must be geared towards the targets and catered to their interests and the keywords that they tend to search for. Customers are not going to pay attention to content that does not interest them, make them…

Tips for creating a winning business plan

Starting a business is an exciting experience, and one that requires hard work and forethought, as many Maryland business owners know. However, unforeseen events and misfortunes can occur from time to time, and a strong business plan can help keep the company afloat. Here are some tips for creating a strong business plan. One of the biggest setbacks for many startups is that they run out of money because the owner underestimated the company's operating costs. It may be that the demand for the company's products or services was low, the cost of supplies was higher than expected or the company lost income because of unpredicted circumstances. To counteract these losses, an effective business plan will reflect solutions to keep the business operating as smoothly as possible. One such strategy outlined in an effective business plan is to increase the company's spending budget by 10 percent. For instance, if the…

How to make an effective strategic business plan

Most business owners in Maryland understand that strategic business planning is key to a company's success. However, understanding its importance and actually executing a strategic business plan are two different things. When a business plan just sits on the shelf, it becomes nothing more than a static document. Strategic business plans often fail to create change in an organization because they do not contain clear directions. To be effective, a business plan should set the trajectory for a company by outlining specific goals and articulating clear vision statements. A solid plan for how to reach the specified goals and achieve the company's vision should also be included in the strategic business plan. It is important for all of the executives to understand a strategic business plan so that they can work to achieve the goals that have been set. If the plan is too complex or vague, it could end…

Startups require intelligent planning

Although many Maryland entrepreneurs aspire to become iconic mavericks who fly by the seat of their pants, business plans are a must. Start-up company owners may be misled into believing they can survive with lean strategies that forego in-depth strategies or mistakenly think they don't require well-documented plans. On the contrary, entrepreneurs who have business plans could find it easier to make forward progress and take charge of their development. Startup plans ought to be created by teams who work together to develop such documents over time. This process can keep employees on track as they determine whether they are actually reaching their goals. Consistently rethinking a business plan may also help companies prune unnecessary details. Although business plans don't have to be complex, they should address a number of vital concerns. These documents typically describe the function of products or services, the motivations behind their development and strategies for…