Saturday, March 17, 2012

Why Do a Marketing Plan?

A marketing plan outlines everything you will do to market your business, in what order, and when. The time and effort spent developing your marketing plan is a good investment.

An effective marketing plan does the following:
 Identifies and explores the strengths and weaknesses of your company, its products, or services
 Examines, based on these strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities and threats that exist in the marketplace
 Forces you to focus on the needs of your customers and potential customers
 Allows you to anticipate and plan for changing market trends, consumer demands, and changes of your competitors
 Helps you reach company goals within your budget
 Forms an essential part of your business plan

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Still Time for those Home Office Deductions

Maybe you had all your paperwork in weeks ago... or maybe you're still crunching tax numbers. If you have a home office, there's some good news to be found courtesy of Turbo Tax - Easily File and Maximize Your Business Tax Deductions.

Here are few highlights. Read the full article on Please note, as with ALL tax matters, this is informational and for you to discuss with your accounting professional.
Home office space. If an office or other portion of your home is designated for work, the IRS allows you to deduct a portion of your mortgage payments or rent. The use of the space for work has to be “regular and exclusive”—in other words, a laptop on the kitchen table doesn’t qualify. The deduction is proportional to the size of your workspace. Calculate the percentage of your home’s square footage that is used exclusively for work. And don’t forget that you can deduct utilities, homeowners’ insurance and real estate taxes as well.
Computer equipment, software and supplies. Deduct the full value of any computers, software and Internet service that are used only for business purposes. Other write-offs include software programs, including accounting software, and postage expenses.
Health insurance costs. Sole proprietors can write off the cost of their health insurance premiums, but remember, your family’s insurance costs are not deductible unless they work for you.

Research materials. If you subscribe to websites or print publications that focus on your industry, write them off. If you’re a writer and purchase copies of the publications you want to write for, deduct those too. Same goes for reference books.
Business phone calls. Write them off. The simplest way to keep track of your business call expenses is to have a dedicated phone line or a separate cell phone altogether.

Auto mileage and travel expenses. Whether you're traveling to meet with clients, conduct research, or for some other legitimate business purpose, all of the expenses can be deducted. Keep track of mileage, and keep receipts for cabs and air travel. They can all be written off if properly documented.