Posts tagged with "small business"

Majority of Recent Graduates Plan to Start a Business: AICPA Survey

The entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and well. As they prepare to enter the workforce, seven in ten (70 percent) young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) said they are likely to start their own business in the future.

This, according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment referred to as “young adult job seekers.” “It’s not surprising that the generation currently entering the labor market is looking beyond the traditional approach of rising through the ranks in a well-defined career path,” said Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Developments in technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to start a business. However, they have not necessarily made it easier to succeed.” Small Business Startups Don’t Need to Go It Alone Ambitious young entrepreneurs are not alone. Each month, approximately 540,000 people become new business owners. Contrary to the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail to gain any traction, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 80 percent survive the first year. However, the success rate of small businesses begins to fall sharply as time goes on. Only about half survive past the five-year mark, and beyond that, only about one in three get to the 10-year mark.

“I don’t know of anyone who sets out to start a business that closes in three years. But the reality is, the first few years are almost always the hardest. That means every financial decision needs to be well thought out, with a clear eye to the future.” said Teresa Mason, CPA member of the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee. “Working with a CPA helps small business owners ensure their business plan is structured to be as tax-efficient as possible. CPAs also partner with business owners to help them work out their cash flow consideration and opportunities for growth.”

For those looking to start a business, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission share these tips to help to set yourself up for success:

1. Start with a Solid Financial Foundation

“The stronger of a financial foundation you build early in your career, the more options you’ll have in the future. Paying off your student loan debt, getting a head start on saving for retirement and having an emergency fund affords entrepreneurs a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” – Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

“Being your own boss means looking only to yourself for the income you’ll need to meet your obligations and save for your goals. This means asking yourself some tough questions. Do you have enough set aside to cover your expenses during a potentially slow start-up period that new businesses often face? Do you have a ‘Plan B’ in the event that your expectations aren’t realized within a reasonable time frame? Address these scenarios proactively and have a plan in place.” – Neal Stern, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

3. Prepare for All the Costs Involved

“Before going out on your own professionally, it is important to compare your current budget with your forecasted budget. Know what you are currently getting versus what you may or may not have available if you start your own business. For example, if your current employer provides healthcare, retirement benefits and pays for out of pocket expenses you will now need to factor those expenses into what it is going to cost you to be on your own. These expenses can quickly add up which is why talking to a CPA about the costs involved in running your own business is critical.” – Michael Eisenberg, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

4. Keep Finances Organized & Build an Emergency Fund

“Maintain a bill-paying checking account where all your fixed monthly bills with a due date and a consistent amount are paid. Make sure that account always has at least 2 months’ worth of bill payment money in it, ideally 3+, and set up as many as you can for auto-pay on their due date. This not only helps eliminate late fees, but it’s an easier way to quickly see how much is ‘leftover’ to reinvest in your business. It can be tempting when you get a big check to take care of that month’s bills then spend the rest on wants, but until you can consistently keep 3+ months of expenses in that account, you have to resist the wants. This will give your business the chance it needs.” – Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

5. Take Advantage of Free Tools & Resources

For those who want help turning their idea into a successful business, the AICPA’s #CPApowered website provides free tools designed to help small businesses grow. Experienced CPAs share insight on a range of topics such as the risks involved in starting a business and how to acquire financing. And to help those who don’t know where to begin, there is even a small business checklist.The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website also features free resources including information about how to plan for a career change as well as a wide-variety of calculators on topics like loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.

US Businesses Allowing Remote Working

The rise of cloud computing and teleconferencing represent both the biggest opportunity for growth as well as the most significant organizational challenge to companies around the world, according to new research from Condeco’s new research paper, The Modern Workplace 2019: People, places & technology, involving 750 corporate leaders. The full report can be downloaded here. Among the countries in the survey, remote working is particularly prevalent in Australia (45 per cent) with the US tied for being the country with the second most amount of companies allowing remote work (43 percent) and least widespread is Germany (35 per cent). However, US businesses were least likely to offer flextime (49 percent), while those in Singapore were most likely (66 percent). In addition, 43 percent of US business forecast that they will allow more remote working in the next year while only 9 percent have indicated that they will offer less remote working, a clear indicator that remote working is a major trend in America. 54 percent of US companies have said that they offer remote working to increase employee retention, which showcases employees increasing demands to work from home.

While recognizing digital transformation as crucial to their future success, 60 percent of those who participated express concern over the speed with which new technologies are reshaping their businesses. They are increasingly preoccupied with issues related to cloud computing, the internet of things, and big data.These technology challenges are contributing significantly to the changing nature of the corporate environment, the report finds. Cloud computing in particular has made it possible for increasing numbers of employees to work remotely and flexibly meaning that the central company workspace is rapidly becoming an administrative hub, rather than a traditional central focus where everyone gathers during set hours. The demands of regulation and compliance are also adding to the burden felt by businesses as they face the future. Condeco’s report is based on an in-depth survey of business leaders in six countries, including the United States, backed by qualitative interviews. Respondents overall say the biggest challenges facing their organizations in the next 12 months are digital transformation (37 percent) and the adoption of new technology (35 percent).

Across all countries surveyed, access to talent supply (26 per cent) and regulation and compliance (24 per cent) are considered greater organizational challenges than business uncertainty (22 per cent). Welcome to the flexible working revolution. Almost half of global businesses surveyed (41 percent) say they already offer some degree of remote working, while three-fifths (60 percent) provide flextime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday. “The research clearly shows that businesses are in the process of transforming their workplaces digitally, which enables them to transform the way that they are used physically,” said Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco.”Today’s technology allows for space to be used more flexibly and for employees to work remotely. This benefits businesses by maximizing office space, reducing costs and by keeping employees engaged and productive.”

The end of meeting-room culture? When employees do go into the office, it is most often for meetings with colleagues and customers. Yet the researchers discovered that finding, booking and using meeting rooms is a consistent point of organizational tension, even as more people are working remotely. Fewer than a quarter of those surveyed (23 percent) say that their employees have access to meeting rooms whenever they need them; however, the US leads the world with 31 percent, compared to just 9 percent in Singapore. Only a third of respondents (31 percent) currently use specialist meeting-room scheduling software to help make efficient use of their available space. Some of those surveyed believed that there was an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to book and use meeting rooms more effectively.

“AI can release individuals from routine, repetitive tasks at work and free them up for more value-adding and enriching activities. That’s why it is likely to play an important role in meeting room booking software,” said Peter Otto, Chief Product Officer at Condeco. Businesses are only just beginning to realize the extent to which the need for co-workers to meet in person is a thing of the past, as new conferencing systems enable teams to maintain real-time collaboration and conversation across vast distances and multiple time zones.“Ultimately new technology will enable businesses to allocate their resources and time more effectively,” said Otto.“There is also a role it can play in gathering data, but companies need to be aware of the ethical and privacy aspects of using it in this way and be prepared to be fully transparent in communicating what they are doing to their employees.”

US leaders prepare for the future While a fifth of business leaders worldwide (22 per cent) said that uncertainty was a concern for them, less than one fifth of American business leaders (16 percent) echoed this. The most-common concern for US respondents is technology adoption (45 percent) and talent supply (30 percent), suggesting that businesses are expecting these to be major issues over the next year. Only 11 percent of US business cited access to capital as their top organizational concern.

360 MAGAZINE, Vaughn Lowery, bar, spirits

How to Get Financing to Start a New Bar

So you’ve decided to become a bar owner, congratulations! Now, you find yourself in the same dilemma many creative, business-minded entrepreneurs know all too well: You need additional funds to make your dream come true. What to do?

Lucky for you, there are several options you can look into. Let’s examine each one to see which one is the right move for you.

Take out a personal loan

This is a popular option among budding entrepreneurs because it has a higher success rate and offers a greater degree of flexibility. This is your best bet if you are starting a bar from scratch or if you don’t have an established business history yet.

Unlike a business loan, a personal loan will not require you to put down collateral or provide proof of cash flow. After all, it’s difficult to show income if you don’t have it yet. Business loans also have major restrictions on how the loan is used, but a personal loan gives you more freedom.

Your personal financial history and credit score will determine your eligibility and the rates and terms of your loan. A credit score of 600 puts you in an excellent position to qualify. Documents you need to submit include but are not limited to personal identification, bank statements, W-2 or pay stubs, and tax return.

Keep in mind that personal loans are generally smaller compared to a business loan so you may need to look into more options to acquire the rest of the funding you need. We discuss more below.

Look for investors

This is an excellent solution to share the financial burden with someone else. Investors provide startup money and can bring their business management expertise to the table. For this to work, you’ll have to get comfortable with splitting profits and giving up a share of your business.

If you wish to retain control of your bar, silent investors are great because they get out of your hair after providing the funding. They might be involved in big-picture dealings and will offer help if needed, but other than that, they stay in the background and leave the daily management to you.

The catch? They might pressure you to turn a profit sooner rather than later though. They may get restless and force a sale.

Active investors will generally be more involved in the day-to-day operations of your bar in an effort to enhance the return of their investment. They can also be helpful to first-time entrepreneurs looking to make industry connections and learn the tricks of the trade.

While active investors bring their business to the enterprise, you will definitely have to give up a degree of control. Some investors might agree to simply advance capital in exchange for collateral and payback with interest or a percentage of your profits.

Turn to your friends, family, and peers

Use your connections! Do you know someone who has the resources to spare? You can start reaching out to your peers in the industry or even to friends and family. This fast-tracks your funding process by skipping the legal entanglements typically involved in a traditional loan.

If you go the family and friends route, the pitch probably isn’t going to be all that complicated. But keep in mind that money and family sometimes don’t mix. If your bar fails to take off, things might get ugly. Especially with equity involved, put everything in writing and bring in a business lawyer as a safety net.

Reach out to the world through crowdfunding

If you’ve exhausted all your connections to no avail, the internet might be your savior. Yes, you can raise money for your new bar from strangers online through websites like GoFundMe, Patreon, and Kickstarter. How great is that?

Needless to say, you will have to convince these people why they should fund your bar. Tell your story and make sure to let your passion shine through.

Transparency will get you far down this route. Be specific on how you intend to spend the money they give you and provide updates. You would be surprised at how many people would be willing to donate their own money to help you with your venture.

Depending on your campaign, you can give these backers perks or rewards in return. However, if you choose to do it via equity crowdfunding, which will easily attract investors, you are selling off a degree of ownership control over your company.

Know that you will also need to actively market your campaign, so it can be seen and gain traction fast. This will take a lot of patience and hard work.

Use your 401(k)

If you are looking to ditch the 9-to-5 life in favor of being your own boss as a bar owner, this might be something to consider if you have saved up enough from your previous jobs.

You’re staking your retirement savings here, so make sure you are 100% certain of your bar idea. Most people can get overconfident for their own good. Consult a tax attorney, if needed, and look at all angles before you take the leap.

Consider the other options presented in this article first before cracking your 401(k) nest egg.

Get funding for expensive equipment

Equipment is an essential investment for any bar operation that comes that a premium price. A lender or bank can help you purchase the required furnishings to get your business up and running through equipment financing.

Here, you receive the entire amount based on a price quote you provide to the lender. You can’t use the funding for anything other than the equipment you intend to buy.

The collateral here is the equipment itself, which is great because you won’t have to worry about paying off more in the unfortunate event that your bar goes under.

When securing your bar equipment, it is important to anticipate your needs and choose the right configuration for your establishment. For a bar, you’ll need equipment such as keg coolers, undercounter refrigerators, and commercial ice makers.

While it can be tempting to go for second-hand items, buying brand new equipment can benefit your business in the long run. Used equipment can lead to unpleasant surprises that might cost you way more than the savings you initially had. Replacement parts for last-generation models will likely be very hard to find, thus halting your operation longer than it should.

Plus, it can be difficult to find out how well it has been maintained and the service life it has left. With any luck, you might be able to track down the original invoice and check the warranty it comes with.

With brand new equipment, you enjoy more savings and peace of mind that your business runs as it should. Benefits include:

• For the higher price tag, you get equipment that is less likely to break down to avoid disruptions that can cost you precious business, especially during peak hours.

• New units are generally more energy-efficient and environment-friendly than older models

• They go for much higher resale value, especially for well-known brands

• You can count on a more responsive service department for servicing and readily available replacement parts

We are committed to protecting your investment. We have an excellent selection of brand new and highly durable products from Manitowoc ice makers to Beverage Air refrigerators that come with excellent warranties and unrivaled customer support. We make sure your purchases work their best beyond the initial quality control.

Explore the benefits of a business credit card

This is the perfect option for buying ingredients and supplies. You’ll only need your credit score as qualification, and it doesn’t have to be all that impressive either. If you are at 600, you have a good chance of getting approved. Plus, the application process is easy.

You know how you get some perks and rewards every time you swipe your personal credit card? You can enjoy the same for your bar here. You can get excellent cash back and credit for business expenses.

Consider credit card receipt financing

There are some lenders that partially base their loan on receiving part of the credit card receipts from your customers. The process basically involves selling your future credit card sales in exchange for a cash advance. A portion of each credit card sale is taken out as payment. This can be an interesting approach but can also interfere with your finances.

Financing your new bar the right way

As a rule of thumb, you should have at least six months of expenses available in the bank when you start. Most businesses fail because of a lack of financing. So either do it right from the beginning or hold off until you can.

Top 8 HR software for small business leaders

Despite tighter budgets and limited IT resources, small businesses still need to centralize workflows and be efficient, just like enterprise companies. This is especially true for HR departments. In this ebook, we’ll take a look at some of the best HR software for small business modern, cloud-based systems with industry-leading functionality at an affordable price point.

This ebook covers:

  • Small business HR pain points
  • Key HR software features
  • 8 top HR solutions for small business

Download it here

Cyber Florida Publishes Free Cybersecurity Guide

Cyber Florida is pleased to announce the launch of Cyber Defense for SMBs, a free resource for small and medium-sized businesses. This beginner’s guide introduces readers to the fundamentals of cybersecurity for business to help SMBs be better prepared to respond to, and recover from, cyberattacks. Cyber Defense for SMBs is available as a free digital download at https://www.cyberflorida.org/SMB.

“Small businesses are targeted by cybercriminals precisely because they are small,” remarked Cyber Florida Director Sri Sridharan. “Criminals know these businesses likely lack the financial resources necessary to employ state-of-the-art cyber defenses. Our goals with this guide are to help Florida’s small businesses avoid becoming victims of this troubling trend and if they are targeted, to help them be better prepared to recover and respond appropriately,” he said.

The 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report stated that 58% of data breach victims in 2017 were categorized as small businesses. 

With input from experts in academia, private industry, government, and the military, this guide offers guidance to help SMBs identify the most cost-effective cybersecurity best practices for their business. Detailing some of the most important and urgent factors affecting cybersecurity, Cyber Defense for SMBs reviews the common threats SMBs are likely to encounter and industry-standard best practices for cyberattack prevention and mitigation, crisis management, and post-incident response.

In support of this effort, Cyber Florida has teamed up with the National Cyber Security Alliance to offer free workshops throughout the state of Florida that will provide SMB leaders with hands-on guidance. Workshops are planned for Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Jacksonville, and Tallahassee during the first quarter of 2019. For more details and to register for a workshop, please visit https://www.cyberflorida.org/SMB. 

Accompanying this initiative is a resource-rich webpage, www.cyberflorida.org/SMB, that offers planning and assessment worksheets and links to other helpful organizations and resources. The webpage will be updated often with tips and articles to help SMB leaders stay abreast of best practices, as cybersecurity is a rapidly changing field. 

Cyber Florida Director Sri Sridharan is available for press interviews. To schedule an interview, please contact Kate Whitaker at the email or phone listed above. For all other inquiries or questions, visit the Cyber Florida website at www.cyberflorida.org.

Disclaimer:
Cyber Defense for SMBs is made available by the Florida Center for Cybersecurity for general educational purposes only and should not be used in lieu of obtaining competent legal advice from a licensed attorney and/or cybersecurity professional with the sufficient expertise necessary to address your organization’s specific needs. Use of this guide does not create any special or fiduciary relationship between you and the Florida Center for Cybersecurity or the University of South Florida.

About Cyber Florida: The Florida Center for Cybersecurity
The Florida Center for Cybersecurity (Cyber Florida) is a state-funded organization dedicated to positioning Florida as a national leader in cybersecurity through education and workforce development; innovative, interdisciplinary research; and community outreach. Hosted at the University of South Florida, Cyber Florida works with all 12 State University System of Florida (SUS) institutions as well as industry, government and defense to build partnerships and develop programs that grow and strengthen Florida’s cybersecurity industry.

A Guide to Detroit 

With Little Caesars Arena now open and all four major sports teams in the heart of downtown, it’s an exciting time to be a Detroit sports fan. In fact, it’s been 38 years since the Detroit Pistons have played in The D. Visit nba.com/pistons for ticket information.

 

The Detroit Red Wings walked the red carpet to open this season at their brand new home in The District Detroit, Little Caesars Arena. Wings fans are hopeful this renewed energy will carry them to another shot at the playoffs. For the full schedule, visit redwings.nhl.com.

 

Explore bars, shops and beautiful ice sculptures Jan. 12-14 at the Plymouth Ice Festival, the largest, free ice festival in Michigan. Dedicated to the art of ice carving, this event in downtown Plymouth also features live music and fun for the whole family. Visit plymouthicefestival.com for more information.

 

In the Motor City, there’s nothing quite like the North American International Auto Show. This spectacular show of innovation takes visitors to the future of the auto industry. Don’t miss this world-class event at Cobo Center Jan. 20-28. For more information, visit naias.com.

 

Things heat up outside at the Meridian Winter Blast Jan. 26-28 with family fun and more than 50 live music acts. Dance to the beat on your feet – or on your ice skates – in Detroit’s beloved Campus Martius Park. A 30-foot high winter slide whisks riders through a pitch-black tunnel at speeds of up to 20-mph. Visit winterblast.com for event details.

 

Nothing beats the cold, dark days of winter like barbeque, beer and live music. Every restaurant becomes a venue during the Ferndale Blues & Music Festival at the end of January each year. For dates, details and the full festival lineup, visit ferndalebluesfestival.org.

 

Enjoy ice-skating, ice carving, sledding and more at the Aqua Freeze Festival in St. Clair ShoresFeb. 17-18. This year there will also be pony rides and a petting zoo, with a theme of Once Upon a Time. Visit scsaquafreezefest.com for all the details.

 

Hear the revving of engines as custom hot rods roll into Cobo Center March 2-4 for Autorama, complete with interactive displays, demonstrations, guest appearances and prizes. Get the details at autorama.com.

 

One of the most celebrated winter holidays in metro Detroit is Fat Tuesday. Celebrate Packzi Dayon Feb. 12 by indulging in authentic treats from Hamtramck. Don’t be late! Hungry revelers line up in the early morning hours to get their hands on these delicious jelly donuts. Visit hamtramck.us for more information.

 

The shamrock-studded runners and parade floats will make their way down Michigan Avenue for the annual Corktown St. Patrick’s Day Parade Mar. 11. One of the surest signs spring is approaching, this event has plenty of bagpipes, marching bands and green beer. Visitdetroitstpatricksparade.com for details.

 

Get your brackets ready as the 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament comes to The D this year. Head over to Little Caesars Arena March 16-18 to catch the action. For tickets visitolympiaentertainment.com.

 

Take part in a true Detroit tradition as the Marche du Nain Rouge banishes Detroit’s “harbinger of doom” while celebrating all that is good in the city. Help to liberate its people from the grips of the Nain by joining in the parade on the streets of Midtown/Cass Corridor Mar. 25. Get the story atmarchedunainrouge.com.

 

Michigan Comedyfest showcases the talents of the LGBT community. This sidesplitting show is hosted by Equality Michigan and takes place at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. Visit dearbornfordcenter.com for all the details.

 

Take in the views of historic Greenfield Village from a Model T when the village reopens April 14. Step back in time inside dozens of historical buildings, homes and laboratories – such as Wright Cycle Co. and Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Take in a game of historic baseball and get lost in this old time treasure. Stroll over to thehenryford.org for more information.

 

Despite what the weather might suggest, for most Detroiters the first day of spring is Opening Day at Comerica Park (March 29 this year). Arguably, it’s the most fun day of the year downtown as the citywide celebrations and old English D logo wear flood the streets of Detroit. Go to mlb.com/tigersfor ticket information.

 

Be sure to check out the dozens of new restaurants, breweries, distilleries and coffee shops that have recently opened. Eastern Market Beer Co. has brought new life to not only the facility it’s in, but to the tradition of brewing beer in Eastern Market. The Apparatus Room inside the Detroit Foundation Hotel is a restaurant that is “historic while tastefully modern” as well as delicious. Too cold to go out? Order up UberEats to get the food you want from the Detroit restaurants you love with the help of Uber. For a more on new dining options, check out our recent blog article 6 New and Popular Detroit Restaurants.

 

Save 20 percent or more on popular Detroit attractions with The D Discount Pass. Current participants include the The Adventure Park at West Bloomfield, Automotive Hall Of Fame, Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, The Henry Ford, Legoland Discovery Center Michigan, Lucky Strike Entertainment, Michigan Science Center, Motown Museum, Outdoor Adventure Center, Sea Life Michigan Aquarium and Wheelhouse Detroit. The D Discount Pass is accepted at participating venues through December 31, 2018. To take advantage of these offers, go to visitdetroit.com/discount.

 

Exhibits:

Explore the works of the most popular and financially successful painter in mid-19th-century America, Frederic Church. Take a trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts to experience Church: A Painter’s Pilgrimage through Jan. 15. Then experience the story of the Detroit hip-hop scene through D-Cyphered: Portraits by Jenny Risher through Feb. 18. For exhibit details, visit dia.org.

 

Now open at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, check out The Science Behind Pixar through March 18. Explore the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts used by the artists and computer scientists who help bring Pixar’s award-winning films to the big screen. For more information, visit thehenryford.org

 

There are plenty of public shows throughout metro Detroit to keep you busy this winter. Visit the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center March 2-4 for the Motor City Tattoo Expo. Take a swing at Suburban Collection Showplace for the Michigan Golf Show Mar. 9-11. Fishing enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Midwest Fly Fishing Expo March 10-11 at the Macomb Community College Sports & Expo Center. Find the boat you’ve been waiting for (or just imagine it) by visiting the Novi Boat Show March 15-18 at Suburban Collection Showplace. For additional events and expos, check out visitdetroit.com.