Sunday, March 10, 2019

small business plan

small business plan

Small business calendar - Minneapolis Star Tribune

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 12:02 PM PDT

Small Business


SCORE CONSULTATION: Meet with a business counselor to develop your business plan or tackle a business problem. Registration required. 3-6 p.m. Free. Plymouth Library, 15700 N. 36th Av., Plymouth. 612-543-5825.

LEGALCORPS, SCORE AND CITY OF MINNEAPOLIS CONSULTATIONS: Assistance to help navigate all aspects of planning or operating your small business. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Free. Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall, Mpls. 612-543-8000.

SCORE WORKSHOP: "Search Engine Optimization." noon-2 p.m. Free. Shoreview Library, 4560 N. Victoria St., Shoreview. 651-632-8937.


SCORE WORKSHOP: "The Nuts and Bolts of Business Insurance." 1-3 p.m. Free. Maplewood Library, 3025 Southlawn Drive, Maplewood. 651-632-8937.


SCORE SEMINAR: "Simple Steps to Starting Your Business: Funding Sources." 6-8 p.m. $25. Northwestern Health Sciences University, 2501 W. 84th St., Bloomington. 952-938-4570.

87% of Hispanic Entrepreneurs Plan to Expand Their Business in 2019 - Small Business Trends

Posted: 10 Mar 2019 01:00 PM PDT

Hispanics make up 18.1% of the US population with close to 60 million people. More and more Hispanic entrepreneurs serve this population.

According to the 2019 Bank of America Hispanic Small Business Owner Spotlight (PDF), 87% of Hispanic entrepreneurs plan to expand their business this year. This translates to 20% higher than non-Hispanic business owners.

Hispanic business owners get their optimism from the community they serve, family and their employees. And this led to exceptional growth, exceeding the expectations of owners when they started their venture.

Still a tight labor market makes it much harder to find the right talent and keep them. Elizabeth Romero, Small Business Central Division executive from Bank of America says this is one of the challenges this demographic is facing.

In a release, Romero said, "As Hispanic entrepreneurs look to augment growth plans by hiring, today's competitive job market has created an especially difficult environment to attract and retain talent."

GfK Social and Strategic Research carried out the survey for this year's report between August 30 and October 16, 2018.

A national sample of 1,067 small business owners in the US made up of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic small business owners took part in the survey. These businesses with between 2 and 99 employees generate revenue between $100,000 and $4,999,999.

The study then compared the results of the survey to national benchmark standards for size, revenue and region.  The study also determined whether the respondents were English or Spanish-speaking.

Hispanic Entrepreneurs in 2019

Beyond this year, 79% of Hispanics said they plan to grow their business over the next five years. Meanwhile only 55% of other entrepreneurs expressed growth plans.

In 2019, close to 3 in 4 or 74% Hispanics also expect their revenue will increase. And 51% plan on hiring new workers. Enter challenges as the labor market continues to tighten.

In 2018, all businesses experienced challenges finding qualified talent. But 58% of Hispanic entrepreneurs experienced these challenges.  They also report it harder to find talent and retain it.

The turnover rate for Hispanic owned businesses affected 45% of organizations, while the rest of the segment experienced a 24% rate.

When it is time hire, it is taking longer to do so. It takes three months or more to fill a position and the difference here is pretty much the same for everyone. Forty-five percent of Hispanic business have to wait that long, while it is 40% for non-Hispanics owners.

The time also extends to the process of hiring a person, with Hispanics saying it takes them more than 10 hours to make it happen. The number is 13% lower for non-Hispanics at 45%.

Adapting to the new Job Market

It doesn't matter whether you are a Hispanic business owner or not, if you don't adapt your hiring practices to the new job market, it will take you longer than ever to fill your open positions.

According to Bank of America, businesses will have to refine their hiring and recruiting approach to standing a chance in this ultra-competitive job market. In the report, 75% of Hispanic owners are making these adjustments, compared to 55% of other business owners.

Hispanic owners are using social media more to find and recruit talent (32% to 23%), establishing a more flexible culture in the workplace (27% to 25%), and offering higher salaries (26% to 17%).

Some of the other benefits Hispanic business owners are offering include flexible hours and work location, professional development, discretionary bonuses, healthcare, and retirement benefits.


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Whitmer fuel, business tax proposals already being carved up - Crain's Detroit Business

Posted: 09 Mar 2019 06:11 AM PST

The shock and awe of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposal to nearly triple Michigan's fuel taxes and levy a higher tax rate on 150,000 largely small businesses has already worn off.

The budget blueprint Whitmer presented to a Republican-controlled Legislature last week is likely to look very different by the time lawmakers send a fiscal year 2020 spending plan to the new Democratic governor's desk.

Legislative leaders last week quickly shot down Whitmer's long-shot proposal to levy a new 1.75 percent tax on pass-through business profits of S-corporations, limited liability corporations and partnerships. Those business owners currently pay the 4.25 percent individual income tax instead of the 6 percent Corporate Income Tax.

Whitmer proposed taxing businesses equally at 6 percent as a means of generating $280 million of the $355 million needed to reinstate an income tax exemption on public sector pensions.

"Those kinds of actions would be doubling down on stupid," said Senate Majority Mike Shirkey, a Clarklake Republican and owner of Orbitform Group LLC, a Jackson tool-and-die maker that would be subject to higher taxes under Whitmer's proposal.

Business groups and a conservative economist who led the effort to get rid of the Single Business Tax over a decade ago also roundly criticized Whitmer's business tax plan as a return to double-taxation entanglement of the SBT and its successor, the Michigan Business Tax.

"The argument is we need to give government pensioners a tax break, and we're going to pay for it with a surtax on private employers," said Patrick Anderson, CEO of the Anderson Economic Group in East Lansing and author of the SBT repeal in 2007. "This is double taxation — there's no two ways around it. It's double-taxation at a lower rate."

State Treasurer Rachael Eubanks said a new 1.75 percent tax on the profits of s-corps, LLCs and partnerships would ensure those companies are "taxed at a parity rate" with c-corporations subject to the 6 percent CIT.

"To be clear, even with these changes, these entities are still paying far less tax than they paid under the MBT," Eubanks said in an interview.

In an interview with Crain's, Whitmer signaled her willingness to jettison the business tax proposal if she can get a deal on tax revenue for roads — the cornerstone of her political mandate from voters last fall.

"I did have a conversation with some people in the business community and they said, 'Well, we don't like this one piece.' And I said, 'Fine, work against that one piece, but help me get the rest of this budget done,'" Whitmer told Crain's.

House Speaker Lee Chatfield, an Emmet County Republican, called Whitmer's proposed 45-cent fuel tax hike a "nonstarter," while Shirkey said it's simply too high of a burden for motorists and businesses to shoulder.

"The citizens of Michigan cannot absorb — especially the folks that actually work for a living — cannot absorb a 45-cent increase in the gas tax," Shirkey told reporters. "They just can't do it."

Mark Griffin, president of Michigan Petroleum Association and Michigan Association of Convenience Stores, said the owner of an average gas station that sells 2,500 gallons of fuel per day would have to prepay an additional $1,125 in tax each day, creating cash-flow problems for their business.

"When you're making two cents-a-gallon (profit) typically at best, you can't eat $1,100 a day," Griffin said. "If you raise your gas prices, now you're eating yourself on your in-store sales. It also means we'll never see $2-a-gallon gasoline ever again."

Griffin said his member businesses "get it" that Michigan's roads are crumbling and in need of additional investment.

"But they just don't want to be put out of business," he said.

The Tax Foundation said Whitmer's proposal would push Michigan's taxes at the pump above 89 cents per gallon when counting the sales tax. That would make Michigan's fuel taxes the highest in the nation and 30 cents above the next highest state (Pennsylvania), the Tax Foundation said.

At 89.13 cents per gallon, Michigan's tax would be twice the tax levied in Indiana (42.90 cents) and more than triple Ohio's 28 cents per gallon (though Ohio's Republican governor is pushing for an 18-cent increase).

"If you've got a gas station along the Michigan border, you're going to be out of business," said Bob Barrick, owner of Barrick Enterprises Inc., a Royal Oak-based jobber that delivers fuel to 240 gas stations in Southeast Michigan.

Whitmer said the pothole "crisis" plaguing motorists "requires a bold, real solution that actually fixes the problem."

Though Whitmer's tax hikes — as proposed — are seen in Lansing as dead on arrival, Shirkey and other Republican legislators have left open the door for some form of tax increase to fund roads.

"I probably will look at some type of revenue as we move forward," Senate Appropriations Chairman Jim Stamas said during a taping of WKAR-TV's "Off The Record." "But what that revenue is and how much it is, I don't have that."

After years of debating road funding, Shirkey said there's "consensus that we can rally around" that the state needs to be spending $2.5 billion more annually on roads.

Both he and Stamas said they count the Legislature's 2015 road-funding plan that's supposed to generate $1.2 billion more annually for roads by 2021 to the $2.5 billion goal.

Whitmer's $2.5 billion fuel tax hike would generate a net road funding increase of $1.9 billion by the 2021 fiscal year because she removes an earmark of $600 million of income tax that was part of the 2015 funding plan, according to nonpartisan House Fiscal Agency.

The governor's budget plan shifts the $600 million in income tax revenue back to the general fund, freeing up money for new investments in universities, community colleges, K-12 schools and a new skills-training program for adults to complete degrees and certificates.

"Asking for $2.5 billion more is one thing. But $600 million of that is to support spending in the general fund," said former Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, now the president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. "Raising the road tax to supplement current general fund spending may be problematic."

Lawmakers are starting to study other ways to generate more money for state highways, local roadways and bridges.

Chatfield wants to remove the 6 percent sales tax on gasoline and diesel fuel that is legally earmarked for schools and cities.

The fact that sales taxes levied on fuel don't go to roads has long been a complicating factor in past legislative efforts to raise new revenue for roads.

In 2014, the Legislature sent voters a proposal to raise the sales and use taxes to 7 percent in exchange for removing the sales tax on fuel and replacing that with a higher tax on gasoline and diesel. Voters rejected that proposal — which Whitmer was a part of crafting as the Senate's Democratic leader — in a May 2015 special election by a margin of 60 percentage points.

Removing the sales tax on fuel or and converting that amount to a higher fuel tax would eliminate an estimated $830 million in tax revenue that supports K-12 schools and municipalities.

"I've said it from the very beginning: House Republicans have no intention of turning back the clock on K-12 education funding," Chatfield told reporters Thursday.

But Chatfield offered no plan for holding schools and cities harmless, suggesting House Republicans were still working on a plan.

Whitmer's plan calls for the tax on gasoline and diesel to increased in three, 15-cent chunks over a year.

The governor acknowledged the massive fuel tax increase could have a ripple effect in the economy in the cost of consumer goods and services.

"We are paying a tax right now and it's the worst kind of tax because it's not actually fixing the roads — we're fixing our vehicles, businesses are fixing their fleets of cars, farmers are not getting their produce to market on time because of problems along the roadway," Whitmer told Crain's. "We're all paying for infrastructure that is crumbling beneath us."

Stamas, R-Midland, diplomatically called Whitmer's budget plan "courageous."

"I can't say I agree with it," Stamas said. "But at the same point, to come out with a 45-cent proposal on gas and the amount of almost $2 billion more in spending, right off the top, that takes courage."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Correction: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's proposed business tax increase would create a new 1.75 percent tax on pass-through income from s-corporations, limited liability corporations and partnerships. An earlier version of this article incorrectly said the governor wants to add s-corps, LLCs and partnerships to the Corporate Income Tax code.

Why Every Entrepreneur Needs A Business Plan - Forbes

Posted: 25 Feb 2019 12:00 AM PST

For many entrepreneurs, especially first-timers, business plans are daunting: Building a 50-page document that details every aspect of a theoretical business is no small task. It can be tempting to skip it, especially if you're in a line of work like mine in which the path to profit might seem pretty obvious: good legal training = good legal services = paying customers. But I assure you, it's not that simple.

Planning For Success (And Survival)

Starting a business isn't like learning to ride a bike. You can't just hop on, start pedaling and hope for the best. (Well, you can, but you'll find getting back on the bike is a lot harder when it requires capital.) In business, you do not want to wing it. You want a plan -- a document that lays out the path of your company for the next three to five years so you can see the route to your goals and know objectively if you're on track. It can be the difference between folding and thriving, especially when times get tough -- and tough times, while hopefully rare and short-lived, are the hallmark of owning a small business.

Your Business, A To Z

Running a business will always require some degree of improvisation, but your best bet is to be as prepared as humanly possible for what you can foresee. The specifics of a business plan can vary by field, but you're basically looking at six main components:

• Executive summary: The whole story of your business, in short-form -- what field you're in, how you'll make money, where you want to be in five years and how you'll get there.

• Business description: In detail, what your business is all about, what you'll make or provide to customers, how you'll make or provide it, and why that product or service is a good thing.

• Market/industry analysis: Why people will buy your product or service -- this includes market research (who your customers are and what they want) and an analysis of the industry and what current businesses are lacking.

• Organization: A description of how your business is structured, from business and tax entities to hierarchies and job descriptions -- who does what, who reports to whom and who is ultimately responsible for each element of your business's success.

• Financials: Your current financial state, where you want to be financially in five years and how you'll get from point A to point B -- in cold, hard numbers.

• Funding request: If you're asking for money, include how much you want and how and when you'll repay it.

Whether You Need Funding Or Not

While a great business plan is your key to scoring funding, you need a business plan even if you don't need money. Here's why: By writing all of this information down and fleshing it out in detailed form, you can see how logical the whole thing looks -- where the holes are, where the reasoning breaks down, which contingencies you haven't planned for, etc. If there are weak points, you want to address them before you're knee deep in running a new business and/or you hit one of those tough spots.

Recognizing the weak points is one side of the equation. The other side is inspiration. Immersing yourself in your business plan can spur new and better approaches to reaching your goals, because nothing jumpstarts brainstorming like pouring ideas onto paper.

Don't Let It Psych You Out

Of course, pouring ideas onto paper isn't everyone's thing. Here's what I recommend: In the beginning, don't approach your business plan as a 50-page document. Start with a skeleton -- the most basic possible outline of your business and your goals, in note form. Then, fill it in, step by step (which reminds me, include a timeline -- it helps to make it all more concrete), adding details and complete sentences as you go. You don't have to build the document in order, though it helps to start with the executive summary to see how you intend your business to unfold.

Ideally, once all of the other sections are filled in, you'll go back to the executive summary and update it because you'll have ironed out and beefed up your plans as you go through the various sections.

Growing Your Business Plan

Ultimately, your business plan is your key to success, and not just early on. Planning is crucial whether your company is two months old or 10 years old, so check back in and update the document as your company grows. A well-considered plan doesn't guarantee anything -- in small business, there are no sure things -- but it does put your schemes, strategies and calculations into a form you can accurately and dispassionately assess and improve.

Even the most seasoned entrepreneurs have blind spots. The smartest ones assume their plans have holes and imperfections and go looking for them because surprises are not a business owner's friend. One of the surest ways to find potential pitfalls -- and refine your whole entrepreneurial approach in the process -- is by building a focused, thorough business plan that lays out a logical path to reaching your goals.

The Business Plan with Bill Reagan: Strengthen banking ties before Metro shutdown - Alexandria Times

Posted: 07 Mar 2019 05:02 AM PST


Savvy business owners are planning now for potential effects from the shutdown of all Alexandria Metro stations this summer. There are many considerations, including impacts on your employees and customers, but one of the most productive preparations you can undertake now is strengthening the relationship with your banker.

In the event that sales are impacted and cash flow becomes a problem, you want the ability to turn to your banker as a trusted partner who can work with you to manage your way through the rough patch and be part of your resilience when you come out on the other side of the shutdown.

The smartest owners build solid relationships with their banks and bank staffs from the very start and maintain contact to keep them informed of their progress. In good times and bad, your banker is part of your team, and the more acquainted they are with you, the easier it is for them to tailor their resources and services to your needs. Under circumstances you could be facing with the shutdown, banks might be able to help you weather the crunch with lines of credit, special credit cards or other arrangements that vary from bank to bank.

If you haven't developed that quality of relationship yet, it's not too late, but the shutdown is just a few months away and this is something that is best accomplished in advance.

This is an ideal time to schedule an appointment with Jack Parker, the business analyst at the Alexandria Small Business Development Center. As a retired banker, Parker knows how bankers operate and what they expect to see from the businesses they serve. Parker will review your financials with you and help you make the best presentation of your circumstances. If your financial records are lacking, he will advise you on what you need to do to bring them up to the standard that bankers expect. One of the biggest pitfalls in business-banking relationships is inaccurate or inadequate recordkeeping.

Consultations with Parker are conducted in confidence and without cost to businesses lo- cated in Alexandria city limits. These sessions resemble coaching before an interview, and are done before your discussions with your banker. Even those owners who feel they have a great rapport with their banker are well-served by candid and regular consultations with Parker.

A distinguishing characteristic of Alexandria's SBDC is its banking expertise and long-term partnerships with local bankers. Those bankers often refer prospective borrowers to the center to obtain guidance and have found that center-assisted applicants are typically much better prepared and are therefore much better credit risks. That has enabled the SBDC to facilitate $80 million in capital investments over its history.

Whether a business owner needs financing, a line of credit or other assistance, it behooves them to have a strong and confidential partnership with their bank. The SBDC can help Alexandria business owners develop such relationships and better manage the financials of their businesses.

The writer is executive director of Alexandria's Small Business Development Center. The SBDC can be reached at www.


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