Wenatchee Office located at 238 Olds Station Road, Wenatchee. By appointment call 509-888-7252 or email jim.fletcher@wsbdc.org

Friday, March 29, 2013

Health Care Excise Taxes Effective in 2014

I received this link to an article by Grant Thornton regarding businesses with 50 or more FTE employees.   Excise Taxes under health care reform  The requirements are getting more challenging to follow, calculating the FTE includes all employees who average 30 hours per week; hours worked during 2013 will be the base for calculating 2014 FTEs.  Sever Excise Tax penalties.

Very few people can explain how this all fits together, thus it is best to seek advise from several sources including: HR specialist, CPA, insurance program managers, attorneys.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Mobile Marketing Basics

People are using mobile phone to purchase almost everything and they are doing so at their convenience. According to Chetan-Sharma Consulting during 2012 consumers purchased $7 Billion in goods and services using Mobile devises and Paypal. Plus $5 Billion in purchases using a Mobile phone adaptor called Square.

If your customers cannot find your business on their Mobile devices they are possibly shopping someplace else. A few basic steps can at least get your business a presence:

Create A Mobile Web Page

Small screens display less information than a traditional web site. Graphics and pictures will not look good on a small screen. Text that was easy to read may become illegible. Mobile devices are about convenience and what the customer wants to know immediately. Some of the most frequently searched information are street addresses, store hours, phone number, list of services and link to your website.

Post Your Business Location

In addition to your street address, get your business location on Google maps. It is estimated that one third of all mobile searches are looking for a local source. Location will influence the results on Google search to show the closest stores to the customer’s present location. To place or update your business location on Google Maps go to www.google.com/places

Customer’s Convenience

Mobile devices enable people to check their email at any time and place. People sitting in a waiting room, on a bus, airport terminal, or walking in the park can keep in contact. This implies that email messages should be short and focused to be easily read and understood. Unfortunately, this also implies customers what more information faster, if they cannot get an immediate answer to their question they are likely to try someone else.

Texting is Big

Texting is compatible with all mobile phones and is the most often used form of communication on a mobile phone. Allow you customers to sign up to receive text messages a method to receive notices of specials, announcements or reminders of their appointment. Integrate texting codes into your entire marketing strategy. Whatever media you choose for advertising should include your text address

Mobile Apps

Apps are much more than games. A business App can enhance customer relationships and loyalties. Business Apps essentially place the entire business on the customer smart phone speed dial. At present the use of Business Apps appears to be strongest with very frequent customers.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Before you Sign That Lease

There are countless items that business owners should consider before signing a lease and starting a business, (like making sure the revenues and cash flow support it!) but here are six details to be aware of in negotiating a commercial space.

Read and understand the entire lease.

A lease is a legal document and what you don’t know will hurt, ask for clarification on everything you don’t understand. Once signed, the written word is binding, verbal statements are not.

A typical commercial lease may have almost 40 sections, not including any riders or addendum's, and it can be difficult to comprehend what the terms and different options mean. Taking the time to read through and analyze a prospective lease can save you time and money in the long run. It may also allow you to add in items that clarify and give you better control of your costs.

Obtaining legal counsel now may save stress and much bigger legal costs later.

Everything is negotiable.

It is important to understand that all things can be negotiable (within reason): rent, base rent, square footage, improvements, lighting, signage, lease terms, options, deposits, possession dates, and more. You may have more success if you look for a few important items that influence your costs.

The full cost of rent, maintenance, parking, utilities must fit within your budget. Above all...if you have not developed a cash flow budget, balance sheet and projections, do not sign anything until you are sure that the business revenues can support a lease payment.

Seek to limit your share of Triple Net costs including: Common area maintenance charges; Property taxes passed through; and Insurance on the overall building and property that is owned by the landlord including common area liability insurance.

Define all proposed tenant improvements, as well as square footage (usable is typically less than actual) be certain that all uses common to your business are allowed. Tenant improvements that are professionally installed, such as lighting, walls, plumbing, built in equipment, typically become the property of the landlord. However, you may be required to remove and restore the space at your expense upon termination of the lease.

Make certain that all of your business activities are specifically allowed. Understand that some uses can be prohibited because another tenant has a non-compete clause.

Get an exit clause in case the business fails. Consider short term leases, with options to renew so you have options if your business s outgrows the space or the economy gets worse.

Be objective.

The space is available, but may not be the correct location for your business. A tenant can be so in love with a space that they fail to see fatal flaws in the location or costly extras. There will always be another option. It might not be exactly what you are looking for, but there is always another choice. Pause and consider, if this site is so good, what happened to the previous tenant?