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Should Small Businesses Start Hiring Again Or Fear the Future?

Posted on May 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

Many small business fear expansion right now, they fear hiring additional employees, and they are completely worried about the future. Should they be? We know that community banks are worried and there are not a lot of small business loans going on right now. Indeed, as a former franchisor before retirement it is my contention that I wouldn’t pour money into a small business right now, much less touch it with a ten-foot pole. Let me explain;

Why would you want to start a business where you had to hire people with all the new Obama administration rules, and this latest AFO-CIO appointment to the Department of Labor is scary too, it’s going to be really tough on small businesses. Not long ago, I was explaining all this to an acquaintance who was buying an existing business and considering the hiring of a employees to help her in her business and she asked me; “tell me more. My guess is that I would have a couple part-time women.”

So should my acquaintance start her business and hire two part-time employees? Don’t know, no one knows what was in that darn Health Care bill, small business doesn’t know, information flow sucks, the Administration hasn’t said, it’s all vague and NO Small Business Person in their right mind would risk going into business right now knowing they’d hire employees. The President got on TV and made some vague inane speech about how this would help small businesses? No details, none forthcoming, terrible communication job. Terrible – and quite frankly it’s completely and absolutely un-acceptable.

This group of leaders doesn’t know what the heck they are doing. We need a better team, and some common sense behind it. These people have never had to make a payroll in their lives, it ought to be a pre-requisite for public office, how on Earth can anyone believe they can run things without working knowledge of the realities of running a business? Now then, I was reading in some trade journals in various industries all the phase-ins for health care insurance law compliance, it’s a mess.

Worse, it’s going to be an absolute hardship on small business, and medical costs are still rising, and rising, and rising. Over the last decade these costs have outpaced inflation by 10:1 and they just keep going? Hard to say what fuel they are using but we need that for the Space Shuttle – seriously folks, this is a disaster for the business community, and it isn’t going to help anyone, only raise costs.

And people wonder why jobs are not returning? 75% – plus of our jobs are through small business in America, but the politicians are too busy coddling lobbyists of large corporations to even worry about it. It’s all a show, it’s all BS, and until things change, I’d be leery of the unknown or future business risk taking. So, you asked me to tell you more? There you have it. Am I the only person in this whole country that gets it? What the hell are they doing?

The Small Business Administration director hasn’t a clue. My god, this dog and pony show never stops, WTH is going on. And the media hasn’t helped, what small businesses are supposed to go pay an attorney and accountant to tell them the new law changes? Sure, pay the professional parasites to tell you about the “new rules” I mean, do these legislators (all lawyers) even hear themselves think? And as the economy expands and gets back to normal, which jobs come back first? Legal jobs of course, what a totally screwed up system.

So, the business people have to pay lawyers, accountants just to prepare for the law changes, scared out of their wits they might make a mistake and the big bad government is going to fine them, jail them, put them out of business? How do I know this is how it goes? Because I set up 187 franchises serving some 450 cities, I know exactly how small business works and how business people think. Meanwhile, we have a perceived “small business hater” president who never explained the comments about his “joe the plumber” gaf, and although it was blown out of proportion.

That indeed, was a definite psychological hit to small business, one we still haven’t gotten over and we must to insure small business confidence, if we truly want those jobs – I am beginning to think they don’t by the actions of the Obama Administration, but don’t doesn’t understand and Obama’s PR team there is unfortunately too “unwise” to understand, so they laugh it off, and ramrod some BS health care legislation with a 2800 page health care bill, and then Pelosi is on prime time TV and says; “Well, you’ll just have to vote for it to see what’s in the bill.” You have to be kidding me?

Why should small businesses have to contact a lawyer to explain the health care rules? And may I ask with what money are they supposed to pay the $2,000 bill to set it up properly so they don’t get fined? Small businesses have been battling this recession for 35-months now, they are barely hanging on. If you own a small business and “Need the Money” well, get in line, every small business does and there is nowhere to borrow it. No one, me included, or any bank would be foolish enough to take the risk to lend money now. And no one knows what this Administration or Congress is going to do next?

They are unpredictable, perceived unstoppable and willing to shove any 4,000 page bill down America’s throats. And don’t you dare argue with me, next could be Cap and Trade, and energy costs will skyrocket and you’ll be stuck in a business watching your energy costs go up 45%! How about that? Then you can expect shortages and mandatory “Energy Ultra Efficient” equipment which will be required, above your already efficient units, air-conditioning system, solar panels, computers, along with new lighting, above and beyond what you have.

If you don’t you will be fined or shut down. If you cannot or do not want the presence of an attorney one will be appointed, if you want to stay in business the SBA will give you loans, GREAT borrow more money, as they destroy your business, go into more debt, is their answer, interesting, that’s the problem in the first place, the government is broke, now they want all the businesses to be as broke as they are and pay for all their mistakes in higher costs, taxes, fines, and fees. Enough already!

And if you think I am blowing smoke, it could easily happen in the next six to 18-months, and I wouldn’t put anything past this Administration or Congress, they are absolutely out of control. Do you think that if your energy costs tripled in your business you could keep your prices at the current level? Of course not, and if you double your prices, 30% of your customers will not come back, and the others will come less often, easily taking at hit of 40-50% in revenues? Well, think it can’t happen?

It did in CA when the government imposed rules, raised energy costs, had shortages then black outs, and it happened twice one decade apart. Now tack on health care costs for employees, yourself – mandatory let’s say, because I don’t know, no one does yet, can you then really make money> NO, NO YOU CAN’T. And so you work harder, lay off your employees who stop shopping – no money – and other businesses suffer because unemployment is so high. See what’s happening? Where we are headed?

You want me to tell you more? Sure, I could go on for 48-hours straight, with examples in the real world of what happens when government gets a stick up their rear-ends into what is supposed to be a free market economy like the USA. End of rant, end of article.

Please consider all this.

A Small Business Advisor Makes Good Business Sense

Posted on May 29, 2019 in Uncategorized

Let’s face it. When you’re first starting up a business, you need help and advice. Even if you have an MBA from Harvard or are an experienced entrepreneur, you need someone to bounce ideas off of and check in with to make sure you’re on track for business success.

Technically, there are only three times during the life of your business when you absolutely need a small business coach: when you’re first starting up, when you’re ready to grow and expand, and when you’re ready to move on.

What do most people do? They hire one small business coach to help them start up. Then, they hire another specialty coach when they’re ready to expand and, finally, another business transition coach to help them close out their business.

That’s three different coaches for three different stages. And, each time you hire a different business coach, you lose continuity. Is that really what you want?

After all, your start-up coach has been with you from the very beginning, through thick and thin. She knows everything about you and your business. She’s walked with you through your fears, she’s pulled from you the heart of your business plan, and she knows what dreams you secretly hold for your business.

Do you have any idea how valuable that kind of knowledge is?

Well, let’s say you phase out your relationship with your start-up coach, and it takes you 40 hours to bring your next business coach up to speed. At approximately $200 per hour, that’s at least $8,000. And we haven’t even added a dollar amount for your valuable time spent “training” your new coach.

At that price, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to have one business coach who could start up your business, help it grow, and stay with it through its entire life cycle?

Enter, the small business advisor.

What to Look for in a Small Business Advisor

Why do we treat hiring a business coach differently from hiring a financial advisor? You don’t hire three different financial advisors-one at the beginning of your investment years, one in the middle, and another when you retire-do you? No, you hire one financial advisor with the intent of maintaining a lifetime relationship with him, from beginning investments to retirement dividends.

The same should be considered when hiring a business coach. Instead of thinking “business coach”, think “business advisor.” Instead of thinking “short-term coach”, think “long-term relationship” with a small business advisor who can be with you through the entire life of your business.

Do you think that’s impossible? Think again!

A small business advisor is the golden egg of small business know-how. She’s not only capable of helping you write your business plan, she can carefully analyze your business circumstances, assess the business market environment, and help you develop a long-term strategic plan that will take you from start-up to exit plan.

Some small business coaches are actually small business advisors, whether or not the title “advisor” is on their business card. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to find out whether or not the coach you’re considering has the desire and the skills to work with your business from beginning to end.

A skilled small-business advisor has the training and insight to:

· Understand your goals, your dreams, and your reasons for starting up, growing, and transitioning your business.

· Create a small business growth strategy that meets your short and long-term needs.

· Understand the nature of business and offer wise counsel and continuous monitoring that will help ensure that your small business is positioned for success whether the market is booming or fraught with uncertainty.

Best yet, she is someone you can trust who will be with you from start to finish.

What You Can Expect from a Small Business Advisor

First and foremost: a comprehensive approach.

The first thing she’ll do is sit down with you in order to obtain a thorough understanding of your current business situation and find out what you want to accomplish.

Much like a financial advisor, your small business advisor will ask you questions about your current business, the future of your business, your growth timeline, the level of risk you’re comfortable with, and the return you expect to get when you sell your business.

Periodically, your small-business advisor will meet with you to revisit your business strategy to make sure your business is on track. She’ll also work with you to make any necessary adjustments. That way, you can be sure to reach your business goals.

Just as having a financial advisor manage your investment portfolio makes good financial sense, having a small business advisor who offers a comprehensive, long-term approach makes good business sense. A trusted small business advisor can add an enormous amount of value by guiding you through the many complicated business challenges you’ll face from start to finish.

So, take advantage of all the expertise your small business advisor has to offer. Share your dreams and goals with her to build a valuable relationship that goes beyond traditional small business coaching to encompass the whole life of your business.

Pittsburgh Accounting – How To Find The Best Accounting Firm In Pittsburgh For Your Small Business

Posted on May 28, 2019 in Uncategorized

If you are looking for the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business, here are five definitive facts about the city and five sure-fire ways to find the accounting firm there that best meets your small business needs.

Pittsburgh — The Most Livable City In The U.S. Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania’s second largest city, population 311,647. The seven county area surrounding the city boasts a population of 2,354,957. Allegheny County, which includes Pittsburgh, is by far the biggest and most prosperous. In these seven counties, there are over 1,000 accounting firms, 40% of which are in Pittsburgh. Over half of them cater to small businesses.

In 2005 and again in 2009, The Economist ranked Pittsburgh the top most livable city in the United States. In 2007, Pittsburgh claimed the number one spot in Places Rated Almanac. In 2010, both Forbes Magazine and Yahoo! had Pittsburgh at the top of their lists. Entrepreneur Magazine ranked Pittsburgh as one of the best for entrepreneurs.

Pittsburgh –The City Of Bridges. Pittsburgh is the world record holder for bridges with 446 of them contained entirely within the city limits. These bridges cross the Allegheny River from the northeast and the Monongahela River from the southeast to form the Ohio River and the Downtown area of the city known as the Golden Triangle. They link the city to the four areas surrounding it, namely the North Side/North Hills, the South Side/South Hills, the East End and the West End. Four interstates (I-376, I-79, I-279 and I-579), known to Pittsburghers as the Parkway East, the Parkway West, the Parkway North and Crosstown and two major expressways (Route 28 and Route 22) connect 237 boroughs and 202 townships with each other and with Downtown Pittsburgh.

Most of the larger accounting firms serving Pittsburgh’s major corporations are in Downtown Pittsburgh. However, virtually all of the accounting firms serving the city’s ever-growing small business population are located in the areas north, south, east and west of the city. These firms serve small businesses in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County and also offer their services to the other six counties that make up the Greater Pittsburgh Area. The small business accounting firms in these areas have deep-seated ties to the community, the people and the businesses residing there.

Pittsburgh — A City Transformed. Thirty years ago, Pittsburgh was a dirty, smoky steel town, known as the Steel City, because of its predominance as a mighty steel-making hub. When that industry collapsed and Pittsburgh lost its manufacturing base, its blue-collar workers and corporate giants like Westinghouse, Gulf Oil, Koppers and Rockwell International, the city faced its first economic crisis in more than a century. To its credit, though, the city transformed like none other in the country and emerged twenty years later as a thriving white-collar metropolis.

Today, Pittsburgh is still a steel city. US Steel, the 10th largest steel company in the world, is headquartered there. Allegheny Technologies, a world-class steel maker, has eight manufacturing plants in the region. The city still employs 7,000 steel workers and another 12,000 in the primary metals sector. Though the area lost 100,000 manufacturing jobs in the last 30 years, that sector is still one of the biggest contributors to the region’s economy. What changed is how diversified that sector is now. Cutting-edge companies in life sciences, robotics, information technology and research have joined ranks with eight Fortune 500 companies. Health care, education, research, financial services and entertainment/tourism are the newly emerging industries that are driving revenue and employment for the region.

One of the fastest-growing fields supporting the city’s transformation to a white-collar economy is accounting. This is especially true as the city continues to move away from industry to service and technology. Many of the newly emerging companies across all sectors of the local economy are small businesses. Though there are already over 400 accounting firms in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County alone servicing those businesses, that number increases dramatically as you move into the other seven counties surrounding the city.

Pittsburgh — A City Of Growth. The local economy mirrors the nation’s economy as it continues to battle the recession. However, the region has fared better than most places in the country and is poised for substantive growth in 2011. Economists from the city’s largest financial institutions predict that the Greater Pittsburgh Area will add 13,000 new jobs this year. Unemployment is expected to drop below eight percent as larger corporations begin to hire and newly established businesses begin to grow. Additional hiring will also be evident as new companies locate there.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the city’s largest employer, is currently in a hiring mode. Retail giants like Dick’s Sporting Goods and General Nutrition Center (GNC) are growing. Google now operates a 40,000 square foot office in Pittsburgh and recently announced plans for expansion. Marcellus Shale natural gas will be a major contributor to the local economy. The Cultural Arts, including film production, continues to blossom and dozens of new information technology firms are emerging to support the growing research activity at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie-Mellon University.

Most of the new companies being created in the area are small businesses supporting these major industries. As the area grows, these businesses will grow as well and their need for more specialized accounting services will become increasingly evident. Presently, accountant firms in the Pittsburgh area offer 18 different types of accounting to small businesses, income tax accounting and project accounting to name a few.

Pittsburgh — The City Of Champions. Pittsburgh is home to three major league franchises — the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Two of those teams have graced the city with championships, the Steelers winning six Super Bowl titles and the Penguins winning three Stanley Cups. Thanks to the ingenious idea of a beloved Pittsburgh sportscaster and his Terrible Towel, the Steelers have given Pittsburgh fans reason to proclaim their hometown pride by simply waving their Terrible Towel. This marketing icon singlehandedly created Steeler Nation, a brotherhood of loyal fans across the country that has quietly and selflessly raised millions of dollars for a local charity in Pittsburgh.

This hometown pride, this brotherhood, this spirit of generosity is championed in almost every neighborhood and community in the Greater Pittsburgh area. Pittsburghers are proud, industrious, friendly and generous people. Many of them have lived in their hometown for years and have established hundreds of small businesses to support their families, their communities and the city they call home. Accounting firms throughout the area have their roots in these same neighborhoods and have managed to successfully guide and support these businesses and the local communities and organizations they serve. Because of their efforts, these small businesses continue to prosper.

With a good working knowledge of the city, its economy and its people, you can easily find the accounting firm in Pittsburgh that best meets your small business needs. Here are five sure-fire ways to help you do that.

Pay close attention to your location and the location of the accounting firm with whom you choose to work. Pittsburgh is a large metropolitan city with over 400 neighborhoods and communities as diverse as the people living there. These neighborhoods and communities are what make Pittsburgh unique and it is important that you find an accounting firm who knows these places and the businesses that reside there. Pittsburgh is also a city, like many other big cities in the country, plagued with traffic jams, construction delays and bad weather. These conditions cause havoc on the roads in and out of the city at any time in the course of a regular business day. Don’t waste time driving all the way across town to meet with your accountant. Besides, if your accounting firm is close to you, they should be willing to come to your place of business.

Focus your attention on only those firms in Pittsburgh specializing in small business accounting. Small business accounting firms keep track of salaries and wages, deductions for federal, state and local taxes and Social Security, utility costs, maintenance, depreciation, amortization, interest and rent. They also prepare your tax returns and administer payroll, health insurance and 401K retirement programs. These are the responsibilities you will want your accounting firm to handle for you. If they can also provide sales, marketing and financial services to meet the ever-growing needs of your small business, so much the better.

Think about the things you know you want to receive from your accounting firm on a regular basis. Do you want them to reconcile your business checking account each month so that you know how your business is doing and you can manage your cash more effectively? Do you want an income statement itemizing your revenue and expenses every month or every quarter so that you can determine how effectively your business is performing? Do you want to receive a balance sheet giving you a snapshot of the financial condition of your business at any specific point in time so that you have the proper financial reporting to give to banks, investors and vendors who are considering how much credit to give you? Any accounting firm in Pittsburgh that professes to be a small business accounting firm should be able to provide you with all of these things as a matter of course, including as many consultations as you might need to run your business effectively and efficiently.

Get answers to all of your questions before you commit to any one accounting firm. Here are questions you might consider asking:

• Where exactly is your accounting firm located in Pittsburgh?
• What accounting services do you provide for small business owners? Can you take care of me and my accounting needs?
• What ties do you have to the community? Have you ever been recognized by your Chamber of Commerce or the Small Business Administration for outstanding service to a small business owner?
• What kind of monthly/quarterly/yearly reports can I expect to receive from you? How will these reports help me to better manage my business? Will I be able to understand them without your help?
• How and in what format will you want to receive information from me? How often will you want that information?
• When I have a question or concern, how best can I communicate with you? How quickly will you respond?
• How can you help me to grow my business?

Begin your search with Google, not the Yellow Pages. Start by searching for “Pittsburgh Accountants” or “Pittsburgh Accounting Firms.” Narrow your search, if necessary, by location and type of accounting services provided; for example, search for “Accounting Firms In Kennedy Township” or “Small Business Accounting In Pittsburgh.”

Realize early on that accounting is the foundation upon which your success, in large part, will be determined. And remember, for the small business owner, it is all about saving time and saving money. Using these five sure-fire ways to find the best accounting firm in Pittsburgh for your small business will save you both and your company’s success depends on it.

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