Categories: Finance

Five Alternative Financing Options

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 23

Getting new business often means needing new financing, which can be difficult now that balance sheets have been roughed up over the past several years. For such companies, it may...

Fixed Indexed Annuities and the Small Business Owner

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 19

Many business owners rely on the success of their business as their sole source of income and retirement savings. Normally, financial advisers recommend diversifying portfolios among stocks and bonds. The...

Three Ways to Make Your Small Business "Bankable"

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 17

Most small businesses turn to banks for credit to smooth out their cash flow, regardless of the economic environment. Securing lines of credit, however, remains a challenge for many companies....

Save Extra Dollars with Tax Planning

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 12

Many business owners miss some areas in which tax planning could help them save. If you are looking for cost-cutting ideas, here are four tax planning tips that may result...

Take Control of Cash Flow

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 29

As a credit manager and former owner of a collection agency, I have seen firsthand that businesses without credit policies in place often suffer—and sometimes even fail. A credit policy...

Before Seeking Outside Funding

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 28

Before business owners look for external sources of funding, my No. 1 piece of advice is to bootstrap (rely on savings, cash flow, and penny-pinching to fund your business, rather...

Set Up a Guaranteed Pension Plan

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 23

Many successful business owners are looking for ways to secure their retirement future. One way is to purchase a pension solution. Whether it involves pretax or post-tax dollars, all growth...

Life Insurance as a Way to Give

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 22

Many business owners look for sensible ways to share their wealth with family and/or charities. Life insurance is an often-overlooked way to multiply gift or legacy dollars. Recently a client...

A Better Family Business Succession

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 16

You own a successful family business. It's time to plan for the next generation. Remember, one out of three family businesses fails in the second generation and the figure is...

Financial 'Spring Cleaning'

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 13

Spring is a good time of year to get your business organized from a financial perspective. We're all required to submit tax returns then. With the first quarter already completed,...

Prepare a Better Tax Strategy for an S Corp

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 08

According to a January 2010 study by the Government Accountability Office, 68 percent of S corporation returns filed for tax years 2003 and 2004 (the years data were available) misreported...

Prepare to Sell Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 07

If you are thinking about selling your business, here are six essential steps to take first: 1. Define objectives and options. As the seller, you must have clearly defined goals...

Improve Your Business's Cash Flow with Technology

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 03

Poor cash-flow management can lead to business failure. Here are four tips for improving it: 1. Create new types of cash revenue. Pre-sell your product or service at a discounted...

Keep Better Records

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 11

Record-keeping for small businesses involves maintaining accurate accounts and evidence of all of your business' transactions. Keeping records allows you to have a general idea of how your business is...

When the IRS Wants to Audit Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 16

Consider this scenario: You are under audit with the IRS or the Franchise Tax Board and are thinking about representing yourself. I suggest you think again. As a former IRS...

Keep a Business Mileage Log for the Tax Deduction

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 18

Business mileage deduction is an easy way for small businesses and their owners to save money on their taxes. The 2011 IRS standard mileage rate is 51¢ per mile. Over...

Get Current with Chinese Currency

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 17

Over the past decade we have seen a tremendous increase in trade between China and the rest of the world. During this time, the vast majority of trade transactions have...

Get the Most out of an ESOP

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 27

The Great Recession ended the golden years for selling a privately held business. This is devastating to many baby boomers who planned on the sale of their businesses to fund...

Renegotiate with Your Vendors

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 25

Most businesses use at least one outside vendor to provide them with a valued service. Some use more than one at a time, depending on the type of business. At...

Secure Alternative Funding: Think Outside the Bank

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 07

In recent years, startups have found it harder to get funding from traditional sources such as banks and venture capitalists. But since the need for cash grows with the company,...

Get a Loan to Buy Commercial Real Estate

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 14

Now is a great time to buy, renovate, or refinance the real estate you need to expand your businesses. There is a surplus of well-priced commercial real estate on the...

Get the Capital You Need

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 13

Small business owners who've made it through the Great Recession have already proved their worth to lenders. That real-world success is very attractive. While credit is still tight, the recently...

Three Ways to Help Secure an SBA Loan

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 09

The Small Business Jobs Bill signed by President Obama in September offers good news for small business owners seeking Small Business Administration financing. The new law extends the SBA loan...

Get Maximum Value from Your Consultants

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 08

Many small businesses count on professional services from companies and individual consultants to supplement their in-house expertise and capabilities. Some of these relationships contribute enormously to business success while others...

Five Tax Strategies to Take Advantage of Now

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 06

Small businesses are being inundated with news about recent tax deductions, incentives, pending and adopted legislation, and whether or not the Bush tax cuts could expire. With such an extensive...

Show Investors What Makes Your Business Special

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 15

Over the course of my career, I've seen some brilliant business ideas, as well as a fair share that I knew didn't stand a chance for success. I've been on...

Demystifying Venture Capital

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 26

Venture capital became a darling asset class for institutional investors throughout the 1990s. More and more capital flowed into rapidly growing funds. Many venture firms attempted to take on the...

When to Seek Funding

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 25

Many entrepreneurs dream of raising capital right out of the gate. The reality is that most must bootstrap their startup long before an angel investor or venture capital firm will...

Private Equity Isn't Dead

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 11

Buyers of private companies are normally strategic acquirers or private equity investors. Historically, strategic buyers have paid a premium for acquisition, because they can use their existing business to cut...

Two Ways to Improve Your Investor Pitch

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 18

At our mentor capital consultancy, one of the most frequent needs our clients bring forward is the need to achieve funding. While we can direct them to a variety of...

Improve Equity Compensation Management

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 17

When the financial accounting standard No. 123 was revised in 2004, it changed the equity management landscape in myriad ways. Ostensibly, FAS 123(R) was designed to simplify equity reporting and...

Hedge Against Currency Meltdowns

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 13

The recent meltdown of the euro, which was sparked by economic woes in Greece, alerted many business owners of the importance of developing solid foreign exchange strategies. You, too, can...

Tax Planning Considerations for Your Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 04

A common priority for business owners is attempting to reduce their tax liability during peak earning and profit-generating years. Below are a few tips that may help you minimize the...

Don't Neglect Your Personal Balance Sheet

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 03

Small business owners frequently have their entire lives—including their personal finances—wrapped up in their business. Some owners may even make the mistake of investing their full net worth in their...

Your Business Shouldn't Be Your Retirement Plan

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 02

All too often, business owners lack knowledge of the true value of their business. Moreover, many may not truly understand the cost of financial independence, or the money needed to...

Building Your Business With the End in Mind

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 05

I see many successful business owners become so immersed with the day-to-day needs of their company that they give little thought to how and when they will ultimately leave their...

Prepare Your Exit Plan

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 04

The current economy has forced many business owners to postpone their exit date and focus on short-term challenges. While it's natural and necessary to address urgent issues, it's also imperative...

Prepare Your Business for Sale

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 03

Selling your business is likely the largest financial transaction you will ever make. This is not the time to take short cuts, and it is critical use the same care...

The Case for Seller Financing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 30

Financing a business purchase can be a difficult task for potential buyers. If you're planning to sell your business, offering seller financing will certainly help make your business more attractive...

Take Advantage of Unused R&D and AMT Credits

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 28

If your company has unused research and development (R&D) or alternative minimum tax (AMT) credits from pre-2006 tax years, you may have a decision to make while preparing your 2009...

Use the Recovery Act's Loss Carryback Provision

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 06

The 2009 tax deadline is quickly approaching. Balancing the demands of running your business with preparing a complicated tax return can be a daunting task, especially with new tax laws...

Nice Guys Really Can and Do Finish First

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 30

Most investors will tell you that when listening to a pitch for investment money, the one aspect that's as important if not more important than the product or service the...

Know Your Investors

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 29

Many entrepreneurs ask me about the best way to approach an investor to seek funding for their business ideas. This is an extremely important question, but you would be surprised...

Align Your Business and Personal Planning

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 19

Through the economic downturn, a majority of business owners lost wealth in the form of business value and at least as many lost personal wealth in the stock market. For...

Tax Planning for Family Business Succession

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 02

One of the central challenges facing small business owners is how to keep ownership of the business in the family. Studies have shown that less than a third of small...

Ways to Avoid Needing External Investors

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 01

Bootstrapping, the practice of avoiding external investors when building your business, is a popular approach for small business owners who are seeking to circumvent the current credit crunch. Here are...

Nontraditional Resources for Financing

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 26

Obtaining financing or capital is not impossible these days, but small business owners need to be creative in thinking about where to look for it. Consider these two resources when...

Manage Your Rising State Unemployment Insurance Rate

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 19

Since December 2007, the U.S. economy has lost 6.7 million jobs. The resulting surge in unemployment claims has depleted state unemployment insurance funds and set the stage for substantial increases...

Teach Your Employees about the Bottom Line

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 16

I’ve found that employees typically look out for themselves at the expense of the businesses they work for. They want to keep their jobs and they hope that you run...

All Dollars Are Not Created Equal

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 15

Over the last 30 years as I’ve consulted with businesses around the country, I’ve come to realize that the majority of employees, managers, executives, and business owners think that every...

Essentials in a Buy-Sell Agreement

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 12

Buy-sell agreements are one of the most important and yet often overlooked documents a closely-held business can have in place. This agreement establishes how the business will continue and ownership...

Structure Your Retirement Plan to Attract Top Talent

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 06

If you look at your company retirement plan as a tool to attract the best talent, now is a great time to review your options for improvement. As 2010 begins,...

Make Your Business More Attractive for Financing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 05

If you're looking to obtain financing for your business, a good place to start is to treat your CPA and lender as partners in your financing. To start, you need...

Think Twice Before Investing Everything in Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 04

Too often we see business owners with nearly their entire net worth tied up in their businesses. It make sense, considering most pour their heart and soul into getting their...

What To Consider When Assessing Debt

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 31

It's no big secret, but the economy is struggling, and so are a lot of businesses. I work with a number of companies on a daily basis, and without exception...

A Critical Component of Collections

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 29

In tough economic times it becomes more important than ever to make sure companies that owe you money are paying in a timely fashion. In a down economy, normally reliable...

How to Value Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 02

Determining the value of a business can be a tricky process. But given the ongoing economic downturn, many small business owners across the nation are realizing the critical importance of...

Tips for Tax Time

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 01

In this economic climate, many companies are concerned about their cash tax rates. These planning considerations may reduce your corporate tax bill: 1. Review new expensing rules for capital expenditures....

Employ Foreign Exchange Strategies when Going Global

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 23

Business owners with experience know that doing international business isn't as simple as selling your product in another country. A key consideration when buying and selling overseas is how to...

Create Forecasting for Business Units

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 17

Forecasting seems like a simple idea, yet many entrepreneurs don’t put it into practice. Forecasting is a valuable tool that will give you better control of your business and help...

Assess Customer Profitability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 16

Keeping your current customers and securing new ones may seem difficult enough in the recession. But not every customer is a "good" customer. Some customers could be costing you money....

Establish Daily Forecasting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 13

With just about every business now under pressure to lower prices, it is more important than ever for business owners to know their real costs. What are the daily forecasts...

Measure Current Performance

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 12

In today’s tough economy, every dollar counts. Yet do you know how your business is really performing? How your company might compare to the norms for your industry? Many entrepreneurs...

The Basics on Financing Your Own Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 04

With the unemployment rate hovering near double digits, a growing number of people are viewing job loss as that "karmic kick in the pants" to try something new. In fact,...

Trade Terms Can Help Alleviate Your Cash-Flow Concerns

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 16

In a down economy, cash flow is one of the most predictable concerns for nearly every small business owner. Small businesses can significantly ease these worries by understanding how trade...

Multiple Banking Relationships

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 15

Even though news headlines indicate the economy is subtly improving, an important lesson learned by everyone from large to small business over the past year is the need to have...

Two Questions Every Entrepreneur Should Answer

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 09

Every business needs money. As an investor, I've developed a good understanding of what to look for in pitches for investment money. Often, what business owners and entrepreneurs seeking money...

Two Essential Business Ratios

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 29

There are key business ratios that you should use to measure your strengths, weaknesses, and overall success. Using these ratios periodically can help identify and correct weaknesses while building upon...

Determining Your Company's Valuation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 08

Whether you're an owner-operator among the 12 million baby boomers poised for retirement or a young entrepreneur considering net worth, getting a read on your business' valuation can be a...

Small Businesses Still Have Options for Financing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 03

Much has been reported in the news to suggest that the availability of outside financing for small businesses has tightened or dried up completely. But this is not the case....

How to Write a Loan Proposal

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 01

At one time or another, most small business owners seek loans to fund their companies. Approval of a loan request often depends on how well you present yourself, your business...

How to Cope with Credit Issues

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 22

Savvy small business owners are finding ways to cope with credit issues and keep capital flowing. Here are some ideas: • First and foremost, don't panic. The evidence suggests that...

Dealing with Bad Check Headaches

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 19

If you get a bad check from a customer, here are some tips on how to collect: • Call the Customer. Call the customer and ask that he or she...

Avoiding Bad-Check Headaches

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 15

Dealing with bad checks can be a big headache for small businesses. That's why the easiest way to handle bad checks is to make sure that customers don't write them...

What's Your Exit Strategy in Today's Market?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 28

As part of the small business life cycle, at any given time there is a flow of owners looking for an exit as their operations mature and reach new stages....

Approach Chinese Incentives with Caution

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 02

For years, foreign investors took advantage of the various incentives local and central Chinese government authorities used to attract investment. But with the passage of new tax laws, this landscape...

Be Careful When Cost-Cutting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 21

As the economic slowdown continues to affect industries of all kinds, many small-business owners have cost-cutting measures in mind. These are moments where cost cuts should be handled with caution....

Take Advantage of Bargains from Businesses in Trouble

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 14

If you have the cash and warehousing space to take advantage of bargains from distressed or failed businesses, now is the time to do so. Do not hesitate to ask...

Get the Most out of Vendor Financing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 06

Know that vendors can sometimes play a significant role in financing a new business. Partners in one startup persuaded vendors to give them "net-30" terms in order to stock a...

Where to Search for Funding Now

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 05

If your small business is in need of funding, be sure to think outside the box when it comes to locating funds. You might start by contacting your state, county,...

Finding and Keeping a Bank

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 02

Small business banking doesn't have to be a daunting. Here are five tips to help ensure that finding and keeping a bank is a smooth process: • Understand the basics....

Approaching Your Bank

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 01

Here are five items to consider before you approach your bank for financing: • Understand that your primary responsibility is the proper use of capital and that you are in...

Conserving Capital

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 31

The first step to conserving capital is to know what drives your business. Determine your primary business of units sold, customers sold, average order, hours billed, etc. Pricing should be...

Determining Who Might Buy Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 08

First, determine what type of small business you are. If your net profits are below $1 million and your gross revenues are below $3 million, you may be a "mom...

Keeping Your Capital Flowing During a Credit Crisis

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 18

As dismal as things may sometimes seem, it is possible to make your small business thrive even when credit is tight. Here are seven keys to keeping your capital flowing:...

Avoid the Greatest Loan Risk

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 14

The greatest risk in working with any lender is that you will get the poorest and the most expensive loan available. Since it is hard to find out this information...

Where to Find Microloans

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 11

Whether you are a startup company or a small business that is growing, the SBA Microloan Program may be just right for you. The SBA funds nonprofit, community-based lenders to...

How to Borrow Money in Tough Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 10

We are living in interesting times, but as small business owners, that does not mean we can suspend what we need to do, reset the game, or choose not to...

Retailers: Surviving the Credit Crunch

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 07

For retailers, the current credit crisis means the majority of customers will be putting a much-reduced spending limit on their purchases. As a result, retailers will see a change in...

Manufacturers: Surviving the Credit Crunch

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 06

When credit markets fail, it becomes a cash and carry world. The credit crunch extends to small businesses in a very direct way: You will have a harder time getting...

Surviving a Downturn

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 28

No one likes to think about a downturn in business. But if it happens, the sooner you react, the better. Here are some tips on what to do to handle...

Tips for Setting Up a Cash Reserve

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 13

If you're looking to generate a cash reserve, the most important thing is to create a habit of saving each week. Start by adding up all your monthly expenses, so...

Should You Use a Finder to Obtain Venture Capital?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 01

For early-stage entrepreneurs looking to obtain venture capital, an important decision to make is whether to use a finder. A finder (aka broker) is someone who offers to help an...

Securing Venture Capital Funding

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 30

If you want to obtain venture capital, spend the time to understand the following criteria, plan, then work hard to present your investment opportunity in the best possible light. Keep...

How To Select Accounting Software For Your Small Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 16

Here's a step-by-step approach to help you decide which program can best serve your business accounting needs: 1. Determine and create a list of the specific types of accounting functions...

Tax-Free Medical Expenses for Business Owners

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 15

If you are a regular C corporation, owners can benefit from receiving tax-free medical expenses paid through the company. However, if you're a sole proprietor, partnership, or an S corporation,...

Your Pricing Is Probably Wrong

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 14

Your product is most likely priced wrong. The only way to know if it is priced right is to know the production and support costs and add on the profitability....

Online Banking Payment Options Can Build Customer Loyalty for Retailers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 25

Consumers have more options than ever when shopping online. Retailers must continue to adapt to offer options that will satisfy customer demands, and keep them coming back for return orders....

The Appeal of Cash-Based Payment Options

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 21

According to a survey conducted by eBillme and Market Platform Dynamics, 64% of small businesses shop and bank online. Convenience and the ability to compare prices make online shopping an...

What Investors Will Consider When Evaluating Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 13

Once you've decided your business needs funding, investors will need to carry out due diligence before finalizing their investments. Though all investors have their own particular considerations when deciding whether...

What to Consider When Looking at Potential Investors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 06

So you've made the big decision to look for an investor to hold a stake in your company. The timing is perfect—you don't need the capital just yet, but as...

How to Make Your Business Investor-Ready

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 04

If you want to ensure that the best financiers are interested in investing in your small business, you need to take charge of the process and make sure you're investment-ready....

What Return on Investment Means in Mergers and Acquisitions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 06

There is a staggering difference between the return on investment (ROI) that a venture capitalist seeks (some more than 50% per year) and the ROI a large company may seek...

The Best Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 22

These days, there is a retirement plan to fit nearly anyone's lifestyle. Just consider a few basicsethe amount of disposable cash available to fund your plan annually, your age, the...

Can Your Lawyer Handle Venture-Capital Financing?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 16

To complete a venture-capital financing deal, you need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of VC financing. This is no time for an inexperienced lawyer to learn something...

Issuing Stock

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 11

Issuing stock to shareholders, even in a very small corporation, is a complicated process. And if your company is public now or will be in the future, there are a...

What Are Employment Taxes?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 09

Small business owners often have great responsibilities while operating and managing a business. Before you become an employer and hire employees, you need a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). If...

Tax Answers for Home-Based Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 19

When you start your own business, your tax situation will change dramatically. Many new business owners get overwhelmed with the tax laws and regulations that govern their new venture. Luckily...

Cleaning Up Your Company's Bad Credit Profile

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 05

How bad is your company's credit? You may not think about it much, but you can bet your suppliers do. A bad credit rating can damage your company in several...

How Do I Contact Angel Investors?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 19

Getting your business plan in front of the right people often takes an introduction by a third party so that it gets the attention it deserves. Do your research and...

What Is the Advantage of a Secured Line of Credit?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 11

For business owners looking for some financial flexibility, one of the more inviting options is a secured line of business credit. Such a line of credit provides a business owner...

Dealing with Bounced Checks

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 10

When you accept a check as payment for goods or services, you do so with the faith that the customer has money in their account to cover it. When they...

Bank Loans for Small Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 03

Traditionally, banks are conservative with their investment dollars. Unlike many venture capitalists or angel investors, they are far more likely to approve a loan for an established business over a...

Five Tips for Avoiding Undercapitalization of Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 02

Undercapitalization, or lack of sufficient operating capital, simply means the money has run out. The concept is simple, but the root causes of undercapitalization are more complex. Knowing the factors...

How to Qualify for Franchise Loans Even with Bad Credit

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 19

Having bad credit makes it harder to qualify for a franchise loan, but it's not impossible. If you have bankruptcies combined with lots of judgments and tax liens against you,...

How to Survive the New Credit Crunch

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 17

If you breathed a deep sigh of relief, believing you escaped financial fireworks set off by the mortgage madness, that relaxing exhale may have been premature. Chances are you will...

The Structure of a Venture Capital Investment

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 12

A typical venture capital investment is structured so that the venture capitalist gets convertible preferred stock in your company. This stock gives the venture capitalist preference over the common shareholders...

Selling Your Business: Entity Sale vs. Asset Sale

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 27

When selling a business you have two options: You can opt either for an "entity sale" or an "asset sale." Making the right choice between the two can help minimize...

How to Apply for an SBA Loan

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 16

In order to be eligible for an Small Business Administration Loan, you must have applied and been turned down for a conventional loan by a commercial lender. By law, the...

Issuing Stock

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 13

Issuing stock to shareholders, even in a very small corporation, is a complicated process. And if your company is public now or will be in the future, there are a...

Old-School Finance Lessons

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 09

As hard as it is to admit sometimes, Mom and Dad usually do know best. From relationships to finances, Mom and Dad kept it simple and benefited because of it....

When to Retire

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 05

The gap between what many business owners say they will need for retirement and what they actually have saved is considerable but the picture does not need to look bleak....

New Business Budget

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 03

Preparing a budget, particularly when starting a new business, isn't just a good idea—it's vital to your success. Here are some tips to help get you on the right path...

Accrual and Cash Accounting Methods

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 02

As a new small-business owner you must make a decision between using accrual or cash accounting methods. Regardless of which method you choose, you must use it consistently. The accrual...

Avoiding Cash Crunches

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 17

A company's cash flow is its lifeblood. Without a steady stream flowing in and out, you run the risk of damaging your credit and stalling the growth of your business....

Successful Debt Collection

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 10

A key to successful debt collection is the assumption that most people are honest and want to pay you. That means you need to treat customers with respect during the...

Should You Pay Points on Mortgage Loans?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 29

In real estate lingo, a point is one percentage point of the overall loan that is paid up-front, typically at the time of closing. For example, if you are borrowing...

Making a VC Partnership Work

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 18

I'm often asked by entrepreneurs what it takes to make a partnership with a venture capitalist work. To them it often seems like all VCs want is results, results, results....

Ways to Prevent Overdue Accounts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 17

The best way to prevent overdue accounts is to avoid doing business with customers who have bad credit histories. If it were only that simple. If you limited yourself to...

Give Investors Realistic Expectations

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 11

Always provide your investors or potential investors with realistic outlines of the time and resources it will take to complete a product or project. Investors will always look for aggressive...

Navigating an Unpredictable Income

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 01

All businesses are going to experience some ups and downs. It is the nature of the beast of being in business. Here are two ways to help navigate an unpredictable...

What VCs Don't Want

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 21

Business plans go into the "no" pile for many reasons. Here are three "ratio pitfalls" to avoid when seeking funding from venture capitalists. 2:3:1 Two to three minutes per slide?...

Start Your Tax Prep Now

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 18

Putting off doing your taxes only increases the likelihood that you will make needless mistakes and miss legitimate deductions you could be taking. Start with last year's tax return. If...

Avoiding an Audit

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 11

Of the more than 100 million tax returns submitted to the IRS each year, fewer than 2 million are subject to closer examination. But the more money you make, the...

Successful Cash-Flow Management

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 27

Cash management is ultimately about cash flow—and very few small businesses are awash in cash. Even successful, growing companies are vulnerable to cash-flow problems because they tend to add employees...

Researching a Company's Payment History or Bankruptcy Record?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 13

There are three national credit reporting agencies that do credit checks on businesses from which you can learn about a company's payment history or bankruptcy record: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion....

Tax Accounting Is Not Enough

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 11

Investors, lenders, and buyers want your financial records to show more than revenues, expenses, and net profits. Too often, bookkeepers and accountants focus solely on tax issues, and provide your...

Buying a Company for Growth

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 07

When buying a company for growth, look only at the three success factors: • Customer type and share • Market share and size • Rapid-growth opportunities Do not get distracted...

Preparing Financials

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 04

If you plan to raise or borrow money or sell your business, forget annual statements. When undertaking such transactions, you will undoubtedly be asked for more detailed information. So, before...

Start Budgeting Now

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 21

Think of a budget as a useful tool—a written financial plan that helps you set goals and measure progress To start budgeting, come up with a sales revenue target. Make...

The Balance Sheet for Small Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 09

Along with the income statement, the balance sheet will provide you with the data necessary to make sound financial decisions. The balance sheet lists the assets and the liabilities of...

Finding Capital

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 07

Understanding the basic types of capital is the first step in knowing where to look for startup or expansion money. The most common sources of commercial loans are banks, savings...

Barter Basics: An Old Idea Gets New Life

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 04

Barter has been around as long as humans have walked the earth. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have a place in a modern economy. In fact, over the past...

Buying an Existing Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 03

If you're considering purchasing an existing business, investigate it just as you would a business startup. Ask yourself: • Do I have experience in this type of business? • Will...

SBA Loans for Home-Based Businesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 28

Getting financing for a new venture is never easy, and finding funding for a home-based sole proprietorship business is even harder. But the Small Business Administration (SBA) has made it...

Paying Yourself

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 26

As a small business owner, deciding what to pay yourself can be a tricky question. You don't want to give yourself so much that you cripple your company or so...

Do You Really Want to Raise Venture Capital?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 25

You think your small business has the potential to become a leader in its segment and experience tremendous growth. You also keep hearing about these young entrepreneurs who raise ridiculous...

Is a Business Loan Taxable Income?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 21

Understanding and interpreting business tax law is a daunting task. First of all, what is "business income"? Basically, if the income has anything to do with your business, whether or...

Credit Lines vs. Credit Cards

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 19

Both lines of credit and borrowing money on your credit cards can be effective ways to finance small-business operations. Both are revolving, and charge interest only on outstanding balances. And...

Benefits of Tax Accounts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 18

Self-employed individuals and owners of pass-through entities (in which the owner, not the business is taxed) should use a "tax account" to accumulate funds for federal and state income taxes....

Beware of Tax Scams

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 11

The IRS announced the "Dirty Dozen" Tax Scams for 2006. New to this year's list is the "zero wages" scam, in which taxpayers filed "corrected" Form 1099s or Form 4852...

Setting Up Your New Business for Tax Time

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 04

It's never too early to start thinking about how to reduce your tax burden. Startups are especially poised to make decisions that can help save them time and money on...

Five Small-Business Grant Resources

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 30

Sometimes even the best business concepts don't come to fruition due to lack of funding. Lending sources may refuse funding for multiple reasons. For example, you could have a strong...

How Do You Determine the Selling Price for Your Business?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 21

Though many formulas and tools can help you determine the selling price for your small business, there is no magic bullet that will come up with the absolute correct price...

The Fastest Way to Finance Your Small Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 20

When you need cash in a hurry, you will find plenty of lenders ready to loan you money at exorbitant rates. Unscrupulous loan brokers routinely prey on small-business owners who...

Understanding Financial Packages

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 19

Loans and venture capital often come in packages—that is, each may have several sources of funding, and one piece of financing may depend on another. Even government programs may require...

Finding a Good Accountant

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 13

The right accountant can minimize your tax bill and find ways to save you money throughout the year. But what makes a good accountant—and where can you find one? Don't...

Tips on Factoring

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 28

Factoring is a way to turn your accounts receivable into cash by selling them to a finance company called a factor. Though it can be expensive, it may fuel your...

Suing a Customer for Nonpayment

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 27

If you find yourself in the unfortunate but common situation where a customer or client has not paid you for services rendered or for merchandise already delivered, you have several...

Conserving Capital

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 26

To conserve capital, start by knowing what drives your business. Determine your primary business of units sold, customers, average order, hours billed, etc. Next, determine your pricing by calculating the...

Alternatives to Selling Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 20

The choice to sell a business often arises from pressures beyond the owner's control. Family responsibilities, partner disputes, lagging prices, and product or market shifts can all take a toll...

Successful Cash-Flow Management

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 15

Cash management is ultimately about cash flow—and very few small businesses are awash in cash. Even successful, growing companies are vulnerable to cash-flow problems because they tend to add employees...

Budgeting Isn't Just for Beginners

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 14

Scorecards and dashboards are popular measurement tools because they reveal the budget issues within a company. While budgeting isn't just for beginners, most people are beginners at budgeting. Budget both...

It's Not Just About Appeasing Lenders

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 13

Small-business owners are often seized by a vision and driven to see it through. Yet a vivid image in the mind's eye is a sketchy road map at best. Creating...

Two Fast and Effective Sources for Gap Financing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 12

The opportunity of a lifetime has landed at your feet. It will make your company. All those long days and sleepless nights will pay off. But there is one problem:...

Preparing for a Tax Audit

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 06

Preparing for an audit is sort of like preparing for a test in school: The IRS informs you of which sections of your tax return the agency wants to examine,...

Take Your Exit Money Now!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 27

At a recent speaking engagement for family business owners, the attendees were very concerned about knowing how and when to exit their companies. After a bit of discussion it became...

The Structure of a Venture Capital Investment

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 26

A typical venture-capital investment is structured so that the venture capitalist gets convertible preferred stock in your company. This stock gives the venture capitalist an advantage over the common shareholders...

Who's the Loser in Family Business Estate Planning?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 25

Estate planning among family business owners is always a hot topic, and the percentage of family business owners who have engaged professionals to assist in the estate planning process has...

Successful Debt Collections

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 24

A first step to successful debt collection is to assume that most people are honest and want to pay you. Treat customers with respect during the collection process and remember...

Understanding Home Office Deductions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 17

Take advantage of every legal opportunity to reduce your taxes. Recent changes in the law benefit business owners who use their homes—whether the home is rented or owned—as an administrative...

Basic Rules for Buying a Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 14

Instead of starting from scratch, you can usually find someone with a business who wants to sell. Buying an established enterprise may be more costly, but it's less risky than...

60-Second Guide to Getting A Loan

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 07

Getting a small business loan is not as easy as saying you have a great idea and holding out your hand. While it is difficult to get a start-up business...

Five Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Loan Faster

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 25

Most homeowners would love nothing more than not to have to put that mortgage check in the mail every month. But trying to pay off your mortgage ahead of schedule...

Key Business Loan Issues

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 12

When you start a business, you generally have two ways to raise capital: loans and equity contributions. There are some obvious disadvantages to loans. They require you, for example, to...

Charge It

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 11

Many customers love to pay with plastic, and accepting credit cards can sometimes be the difference between making or losing a sale. Credit card services are competitive, so shop around...

Finding the Right Venture Capitalist

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 08

Before approaching a venture-capital firm, you should have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve. You are obviously looking for money to help expand your business, but what...

Automobile Expense Deductions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 06

Automobile expenses are one of the major tax deductions for small businesses, and making the right choice about how to deduct them can save you hundreds of tax dollars. The...

Don't Limit Your Financing Options

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 24

Coming up with the money to start a new business is a challenge, but it is not impossible. There are many options, some of which you may not have even...

A Secret the IRS Doesn't Want You to Know

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 23

If you are a regular "C" corporation, owners can benefit from receiving tax-free medical expenses paid through the company. But if you're a sole proprietor, partnership, or an "S" corporation,...

Getting Your Foot in the Door at Venture Capital Firms

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 09

Venture capital firms are inundated with inquiries and business plans, and they are very selective about which companies they take meetings with. The best way to gain access to a...

Finding Funding Off the Beaten Path

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 02

If you know where to look, there are a variety of funding options available to help your small business succeed. Check out these resources: The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance...

Small Business Loans & Grants

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 03

Keep in mind the following when looking for state and local funding options to help your business succeed: 1. Consider city, county, or state assistance programs for qualified small businesses....

Tax-Free Medical Expenses Through the Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 30

Owners of a regular "C" corporation can benefit from receiving tax-free medical expenses paid through the company. But if you're a sole proprietor, partnership, or an "S" corporation, these same...

Find Funding Off the Beaten Path

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 23

If you know where to look, there are a variety of funding options available to help your small business succeed. Check out these resources: The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance...

A Helping Hand at Tax Time

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 12

Micro-business owners and the self-employed manage every aspect of their business themselves -- including doing the business' taxes. With all the tax forms, deduction qualifications, and exceptions to the rules,...

Five Tips to Speed Up Tax Filing

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 05

1. What's in a filing date? Tax returns or an extension must be filed by Apr. 15. However, all taxpayers can get an automatic extension by filing Form 4868, which...

Question the Numbers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 14

You can't believe the financial results that come out of your software system. Those numbers need to be reviewed and questioned. My favorite managers are the ones who look at...

Estate Plans Are Not Succession Plans

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 25

You don't have to die to win! So much of traditional family-business planning revolves around death issues that the plans don't answer one important question: What if you live? The...

There's Safety in Numbers

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 22

A company needs a team of five full-time employees (this includes the founders) or more before venture capitals typically will invest. Too few employees make an unstable company and cannot...

What VCs Want

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 16

Make sure that your products have an exceptionally high gross margin. Venture capital investors have learned that products need a minimum of 67% gross margin to pay for -- and survive...

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Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.

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