If you own a restaurant, plumbing company or other small business, you may be intrigued by the expected expansion of association health plans under a new rule that got a stamp of approval from the Trump administration last week.

Will they meet your needs? Save you money?

Those are important questions for small businesses and self-employed people who struggle to buy affordable insurance for themselves and their workers.

Federal officials say the new rule would help level the playing field for these businesses, giving the kind of flexibility on benefits and leverage to negotiate with providers that large companies may have.

When announcing the policy on June...

May 24, 2018

Virtually every small business owner is familiar with handling stress in the workplace. From financial concerns, multiple responsibilities, working long hours, and balancing work with family life, it can all take a toll on your mental health.

But with risk comes reward, which is why so many Americans still choose to run their own business, be their own boss, do something they love, and control their own schedule—despite the stress that might come with it.

Read on for an overview of recent mental health awareness initiatives, find resources for greater work-life balance, and get 10 tips to help manage stress at work—for you and your employees.

More Awarene...

Are you a new small business owner who needs money to get your startup off the ground? If you’ve been trying to avoid taking out a business loan, you may be approaching it all wrong. At least, that’s the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Corporate Finance.

The study looked at the results of taking on debt during the first year of a company’s operation. Contrary to what you might think, businesses that took on debt were more likely to succeed and achieve higher sales—especially if they used business debt to launch as opposed to taking on personal debt.

This isn’t to say that taking on debt is a recipe for success. However, startups that...

Gusto, formerly ZenPayroll, is the rare startup unicorn that has stayed relatively mum on its product and growth — its last press release, for instance, was more than a year ago. The company’s core offering remains payroll for small businesses, and it has been working to expand its customer base across the nation, including having its CEO, Joshua Reeves, go on a tour of the country to visit SMBs in an RV.

Now the company is opening up a bit on its recent progress. Gusto hit 60,000 customers nationwide in January, or roughly 1% of all employers in the United States, according to the company.

The company is also working on new products. One challenge small...

Six months ago, President Trump vowed that his sweeping tax reform would “bring back Main Street” by slashing taxes on small businesses.

Now that the plan is law, small firms’ enthusiasm for the changes depends on which side of Main Street they find themselves.

The vast majority of larger small businesses with income upwards of $200,000 will tangibly benefit from the legislation, and many are already sharing their windfall with employees and ramping up capital investment. And while most smaller enterprises will come out ahead as well, their gains are marginal in many cases and advocacy groups are divided over whether Trump fulfilled his promise.


February 21, 2018

Optimism among small-business owners continues to soar, reaching its highest levels in years. Thanks to tax reform package, entrepreneurs are more confident about the outlook for their businesses.

The CNBC/SurveyMonkey first quarter small business confidence index soared five points, from 57 to 62, a record high level. This is the largest quarter-to-quarter jump since CNBC and SurveyMonkey started measuring business confidence last year.

According to CNBC, in the fourth quarter of last year, business owners were divided evenly over the impact of tax cuts on their businesses. However, now there is a strong consensus over the positive impact of tax reform.


February 13, 2018

Small business owners understand how crucial it is to have a handle on their finances. Unfortunately, most small businesses can't afford to hire a full-time accountant. However, a good accounting software makes it easier to monitor business accounts. It can also track expenses and bills, creates invoices, manages inventory and generates reports that help evaluate how a business is doing.
There are several factors that one should consider when choosing accounting software. An interface that's easy to navigate and understand is one such factor. Small business owners should also consider its features and how they can help in running operations. It should...

Small business owners may want to hand out bonuses and raises now that there's a new tax law, but many don't know if they'll have any wealth to share.

"We didn't base any raises or bonuses on the tax situation because, quite frankly, until it actually happens, no one's sure what's going to happen," says Rod Hughes, a vice president at Kimball Hughes Public Relations in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania. The company gave its seven full-time employees year-end bonuses last month.

It's easier for big companies like Walmart and Home Depot to award bonuses because they already know their top tax rate is dropping to 21 percent from 35 percent under the old law. Millions...

One of the challenges facing small businesses today is trying to deliver the same experiences as larger competitors. However, the same digital disruption and widespread innovation that’s impacting big business, can make small businesses more competitive.

This year, the NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism reported that “the percentage of small business owners planning to make capital expenditures in the next three to six months reached its highest level since 2006,” with small business owners reporting they’re open to investing in machine and technology upgrades.

But the jargon surrounding emerging technology can be intimidating — and can overshadow the...

Often, small businesses and startups work with a tight budget. As a result, it might be tempting to forego certain types of insurance that aren't required by law. In fact, a survey of 30,000 business owners conducted by Next Insurance found that 44 percent of responding businesses have never had insurance at all.

Unfortunately, taking such a risk could end up costing way more than the monthly premiums ever could. Jamie Dokovna, an employment attorney with Becker and Poliakoff, said failing to purchase insurance simply because it isn't legally required isn't necessarily the best move. For instance, if a customer slips and falls on your property, injuring...

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