How the US Government Is Holding Small Business Back and Affecting Communities

The US economy has been extremely destructive to the small businesses across the United States. Small businesses employ more people than any other sector of our economy. The government has given loans and help to large companies, without holding them to the same standards that most small business are held to.

Specifically for some of our clients, who have been hard hit. These clients are located in Klamath County Oregon, an area of the country with higher than national average unemployment and economic loss. These companies have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars between 2008 and now. During this time, our company and the owners were not paid and in fact invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep the businesses viable and continue to employ almost 100 hundred people.

To make it through this time, our clients found themselves unable to pay the employee withholding taxes in full. However, these companies always filed and communicated their position to the Internal Revenue Service each quarter. Each company had a payment history that showed progress through these tough times and how they prioritized their finances. The companies only paid wages and business critical expenses to keep the doors open which allowed them to continue to employ people, they paid all their obligations, albeit late.

We tried for over a year to get a formal payment agreement with the IRS for our clients, however the attitude of I.R.S. employees was one of disgust and uncaring for our clients or the employees. It took the IRS almost a year to get an agreement in place, and only after hiring a professional tax company to represent the firms, did the IRS allow a payment plan to be approved. Further, despite providing case law, IRS regulations and policy and backup information that showed these clients did not with malice or ill intent, not pay their taxes; the IRS has refused to abate penalties, with the final reason given in writing as; “A lack of funds does not amount to reasonable cause for failure to pay taxes”.

It is this inconsistency with regard to the law, IRS’s own rules and government policy that is currently holding many small businesses back. These companies are now in a position to not only get a loan to pay the tax and interest due the US Government, but also get one to make specific capital improvements and increase their business and employ more people. However, they cannot get the loan to do this without an abatement of the penalties.

It is disheartening to small business owners when they see our government give money to big companies and threaten to violate the same “Trust Fund Rules” by saying Social Security will go unpaid. Why would a government have a policy to ignore and punish those who are willing to fairly compensate the government through interest payments and investment in future business?

Our advice to clients is to refrain from growth without certain funding for all aspects of an expansion or new venture. The US Government has declared Small Business a target, with no apparent understanding of the way small business operates or affects the overall economic viability of our communities.

Home Based Business – Top 3 Tips to Get You and Your Business Back in the Drivers Seat

Is your home Internet business thriving? Are you putting your energies in the right places or are you finding that you are just not achieving the outcome you had hoped for? So many people are re-active and become scattered and unproductive, feeling like they are not moving forward. These three helpful tips will help put you back on track and in the drivers seat.

1. Time Management

I want to talk about and discuss the importance of time management. What is time management anyway? Think about this for a moment. There is no such thing as time management, everyone has the same time. You can’t control time but you can control and manage yourself in time. Whether you have 2, 4 or 6 hours in a day to work your business you need a solid plan and schedule and you need to focus until tasks are achieved, in other words to stay on target. There is nothing more valuable than time.

2. Multi-tasking

Forget multi-tasking, that’s a myth. You don’t need to do everything all at once. The key when you are first starting out is to choose one or two things at a time and do them until you master them. Only then should you move on. If you do too many things at once you will become less productive and frustrated with yourself and your business. You need to slow down, take one step at a time and it will all fall into place. Remember the story of the Hare and the Tortoise – who won that race?

3. Being Overwhelmed

Being overwhelmed believe it or not is actually not a bad thing. Of course the alternative to overwhelm is underwhelm and this coincides with being underpaid. As a true Internet business owner you need to be able to learn how to deal with and process the overwhelming amount of information. This is where having a solid plan and schedule are essential, you need to put some time aside to read, do courses and learn new skills. This is without distractions from family, social media, phone calls, e-mails etc.

Don’t forget to take some much needed time for yourself to energize your mind and body so you have the energy to stay focused. You need the right balance so that you can enjoy and have fun in your life and your business.

Is Your Business Back-End Bigger Than Your Front-End?

Don’t let the question mislead you. In business terms, the front end of the business is what draws patients (customers) into their first encounter with us.

In most of our practices, that usually means a patient crisis of varying degrees. Not uncommonly, pain-for which the patient is seeking a rapid solution to a problem.

Fortunately, most of us are really effective at crisis care. But the simple economics of most private health care practices dictate that in today’s world, we have way more to offer our patients. But here’s the kicker: businesses with longevity are very good at building back-end sales. Most private practice owners, however, miss the mark.

But here’s what you can do almost immediately. Ask your patients for feedback on a regular basis. I suggest you ask every patient to fill out a “Tell Us How We Are Doing” form at each re-exam. This simple step is often neglected.

Next, brainstorm with your staff. What are patients telling them? What makes them happy or dissatisfied? Often, patients will tell staff things they’ll never say to our faces. Have they asked for other services, or perhaps support products like comfort items (braces, supports, pillows, et cetera)?

Here is the real reason for this discussion today. Despite the nastiest economic meltdown in most of our lifetimes, people-YOUR patients-still buy what they want.

If you doubt me, look at the most recent Black Friday sales figures. Better yet, go to any place people gather on weekends, like a great restaurant.

I told a story several years ago about patients in local practices balking at $15 co-pays, but spending hundreds at the spa (on health and cosmetic desires) right down the street from their office!

Why does this happen? Because most private practice owners don’t treat their businesses like well-run corporations with strong customer service, then developing the product and service lines to meet their patients desires.

So what might be some great back-ends to your practice? In addition to the things we mentioned above, weight loss products, support, and coaching, personal and fitness training, and cosmetology and cosmetic care.

And more: wellness care (which should be built into every initial case presentation!), massage therapy services, healthy cooking and meal preparation, yoga and meditation, addiction recovery, and so on.

Just remember, the time to be thinking, planning, and brainstorming about the future of your practice and livelihood is when practice is going really well.