The IRS has several resources available on their website that may be helpful for small business owners this tax season:
- The Virtual Small Business Tax Workshop is an introductory video made up of nine interactive lessons designed to help new small business owners learn their tax rights and responsibilities. It’s available online and on a CD (we have some copies in the MCNW office to share).
- Other videos are available online as well, including information about bartering income, Schedule C for first-time filers, and the home office deduction.
- There are also many many resources through the IRS Small Business & Self-Employed Tax Center, including the forms needed for paying your business taxes, and many small business publications.
- For your tax planning into the future, the IRS publishes a small business tax calendar which is available as a hard copy in the fall, and online all year long. You can download a PDF version or sync it with your electronic calendars.
ActionCoach is bringing Brad Sugars to Portland for a free three-hour seminar aimed directly at small to mid-sized companies. Learn proven strategies to grow your business, improve your company’s vision, and learn how to flourish in any economy. Brad Sugars is an internationally known business coach, speaker, entrepreneur, and best selling author who is sure to leave you with ideas you can implement in your business right away.
The event is being held April 27th at the Lloyd Center Doubletree Hotel. Doors open at 6:00 PM for networking, with Brad taking the stage from 6:30 to 9:30 with a break in the middle. The tickets are an $89 value but are free to you if you register online at www.businessisboomingtour.com using the ticket code ALC001. The event may very well sell out.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact Andreas Loeffler with ActionCoach, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eat Mobile 2010 is happening April 24th, from 5:30-8:30pm. The folks at Willamette Week have picked out their favorite food carts, and now they’ve got 30 of ‘em lined up for the event. Included among them are Mercy Corps Northwest clients Mono Malo, Tabor, and Soup Cycle.
100% of the proceeds go to Mercy Corps Northwest and our work providing funding and support for Portland’s small business owners.
The event cost $7 in advance and $10 day of, with tickets on sale online at http://wweek.com/store/
Last week on the 16th we called on everyone we could to come to a last-minute lunchtime discussion about taxes. Everyone, including the presenter himself: Brian Setzler, CPA at TriLibrium Accounting. I spent a good couple weeks calling up various accountants to see who would be available before April 15th, and it was a relief when Brian offered his services.
Brian talked about the difference between employees and independent contractors, 1099s, the importance of a business plan, and some of the local and more recent tax issues. He especially talked about why it’s worth it to make the investment in your accounting practices, as it will serve you well in the long-term.
“Found it motivating to get organized and find a CPA”
“Great overview, and coverage of ethics and what NOT to do”
There were a lot of questions, and taxes is clearly not a topic we can cover in a single lunchtime class. Participants suggested having more classes – possibly a series about taxes from start to finish, as well as maybe a panel of business owners to talk about their tax-time and general starting up experience. All ideas I’d like to get finalized and set up well before tax season 2011!
Mercy Corps Northwest is going to be attending the Revisioning Value Conference coming up on April 26th and 27th. We are excited to learn more about social investment and venture philanthropy as ways to catalyze our work in the future. New platforms are crucial for reaching out and accessing external expertise and investment, so we are looking forward to hearing about Social Investment Xchange networks.
These networks are designed to facilitate performance-based philanthropy and social investment while also leveraging larger scale external investment. The first US Social Investment Xchange was Change Xchange, founded here in Portland by Springboard Innovation. It was inspired by Tamzin Ractliffe’s South Africa Social Innovation Exchange (SASIX), which was the world’s first networking platform.
Tamzin is traveling from South Africa to be a featured speaker at ReVisioning Value 2010, a one-day conference that will bring together leaders from the varied fields of impact investing and social innovation to share how new models for both are increasing the flow of capital towards the creation of a more just and sustainable world. There is a lot of cross-over between the South African SASIX organization and Springboard Innovation in Portland. You can check out an interview with ReVV speaker Tamzin Ractliffe from SASIX here: http://socialenterprises.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/tamzin-ractliffe-on-social-profits-new-frontiers-in-social-investing/.
The Reentry Transition Center held an open house yesterday to celebrate its new location at 1818 NE Martin Luther King Blvd. An estimated 100 to 120 people attended, including members of the Oregon Department of Corrections, nonprofit employees, formerly incarcerated people and concerned citizens.
Alverda McCoy and Felton Howard, the navigators of the RTC, hosted the event. If you were unable to make it please contact them at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
More information about the Reentry Transition Center can be found on our website: http://www.mercycorpsnw.org/what-we-do/transition-center/
Mercy Corps Northwest works with a lot of artisans and crafty folks, and it was great to be able to offer a class geared just towards them. It was also appreciated on their side – the class filled up very quickly, and we had 23 people join us on that Tuesday night last week.
Annie Rose Shapero did an overview of the whole Etsy universe, focusing in particular on photos, tagging, promotion and search engine optimization. We realized, as with many of our classes, that participants had varying degrees of familiarity with Etsy. We also had a couple of questions come up that merited their own treatment in the presentation. So we may need to do another Etsy class geared towards a more specific audience, much like with our Facebook class with Benjamin Tomkins in April, which is specifically for people already using Facebook. We’re also looking to do more classes focused specifically towards craftspeople.
Otherwise, people appreciated the extensive resource list Annie Rose included, the chance to meet and chat with each other during the class, the tips and tricks about best methods for tagging and promoting within Etsy, as well as the honest appraisal of the amount of time they’d need to spend on their Etsy shop to see the best results.
“The search engine, inside Etsy options, tagging, promotion info were useful. Presenter did an excellent job of sharing her info”
“Fun and good content”
Lots of small business owners have a passion for what they do, and know that they put a lot of time and energy and thought into their work. But there’s often a gap between that knowledge, and how customers respond to a product or service, and whether they actually make the decision to purchase it.
Tom Howe‘s hour long seminar last Thursday was a step towards bridging that gap. Like Susan Rich, he emphasized that you’re not selling a product, but a benefit. And when you sell, you have to listen and read cues to try to figure out what that customer wants. He reminded the audience that much of selling is intuitive, and depends on good communication and being genuine and honest about the passion behind your work and why you’re good at what you do.
But he also noted that going about selling with a strategy can help in the long term. He suggested that people keep a sales manual, where they keep track of what sales objections they’ve gotten, along with possible responses. And, in what many people found to be most useful portion of the class, he ran through an extensive list of the possible benefits you could associate with your product. He provided those benefits and all his presentation slides in electronic format so that participants could use the class to soak it in and go over all the notes later.
“So much was helpful – it helped me focus on tools and see what I was already doing well”
“Everything was useful! All the benefits I could give my customer that I hadn’t even thought of”
“I’m not good at marketing and sales, so I liked the fact that it covered the basics and more”
Near the end of February, we hosted a web optimization seminar from Tom Howe, a practicing attorney for over 25 years who owns two technology companies. Going through the evaluations from his class, I realized they spoke for themselves:
“An excellent and informative presentation. Information was presented in a concise and clear manner. Presenter was professional, effective, and prepared. Well done – thank you! Awesome!”
“Great information! Time well spent. Just what I needed.”
“This was amazingly helpful – useful – thorough – imperative! Well presented, organized, straightforward.”
Tom will be presenting with us again on March 4th on Successful Selling.