One [Very Sure] Way to Live Your Purpose and Grow as a Leader in Business

Dr. Maya Angelou, one of the greatest authors to have blessed this planet, once said this concerning purpose…

“The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself. If you don’t know what you’re here to do, then just do some good.”

This is, by far, is one of my favorite quotes. It’s what I focused on during a time in my life when I wanted change but wasn’t sure where to start.

I had read tons of books, attended many seminars, and even sought a mentor but none of the results compared to what came next.

You see, I had a general sense of direction for my life but I wanted even more. The answer to the question, “What’s next for me?” didn’t become clear until I sowed more time as a volunteer. 

Those experiences re-ignited passions for life that had been dormant in me for years. They also opened doors to share my gifts on an entirely different level. Because of them, I’ve worked with many incredible causes that are close to my heart like mentoring teen girls and helping survivors of domestic violence. 

Today, whenever I feel uncertain about purpose, I pray and come back to this timeless wisdom. Then I stir up my gifts by doing more work in my community. 

Volunteering is one definite way to see what your passions and purposes are but you likely have more great ideas. 

Now that you’ve read how I’ve done it, I’d love to hear about you. 

Have you ever been at a fork in the road concerning your purpose in life or business? Share how you found your path in the comments below. 

How to Reach Any Goal in Your Business

img_6947Rising an hour earlier than my family isn’t always easy. In fact it can downright hard to give up that extra pillow time but it  gets me off to a fabulous start!

Changing behavior is a process that keeps those who embrace it from thinking, saying and doing things that block their peak potential.

Sometimes you’ll see that you aren’t moving in the right direction on your own and you are able to self correct. Other times you can’t tell the forest from the trees and need help to get on track. It is in those times that you may kick and scream because change can be unpleasant.

When correction shows up you may recognize it and turn away saying, “Oh, there’s nothing wrong me”, or “That advice is great but it must be for someone else.” So you continue going about your days doing things as you’ve always done, getting the same results. That is, until, the results no longer serve you.

Discipline requires giving up what creates an undesirable existence in exchange for habits that get the results you want.

Take managing your company’s books, for example. You know that keeping good records and staying up to date lead to making well informed decisions in your business but it may be something you ignore or keep putting off.

Then you scramble to pull it all together at the end of the year for tax time. That’s when you find tons of financial problems like missed opportunities for tax savings and other moves you could have made to improve your bottom line.

Like a child whose disciplined by a parent, making needed changes in your daily routine is uncomfortable at first, but when that time is over you will have paused to consider better choices and taken actions that can lead to a more fulfilling life!

Have you made changes that move the needle in your business lately? I’d love to hear how you became more disciplined in the comments below.

 

How Mileage Can Max Out Profits

Mileage-savings

When it comes to saving money at tax time, I am a stickler for getting the most bang for your buck. That is because there are many opportunities to legally reduce what the amount of tax you pay and create more room for savings. To start the new year right, the following tip will help be more productive and increase your bottom line.

As a business owner, one area of taxes that you may be curious about is vehicle related write-offs. If you are like many of the clients that I mentor, you may be missing out on all that you can get from this deduction. According tax rules, you have the luxury of claiming costs like the monthly note or lease that you pay for your vehicle, oil changes, and gasoline. Be sure not to overlook other bonuses like depreciation on vehicles that you own and the actual business miles that you rack up during the year.

Now the trick to making the most of this deduction is getting in the habit of keeping stellar records because trips missed here and there can cost you.  Avoid leaving money on the table by logging in all of your trips, client meetings, and errands that you run for business. Believe me. This one action can be a needle mover as the miles add up on your vehicle.

So how do you keep good automobile records without adding more work to your life?

First, start by resolving to do it. That may sound simple but this tip only works when you vow to follow this habit. Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs, emphasizes the importance of habits this way:

“What you do all the time matters more than what you do some of the time.”

Next, try these simple mileage tracking tips:

Use What You Own.

For a quick and easy log, use your camera phone. That’s right, this little piece of technology that you have invested in does a lot more than make calls. It makes you more profitable by creating a log of deductions that you get to claim at tax time.

Use Mileage Tracking Tools

Mileage trackers are also a great way to stay productive and create more savings in your bottom line. One of my favorites is MileIQ, which is available in both the Apple Store and on Google Play. It’s the perfect solution that takes the thinking out tracking.

Go With the Traditional.

If technology doesn’t appeal to you there’s always the tried and true method of using a journal to stay on top of miles driven. You can purchase one at your local office supply store or print one out for free here.

Regardless of your method of tracking, one thing is for sure, you will keep more of what you make when everything is recorded.

If you own a small business and haven’t put a system in place for tracking your finances, then a chat with me might be in order. I can help you choose and set up a simple system to stay on top of the financial side of business and keep more of the profit that you make.

 

How to Create Your Phenomenal New Year

phenomenal-new-year
You can tell a lot about a person by where they spend their money.  In fact, if I were to spend two minutes glancing over your bank statements, credit card purchases and cash receipts, I’d be able to come pretty close to knowing what your top priorities are.

That’s because the things that you value most are the places you put your money. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at your recent financial history. Whether it’s dining at your favorite restaurant for a girl’s night out or buying a new book to get better at a skill, each purchase is a reflection of you. The transactions are what you regard as most important.

Many times we don’t consider our use of money in those terms but it really is a matter of the heart. Or, as I like to say, “It’s a matter of spiritual spending.”

When you understand that money is part of the manifesting process then the way you treat it takes on a whole new light. You get what you want in life not by chance but by intention. So, it’s important to be specific about three things: Your values, your goals, and your focus. In other words, have a plan for how you will use money.

When your daily  financial decisions line up with annual goals, your year-end results will be phenomenal!

That’s what I share in my Enterprising Women’s Mentoring Program. If you haven’t been consistently manifesting your values, I invite you to schedule a clarity call with me to learn what to do to get on track with aligning priorities.

Income Taxes: Preparation Errors That Can Cost You Money

tax-preparationFiling income taxes is small fries for people who aren’t generating income that is equivalent to substantial proportions. However, the matter of income and taxes are a huge deal when you are making a lot of money. This is especially true for high-income individuals who pay over 28% for every dollar that they earn. When it comes to filing income taxes there is no room for mistakes as errors in calculations can increase the tax that you owe. Here are some examples to look out for when filing a tax return.

Inaccurate Reporting of Income
Income tax preparation can be a very challenging task that requires attention to detail and accuracy to get it right. It is important to understand the filing requirements and how apply the correct tax rules. Uncertainty around tax laws increases the error in income reporting. What it all boils down to is good accounting and communication with money managers. These are the people who track, report, and monitor financial activities. They need to know exactly what is going on in the business that impact finances and taxes. Schedule regular appointments to update those responsible for your money such as your accountant, financial consultant, and tax advisor.

Omitting Income from the Tax Return

Many people receive income during the year that they do not know is taxable. So when they file, their returns are missing income that when audited leads to owing additional taxes. Some examples of income that is commonly omitted from tax returns include income received by an agent on your behalf, fringe benefits, and bartering income earned in the course of business.

Miscalculating Gains and Losses

Wealth-minded individuals understand the importance of investing for the future. Their Balance Sheets are often filled with assets that they purchase to generate short and long-term income. In cases where investments do not pan out and produce the returns they expect, portfolios will be readjusted to sell poor performers in exchange for more favorable options. When it comes to investments and taxes the rules vary with the type of assets that you own. It is important to know the tax laws regulating the sale or disposal of the things that you own because mis-applying them can create a huge tax bill in the end.

And if you’re not sure where to start when it comes to the tax code contact an accountant or tax professional. It is better to get good advice before you file than to pay more than you should in taxes.

Positioning You to Prosper!

Benita Tyler: Tax, Accounting and Women Owned Business Consultant
www.tbsusa.com |  btyler@tbsusa.com | 313.377.1080

Benita Tyler, known in the Small Business Community as the Financial Messenger, founded TBS USA in 1999 to provide tax and accounting advisory services to business owners.  In 2003, Benita pioneered the “Wealthy Place Appraisal” a proprietary seven-step process that she uses to help business owners determine which decisions are moving them closer to wealth goals and which are causing them to lose ground. After many requests to share her insights on what women business owners can do to improve business efficiency, Benita created a step-by-step program called “Position to Prosper™”.  Her concepts have been quoted regularly in media outlets, blogs, and radio shows. Benita is an avid writer and is the author of her soon to be released book entitled, “Woman of God, Step into Your Wealthy Place.”

(guest post) 7 Ways to Stay Motivated Towards Your Goal

Motivation is this invisible force that drives you toward a goal and keeps you going when things get rough, it is the reason you wake up early or stay up late to finish your work. When something doesn’t feel right, take a moment and look at the big picture and find a different approach to keep going. Here are 7 ways to keep yourself motivated towards your goal:

Visualize your success.
First, imagine the big picture. Visualize your goal already achieved. How does it feel? What will accomplishing the goal bring you? Pay attention to how you feel and then write down these triggers so that you can access them any time you need a little push to keep going.

Plan your work.
Working on your goals may require a lot of work and sometimes things can become overwhelming. This is where planning can help. Break down the work and plan the steps you need to take so you remain motivated to continue.

Accept mistakes.
The road towards your goals will not always be smooth. Expect to make some mistakes but use these mistakes as an opportunity to learn.  Don’t let them discourage you since trying new possibilities and taking chances will help you move forward.

Focus on small goals.
Smart goals are like little baby steps that are easy to take. Use these little steps to break up a long term goal that may otherwise seem almost impossible to achieve. Break the elephant into small chunks to help you stay fired up and excited as you move towards your goal.

Eliminate negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones.
This is one of the most important ways to keep you focused on your goal. Find the time to practice positive thinking daily. Start observing your thoughts and recognize negative self-talk. When you become aware of your negative thoughts take each one and squash it like a bug. Instead of saying “I can’t”, say “If that wimp Bob can do it, so can I!” and although it sounds corny, it works all the time.

Never, ever quit.
At times, you may find it hard to keep going, especially if you’re still far off from reaching your goal. Remember that going the extra mile is never crowded and the harder it gets the more you have to stretch yourself. It is a sign of growth and a chance to reach and beat your limits. Make a commitment to never put your guns down and do whatever it takes to reach your goal.

Find pleasure again.
Make your journey pleasant, fun and exciting. Reward yourself after completing each baby step along the way.

All in all, you must have a strong answer to WHY you want to reach your goal, in order to feel motivated. So get down to what really drives you and why you really want something. This way, you will be 100% committed.

Aishwarya Vohra works for Offshore Ally, a company offering competent virtual assistant and link building services. She loves to read and write blogs on SEO, SEM, technology, social media and self motivation. Connect with her viatwitter.

7 Common Small Business Tax Myths

tax-myths
One of the biggest hurdles you’ll face in running your own business is staying on top of your numerous obligations to federal, state, and local tax agencies. Tax codes seem to be in a constant state of flux making the Internal Revenue Code barely understandable to most people.

The old legal saying that “ignorance of the law is no excuse” is perhaps most often applied in tax settings and it is safe to
assume that a tax auditor presenting an assessment of additional taxes, penalties, and interest will not look kindly on an “I didn’t know I was required to do that” claim. On the flip side, it is surprising how many small businesses actually overpay their taxes, neglecting to take deductions they’re legally entitled to that can help them lower their tax bill.

Preparing your taxes and strategizing as to how to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket becomes increasingly difficult with each passing year. Your best course of action to save time, frustration, money, and an auditor knocking on your door, is to have a professional accountant handle your taxes.

Tax professionals have years of experience with tax preparation, religiously attend tax seminars, read scores of journals, magazines, and monthly tax tips, among other things, to correctly interpret the changing tax code.

When it comes to tax planning for small businesses, the complexity of tax law generates a lot of folklore and misinformation that also leads to costly mistakes. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the more common small business tax misperceptions.

1. All Start-Up Costs Are Immediately Deductible

Business start-up costs refer to expenses incurred before you actually begin operating your business. Business start-up costs include both start up and organizational costs and vary depending on the type of business. Examples of these types of costs include advertising, travel, surveys, and training. These start up and organizational costs are generally called capital expenditures.

Costs for a particular asset (such as machinery or office equipment) are recovered through depreciation or Section 179 expensing. When you start a business, you can elect to deduct or amortize certain business start-up costs.

For tax years beginning in 2010, you can elect to deduct up to $10,000 of business start-up costs paid or incurred after 2009. The $10,000 deduction is reduced (but not below zero) by the amount such start-up costs exceed $60,000. Any remaining costs must be amortized.

2. Overpaying The IRS Makes You “Audit Proof”

The IRS doesn’t care if you pay the right amount of taxes or overpay your taxes. They do care if you pay less than you owe and you can’t substantiate your deductions. Even if you overpay in one area, the IRS will still hit you with interest and penalties if you underpay in another. It is never a good idea to knowingly or unknowingly overpay the IRS. The best way to “Audit Proof” yourself is to properly document your expenses and make sure you are getting good advice from your tax accountant.

3. Being incorporated enables you to take more deductions.

Self-employed individuals (sole proprietors and S Corps) qualify for many of the same deductions that incorporated businesses do, and for many small businesses, being incorporated is an unnecessary expense and burden. Start-ups can spend thousands of dollars in legal and accounting fees to set up a corporation, only to discover soon thereafter that they need to change their name or move the company in a different direction. In addition, plenty of small business owners who incorporate don’t make money for the first few years and find themselves saddled with minimum corporate tax payments and no income.

4. The home office deduction is a red flag for an audit.

While it used to be a red flag, this is no longer true–as long as you keep excellent records that satisfy IRS requirements. Because of the proliferation of home offices, tax officials cannot possibly audit all tax returns containing the home office deduction. In other words, there is no need to fear an audit just because you take the home office deduction. A high deduction-to-income ratio however, may raise a red flag and lead to an audit.

5. If you don’t take the home office deduction, business expenses are not deductible.

You are still eligible to take deductions for business supplies, business-related phone bills, travel expenses, printing, wages paid to employees or contract workers, depreciation of equipment used for your business, and other expenses related to running a home-based business, whether or not you take the home office deduction.

6. Requesting an extension on your taxes is an extension to pay taxes.

Extensions enable you to extend your filing date only. Penalties and interest begin accruing from the date your taxes are due.

7. Part-time business owners cannot set up self-employed pensions.

If you start up a company while you have a salaried position complete with a 401K plan, you can still set up a SEP-IRA for your business and take the deduction.

A tax headache is only one mistake away, be it a missed payment or filing deadline, an improperly claimed deduction, or incomplete records and understanding how the tax system works is beneficial to any business owner, whether you run a small to medium sized business or are a sole proprietor.

And, even if you delegate the tax preparation to someone else, you are still liable for the accuracy of your tax returns. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. We’re here to assist you.

To Your Success,

Benita

One Question To Ask Your Prospects That Will Help You Make More Money

women-buy

Today I watched a video post by Mike Michalowicz. In it he offers a really great tip for turning prospects into paying customers. I liked the idea so much that I decided to continue the conversation here on my blog.

Mike is on point (as usual). Very good idea for entrepreneurs because there is no more waiting months or years to see if your idea is going to be a hit in the market. By asking the simple question that he suggests in his video, you can instantly gauge responses from your ideal clients.

His suggestion? Ask for a deposit up front if they like what you’re selling.

This approach is about the buyer’s commitment and their willingness to take action. Since I am always looking for ways to help others increase sales and keep more of their profits ,here’s something that I would add. To make the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur’s idea even better have a prototype of your offering  to show them. In other words, engage the senses. People love being able to try before they buy. While it’s harder to make that happen with an online business, you can give them a demo. Let them see, taste, smell, or feel your offer in action. This way you get to see if your idea fizzles instead of sizzles. You also save   time and money by not losing too during development.

I highly recommend that you check out Mike’s blog. He is the author of the Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and can be found at www.toiletpaperentrepreneur.com.

Why Daughters Model Their Enterprising Mothers

mompreneurs3 (1)
When my daughter was eleven years old she was intrigued by the idea of entrepreneurship after watching Kimora Lee Simmons’ on Life in the Fab Lane. We had been talking about starting an online business over the past few days and the dream that my daughter had for wanting to start one of her own. To my surprise I found that her reason is not just to make money. It was to use her love of art to do the work that she enjoys.

As I sat stunned at the wisdom that came from such a young spirit, I realized that she had been attentively watching the enterprising women in her life. These had left a positive impression that she will carry with her for a lifetime. Like my daughter, I agree that owning a business is rewarding. For me, there are many highlights of being a work-at-home mom. One of the best parts is allowing my daughter to take a role in my business. No matter how large or small her assignment may seem, it is giving her a glimpse into my world. The lessons she learns, as I now see, are invaluable.

Another aspect of entrepreneurship that makes it a perfect fit for me is working with other mompreneurs. Nothing compares to seeing a woman who can cuddle an infant and feed a toddler while being coached on how to put a financial plan in place to grow her business. As a mother of four, I am proud to have learned how to build a successful home-based business and it is inspiring when I see other moms doing the same.

Success is great but being able to contribute what you know to help others grow is important. I heard a quote recently that said when you support a woman in her business, you’re not just buying a product or service. You are also helping children and the generations to come. Sharing resources and tips that help women bring additional income into their homes is very rewarding but there is more. What tops it off is for me is encouraging them to stay the course and keep up the good work.

I would love to hear why you started your own business. What excites you about being an enterprising woman?

How the Lifestyle Entrepreneur Starts a Business

lifestylebusinessThere is a growing feeling by aspiring entrepreneurs that the start-up phase is easy. You get an idea, put up some flyers, order generic business cards and you’re off. If you speak with seasoned business owners who have made it through the start-up phase with success then you will hear a different story. One that says it takes more than advertising to build an entity that is lasting. Read on to learn why launching a business is not a pie in the sky task if it is to be a life-style sustaining endeavor.

When you are forming a business on a solid foundation, plan to succeed. I know a lot of people who started their companies by telling friends what they were setting out to do. Then mid-way into the launch they put on the breaks because there was no concrete plans or goals written down. Starting a business is not solely about advertising, though that plays a big part. A real business considers what you will bring to the market, what the market will buy, and how you will get services and products to them. It also answers the question of when is the best time to quit your day job or, if you are currently unemployed, when to stop looking for career opportunities as someone else’s employee.

Take environmental factors into account. Even if you are from the modern school of thought that says, “Do first and think later,” it is important to consider what what is going on inside your industry. One of the biggest mistakes that new entrepreneurs make is failing to monitor changes such as tax laws, business regulations, and marketing trends. Even if you are not doing a detailed business plan, a one page bullet point summary is better than planning strategies that are ineffective and destined to miss the mark.

Lastly, consider how much your inspired idea will cost. This is another trap that aspiring entrepreneurs must avoid. To increase the likelihood of your success, review your available resources and plan for the time, talent, and finances that you will need. Also, if you are going full steam ahead by giving up your day job, consider who will be affected by your choice and how? Keep family members in mind and discuss your plans for entrepreneurship with them. It is best to have their encouragement and support right from the beginning because starting a business is doable but not so easy when you’re doing it alone.

If you are starting a business and having trouble figuring out the financial part of your business plan, don’t worry. Check out http://www.tbsusa.com where we can prepare the cash flows and forecast the financials for you. There you can also get advice and assistance to set up an easy system for keeping your books in order throughout the year. You can get a move on and finish your business plan without losing momentum this year at www.tbsusa.com