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Small Business Resources

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Small Business Insights: January 2020

Getting Ready for Tax Season


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Learn how to minimize the threat of Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams to your business.

  • BEC scams are sophisticated crimes targeting organizations that fraudulently induce employees to make funds transfer payments as a result of an impersonation of another employee (typically a manager), vendor, or customer
  • They are carried out when a legitimate business e-mail account is compromised through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques

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Many small business owners who offer qualified retirement plans to their employees don’t realize that, as the plan sponsor, they are also the plan fiduciary, which means they’re accountable if anything goes wrong. In this issue we’ll detail what it means to be a plan fiduciary and outline what a small business can do to protect against the risks involved in plan sponsorship.

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Tony wanted to take his graphic design business to the next level so, when he bid on a large contract he had to offer 60-day payment terms to win it. To ramp up for the new project he had to add staff and equipment requiring an outlay of $5,000. It would take nearly 90 days from the start of the project until the time his customer would pay the invoice. Tony’s business was not established enough to qualify for a line of credit, but, because his business has been banking with the same bank for three years, he was able to qualify for a business credit card.

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Advanced bank technology has been accelerating, changing the small business/banking relationship by providing large-scale cash management solutions once only available to big companies. Now any business can have access to technology that can streamline their processes, improve cash flow, reduce operational costs and strengthen customer relationships. And because these are digital solutions, a small business can implement them within days.

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Do you know what your business is worth? It’s not unusual for business owners to wait until they are considering the sale of their business before trying to put a price on it. It shouldn’t be surprising then that business owners are often disappointed when they eventually have their business appraised. However, if a valuation is done well in advance of the sale of a business, there is ample time to take steps to increase its value.

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Few endeavors are more challenging than launching and growing a business, but the rewards can be extraordinary. To get and keep a business on a growth trajectory, business owners need to have a firm grasp of the key financial aspects of their operations. There’s little margin for bad decisions or indecision for business owners who face obstacles every day in their quest for success. However, having a clear understanding of what your financial statements are telling you about how your company is performing can provide the vital insights needed to navigate the twists and turns of creating a successful enterprise.

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All businesses, regardless of their size, are susceptible to cash flow problems but none more so than small businesses. Whether it is  underestimating a sales cycle, falling behind on collections, an unexpected downturn in the economy, or a disruption like bad weather, small businesses are much more prone to a cash flow crisis. Fast-growing businesses are especially vulnerable to cash crunches when increasing expenses begin to outrun their cash flow or they let their receivables get out of control.

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There’s good news for growing small businesses. As the financial crisis fades further into memory, banks are more eager to help them finance their growth. Lenders are looking to partner with businesses that are well-positioned for growth. That is determined through a well-conceived and thoroughly prepared business plan. When seeking financing for your business, that should be your initial focus.

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