If you’re a fan of #SmallBizChat, now in it’s 9th year, you know that every Wednesday from 8-9 pm ET, on Twitter we invite authors and small business experts on to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities that small business owners face. As this is National Small Business Week, so we decided to switch things up. According to the SBA, more than half of Americans own or work for a small business. In addition, two out of every three new jobs in the United States are created by entrepreneurs yearly. This is our week to shine. Last night, I hosted #Smallbizchat LIVE on my SmallBizLady Facebook page and featured three great guests Dawn Brolin, CPA, Alfred Edmond Jr, Editor at Large of Black Enterprise and Garrett White, of Wake-up Warrior. They talked about everything from taxes and building a sustainable business, to reinventing yourself and your business. Below are a few highlights.
Dawn Brolin is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Fraud Examiner, and CEO of Powerful Accounting, LLC. Powerful Accounting is a nationally recognized accounting, tax, forensic and fraud, IRS and State Agency audit professionals as well as a QuickBooks consulting firm. Her firm can provide IRS Representation and Bankruptcy Accounting. Dawn helps us understand the Trump Tax Bill, so that we’ll be prepared for next year’s taxes.
SmallBizLady: Can you tell us about your background and your business Powerful Accounting?
Dawn Brolin: Powerful Accounting handles IRS & State Agency audit and inquiries, small business accounting and technology recommendations, tax return preparation, and outsourced CFO services. Our team is friendly, kind, and truly enjoys working with our clients, especially the ones who want to grow their business! I am a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fraud Examiner.
SmallBizLady: What about the really bad stuff in Trump Tax bill?
Dawn Brolin: I don’t necessarily think that the items listed below are BAD stuff with regards to small business owners but rather I feel that many will misinterpret the changes based on a common dialogue rather than a deep dive into the requirements, limitations, calculations, entity structures, etc. This is a pretty heavy change. I don’t want the small business community to jump up and down too quickly.
- The Excess Business Loss Limitations for Individuals– This change requires that business losses at the individual level are not allowed for the taxable year. Those losses must be carried forward and treated as part of the taxpayer’s NOL (Net Operating Loss Carryforward). This means if you have been enjoying, reducing your income from other sources due to the loss in the business (Schedule C, Partnership K-1s, and S-Corporation K-1s included) you won’t be able to take advantage of that rule for tax years after 2017 and before 2026.
- Repeal of Miscellaneous Itemized Deductions – If you are a small business and have SMART employees, you may be approached by them to reimburse for travel, meals, uniforms, tools, etc. if they learn about this repeal. The miscellaneous itemized deductions are part of the Schedule A – Itemized Deductions form and have been subject to a 2% threshold. Your sales people who drive thousands of miles, the repair guy who buys his own tools and many others may want the small business owners to implement an accountable plan.
- 20% Deduction for proprietors, partners, s-corporation shareholders, and trusts/estates with respect to certain qualified income – With the change in the C-Corporation tax rate from 35% to a flat 21%, it might sound like everything is getting better, but the deduction is limited to the lessor of: 20% of qualified business income OR 50% of the total W-2 wages paid by the business. However, the 50% of the total W-2 wages (which in some cases would be lower than the total taxable income of the business owner) would not apply if the business owner had taxable income less than $315,000 if MFJ and $157,500 if single). A simple math example the business owner and her husband made less than $315,000 combined, they would receive a deduction of $35,000 rather than the $25,000 (50% of the W-2). Having employees, reasonable compensation considerations, % of ownership, etc. are some of the other factors involved in this deduction. Note: This does NOT reduce the self-employment income for self-employment tax purposes. This is a standard deduction, not an adjustment of the taxpayers Adjusted Gross Income.
SmallBizLady: Tracking time is a major issue for business owners with billing and employees, how do you suggest people handle it?
Dawn Brolin: I frequently tell our small business clients that time IS money, so what the heck are you doing with it? Most say “I know how much I work, 24/7”. Okay that’s not true. I know that this is a major issue specifically if you have employees. We use and promote TSheets by Intuit. TSheets provides me with minute by minute reporting on my team member’s work, I can see who and what they are working on from my phone. I have the ability to invoice clients in clicks of a button because TSheets syncs with QuickBooks. I can tell you that the loss of money through payroll is one of the deadly business sins.
Simply stated, time tracking is only one small piece of the loss of money for a small business owner. Not tracking your financials on a real time basis is simply negligence. If you decide to be in business, then BE in business. You own the company and the buck stops with you. Get yourself a solid team of experts to help guide you, Listen to them, they likely know more than you. They should be in a position that you one day want to be in. If you don’t want to own the responsibility, then get a job because being in business is not for the weak.
Alfred Edmond, Jr. is SVP/Editor-at-large of BLACK ENTERPRISE. He is a content leader, brand representative and expert resource for all media platforms under the BLACK ENTERPRISE brand, including the magazine, television shows, web site, social media and live networking events. He also hosts Money Matters, a syndicated radio feature of American Urban Radio Networks.
SmallBizLady: How important is it to invest in professional development as a business owner?
Alfred A. Edmond Jr.: It is critically important to invest in professional development as a business owner. In fact, I would go as far as to say that if you are not absolutely committed to continuing education and professional development, you shouldn’t be a business owner. It’s important to understand that entrepreneurship is a distinct and separate discipline, one that a business owner must be committed to learning and mastering in addition to their professional craft or area of industry expertise. That’s why I so strongly recommend classes, whether online webinars or traditional workshops and courses, that teach different aspects of running a business, from finances to marketing to management. It’s also why I so strongly recommend books like Become Your Own Boss in 12 Months (still the best small business start-up book I’ve ever read), as well as your new book, Fix Your Business.
Second, change is happening at an escalating rate. You always only a few steps ahead of obsolescence; the only way to stay ahead and on trend is to never stop learning and growing as a business owner.
SmallBizLady: Cash is still king, and it’s still tough for even established businesses to find capital, what’s is your thoughts about alternative lenders like Kickstarter, Ondeck, Kabbage, and the least utilized resource out here CDFI’s Etc.?
Alfred A. Edmond Jr.: Yes, cash is still king. And I believe that what I call the democratization of capital access, such as crowdfunding and other alternative lending sources, are a great thing, especially for start-up entrepreneurs and small business owners who may not have the capacity or collateral to pursue the traditional funding sources. That said, the source of the capital will never be more important than why the business owner needs it. Remember, nobody—no matter how wealthy the person or institution—has money just laying around doing nothing. All money is being used for something, whether delivering returns via another investment vehicle, sitting in the bank as a form of security or being set aside for retirement. The question you must answer is how is your business going to multiply the money?
If you are constantly having cash flow issues, the answer for most businesses is not to find more capital. It’s to understand why the business is eating more money than it is producing and fixing it. Otherwise, the venture is just not investable.
SmallBizLady: How important is mentorship to a business owner? How should a new business owner find a mentor?
Alfred A. Edmond Jr. Mentorship is absolutely important to a business owner. You save a tremendous amount of time and energy—which adds up to money—when you can draw on the experience and expertise of others, whether in your business or a related discipline or industry.
Here’s the thing, though: You don’t find and choose your mentors; they actually find and choose you. However, they can’t do that if you spend all of your time locked behind the computer screen in your office or the doors of your business. You have to get out, be visible and engage with those people. That’s how healthy, mutually beneficial mentoring relationships—really all good relationships—are created.
As a business owner, you should make time to attend at least one national or regional event for business owners every six months—of course, I strongly recommend you join Black Enterprise at its annual Entrepreneurs Summit, which will be held June 6-9 in Charlotte, N.C., this year. (http://www.blackenterprise.com/entrepreneurssummit/)
In addition, you should attend at least one local networking event relevant to your business every month, as well as be an active member of Facebook and LinkedIn groups that can help you engage with people with information, resources and connections that can help you grow your business. Mentors are not looking for people to rescue. If you want to attract mentors, you need to back up that desire with demonstrated, consistent, diligent, results-producing performance. Mentors like to have impressive protégés!
Garrett J. White, is the founder of Wake Up Warrior, CEO of DKW Styling, Author of BE THE MAN & WARRIOR BOOK as well as host of the TOP Rated Pod Casts Warrior Wealth, Warrior On Fire and Date Your Wife. He works with thousands of men, encouraging them to tell the truth and transform from broke to rich, unfaithful in marriage to faithful, depressed & suicidal to living with a purpose and playing it safe & good to going all in and living great.
SmallBizLady: You have a very diverse background can you tell the audience how you became the Garrett White we see today?
Garrett White I have my own story of divorce, an estranged son, infidelity and losing every penny of my multi-million dollar empire before rebuilding myself, my marriage and starting the Wake Up Warrior Movement, which is helping thousands of men to tell the truth and transform from broke to rich to living with a purpose and playing it safe & good to going all in and living great.
SmallBizLady: You and I have something in common my first business and marriage crashed around the same time. How did you manage it?
Garrett White: I told the truth. I stopped screwing around and got after it. Marriages fail, businesses collapse and people play small because we lie about: what we truly want; who we are; what we’re truly capable of, how we truly feel, where we want to go and what we’re really afraid of. These lies lead to addiction, sedation, destruction and mediocrity. Face it. We all lie. That little voice that said, “Not me.” Yes, you. Most of us started telling lies and burying the truth as boys [and girls] just to avoid being judged and to please parents, teachers, church, friends and coaches. These lies have you feeling alone in your pain. Small business owners and entrepreneurs are at the most risk of sedation, suppression and feeling alone. When you dig deep for courage to tell the truth and stop hiding lies, the path to success in health, wealth and love unlocks. Telling the truth: that’s the key.”
SmallBizLady: What were your biggest takeaways from losing everything?
Garrett White: I learned in many ways, small business owners and entrepreneurs are at the most risk of sedation, suppression and feeling alone. Here’s why. As an entrepreneur you experience pressure and expectations coming from multiple angles. Whether it’s at home or in your business – you’re supposed to be “the man” who has all the answers. You’re supposed to have your act together and in total control. There’s no room for your emotions and feelings of doubt, fear, anger, excitement, uncertainty and frustration … especially as an entrepreneur. So you put a mask on and sedate, suppress and act like you got it all figured out to please everyone else’s expectations of you. Entrepreneurs also have the added element of “acceptable sedation” playing against them. But under the lie of “just trying to provide a good life for my family” is the fact you’re just avoiding the feeling of disconnection at home. You’re avoiding dealing with the crap in your marriage, your health and your kids.
Which only drives us deeper into our pit of isolation and sedation.
There Is a man (or woman) inside you right now who is 10x the producer you are.
- He’s a better father.
- He’s a better husband.
- He’s a better businessman.
- He has better sex.
- He’s a better athlete and in better shape.
That person is already inside of you. He just needs to be ACTIVATED. (That’s where my work now comes in.)
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