CEO Advisor Newsletter
September 2010

         Grow your business to the next level™           

In This Issue

Contact CEO Advisor, Inc. today for a FREE Initial Consultation on growing your business to the next level, and receive a FREE copy of the Business Briefing of the 2010 Hiring Incentives Act. Call us at (949) 759-8676 in CA, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area.

Small Business Tax Relief:
Tax Credits on Health Insurance 
Small Business Tax Relief
One of the first provisions of the healthcare reform act to go into effect may provide relief for small-business owners. According to the IRS, there is a tax credit available that's designed to assist with the cost of providing health insurance to employees in small businesses.
The credit is effective from 2010 to 2013 and provides relief for health plan premiums paid in 2010, even for those paid before the reform became law in March.
Generally, the tax credit is available if the employer has fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees for the taxable year; if the average annual wage per employee for the taxable year is less than $50,000; and if the employer maintains a "qualifying arrangement" for the taxable year.
The number of employees is determined by counting all employees - full or part-time - that have been employed during any one year.  Owners or partners in the business, with some exceptions, may not be included in the head count, and their wages may not be averaged with the total for other employees.
For taxable employers, the maximum credit is 35% of the employer's premium payments, but that amount decreases with the number of employees and the amount they get paid. For a tax-exempt employer, the credit is 25%.
The tax credit is available only for premiums paid by the employer under a "qualifying arrangement." The health plan is a qualifying arrangement if the employer pays a uniform percentage and not less than 50% of the premium.
CEO Advisor, Inc. has the expertise, coupled with hands-on advice to help you increase sales and profits for a growth year in 2010. Contact us for a free initial consultation at (949) 759-8676 in CA or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, by email at or visit us today at

Quick Links
    Words of Wisdom
    "I start with the premise that the function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."
    Ralph Nader
    American Attorney and Author
    Member of Accredited Organizations:
    • Tech Coast Venture Network
    • Technology Council
    Copyright 2010 CEO Advisor, Inc. All rights reserved.
    At CEO Advisor, Inc., our mission is to provide CEOs, Presidents and business owners of small to mid-size companies the needed focus and expertise, coupled with hands-on work and advice to grow your business to the next level.
    With over 30 years of business experience from corporate America to funding, growing and selling a software company to a large NASDAQ company, we have the experience to drive your company forward. I have a Masters Degree in Business (MBA) from Loyola University and a certification in Mergers and Acquisitions from the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
    To grow your business to the next level, contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO at or visit us at for more information.   
    Mark Hartsell, MBA
    Leadership In Business Today
    CEO Advisor, Inc. can help your lead your business to success. 

    Small business owners today have a tall order to fill. They must be extremely effective at managing change in a vastly different business environment, while also being focused on improving operations, sales, marketing, personnel and profits.
    Strategy and Planning
    Planning should be considered a clear path for action and change. The plan should be the basis for introducing controlled change into a business so it can adapt to changing times. By anticipating shifting demands, the plan serves the purpose of allowing the business to control its own direction, rather than waiting until outside forces demand or inflict change. In addition, the plan allows for consistent monitoring of success and tracking progress toward goals.
    But, if we look at strategy and planning as a roadmap for change, we also need to consider that any organization has built-in inertia or the tendency to keep on doing what it has done in the past. On its own, the strategic planning process, as traditionally undertaken, is insufficient to overcome this inertia. Accountability needs to be a key factor for the plan and proposed changes to get successfully implemented. 

    Leadership - The Key to Success
    Leadership means a number of things with respect to strategy and planning: 

    Strong Leadership - Leaders of small and mid-size companies must motivate their staff to buy into the values, mission, and goals of the company by making them active contributors.  Prior to the planning process, leaders must emphasize that THIS TIME, things will be different and change is imminent - both positive and required change. 
    Roadmap to Success - The critical role of leadership occurs after the plan has been completed. Leaders must treat the planning results as the business roadmap that guides behavior and decision making. After all, nobody is going to take a plan seriously if the CEO, President or business owner ignores it or never refers to it again. 
    Commitment - Once the strategic plan has been completed, the CEO or leader of the business should present and discuss the plan with all managers and stress specific goals, execution and deadlines. 
    Decision-making - When important decisions are required, explain how the strategic plan is used, or is to be used to make decisions. As new ideas are presented and you need to communicate a decision, explain your decision in light of the mission, values and goals expressed in the plan to reinforce your focused strategy.
    Accountability - When doing performance reviews with staff, ask the individual to explain how his or her actions are consistent with the key aspects of the strategy and goals. Only when you demonstrate strong leadership by holding yourself, as well as, your employees accountability will you achieve your goals and grow your business.
    Mentorship - A critical role of leadership is to create more leaders. One goal that CEOs and business owners as leaders can set for themselves is to encourage key employees to take on some of the leadership roles outlined above. This can be particularly effective in decision making and growing your business to the next level.  Motivate key employees in your company by giving them increased responsibility, and encouraging this kind of leadership behavior.
    Action - Leadership provides the primary link between planning and taking action. You must overcome inertia, the tendency to keep things the same, by putting plans into action and holding your team, and yourself accountable. 
    When strategy and planning occurs without leadership, cynicism increases when your staff sees that the plan is being ignored, or even violated. The outcome of this is that business owners, Presidents and CEOs suffer a loss of credibility.   
    CEO Advisor, Inc. can help you gain the leadership skills to grow your business to the next level. Contact Mark Hartsell, MBA, CEO of CEO Advisor, Inc. to discuss your strategy needs and gain a free initial consultation at (949) 759-8676 in CA, or (301) 580-8071 in the DC Metro area, or by email at
    Client Testimonial  
    "As President of a small technology company, I have been very pleased with the services provided by Mark Hartsell as my CEO advisor.  Mark contributed in many areas, but identified marketing and sales as our primary need.  His guidance and contributions have been invaluable in establishing and maintaining a meaningful marketing and sales program for the company.  He is a knowledgeable business advisor and a pleasure to work with."  
    CEO/President, Engineering Services/Manufacturing Company



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