Vol. 14  No. 6     
June  2015  
Big Ideas for Small Business Newsletter

"Risk something or forever sit with your dreams."

 ~ Herb Brooks (1937-2003), American Ice Hockey Player and
Member of the Victorious 1980 Olympic Hockey Team
Collaboration and Sharing:
Getting the Most with the Least
Small businesses can benefit by joining forces, sharing resources, and doing other outreach to boost their bottom line. The following article has been adapted from previous postings of mine and is intended to spark thinking about how you can start working with others to spend only what is absolutely necessary to get what your business requires.

Background on the sharing economy

Consumers have been enjoying cost-cutting options in the sharing economy. According to a recent survey entitled The Sharing Economy from PricewaterhouseCoopers, 44% of consumers in the U.S. are familiar with the sharing economy, 19% have already done a sharing transaction, and 72% expect to do so within the next two years.

Technology has enabled people to share homes (Airbnb), rides (e.g., Lyft, Sidecar), cars (e.g., RelayRides, Getaround), bicycles (e.g., Liquid), home wifi networks (e.g., Fon), dog daycare (e.g., DogVacay), chores (e.g., TaskRabbit and Zaarly), and more, easily and inexpensively.  Technology has also enabled people to share their money to support worthy causes through crowdfunded loans (e.g., LendingClub).

Now businesses are getting into collaborative consumption. The purpose: Only pay for what you need. In effect, you obtain what you need without the costs associated with ownership. Sharing may mean lending, subscribing, reselling, swapping, or donating property or services.
Keep Reading... 

Charitable Giving that Gives Back

As a small business owner with limited time and resources you can still find ways to support your favorite causes and reap personal, tax, and business benefits. You'll find your efforts personally rewarding. Tax deductions are available for substantiated out-of-pocket costs. And valuable business connections and goodwill can be generated.

Here are some ideas you may want to use this summer and in the months to come:

Personal actions: 
  • Vacationing as a volunteer. Lending your expertise or doing physical labor in support of a charity may be personally rewarding. For example, work on homes for Habitat for Humanity or help build a youth center in on a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Find more volunteer opportunities from the Global Volunteer Network.
  • Providing your expertise. Help a local organization with your talents (e.g., a lawyer can provide advice pro bono).
  • Serving on the board of a non-profit organization. You get to know others who serve on the board.
  • Serving on committees in organizations. Again, you get to know others who serve on the committees. Choose a committee that you have an interest in and one you may have a special talent for (e.g., a CPA serving on a finance committee).
  • Fundraising. Soliciting funds, selling raffle tickets, working galas and other fund-raising events, and soliciting corporate sponsors for special events are other ways to help your charity while making connections and having a good time.
How to Spy on Your Competitors -- Legally

You need to know what your competitors are up to so you can remain competitive. You don't have to invade their privacy or seek information nefariously using a private investigator or industrial spy to stay abreast of how they're doing. Anything in the public domain is fair game. You just have to know where to look.


General concerns

Who are you competitors and how are they doing? Who is advertising and what are they saying?


You may be able to find out about prices, special offerings, and more from local ads and other marketing tools used by your competitors. For example, you may see that your competitors have raised prices, perhaps prompting you to do the same if you've been on the fence about it.


You can get a good sense of whether they are companies your customers would like to do business with by becoming a customer of theirs.



Keep Reading...

It's a Fact!

Corporations Rising
On all fronts -- number of corporations, assets, gross receipts -- regular corporations filing Form 1120 showed improvement in 2012 as compared with 2011. The number of returns filed increased by 0.3%, with electronic filing increasing by 11%. Total assets rose 4.5% and gross receipts increased by 3.9%.
Source: IRS

Our Readers Ask

Q:  This summer my 16-year old daughter will be working for my business, doing office tasks, at the rate of $12 per hour. I have a one-member limited liability company (LLC). Do I have to withhold FICA taxes on her wages?

A:  No. There is no FICA or FUTA (federal unemployment) taxes on the wages of a child under age 18 who works for a parent in a sole proprietorship or partnership. This includes an LLC, whether it files as a sole proprietorship (one-member) or as a partnership (two or more members).

The wages paid to such a child are deductible by the parent's business and taxable to the child. However, in 2015, a child can earn up to $6,300 (the standard deduction amount for a single taxpayer) without any federal income tax, so earning $480 per week ($12/hour x 35 hours) for 10 weeks means the wages are effectively tax free to the child. Your daughter can claim exemption from federal income tax withholding on Form W-4 (assuming these are her only wages for the year). What's more, the child can contribute earnings up to $5,500 to a regular or Roth IRA (it's never too early to start saving for retirement).

Book Review


The New One Minute Manager 

Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson ~ William Morrow
~ Hardcover: $23.99

The One Minute Manager was first published in 1982 and has sold more than 15 million copies in more than 42 languages, which made it the number-one all-time best seller on managing work and life. But drastic changes -- exponential rise of technology, instant communication, and pressures on the corporate workforce -- have occurred in the more than three decades since publication, so it was time for an updated edition.


The top-down style of management doesn't work today; a side-by-side relationship is the key to managing in the current workplace. For today's manager, "attracting and keeping talent is a top priority."


The book still has the same easy-to-read format as the original edition but has new, updated lessons: how to leverage One Minute Goals, One Minute Praisings, and One Minute Re-directs. The symbol of the book (:01) is meant to remind you to take a minute each day to look into the faces of the people you manage.


You can read a chapter for free. The book belongs on the shelf of every small business owner.


In This Issue
Collaboration and Sharing: Getting the Most with the Least
Charitable Giving that Gives Back
How to Spy on Your Competitors -- Legally
It's a Fact!
Our Readers Ask
Featured Book Review

Quick Links:

Did You Know?

You'll find all my radio interviews on wsRadio.com.
Listen anytime and hear interviews with key small business owners and exceptional entrepreneurs to help you in your business today!
AND, coming June 30, listen to my interview with Ken Blanchard, author of The New One Minute Manager!

Barbara's Books