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Top 10 Cities to Start a Business

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By Debbie Gregory.

Where is the best place to start your business? Below we have listed the top ten cities and chosen them based on seven key indicators that include:   rate of entrepreneurship; wage growth; job creation; population growth; net business creation; high-growth company density; early-stage funding deals:  The cities in descending order are:

10 – Portland, Oregon – Portland is experiencing a construction boom. The two sectors that are projected to grow the most over the next decade are health care and computer and electronics manufacturing. Currently, the startup areas that are booming include tech companies, early-stage food companies, and apparel companies.

9 – Orlando,Florida –  Orlando has become a high-technology hub with more than 200 aerospace and aviation companies in the city. Additionally, its modeling and simulation industry, that designs programs used for both military training and to power rides at the nearby theme parks, provides more than $4 billion in annual contracts.

8 – Denver, Colorado – Denver is growing due to technology such as A.I. and machine learning, followed by block-chain and cryptocurrency,

7 – San Diego, California – San Diego is the place for startups focused on life sciences, aerospace and biotech.

6 -San Jose, California – San Jose is home to three of the world’s most valuable companies–Apple, Google, and Facebook but there is a critical shortage of office space.  Housing is challenging with San Jose having some of the highest housing costs in the nation.

5 – San Francisco, California – Just north of San Jose, San Francisco is the birthplace of some of the most successful startups, including Uber, Airbnb, and Slack. San Francisco also has astronomical commercial rents and housing costs even higher than San Jose.

4 – Nashville, Tennessee  – Nashville has more than just a thriving music economy; the city’s biggest industry is health care. There are also more than 20 college and university campuses and is home to more megachurches than anywhere else in the country.

3 – Raleigh, North Carolina – Raleigh has been transformed into a software hub. The Research Triangle of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill boasts the fourth most educated population in the country, and forty-seven percent of the local talent pool holds a bachelor’s degree or higher

2 – Salt Lake City, Utah – Salt Lake has more than great snow. Tech giants such as Adobe, Electronic Arts, and Oracle all have offices there. The city is also one of the most affordable tech-centric places to live making it very desirable.

1 – Austin, TexasAustin has an extremely reasonable cost of living, loads of sunshine, well-educated people, and a fun streak.  Texas also does not have any state income tax making it highly desirable. Tech giants including Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Dropbox have all established large presences in Austin. Apple has announced it will be investing $1 billion to build a new campus that can eventually hold 15,000 new employees. There are also thriving startup scenes in food and drink, computer hardware, enterprise software, and consumer tech.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

Payroll Tips for Veteran Owned Businesses

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By Debbie Gregory. 

If you’re hiring your first employee, congratulations! It’s important to start off on the right foot as an employer by making sure you follow all of the legal rules that now apply to you.

First of all, make sure you obtain your employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. Next, go to the Department of Labor’s website for a list of state unemployment insurance tax agencies. Make sure you have workers’ compensation insurance. Keep in mind that being an employer carries a number of new obligations and one of them is payroll taxes. There are some misconceptions about these taxes which are clarified as follows:

You may think that all tax-free fringe benefits are exempt from taxes, but the reality is that tax-free benefits for your employees such as 401 (k) contributions, company-provided cars, adoption assistance and dependent care assistance are subject to some employer paid taxes including FICA and FUTA taxes.

You may also be tempted to transition employees into independent contractors in order to save money, but the reality is that the IRS and other government agencies have strict guidelines that must be adhered to. By definition if you control when, where, and how work gets done, you’re likely dealing with an employee. An independent contractor is usually free from the control and direction of the hirer, works outside of the usual course of the hiring entity’s business, and performs the same type of work for others.

Don’t think that outsourcing to a payroll service provider relieves you of the liability for computing payroll taxes, withholding them from employees’ paychecks, remitting payroll taxes to the government, and filing employment tax returns. The ultimate responsibility is yours, so choose wisely. With this said, it is generally a good idea to use a reputable payroll service and well worth the cost.

You must deposit federal income taxes withheld including both the employer and employee share of FICA with the U.S. Treasury using the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS). Also, deposits are required for FUTA tax for the quarter within which the tax due is more than $500. If you are working with a reputable payroll service, they will handle this for you. Below is a list of some of the biggest payroll companies to consider:

· ADP

· Paychex

· Deluxe

· Intuit Quickbooks Payroll

· Gusto

· Square

· Paycor

· Zenebits

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

Conferences and Networking

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By Debbie Gregory.

Conferences offer you to connect your veteran small business with a variety of connections.  Some of the connections may include potential joint venture partner, potential clients, collaborators and supporters. Attending conferences can be an excellent way to learn new skills and support your professional development, but it’s not as easy as just showing up! There’s preparation and strategy involved in obtaining the most out from these events.

The main reason to attend a conference is to build meaningful relationships with key contacts. Attending a conference can provide you the time to have multiple meaningful interactions with each of those contacts. Time is at a premium, so use it wisely.

Our next tip is for you to map out your meetings. Try to schedule meetings in a logical geographical sequence so that you don’t waste time zig-zagging around the conference venue. Whenever possible, try to arrange a smaller, more intimate get-together over coffee or a meal with a few key contacts.

It is also important to define your goals in advance. What do you hope to get out of the conference? Are you looking for new relationships? Re-connecting with other contacts? Securing customers? A clear vision will serve you well.

Plan to attend the speeches or breakout sessions that are most likely to attract your target audience. Develop questions you have for this target audience or for experts who may be speaking, and practice asking them.  Also be prepared and have your collateral and business cards available to provide your important contacts.

We also advise that you make social media work for you. Search out conference attendees, speakers and sponsors using event hashtags beforehand.  Perhaps connect with them on Linked In too.

It is important to think in terms of the long game. You want to begin building a relationship. If you have not already connected in advance with key contacts, then try to connect with them on LinkedIn within 24-hours of meeting them. It is also a good idea to follow up with an email if you have their business card and contact information

Be friendly! Smile! Ask questions and learn.

Don’t just be a taker. Although most booths give out treats out to attendees, attendees can also bring some small treats/gifts placing your business identity front and center.

And no matter what, bring plenty of business cards!

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,

 

 

 

HCC

In the military, new personnel are often trained by following the example of those who came before them. Competent corporals, sergeants and petty officers are usually paired with new privates, airmen and seaman to show them how things are done. Once these military members complete their service, they are often left to their own devices and forced to find their own way. Many new Veterans wish they had a mentor to show them how things are done in the civilian world. For Veterans wishing to venture into small business ownership, your experienced comrades are making themselves available to you–– to learn from their battle-hardened example in Veteran entrepreneurship.

Honor Courage Commitment (HCC) is a non-profit organization based out of Dallas, Texas that “recruits, educates, mentors, and guides high caliber military Veterans into becoming socially responsible entrepreneurs and community leaders.” HCC was started in 2011 and provides free training, education and mentorship for Veteran entrepreneurs.

HCC’s programs function with a focus on education, entrepreneurship, social responsibility through community service, health and fitness, and job placement. The organization partners with other entrepreneurs, organizations and companies to provide Veteran entrepreneurs with expert guidance and training for starting and running their own business.

Honor Courage Commitment was founded by Andrew Nguyen. Nguyen is a Veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, where he was a staff sergeant. After his completion of active duty in 2006, Nguyen obtained a Bachelor’s degree in  Business Administration and Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, before attending an entrepreneurship development program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In 2008, Nguyen launched his own company, WSI Search, a digital marketing and web development firm.

Nguyen and his company found success, despite launching right at the start of a major economic downturn in the country. The former staff sergeant accredits much of his success to following the Navy and Marine Corps’ core values of “Honor, Courage and Commitment.”

According to the history portal on HCC’s website, Nguyen believes that, “America is fighting a domestic war called ‘unemployment,’ and HCC’s mission is to combat that war by creating veteran entrepreneurs who, through the growth of small businesses, will create more job opportunities.  More veteran entrepreneurs = more veteran friendly jobs = less veterans filing for unemployment benefits = less wasted tax dollars for America.”

The HCC organization recruits nationally. But Veterans who use this incubator (company who promotes entrepreneurial startups) can ultimately find themselves starting businesses or working jobs anywhere in the country.

Veterans interested in entrepreneurships should look into HCC as a possible resource. Veteran entrepreneurs are also encouraged to check out https://vamboa.org/

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