AMGEN
BMS-center-logo
 

Strategies for After Holidays Business Lulls

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Once the holidays have officially ended, most small businesses face a significant drop in business. Generally, people are on vacation or saving to recover from their holiday gift spending from the middle of December through January.

 

Preparing for this lull in business can be challenging.   There are a few strategies that can help minimize the negative impact of the drop in sales and revenues. Below are a few ideas to help you save some money and possibly minimize the negative impacts of a slow business season:

 

Increase Social Media Posting:

Increasing your social media presence is always a great place to start when your business needs a boost. Social media is incredibly effective for reaching potential customers in your local area as well as helping you build overall brand recognition and trust.

 

Implement New Marketing Strategies:

If you are experience a slowdown in business, this might be an excellent time to re-evaluate your current marketing strategies to determine what has been and what has not been effective. Cut out any ineffective strategies and move forward with new ideas.

A few ideas to consider:

  • Improve or update your company website’s overall SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
  • Start new pay-per-click campaigns on social platforms or search engines
  • Start attending in-person marketing events
  • Sponsor relevant local events

 

Eliminate Any Unnecessary Expenses:

The start of the year is also a great time to review where your money goes and cut out any unnecessary expenses. This includes cutting out ineffective marketing programs that was addressed previously as well as reducing spending on office items that aren’t necessary as well as holding off hiring. Saving money is one of the best ways to help you bounce back from a lull in sales.

 

Revamp Your Pricing:

If you lowered your prices to be competitive and attract more customers before the holidays, this is the time to consider what your pricing strategies going forward now that the holidays are over.  Most small businesses simply go right back to their standard pricing but this might not be the best option if you still have a lot of holiday inventory on your hands. Consider staggering your price increases to sell off your surplus inventory.

 

If You Took Out a Loan Now is the Time for a Reasonable Repayment Plan:

If your business was one of the many that needed to take out a loan to have adequate cash flow through the holidays, now is a great time to establish a reasonable and affordable repayment plan with your loan provider.

 

The holiday season is always challenging before, during and after for a variety of reasons and this is especially true for small businesses. If you find that you are struggling to recover from the holidays you should seriously consider one or more of the above strategies to help you get back in your groove and recover.

Tax Credits to Check with Your Accountant

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

Now is the time to take advantage of a few tax breaks that expire as the decade comes to an end.   You will need to check with your financial advisor.   Below are three use-it-or-lose-it opportunities for tax breaks that might make sense for you and your company.

 

  • Paid Family and Medical Leave Tax Credit:

Employers with 50 or more employees are required by law (the Family and Medical Leave Act) to provide up to 12-weeks of time off for certain family matters. There is no law that says those weeks must be paid time off. If your company offers that time off paid, and that policy is in writing, you may be eligible for a federal tax credit so check with your accountant and determine if you are eligible to file. The amount of the credit, which is figured on IRS Form 8994, is a minimum of 12.5% of the paid leave amount up to a maximum of 25%.

 

  • Tax Credit for Electric Powered Vehicle:

This credit applies to plug-in electric vehicles and is calculated on IRS Form 8936. If the vehicle is purchased for business use, the tax credit is then part of the general business credit. This credit was designed to encourage people to purchase and use electric powered, clean-fuel, vehicles. The credit amount can be a maximum of $7,500. Certain vehicle manufacturer restrictions apply.

 

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit:

This credit is a federal tax incentive to hire a person who falls within a targeted group (as defined by the tax law). This incentive only applies to people who fall within one of the 10 eligible groups (listed below with a link to the IRS site about it) and who begins work before January 1, 2020. The credit can range from $2,400 to $9,600 per hire.   The Work Opportunity Tax Credit is usually renewed each year.

 

The targeted groups are as follows:

  • Summer youth employees
  • Recipient of SNAP benefits (food stamps)
  • SSI recipient
  • Member of a family receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
  • Qualified Veteran (there are 5 subcategories)
  • Qualified ex-felon
  • Designed community resident
  • Vocational rehabilitation referral
  • Long-term family assistance recipient
  • Long-term unemployed

 

In order to take advantage of this tax credit you will need to prove the employee falls within a targeted group and submit IRS Form 8850 to the state workforce agency within 28 days of the first day of that person’s employment with you. The basic credit for this is 40% of first year wages up to $6,000 (for a top credit of $2,400), as long as the employee works at least 400 hours. However, the credit for a veteran with a service-connected disability, who is employed for at least 6 months, is 40% of their wages up to $24,000 (for a top credit of $9,600). Not only is it the right thing to hire Veterans who make outstanding employees, but it makes financial sense.

 

If any of these three tax incentives are applicable for your business, jump on them now and discuss with your financial professional.

 

Don’t Let Your Company Outgrow You

Share this Article:
Share Article on Facebook Share Article on Linked In Share Article on Twitter

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

If you take your role in your company for granted and simply assume you “own” that role you are in danger of being outgrown by your company.   There will always be more people entering your field including people who are more eager, people who don’t stop learning and growing.

 

It doesn’t matter how long you have been with a company or what you have done for them in the past.  You must consistently demonstrate that you are an asset to your company. If you stop learning, unable to adapt to change, too rigid and stuck, your company will outgrow you and replace you.

 

Tips to Keep Pace with Your Growing Company:

 

Put in Office Time: 

We all have a limited amount of time everyday and too many responsibilities. As you climb the corporate ladder, the tendency is to spend less and less time physically in the office connecting with peers and employees. However, office time and connecting with your team is what brought you to the position that you are in. Removing yourself can make you lose the ability to keep pace with your company.  Someone else can pick up the pace. that someone else is certainly picking up.

 

Build and Maintain Relationships:

Never stop building and fostering relationships. This holds true regardless of who the person is including your boss, your employees, your vendors, your suppliers, etc. You need to make sure that you are communicating proactively and effectively as well as making sure that you are continuously adding value to these important relationships and to your company.

 

Keep Learning:

Everyone can benefit from learning something new or learning more about something they already know. Keep up by reading specific books or trade magazines and take time to study other businesses’ successes and failures. Make sure that you stay on top of new trends, new technologies, and shifts in your market or customer base.

 

Add Value to Your Peers:

Take the time to develop relationships with other managers and peers. Make sure that you groom and teach your new employees in the company.  They can also teach you Learn more about other divisions and units and see how you can add value beyond your specific role.

 

 

Even if you have worked hard at your organization, your company will continue to grow with or without you. Remember to continue to impact the company.   They need to be reminded of your value.

 

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

This year has gone by too quickly and it is amazing that we are approaching the holiday season. VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association wants to wish our members, fans and followers a happy and healthy holiday season with quality time to relax and enjoy.

 

Soon it will be 2020 and a new year. VAMBOA is a non-profit trade association for military and veteran business owners including Service-Disabled Veteran Business Owners.  We have over 7,000 members nationwide in every type of business.  Those who serve our country have the discipline and skill to become entrepreneurs and run their own successful business. They also are your shopkeepers, butchers, bakers, mechanics, repair people and more.

 

As we approach the holiday buying season, I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you a little about Veteran and Military Business Owners.  I’d also like to provide you some compelling reasons to patronize their businesses. They are service oriented and are dedicated to putting forth their best efforts for you. This means they want happy and satisfied customers who will return. They want to earn your business and take pride in doing the best job possible and accomplishing their mission.

 

This Saturday, November 30th is Small Business Saturday. It is a day to support and celebrate small businesses and all they do for their communities. American Express began this tradition in 2010 and it has grown to become enormous. In 2018, more than 95 million consumers shopped on Small Business Saturday.

 

This day has been recognized by the Senate and elected officials in each state as well as being promoted by local communities. Please support all small businesses and especially Veteran and Military Small Businesses that are neighborhood champions that rally and are dedicated to their communities.

 

Small business is the engine that drives our nation’s economy.  Veterans and Military play a significant role in our economy. To provide you an idea of the impact of Veteran Small Businesses, below are a few statistics to share from the last census. I believe in the next census, these numbers will dramatically increase:

  • 52 million Businesses in the United States are Veteran majority owned.
  • 442,485 Veteran-owned businesses have employees
  • 08 million Self-employed Veteran businesses (without employees)
  • 1% is the percentage of all United States businesses that are majority-owned by Veterans
  • $1.14 trillion is the total annual revenues of Veteran-owned businesses
  • 03 million is the total number of employees of Veteran-owned businesses
  • $195 billion is the annual payroll of Veteran-owned businesses

 

Those who have served along with their loved ones have made many sacrifices up to and including writing a blank check for their lives. They have served so we can be safe in a dangerous world and live and prosper.

 

When you are buying gifts now, on Small Business Saturday or anytime, I encourage everyone to patronize a Veteran or Military Small Business. When you need some type of service, go to a business owned by Veterans.  Not only will you obtain superior products and awesome service, but it is a sincere and tangible  way to say thank you.

 

 

By Debbie Gregory.

LinkedIN Debbie Gregory VAMBOA VAMBOA Facebook VAMBOA Twitter

 

 

All small business owners have attempted to take a vacation that is inevitably interrupted with yet another crisis at work. You are currently on vacation and you are supposed to be relaxing and having a good time. Your phone won’t stop, your emails keep flowing in and instead of relaxing, you are furiously typing and scrolling away on your laptop.

 

It is easy to fall into the trap of working while on vacation. Most business owners never fully unplug from the office while supposedly vacationing. While this sounds like a good plan, you are unfortunately setting yourself up for more stress, anxiety, and total burnout.  Additionally, people who do not take at least one 1-week vacation a year are 30% more likely to have a heart attack and this number increases dramatically for women. So do yourself and your overall health a favor, and take a real vacation!

 

So, how do you truly let work handle itself for a while as you get some much needed R&R?

 

Setup a vacation plan:

Once you have selected your getaway, make sure that you work wit your team to be able to handle business while you are away.

  • Delegate tasks
  • Create backup plans
  • Make your communication boundaries clear
  • Make your availability clear
  • Make sure each employee knows what is expected of them
  • Empower your staff to handle problems should they arise

 

Setup a return plan:

You know that your first day back into the office will be a nightmare game of catching up. Your inbox will be full and your to-do list will be long. Take the time to pre-organize and prioritize what you will need to do once you return to work.

 

Use the three Ds – Delete, Delegate, and Deal.

  • Delete everything your team is already managing.
  • Delegate what you can have someone else handle.
  • Deal with what you need to take care of.

 

Setup a schedule:

If you absolutely must check in with your business, establish a daily and timed routine for checking in and stick to it. Deviating from your schedule, can lead you down the rabbit hole of emails, calls, and other work issues.

 

Only respond to real emergencies:

Not every situation requires your response. Make sure that you only engage if you absolutely have to.

 

Taking a true vacation can seem impossible for a small business owner.  With some careful planning and a bit of letting go, you can finally get the rest and relaxation that you desperately need. Now Unwind, relax and enjoy!

 

ibmpos_blurgb