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Blitz Ezine #246 Feb 1, 2005

How to create Goals that work for your web business


The Blitz-Promotions News Letter
Issue no. 246, Feb 1, 2005

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Blitz Comments
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We start a series this week on Goal Making - we hope you enjoy it.

 

Make sure to check out daily promotion hints and tips.

http://smallbizpromo.blogspot.com

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In this Issue
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- Goal Making 1,2,3
- Tax Risks
- 7 Business Tips

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Food for thought
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The reason most people never reach their goals is that they don't define them, or ever seriously consider them as believable or achievable. Winners can tell you where they are going, what they plan to do along the way, and who will be sharing the adventure with them. Denis Watley

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success. Stephen A. Brennan

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Goal Making 1,2,3
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Did you make any goals for the New Year - or do you have any goals. If you don't then I urge you to make some (and I'm also preaching to myself here). If you don't have any goals then you are basically just getting in a car and driving around with no destination... do you do that often, hopefully not too often.

Over the next few issues we're going to talk some about making goals. When I think of goals I don't think of just things on a piece of paper but actual small action steps that make the path to fulfilling the goal. I also believe in making goals as large as you want them to be. My Dad has told me many times that if you reach for the stars, you may not get one, but you won't come up with a handful of dirt either. This months lesson is simple.

Step 1 - Make yourself a mental note / write down on your calendar to check our blog on Feb. 8th because that is when we'll be giving you the next steps. You can check out our blog at the following link.

http://smallbizpromo.blogspot.com

Step 2 - This week spend 10 or 15 minutes thinking about where you would love to be in a year, in 5 years, in 10 years. Don't think only about your business, but all aspects of your life - spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc. When you dream, dream big. Make some notes of what you're thinking about, because the next step will be writing them down.

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Tax Risks of Small Business Employee Benefit Plans
by Tony Novak, MBA, MT, OnlineAdviser at Freedom Benefits Association
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Tax Risks of Small Business Employee Benefit Plans
by Tony Novak, MBA, MT, OnlineAdviser at Freedom Benefits Association

A small business owner faces enough risks without the need to be worried
that the IRS may deny the tax deductions taken for improper employee benefit
plans. Fortunately, the audit and disallowance of small business employee
benefit plans is small. Freedom Benefits Association lists some problem
issues and breaks them into rough categories of risk ranging from high” to
medium” and low”. A separate category is included at the end to include
those issues for which we cannot make accurate comments. This article
considers only the federal tax risks, not legal risks or other business
risks that may arise. Also, this issue addresses only tax risks that are
applicable to the employer, not those that may be faced by the employee.

High Risk Issues

Deposits not verified by custodian. If you take a deduction for a
retirement plan, for example, and do not actually make the deposit with an
approved custodian, there is a high probability that the error will be
caught. The IRS uses a computerized matching program that appears to be
very efficient.

Unauthorized Custodian. If you opened your health savings account with
Merrill Lynch for example and take a deduction on your tax return it will
cause a problem because Merrill Lynch does not administer health savings
accounts. (Apparently that has not stopped customers from opening accounts
so titled). But this error would likely be caught in the IRS s automated
unreported income matching program.

Improper Investments. Directing funds from an employee benefit plan to the
purchase an investment property is a problem regardless of how great the
investment return. Investments in employer stock face restrictions.

FICA issues any issue that results in underreporting of taxable wages is a
high risk issue, not because of the risk of being caught, but rather because
of the severity of penalties. Small businesses have literally been shut
down because of sloppy accounting in this area.

Treating owners as employees - Owners of sole proprietorships, partners,
members of an LLC and shareholders in an S corporation may not be treated as
employees under most employee benefit plans. It makes no difference that
the owner is actually working in the business the same as a regular
employee. This is a common item examined in routine audits of a business
reporting on a Schedule C or Form 1120S. The risk is that if improper
reporting is discovered in one year, the other years before and after are
likely to be also opened for examination of the same issue.


Medium Risk Issues

Discrimination Issues When some employees do not receive a benefit enjoyed
by others, the result is often a complaint to the IRS. It is important to
know that in the absence of a complaint, this would be a low risk” issue.
But the frequency of audits suggests that disgruntled employees are quick to
point the finger of suspicion. Discrimination is allowed in all employee
benefit plans as long as it follows prescribed formulas. Discrimination
issues fall into two categories: Discrimination as to eligibility and
discrimination as to benefits. In either case, perhaps the best way to
avoid tax problems is to have an outside accountant review the benefit plan
transactions at the time the tax return is prepared.

Lack of Third Party Documentation Most pension plans require an actuarys
report. Self-administered 401(k) plans require that the trustee be bonded
by an insurance company. Health Reimbursement Arrangements require that
cash benefits be verified by an independent auditor. Without these third
party documents, deductions would likely be denied in a general audit.

Health plans that defer income Health reimbursement plans are not intended
to defer income from the current year and postpone it to a future year.
While this is difficult to detect from a general audit stance, the IRS
happens to be on the lookout for this issue.


Low Risk Issues

Improper wording in plan documents. While benefit plan documents should be
updated every few years to account for changing legal requirements, the IRS
admits that many (perhaps even the majority of) small business do not fully
comply with current law. Yet seldom, if ever, do we hear of a major tax
problem arising from a faulty small business benefit plan document. Most
issues can be corrected through the IRS's voluntary correction program for
employee benefit plans.

Group health insurance administration Federal law requires that small
business group health insurance plans abide by state laws with regard to
eligibility, participation and contributions. Yet a high percentage of
small business health insurance plans do not meet these stated requirements.
The IRS either looks the other way or, more likely, does not bother to look
at all.


Unknown Risk

Health savings account deductions - Health Savings accounts were brand new
in 2004, so we have little information on IRS examination procedures. Tens
of thousands of taxpayers are expected to improperly claim this deduction
over the next few months. With a lack of automated audit programs and
little human resources attached to the issue, it is quite possible that
these errors will go undetected.

Deferred Income Plans New regulations published in late 2004 are very
clear. What's not clear is the IRS enforcement plan at the small business
level. Businesses with these benefit plans should be reviewing them now to
determine what changed should be made. Presumably, employers who make
corrections within a reasonable time will be OK.


Freedom Benefits Association (www.FreedomBenefits.org) provides low cost
employee benefit plans for small businesses without commissions or ongoing
fees.

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For Entrepreneurs Only: 7 Powerful Business Tips
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Let's blow away all the chaff. All of it. Whooo. Gone.
What's left? Here are seven business nuggets for you to
ponder. Whether you're seeing them for the first time or
the hundredth time, they're just as powerful. Put a check
mark next to any you've mastered and move on to the next.

1. Do you know what business you're in? You do? Well,
actually, you don't. Actually, you're in the business
of marketing your business. You've got a great
product AND you've got great service. But do you have
great marketing? Great marketing is the key to a
great business. They need to be combined. Great
business and great marketing. No one can stop that
combination!

2. Speaking of marketing, YOU are the one who needs to
become the expert on marketing your business to your
market. Don't have anyone else do it. It's an
absolutely essential task. I've tried to delegate it,
and what a failure it's been! You are the only one
who has the ambition, drive and passion to do it
right. Marketing may be hard work, but you'll be
sorry if you ignore it!

3. Balance in all things. Yes, clever and innovative
beats spending buckets of cash. However, be careful
that your leading edge advantage doesn't become your
bleeding edge pain. The money is where the competition
isn't. But make sure you don't end up in left field.

4. How important is your Unique Selling Proposition
(USP)? It's absolutely Everything, that's all. It's
the cornerstone of your business. It's your anchor
when storms of trouble erupt. Are you very clear
exactly what your USP is? If not, that lack of
clarity can be the root of a thousand future problems.

5. Have A Plan. Sure, it will change. But without one,
how do you know if you're doing what you're supposed
to be doing or just meandering around in the muck?
Your customers, suppliers, lenders and associates will
all respect you for having a clear plan.

6. Team up with others. Of course, you're your own boss
when you work for yourself, which is why you're doing
it. But the world is a big place and you're going to
need help conquering it. Build strong alliances and
advantageous joint partnerships. Find a few mastermind
groups to join. Find a mentor; wait! On second
thought, make sure you have several!

7. Your business is your ship. You're its captain. If
the ship is sailing YOU, all you've got is just a job.
Your business needs to complement your personality,
and your business environment must be extremely
comfortable for you to be in. If it's not, you'll
tend to be reactive rather than proactive. Your
creativity is what nourishes you. It's important that
your environment is supportive of this.

Count the number of check marks you made. This list is not
easy. But, of course, you were aware that your business
wouldn't be 100% sugarcoated when you started it. The
promise of wealth and freedom still makes it worth every
minute.


About This Author -
Oliver P Rochester has had the most stringent boss of his
life for the last decade - himself. Employees come and go
but his boss stays the same. This is how he likes it.
You can read more articles about small business at
http://www.Dsmallbusiness.com


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Links you can use -
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Bravenet has some excellent quick reference pages - including HTML, CSS, Colors, and Unique Characters.
http://resources.bravenet.com/quickref/

A resource page with directories you can submit to:
http://www.strongestlinks.com/directories.php

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Fun and Games
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Check out how your house looks like from outer space - you can check it out using this site.
http://www.terraserver.microsoft.com/

Kids running out of things to do - if they like to color then they (and you) will love this site.
http://www.coloring.com/

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Ads
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Useful links to our site
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Find more useful promotion and design articles here -
http://www.blitzpromotions.com/articleindex.htm

Check out our archives for issues you may have missed.
http://www.blitzpromotions.com/ezinearchives.htm

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Next Issues
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March - Wrap up of our discussion on goals.


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Final Thoughts
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Tim and Lisa Hamblin
Tisa Enterprises
PO Box 221
Hazard KY 41702
http://www.blitzpromotions.com
http://www.crochetnmore.com
http://www.webpageplanner.com
http://www.ineedlinks.com

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