Tax Tips for Online Entrepreneurs

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Tax season can be a very scary time for many Americans, particularly those who own and run their ownbusinesses.  With the warm weather of spring come tax deadlines and the negative presence of having to prepare your taxes.  But with the right information, filing taxes for your online business can be simple and easy whether you do it yourself or hire your own personal accountant.  The following tips will help you to be better prepared to file your taxes come springtime.

Stay Organized

Staying organized starts at the beginning of each new year.  When you keep your financial documents organized and in the same place, they are easy to find once it’s time to fill out your taxes.  Create labeled folders and storage places for each document you get throughout the year that relates to your taxes.  Keeping your information organized also ensures that you don’t miss any important deductions that can save you money.

Deduct Your Home Office

For the small business owner that has a home office, a tax deduction is available if your office room is only used for your business.  With the right documentation, you can deduct a portion of your home expenses as a business expense.  Remember that your home office must be your primary business area, and you cannot rent space elsewhere to conduct business. Additional info can be found here on how to qualify.

Don't Forget About Travel

What's often overlooked are travelling expenses, including airline fees, ground transportation, hotel stays and dining expenses. What about combining business and pleasure? It is okay, as long as business is the main purpose of travel. However, if you take your family along, you can deduct only your business expenses.

Remember Website Expenses

When you run an online business, you spend a lot of time and money maintaining your website, and many small business owners forget that those expenses can be deducted from their taxes.  Expenses for domain name, software, and web hosting are all eligible as deductions off your total tax bill.  You can also deduct any payment you made to have your website designed and created.

If your business sells goods through websites such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, you have probably processed payments through these sites.  You should receive a special form that reports any money that was processed through these sites that was considered income for your business.  Visit the IRS website for more 1099K instructions if you aren’t sure where to include this information in your taxes.

Deduct Training And Education Costs

If you attend any seminars or classes throughout the year that pertain to your business, costs associated with these can be deducted from your tax bill.  Any books, newspapers, and other publications that are purchased for your business can also be used as a deduction.

Lowering your tax bill involves staying up to date on all new deductions and making sure that you are taking advantage of all deductions you are eligible for.  As a small business owner, make learning about small business tax deductions a priority every year.

About the author:  Evan Aoki is a feature contributor for Theprointern.com where he likes to report on subjects where life meets money.

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Affiliate marketing is one of the few industries that is continuing to grow, in spite of the current economic climate. There are tens, if not hundreds, of millions of blogs on the Internet (60 million blogs are powered by WordPress, and there are doubtless many more powered by other blogging platforms or custom-coded CMSes). It makes sense to try to monetize those blogs. What sets successful affiliates apart from casual bloggers is the way that they monetize their sites.

Choosing the Right Program

There are many different affiliate programs. Some pay per click, while others pay per lead, or per purchase. Most bloggers start with a well-known program such as Amazon’s Associates, but there is no reason to limit yourself to this. In fact, if you can find the right products to promote, you will probably make more money promoting a less general merchant through Commission Junction or a similar network.

Joining a network, or even better, an affiliate aggregator service, gives you the freedom to promote products for a wide range of merchants. The VigLink aggregator, for example, offers automatic access to more than 30,000 programs.

Making Content That Gets Clicks

The best way to get people to click on your content, and buy the stuff that you promote, is to put the quality of the content first, and let the clicks come naturally. If you’ve ever searched for information about a product and landed on one of those auto-generated blogs that consists of nothing more than reviews harvested from Amazon, then you have seen first hand exactly what not to do. If you want people to stay on your site, then you must create unique, interesting and valuable content. That means writing honest product reviews based on your own experience, or writing how-to tutorials for things that you know people struggle with. Quality content is what will get you traffic that turns in to customers.

Don’t Forget Your Users

One area where many blogs fall down is that once they start getting popular, they forget the users that helped them get there. If you start a niche blog, don’t leave that niche behind. Don’t try to make a blog that appeals to “everyone”, because doing so will leave you alienating everyone. Put the user experience first, and let the monetization follow naturally.

Consider creating five or ten pages that promote your best affiliate links, and then linking to those pages from your other content pages. This minimizes the number of obvious ads on your site, while still ensuring that every page acts as a gateway to your money pages.

Remember that modern web users are jaded, and they don’t like being advertised to. The less intrusive your advertising, the more receptive they will be to it. Instead of trying to net a sale from every visitor, start by building trust. Once a user likes your content, and has started to trust you as a webmaster, they will be more willing to pay attention to the sales pages you put in front of them.

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Project management is a tough field, you have a team that depends on your leadership to guide them through the variety of obstacles you will no doubt encounter on your exploits. This is especially true in the field of engineering, sow hen this happens you will need to remember a number of things, but I hope that my 5 crucial tactics for engineering project management will help you sail these stormy seas into smoother waters.Communication

When I say communication the first idea you will jump to is speaking, are you making your ideas clear enough, are they being understood? But what you have to remember is that communication is a two way street and you need to learn to listen as well as talk. Remember to practice active listening, this way you will not only be able to have a full understanding of every aspect and nuance of the project but you will be able to catch any grievances or issues before they morph into something larger and more drastic.

Diplomacy

Tact and diplomacy go hand in hand, and are one of my five crucial tactics. There is a time for being blunt and it is rarely in a boardroom or in a meeting, diplomacy is always a valued skill as it can leave everyone feeling non the worse for wear even if their idea, strategy or request has been denied. Remember, if someone is dogging you every step of the way for no real reason, kill them with kindness.

Be A Team Player

Throwing out the old “there is no I in team” may be a little clichéd but it still holds true. The key to being part of a good team or managing a great team is delegation, there is no point in piling work on the harder working members and giving those that struggle a lighter load, or over burdening yourself. You will need to work out an equal way of sharing the tasks, if that means some people struggle offer them coaching and mentoring as you will help them grow rather than leaving them to struggle the next time a similar situation arises. Seeing that you are taking part in the work will also help bolster your colleagues and employees respect for your, they'll know that you're just as much as a heard worker as they are.

Reception

This may go hand in hand with your listening skills and your diplomacy but it is still a great tactic in its own right.

Be receptive to the input and ideas of others, you'll be surprised how an outsiders or objective viewpoint can give you a fresh take on an problem that has arisen. Sometimes we get so deep within a problems that we can't see it for the thing it is, a little like making a mountain out of a molehill. If this is the case for you, back up and call a team discussion, don't shoot down new ideas or takes and explore every possibility, you may be pleasantly surprised.

Stand Your Ground

Don't be afraid to stand firm on a decision, if you've put in the time, effort, research and you have reviewed it with your teams and reached your final decision, don't let yourself be swayed by doubt or naysayers. Be firm and make sure you have a valid answer for every concern that may arise. That way you can always say you stood your ground.

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E-commmerce_Graph

The world of mobile marketing is live and loud. And numerous e-commerce websites have taken this opportunity to venture into a realm even more vast and with immense potential – mobile commerce (or mcommerce).According to eMarketer, mcommerce had hit $25 billion and exhibited a growth rate of 86% in 2012. This figure is expected to have a stupendous progress with time, and is slated to touch $86 billion by 2016.

This is a whole new platform with usage contexts and latest methods of interaction which bring forward a number of pitfalls and limitations. As a result, there is hindrance while designing or running a mcommerce site. After all, mcommerce is still an unmapped territory when it comes to real implementation, and mistakes are bound to happen.

So, what is the solution? It is important for mcommerce websites to follow the fundamental aspects of mobile web usability, as it is a key concept when it comes to offering great user experience. Let’s have a look at these guidelines:

#1. The Easily-Scannable Homepage

The first thing done by 70% of all the visitors on a mcommerce website is scroll up and down its homepage. This is, in fact, called “getting an overview” of the available options before making a choice. If not this reason, visitors do this to get a better feel of the website they were going to shop with. The Homepage of the mobile E-commerce website is your first point-of-contact with your potential customers, and it’s vital to make a great first impression.

You need to make the Homepage easily scannable. Avoid using too many visuals. Include the navigation options, but do not present it in a drop-down dialogue. You also need to make sure that the fold cuts off some content partially, as it indicates more options below.

#2. A Primary Button At The Top Or Bottom Of Product Pages

People who will face problems while searching for the “Add to Cart” button will immediately abandon your website. Yes, you may include more than one CTA button. However, you also need to make sure that the “Add to Cart” button is easy to spot, clearly visible, and placed either at the header or the footer of every product page.

An “Add to Cart” button at the header is great if the product description page is extremely short. For a product description page of a normal size, however, the visitor will read the description at first, and then move on to the specifications. The decision to buy or leave will be taken at the end of the page. Therefore, it is better to place an “Add to Cart” button in the footer too.

#3. Careful Handling Of The Animated Carousels

The quick-to-change animated carousels are known to cause problems during interactions, as they were both difficult to read or choose an option. If facts are to be taken into account, most visitors do not even like animated carousels anymore. But it’s not much of a problem if do not want to remove the animated carousel from the website.

You need to make sure that the speed of slide change is low. Keep the “Next” and “Previous” option active of course. Moreover, you also need to keep in mind that the carousel must direct the visitors to something useful and worth their time.

Conclusion:

There are also a few things you need to consider, like

  • Disabling the autocorrection feature when the dictionary is weak,
  • Making the hit area for each list item distinct,
  • Making fields long enough to fully display common data,
  • Proper design and sequence of your three account-selection options, and
  • Careful display of information or images on separate subpages.

Put all this points in action, and your mcommerce venture is sure to hit the bully’s eye!

About the author: Hi, I am Helen Lopez from Santa Barbara. I am a web developer and have interest in mobile web development. Connect with me @ Pinterest.

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                                                                                                                                          Improving_your_Profit_Margins

Profit margin is a very useful metric to monitor when competing against businesses in the same sector but it can be difficult to maintain during a period of sales growth.

For example, a net income of £1 million on sales of £10 million offers a ten per cent profit margin but next year could deliver £20 million in sales but £1.5 million of net income, delivering a profit margin of 7.5 per cent. So, even though the company has delivered more sales than the previous year, the profit margin has shrunk.

As a result, it is important to focus on maintaining and growing profit margins during the year. Here are a few quick wins that you and your company can try to boost these margins.

Price

Price can be an important differentiator between you and your competitors but, while base price is an important aspect of making a profit, it is the value delivered that remains one of the key drivers of sales.

AllAboutBusiness suggests that customers “don’t care about your costs or your time; they only care about the value” that a business delivers, so focus on value over price. This way, customers will be happy to pay a premium for high-quality goods and services; a factor that could be essential in boosting profit margins, especially if initial product/service costs are low.

By managing the gross product margin through value (or finding cheaper raw material or negotiating the cost of production), businesses have an excellent way to keep their profit margins in line with increased sales.

Efficiency

Businesses also needed to be questioning whether its processes are being carried out as efficiently as possible, as this is a key factor when trying to improve margins.

For instance, businesses may require the services of a professional auditor to improve their performance. Performance can be improved by achieving registration to international standards like ISO 9001 for instance, or through the implementation of management systems that can streamline processes and improve efficiency.

Accounting practices should also be monitored and other non-revenue generating processes can also be handled by outside firms, enabling a more professional, efficient way of working; resulting in cost reductions and higher profits.

Expenses

Managing expenses can be an effective way to improve profit margins as high expense levels means less money for the company. As a result, cutting down on operating expenses – salaries, rent, utilities, depreciation and more - is a quick way to boost profit margins but business owners need to be careful; cuts need to be made without sacrificing overall productivity and performance.

For example, cutting a worker’s salary may enable a short-term boost but it could instigate a drop in performance. As a result, business owners need to ensure that any cost-cutting measures are made with a view to streamlining – rather than hindering – performance.

These are just a handful of processes that can help boost profit margins but no two businesses are the same; sit down and analyze what can be done with regards to price, efficiency and expenses and see what improvements can be made.

 

About the author: Batalas (www.batalas.co.uk) has over 50 years experience in lead and internal auditor training with over 300,000 people having attended our training courses.

 

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