Small Business Questions & Answers

 

  • Ask About 2014 Minimum Wage Rates

    Posted by Planning A. Head in Office & HR | Monday, Jan 6, 2014

    Dear Toolkit,

    Can you let me know what the 2014 minimum wage rates are for federal purposes and also for the states?

    Planning A. Head

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  • Ask Toolkit About Loan Documentation

    Posted by Happy Camper in Finance | Sunday, Jul 21, 2013

    Dear Toolkit,

    My banker just called with good news. They have approved my business loan application, and I am to report to the bank next week to close the deal and receive the money. Since I'll have to sign my life away, can you tell me what I need to watch out for in all that paperwork?

    Thanks,

    Happy Camper

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  • Ask About Amending Tax Returns

    Posted by Chagrined in Sheboygan in Tax Center | Sunday, Jul 21, 2013

    Dear Toolkit,

    Oops! I just filed my tax return electronically and arrived home to learn that my wife found a Form 1099 hidden in the pages of  a magazine. How can I amend my return to include this prodigal 1099?

    Thanks,

    Chagrined in Sheboygan

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  • Ask Toolkit About Social Security's Bio

    Posted by Sweet Sue in Tax Center | Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013

    Dear Toolkit,

    I enjoyed your recent column on the evolution of income tax in America. Can you give us Social Security's life story as well?

    Thanks,

    Sweet Sue

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  • Social Security Taxes for 2013

    Posted by Noend Insight in Tax Center | Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013

    Dear Toolkit,

    Are my Social Security taxes going up yet again in 2013?

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  • Ask Toolkit About the Standard Mileage Rate for 2013

    Posted by Plan A. Head in Tax Center | Tuesday, Jun 11, 2013

    Dear Toolkit,

    Any word on what the standard mileage rates for 2013 are?

    Thanks,

    Plan A. Head

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  • Ask About Foreign Qualification And Business Licenses

    Posted by Don't Wanna Be Bothered in Start Up | Wednesday, Mar 20, 2013

    Greetings Toolkit Gurus,

    My business has been growing rapidly and I am thinking about expanding into another state. I've heard that a business needs to register to do business and get business licenses in every state where it's doing business. This seems like a real hassle. What's wrong with just "flying under the radar?"

    Don't Wanna Be Bothered


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  • Ask About Employee Social Media Posts

    Posted by Socially in Start Up | Monday, Oct 1, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    With so many of my employees constantly checking and updating their social media profiles, I'm worried it won't take much for them to post something unfavorable about my business. As an employer, what can I do to stop my employees from making disparaging posts that could hurt my business--and my ability to keep their pay checks coming?

    Sincerely,

    Socially Concerned 

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  • Ask About Announcing a New Owner to Customers

    Posted by Saling in Running A Business | Wednesday, Sep 19, 2012

    Dear Toolkit, 

    After decades in business, it's time to trade in bookkeeping for beaches and sales quotas for siestas. Soon, I will be signing the sale papers and relinquishing the throne to a new owner. I'm about to announce the sale of my business to my customers. What should I include in this letter to keep customer retention high during this period?

    Sincerely,

    "Saleing" Away 

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  • Ask About Starting an Online Food Business

    Posted by Bursting To Bake in Start Up | Tuesday, Sep 18, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I want to start an online business selling cupcakes. For now, I will be baking the cupcakes in a rented kitchen. The orders will be placed online, and I will deliver the cupcakes on the date specified in the order. I plan to file a fictitious owner certificate and obtain a business license but I'd like to know if there is any other paperwork I should be completing?

    Thanks,

    Bursting To Bake

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  • Ask About Business Closure Documentation

    Posted by Meticulous in Running A Business | Tuesday, Aug 21, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I'm in the process of closing my business. At this point, my biggest concern is ending things on a positive note with my current customers—and receiving my security deposit in full from my landlord. A friend suggested I notify my customers and my landlord via good ole snail mail. Do you recommend any boilerplate language or legalese to include in these letters? I'd like to remain on good terms with both parties while still protecting my company.

    Sincerely,

    Meticulous in Metropolis

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  • Ask About Income for Services Paid Through C Corporation

    Posted by Prudent Planner in Start Up | Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I've formed a C corporation to help make sure my personal assets are protected in case my business doesn't take off as I hope it will.  When I am hired to do work for another business, how can I make sure the income is income to my corporation, rather than to me personally.  Do I need to file any special forms to make this happen?

    Prudent Planner

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  • Ask About Doing Business in Other States

    Posted by Curious Concerning Qualification in Start Up | Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Our limited liability company started small, with employees in only one state. But we've been growing! Now we have employees in several other states. We also have contracts with customers in other states.  What is the best way to know if we are required to qualify to do business in those states?

    Thank you!

    Curious Concerning Qualification

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  • Ask About Ponzi Schemes

    Posted by Eager Entrepreneur in Start Up | Tuesday, Jul 3, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I recently asked my dad to lend me some money to start my own MLM business. He refused to give me a loan, but gave me a stern lecture on the evils of get-rich-quick scams. I told him that I had been led to believe that multi-level marketing businesses are legitimate enterprises, but his retort was that "a Ponzi scheme by any other name is still a Ponzi scheme." What in the world is a Ponzi scheme? (I can't ask him as we are no longer on speaking terms.)

    Eager Entrepreneur

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  • Ask Toolkit About Succession -- Part Two

    Posted by Dottering Dad in Start Up | Friday, Jun 29, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I'm the founder of a pretty good sized business I built up myself over many, many years. My wife is on my case to retire and let one or more of our kids take over. Any helpful hints on how to do this painlessly?

    Dottering Dad

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  • Ask About Small Business Development Centers

    Posted by Aspiring in Arizona in Start Up | Sunday, Jun 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I've heard that an agency known as "SBDC" might be able to help me with my business. Can you explain what and where it is, and how it might give me a helping hand?

    Aspiring in Arizona

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  • Ask About Buy/Sell Agreements

    Posted by Worry Wart in Running A Business | Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    My brother and I and another business colleague have a small but increasingly successful business. We are all in this for the long haul, but we're somewhat concerned about the welfare of our families if any one of us should die or become disabled. Apart from having the usual life and disability coverage, how can we assure that our families can sell our significant investment in the company to the surviving owners at a fair price in the event of death or incapacity?

    Thanks,

    Worry Wart

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  • Ask Toolkit About LIFO and FIFO

    Posted by Jarred by Jargon in Finance | Thursday, May 31, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I need to learn about how to value my inventory. This mysterious process seems to force one to choose between two things known as LIFO and FIFO. Help!

    Thanks,

    Jarred by Jargon

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  • Ask About Overtime Rules

    Posted by Muddled Manager in Office & HR | Monday, May 28, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Do you have any tips for about interpreting the overtime pay rules outlined by the Department of Labor? I'm confused and I'm sure I'm not alone.

    Muddled Manager

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  • Ask About HIPAA

    Posted by Not Hip in Office & HR | Saturday, May 26, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I know I'm a little behind the times but can you give me a short course about HIPAA and health insurance portability? I seem to have a severe knowledge gap on this topic.

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