Small Business Questions & Answers

 

  • Ask About Selling Your Service Business

    Posted by Senior Service Provider in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    For years I've been building up a personal service business based on helping the elderly manage health insurance claims as well as assisting them in paying their household bills every month. This service is often subsidized by the adult children of my clients. I receive many referrals from both generations so the business has grown to the point where I had to hire an employee to help me. Now I'm ready to retire and I need some advice on how I might go about selling my little business. Can you give me a list of steps to follow?

    Senior Service Provider

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  • Ask About Money Laundering

    Posted by Curious George in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    For years we've heard about money laundering. Lately, with all the concern about terrorism, the subject comes up almost daily. But it seems as though nobody can actually define what money laundering really is. And why should we care anyway? Can you demystify this for us?

    Thanks,

    Curious George

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  • Ask About ISO 9000

    Posted by Perplexed in Pittsburgh in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I'm a supplier of parts for manufacturers. One firm I've submitted a bid to has requested proof of my "ISO 9000" certification. I've never heard of such a thing. Is this something I need?

    Thanks,

    Perplexed in Pittsburgh

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  • Ask About Split Dollar Life Insurance

    Posted by Perplexed Parent in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Since I'm a new Dad I think I need some life insurance, and one of my colleagues suggested I hit my employer up for a split-dollar policy (whatever that is) as that'd be the only way I could afford sufficient coverage, or so he says. Can you clue me in?

    Thanks,

    Perplexed Parent

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  • Ask About Insuring Your Home-Based Business

    Posted by Worry Wart in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I recently set up an office in my home for a sideline business I've started. Eventually, I hope to quit my "day job" and work full time at my own business. In the meantime, I'm concerned about insurance risks. I know my homeowner's policy covers some aspects of my home office, but do you think I need more coverage now or is my HO policy sufficient until my business grows a bit?

    Worry Wart

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  • Ask About Life Insurance

    Posted by Need A. Coach in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    My little business is doing pretty well but I'm worried that, since I have almost all of my assets tied up in it, my young family is at risk should anything happen to me. My brother-in-law suggested that a life insurance policy might be a wise investment but, when I called a broker to inquire about one, I was confronted with a dizzying array of decisions to make. Term or cash value? Level term or variable life or universal life or decreasing term...and on and on. Help!

    Thanks,

    Need A. Coach

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  • Ask About Suspicious Mail

    Posted by Mailroom Maven in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Do you have any down-home advice about how to deal with the escalating mail threats we keep hearing about?

    Thanks,

    Mailroom Maven

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  • Ask About Disability Insurance

    Posted by Tough Choice in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    What's more important, life insurance or disability insurance? I can't afford them both in addition to health coverage.

    Thanks,

    Tough Choice

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  • Ask About Ethics

    Posted by Hopeful in Hawaii in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    With all the sound and fury going on about our national moral crisis, do you have any words of wisdom and encouragement on the subject of business ethics?

    Hopeful in Hawaii

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  • Ask About Security

    Posted by Nervous Nelly in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Got any quick tips about how to keep my new business safe and secure from things that go bump in the night and other preventable perils?

    Thanks,

    Nervous Nelly

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  • Ask About Business Classification Codes

    Posted by Baffled in Buffalo in Running A Business | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I barely figured out the "SIC" code that was required when filling out our annual federal tax returns and now, when I filed this year's return, I found out that there's a whole new coding system called "Nakes." What's going on with our classification-happy government and what do they use this stuff for anyway?

    Thanks,

    Baffled in Buffalo

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  • Ask About Your Financial Plan

    Posted by Pathetic Procrastinator in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I am guilty of a host of sins of omission, not the least of which is failing to create a financial plan for myself despite good intentions and several false starts. Now my 401(k) is headed for the critical list. Can you motivate me with some quick ideas for an action plan?

    Thanks,

    Pathetic Procrastinator

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  • Ask About the Role of Small Business in Our Economy

    Posted by Adam Smith, Jr. in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I heard that 99% of all the businesses in the U.S. are 'small' businesses. Is this true? And what's the definition of a small business anyway?

    Adam Smith, Jr.

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  • Ask About Organizing a Nonprofit

    Posted by Committee of One in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I just got elected to the board of a new little not-for-profit group here in town, and I'm supposed to get us registered as a "tax exempt 501(c) entity" (whatever that is) so that folks can deduct their contributions to us. How do I go about this? Is it something I can do myself? Or should I have the lawyer I use for my small business stuff do this?

    Committee of One

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  • Ask About Family Limited Partnerships

    Posted by Mom in Muskegon in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    My husband and I want to start transferring our family business down to our kids, and we're considering using a Family Limited Partnership. One adviser told us this is a very effective tool, and another told us it's more trouble than it's worth. How would you cast your vote on this issue?

    Mom in Muskegon

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  • Ask About Work-at-Home Scams

    Posted by Looking in Louisville in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I'm going to have to leave my full-time job due to a family member needing a caregiver. I'm trying to find a job I can do from home. Is there any way to determine if a work-at-home ad is legitimate or just some kind of scam?

    Looking in Louisville

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  • Ask About Registered Agents

    Posted by Perplexed in Pittsburgh in Start Up | Thursday, May 24, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I'm thinking of forming a corporation for my small business and someone told me I'd need to have a Registered Agent. Can you tell me what I'd need one for and where I might find one?

    Perplexed in Pittsburgh

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  • Ask About Sales and Use Tax

    Posted by Wondering in Wyoming in Tax Center | Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    Can you explain the difference between sales tax and use tax? My Montana cousin and I can't seem to agree on what these obligations are.

    Thanks,

    Wondering in Wyoming

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  • Ask Toolkit About Entertainment Expenses

    Posted by Need Help in Tax Center | Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    How can I get more bang for my business promotion buck? I can't deduct my cost of taking customers out for meals and entertainment unless I collect a bushel basket of receipts, and even if I keep all those little tickets, the IRS only lets me deduct 50 percent. How can I please my clients without seeming like a cheapskate, while at the same time please my Uncle Sam without drowning in bushel baskets?

    Thanks,

    Need Help

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  • Ask Toolkit About Loans vs. Dividends

    Posted by Irate in Indiana in Tax Center | Sunday, May 20, 2012

    Dear Toolkit,

    I recently read a real horror story! A man lent his new company $125,000 and when it paid most of it back to him a few years later, the payment was taxed as dividend income. The poor guy ended up paying the IRS more than $30,000 in taxes on the $117,000 loan repayment he received. How is this possible?

    Thanks,

    Irate in Indiana

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