March 2009 Archives

March 28, 2009

Negotiate Deals to Cut Your Costs

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If you're paying the same amount for supplies, inventory, and services for your business as you were in 2008, you're throwing your money away. Especially if you can offer cash on delivery or fast payment, you should be able to renegotiate some of your deals for less. Check out this NYT article by Paul Brown; it has some good ideas for negotiating prices down.

In particular, if there's a glut of vacant space in your area, your landlord may be willing to rethink your lease -- even if it's a long-term lease. If you can show your landlord that without a reduction in rent, your business isn't likely to survive, you might have luck -- no landlord wants to lose a tenant in this market. One way to negotiate is to ask for significantly lower rent for the next year, with a built-in increase when things return to normal.

For information, advice and strategies you need to negotiate with a landlord, see Negotiate the Best Lease for Your Business, by Janet Portman and Fred Steingold (Nolo).

March 19, 2009

Appeal to Your Customers for Financial Support

Here's a new idea: songwriter Jill Solube opted out of dealing with a record label and instead asked her fans to donate money to her to pay for her latest recording. She offered various premiums for different levels of donations, like having your name in the liner notes, free song downloads, and getting to sing on her next record ($10,000). She reached her goal of $85,000 in just six weeks with money left over. You can listen to her story about soliciting donations on Marketplace.

March 6, 2009

Stimulus Package Helps Small Business

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The stimulus package contains several provisions aimed at helping small businesses. The higher Section 179 deduction limit of $250,000 that was passed in 2008 is extended another year, as is the 50% first-year bonus depreciation from 2008. Also, businesses with net operating losses in 2008 can carry those losses back for the prior five years, to get a refund against old taxes paid. And another tax measure provides that the amount of estimated taxes that has to be paid by small business owners is now just 90% of the previous year's taxes (rather than the 110% most small business owners had to pay last year). Lastly, the stimulus package provides $730 million to the Small Business Administration's loan program, which should stimulate small business bank loans and nonprofit microloans to small businesses. For more information on all of these, as well as a few other provisions in the stimulus package not mentioned here, see Nolo's new article on How the Stimulus Package of 2009 Can Help Your Small Business.