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Often when we think of businesses, we forget all of the people who are self-employed that pass us every day. Perhaps one of the most overlooked possible careers for the self-starter who wants to own a business is working in the trucking industry. There are so many different types of trucking jobs to choose from. Of course there is the behind the wheel position as a driver and the support position of a back-up driver, but what other opportunities are there? You could work, loading or unloading trucks. You could find work dispatching or even giving directions to truckers. I have a friend who is an insurance agent that is a retired trucker and only works with trucker and the special insurance needs they have.
One of the perhaps more interest trucking jobs is logistics services. If you are not familiar with logistics these are the people who, simply put, hire truck drivers to take things from point A to point B. if you have a huge company then you either have your own trucks, but what smaller companies do is hire independent truck drivers to pick up their items and then deliver them where they need to go. In this case a logistics person, or company, arranges the when the items will be picked up, where they are going, when they will arrive, and how much it will cost. Of course if you only have one or two boxes then you use Fed Ex or UPS but when you have a whole bunch of things that need to go somewhere the logistics person becomes your greatest friend. The nice part about using a service like this is it really doesn’t matter where you are in the country. Because truckers are always looking for their next load, they contact a deliver solutions company to find something for them to haul. The more a truck can be moving the more money it makes.
A great example of a company that handles logistics is Stevens Transport. You can find a ton of information out about how logistics works as well as how you can use a company like this to help you: run a truck and keep it busy, get your shipment where you need it, or even how you can become a logistic services coordinator yourself.
If you are thinking about going into business by yourself you might be surprised how many opportunities you can find in trucking.

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5 Things to Keep in Mind When Filing Taxes

admin on February 2nd, 2013

Well it is that time of year again. Time to look at last years income and file our taxes. For some this is a very scary thing every year. Here are 5 suggestions to help you when filing this year.

1. Make sure you have all of your paperwork together before starting – it is easy to forget that we may have forms coming for things like: Student Loan interest, Home Mortgage interest or even gambling winnings. Make sure you set aside a special place for all of your forms as they arrive so when it is time to do your filing you know where everything is.

2. Use an online filing system. – I personally like Turbo Tax, but there are several to choose from. These systems not only will walk you through nearly every possible tax situation, but they will also save your data securely from year to year so that you can know what things you filed last year and compare what you list this year to last year. It also offers the benefit of not having to fill in repetitive information like your address and social security numbers. And these systems work great for small business owners

3. Don’t forget deductions. – Things like medical premiums, house and student loan interest; even things like buying a hybrid car or upgrading to more efficient heating can be deductible. Take the time to see what deductions you might be eligible for this year.

4. Tax Credits are your friend. – If you have children there are several credits including earned income credit and child tax credit. You can get a credit for child care expense. You can even get credit for your retirement savings. The best part about tax credits is if you can get the money back if you have an overage. Deductions will take you to 0 tax due but a credit can get you money!!!

5. Don’t stress!!! – So many times I see people who are really worried about their taxes. The truth is that for most people going through the process of filing online with something like turbo tax if you have all your information is extremely quick and easy. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard people remark how much easier it was than they feared. And if you don’t understand it or want help there are many places like the senior center or the library that offer free help. Still don’t get it? Don’t be afraid to go to a service like HR Block and have them do your taxes for you.

The key this year to a low stress tax season is to be prepared and not to worry. If you use these tips this could be your best tax year ever.

What mobile devices do you use?

admin on January 3rd, 2013

There was a time when, with the exception of doing paperwork on the go, there really was no need or purpose for a mobile device. Sure a lot of people had laptops, but how many of them needed them or really used them “mobile”? It was nice to be able to take all your files with you, but the sacrifice of computing power wasnt really worth it to do most of the things you really did with your computer. Then the Blackberry came along.

With the Blackberry you had in the palm of your hand the ability to text; or if you were so bold create whole documents with your thumbs LOL. Texting starting taking off, and well now it is replacing spoken word in person for some families. You find whole families that have lost the art of walking into the other room to ask a question. Just pick up the phone and text them. Shock and horror should you leave your phone in another room or not answer it when you are in the bathroom LOL

So suffice to say mobile technology is a part of our culture now. Now you dont even need a laptop you can just get a tablet. Quickly the tablet is replacing the laptop as the mobile computing device, while simultaneously expanding our desires for what our phone should do too. I read a story about babies who were given tablets with magazines on them and then later given an actual magazine. The babies thought the magazine was broken because the page didnt change when the pressed on it LOL

So now mobile computing is a part of our life. To keep track of our business and to run our social media campaigns properly a mobile device is an excellent tool

What types of mobile device do you use?

Are you a Business Owner

admin on April 21st, 2012

At lunch the other day I was talking with a group of people and I realized how many people either dont know they are business owners, want to start a business but dont know how, or dont really know what being a business owner means.  Here a couple of examples of people who during the course of the discuss discovered that not only were they business owners but that they had been missing out on the benefits of business ownership such as tax deductions and credits.

  • Do you own rental property?  As a rental property owner you ARE a business.  Depending on the city you live in they may even want you to get a business license for your rental company.  But did you know that all of the expenses of your rental house are business deductions?  Need to replace a water heater, a roof, or a garage door?  Dont forget to claim the cost of it on your taxes as well as the cost of property tax and so much more.
  • Do you do odd job such as lawn mowing?  If you are a teenage earning money to go to the movies this weekend then you dont need to think of pushing the lawnmower as a business; BUT if even the older lady across the street pays your husband to mow the lawn that is a business.  This means that not only is the gas in the mower a business expense, but so is: the wear on the mower, the cost of gas in the car to go get gas for the mower, even the trash bags you put lawn clipping in could be a business expense.

What kind of things could you be doing as a business?

  • Sell Avon
  • Repair cars
  • Fix fences
  • Replace broken mail boxes

There are a lot of small needs out there.  You dont have to quit your day job to be a business person all you need to do is look around for a need and then fill it.

What business would you like to start?

Writing for Business: Part Three

admin on September 9th, 2008

Welcome to Part Three of my series on Writing for Business. If you have missed any posts, please take a look at Writing for Business: Part One, and Writing for Business, Part Two.

Today, we are taking a closer look at Press Releases.

Writing for Business: Part Two

admin on September 8th, 2008

Welcome to Part Two of the series on Writing for Business. If you missed yesterday’s opener, please be sure to check it out, here. If you don’t feel like reading today, you can download the podcast here.

Today, we are going to take a look at the different documents you will have to write for your business.

Press Releases
Memos, E-Mails, and Interoffice Correspondence
Blogs and Articles

For your viewing pleasure today, watch this video on conducting Market Research, and share your thoughts below. :) Social Networking is a great market research tool, and that’s what is addressed in this video.

Business Marketing: What You Need to Know

admin on August 12th, 2008

Any new business needs marketing.  Before I get started on telling you how to market your business and giving you some ideas as to what you can do, I want to refer you to this article at entrepreneur.com

this article at entrepreneur.com
, that tells you what marketing is not.  Please make sure your pop-up blockers are disabled so that you can open a new window, read that, and come back to this in just a few minutes…

Now, the rest of this blog will assume that you have followed instructions and read that article.  If you haven’t, do it.  If you are not going to, then forget it.  :)  I’ll be addressing what marketing is not in a few weeks, anyway.

As I promised above, I am going to show you some things you can do to market your small business.  What I didn’t tell you is that these are going to be low cost marketing ideas, sure to fit nearly any small business marketing budget.

Podcasts
What’s a podcast?  It’s a recording of information that can be downloaded to MP3 players, so that people like you can take information like this, with them on the go.  It also helps with people who do not want to read, but like to listen.

How do you make a podcast?  Easy!  Grab a mic, and a simple program that will record and edit your sounds, (something like Audacity) and talk away!  Then, you upload the file to your website. Viewers can easily download the podcast and listen at their convenience.

For more information on podcasts, check out these sites: Podcast Alley, Podcasts, and CNN: Podcasting

Blogs
Not much needs to be said here. You are reading a blog! Blogs are a great way to give information, and to keep your site updated with current information for the search engine spiders. You can add a blog to your existing web site, or you can create a blog on its own domain, like this one.

Direct Marketing
This can be done with post cards to addresses that fit your target consumer demographic, or through presentations set up at your business. There are several different avenues you can take with this one, too.

Online Advertising
This is a no brainer. There are several different online avenues you can take to advertise your business. This website/blog, for instance has advertising spots open for a nominal fee! If you are interested, let us know.

Of course these are not the only things you can do to market your business.  As the blog progresses, I will touch on different business marketing techniques you can use both online and off line in the real world to help your business grow.   Do me a favor, and subscribe to this blog, to help the Blog Island Network business!

Share your thoughts on these and other marketing techniques below.  Also, let me know if you have subscribed to my RSS feed.  I’ll be sure to visit your site and do the same! Networking (which will be discussed later on, as well) is what is all about!

Naming a Business: Help Generating Ideas

admin on August 11th, 2008

So you need a name for your business, but you do not have a clue where to start.  Well, first, you should read Good Business Naming Practices.  When you get finished, come back here so you can get some ideas for names.

Think about the service you are going to offer. What words come to mind? Keep a running list of these words. For example, a computer business offering computer repair may come up with words like: computer repair, computer technicians, computers, computer doctor, etc.

Think about words you would use to describe your business. Keep a running list of these words. If your computer repair business was cheaper than competitors, try words like discount, low cost, etc.

Think about existing businesses, and how to make your business name different from those, so as to avoid confusion.

Combine different words from your lists to come up with a business name you like, and is available.

Check out these resources for help naming your business.

Free Online Naming
Brainstorming Business Name Ideas
Business Name Ideas

Writing a Business Plan: Podcast

admin on August 10th, 2008

Before you do anything else concerning your business, it is a good idea to write a business plan.  So, what the heck is a business plan, and how do you write one?  That’s what I am going to talk about with you today, and by the time you reach the end of this blog, you will know how to write your business plan, and should get started with it right away. If you do not want to read this post, click here for the podcast.

A Business Plan should include:

Executive Summary: This includes information like the mission statement, the date business began, who the founders are and what functions they serve, etc.
Market Analysis: In this section, you include information on the business industry you are in, and what you know about it.
Company Description: You don’t need too much detail here, but you should talk about what your business is, and what about that you believe will make it a success.
Organization and Management:This is where you will include your business structure, and profile the most important members of the company.
Marketing & Sales Management: This is where you outline your marketing and sales strategies, and how you expect them to benefit the company.
Service or Product Line: Detail the services or products your business is to offer.
Funding Request: This is the section where you detail and essentially ask for the funds you need in order to start or expand your business.
Financials: This section is used to detail the current financial information along with the financial outlook of your business.
Appendix: This should be provided on as needed basis, and should include information like photographs of your products, resumes of key management professionals, business and personal credit information, etc.

For sample business plans, please see: BPlans.com

Why do you think Business Plans are good?  Did you use one when you started your business?  Why or why not?  What can you offer to help those who are just starting out?