strategy

At the Very Least, Update the Financials in Your Business Plan

Business consept, Financial graphs

Every new company should launch with a business plan and keep it updated. Generally, such a plan will comprise six sections: executive summary, business description, industry and marketing analysis, management team description, implementation plan, and financials.

Now, ideally, you would comprehensively update each section every year. But if the size, shape and objectives of your company haven’t changed all that much, you may not need to make major revisions to the entire plan. However, at the very least, you should always review and revise your financials.

Explain your route

Lenders, investors and other interested parties understand that descriptions of a business or industry analysis may be subject to interpretation. But financials are a different matter — they need to add up (literally and figuratively) and contain realistic projections in today’s dollars.

For example, suppose a company with $10 million in sales in 2019 expects to double that figure over a three-year […]

By |October 23rd, 2019|business, planning, strategy|0 Comments

For Best Results, Start Your Strategic Planning Early

Empty asphalt road and New year 2018, 2019, 2020 concept. Driving on an empty road in the mountains to upcoming 2018, 2019, 2020 and leaving behind old years. Concept for success and passing time.

Time flies when you’re having fun — and running a business. Although it’s probably too early to start chilling a bottle of bubbly for New Year’s Eve, it’s certainly not too early for business owners to start doing some strategic planning for next year. Here are some ways to get started.

Begin with your financials

A good place to find inspiration for strategic objectives is your financial statements. They’ll tell you whether you’re excelling or struggling so you can decide how strategically ambitious or cautious to be in the coming year.

Use the numbers to look at key performance indicators such as gross profit, which tells you how much money you made after your production and selling costs were paid. It’s calculated by subtracting the cost of […]

By |September 16th, 2019|business, planning, strategy|0 Comments

Prepare for the Worst with a Business Turnaround Strategy

The text Hope for the best Plan for the worst appearing behind torn brown paper

Many businesses have a life cycle that, as life cycles tend to do, concludes with a period of decline and failure. Often, the demise of a company is driven by internal factors — such as weak financial oversight, lack of management consensus or one-person rule.

External factors typically contribute, as well. These may include disruptive competitors; local, national or global economic changes; or a more restrictive regulatory environment.

But just because bad things happen doesn’t mean they have to happen to your company. To prepare for the worst, identify a business turnaround strategy that you can implement if a severe decline suddenly becomes imminent.

Warning signs

When a company is drifting toward serious trouble, there are usually warning signs. Examples include:

  • Serious deterioration in the accuracy or usage of financial measurements,
  • Poor results of key performance indicators — including working capital to assets, sales and retained earnings to assets, and book value to debt,
  • Adverse trends, such as lower margins, market share or working capital,
  • Rapid increase in debt and employee turnover, and
  • Drastic reduction in assessed business value.

Not every predicament that arises will threaten the […]

By |April 25th, 2019|business, strategy|0 Comments

An Implementation Plan is Key to Making Strategic Goals a Reality

In the broadest sense, strategic planning comprises two primary tasks: establishing goals and achieving them. Many business owners would probably say the first part, coming up with objectives, is relatively easy. It’s that second part — accomplishing those goals — that can really challenge a company. The key to turning your strategic objectives into a reality is a solid implementation plan.

Start with people

After clearly identifying short- and long-range goals under a viable strategic planning process, you need to establish a formal plan for carrying it out. The most important aspect of this plan is getting the right people involved.

First, appoint an implementation leader and give him or her the authority, responsibility and accountability to communicate and champion your stated objectives. (If yours is a smaller business, you could oversee implementation yourself.)

Next, establish teams of carefully selected employees with specific duties and timelines under which to complete goal-related projects. Choose […]

By |March 21st, 2019|business, planning, strategy|0 Comments

Careful Tax Planning Required for Incentive Stock Options

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Incentive stock options (ISOs) are a popular form of compensation for executives and other employees of corporations. They allow you to buy company stock in the future at a fixed price equal to or greater than the stock’s fair market value on the ISO grant date. If the stock appreciates, you can buy shares at a price below what they’re then trading for. But careful tax planning is required because of the complex rules that apply.

Tax advantages abound

Although ISOs must comply with many rules, they receive tax-favored treatment. You owe no tax when ISOs are granted. You also owe no regular income tax when you exercise ISOs. There could be alternative minimum tax (AMT) consequences, but the AMT is less of a risk now because of the high AMT exemption under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

There are regular income tax consequences when you sell the stock. If you sell the stock after […]

By |February 26th, 2019|business, income tax, New Tax Laws, strategy, tax planning|0 Comments

Beware the Ides of March — If You Own a Pass-Through Entity

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Shakespeare’s words don’t apply just to Julius Caesar; they also apply to calendar-year partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies (LLCs) treated as partnerships or S corporations for tax purposes. Why? The Ides of March, more commonly known as March 15, is the federal income tax filing deadline for these “pass-through” entities.

Not-so-ancient history

Until the 2016 tax year, the filing deadline for partnerships was the same as that for individual taxpayers: April 15 (or shortly thereafter if April 15 fell on a weekend or holiday). One of the primary reasons for moving up the partnership filing deadline was to make it easier for owners to file their personal returns by the April filing deadline. After all, partnership (and S corporation) income passes through to the owners. The earlier date allows owners to use the information contained in the pass-through entity forms to file their personal returns.

For partnerships with fiscal year ends, tax returns are now due the 15th […]

Is There a Weak Link in Your Supply Chain?

In an increasingly global economy, keeping a close eye on your supply chain is imperative. Even if your company operates only locally or nationally, your suppliers could be affected by wider economic conditions and developments. So, make sure you’re regularly assessing where weak links in your supply chain may lie.

3 common risks

Every business faces a variety of risks. Three of the most common are:

1. Legal risks. Are any of your suppliers involved in legal conflicts that could adversely affect their ability to earn revenue or continue serving you?

2. Political risks. Are any suppliers located in a politically unstable region — even nationally? Could the outcome of a municipal, state or federal election adversely affect your industry’s supply chain?

3. Transportation risks. How reliant are your suppliers on […]

By |August 7th, 2018|business, strategy|0 Comments

A Midyear Review Should Go Beyond Financials

Every year is a journey for a business. You begin with a set of objectives for the months ahead, probably encounter a few bumps along the way and, hopefully, reach your destination with some success and a few lessons learned.

The middle of the year is the perfect time to stop for a breather. A midyear review can help you and your management team determine which objectives are still “meetable” and which ones may need tweaking or perhaps even elimination.

Naturally, this will involve looking at your financials. There are various metrics that can tell you whether your cash flow is strong and debt load manageable, and if your profitability goals are within reach. But don’t stop there.

3 key areas

Here are three other key areas of your business to review at midyear:

1. HR. Your people are your most valuable asset. […]

By |June 14th, 2018|business, strategy|0 Comments

In Honor of National Philanthropic Day (November 15th 2014)…

Have you considered charitable giving as a tax planning strategy for 2014?

It’s that time of year again! As we enter into the holiday season (which based on the local Target store is now officially the day after Halloween) of festive parties, family gatherings, and of course,  gift giving, it creates a natural opportunity for those who are charitably inclined to consider yearend charitable contributions.  In addition to the philanthropic aspect of charitable giving, it also can be used as an effective  estate and yearend tax planning tool.

Most American households make their charitable gifts in cash, with the corresponding tax deduction allowed as an itemized deduction on their individual tax returns. In most instances, taxpayers may deduct up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash gifts made to public charities.  For gifts that exceed the 50% threshold, the contribution deduction is carried forward for a five year period.

For those who plan on incorporating charitable giving into their estate and tax planning strategies, gifting of highly appreciated property (stock, mutual funds, real estate) can be an extremely valuable tool that is often overlooked. This tax planning strategy is derived from the general idea […]

By |November 6th, 2014|charity, strategy, tax planning|0 Comments

Planning for the new Medicare taxes in 2013

As summer quickly passes and we head into the last half of 2013, it is a good time to evaluate your income and deductions for the year and begin working with your CPA on planning strategies to reduce your overall tax burden.

Specifically, upper income individuals should be aware of the additional Medicare Tax which applies to earned income  (wages and self-employment income).  Prior to this new tax provision beginning in 2013, any wages paid to you by your employer were subject to a 2.9% Medicare payroll tax, which was split equally by you and your employer (1.45% each).  Beginning in 2013, wages above $200,000 for individual tax filers, or $250,000 for married taxpayers filing jointly, will be subject to an additional .9% Medicare tax.  
For illustrative purposes, this would mean that if you and your spouse file a joint tax return and have combined wages of $350,000, you will end up paying an additional $900 in Medicare taxes. Employers are required to withhold this additional tax for employees with wages in excess of $200,000, and any underpaid or overpaid Medicare taxes will be adjusted for on your income tax return.  Individuals with both wages and self-employment income aggregate their earned […]