A monthly roundup of our top stories:

I'm Presenting an Online Workshop for Small Business Owners "Setting Your Small Business Up for Success"
Classes are September 5, 6 & 7 ~ Sign-up Today!

This 3-part program covers legal, financial, and tax issues for startups and growing businesses. The program includes 3 live video lessons, community networking, project worksheets, and lifetime access to the content.  If you can't make the live event, no worries - all those who register will be able to view the videos at their convenience.
Learn more about the course schedule and how to register here.
Transparency and Your Business Practices

Transparency in business means operating in such a way that everyone knows what's happening. With social media, it's virtually impossible not to be transparent. Just about everything gets disclosed on social media sites... by your customers, your employees, and everyone else. Thus, it makes sense to think about how transparency can be best employed in your business practices.

Tax Planning for Your Business in this Uncertain Period

Congress is aiming for a tax bill to be enacted before Thanksgiving. It's unclear what will be in the bill and when the provisions will be effective. I've always advised that business decisions should be tax-sensitive, factoring in the tax implications of buying, hiring, and taking other actions. But in this period of uncertainty, what's a business owner to do? Businesses can't stand still waiting for Congress to address taxes. Here are some actions to think about between now and the end of the year with current tax rules and the possibility of tax changes in mind.

Best Business Books of All Time

The quotation that I keep taped to the top of my screen is from Benjamin Franklin: "An investment in knowledge pays the best interest."  So I'm a big reader. I've learned many valuable lessons, tips, and insights from the numerous business books I've read over the years. Here's my personal list of what I think is essential for everyone in business.

Living with Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law states that "anything that can go wrong will go wrong." Edward Murphy, who is credited with the phrase, was an aerospace engineer who recognized that problems are inevitable and advocated the use of defensive design in the projects he worked on. How does this apply to small business owners? Murphy's law suggests you need to have a backup plan. What's yours?

Tax ID Thieves
Tax ID Thieves Targeting Businesses
You're probably familiar with the problems that individuals face with identity theft. You file your return electronically and it's rejected because an ID thief has already filed using your Social Security number. Or you seek a refund which is denied because one has already been paid out to a thief. The good news is that tax ID theft for individuals is down dramatically (a 46% reduction last year). The bad news is that ID thieves have turned their focus on business tax returns.

What Predictive Scheduling Means to Small Businesses

Predictive scheduling laws, also referred to as fair workweek legislation or secure scheduling, require employers to give advance notice to employees of their shifts. These laws essentially bar "on call" scheduling by requiring additional pay to workers who receive short notice.  From the employer perspective, it means having to pay extra or go without help during unexpected periods, such as before or after a storm or other unexpected event. NFIB called predictive scheduling the "small business fight of 2017."

Privacy in the Workplace

How much can or should an employer intrude on employees' personal activities? With technology, such as GPS, employer-provided cell phones, and company computers, employers have the ability to monitor employees' phone calls, email, online searches, and even their whereabouts. And there can be testing for alcohol and drug use. The question is should employers monitor activities, and what limitations does the law impose?

Legislative Initiatives and their Impact on Small Businesses

There is considerable attention on major bills in Washington that surely will impact small businesses, such as health care and tax reform. But there are a number of other bills that have been proposed; these will also affect small businesses. Whether they have any chance of being enacted is unclear, but here's a rundown of some of the proposals this Congressional session. You decide what their impact will be on your company.

Terminology to Know

We're living in an age of information overload, with large amounts of new information continually being created and bombarding us. Alan Toffler said in 1970 that "information overload will lead to 'future shock syndrome' as an individual will suffer severe physical and mental disturbances." Maybe it's not as bad as all that, but for business owners, it's essential to stay up on information that could impact our companies and our decision-making. Information includes new terminology and what it means. Here are some terms that have come to prominence recently and what they can indicate to you.

Capitalizing on Special Events Like the Solar Eclipse

The solar eclipse on August 21, 2017, which was visible in much of the U.S., was a special event. It doesn't happen every day. This type of eclipse won't occur again until 2024. I vividly recall watching the solar eclipse in 1970, and it brings to mind opportunities for small businesses.

I'm Honored and Grateful for the Ongoing Recognition of my Blog!
Some of the most recent awards include:
List of 120 Absolute Must-Read Blogs for Entrepreneurs (by BestWebFirms.com) 
Top 25 Small Business Influencers and Experts You Need to Follow (by Emerge)
Best Small Business Blog 2017 (by FitSmallBusiness.com)
Top Small Business Blogs of All Time (by Loyverse)
Top 100 Small Business Blogs on the Web (by Feedspot)
Best Small Business Blogs 2017 (by MarketInspector.com)

Training the Staff You Envision

For small business owners, it can be difficult to find good job candidates. Small businesses often times have to compete in the job market with large employers offering an attractive menu of fringe benefits. A possible solution for small businesses is finding workers who can be trained for the jobs they have.
5 Tax Deduction Secrets You Should Know Before Your Next Business Trip

Most small business owners travel out of town on business. Some do this frequently; others only occasionally. Either way, the cost can mount up. Certify reported that the average annual cost of a business trip in the U.S. is $949 for plane tickets, hotel fees, and other expenses. Being able to deduct travel costs can provide significant financial relief for a small business. However, tax rules for business travel are not always straightforward, placing a number of limitations on deductions for an owner's travel expenses.
Hear My Recent Radio Conversations with Featured Guests:

Ami Kassar, CEO and Founder of Multifunding, joins Barbara to discuss current lending trends and smart solutions for small businesses and entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. 

Tim Berry, Founder of Palo Alto Software and Business Planning Expert shares why he believes all business owners deserve planning -- and he shares just how to make it happen!
Do You Host Tweetchats?  
If so, let us know! You may want to be included in our calendar of high-quality Tweetchats for small business and entrepreneurs. Send us the details: name of sponsor(s), host(s), topic, date and time, and hashtag!
J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes 2017

Yes, technically the official tax season has ended. 
As a small business, however, critical tax issues face you all year long, and many questions continue to surface. Tax planning is essential, as you know, to achieve "a better bottom line." That's why this book is here for you today ... to help you, as a small business owner, stay informed and to offer solutions for your year-round tax-planning needs. 

150+ Big Ideas for Your Small Business

You don't want to miss out on this newly-revised and updated version of 
"150+ Big Ideas for Your Small Business, 2017 Edition" 

... it's 


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September, 2017 | Copyright © Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc.