In the lead up to the second event as part of our partnership with Belliveau Veinotte Chartered Accountants we have a blog from Michael Belliveau. Join us on April 14th, 7-9pm to hear some of his tips and tricks for corporate taxes and bring your questions to the table. This will be an interactive session with a short presentation, followed by an open floor for questions and answers. Free of charge and open to the public.
Another big issue for corporations is what to do with your vehicle? Should I charge the business for my vehicle use? Should I put the vehicle in the corporation’s name? What percentage use must be business to put the vehicle in the company? We hope to answer all these questions for you, and ensure you not only follow the rules but gain the biggest tax benefit as well.
These are three of the big portions of our presentation, but we will also touch on tax rates, income splitting and other tips and tricks.
It is important that as a business owner you have a basic understanding of corporate tax issues as many strategies entail to choices and in order to make the best decision for you and your company it is important to understand the consequences of the decision.
We look forward to seeing you on April 14th, 2016 at the HUB South Shore!
Lately, all I seem to read is non-fiction. Most of it comes from that familiar class of modern business books — thought-provoking, quirkily written, and usually quite short. I guess they are self-help books, the thought of which sends a shiver down my spine, but I’m not really looking for help. I’m looking for ideas, stories, and a little injection of enthusiasm. But if all they do is help me fall asleep at bedtime, sometimes that’s okay too.
We’ve got a nice library at the HUB. Members are welcome to borrow the books any time, or just chill out in the space and browse. There’s something for everyone…
Linchpin, by Seth Godin — the best thing I’ve ever read on being extraordinary as a career strategy
The Four Hour Work Week, by Tim Ferris — cutting the clutter from your professional life
The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries — one way to think about starting businesses today
Business Model Generation, by Alex Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur — Lean Startup in action
Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam — why you need to talk less and draw more
Gamestorming, by Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, & James Macanufo — getting people thinking
Applied Imagination, Alex Osborne — the original book about brainstorming, still relevant
The Magic of Thinking Big, by David Schwartz — don’t confuse starting small with aiming low
The Fifth Discipline, by Peter Senge — one of the best guides to thinking about complex systems
How about you? What are you reading at the moment? Let us know in the comments…
The world is daunting enough for the new entrepreneur or freelancer, but if you’ve been coddled in a traditional business, then you might have taken some of your tools for granted. A MacBook, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Suite can set you back well over $5000 — and that’s before you’ve even done any work!
So here are some of the things I’ve done, or seen others do, to be just as awesome, but without the wedge of cash.
Make do with your hardware
You’d be surprised what an older desktop or laptop can do with a bit of care. Archive old files, delete software you don’t use, buy a some extra RAM (crucial.com is the place), plug into a larger display, and it’ll feel like a new machine. Avoid upgrading the operating system if possible — it’s a good way to wish you had a new machine. And start saving up for a new computer — it’s probably one of your key tools, and you deserve it. When you do upgrade, see if you can cash in your old brick on Gazelle.
Back up, back up, back up
Once your machine is running sweetly, make sure you’re backed up. You’re on your own now and can’t afford a catastrophic failure. Carbonite is an inexpensive way to not only keep a constant backup, but also to access your files when away from home. You could use Dropbox or Google Drive in a similar way. But don’t stop there. You also need a reliable local backup — for Mac get a spacious drive and set up Time Machine, or buy a Time Capsule. For Windows, look around for options, or use scheduled backups from the Backup & Restore control panel. But don’t stop there. I also make a bootable backup drive every week, using Carbon Copy disk cloner. This way, even if your drive fails completely, you can boot a recent version and get on with your day. If you’re not using cloud-based backup like Carbonite, keep at least one backup drive in a different place from your actual computer.
Software for superheroes
When it comes to business apps, there are more options than I can list. But there are a few must-haves:
Two weeks ago, we held our first evening event — Tax, the law, and so much more. I thought I’d try to summarize some of the ‘tax’ part here… If I feel up to it maybe I’ll try the law part next time.
John Swain was there to share his insight and experience in tax matters. He focused on a critical question for many newly self-employed professionals: should I incorporate or not?
We’re lucky to have plenty of pros that understand small business in Nova Scotia. Ask around, seek them out, and treat them as a partner. In John’s confident words, “they willsave you money in the long run!”
What to charge?
Two weeks ago, 12 of us had a wide-ranging chat about pricing professional services — a subject that affects almost everyone with a small business. Punchline first: There’s no formula. But there are some approaches:
Pro-bono: We all work for free occasionally, and it feels good to be generous. I often help people out as a loss leader, and because it feels like the professional thing to do. Everyone present said they done the same.
Cost-based: You can add up your overheads, plus a mark-up of 15% say, and call that your price. But then the only way to make more money, without increasing your price, is to reduce your overheads, which may well reduce quality. The group talked quite a bit about what Seth Godin calls ‘the race to the bottom’ — a race you don’t want to win.
Time-based: I’m a scientist. I like the idea of formulas, and of the transparency they suggest. If my prices are formulaic, based on the hours I work, then it’s fine if my customers talk to each other, because my prices are fair and predictable. But the reality, at least for me, is that this is difficult to maintain. Some customers are, well, difficult. Sometimes I feel generous. Some projects bring a different kind of value to me. (Remember your other bottom lines: reputation, relevance, brand, and so on. You can leverage these types of capital almost as easily as cash.)
Value-based: This is where the money is, and most people present felt this was the place to focus. Charge in proportion to what your insightful judgment — your professionalism — is worth, usually on a turnkey (fixed-price) basis. Of course, your client may perceive your value differently from you. It’s up to you to help your client see the difference you make. Snags include feature creep, with the client expanding the scope after you’ve agreed on a price, and over-delivery. Do understand that turnkey pricing reduces risk for the client — there must be a price on that risk reduction.
Tim and Dave and I have been over all this and more in connection with The HUB’s pricing. One thing we’re trying to do (help us!) is:
Listen to your customers: Your customers know what they want to pay. Ask them! One of Tim’s strategies is to ask the customer to “pay what you can, and a little bit more”. The little bit more ensures buy-in, commitment, and seriousness. He can write more about that one day.
Have you nailed pricing in your line of work? What is your strategy?
Working from home might not be a viable alternative to showing up at the office in Halifax, especially if you’re easily distracted by kids, dogs, or your domestic to-do list. And your boss might have visions of you sitting there in your jammies with your feet up and the TV on. But not when she finds out you’re working at The HUB.
What do you get out of coworking?Sometimes you have to go to Halifax… Sometimes, you don’t.
At its most basic level, The HUB is a clean, bright, professional work space, but there’s more to it than that. There’s 40 Mbps Wi-Fi. There’s free caffeine and awesome office equipment. There’s a quiet spot for phone calls. And then there’s the community of other professionals, freelancers and entrepreneurs that make up Nova Scotia’s hidden economy.
Those other people aren’t a distraction, because they’re hard at work, just like you. They are busy running their businesses, delighting their clients, and changing their industries. They’re people you want to meet, and who want to meet you.
What do you save when you don’t drive to Halifax?
Poll for members: How essential is a photocopier?