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Big Ideas for Small Business® has been dedicated to helping small businesses succeed for over 20 years. The brainchild of Barbara Weltman, a respected corporate speaker, contributing editor, author of more than a dozen books from major publishers, sought-after expert media source, newsletter publisher and more than ever, a trusted advocate for small business owners. Big Ideas for Small Business® is a haven for entrepreneurs looking to succeed.

Idea of the Day®

March 28, 2017

Do you have a written disaster recovery plan?

A Nationwide survey found that 2 in 3 businesses didn’t have a written disaster recovery plan. This is so even though 22% of small business owners have already been impacted by a natural disaster. Nationwide observed that while the number of commercial casualty claims has fluctuated over the past decade, the severity has increased steadily. PLAN!

New post today!  4 Ways Higher Interest Rates Affect Your Business

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Resources For Your Business
  • On March 15, 2017, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates for short-term borrowing by a quarter of a percent (0.25%). This is called the fed funds rate, which is the rate banks charge each other on overnight borrowing. As a result of the increase, the new target for the fed funds rate is 0.75% to 1%. This rate filters down into other interest rates, such as the prime rate—the lowest rate that money can be borrowed commercially. The prime rate is a benchmark for many types of loans, including mortgages and credit cards; it rose from 3.75% to 4% following […]

  • Individuals with financial troubles can create problems in the workplace. They may be preoccupied with their personal woes and unable to concentrate on work. They may be tempted to steal from the company in an attempt to solve their own financial issues. But can you factor their personal financial situation into a hiring decision? Overview It’s not against federal law to find out about a job applicant’s financial information. Pre-employment background checks can include a credit rating, bankruptcy or garnishment, past problems with bonding, ownership of a car or house, length of time at an address, and other financial matters. […]

  • It’s Women’s History Month so I’d be remiss if I failed to applaud the contributions of women to business. When we think of women entrepreneurs, it’s easy to identity those in cosmetics (Madam C.J. Walker, Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Mary Kay Ash), fashion (Coco Chanel, Sara Blakely), food (Martha Stewart, Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steak House), and the entertainment industry (Lucille Ball, Oprah Winfrey). They’ve changed our world. But many women entrepreneurs made their mark in other industries and are what we may think of as unconventional. Here are five I admire: Olive Ann Beech co-founded Beech Aircraft Corp. […]

  • About half of all employees in the U.S. are not confident in having enough resources in retirement, according to a survey last year. Yet millions of workers do not participate in employer’s retirement plans and aren’t necessarily saving on their own.  Do you want to offer a retirement savings option to employees—to help them save as well as to retain good employees—but don’t have the funds to make any or only small contributions on their behalf? There are still arrangements you can offer that help employees save for their retirement. Payroll Deduction IRAs With this arrangement, employees set up traditional […]

  • As an employer, if you receive a garnishment notice naming a specific employee, you must withhold a portion of the worker’s wages and remit the money that will be used to satisfy the worker’s debt. Garnishment usually arises from a worker’s unpaid obligation for child support, taxes, and defaulted student loans (you receive a notice from a federal or state agency), or a private debt that has been reduced to a judgment (you receive a court order). Federal rules Garnishment rules are governed by the Federal Wage Garnishment Law and the Consumer Credit Protection Act. These laws are designed to […]

  • Comp time (short for compensatory time) is time off given to employees in exchange for working at other times. However, many employers don’t understand that giving comp time in lieu of overtime pay is a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to a survey by TSheets, one third of 500 private-sector employees are doing this and it’s wrong. What the law says If a nonexempt employee (someone subject to overtime rules) works more than 40 hours a week, he or she must be paid time-and-a-half for the overtime hours. For example, in one case, employees of a […]

  • Small business owners may find it challenging to disengage from their business activities. According to a finding a few years ago from the Alternative Advisory Board, 97% of small business owners work weekends, some every weekend and some at least one day each weekend. But staying connected all of the time can be a big mistake. You risk your health, raise safety concerns, and may not be productive beyond a certain point. In Japanese, it’s called karoshi (pronounced kah-roe-she), which means death from overwork. Don’t let this happen to you. What can you do to ensure that your business runs […]

  • State of Entrepreneurship

    Entrepreneurship has been sadly lethargic over the last decade or so. The rate of startups has been disappointing (it’s about half of what it was in 1980), and the number of firms closing their doors has been troubling. However, things seem to be turning around. Information from National Entrepreneurship Week Kauffman Foundation’s 2017 State of Entrepreneurship Address took place on February 16, 2017, during National Entrepreneurship Week. The address discussed three major trends shaping the future of entrepreneurship. Here are some of the highlights from that address, and what I think may change going forward. Three trends identified in the […]

  • This is not my usual blog. It is a Supplement to my 2017 edition of J.K. Lasser’s 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks. (The Supplement to J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2017 was previously posted.) This Supplement is designed primarily for readers of the book to update the information that is provided there. The tax law is not static, and since the publication of the book last October, there has been action by Congress, the IRS, and the courts which impact your 2016 return as well as your tax withholding and estimated taxes for 2017. The blog is also helpful to […]

  • This is not my usual blog. It is a supplement to my 2017 edition of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes. It is designed primarily for readers of the book to update the information that is provided there. The tax law is not static, and since the publication of the book last October, there has been action by Congress, the IRS, and the courts which impact your 2016 return as well as your tax withholding and estimated taxes for 2017. The blog is also helpful to those who have not bought the book but who want to know about tax changes […]


Resources For Your Business

Tracking Personal Time Off by OPEN Forum

Small Business Taxes and Spending by OPEN Forum


March 28, 2017


  • 3:00 pm

    Each Tuesday, 3pm to 4pm ET

    Moderator: @nathlussier


  • 3:00 pm

    Tuesday, March 28 at 3pm ET/Noon PT

    Sponsored by: @SBAgov

    Topic: Business Success HER Way | #SBAchat

    In honor of Women’s History Month, please join us for a Twitter chat on “Business Success HER Way” hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov).


Events in March 2017

barbara’s books

  • The ultimate money-saving tax guide for the small business owner.   J.K. Lasser's Small Business Taxes is designed to help business owners make sense of their taxes and file correctly, on time, without over- or under-paying.  Written in a straightforward and accessible style, this reliable resource offers a complete overview of small business tax planning and provides you with the information needed to make tax-smart decisions throughout the year. Focusing on strategies that help you use deductions and tax credits effectively, shield business income, and maximize other aspects of small business taxes, this practical guide will show you how your actions in business today can affect your bottom line from a tax perspective tomorrow.
  • The complete guide to all deductions and credits for individual taxpayers.   J.K. Lasser's 1001 Deductions and Tax Breaks shows you just how much money you can save on your taxes—legally—simply by taking advantage of what's out there. Millions of Americans overpay their taxes by billions of dollars every year, because constantly evolving laws and regulations make keeping track of deductions and breaks next to impossible for the everyday taxpayer. This book helps you put a stop to overpayment so you can keep more of your hard-earned money. Fully updated to reflect the latest rulings and laws — including an e-supplement with the latest tax developments from the IRS and Congress — this book answers all of your "Can I claim…" questions with guidance from the nation's most trusted tax advisors.
  • Tax facts and strategies every self-employed person needs to know As a self-employed person you have to handle many, if not all, of the aspects of running your business. J.K. Lasser's Guide to Self-Employment is intended to help you with some business aspects with which you may not be familiar—but which have a great impact on your bottom line. It skillfully focuses on taxes as well as many legal and financial matters that may pertain to your business.3
  • Smooth Failing - Living Edition

    This is the Living Edition of Smooth Failing. New stories from business leaders on their business failures and the lessons learned will be added regularly at no additional cost. Alerts will be sent out automatically when each new version is available. Specific requests and challenges can be submitted by the reader for future consideration and these will dictate how often and how many additional stories will be made available.
  • Small Business Survival Book

    12 surefire ways for your business to survive and thrive! Owning a small business can be a fulfilling and financially rewarding experience, but to be successful, you must know what to do while the business is up and running, and, most importantly, what to do when the business runs into trouble. This book is definitely part of what you need to succeed!
  • As Vicki Raeburn of Dun & Bradstreet notes in the forward, "...the successful creation of credit by small business has a significant effect on one of the most important business drivers, namely cash flow. ...     [This book has] the information needed to understand and build business credit."


  • " Best information for a small business owner!
    For a small business owner, the information [in your book] is absolutely one of the best I’ve come across! Thanks so much for the break-down of information. ”

    -Michelle Joe

  • " I don't want to miss it!
    I just wanted to reach out and give you a very big, truly heartfelt "thank you" for all the work that you do to help small business owners grow and succeed. More specifically, I wanted to offer you some praise for your blog posts and Idea of the Day®. My email inbox gets so very cluttered. And honestly, on most days I will do a wholesale delete of many, many messages. But I literally stop and specifically look for your name and your small business Idea of the Day®. I don't want to miss it! In fact, I look forward to reading it daily (even on weekends!) because I know I'm going to learn something new that saves me money, time or just adds to my professional knowledge in a way that helps me help others too. So thank you, thank you, thank you for your efforts! ”

    -Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach

  • " Getting your daily email is like getting an MBA in small business!
    Thank you for finding this important information. Getting your daily email is like getting an MBA in small business. ”

    -J. S. Budnik

  • " Thank You, Barbara!
    "Thank you, Barbara Weltman, for all of your articles and tax advice to small business owners! All the best." ”

    -Shane Madigan

  • " Thanks for providing such useful information!
    I follow your blog religiously for the great tips you provide. I love the new look. It makes me smile to see that your blog got an update.  Thanks for providing such useful information. ”

    -Lee Drozak

  • " Barbara Weltman is an Advocate for Small Business
    She has been an advocate, public speaker, and resource for small business news since the release of her first book, J.K. Lasser’s Tax Deductions for Small Business, in 1995. Since then she has run her website, her Big Ideas for Small Business® newsletter, and her blog, not to mention written over a dozen books. Ms. Weltman is on this list twice because for many business owners, it is easier to scroll through her Twitter feed for trending topics and news events than search her website. However, if you don’t take a minute to read her newsletters or blog — you’re missing out. ”

    -Meredith Wood, Fundera Ledger

  • " Great segment!!!
    Barbara Weltman is one smart cookie - I follow her on Twitter, and her content is always interesting and informative. ”

    -An eBay Radio listener - purplejaime1976

  • " Absolutely love your Idea of the Day®
    it’s BRIEF, concise and timely. Funny, I do a quick scan of my bloated mail box, quickly deleting what I feel is a time waster. But I NEVER delete Idea of the Day® until I've first opened it. Both you and Napoleon Hill's Thought for the day ALWAYS get read. You’re in terrific company. Thanks. ”

    -Don Aronowitz


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