Small Business Spotlight: Campus Enterprises

Campus EnterprisesIn our line of work, we are introduced to hundreds of small businesses on a daily basis- and we LOVE it! Each entrepreneur brings something so drastically different and special to the table. Though when we stumbled upon Campus Enterprises recently, we couldn’t help but be intrigued by their unique story.

Campus Enterprises is a company completely run by Duke University students. Though, going beyond any typical student-run business that provides “for the students, by the students,” Campus Enterprises also has a large presence in the community surrounding Duke University. They offer such services as food delivery, laundry, note-taking, screen printing, cleaning, marketing, and expansion. As their website states, they’re a “one-stop shop for your daily needs.”

We had the pleasure of interviewing Campus Enterprises about their inspiration for the business, its history, and what the students who participate, as well as the community, gain from this unique venture.  Continue reading

ABCs of Small Business Industry: G is for General Contracting

This week we’ve chosen to cover a very important sub-sector of the construction industry, general contractors. Now we did previously cover construction companies in an ABCs of Small Business Industry post. And you may be asking yourself if there are any differences between the two – don’t worry, there are. General contracting is a very specialized industry, with its own host of regulations and policies to follow. So how do you start a general contracting firm? general contracting

First, you need to be a licensed general contractor

Contractors are licensed, typically by the state. And without that license, you can’t offer your services as a general contractor. Licensing requirements vary from state-to-state, but most states maintain a database of active licenses, which the public can search through. Most of the companies looking for a general contractor will also want to see some sort of college training. Continue reading

3 Priorities You Shouldn’t Overlook When Launching A Small Business

Business_Owners_Holding_Money_SmYou have your business plan in one hand, and a cup of very strong coffee in the other. The paperwork is being processed, and the website is in the final round of edits. Your small business is almost ready to launch, but you’re worried you might be missing something.

Websites and business books are full of best practices, quick tips, and mistakes to avoid, but building a successful business isn’t strictly about the business itself. You need to build three pillars that will help launch your vision into the world. Continue reading

Are you Doing Sales Tax the Easy Way or the Hard Way?

September Small Business ChecklistWhen we started our Autopilot sales tax solution, TaxJar, we talked to merchants of all kinds. And one of the things we found out over and over again was that sellers were spending hour after hour on sales tax compliance.

Sales Tax: The Hard Way

If you have to deal with sales tax in multiple states or through multiple channels, and you aren’t automating this process, then you’re familiar with doing sales tax the hard way.

Once you’ve collected sales tax from customers in states where you have sales tax nexus, you must then remit what you’ve collected periodically. This is simple enough if you sell on one platform – say eBay – and only have sales tax nexus in your home state. But as your business begins to grow, things started to get complicated.

If you don’t find a way to put your sales tax on Autopilot, and if you sell on more than one platform, you need to pull a report from each platform when it comes time to file a sales tax return. Then you have to add up how much you collected in each state.

Don’t forget, if you have nexus in multiple states – either because you have an office, employee, warehouse or even use 3rd party fulfillment in a state – then you have nexus in multiple states and they’ll all want a periodic sales tax filing.  This might mean filling out a sales tax return monthly in your home state of New York, and three more in Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona quarterly, and then perhaps an annual report in California.

And did I mention that some destination-based sales tax states require you to subtotal how much tax you collected in every single county or jurisdiction? It’s amazing how much merchants are expected to put up with just in order to comply with sales tax regulations.

Dealing with information from multiple states?

Trying to calculate just exactly how much you owe to each state?

Juggling due dates?

That’s sales tax the hard way.

Sales Tax: The Easy Way

Fortunately for online sellers, some Autopilot sales tax solutions have come to town.

Sales tax services pull in how much sales tax you collected from the various platforms you sell on – including Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Square, or PayPal, or even through your own website with a platform like Bigcommerce, Shopify or WooCommerce.

Sales tax Autopilot solutions also mean you never have to worry again about totaling up how much sales tax you collected. If you put your sales tax on Autopilot, that’s all done for you. You’ll also get a reminder of your due dates, meaning no more $50 (or more!) late fees for forgetting a filing.

TaxJar’s AutoFile feature will even file your sales tax return for you, meaning no more filling out miles-long forms or dealing with each state’s various filing practices.

If you aren’t automating your sales tax compliance, what are you waiting for? Check out a service like TaxJar and put your sales tax on autopilot.

Mark Faggiano is the founder and CEO of TaxJar, a service built to make post-transaction sales tax compliance easier for Etsy, Amazon, Shopify and other multi-channel ecommerce sellers. Mark’s passion is solving complex problems for small businesses. Sign up for a 30-day free trial of TaxJar and put a lid on sales tax!

ABCs of Small Business Industry: F is for Farming

Garden_Shop_OwnersIn this week’s ABCs of Small Business Industry piece, we’re taking a little look at the farming industry! Since the beginning of time, farming has been a staple in just about every community. Though some of the technology to help the process along has changed drastically, the consistent need for farming has not altered much throughout the years.

If you’ve ever thought about becoming a farmer, this is the post for you! Continue reading

Business Basics: Reasonable Compensation

This week we are looking at reasonable compensation, a legal necessity for anyone running a Corporation. Reasonable compensation is connected to one of the most fundamental parts of working for a company – getting paid – and yet it’s so widely misunderstood. When you form an Corporation, you create a separate, legal entity that ‘earns’ money. You then pull your wage from those earnings and pay whatever payroll taxes you owe. reasonable compensation

In order to close a loophole wherein those running the corporation could ask for an extremely low salary, pay next to no payroll taxes, and then close the wage gap with distributions, the IRS requires that all corporate officers and executive be paid ‘reasonable compensation.’ But what constitutes reasonable compensation is a little more murky.

Who needs to be concerned with reasonable compensation?

Anyone that is runs, or helps run, a C-Corporation or S-Corporation must be reasonably compensated for their work. Continue reading

5 Things You Need to Know Before Purchasing a Business Phone System

phoneWith a mobile phone in your hand, the task of choosing a phone system might seem unnecessary in the early stages of your business, but it’s actually very important. The telephone is still the preferred method of customer service in the United States. The calls you miss are as important as the ones you take, and a phone system will allow you to convert missed opportunities into sales conversions. Continue reading

10 Explosive Ways to Grow Your Sales Department

Does Your Website Need SEO Help How to Hire an SEO ExpertNo matter what business you are in, sales will make or break you. Every business needs sales to survive, because it’s how your business gets the necessary finances to grow. Though, even if you feel comfortable selling, growing a successful sales department can be difficult.

This list will give you ten key points to focus on as you work to grow your sales department: Continue reading

Experts Weigh In: How does your business celebrate Halloween?

Halloween pumpkinThe cotton cobwebs are popping out, you can buy just about anything in a pumpkin flavor, and “Creative Costume Ideas” is the number one Google search these days. That’s right, Halloween is in the air. MyCorporation likes to celebrate by dressing up and having a spooky-themed pot-luck for lunch (complete with Mummy Pizza and a bubbling Witch’s Punch).

We asked some of our small business experts how their businesses were celebrating the holiday and this is what they had to say!: Continue reading