Tag: small business arizona

Employee or Independent Contractor?

Written by: Bill Morgan & Tom Filesi

Growth of a new business is great but . . .  one of the many issues confronting a growing  business is whether the need for additional personnel would best be  fulfilled by hiring employees or retaining independent contractors.  A major mistake made by newly minted business owners is the failure to properly determine the status of new workers. It seems easy to assume the person is an independent contractor and avoid the necessity of paying benefits, withholding taxes and making required governmental payments and filings.  However, the Internal Revenue Service and local taxing authorities apply a rather strict set of rules to determine whether a particular individual is an employee.

Three Tests You Need To Use

Essentially, should you want to hire an independent contractor, three main tests are applicable: Degree of Behavioral Control, Extent of Financial Control and the Relationship of the Parties.  Should you exercise substantially  all control over the time, location and method of performing the required task you have failed the first test. Likewise, should the person performing the task be paid a set price predicated upon the number of hours worked, you have failed again.  Finally, if you undertake to train the person, supply all necessary equipment and provide some benefits such as access to the company accountant for tax advice, the person will be deemed to be an employee.

One example often used to illustrate the application of these tests is the retention of a painter to paint your house.  Other than the color you have selected,  the painter is on his or her own.  The painter brings his or her own equipment, materials and determines when and how to complete  the job. Because you have agreed to a set price, regardless of the time involved, the painter assumes risk but stands to make a profit. At the opposite extreme is the hiring of a  caregiver, part-time, for your child.  You provide all necessary equipment, dictate exactly when and where you expect the caregiver to be and pay an agreed upon amount for the service.

Error On The Side Of Protecting Your Business

Nothing is easy, however, and the status of your new worker will fall somewhere in the middle of these two examples and will require thoughtful analysis to determine employee or independent contractor status. Failure to pay the required social security , Medicare and federal unemployment taxes, applicable state and local taxes, unemployment and workers compensation coverage as well as effecting the required filings can be quite costly and incur penalties.


Bill Morgan & Tom Filesi are SCORE Mentors. To learn how Tom & Bill can assist you with your business or to meet with another mentor for guidance, CLICK HERE!

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Maximizing the Impact of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Written by: FasTurtle

Online marketing is one of the best mediums for driving offline conversation. Researchers at the Keller Fay Group found that in 15% of conversations about products and 23% of conversations about services, included a reference to something seen online.

Measurement systems typically monitor digital metrics such as clicks, shares and re-tweets to determine how successful a campaign is while disregarding conversation that carry over offline. Marketers need to ensure sure that their campaigns are engaging customers both on and away from the digital world.

The following are 5 ways to maximize the impact of your marketing strategy:

  • Create Buzzworthy Content

Content should focus on entertaining, exciting, and surprising people. Online users will share content with their friends and followers that they feel a strong emotional connection to. The content is more important than the delivery channel that is used.

  • Post at the Right Time

Plan for digital content to be delivered at the times of day when people are most likely to interacting socially to increase the likelihood of conversation. Take advantage of these interactions by delivering a digital message that will be shared offline among people.

  • Content Should be Useful and Easy to Find

Digital content should be conversation friendly and easy. With the rise of smartphone and mobile web usage, it is not uncommon for people to search the internet for information during a conversation.

  •  Target Influencers

About 25% of word of mouth comes from a mere 10% of the population, the influencers. Influencers are those individuals most active in making recommendations to friends and follower. They act a free brand PR, so it’s important to target your message to them as they have a significant impact on how your brand messages are delivered.

  •  Design with Brand Advocates in Mind

Brand advocates are some of the most frequent visitors to a site. These are the people passionate about your brand. It’s important to update your website regularly with fresh material so they can share with other potential customers on social media channels, e-mail messages or face-to-face.
To learn more about Fasturtle,

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Floyd Fence Company

Alicia Lopez was studying for her MBA at The Citadel when the opportunity to purchase the fence company her husband worked for presented itself.  He had the industry experience and she had the business studies but they wisely turned to SCORE for advice from seasoned professionals who had logged years of experience in starting and running successful small businesses.  Floyd Fence now specializes in aluminum and custom fences for Tri-county residents that wish to protect or add beauty and style to their homes with quality constructed, long lasting fences.

My Successes

During their first two years of ownership the company enjoyed solid growth.  While Floyd Fences started by serving the residential market, they have since expanded to serve commercial and industrial markets. Their largest commercial project is the Island House Pool, Fitness Center & Playground at Seabrook Island.  They currently have 2 full time employees and up to 10 part time employees depending on the project.  The North Charleston business has been so successful that it earned SCORE Coastal’s 2010 Small Business of the Year award after just one year in business.

How SCORE Helped

Of SCORE’s aid in their success Tristan comments, “They helped us out with any little questions we had.  They wanted us to succeed as bad as we did. It’s free information, and they were extremely helpful. We started when the economy was not very good. We were iffy about it, and they advised us to keep overhead as low as possible so that when business was slow, we could ride it out. On a scale of 1 to 10, their help was a 10.”

What’s Great About My Mentor?

SCORE mentor Joseph Conti advised the husband and wife duo on many facets of business ownership including accounting, advertising, business plan development, obtaining financing, analyzing cash flow, human resource management and marketing.

To Learn More About Floyd Fence Company, Click Here!

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Declare Your Independence – Start a Business

I have two friends who quit their jobs to start their own business on July 3 four years ago. They always refer to it as their own, personal “Independence Day.”

Starting your own business is in many ways a declaration of independence. So in honor of July Fourth, I thought I’d take a look at some myths and realities about just how independent you’ll be as a small business owner.

Myth: When you’re a small business owner, you’ll be your own boss.
Reality: As an entrepreneur, you have many bosses. They’re called your customers, and sometimes each of them will be so demanding, you’ll wish for the days when you only had one boss telling you what to do.
Myth: When you’re a small business owner, you can do things however you want to do them.
Reality: No one acts in a vacuum. If you want your business to be successful, you’ll need to test your own ideas against what the market wants. Market research before you start, and customer surveys after you start, will tell you if the way you want to do things is in tune with what the market wants.

Myth: When you’re a small business owner, you’ll have a lot more free time.
Reality: Every small business owner I know is laughing maniacally as they read that. If you expect to have more free time than you did as an employee, you’re going to be disappointed. Prepare to work twice as hard and twice as long.

If these are the realities of owning a business, why does anyone do it? Well, these aren’t the only realities. Being an entrepreneur does offer plenty of opportunities to be creative, set your own course and do what you want to do (just not all the time). Being an entrepreneur is kind of like what they say about having kids or joining the Marines: It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love. And if it’s right for you, you’ll know it—and you’ll love it.

Ready to declare your independence? A SCORE mentor can help you get your new business off on the right foot. Visit the SCORE website to get matched with a mentor and get free business advice 24/7.

To learn more about Reiva and her company, Click Here!

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