In our last blog we talked about small businesses as the economic backbone of our country. There are more than 28 million of you, and you comprise around half of the private-sector economy and 99 percent of all businesses in the U.S.
Big numbers, right?
Yes. Small businesses make a big impact. And because of that, it’s important to understand the unique considerations that differentiate them from their larger counterparts—especially for people who are considering starting small businesses of their own.
So let’s dive in.
1. Venture Capitalists Love You
Venture capital is money that goes specifically to startup businesses. It exists because small businesses, for various reasons, can have a hard time getting capital in other ways—bank loans, for instance, for which many new businesses simply don’t have the credit. Venture capital is a sort of trade: you get cash, and the venture capitalist gets shares or another type of active role in your company.
Venture capital basically depends on how skilled you are at convincing an investor that you’re awesome. So if you have a really good idea, but you don’t have the credit or the collateral to secure a loan for it, start looking. Your local venture capitalist may just be your ticket.
2. You Wear All the Hats
Small business owners must be uniquely psychologically suited for the job. While they’re getting started, their expense-to-sales ratio may be extremely high; costs like incorporation fees or marketing materials eat up a lot of the initial budget, and while businesses build a customer base, sales may be low. Owners need to cut costs anywhere they can. The easiest way to do that is to do lots of jobs themselves.
So as a small business owner, you might as well get yourself a bunch of plaques to put on your door. (If you even have an office, that is, but we’ll get to that later.) Owner, operator, CFO, HR director, marketing manager, insurance specialist—you do it all. It’s exhausting.
Remember: there’s help out there. Countless resources can advise you on everything from creating a business plan to managing your time to finding government aid to getting health insurance for yourself and your employees.
3. You May Not Even Need an Office
Remember those plaques on the office door? Well…maybe skip that part. The definition of “small business” isn’t fixed. Many small businesses are really, really small. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2012, more than half of businesses with fewer than 100 employees actually had fewer than 20 of them.
This means that many small businesses are uniquely suited to the current business climate, which is global and mobile. You can Skype with customers in Budapest from your bedroom; you can check your quarterly financial reports from the airport. If you’re producing goods you’ll obviously need a physical location in which to do it, but if you’re providing a service, that may not be the case. Going officeless lets you cut a lot of overhead out of your working expenses, increasing your net profits and giving you a leg up over your larger counterparts.
There’s one more reason to work out of your home: you may get a tax write-off from it. Small businesses may be able to deduct quite a number of things from their yearly taxes if they’re using them for business purposes.
4. You Get Incentives…All Kinds of Incentives
Those tax write-offs are one kind of financial incentive, and others exist for small businesses that simply aren’t around for larger ones. Your district Small Business Administration office can help you find local incentives from your state government or other organizations. For instance, it extends fee breaks to businesses that acquire loans of up to $150,000 through fiscal year 2015.
And by the way, if you don’t want to provide healthcare, you don’t have to; businesses with fewer than 50 FTE are exempt from the employer mandate. Not sure what that is? Read on!
5. You’re Exempt from the Employer Mandate
HealthMarkets wants to let you in on a little-known solution that can mean big savings: if you have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees, you are exempt from the employer mandate. Don’t know what that employer mandate is? Basically, it’s an Obamacare rule that requires businesses to provide healthcare to their employees or pay a fee. But as a small business, you don’t have to pay. Woohoo!
Better yet, you can still help your employees get the healthcare they need. Want to know how? Give us a call. We can come to your business, sit down with you and your employees, and show you all how it’s possible to save money and get great coverage at the same time.