The U.S Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service have issued Notice 2021-25 providing guidance under the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Relief Act of 2020. The Act added a temporary exemption to the 50% limit on the amount that businesses may deduct for food and beverages. The temporary exemption allows a 100% deduction for food & beverages from restaurants.
Beginning January 1st 2021 through December 31 2022, businesses can now claim 100% of their food and beverage expenses paid to restaurants as long as the business owner (or an employee of the business) is present, and as long as the expense is not lavish or extravagant for the circumstances.
Where can businesses get food and beverages and claim 100%
Under the temporary provision, restaurants include businesses that prepare and sell food or beverages to retail customers for immediate on-premises and/or off-premises consumption. However, restaurants do not include businesses that primarily sell pre-packaged goods not for immediate consumption, such as grocery stores & convenience stores.
Additionally, an employer may not treat certain employer-operated eating facilities as restaurants, even if these facilities are operated by a third party under contract with the employer.
When thinking about starting a business, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. We tend to overthink about what to do first, then procrastinate what to do next, and worry about what to do last in order to climb the mountain of success all the way to the top.
Starting a business is a long journey, and there are countless paths that you can take to reach your destination. So it’s important to have self awareness and the discipline to know which path is the right path for you.
If you are contemplating a business idea, and are wondering what to do first, then we have created this article to help you take some simple but effective steps to find out if starting a business is right for you and how to pave your own path towards success.
1. Recycle Your Resume
Your resume is not only crucial when applying for jobs, it can also become a unique tool to help tell your story.
Your resume tells potential customers, vendors, bankers, and partners who you are as well as what skills and expertise you have.
Put Your Spin On It
Use your current and past jobs as an opportunity to spin your past into new lessons or inspirations. Every job can probably teach you something, or remind you of something you already knew but didn’t pursue.
Explain how your past jobs have prepared you for the journey you are on now.
This can also tell a story about your vision for the future.
You can really spin it into whatever story you want to tell, don’t be afraid to sell yourself.
Update or create your linked in profile
LinkedIn is still a very influential and powerful platform when it comes to making professional connections. There is still organic reach meaning that you don’t need ads to get in front of people who want what you have to offer (see #2 Below).
Benefits of Maintaining Your Linked In Account
Access to its Powerful Job Board
Broad spectrum of job opportunities and you can even apply to jobs via the networking platform itself.
You can receive regular emails and alerts related to your job search.
Ability to discover and utilize keywords from job postings.
Offers the Benefits of a Personal Website Without Building a Website
Personal websites are great for showcasing your brand while also highlighting your expertise and personality. Linked in offers a simpler shorter solution that is easily just as trusted & effective.
You can upload a professional profile picture and write a personalized summary that showcases your unique brand personality.
You can also access the “featured” section on LinkedIn where you are able to highlight your content like blogs and podcasts. So over all this profile should contain everything that you need to present yourself, and your brand with confidence, and clarity without all of the costs of a traditional website.
Helps Boost Your Google Ranking
Ranking on Google’s first page is becoming increasingly more difficult. But, Linked in with its trusted and powerful network, is sometimes able to boost your page higher in google rankings than a website or online portfolio.
Google yourself. If you haven’t done it already, now is the time. See what pops up, because it’s a guarantee that other professionals will google you before ever setting up a meeting. Google search is pretty important, so we want to take it pretty seriously.
Portable Professional Network
Gone are the days of stuffing business cards into your wallet. Even though business cards have carried great importance in the past, they no longer serve the same purpose and often end up in a junk drawer or worse… the trash.
Linked in is a better way to keep up with your professional connections along the way. Keep them saved in your connections so that one day you can quickly reconnect if either of you want to.
Get a Peek Into Company Cultures
Not only can individuals create and maintain LinkedIn pages, so can companies.
If a Company uses the platform effectively, you should be able to understand a lot about them and what they do, as well as their company culture and the overall employee experience too.
First to Know About Industry Related News, Events, and Opportunities.
Just like any other social platform, there is a timeline where you can view content, news, and other media from those that you connect with.
Here, you can get access to the professional communities of social media, that tend to share more networking and professional opportunities and related news.
So if you have held back on creating or updating your Linked In profile, then this is your little nudge tojust do it!
There are tons of serious benefits to having a Linked In profile as an entrepreneur and if you aren’t in then you’re out, you know?
2. Learn From a Small Business
Small business owners wear a lot of hats, and it’s hard to really visualize that kind of multitasking without seeing it first hand.
Working in a “big business” usually means that you have a pretty defined job role, and your role is pretty clearly lined out.
Working in a small business (less than 10 employees) is great for a part time second job while you are working to grow your business or even working at another company while building your business in your spare time.
An advantage to working in a small business is that you are more closely linked to the top tier of the company and you can more quickly access opportunities to grow within the business.
Getting a front row seat to watch another business can help you better prepare for the volatility of business and learn how to ride the ups and downs more smoothly.
Go for job interviews. This is an amazing, cheap and clever way to sell yourself and your experiences. You don’t have to accept a job just because you attend an interview or a meeting. Interviews are great practice to learn how to pitch yourself and your services as well as improve your storytelling and interviewing skills.
Interviewing with multiple people, or working in various roles can help you understand more quickly what you dislike just as much as what you do like. Just simply taking the time to be open to opportunities can help lead you down an amazing new path you didn’t otherwise see.
3. Take Personality Tests
Following your curiosities is one of the many powerful secrets to uncovering your true potential and passions.
Personality tests are our answer to the many questions that we have about ourselves. This natural curiosity leads us to want to have a deeper understanding of ourselves and the other people around us.
Personality tests are growing more and more trusted by professionals and are becoming a more integral part of our current recruitment processes.
Aside from the more obvious professional benefits, on a personal level it is really beneficial to know more about ourselves and each other in order to be more conscientious colleagues and humans in general.
While there is not one specific personality type that makes a successful entrepreneur, there are a number of traits that are bound to make you more naturally inclined to be successful in the business world. Some of which are:
Disciplined & Determined
Ability to Embrace Failure
Evaluate Your Goals:
It’s important to understand where your ideas and goals are coming from.
Try to think both in the short term and the long term, because even though business is a long term game, it requires consistent short term action to make it last.
Getting super clear on who you are, and what you want out of your life will help you better understand yourself and your ambitions to take clear concise actions towards your dreams.
5 Personality Tests that Encourage Personal & Professional Growth
I’m sure you have heard it before: Know your worth.
It takes some time to know how to price and sell yourself or your business. Everything is based around value, and value is perceived. So you can truly charge whatever you think that you are worth. Here are some bits of advice you should consider before your business sells anything:
-Don’t give away your products or services for free. Even if you only charge $20 to start out, you are at least gaining the practice of valuing yourself.
-Your prices are never set in stone- you always can and should change them as you grow and figure out the future of your business.
-Don’t worry about underpricing yourself. When first starting, your first sales are going to help you develop a system that works for you while also hopefully gaining some feedback about what is going well and what needs to be improved. This way, when things start to pick up traction you already have some basic knowledge and experience to build on.
-Don’t give away 100% of your products. Always establish boundaries and limits of the quantity you are comfortable with using for promotional purposes. Limiting the number you are able to give away, means that you have to sell the rest and that establishes more urgency which is crucial in an effective selling process..
-Lastly get used to asking for referrals and reviews. These can change your whole business trajectory if you receive good ones. Word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool around town, no doubt.
5. Find Your Financial Flow
Yucky finances I know…but this is probably the most important step you need to take when even considering starting a business.
As an entrepreneur or solopreneur, you will wear a lot of hats and you will likely have to teach yourself a number of things too. One of which is bookkeeping.
Bookkeeping for your business isn’t easy, but it doesn’t have to be so hard either.
Let’s Get Clear on Some Important Terms First:
Revenue: Your Income before paying expenses.
Profit: The difference of subtracting expenses from revenue. This amount is what you have available to leave in the business itself or withdraw.
Expenses: Bills, and other things that you have to pay for to keep running your business.
Fixed Cost: An expense that doesn’t change with changes in volume of goods or services produced by your company. (ex: rent, salaries, utilities, etc)
Variable Cost: An expense that varies depending on what a company is producing.
Equity: Money obtained from investors, or yourself, in exchange for ownership of a company.
Debt: Money that comes in the form of loans from banks that must be repaid over time.
Cashflow: The amount of money flowing in and out of your business. Free cash flow is the amount left after paying expenditures and free cash flow is a way to measure the profitability of your business.
Burn Rate: The amount of money that your startup is expected to spend over a predetermined period of time, usually measured in quarterly or yearly cycles. A growth period rate pre-revenue. Ideally you can then continue growth from profits.
ROI: Return on Investment
Track Your Progress
Many people hope to start a business in order to make an impact or provide value. Although how could we ever know if we are being truly impactful if we don’t have a way to measure our impact.
KPI’s are “Key Performance Indicators”. These are super important to get familiar with if you have hopes to run a successful business of any kind.
A Key Performance indicator is a measurable value that demonstrates the effectiveness of a company and how successful they have been in achieving their key business objectives.
What gets measured, gets managed. Don’t be overwhelmed with KPIs in the early stage, as you will start simple with one or two KPI’s and then gradually add more. Letting your data tell a story and help you make better decisions is the ultimate goal.
As you learn to track your progress using Key Performance Indicators, you will be able to establish more reachable money goals, budget, invest, and save more effectively.
Keep Things Seperate
The last thing that we want is financial trouble. So it’s important to keep your start-up finances separate from your personal finances.
By keeping your finances separate you will be able to better manage your business growth and make sure that you are staying on top of your responsibilities. In addition to that, it will help save you a substantial amount of time and money.
Having all of your finances go through a personal account, could lead to more confusion and more time communicating with a financial professional, which also means more billable hours and less money in your bank account.
As your business grows, you won’t want to be the accountant/bookkeeper forever. You will eventually want to hire someone to manage your finances and taxes for you. And I can guarantee that they will insist that your finances remain separate. So it would be best to just keep them separated from the start
Lastly we should talk briefly about Debt because statistics show that 8/10 people in the United States are caught in the web of debt, which is seriously substantial.
If you are able to pay your debt off before starting a business, it would be advantageous to do so. Although that isn’t a possibility for everyone, and different types of debt play different roles in someone’s financial situation too.
So when considering starting a business, make sure that you also make a detailed list of all debt that you have both personally and professionally, and try to pay off what you can before committing to a business venture that could require additional financial responsibility from you as you grow.
Now that you have a foundational understanding of start up finances, do your best to get comfortable with your numbers, and get super clear on what your business will accomplish, and how you plan to monitor that progress.
By keeping your finances clean and separated, and developing a system to monitor your progress, you will be able to start your business more confidently instead of cautiously.
Now, it’s important to remember that every business is different and depending on your business model you may have different steps to take in order to get started but generally speaking, these 5 action steps will help you get more clear on what exactly you desire to do, how to plan for it, and how to maintain it once you are up and running.
Do you have questions about how to make your business idea into a reality? Reach out to us and our community of business leaders will help you get the ball rolling.
The idea of setting out on a new adventure is exhilarating but sometimes a little sickening.
Starting a business is quite an adventure and one that has no shortage of obstacles. This means that getting your business from an idea, to launch, to an actual operational business can be a roller coaster ride that not everyone is naturally built or ready for.
So if you’ve got the Entrepreneuritis itch, then this is for you!
You’ve got a big idea. You understand how you would like to make it into a reality. You have thought about some of the steps to get there. You have done a bit of market research. Maybe you have developed some basic branding or created an official social media account. Yet for whatever reason, you’re just stuck.
Don’t worry you don’t have to be stuck forever. This is a common side effect of the early stages of entrepreneurship, so you aren’t alone.
If your business is building in your head but isn’t being released out into the world then you may be suffering from Launchaphobia. More commonly referred to as Startup Paralysis.
The truth is that most if not all people have really great ideas, but most of those people are unprepared or unable to act on those ideas.
Common Signs of Early Stage Startup Paralysis
Someone affected might say & think things like:
“I just need funding and then I can start.”
“As soon as xyz happens then I can start.”
“I don’t want to tell anyone because they might steal my ideas.”
“I probably need a mentor first”
“I don’t know what to do first”
“The market is probably to saturated”
“Is there even a need for this?
“Do I even have the time?”
If you are suffering from these, you are really just suffering from excuses.
Excuses are common before starting something new. Especially when starting a venture that has no guarantee of success, but once you get treatment and begin to recover from your Startup Paralysis you’ll be stronger and more capable than ever. Guaranteed.
Excuses are often rooted in fear. So Startup Paralysis even when addressed early on, still requires ongoing treatment for thoughts that are limited or fear-driven.
Fears that lead to excuses are among the most common symptoms that affect entrepreneurs and are what really separates the dreamers from the doers.
Common Fears Caused By Startup Paralysis:
Fear of failure
Fear of judgement
Fear of discomfort
Fear of instability
Fear of success
Fear of selling
Fear of not knowing enough
Fear of being unprepared
Fear of risk
Fear of disappointment
Fear of leadership
Fear of self-management
Fear of funding
Fear of not knowing
Fear of making mistakes
Good thing is: fears are mostly imaginary and are just tricks our brain likes to play on us.
Plus it’s important to remember that fears can actually be very positive, and can arise whenever we are about to embark on something incredible or life-changing, not just when something is scary or dangerous.
If you aren’t in immediate danger, try to think of your fears as excitement or eagerness instead and see how your perspective shifts.
A helpful piece of advice when considering entrepreneurship is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”.
This honestly holds very true, because entrepreneurship is known to uncomfortable, especially in the beginning. So it’s good to just expect this from the start.
Entrepreneurship is about diving into the unknown and exploring new opportunities, so discomfort is just part of the journey.
Understanding this, and adapting to discomfort as a tool to grow and evolve can help you overcome even the most severe Startup Paralysis and move forward more confidently.
Treatment for Startup Paralysis is not a quick fix. As it will require time, consistency, and determination to overcome it.
Just remember that treatment is not an overnight solution, though it is a proven treatment method for countless entrepreneurs.
Even still, it’s important to understand that Startup Paralysis can come back at any time on your journey, but with the right solutions and mental approach it can’t ever stop you.
If you feel your Start-Up Paralysis returning: combat your limiting thoughts, feelings of uncertainty, fears, and excuses with knowledge.
Learning is always your best treatment option.
Take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the internet, from other people in your industry, from a mentor or a coach, or get involved in communities that will help you grow as both an individual and a business.
Uncertainty is one of the most difficult side effects to overcome, but committing to lifelong learning can eliminate most of the fears and excuses that you will face.
Once you recognize the symptoms of Startup Paralysis, you can take steps to overcome them right away. If you do, you will be on the road to recovery and a bright entrepreneurial future in no time.
After Treating Your Startup Paralysis You Could Experience:
Feelings of accomplishment
Growing levels of confidence
Improved decision making
Possibilities becoming realities
If you think that you have been suffering from Startup Paralysis, fear no more because there is a cure and you are not alone in this!
Reach out to learn more about treatment solutions, or how to connect with other people who have been in your shoes.
Starting a business can be overwhelming. This means that you likely have an abundance of questions that often get topped off with a bunch of generic answers.
Generic answers are helpful because they do lay a solid foundation. Yet even still, generic answers probably won’t solve any of the real problems that you are likely to have along the way.
In order to form a process that fits your unique vision, you must ask the right questions and even more importantly, ask the right people.
Ask Our People Anything
Project 3810 is a business incubator that serves the needs of entrepreneurs starting new ventures as well as early-stage companies that may be facing struggles in today’s climate.
Project 3810 offers several opportunities to gain knowledge and connect with others in the entrepreneurial world. One of which is the opportunity to work with & learn from our own fearless leader Vicki Langford.
Vicki is the VP and CFO of Resonance Inc., as well as Founder & CEO of Project 3810 where she coaches and accelerates a new era of business leaders.
Vicki shares tips, tools, and tricks from her 30 years in business. Focusing on both the personal and professional, she aims to make your business more successful and enjoyable.
There are countless ways to learn these days. From the Ivy Leagues to personal coaching, to Google University there’s no shortage of information.
Yet, not all good information is good information and not everyone learns the same way.
At Project 3810 Vicki likes to focus on the personal and the professional in a fun, personalized 1-1 coaching environment.
Personal coaching environments offer so many benefits compared to more generalized group coaching sessions.
Group coaching is quite popular, occasionally free, but also typically pretty basic. These group settings can have a lot of buzz around them, which can just take you and your vision out of the spotlight.
You may get some answers that you like, but probably not as deep and personalized as you actually need.
In general group training tends to be very broad and cover generic ideas & theories. So this means that in order to get more valuable, actionable, guidance that pertains specifically to your business you’ll need to go to an expert directly.
Learning from a coach 1-1 gives opportunities for you to come up with your own answers with the help of your coach.
A coach won’t give you the answers, but help lead you to them.
In group settings, it’s less likely that you will be led to form your own answers, you may be handed the answers but that doesn’t mean they fit specifically to your situation.
Benefits of Personalized Business Coaching
-Helps you take meaningful actions to reach the goals you really want
-Encourages you to gain control of the type of life you want your business to support
-Assists you in preparing a strategy & financial plan to optimize your success
-Access to a community of like minded business owners & entrepreneurs
-Offers a structured environment that can help accelerate your business growth
-Provides opportunity to get constructive, unbiased, and honest feedback.
-Space to add new perspectives to your professional & personal life
-Provides structure & accountability
-Encourages continuous improvement
– It’s like a boss that’s invested in YOUR success
Think you may be interested in our Incubation & Coaching Services?
One word that has been used a lot in 2020 was “unprecedented”, which last year absolutely was in many ways.
Presented with a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, intense social division, expansive economic strain, and a deep desire for change, it’s safe to say that we are all eager to move on towards a brighter future.
Plus, as businesses across the globe aim to innovate and adapt to these new challenges, we have been pushed to change the way that we work entirely as well.
Though through it all, we have learned and grown so much.
We have learned to effectively work together even while separated, we’ve rearranged our priorities to be more productive and more fulfilled, and brands have grown more innovative in their solutions to a vast array of challenges.
Yet even with infinite innovation, challenges will always remain in the world of business. This is why it’s more important than ever that we work together.
As more and more people start to nurture and grow entrepreneurial ideas, the need for support and community grows as well.
Coworking spaces, mentorship arrangements, and incubation programs are known to be super beneficial communities for growing your business successfully, plus they are pretty fun too.
How a Professional Community Can Make Starting Your Business More Fun & Effective
Provides the opportunity to collaborate: Having a group that you can reach in order to discuss challenges, work towards solutions, and create impactful projects can help you move forward faster and more effectively.
Gives you the feeling of being part of a team: Starting and scaling a business can be lonely at times, so having a group that you can connect with is priceless.
Adds productive socializing into your working week: Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool around. Whether attending an incubator event or working in coworking spaces, this type of community can offer valuable networking and socializing time to your schedule.
Access to Extra Brain Power: Being within a community that’s filled with like-minded individuals that are eager to connect and bounce ideas around can boost your success potential in unbelievable ways.
Provides the opportunity to establish new relationships: When working as an entrepreneur or solopreneur it’s easy to stay in your own little bubble. Causing us to miss out on lasting connections. This is why having a community that can challenge you to grow both personally and professionally is so important.
Gives you other people to celebrate your wins with: Lonely success is still a success. Though honestly, it just feels better to have people celebrate your successes with you.
Professional communities like co-working spaces, coaching programs, collaborative environments, and incubator programs offer us the chance to grow our professional and personal lives cohesively.
“Business and personal successes are really very intertwined and the things that make us successful in one, also make us successful in the other.” – Vicki Langford, Director Project 3810
As a corporation in the United States within the State of Oklahoma we are required to abide by federal laws and state laws, and we have no problem doing this. Its part of being good members of our community. There are many departments and agencies that we report to and who check in on us. We just want to make you aware of a few that guide your working relationship with your employees.
Department of Labor (DOL): Administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws that foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.
Job definition: Interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products and services and to handle and resolve complaints.
Sample of reported job titles: Account Manager, Account Representative, Call Center Representative, Client Services Representative, Customer Care Representative (CCR), Customer Service Agent, Customer Service Representative (Customer Service Rep), Customer Service Specialist, Member Services Representative, Sales Facilitator
I’ve compiled my favorite sites, philosophy, books about how a BOSS should look at the customer service job itself, but more so the place of customer service in the culture and marketing of the business.
A couple key take-a-ways:
Look at customer service costs as a marketing expense
See customer service as a profit generating function and develop appropriate measures.
Answer the phones. (emails, chats, comments)
Respond as quick as makes sense.
You want your customers to be satisfied when buying your product/service — They also need to have a good experience when they need to return or want a refund or have a failure or a complaint.
Customer service employees NEED company specific training. Give them tools. Let them know how to solve customers problems.
Have a system to get customer service feedback communicated back to development and marketing teams.
Daniel Pink’s book called “To Sell Is Human” challenges the old stereotypes of the sales person to declare we are all in sales; “Non-sales selling — persuading, convincing and influencing others to give up something they’ve got in exchange for what we’ve got”. And goes on to share his research from the frontiers of social science to reveal the new definition for the ABC’s of selling.
Let’s all read this book this month. There will be a test.
PS. Chapter 8 Improvise — “learn why understanding the rules of improvisational theater can deepen your persuasive powers”. Watch out for BOSS PERFORM during our 5th Thursday party this month. We will play some Improvisational games and work on our confidence and persuasive powers 🙂
Our theme for August here at Project 3810 is Sales. What is sales? What does it mean? What does it look like? Why do I need a sales strategy? How is sales different from a brand strategy or marketing strategy? Are you in sales denial?
Love it! So many questions!
First off, for those true sales folks out there. I am not a sales person. (sales denial)
Sales as an archetype gets a bad wrap. The reality is you deal with sales people every day and you sale you product or service with every person you come in contact with. Because it is an integral part of business success and because you are selling every time you or one of your employees opens their mouth, answers the phones, responds to emails, posts on social media, its very important to build a strategy around this daily activity.
Its the first of the month, so this post ins’t about answering all the questions. Its about starting the conversation.
Join us for a fireside chat with Kraettli Epperson and learn about his fascinating journey launching over 15 tech companies as a co-founder, adviser or investor. On March 12th at 6pm, we will kick off with greetings, food & drink, followed by an informative chat and Q&A session with Kraettli. Grab a ticket and meet us at Project 3810 for the fun!
Kraettli is an avid Startup Geek, Technologist & Investor, and Owner @ R7 Solutions & JumpPhase Ventures. He co-founded the world’s largest academic digital library, acquired by Gale Publishing. Kraettli also holds several patents, managed a venture accelerator, and created the first undergraduate course in entrepreneurship at Rice University. More info: http://techventuregeek.com