Dear M & M:
Things are stagnate, sales are dropping, and the customer base seems to be shrinking. Any ideas on what I can do?
Sometimes businesses need to be recreated. A person’s wants and needs change. Consumer’s habits, shopping methods and values are continually shifting. Are you offering products and services people still need? Has a competitor moved in on your market share and taken over supplying your customer’s needs with a newer product or offering? Many times products can be outdated and substitutes have entered the market that better solve your customer’s problem or are a better fit to fulfill the desired need. You have to reexamine the way you are doing things from top to bottom. The first question one should ask is, are you selling products and services people need? Innovation is what I am talking about. Step outside of your comfort zone. Is there a new way to deliver what people want? The world is changing and businesses need to keep up with these changes, being flexible and willing to change will be important to improving your situation. Remember the four P’s in marketing (product, place, price and promotion). Take some time to examine all four.
Dear M & M:
I am self-employed and operate my business from my home. What can I deduct as business expenses from using my own home?
If you use part of your home for business, you may be able to deduct expenses for the business use of your home. These expenses may include mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, repairs, and depreciation. The home office deduction is available for homeowners and renters, and applies to all types of homes, from apartments to mobile homes. There are two basic requirements for your home to qualify as a deduction:
1. Regular and Exclusive Use: You must regularly use part of your home exclusively for conducting business. For example, if you use an extra bedroom to run your online business, you can take a home office deduction for the extra bedroom.
2. Principal Place of Your Business: You must show that you use your home as your principal place of business. If you conduct business at a location outside of your home, but also use your home substantially and regularly to conduct business, you may qualify for a home office deduction. For example, if you have in-person meetings with patients, clients, or customers in your home in the normal course of your business, even though you also carry on business at another location, you can deduct your expenses for the part of your home used exclusively and regularly for business. You can deduct expenses for a separate free-standing structure, such as a studio, garage, or barn, if you use it exclusively and regularly for your business. The structure does not have to be your principal place of business or the only place where you meet patients, clients, or customers. Generally, deductions for a home office are based on the percentage of your home devoted to business use. So, if you use a whole room or part of a room for conducting your business, you need to figure out the percentage of your home devoted to your business activities.
–IRS- For a full explanation of tax deductions for your home office refer to Publication 587, Business Use of Your Home. As always consult a qualified CPA, accountant or an enrolled agent.
To ask your questions: Call the Small Business Development Center(SBDC) at Cochise College (520)-515-5478 or email email@example.com or contact the Sierra Vista Economic Development Foundation(EDF) at 520-458-6948 or email firstname.lastname@example.org