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Making Business Decisions in an Election Year

Business owners can deploy tactics now that work to their advantage, regardless of election outcomes

While Americans wait to see who’ll win the election, business owners can deploy business tactics that work to their advantage, regardless of the outcome.

Barbara Weltman, coauthor of the Small Business Survival Book and a leading authority on tax, law and finance for small business, says that it’s important for business owners to remain aware of the political environment and translate the implications of what they observe into business tactics. Based on recent events, she helped identify a number of business tactics that business owners should be pursuing during this election year — independent of any candidates they favor.

Use tax credits. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 includes a variety of tax deductions that can affect small businesses — but some need to be acted on by business owners by the end of the 2008 calendar year.  One of the most notable contributions to small business owners is extension of federal research and experimentation (R&D) tax credit for 2008 and 2009.

Pay on time. The single most important factor when it comes to business credit, according to Weltman, is paying bills on time. As needed, business owners should utilize automated payments, negotiated terms and overdraft protection to ensure payments occur on time.

Build a strong balance sheet. Weltman said business owners need to retain cash, write off bad receivables, manage their inventory effectively and consider leasing options to retain more cash. Re-examine the credit terms that a company extends to customers and see if it can be tightened for an advantage.

Avoid lawsuits. Business owners need to assess their risks and make sure they carry adequate insurance for their business. They need to provide a safe work environment and work with lawyers, if necessary, to prevent judgments or liens that affect credit negatively. Use a  third-party registered agent to ensure that your company is informed of pending legal actions and remains compliant with state requirements.

Incorporate your business. For business owners, personal liability protection is more important now than ever. Since most businesses use a calendar year for accounting, form an LLC or  incorporate your business (update hyperlink to link to the order now page) so that it takes effect on 1/1/2009. This ensures you’ll be prepared for 2009 and avoids additional costs and tax filings that you’d incur by making the change now. Companies like incorporation services leader(hyperlink ‘incorporations services, instead of the company name) BizFilings can take all of your information now and make the change effective on January 1, 2009 — so you don’t have to stand in line for the change yourself.

Be vocal. It’s important for business owners to be involved, not just aware of political events at the local, state and federal level. If they don’t take the time to learn about state and federal candidates directly, consider funding groups that lobby for small business interests such as the National Federation of Independent Business or the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

"Whoever wins upcoming presidential, state and local elections will be constrained by fiscal realities. This means that many of the concerns of business owners (taxes, healthcare, regulation) won’t be addressed immediately by government." said Troy Janisch, publisher of Business Owner's Toolkit. "By deploying these tactics, business owners can create positive outcomes for their business that aren’t solely dependent on election results."

About Business Owner's Toolkit
Business Owner's Toolkit ( www.toolkit.com) provides total know-how for small business. The Toolkit website helps business owners start, run, and grow a successful small business by providing more than 5,000 pages of free step-by-step advice, instruction, and ready-to-use business templates. The site also offers free business webinars, business news and one-to-one advice to business owners by email. The Business Owner's Toolkit also partners with StartupNation to provide free entrepreneurial advice via a national syndicated radio show.

The Business Owner's Toolkit is a part of Wolters Kluwer, a leading multinational publisher and information services company. Wolters Kluwer has annual revenues (2007) of €3.4 billion, maintains operations in over 33 countries across Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific and employs approximately 19,500 people worldwide.