Now is the greatest time EVER to own your own business!

No, not the third-best time, or even the second. It is THE greatest time to be an entrepreneur, ever.

That’s according to Steve Strauss, author of The Small Business Bible and 16 other books on business.

So, why now, you ask?

Many analysts suggest two leading factors:

  1. The stability and strength of the US economy. According to a recent report by ForbesThe United States economy will look about the same in 2020 as it did in 2019 but will improve in 2021; and,

     

  2. The startling reach of the Internet, which has opened worldwide markets for companies of all sizes. A one-person operation with a website and a presence on social media can reach consumers across the world as easily as the neighbors down the street.

But that is not all, we have uncovered even more reason to get revved up for the new business year ahead. Stay with us to get the scoop on tax breaks and exciting tech trends to make the business of small business even better.

Can’t Miss 20% Tax Break

A tantalizing 20% tax break for business owners went into effect in 2018 — and more than 15 million taxpayers grabbed it.

The qualified business income deduction is one of the new features of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

This new tax break allows owners of “pass-through” entities, including S-corporations, partnerships and sole proprietorships, to deduct up to 20% of their qualified business income.

As tempting as the deduction sounds, figuring out if you qualify is no easy feat.

Here’s a breakdown of who can take it.

First, business owners in any industry may take the 20% deduction if they have taxable income that’s under $157,500 if single or $315,000 if married and filing jointly in 2018.

The IRS applies limitations over those thresholds.

For starters, taxpayers in a “specified service trade or business,” including doctors, lawyers and accountants, can’t take the deduction at all if their taxable income exceeds $207,500 if single or $415,000 if married.

Source: CNBC, Sep 30, 2019

Small Business Tech Trends You Need

At last check, America was hosting more than 30 million small businesses. Those that integrate the latest technology trends will hold a distinct advantage over their competitors. Here are three tech-related trends that business owners should anticipate. Perhaps one or more will have a direct impact on your business.

1. Outsourcing eCommerce

Small businesses across industries are looking at ways to offer eCommerce options to their clientele. Restaurants are taking custom orders online, grocery stores are accepting orders for pick-up, and even bakeries are taking a slice of the eCommerce pie.

However, setting up and managing an eCommerce site isn’t as easy as it looks. Sure, there’s been a lot of user-friendly packages released that create an environment anyone can use. For small businesses, without IT staff to implement and manage an eCommerce site can be daunting and time consuming.

Outsourcing eCommerce website management can help you easily navigate this process, attract more customers and scale your business. Handing over the reigns to a contractor or service provider who is already comfortable with the ins and outs of online shopping technology improves the return on investment. Small business owners will also appreciate the cost implications of not having another iron in the fire.

2. Automating Low-Value Tasks

AI and automation have created incredible opportunities for small businesses to compete with larger organizations. Small business owners who have a lot on the go can reap significant benefits from automation.

Automation is best for low-value daily tasks. It’s important to understand that a low-value task doesn’t mean that it should be ignored. In this context, low-value tasks refer to things that need to be done in a business but don’t generate income. For example, a business owner who spends a lot of time doing scheduling and processing payroll must complete these tasks. However, the time spent working on them could be spent growing the business and generating revenue.

Another form of automation and capitalizing on the accessibility of AI is incorporating chatbots and autoresponders. What was once a luxury limited to only large businesses with resources to support the technology is now readily available to the masses.

Chatbots and auto-responses give your customers the instant gratification they desire in a society with a short attention span. Furthermore, it allows you to answer frequently asked questions (business hours, for example) without repeating the work for every inquiry. Yes, it may only take you two minutes to stop and answer, but that time adds up and disrupts your concentration.

By automating daily tasks using AI, things like scheduling, bookkeeping, social media scheduling, etc. are handled while the key stakeholders are doing what they do best: running a business.

3. SEO for Voice Search

Many small business owners are vaguely aware of SEO and what it can do, without understanding the depths of the subject. One significant tech trend for both small businesses and large organizations is optimizing for voice search.

As smart technology becomes more commonplace in society, businesses have to meet customers where they are. More consumers are using smart assistants, from Siri on their iPhone to Alexa in their home.

What does this mean for businesses and SEO? When someone types a Google search, the sentence structure is often fractured. When someone asks a smart assistant to conduct a search, they typically frame it as a question. “Best Irish pub Seattle” becomes “What is the best Irish pub in Seattle?”

Source: Kolabtree

As we close the books on 2019, know that we feel privileged to share our specially curated small business news and insights with all of you, and we will be right here with much more for your 2020 journey.