New Jobs and Saving Money Top Goals for Employees in 2017

(Shared by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Business News Daily
By Chad Brooks, Business News Senior Writer
January 5, 2017 8:13 a.m. EST

darts-102919_1920-2When it comes to career-related resolutions for the new year, many employees have finding a new job and saving more money at the top of their lists, new research finds. Overall, more than 20 percent of workers are planning to change jobs in 2017, with younger employees (age 18 to 34) the most likely to search for a new position, according to a CareerBuilder study.

“Whether it’s unemployed people trying to find their way back to the workforce or those who are currently employed attempting an upgrade to greener pastures, a new year makes many people set their sights on job hunting,” Rosemary Haefner, chief human resources officer for CareerBuilder, said in a statement.

Carter Speaks at National Conference

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

melissa-national-sbdc-conf-aMelissa Carter, a Business Advisor with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the OSU South Centers, presented a seminar session at the America’s SBDC Conference in Orlando,
melissa-national-sbdc-conf-2Florida in September. Carter was selected to present “Navigating Online Marketing for Clients” which covered topics such as understanding and utilizing social media, managing website content and optimization, and tips to increase online visibility for businesses.
melissa-national-sbdc-conf-2aOver 75 individuals attended the ninety-minute session.

Annually, the America’s SBDC Conference is held to provide professional development and networking opportunities to Business Advisors and Directors throughout the country. Over 1400 individuals attended the September conference.

A look at tax changes for Ohio businesses and individuals

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Now is a good time to look at various tax changes that have occurred in the past year and understand their impact on you or your business. What has been the impact of the municipal tax reform that went into effect on January 1? For business, has the occasional entrant treatment been an improvement? In this article CSH’s Sharon Reisman answers those questions and more. Read more…

Author: Sharon Reisman, CPA, JD with Clark Schaefer Hackett CPAs & Business Consultants

Strategies for Maximizing Total Rewards

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Since I have been a freelance consultant for a while, and I am interested in maximizing my credit card rewards, I have made the decision to maximize the rewards I earn on both personal and business expenses. Although it can be tricky to keep it all separate, several strategies I employ make the process a whole lot easier.

Here’s what I do.

Overlap Categories
rewardsAs we have seen most rewards credit cards offer bonus rewards in certain categories of spending. I sought out a business credit card that earns more points in categories that my personal rewards credit card does not.

For me, Chase has the best combination of personal and business cards on the market right now. For business, I use my Chase Ink Bold®, which earns 5x points on cell phone service, internet service, landline service and office supply stores plush 2x points on gas and hotels. I pair that card with my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred®, which earns 2x points on travel and dining.

I put all of my gas and hotel stays on my business card even if it is for a family trip. This way I earn 2 points per dollar which is better than if I used my personal card. I also put my internet service on my business card so I earn 5 points per dollar even though most of that service is personal, and only a portion gets deducted based on my home office square footage.

If I am out to eat with a client, a business expense, I use my personal Chase Sapphire Preferred® instead of my Chase Ink Bold® because I earn double points with the Sapphire Preferred®.

If I spend on an item outside of any of these bonus categories, I still earn 1 point per dollar, so I’m always earning.

Using the Same Rewards Platform

credit-cards-185069_1920 (2)What I like about these two cards is that they are both on the same rewards platform so I am able to combine the points where I wouldn’t if I paired a Ink Plus® Business Credit Card with the personal rewards card from American Express.

Two added advantages of the Chase Ultimate Rewards platform are transferring points and redeeming points for travel. Both the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card and the Chase Sapphire Preferred® transfer points to frequent flier partners on a 1:1 basis AND both cards’ points are worth 25% more when redeemed for travel through the UR platform.

The result is that when you have the same rewards platform, you have added flexibility to combine and redeem points. If you have business and personal cards on different networks, you’re doing yourself a disservice.

What to Watch Out For
Because I combine my expenses, I have developed a great system of tracking, keeping notes and accounting for which expenses are business vs. personal. This approach is not for the faint of heart. You need to keep up on tracking these expenses at all times. If you fall behind it can be a nightmare to sift back through your calendar, credit card statements and memory to put the right pieces of the puzzle together.

How to Avoid These Problems
magic-cube-378543_1920 (2)First, Jot from Chase Business is great. I can tag expenses and take pictures of receipts. The only tag I really use is “Business” to denote a business expense I want to transfer to my accounting software.

For my personal card I use Expensify. This is essentially the same thing as Jot, but you can use it for any expense whereas Jot only works with your Chase business credit card.

With Expensify, I take a picture of my receipt only for purchases I want to use as business expenses. Expensify saves each receipt and any information I manually input. I then transfer these expenses to my accounting software at the end of each week.

I use Quickbooks for all of my accounting, which lets me keep detailed notes on all my expenses. Once I transfer my expenses, I make sure to add each receipt picture to my digital tax files, so I can back up any expense easily if I ever face an audit.


8(A) and HubZone Eligibility Training

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

The U.S. Small Business Administration

SBA LogoGet introduced to the history of the SBA 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone Programs and discover if your business is qualified. Learn the purpose of 8(a) and HUBZone Certifications and explore whether or not federal government contracting is a fit for your business. Eligibility and application process will be discussed as well as any program questions.

Please join us at one of the following training locations:

February 16th
SBA District Office, 401 N. Front Street, Suite 200, Columbus, Ohio 43215

Looking ahead!

March 15th
PTAC, 1570 Granville Pike, Suite 314, Lancaster, Ohio 43130

July 19th
SBA Cincinnati Branch office, 525 Vine Street, Suite 1030, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

April 19th
The Hamilton Mill, 20 High Street, Hamilton, Ohio 45011

August 16th
SBDC Chamber of Commerce, 216 Collins Ave, South Point, Ohio 45680

May 17th
Mercer County Library, 303 N. Main Street, Celina, Ohio 45822 (11:00 to 1:00)

September 20th
Fayette Co. Chamber of Commerce, 101 E. East Street, Washington CH, Ohio 43160

June 21st
Vanguard Tech. Center, Lecture Lab, 1306 Cedar Street, Fremont, Ohio 43420

All trainings will be from 10:00am to 12:00pm (TIMES MAY VARY DUE TO LOCATION)

For more information contact:
Gwendolyn C. List
U.S. Small Business Administration
525 Vine Street
Suite 1030
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
513-684-2814 ext. 200

How to Use a Business Credit Card to Manage Cash Flow

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Whether you run a small business, lead a large corporation, or work as a self-employed freelancer, you will probably experience cash flow issues from time to time. Sometimes this can happen when you’re waiting on various payments from your customers, and other times it is simply the result of having to purchase equipment or supplies when money is tight.
banner-982098_1920 (2)
This is where business cards can really come in handy. Here are a few examples of when having a business card could solve a cash flow problem instantly:

Real Life Example #1
A self-employed freelancer is waiting on several large payments from various clients, but they don’t expect to receive those funds until the end of the month. In the meantime, they need to purchase essential office and computer equipment from an office supply store. A business credit card would allow them to charge their equipment purchases temporarily until they received payment from their customers later in the month. Further, a card like the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card would even reward them with 5% cash back on their purchases.

Real Life Example #2

A small business owner with ten employees just finished a huge project for a client that they have yet to be paid for. Unfortunately, payroll is coming up, and they don’t have enough funds to keep operations running and pay their employees. If necessary, they could cover many of their business-related expenses with a business card for a limited time so they could pay their employees. Once they received payment from their client, they could pay their balance in full and “catch up.”

Real Life Example #3
A large business needs to purchase $50,000 worth of equipment that they will need to pay off over several months. Instead of taking out a loan, the business could leverage the credit line on their business credit card instead. While they would need to pay interest in this case, they could write it off as a business expense.

Source: Simple Dollar Website Excerpt taken from the updated on 1-19-2016 The Best Business Credit Cards of 2016 article by Michael Gardon.

Who Are Small Business Credit Cards Good For?

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

While technically anyone can apply for a business credit card, these cards are usually best for small businesses and individuals who fall into the following categories:

• Self-employed individuals who travel frequently for work and want to rack up rewards
• Freelancers who need help managing their cash flow
• Consultants who may travel or entertain clients
• Small business owners or freelancers who experience irregular cash flow throughout the month
• Doctors or dentists who are part of their own practice
• Financial advisors
• Salespeople who travel for work and want to maximize travel-related rewards
• Business owners who spend heavily on office supplies and equipment

american-express-89024 (2)People who fall in these categories all have certain expenses that can be separated and classified as “business” expenses. These type of expenses can include things like meals, required travel, advertising, business development, entertainment and office space.

Meanwhile, certain types of individuals are employed by an outside company, yet asked to front expenses like gas, meals and parking. Their company is then expected to reimburse them for their purchases, but this arrangement doesn’t preclude them from getting a business credit card. In fact, this may be the type of person who could benefit from a business card the most. By using a card for their business-related expenses, they keep their expenses on a separate tab without messing with their personal cash flow.

Here are some other ways almost anyone could benefit from having a business credit card:

• Individuals who spend a lot in specific categories, such as dining and gas, could choose a card like the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express, which offers 3% cash back in one main category of your choosing
• Like we mentioned above, individuals who are expected to pay for work-related expenses then get reimbursed can use a business card for those expenses instead of paying for everything with their own money
• Salespeople who drive a lot could benefit from a card with increased earnings on gas purchases, such as the SimplyCash® Business Card from American Express or the Ink Cash® Business Credit Card
• Businesses who spend a lot of money at office supply stores have the opportunity to earn 5 points per $1 on up to $50,000 in office supply purchases each calendar year with the Ink Plus® Business Credit Card

Source: Simple Dollar Website Excerpt taken from the 12-9-2015 The Best Business Credit Cards of 2016 article by Michael Gardon.

Revolving Loan Fund Programs–Low Interest GAP Financing

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Need GAP funding? The Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) offers low interest GAP Financing through the Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program.

For assistance with business planning in Adams, Brown, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton counties, contact the Small Business Development Center at 740-289-2071.

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ScreenHunter_638 Nov. 25 08.53

Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) Grant Deadline of 11/2/15

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Notice from: Randel Monhemius, Business Program Specialist
USDA, Rural Development

November 2, 2015, is the first deadline for accepting applications to the Rural Energy for America Program for projects requesting $20,000 and less. If you are considering financing options for your small renewable energy project or energy efficiency improvement project, I would encourage the submission of an application prior to the deadline of November 2, 2015.

In brief, the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) is intended to encourage rural small for-profit businesses and agricultural producers to install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. The grant program can help to pay for up to twenty-five percent of the total eligible project costs. Please keep in mind that this program can only assist with costs incurred after an application for this program is received by this office. This is a highly competitive program and not all applications will receive the funding requested. Residential improvements are not permitted through this program.

Should you have any questions please contact me at 614-255-2424 or Christie Hooks at 614-255-2397.

Thank you.
Randy M.

Randel Monhemius, Business Program Specialist
USDA, Rural Development
200 North High St., Room 507
Columbus, OH 43215
Phone 614-255-2424
Fax 614-255-2562

Strictly Business – Craig Lund of Value Added Business Services

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Published on March 25, 2015

Brad Bapst and Mike Thompson feature Craig Lund with Value Added Business from Jackson, Ohio. Craig talks about customers and customer service.

Mike Thompson, director of Instructional Design & Media Services at the University of Rio Grande, Brad Bapst, director of the Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers, and Craig Lund of Value Added Business Services.