Building an Entrepreneurial Community

With an extra Wednesday this month, I decided to take some time and discuss our eXtension COP expanded use of social media. We envision it as a means of extending and invovling both our COP members as well as other educators, business owners, and community-involved citizens around our focus of “Entrepreneurs and Their Communities.”

Each of us within the community and many outside have questions that need answering. Others in this same group have ideas and answers for those questions. The task is connecting.

There are several ways we can connect. First, since you are seeing this message on our blog, you can respond with your comments or ask questions. And make sure to use a tool that reminds you when new blog posts come in.

As part of our social media efforts, we also have a Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/eXtensionentrepreneurs . This is another spot where you can connect with others.

And of course we have our eXtension website – http://www.extension.org/entrepreneurship. This includes the Ask an Expert section as well as a variety of articles and other resources.

The key to our growth and ability to help business owners and communities is in the power of networking. That is why it is important for you to become involved directly as well as making others aware of the activity and inviting them. And remember it takes approximately 7-10 invites before someone will take action. We need to keep this in front of our intended audience.

Well, thanks for listening to my pitch and pep talk. Stop by each Wednesday next month when the topic will provide thoughts around being online and social media. And don’t forget that on Friday our Facebook page will also post thoughts on that topic.

Join us. Each of you have something to share.

IRS pinpoints top seven tax tips for new business owners

Anyone starting or thinking of starting a new business should be aware of their federal tax responsibilities, says John Berger, communications analyst with the External Outreach Branch of the Internal Revenue Service. Here are the top seven things the IRS wants you to know if you plan on opening a new business this year.

  1. First, you must decide what type of business entity you are going to establish. The type your business will determine which tax form you have to file. The most common types of business are the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and S corporation.
  2. The type of business you operate determines what taxes you must pay and how you pay them. The four general types of business taxes are income tax, self-employment tax, employment tax and excise tax.
  3. An Employer Identification Number is used to identify a business entity. Generally, businesses need an EIN. Visit IRS.gov for more information about whether you will need an EIN. You can also apply for an EIN online at IRS.gov.
  4. Good records will help you ensure successful operation of your new business. You may choose any recordkeeping system suited to your business that clearly shows your income and expenses. Except in a few cases, the law does not require any special kind of records. However, the business you are in affects the type of records you need to keep for federal tax purposes.
  5. Every business taxpayer must figure taxable income on an annual accounting period called a tax year. The calendar year and the fiscal year are the most common tax years used.
  6. Each taxpayer must also use a consistent accounting method, which is a set of rules for determining when to report income and expenses. The most commonly used accounting methods are the cash method and an accrual method. Under the cash method, you generally report income in the tax year you receive it and deduct expenses in the tax year you pay them. Under an accrual method, you generally report income in the tax year you earn it and deduct expenses in the tax year you incur them.
  7. Visit the Business section of IRS.gov for resources to assist entrepreneurs with starting and operating a new business.

– Internal Revenue Service

Looking at Things Differently

During my years working with small business owners, I have done presentations on recordkeeping and basic taxes. During those workshops, lots of suggestions and questions have been raised. A consistent comment, if it can be called that, has been a deep sigh when the topic is introduced.

All of that changed after one workshop when a small business owner came up to me afterwards. He said I had done a good job. He suggested though that I needed to approach things differently. He said his idea had come to him years before and it had served him well in keeping his records up and when doing his taxes.

He shared that day that you just need to “look at things differently.” He then shared two tips that worked for him.

He began with taxes, specifically tax simplification. His comment was something like, “the more lines the better.” He noted that most of the lines on his business tax form allowed him to reduce his taxable income. So he equated more lines with lower taxes and more left in his pocket.

His record keeping change was related to completing his tax form. He said it’s simple, “the better my records, the more I can put on the tax form.” Then he reiterated his earlier comment, “that means more left in his pocket.”

The tips he gave dealt with the way he approached recordkeeping and taxes. It was frame of mind he said and ended his thoughts “sure made it easier to do my records and taxes” and he credited that attitude with saving him money over the years.

He said it worked. I have shared it since then and others have told me it helps. Just thought I would share it with you as something to ponder.  

eXtension – Winter Webinar Series begins January 10

eXtension – Entrepreneurs and Their Communities

Winter Webinar Series
Second Thursday of every month
2:00 p.m. (ET); 1:00 p.m. (CT); 12:00 p.m. (MT); 11:00 am (PT)
Connect to webinar – https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop

January 10 – Getting Action from Website Landing Pages

Ever wonder why some online businesses seem to have all the luck – well it may not be luck after all! Their content marketing payoff may be because their ‘landing pages’ encourage the customer to take ‘action’. Your landing pages can mean the difference between profit and loss! Learn how to send your customers to the right page and create the appropriate call to action!

Presenter – Jay Jenkins, UNL Extension Educator

February 14 – Top 10 Trends and Cool Tools in Social Media

Julie Fox joins us again this year for a popular session on what’s new in social media. This fast moving session goes beyond the latest statistics to demonstrate what’s working and show you how to benefit from the latest social media trends and tools.

Presenter – Julie Fox, Ohio State Extension

March 14 – Pinterest for Your Business

Just when you thought you’d gotten a handle on social media by getting on Facebook and maybe giving Twitter a try, along comes Pinterest. Pinterest is now the number three most-popular social network in the U.S., behind only Facebook and Twitter, according to Experian’s Digital Marketer Trend and Benchmark Report.  Thru this webinar an introduction to what Pinterest is and why you should use it for your business will be presented. Also discussed will be setting up a Pinterest account, how to interact, and how to create pin boards.

Presenters Tara Gross is a young entrepreneur and owner of Country Drawers in Cambridge, Nebraska and Connie Hancock is an Extension Educator from UNL Extension.


Check us out on Facebook athttp://www.facebook.com/eXtensionentrepreneurs

To learn more about other eXtension educational programs – https://learn.extension.org

eXtension Entrepreneurship – http://www.extension.org/entrepreneurship


Mark your calendars! The eXtension Entrepreneurship webinar series continues with some very timely topics. All webinars will air monthly on the second Thursday at 2:00pm (ET); 1:00pm (CT); 12:00pm (MT); 11:00am (PT).

No pre-registration is required and there is no fee to participate. About 10 minutes prior to the start time simply go the Adobe Connect Pro meeting room at https://connect.extension.iastate.edu/etc-cop. You will be presented with a login screen that has an “Enter as Guest” option. Enter your full name then click “Enter Room” to join the conference. You will be able to hear the audio directly from your computer’s speakers.