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5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

5 Ground Rules for Successful PartnershipsBack when I was practicing law, a general contractor came into my office one day to tell me that his business partner had swindled him out of $100,000. He wanted to know if I could help him save his business. Because he did not have enough money to afford my fee, we worked out an arrangement: he remodeled my house for the next 12 months, and I remodeled his business.

 

The moral of the story is that you have to be very careful when creating a partnership.  It is the business equivalent to getting married; you have to be very careful to pick out the right partner. If you do, the end result can be a very satisfying and successful venture, but if you don’t, you are likely in for some emotional, financial and legal turmoil, not unlike my contractor friend.5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

 

Here then are five ground rules for successful business partnerships:

 

Rule #1: Know what you are getting into: There are both pros and cons of starting your business as a partnership. You must be cognizant of both:

 

Pros:

  • An extra pair of hands: Owning a business is tough enough, but doing it all on your own is doubly difficult. Having a partner is a big benefit.
  • Another brain: As they say, “Two heads are better than one.” Having someone to bounce ideas off of is invaluable.
  • Deeper pockets: It is also great to have someone to share the financial aspect of running a business.

 

Cons:

  • Less control: Your partner will have an equal say in how the business is run. You better trust their judgment and respect their values.
  • Potential liability: Business owners are liable for the decisions their  partner makes.

 

No one can say whether the pros outweigh the cons. It all depends on the circumstances. Nonetheless, it is important to go in with your eyes wide open.

 

 

Rule #2: Try before you buy: You may think that your new partner is great, but it would behoove you to test the relationship theory before committing to it. To go back to the marriage analogy, it is a good idea to live together before making a long-term, legal commitment.

 

How do you know if your styles mesh? Do you like working together? Can he or she take direction? Can you? Do you make decisions in a similar way and agree more than you disagree? Is it fun to work together? Working on a project or two before committing to a full-blown partnership can answer important questions like these. 5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

 

Rule #3. Establish the basics from the start: Even if you have previously worked together, partnerships can often get into trouble when the partners are not on the same page about who is responsible for what, who will pay for what and so on. It is vital that rules, duties, responsibilities, titles and other parameters are set from the very beginning. 5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

 

By the same token, it is equally important that you agree on the purpose and direction of the partnership. How big do you want to get? What are your goals, visions, and desires for the business? 5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

 

 

Rule #4. Get it in writing. All of the above must be documented in the form of a partnership agreement. Think of your partnership agreement as your own private set of laws for your business that includes:

 

  • Who is responsible for what?
  • How much money and other resources is each partner putting into the venture?
  • Who will get paid how much and how will compensation be decided going forward?
  • How will decisions be made?
  • How will disputes be resolved?
  • Can one partner buy out the other? If so, how?

 

Rule #5. Be flexible: This rule may seem to contradict the other four, but in reality it does not. The previous rules are meant to protect you and help you choose the right partner. This one is meant to be realistic. Businesses are living organisms. It may be that your partner is better at sales than you knew. Or maybe you will discover that you have a proclivity for promotions. Great partnerships establish rules, and yet are flexible enough to take advantage of opportunities. 5 Ground Rules for Successful Partnerships

HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative

HCC Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative

The Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Initiative is provided at no cost and is designed for small business owners who have a business poised for growth. Our goal is to help small businesses create jobs and economic growth by providing practical business education, increased access to capital, and business support services.

 

Participant receive:  

90 hours of practical interactive business training developed by Babson University and delivered in a schedule designed to minimize impact to business owners.

 

Access to a business adviser who will help you develop and implement a growth plan tailored for your business.

Networking connections with the best entrepreneurial resources in Houston.

  

Invaluable relationships with a peer group of business owners all positioning for material growth.

Increased access to capital.


Alumni Program – offering Networking opportunities, access to CEO Roundtables & Continuing educational opportunities. 

 

To Qualify:

Participants must be the primary owner or co-owner of a business

Have a business with four full-time employees including yourself (part-time and contract employees also count)

The business must be in operation for at least two years

Demonstrate business revenues of at least $150,000 in the most recent fiscal year

The deadline to submit your application is

July 15th.

Please click here to visit our website and learn more about this amazing opportunity! 

Negotiation Tactics for Small
Business Owners
Tuesday, April 9, 2013 – 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

1010 W. Sam Houston Parkway N., Houston Tx

Main Building – Eagle Room

 

Negotiating is not simply about getting the price you want!

Successful negotiations create long-term relationships that

result in a win-win for both parties.

 

Distinguished Speaker Liz Lara-Carreno will provide insights on how personality impacts negotiations and provide tips for how small business owners can find value beyond the sales price and develop long-term relationships that will grow their business!

 

 Register Today!

 

Connecting with Asian-American Consumers through Marketing and Social Media
Thursday, April 11, 2013 – 11:15 AM – 1:15 PM 

Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston Tx

 

Keynote speaker: Bill Imada.  Mr. Imada is the Chairman, Chief Collaboration Officer of IW Group Inc.  Mr. Imada’s firm has more than 20 years of experience working in the areas of advertising, branding, marketing, communications and training and specializes in the growing multicultural markets in the U.S.

Register Today!

Affordable Care Act – Impacts on Small Businesses 
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Urban League – 5320 Griggs Rd., Houston, TX

 

Register Today! 

 

Your Value Proposition- Next Step Internal & External Tactics
Friday, April 19, 2013 – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

4800 Fournace Place, Bellaire, TX 77401

 

Register Today!

 

Greater Houston Business Procurement Forum
Tuesday, April 23, 2013 – 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM 

HCC – SW Campus, 5601 W Loop South, Houston Tx

 

Connect with the City of Houston, the Mayor’s Office of Business Opportunity, METRO, HISD, HCC and more to learn about procurement opportunities and how to engage.

Register Today!

7th Annual Houston Airport System Runaway to Business Opportunities Networking Fair
Thursday, May 9, 2013 – 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM 

8233 Will Clayton Parkway, Humble Tx

 

This annual event assists MW/DBE and Small Business Enterprise owners with contracting opportunities with the Houston Airport System.

Register Today!

Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events

 

Please call: 281.408.0866 for additional information

 www.houstonicc.org

Developing North Houston Luncheon

Thursday, April 25, 2013 – 11:30AM

 

Houston Marriott North – 255 N. Sam Houston Parkway East, Houston

 

China-US-Mexico Business Development Summit – Golf & Dinner

Sunday, May 5, 2013 – 12:00PM

 

Tour 18 Houston – 3102 FM 1960 Rd. E, Humble

Register Today!

Provided by

Houston Community College

1050 W Sam Houston Parkway North

Houston Tx 77043

For more information, please contact

Wendi Goodwin, Outreach Director
Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative
713-718-2115 – wendi.goodwin@hccs.edu

STAY CONNECTED


Blessings of the Black Economy

Blessings of the Black Economy

Blessings of the Black EconomyBlessings of the Black Economy. Some call it the “unofficial” or “informal” economy, others call it the “grey economy” but the old name fits it best: the “black economy”. In the USA “black” means “profitable, healthy” and this is what the black economy is. Macedonia should count its blessings for having had a black economy so strong and thriving to see it through the transition. If Macedonia had to rely only on its official economy it would have gone bankrupt long ago. Blessings of the Black Economy

The black economy is made up of two constituent activities:

1.. Legal activities that are not reported to the tax authorities and the income from which goes untaxed and unreported. For instance: it is not illegal to clean someone’s house, to feed people or to drive them. It is, however, illegal to hide the income generated by these activities and not to pay tax on it. In most countries of the world, this is a criminal offence, punishable by years in prison.
2.. Illegal activities which, needless to say, are also not reported to the state (and, therefore, not taxed).
These two types of activities together are thought to comprise between 15% (USA, Germany) to 60% (Russia) of the economic activity (as measured by the GDP), depending on the country. It would probably be an underestimate to say that 40% of the GDP in Macedonia is “black”. This equals 1.2 billion USD per annum. The money generated by these activities is largely held in foreign exchange outside the banking system or smuggled abroad (even through the local banking system). Experience in other countries shows that circa 15% of the money “floats” in the recipient country and is used to finance consumption. This should translate to 1 billion free floating dollars in the hands of the 2 million citizens of Macedonia. Billions are transferred to the outside world (mostly to finance additional transactions, some of it to be saved in foreign banks away from the long hand of the state). A trickle of money comes back and is “laundered” through the opening of small legal businesses. Blessings of the Black Economy

These are excellent news for Macedonia. It means that when the macro-economic, geopolitical and (especially) the micro-economic climates will change – billions of USD will flow back to Macedonia. People will bring their money back to open businesses, to support family members and just to consume it. It all depends on the mood and on the atmosphere and on how much these people feel that they can rely on the political stability and rational management. Such enormous flows of capital happened before: in Argentina after the Generals and their corrupt regime were ousted by civilians, in Israel when the peace process started and in Mexico following the signature of NAFTA, to mention but three cases. These reserves can be lured back and transform the economy. Blessings of the Black Economy

But the black economy has many more important functions.

The black economy is a cash economy. It is liquid and fast. It increases the velocity of money. It injects much needed foreign exchange to the economy and inadvertently increases the effective money supply and the resulting money aggregates. In this sense, it defies the dictates of “we know better” institutions such as the IMF. It fosters economic activity and employs people. It encourages labour mobility and international trade. Black economy, in short, is very positive. With the exception of illegal activities, it does everything that the official economy does – and, usually, more efficiently.

So, what is morally wrong with the black economy? The answer, in brief: it is exploitative. Other parts of the economy, which are not hidden (though would have liked to be), are penalized for their visibility. They pay taxes. Workers in a factory owned by the state or in the government service cannot avoid paying taxes. The money that the state collects from them is invested, for instance, in infrastructure (roads, phones, electricity) or used to pay for public services (education, defence, policing). The operators of the black economy enjoy these services without paying for them, without bearing the costs and worse: while others bear the costs. These encourages them, in theory to use these resources less efficiently. Blessings of the Black Economy

And all this might be true in a highly efficient, almost ideal market economy. The emphasis is on the word “market”. Unfortunately, we all live in societies which are regulated by bureaucracies which are controlled (in theory, rarely in practice) by politicians. These elites have a tendency to misuse and to abuse resources and to allocate them in an inefficient manner. Even economic theory admits that any dollar left in the hands of the private sector is much more efficiently used than the same dollar in the hands of the most honest and well meaning and well planning civil servant. Governments all over the world distort economic decisions and misallocate scarce economic resources. Blessings of the Black Economy

Thus, if the goals are to encourage employment and economic growth – the black economy should be welcomed. This is precisely what it does and, by definition, it does so more efficiently than the government. The less tax dollars a government has – the less damage it does. This is an opinion shares by most economists in the world today. Lower tax rates are an admission of this fact and a legalization of parts of the black economy.

The black economy is especially important in times of economic hardships. Countries in transition are a private case of emerging economies which are a private case of developing countries which used to be called (in less politically correct times) “Third World Countries”. They suffer from all manner of acute economic illnesses. They lost their export markets, they are technologically backward, their unemployment skyrockets, their plant and machinery are dilapidated, their infrastructure decrepit and dysfunctional, they are lethally illiquid, they become immoral societies (obligations not honoured, crime flourishes), their trade deficits and budget deficits balloon and they are conditioned to be dependent on handouts and dictates from various international financial institutions and donor countries. Blessings of the Black Economy

Read this list again: isn’t the black economy a perfect solution until the dust settles?

It enhances exports (and competitiveness through imports), it encourages technology transfers, it employs people, it invests in legitimate businesses (or is practised by them), it adds to the wealth of the nation (black marketeers are big spenders, good consumers and build real estate), it injects liquidity to an otherwise dehydrated market. Mercifully, the black economy is out of the reach of zealous missionaries such as the IMF. It goes its own way, unnoticed, unreported, unbeknownst, untamed. It doesn’t pay attention to money supply targets (it is much bigger than the official money supply figure), or to macroeconomic stability goals. It plods on: doing business and helping the country to survive the double scourges of transition and Western piousness and patronizing. As long as it is there, Macedonia has a real safety net. The government is advised to turn a blind eye to it for it is a blessing in disguise. Blessings of the Black Economy

There is one sure medicine: eliminate the population and both unemployment and inflation will be eliminated. Without the black economy, the population of Macedonia would not have survived. This lesson must be remembered as the government prepares to crack down on the only sector of the economy which is still alive and kicking.

Operational Recommendations

The implementation of these recommendations and reforms should be obliged to be GRADUAL. The informal economy is an important pressure valve for the release of social pressures, it ameliorates the social costs inherent to the period of transition and it constitutes an important part of the private sector.

As we said in the body of our report, these are the reasons for the existence of an informal economy and they should be obliged to all be tackled:

a.. High taxation level (in Macedonia, high payroll taxes);
b.. Onerous labour market regulations;
c.. Red tape and bureaucracy (which often leads to corruption);
d.. Complexity and unpredictability of the tax system.
Reporting Requirements and Transparency

a.. All banks should be obliged to report foreign exchange transactions of more than 10,000 DM (whether in one transaction or cumulatively by the same legal entity). The daily report should be submitted to the Central Bank. In extreme cases, the transactions should be investigated.
a.. All the ZPP account numbers of all the firms in Macedonia should be publicly available through the Internet and in printed form.
a.. Firms should be obliged by law to make a list of all their bank accounts available to the ZPP, to the courts and to plaintiffs in lawsuits.
a.. All citizens should be obliged to file annual, personal tax returns (universal tax returns, like in the USA). This way, discrepancies between personal tax returns and other information can lead to investigations and discoveries of tax evasion and criminal activities.
a.. All citizens should be obliged to file bi-annual declarations of personal wealth and assets (including real estate, vehicles, movables, inventory of business owned or controlled by the individual, financial assets, income from all sources, shares in companies, etc.).
a.. All retail outlets and places of business should be required to install – over a period of 3 years – cash registers with “fiscal brains”. These are cash registers with an embedded chip. The chips are built to save a trail (detailed list) of all the transactions in the place of business. Tax inspectors can pick the chip at random, download its contents to the tax computers and use it to issue tax assessments. The information thus gathered can also be crossed with and compared to information from other sources (see: “Databases and Information Gathering”). This can be done only after the full implementation of the recommendations in the section titled “Databases and Information Gathering”. I do not regard it as an effective measure. While it increases business costs – it is not likely to prevent cash or otherwise unreported transactions.
a.. All taxis should be equipped with taximeters, which include a printer. This should be a licensing condition.
a.. Industrial norms (for instance, the amount of sugar needed to manufacture a weight unit of chocolate, or juice) should be revamped. Norms should NOT be determined according to statements provided by the factory – but by a panel of experts. Each norm should be signed by three people, of which at least one is an expert engineer or another expert in the relevant field. Thought should be dedicated to the possibility of employing independent laboratories to determine norms and supervise them.
a.. Payments in wholesale markets should be done through a ZPP counter or branch in the wholesale market itself. Release of the goods and exiting the physical location of the wholesale market should be allowed only against presentation of a ZPP payment slip.
Reduction of Cash Transactions

a.. Cash transactions are the lifeblood of the informal economy. Their reduction and minimization is absolutely essential in the effort to contain it. One way of doing it is by issuing ZPP payment (debit) cards to businesses, firm and professionals. Use of the payment cards should be mandatory in certain business-to-business transactions.
a.. All exchange offices should be obliged to issue receipt for every cash transaction above 100 DM and to report to the Central Bank all transactions above 1000 DM. Suspicious transactions (for instance, transactions which exceed the financial wherewithal of the client involved) should be duly investigated.
a.. The government can reduce payroll taxes if the salary is not paid in cash (for instance, by a transfer to the bank account of the employee). The difference between payroll taxes collected on cash salaries and lower payroll taxes collected on noncash salaries – should be recovered by imposing a levy on all cash withdrawals from banks. The banks can withhold the tax and transfer it to the state monthly.
a.. Currently, checks issued to account-holders by banks are virtually guaranteed by the issuing banks. This transforms checks into a kind of cash and checks are used as cash in the economy. To prevent this situation, it is recommended that all checks will be payable to the beneficiary only. The account-holder will be obliged to furnish the bank with a monthly list of checks he or she issued and their details (to whom, date, etc.). Checks should be valid for 5 working days only.
a.. An obligation can be imposed to oblige businesses to effect payments only through their accounts (from account to account) or using their debit cards. Cash withdrawals should be subject to a withholding tax deducted by the bank. The same withholding tax should be applied to credits given against cash balances or to savings houses (stedilnicas). Alternatively, stedilnicas should also be obliged to deduct, collect and transfer the cash withdrawal withholding tax.
a.. In the extreme and if all other measures fail after a reasonable period of time, all foreign trade related payments should be conducted through the Central Bank. But this is really a highly irregular, emergency measure, which I do not recommend at this stage.
a.. The interest paid on cash balances and savings accounts in the banks should be increased (starting with bank reserves and deposits in the central bank).
a.. The issuance of checkbook should be made easy and convenient. Every branch should issue checkbooks. All the banks and the post office should respect and accept each other’s checks.
a.. A Real Time Gross Settlement System should be established to minimize float and facilitate interbank transfers.
Government Tenders

a.. Firms competing for government tenders should be obliged to acquire a certificate from the tax authorities that they owe no back-taxes. Otherwise, they should be barred from bidding in government tenders and RFPs (Requests for Proposals).
Databases and Information Gathering

a.. Estimating the informal economy should be a priority objective of the Bureau of Statistics, which should devote considerable resources to this effort. In doing so, the Bureau of Statistics should coordinate closely with a wide variety of relevant ministries and committees that oversee various sectors of the economy.
a.. All registrars should be computerized: land, real estate, motor vehicles, share ownership, companies registration, tax filings, import and export related documentation (customs), VAT, permits and licences, records of flights abroad, ownership of mobile phones and so on. The tax authorities and the Public Revenue Office (PRO) should have unrestricted access to ALL the registers of all the registrars. Thus, they should be able to find tax evasion easily (ask for sources of wealth- how did you build this house and buy a new car if you are earning 500 DM monthly according to your tax return?).
a.. The PRO should have complete access to the computers of the ZPP and to all its computerized and non-computerized records.
a.. The computer system should constantly compare VAT records and records and statements related to other taxes in order to find discrepancies between them.
a.. Gradually, submissions of financial statements, tax returns and wealth declarations should be computerized and done even on a monthly basis (for instance, VAT statements).
a.. A system of informants and informant rewards should be established, including anonymous phone calls. Up to 10% of the intake or seizure value related to the information provided by the informant should go to the informant.
Law Enforcement

a.. Tax inspectors and customs officials should receive police powers and much higher salaries (including a percentage of tax revenues). The salaries of all tax inspectors – regardless of their original place of employment – should be equalized (of course, taking into consideration tenure, education, rank, etc.).
a.. Judges should be trained and educated in matters pertaining to the informal economy. Special courts for taxes, for instance, are a good idea (see recommendation below). Judges have to be trained in tax laws and the state tax authorities should provide BINDING opinions to entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors regarding the tax implications of their decisions and actions.
a.. It is recommended to assign tax inspectors to the public prosecutors’ office to work as teams on complex or big cases.
a.. To establish an independent Financial and Tax Police with representatives from all relevant ministries but under the exclusive jurisdiction of the PRO. The remit of this Police should include all matters financial (including foreign exchange transactions, property and real estate transactions, payroll issues, etc.).
a.. Hiring and firing procedures in all the branches of the tax administration should be simplified. The number of administrative posts should be reduced and the number of tax inspectors and field agents increased.
a.. Tax arrears and especially the interest accruing thereof should be the first priority of the ZPP, before all other payments.
a.. All manufacturers and sellers of food products (including soft drinks, sweetmeats and candy, meat products, snacks) should purchase a licence from the state and be subjected to periodic and rigorous inspections.
a.. All contracts between firms should be registered in the courts and stamped to become valid. Contracts thus evidenced should be accompanied by the registration documents (registrar extract) of the contracting parties. Many “firms” doing business in Macedonia are not even legally registered.
Reforms and Amnesty

a.. A special inter-ministerial committee with MINISTER-MEMBERS and headed by the PM should be established. Its roles: to reduce bureaucracy, to suggest appropriate new legislation and to investigate corruption.
a.. Bureaucracy should be pared down drastically. The more permits, licences, tolls, fees and documents needed – the more corruption. Less power to state officials means less corruption. The One Stop Shop concept should be implemented everywhere.
a.. A general amnesty should be declared. Citizens declaring their illegal wealth should be pardoned BY LAW and either not taxed or taxed at a low rate once and forever on the hitherto undeclared wealth.
The Tax Code

a.. To impose a VAT system. VAT is one the best instruments against the informal economy because it tracks the production process throughout a chain of value added suppliers and manufacturers.
a.. The Tax code needs to be simplified. Emphasis should be placed on VAT, consumption taxes, customs and excise taxes, fees and duties. To restore progressivity, the government should directly compensate the poor for the excess relative burden.
a.. After revising the tax code in a major way, the government should declare a moratorium on any further changes for at least four years.
a.. The self-employed and people whose main employment is directorship in companies should be given the choice between paying a fixed % of the market value of their assets (including financial assets) or income tax.
a.. All property rental contracts should be registered with the courts. Lack of registration in the courts and payment of a stamp tax should render the contract invalid. The courts should be allowed to evidence and stamp a contract only after it carries the stamp of the Public Revenue Office (PRO). The PRO should register the contract and issue an immediate tax assessment. Contracts, which are for less than 75% of the market prices, should be subject to tax assessment at market prices. Market prices should be determined as the moving average of the last 100 rental contracts from the same region registered by the PRO.
a.. Filing of tax returns – including for the self-employed – should be only with the PRO and not with any other body (such as the ZPP).
Legal Issues

a.. The burden of proof in tax court cases should shift from the tax authorities to the person or firm assessed.
a.. Special tax courts should be established within the existing courts. They should be staffed by specifically trained judges. Their decisions should be appealed to the Supreme Court. They should render their decisions within 180 days. All other juridical and appeal instances should be cancelled – except for an appeal instance within the PRO. Thus, the process of tax collection should be greatly simplified. A tax assessment should be issued by the tax authorities, appealed internally (within the PRO), taken to a tax court session (by a plaintiff) and, finally, appealed to the Supreme Court (in very rare cases).
a.. The law should allow for greater fines, prison terms and for the speedier and longer closure of delinquent businesses.
a.. Seizure and sale procedures should be specified in all the tax laws and not merely by way of reference to the Income Tax Law. Enforcement provisions should be incorporated in all the tax laws.
a.. To amend the Law on Tax Administration, the Law on Personal Income Tax and the Law on Profits Tax as per the recommendations of the IRS experts (1997-9).
Customs and Duties

a.. Ideally, the customs service should be put under foreign contract managers. If this is politically too sensitive, the customs personnel should be entitled to receive a percentage of customs and duties revenues, on a departmental incentive basis. In any case, the customs should be subjected to outside inspection by expert inspectors who should be rewarded with a percentage of the corruption and lost revenues that they expose.
a.. In the case of imports or payments abroad, invoices, which include a price of more than 5% above the list price of a product, should be rejected and assessment for the purposes of paying customs duties and other taxes should be issued at the list price.
a.. In the case of exports or payments from abroad, invoices which include a discount of more than 25% on the list price of a product should be rejected and assessment for the purposes of paying customs duties and other taxes should be issued at the list price.
a.. The numbers of tax inspectors should be substantially increased and their pay considerably enhanced. A departmental incentive system should be instituted involving a percentage of the intake (monetary fines levied, goods confiscated, etc.).
a.. The computerized database system (see “Databases and Information Gathering”) should be used to compare imports of raw materials for the purposes of re-export and actual exports (using invoices and customs declarations). Where there are disparities and discrepancies, severe and immediate penal actions should be taken. Anti-dumping levies and measures, fines and criminal charges should be adopted against exporters colluding with importers in hiding imported goods or reducing their value.
a.. Often final products are imported and declared to the customs as raw materials (to minimize customs duties paid). Later these raw materials are either sold outright in the domestic or international markets or bartered for finished products (for example: paints and lacquers against furniture or sugar against chocolate). This should be a major focus of the fight against the informal economy. I follow with an analysis of two products, which are often abused in this manner.
a.. I study two examples (white sugar and cooking oil) though virtually all raw materials and foods are subject to the aforementioned abuse.
a.. White Sugar is often imported as brown sugar. One way to prevent this is to place sugar on the list of LB (import licence required) list, to limit the effective period of each licence issued, to connect each transaction of imported brown sugar to a transaction of export, to apply the world price of sugar to customs duties, to demand payment of customs duties in the first customs terminal, to demand a forwarder’s as well as an importer’s guarantee and to require a certificate of origin. The same goes for Cooking Oil (which – when it is imported packaged – is often declared as some other goods).
a.. All payments to the customs should be made only through the ZPP. Customs and tax inspectors should inspect these receipts periodically.
a.. All goods should be kept in the customs terminal until full payment of the customs duties, as evidenced by a ZPP receipt, is effected.
Public Campaign

a.. The government should embark on a massive Public Relations and Information campaign. The citizens should be made to understand what is a budget, how the taxes are collected, how they are used. They should begin to view tax evaders as criminals. “He who does not pay his taxes – is stealing from you and from your children”, “Why should YOU pay for HIM?” “If we all did not pay taxes- there would be no roads, bridges, schools, or hospitals” (using video to show disappearing roads, bridges, suffering patients and students without classes), “Our country is a partnership – and the tax-evader is stealing from the till (kasa)” and so on.
a.. The phrase “Gray Economy” should be replaced by the more accurate phrases “Black Economy” or “Criminal Economy”.

Hatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubators

Hatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubatorsHatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubators.

by Erin McDermott.

Hatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubators. Something is blossoming for entrepreneurs out in the deserts of Arizona.

In a 60,000-square-foot building formerly occupied by Intel, the city of Chandler spent around $6 million to transform the microchip giant’s fully equipped but abandoned facility, into an incubator for tech, biotech, and other nascent businesses. As of this winter, the Phoenix suburb has drawn 22 companies to its unique real estate—which features state-of-the-art wet and dry labs, a “clean room,” industrial deep freezers. The University of Arizona is also on site, actively looking to join forces with entrepreneurs.

Startups apply with business plans that go before scientific and financial panels, with a turnaround time of 48 hours or less on approval. One entrepreneur relocated from Rhode Island to take advantage of the affordable rent and rare habitat; another has gone from two employees to 35 since the site opened in 2010. Local institutions from hospitals to academics to prototype makers are teaming up with incubator inhabitants to help them scale up. Two resident firms are set to spin out on their own later in 2013—right on schedule, says Christine Mackay, Chandler’s director of economic development. Hatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubators

“I can’t even begin to put a value on what it’s doing for Chandler’s economy,” Mackay says. “Everybody’s working to help these companies succeed. The city’s only one small component of it.”

Leigh Dow moved her technical-marketing business, Dow Media Group, into the Innovations Incubator in 2012. She says it’s a great fit, and it allows her to collaborate with other startups in the building. “For me, it’s more about being around other likeminded people—we exchange ideas about not just marketing,” Dow says. “I’ve learned so much about operations, product development, product management, product introductions. It’s just so nice to be surrounded by other people who are in the entrepreneurial space when you’re trying to do that, too.”

Accelerators, science parks, seeders, incubators: these settings come in many names, but with the common ideal—to build a center where entrepreneurs and their fledging businesses can get a boost.

This business-incubation movement got a long look during the dot-com heyday, then found renewed emphasis since the 2008–09 recession, as governments, academia, and industries push to create more skilled workers and more well-paying jobs to place them into. There are thousands of these incubators around the world, with more than 1,200 just in the U.S., according to the National Business Incubation Association. (And here’s a good website to follow for events, competitions, and launches around the world.)

Here is a look at a few of America’s promising innovation incubators and what they’re doing for entrepreneurs.

EvoNexus (San Diego)

This incubator, a nonprofit with backing from the city government and hometown wireless giant Qualcomm among others, is unabashedly aiming to boost the region’s high-tech presence to compete with Northern California’s luminaries. With two locations and 20 companies under its roof, firms they’ve nurtured have pulled in some $95 million in venture capital. There’s no rent, no contracts for the amount of time a company will stay, and mentors are provided.

Interesting feature: Its rare “no strings attached” policy. Startups don’t pay a dime to participate coming or going, not even in the form of an equity stake to EvoNexus.

StartUp Kitchen (Washington, D.C.)

It’s a big step from a delicious recipe and an entrepreneurial itch to successfully operating an actual restaurant. StartUp Kitchen tries to close that gap by taking winners of their business-plan competition and pairing them up with expert restaurateurs who’ve been through the perilous early days and know the pitfalls. (The venture is sponsored by two DC-area nonprofits.) The reward: a recurring pop-up restaurant in the mentor’s existing dining spot, under the guidance of on-hand chef-owners who give advice on how to smooth out service, kitchen, and logistical aspects of the business.

Interesting feature:  Follow StartUp Kitchen on Facebook to get a reservation and see it firsthand (and get a great dinner).

SURF Incubator (Seattle)

More than 45 tech startups are working out of this downtown incubator overlooking Puget Sound. Founded in 2009 by serial entrepreneur Seaton Gras, SURF charges $400 per month for full-fledged members, which provides them access to conference-room time, mentoring, 24/7 dedicated seating, Internet service—and to other potential collaborators in this innovation hotbed right in Microsoft’s back yard.

Interesting feature: This is Seattle: For $50 a month, get a designated seat in SURF’s in-house self-serve Cafe SURF, with unlimited coffee and WiFi.

Women Innovate Mobile (New York)

It’s still disproportionately male in most of the tech sector, but this accelerator aimed at mobile-tech startups founded by females is trying to change that. Successful applicants to WIM’s three-month program get free office space, product development assistance, design support, and $18,000 in funding—in return for a six-percent equity stake in the venture.

Interesting feature: Their deep roster of mentors.

MuckerLab (Los Angeles)

Hooray for Hollywood? Los Angeles recently moved to No. 3 in the world (behind Silicon Valley and Tel Aviv) when it comes to conditions for startups, according to a StartupCompass survey. MuckerLab is part of that booming scene, taking on entrepreneurs even at their earliest stages. They offer participants in their three- to six-month accelerator as much as $21,000 in funding, office space, marketing and legal support, access to top-tier investors—in exchange for a six- to eight-percent equity stake.

Interesting feature: Laugh along with their recent grad Laffster, which aims to be the Pandora Internet radio of comedy apps.

Fringe Union (Somerville, Mass.)

It’s not just tech startups that are flocking to this incubator close to the Harvard, Tufts, and MIT campuses. This coworking space for creative businesses has also found success with some thought-provoking participants, like an artisanal florist, an inventor who’s turning Mason jars into travel mugs, and a firm recycling fleece into new items.

Interesting feature: When the weather is nice outside, the industrial-scale garage doors on this old warehouse are opened, letting incubators work al fresco. Hatching Success: A look inside America’s innovation incubators.

How To Write A Business Plan by Tim Jacquet

How To Write A Business Plan by Tim Jacquet.

How To Write A Business Plan by Tim Jacquet. Preparing a business plan is the most important part of starting a business. So much rests on the business plan, from financing to suppliers. A business plan shows that you are prepared, educated, and dedicated to your business. A good business plan will define what your business is about, where you expect it to go in the future and how you will get there. The following outline the essentials of a good business plan.

1. Executive Summary – This explains about everything that is the rest of the business plan. It should be written to completely cover every aspect of the rest of the business plan. A good way to think about it is this may be the only part of the whole plan that gets read, so it should sell your business.

2. Table of Contents – Do not elaborate. Keep it short and to the point. You get to explain later.

3. Company Description – This should cover the basics of your business. What industry and what products/services your business provides. It should also cover what makes your business stand out from the competition and how you will be successful.

4. Market Analysis – This is where you prove that you have done your marketing research. You should explain about the industry, including target markets. Explain your competition and compare your business to them. Explain your marketing strategies and plans.

5. Technology – Explain the technology you will use and how new developments may affect your business.

6. Business Operations or Manufacturing – Explain how you will conduct business. What makes you better than the competition as far as operations.

7. Management and Ownership – Here you will need to name all the key personnel. Explain their skills, education and what they bring to the company.

8. Organization and Personnel – This is where you explain your personnel needs. State how many employees are needed, how you will pay them and what you will pay them. Also explain the personnel organizational structure.

9. Capital and Usage – This should be very detailed and explained. Starting with how much is needed to start and then projection of needs.

10. Financial – Here is where you get to project future gains and losses. You

FASB makes decision on “going concern” requirement

FASB makes decision on “going concern” requirement
The Financial Accounting Standards Board has voted to require that management assess whether a public company is able to remain in business as a going concern. The auditor still plays a role in this process, deciding whether management’s call was appropriate. This assessment would be made every reporting period. A revised exposure draft on going concern is expected in mid-2013. FASB makes decision on “going concern” requirement CFO.com

Small Business Federal Grants

Small Business Federal Grants – Is It Really True?

Contrary to what most people think, there are no small business grants offered by the federal government. What the United States government has is a Small Business Association whose responsibility is to provide assistance to small businesses.

In the midst of a great economic crisis hampering the country, small business owners are looking for ways on how to keep their business thriving. But the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers loan programs which small businesses can take advantage and get help from.

It is true that the U.S. government do offer federal grants, but grants are geared towards public services. Which is why most grant recipients have projects geared towards the improvement and development of the public’s interest and services received. Federal grant recipients are non-profit, non-government institutions and organization, local and state governments, not personal businesses.

It is clearly stated in federal grants regulations, that the grants received cannot be used for personal expenditures or cover expenses to acquire property or pay for any service like salary. But the U.S. government do reward grants in the field of research and other specific services. This could be a big benefit for small companies or industries who are trying to improve their services. Federal grants can also help those business owned by the minorities, like women and the disabled.

An example of this research funding is called Small Business Innovation Research program. This program provides financial assistance to cover the research and development, sales, marketing and other start-up costs. This program was established by Congress in 1982 and is re-authorized through 2008. It started with the goal of inviting more participation from small scale businesses.

SBIR intends provides capital to small scale business owners to develop product concepts, promoting competition and into more sales in the market. But the good thing about this program is that they do not require the grants to be paid or any position or partaking in the company.

Private grants or loans done by private institutions to small scale businesses often require the intellectual property rights (IPR) to be transferred to their names. But the SBIR does not require the IPR to be transferred to their ownership.

Currently, there are still no direct business grants provided by the federal government. But there are state agencies that offer small business grants in the their respective states. Aside from grants, they also offer other kinds of financial aids which encourage business owners to start or expand their businesses.

Another grant is the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. This only encourages small businesses to conduct more product research to improve their market shares. The different with SBIR is that under the STTR, the small business should work or collaborate with another institution, preferably with anon-profit institution like a university.

Federal grants can also provide grants for expanding or creating a child care center, creating energy efficient technology and developing campaigns that would promote tourism. There would be times that the money received from the grant to match the fund or sometimes get the matching fund from a loan.

When applying for a grant for your business:

• Write a good business plan, this would make sure that you business looks deserving for the group that would provide funding. Show how your business can benefit from the funding, so make sure to show how relevant the grant is to your business objectives.

• Always provide the correct information when filling out the grant application. Review the application to make sure that you have not missed anything and that you have provided the accurate information.

• Don’t hesitate to ask somebody to check the plan for you. You can ask for assistance from a financial consultant or a certified accountant.

• Grant approval will take time, do not lose hope and also be visible. Maintain communication with the people behind the federal grant in a very professional way.