What We Wish Everyone Knew About Small Business Assistance
Are You Struggling to Get the Small Business Assistance You Need?
In a 2017 survey of small business owners, half of all respondents agreed that the U.S government wasn’t doing enough to support them. With constant cash flow concerns, financing difficulties, and a very real chance of failure within the first four years, it’s easy to see why so many startups feel as if they’re fighting against the odds. But the truth is that there is a wealth of resources available for small business assistance if you just know where to look. From government grants and tax incentives to specialist planning and expertise, you could make your path to entrepreneurial success much easier if you took advantage of some of these great opportunities.
Why National Development Planning Focuses on Small Business
While it might seem as if national development planning is set up to promote the interests of large corporations, newer ventures actually play a much larger role in driving growth across the economy. These agile, forward-thinking firms add much-needed competition to otherwise stale markets by bringing down prices and producing more innovative products and services. Unlike national companies, small businesses will usually hire from the local workforce which helps to create more opportunities in otherwise neglected job markets.
When you consider that the stated goal of all national development planning is promoting more sustainability and stability in local economies, it’s easy to see how small business assistance programs can help to enable these objectives. Here are some great small business assistance resources that you might not be aware of.
Every entrepreneur can stand to benefit from free funding. After all, budgetary constraints are one of the main obstacles restricting startup growth. Unfortunately, Federal and private grants can be somewhat difficult to come by. Not only is it hard to find a grant scheme that you’re actually eligible for, but even if you do manage to meet the qualifying criteria you’re likely to face strict guidelines and some pretty stiff competition when you try to get your application over the line.
In most cases, these small business assistance programs tend to favor non-profits and educational providers that offer additional benefits from a national development planning perspective. If a commercial venture does manage to qualify for a Federal grant it usually involves relocating to another city or State. For example, the Texas Enterprise Fund provides small business assistance in the form of cash grants to any business that can reliably create at least 75 jobs in urban areas like Austin, Texas or a minimum of 25 jobs in rural communities across the State.
However, there are still some funding opportunities available to startups that wish to remain in their own industry and area. The Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) is set up to encourage small businesses that are involved in research and development, with a view to increasing technological development throughout the private sector. This program currently boasts a budget of $100 million and at least 11 different agencies participate in the scheme. The Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) serves a similar purpose although participants in this program are required to work closely with their sponsoring agencies after grant approval.
Apart from Federal small business assistance schemes, there are a host of private grants that are available through a number of corporate contests. Every year, organizations like FedEx, Wal-Mart, and Chase offer thousands of dollars in funding to small businesses across the country.
Even the most experienced accountant can sometimes struggle with the complexity of business taxes. But if you’re savvy enough to identify the hundreds of loopholes and incentives available for small business assistance then you can cut your annual operating costs quite significantly. Here is a rundown of some highly effective deductions that you should be taking full advantage of.
- If you work from a home office then you can claim all rent, mortgages, insurance payments and utilities associated with the working area (calculated on the basis of square footage). Any furniture, equipment, and stationery required to maintain your home office are also considered to be a deductible expense.
- Any travel expenses incurred for business purposes can be deducted. This includes mileage costs, toll fees, parking costs, and even your car lease payments. Make sure to keep detailed notes about all business-related trips so that you can make accurate deductions.
- Self-employed individuals can deduct all payments made towards health insurance premiums for themselves and their families.
- If your small business runs any employee benefit programs then you can claim these expenses as valid deductions on your tax filings.
- Any money you spend on training programs, professional development books and classes can be claimed as valid business deductions.
All initial start-up costs including business registration fees, salaries for temporary staff, legal costs and accounting fees are valid deductions. Our virtual assistants in Austin, Texas can help you identify and calculate these expenses during the startup phase.
As part of the government’s overall national development planning objectives, Federal agencies have set up a number of professional training programs for small business assistance purposes. Apart from the specific educational resources available through agency websites, there are also 900 Small Business Development Centres across the United States that any entrepreneur can feel free to use. SBDCs are run in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA), a government organization that is specifically dedicated to providing a range of small business assistance services including business planning, specialist support, license and permit assistance, and help to obtain Federal contracts.
Entrepreneurs often struggle to get the necessary financing to establish or grow their business. In most cases, banks and other lending institutions impose extremely high credit restrictions that even the most financially astute business owner can struggle to meet. In these situations, the SBA can provide additional guarantees to help secure a critical loan. Through its new initiative LINC, the SBA also connects startups with angel investors who can provide the necessary funding they need.
At A2ZVA in Austin, Texas our virtual assistants can help you gain access to all the resources you need to ensure the strength and financial stability of your new venture.