Category Archives for Profit First

KMMP Case Study – How KMMP Helped Changed a Fitness Owner’s Outlook on Her Business

The Problem: 

Miquel Henderson had the same problem as many other business owners. Before implementing Profit First, Miquel would look at her outgoing expenses and either think that the amount of money left was either great, or in most cases, not so great. She would simply look at her numbers each month and then do her best to make the numbers work the best way she could. 

The issue was, since there was hardly ever any money in her accounts, she didn’t always have the money to pay her expenses. Miquel also didn’t know how to use the extra money she did have on occasion. 

The Solution:

KMMP allowed Miquel to look at her numbers in a different way than she ever had before. She was given the reinforcement that looking at things in a different way was okay. KMMP also encouraged Miquel to look at different account options, including a DRIP account. While many people are not ready for those extra accounts right away, KMMP allows business owners like Miquel to keep those accounts in the back of their mind. 

While Miquel might not be ready for the extra accounts for another three to six months, she knows they are available to her when it is time to take her business finances to the next level. 

The Results:

Miquel wasn’t sure she was doing the right thing when she started KMMP. However, she learned a lot from the very beginning and is so glad she took a leap of faith. Options like giving her employees a raise had occurred to her in the previous months. However, she didn’t think about profit distributions for her staff until she learned about it through KMMP. She is excited to now explore that option in the future. 

While Miquel wished she could be on East Coast time, so she didn’t need to meet so early in the morning, she loved every minute in KMMP. She hasn’t implemented everything she has learned yet, but is happy everything was so easy to understand. 

The only section Miquel had difficulty understanding was Module 7, but that was due to her not having the information she personally needed to make the necessary allocations. She is aware that there are so many extra accounts she should consider in the future and looks forward to the time when she can sign up for the ones that will work best for her needs.

Miquel is looking forward to the next year of her business, post-KMMP. She has major plans to bring in more profits, so she is ready to open those extra accounts and continue to take her business to the next level. 

Miquel can’t wait to keep connecting with Shannon, and the rest of the team at Fit for Profit, so she can keep implementing everything she has learned with KMMP. 

Are you ready to be the next Keep More Money success story?? You can join the Keep More Money workshop here. Join us and see how you can take your business to the next level!

Do Your Prospects Have That “Certain Quality”?

Remember when you were getting ready to launch your business? The excitement that you felt? All the hard work you had been doing was finally coming to fruition. Your space was setup and ready to go. Your equipment was gleaming. Your programming was the best you had ever crafted. Website up and running - check. Billing system ready to go. Time to open the doors!

And people did show up. And it was all good. Until it wasn't. 

You see the problem with people showing up is that they are, well, people! With all their quirks, problems, likes and dislikes and personalities. We human beings can just plain be hard to deal with sometimes. 

Which is why it is so important that we focus on getting the "right" kind of people through our doors. The right kind of person for your business doesn't mean that they are a good or bad person. But they might be a less than ideal fit for you and your gym. Every gym I have ever been in has its own unique personality. I'd fit in some, others not so much. It is crucial that you get this right, or you are going to be wasting a lot of time when it comes to selling. If you are a power-lifting gym, and you are getting a lot of interest from prospects looking for Yoga and Pilates, your messaging needs to be tweaked, just a bit. 🙂

In the beginning we just want bodies in the door, I get it. But as your business grows, you'll want your message to be laser focused on the clients you serve best, AND the clients that will serve your business best. If your space is high energy, with lots of laughing and smiling and joking around, don't be afraid to show that personality in your marketing. You'll get more of those type of people in the door, which will only add to your already rocking place.

Look I know this isn't a new concept. Client "Avatar's" have been around forever. That's not in question.

What IS in question is have YOU done the work to create YOUR ideal client? The client who has that specific need that for who your company is the perfect solution?

When you do, and you craft your marketing so it speaks to that person, you'll attract the right kind of people to your business, save yourself a lot of time and money, make more sales, and create more profit.

Attracting prospects with that "Certain Quality" matters. We can help.

Four Top Tips to Beat the Slow Summer Season for Fitness Business Owners

The summer months can be very slow for fitness business owners, and this summer is going to be presenting even more challenges due to our current circumstances. However, this is the perfect time to spend that extra time and energy you have and focus on what you love to do, which is work with your members and create amazing things for them! 

Have you been brainstorming any ideas yet for this summer season? If you haven’t, I would love it if you would at least consider the options we have come up with to help you get those creative juices flowing. 

Four Top Tips to Beat the Slow Summer Season for Fitness Business Owners

  1. Keep Communicating with Your Members

One of the first things you should remember to do is keep communicating with your members! This has been true forever, and you should be doing this all the time, but it is extremely important during these summer months. 

Do you remember when your clients were first becoming members? We suggested you had seven touches with them because that’s normally what it takes to convert a cold lead into a member. Some of those seven touches included sending those extra emails after class, sending text messages, saying thank you, and remembering their name when they walked in the doors. 

The summer season is the perfect time to get back to those seven touches, so all your members come back to you. This is especially important this year, and you should be doing this right now, so when you have your reopen date, you already have people ready to commit once again. 

  1. Plan Events

Planning events this summer might be trickier than in years past, since everyone is in different re-opening scenarios where they live. However, you should be thinking of what types of events you can do now and throughout the summer. If you can’t do in-person events yet, you can plan online events that will still foster that sense of community. 

This is the perfect time to encourage people to get outside where they can and get a workout in. That workout can be included in the event you are having at the time, whether it is a mile run, 5K, or a series of workouts that should be completed over a course of a few days. 

  1. Create Partnerships

People are looking to get outside during the summer months, and you may want to take advantage of that as much as you can with partnerships. Since many people are planning on camping and visiting parks, you can see if you can partner with those destinations. You can offer a yoga class or another type of class to those that are there. This is the perfect time and place to share your busines, who you are, and what you do. 

It is best to focus on the parks that are close to where your business is located, because no one is going to want to travel too far for your services. You can even be creative if you have a state park nearby and invite your members to take a class with you there. 

  1. Increase Your Online Presence

For years, we have been telling our clients that having an online presence is a really good idea. Well, this is the perfect time to increase that online presence with online classes and trainings. While this can be an additional revenue source right now, it will also be helpful in the future for those members who have moved away and still want to take your classes or those who don’t want to lose their motivation when they are on vacation. They can simply log on and take the class from wherever they are. 

This is the time to really start to learn what it takes to be a good online trainer and promote that. Since we are unsure if we are going to be facing additional restrictions in the future, having this online presence in place can be helpful no matter what happens long after the summer ends. 

You will want to promote this online presence to everyone in your community too, because there are always going to be people who can’t go to you. You may be surprised at how many new members you gain just from these online classes and trainings! 

I hope this has been helpful and it has generated some ideas for you. I would love to know what you’ve tried already this summer and which one of these ideas you are excited to try! Do you have any other ideas that you would love to try and share? I can’t wait to hear about everything you are doing for your business this summer!

Why You Should Schedule Time to Organize Your Small Business Finances

How are you currently dealing with your small business finances? Do you simply let all of the paperwork pile up until you have no choice but to deal with it? Or are you the type of person who tackles bill paying each and every day before shoving the paperwork into a box until the end of the year? 

Would you even believe me if I told you there was a better way to handle your small business finances? 

I am a firm believer that taking the time now to organize your small business finances will save you tons of time later. Plus, once you have a system in place, it is easy to keep everything organized, so you never need to deal with massive piles ever again! 

Why You Should Schedule Time to Organize Your Small Business Finances

No Lost or Misplaced Paperwork

Have you ever spent hours trying to locate a bill, contract, or another piece of paper? This is not the best way to spend your time when running a business and that makes it one of the best reasons why you should start to organize all of your paperwork now. Once you have accomplished this, you can spend all of those hours you had used for frantic searches to create new programs and items for your small business. 

No Overdue Bills

The fees that you pay on overdue bills can add up rather quickly. All of those fees can cut into your profits too, so you will receive a smaller bonus every quarter. If you never want to pay a late fee again, you should spend a little time creating a plan to pay your bills on time. 

Always Know How Your Business is Doing Financially

I am always shocked when I talk to some business owners and they have no idea how much money they have in the bank or how much money their business makes each year. When you have your finances organized, you can easily find these numbers whenever you want to see them. 

Be Prepared for Tax Season

Tax season comes more than once a year for small businesses, since you must pay quarterly taxes. If you don’t want to be the business owner that takes a huge file box into the accountant’s office every time you have a meeting, you must get organized.  I guarantee that your tax meetings will go much more smoothly when you know where every piece of paper you need is located! 

Ability to Create Better Financial Goals

Once your finances are organized, you will find it is much easier to create better financial goals for your business. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that you will see where your money is going and can make changes so the money is being spent on things that matter the most. 

Have you taken the time to organize your small business finances yet? If not, what’s stopping you? 

I know it can be an overwhelming task in the beginning, but before you know it, those papers will be safely filed where you can find them. I would love to take a few minutes to chat and see how I can help you organize the finances for your small business. 

How the Profit First Method Can Position You to Withstand Changes in Your Market

As a fitness business owner, you may not have heard of Profit First yet. Or, maybe a fellow fitness biz buddy told you about this awesome book they read that changed their life. No, joke some people really say that! Well, Profit First is not just the title of some book! It is a method that when implemented correctly could be a life-changer in your business too with one flip of an equation.  

Instead of taking your profits after paying all of your expenses, and therefore always having an excuse as to why you can’t draw an income, you should be taking your profits before paying for those expenses.  Once you begin utilizing this equation for the finances of your business, you will know where your money is going each month, while seeing a profit and even growing an emergency fund.  

How the Profit First Method Can Position You to Withstand Changes in Your Market

  1. No Unnecessary Expenses

When you create the Profit First percentages for your business, you will be going through and cutting all unnecessary expenses.  This step will already put you ahead of your competitors if there are any changes in your market.  While other fitness businesses might start struggling, because they still have those extra expenses to cover, you will still have money in the bank.  

  1. Always Have Money to Pay Taxes

Since you are always set aside a percentage of your income for taxes with Profit First, you will never need to know where your next tax payment is coming from.  You simply just add a percentage of your income to this account each month and use it when it comes time to pay your quarterly taxes.  

  1. Always Have a Profit

Utilizing Profit First will ensure that you are always setting aside a percentage of your income as profit.  While you won’t want to use this money for anything else, and I don’t recommend using it as a rainy day fund, it can help if there are changes in your market. 

  1. Create an Emergency Fund

If you want to truly protect yourself when there are changes in your market, you need to create an emergency fund.  This will ensure you have money set aside for when you aren’t bringing in the income you need to.  While you will want to always have different income streams, an emergency fund can buy you a little time to create a new one if necessary.  

There are so many other ways that Profit First can help you withstand changes in your market.  I would love to set up a time to chat, so we can get Profit First implemented in your business.  And if you are utilizing Profit First already, we can make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure the best results when changes in your market do occur.

Bullet Proofing Your Business for Anything

The last couple months have been pretty tough and while we’re not out of the wind yet…I’m sure you’re getting sick of all of the recession posts out there.  Don’t worry this isn’t going to be one of them!

Instead of continuing to focus on the current situation I think it’s time that we shift our mindset and start looking at the future and what can we do better next time so when the next pandemic, earthquake or attack from Mars happens again, we’re in a much better situation than this time around.

At Fit For Profit we want you to be prepared for anything that may come up…the good and the bad.  What if one of your kids got sick or you got sick? What if you won some crazy contest and want to move to an island?  Maybe your business scales overnight and you have no idea what to do with all of the extra money?  Some of these ideas might be a little crazy to imagine right now but the point is…we don’t want to prepare you for catastrophe, we want to prepare you for anything.

Implement Profit First…Like for Real This Time

I know, I know, you probably knew this bullet point was coming but honestly let’s be real for a minute.  Our clients who fully embraced the Profit First method, the ones that drank the Kool Aid and fully committed are weathering this current recession better than other clients we have that are sort of half in half out, dragging their feet and don’t believe in the process.

The beauty of the Profit First system is it sets your business up to be running efficiently so even when the next recession hits or some other personal life change you’re prepared for anything.  The strategies you’re seeing out there for recession proofing your business are just normal day to day stuff to Profit Firsters.

Take a Hard Look At Your Opex

Sometimes the idea of hiring someone else to do a task we hate gets us so excited that we just go a little hiring crazy.  Or maybe we have some extra money one month so we start purchasing a bunch of luxury items we won’t be able to afford consistently each month.  Do your members really need the lavender purple hand soap with fresh toilette at each sink or will a hand air dryer work with some antibacterial soap?  Do you really need to get the super premium Stars, HBO, multiple upgrade package or can you just get away with basic cable for each of the TV’s on the gym floor?

When you take a hard look at your operating expenses all year round and are disciplined to only spend a certain amount, you will be more prepared for anything life throws at you.  So before your next purchase think…do I really need this?

Get Creative

You may have hit a time in your business where everything was looking great and you had more than enough money rolling in.  I call it getting complacent and it is something that every business owner like yourself does from time to time.  I understand how it happens and don’t blame you for taking a break and riding your wave of success.  

However, if you truly want to bulletproof your fitness business, you are going to need to get creative now and in the future. What other streams of income can you create or keep going? 

So many of you were forced to move online in mid-March, some of you had wanted to do it for a long time and kept putting it off and quarantine was the deadline you needed. Others of you jumped in without having done any research and are learning there are people out there who like it just as much, if not more, than your brick and mortar. How do you feel about it? Can you keep some sort of online membership going (it’s good to have in your back pocket for next time) or maybe it’s time to add a nutrition program?

After all, you should always have more than one income stream for your business to be successful and I recommend focusing on the ones you know will offer you the most bang for your buck.  You may want to create a couple different options at first and then turn your focus on the one that gives you the biggest ROI, or return of investment.  

You can also be creative with your operating expenses.  Maybe instead of hiring a fitness trainer, hire an intern. We have one client who has an amazing internship program with a local university – it’s a win-win-win! Not only do you save money, you help someone hone their skills, while learning a few new things yourself at the same time! 

Build an Emergency Fund

Emergency funds are not just for your household expenses. Your business needs an emergency fund too. When you work with us at Fit For Profit we’ll come up with a customized plan for you and your business to determine just how much you need to have stashed away.

If you need some quick numbers though, the suggestion is usually three to six months of operating expenses saved depending on how much revenue your business is generating each month.

Just like with your car, you never know when you’re going to get into an accident…that’s why we have car insurance.  The same applies to your business.  You never know when the next catastrophe, life event, or lottery win might happen.  Following Profit First is the insurance for your business.  

You can plan for any type of catastrophe or main event ahead of time, so you are ready if and when it does occur. It might be too late to do anything for your business during the current recession so instead focus on preparing for the future.

I recommend that you start utilizing the ideas I mentioned above and if you need help, book a call with my team so we can help you bulletproof your business.  It’s not going to be easy, but a few changes can have you surviving and thriving long into the future.  

Six Common Payroll Mistakes to Avoid and How to Be More Efficient So You Don’t Make Them

Getting payroll done has gotten so much easier than it used to be for small business owners. But there are still some minefields when it comes to state and federal compliance.

Six Common Payroll Mistakes You Want to Avoid

1. Business or Personal?

A great admin might want to help you in any way they can, including personal errands. But time spent having your admin fetch your dry cleaning and drug store prescriptions is not deductible as a business expense, even if it makes you more productive at work.

Be sure you separate your business payroll from personal payroll to avoid tangling with the IRS on this issue.

2. New Hire Report

It’s not every day that a small business needs to hire additional help, and the New Hire Report is easy to overlook. It’s due to your state within a certain number of days of your new employee’s hire date. Some payroll companies will file it for you, and some won’t, so it’s best to check.  This will ensure you don’t make the common mistake of forgetting to file this report.

 3. Worker’s Compensation

When you have employees, you need worker’s compensation. When you bring on your first employee, you’ll need to overcome this learning curve of figuring out what you need.

Even if you’re a veteran employer, you may have coverage holes in your worker’s compensation coverage.   Do you have employees who work at home? Are you sure they are covered? In some states, employees have to be specifically named in the policy before they are covered to work at home.

Be sure you ask the right questions, so there’s not a risky gap in this essential protection for employers.

 4. Posters

There are both state and federal notices that must be posted for employees to be able to read. California is especially zealous and liberal about issuing fines (up to $17,000 per location) for employers that do not have their posters, well, posted on workplace walls.

5. Employee versus Contractor

The proper classification of a worker as a W-2 employee or a 1099 contractor has long been an area of scrutiny for the IRS. The IRS has rules as well as court cases that have established the guidelines that exist in this area.

If you classify a worker incorrectly as a contractor when they should be an employee, you can be held liable for paying employment taxes on that contractor.

6. Bonuses

Bonuses can often be a spur of the moment thing or something that’s done at the very end of the year when we’re occupied with the busy holiday bustle. It can be easy to forget that the bonuses need to be run through payroll like all other wages so that the proper deductions and taxes can be calculated.

Use these six items as a checklist to avoid these common mistakes as well as reduce your business risk in the payroll compliance area.  You may also want to check out a few helpful data automation tips you can use to easily avoid making those mistakes, and many others, which we are sharing below. 

Five Efficient Steps to Take So You Don’t Make the Six Payroll Mistakes Mentioned Above

Are you manually entering data into your accounting system?  If so, there may be a way to enter that data that’s faster, cheaper, and better.  Data entry automation has come a long way. Here are five common ways to automate data entry so that it no longer has to be manually entered.

1. Bank Feeds or Online Banking

If you’re still entering your bank transactions, the good news is you have an opportunity to save a significant amount of time and money on your accounting.  Almost all banks, and many credit unions, provide interfaces with your accounting system. This means that your checking account, savings account, and credit card transactions can be automatically entered directly into your accounting system.  

There are two ways to do this:

  • The older way is through online banking which can be started by working with both your accounting system and the bank.  The fee is usually $25 per month, with additional fees for bill pay.
  • The brand new, more modern and completely free way is through bank feeds, which are available when you move to a cloud accounting system such as QuickBooks Online or Xero.  Bank feeds are not available in desktop accounting systems.

2. A Smart Scanner

If a lot of paper flows across your desk, you can scan it in using a smart scanner that can parse the document and enter it straight into your accounting system.  You will usually have a chance to edit and accept the data, which is far better than entering it from scratch.

3. Import and Export Functions

If you need to get data from one place to another, such as from a point of sale system to an accounting system, then using the export and import features of the software may be the most efficient method.  There are also software apps that help you scrub the data and get it ready for the receiving system.

If you ever convert from an old accounting system to a new accounting system, this method will come in handy to get your historical data moved.

4. Interfaces and Programmers

If you have a high volume of transactions that need to move from one place to another on an ongoing basis, it may make the most sense to employ programmers who can build an interface.  Alternately, some systems can talk to each other already; they just need to be plugged into each other correctly.

5. Smartphones, Tablets, and Field Service Hardware and Software

If your sale occurs out in the field, don’t wait to get the data into your system when you get back to the office.  You may be able to complete the sale right out in the field, so that when you get back to the office, you can call it a day instead of keying in the day’s work.

Mobile accounting apps are where to look for this form of data entry automation.

In 2020, consider taking on the goal of no more manual data entry to avoid the common payroll mistakes above and make the entire financial side of your business easier.  If we can help you with the automation process, let us know. 

The Top 3 Reasons Your Gym Needs a CRM

Have you ever stayed at a hotel and then returned, finding that they have stocked your room with everything you asked for the last time you were there? Your special allergenic pillow was already waiting for you, you were asked if you would like a dinner reservation made just like you always do the first night, and there were even extra hangers because you always need extra hangers. None of this would be possible for the hotel if it didn’t have a CRM, customer relationship management, system in place.

Would your clients be impressed if you remembered all of the details about your last conversation, their last purchase, or their preferences? If so, your business might benefit from a CRM system.

Businesses that have more than 30 or so clients may benefit from a system that allows you and your employees to enter detailed information about each client interaction that they have. It can work for both current and future clients, i.e., prospects. A CRM is basically a great big customer database at its core. It contains master file information on a customer or client, such as name, company, address, contact info, and custom fields. It is also transaction-driven in that you can log activity such as calls, meetings, proposal dates, and more.

A good CRM system is also integrated with your other internal systems, such as your accounting or POS system or both. In some CRM systems, you can see invoice and payment history, so that when a client calls in, you can also peek to see whether they owe you money or what goods they ordered that they may be calling about.

The Top 3 Reasons Your Gym Needs a CRM

  1. To Nurture and Educate Your Clients

Imagine creating content that is specific to your clients and their needs and then sending that specific content to the people who can use it the most.  This is possible when you utilize a CRM for your fitness business!

  1. Convert Potential Clients into New Clients

When you utilize a CRM, you can keep important information about potential clients in one place.  All of this information will help you convert more clients, because you know what their specific needs are and you can then find a way to fulfill those needs.  

  1. Support Your Clients and Grow Your Business

A CRM can help you support your clients in many ways, which will grow your business without too much more effort on your part.  The best part about a CRM is it will allow you to get to know your clients even better than before.  

There are literally hundreds of CRM systems to choose from. The gold standard for large companies is ActiveCampaign.com; however, some small businesses use it as well. This CRM offers you the capability to accomplish the three things listed above and so much more.  

One of the most important aspects of profiting from a CRM is to make sure it gets used, and that takes some habit-changing from you and your staff. Once you have Active Campaign in place, you and your staff can begin to fill out the information you know about each one of your clients.  Yes, this will take some time, but think of the potential, and business growth, you are gaining from what will be one of the best business moves you have undertaken since you opened your doors.  

When your clients start talking about how great your service is and how much attention you pay to the details they care about, you’ll know your CRM is paying off for you.

If you have any questions about Active Campaign, or using a CRM, let me know.  I can answer all of your questions and give you a few pointers to make this a seamless transition for both you and your staff.  

The Needs of Your Business: Do You Know Your Business Needs’ Hierarchy?

As a fitness business owner, you know that your main job is to ensure the health and wellness of your clients.  However, do you know how to make sure the needs of your business are met, so you can provide your clients with everything they deserve?  

This is one of the biggest challenges business owners like yourself face when running a business.  After all, you are the person in charge of making sure your equipment is in excellent condition, you have a full staff that engages with your clients, and your clients are happy.  

However, if you have deteriorating equipment, staff that comes and goes with the wind, and unhappy clients, you need to face the facts soon and make a few changes.  While you may be ready to rush in and attempt to fix everything at once, please be aware that never works!  

You need to choose the item that is of highest priority so you are not fixing the wrong problems at the wrong time.  Yes, I know every problem you have needs attention, but by focusing on your business needs’ hierarchy, you will find the success you desire much faster.  

We use Fix This Next, which is a system that utilizes the Business Hierarchy of Needs.  This hierarchy allows you to see which problems need to be fixed first and which ones can wait.  

The Business Hierarchy of Needs

There are five different levels within the Business Hierarchy of Needs.  They include sales, profit, order, impact, and legacy. Each one is part of a successful fitness business, but only if you have them working together seamlessly.  

Sales 

Sales is the base level of the Business Hierarchy of Needs for your business and this is the level you will always want to have met right away.  Your business needs cash flow and sales if you want it to thrive in the future. Once you have the sales level in a good place, you can easily move up to the next level of your business needs’ hierarchy.  

Profit

Profit is what every business owner like yourself wants to see because it means your business is becoming more stable.  Of course, so many businesses have issues with their profits because they are focused on sales and not the true profits.  Make sure you have built profit into every transaction so that your profit can build as your sales continue to grow.  

Order

At this point in the hierarchy, you will want to focus on creating systems and processes that will have your business running smoothly without you.  The more you have automated, the less you will need to do when it comes to focusing on the less favorable parts of your business. This will allow you to spend more time with your clients, finding out what their needs are, and creating solutions that will allow your business to grow even more.  

Impact

At this level of the hierarchy, you will finally realize that you should never have focused on sales in the beginning.  While your business needs sales to survive, you should be looking at your business as a solution for the needs of your clients.  Once you reach this conclusion, you will begin to focus on the rest of the people in your community and can then determine how you can help them as well.  This is where you will truly see an increase with the number of clients you have because you will be focusing on solving problems instead of how many transactions you can make each day.  

Legacy

The goal of every business owner is to leave a legacy behind.  While a personal legacy would be wonderful, imagine the impact you will have if you simply leave your corporate legacy behind instead.  Your business can provide solutions long after you are gone and that is the way you are going to want to be remembered.  

Now that you know your business needs’ hierarchy, you can make better decisions to solve your current problems.  Simply start at the lowest level, which is sales, and fix those issues before climbing up the ladder to the next level.  

It is important to note that you will find yourself at different levels over the years.  While you may have reached the order level a few years ago, you may have slid back to the sales or profit level recently.  This will happen as your business changes and even grows. All you need to do is get back to the basics and start working from the base of the hierarchy up once again.  

As you get used to your business needs’ hierarchy, it will be easier to see where your focus needs to be at different times.  This will allow you to act faster when making decisions and knowing that you are making the decisions that are the best for your business.  

Don’t worry if you do not have these skills yet though!  It takes time to understand how to manage the needs of your business the right way.  Our program, Fix This Next, can help with that and we can always set up a time to chat, so you can get moving in the right direction with your business immediately.  

3 Easy Steps to Take When You Receive a Surprise Tax Bill

Sales tax laws are constantly changing, and sales tax audits have increased since states and local agencies have become creative about finding new ways to generate revenues.  If you haven’t made any changes in your sales tax procedures in a while, you are probably at risk.

Know Your Taxability

The taxability of services has grown rapidly as states look to balance their budgets after Federal cuts and other shortfalls. Some states have smaller jurisdictions such as counties and municipalities, making for a total of 10,000 jurisdictions in the U.S., not just 50. Alabama, Colorado and Arizona are just a couple of the states that have statewide rules as well as taxability rules for localities within the states.

A prime example of a difference would be that data processing services including web hosting and graphics are taxable in Texas but not California.  Because of these intricacies, it makes sense to consult an expert in this area. Some states have been taxing certain services for many years now.

Consider Your Nexus Status

The new buzzword in sales tax is “nexus,” which simply means presence.  

Globalization and technology together have produced dramatic shifts in the way businesses can look today. Not only can we access a pool of local talent to staff and grow our businesses, we can employ almost anyone around the world to work for us. Hiring employees or contractors located in other states can stretch our nexus to include that state.

If your business has a presence in a state, then certain items you sell could be taxable.  “Presence” is a little gray, but here are a few examples of some characteristics that the courts have decided prove nexus.

  • If you have employees or contractors working in a state, you are liable to collect and remit sales tax for that state.  This can play havoc if you hire virtual or remote workers. Even if they are part-time, you have nexus in that state.
  • If you outsource inventory fulfillment in any way (think Amazon sales), you have nexus in states where there is a physical warehouse that houses your products.
  • If you own business property in a state, you must file sales tax.
  • If you participate in trade shows or are a public speaker, you have nexus in states where the conferences are held.

You might receive a form that looks like a survey and asks innocent-looking questions such as how many employees you have and what state they work in. The surveys don’t look like they are from a state government but they might be. It’s their way of getting you to admit nexus.   Please do not let a worker fill these out; it could expose you to a huge liability.

Minimize Your Risk

If you fail to collect taxes where you should, the risk is easy to calculate.  Take the potential taxable sales times the sales tax rate, and add any penalties.  The numbers get scary if you’ve been in business for several years.

An example:

Let’s say your annual revenues are $5 million.  You didn’t realize that your Texas sales were taxable, and this amounts to 10% or $500K.  Your tax liability is $41,250 per year. If you have been doing it wrong for five years, well, you can add it up.  Add penalties on top, and it’s not a small amount. It can wipe out your entire year’s profit.

Sales tax liability becomes more important if you plan to sell your business.  A traditional valuation will always include a sales tax risk analysis. Even if you don’t plan to sell, the odds of you getting audited or a disgruntled employee blowing the whistle can be too much to risk.

Because of the high dollar impact on the profitability of your business, it’s best to get a sales tax professional involved in helping you determine the taxability of your items as well as interpreting nexus. Many states are hiring auditors and aggressively pursuing businesses, so due diligence in this area is prudent.

If we can help in any way, please reach out and let us know.

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