Smile! And get Organized for Tax Time!

As we move through the tax season, there are many things to keep track of prior to completing the final tax return. These include filing information returns such as 1099s, filing the city tax renewal  and possibly even extension requests.

Did you make resolutions to stay organized about filing needs, to reduce clutter and to read about tax saving strategies? Good!

If you are a sole proprietor or single member LLC, contact me for a basic organizer to help you to keep those resolutions. After you record your numbers for income and expense, you’ll be mostly ready for taxes. But now, think about where you had to go to find those numbers, the back up receipts, and the logs for dining and mileage. If you had everything in a shoebox, that’s ok. On a spreadsheet? Ditto. On a P&L? Congratulations!

If you are ready to take the steps to use software year round to create the financial portrait that your company deserves, think about the new cloud based programs such as Xero, Wave or Freshbooks. And contact The Krutilek Group for details. We have pricing, links to the programs and even a growing collection of podcasts about bookkeeping available on our website, found here: http://www.thekrutilekgroup.com/. We are the place to talk about taxes!

 

Download this handy tax organizer to get you started!

Call Stefanie Krutilek for your tax appointment

The Krutilek Group

818-385-1175

 

 

 

Gratitude is: Organic Collaborations

I am a new and idealistic entrepreneur.  I became an entrepreneur because it was time for a drastic change, a time to challenge myself, and a time to really put it all out there and see what the universe had in store for me. What I did not realize is how lonely being an entrepreneur can be.  There were many times when I have had to make a tough decision, and no matter how many mentors, friends, business associates, networking partners, referrals you request their input, each will give you a different answer.  Worst of all, you will ignore the answer your gut is telling you to follow.  How do you remain supported within your choices, and move forward through the “mistakes”?  I also learned that as entrepreneurs, we don’t really make mistakes, we just are either too early in the curve, or too late, but we’re always on track!” The Economist Robert Reich, who was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, and one of my favorite opinion writers and radio commentators said, “The successful companies of the future, will be those that offer a new model for working relationships based on collaboration and mutual value.”  Which brings us to organic collaborations that have been sprouting at OfficeSlice.

As the founder of OfficeSlice, the only coworking space in the San Fernando Valley, and the only space in Los Angeles focused on working with and helping women entrepreneurs, I believed that opening this space was an opportunity to pioneer a global movement in my own backyard, which I just couldn’t pass up.  Since the opening of the space earlier this year, my whole concept of OfficeSlice and perhaps my experience of coworking has changed drastically.  What I have realized, is how much my idea of what OfficeSlice is actually about (now stay with me) the space, or me, at all!  It is about maintaining and tilling the fertile soil for entrepreneurs, for allowing creation of new connections, new ideas, and collaborations that have been growing organically for the past year.  This is something that was not written nor foreseen in the business plan.  The other important revelation is witnessing the personal growth of many of the entrepreneurs and business owners that have been frequenting the space.  The support they (and me!) receive while in this space has helped them move past their fear, (or move the goal post of fear), and continue the push forward towards their ultimate goal.

This year I’m grateful for so much from new contacts that I made from those coming to tour the space, to those that I met at a multitude of networking events.  New collaborators that started out as people seeking a refuge to work and have made this space blossom with ideas, innovation and strategies to pursue.   New friends that came in as strangers.All of my members that have joined and support the concept of coworking, and are open and available to teach and attend the Lunch ‘N’ Learns.  My Consultants on Call who donate their time to mentor and advise members and the community.  The workshop facilitators that have taught some extraordinary workshops on business and personal growth agendas.  It’s all happening right here in your neighborhood!  We look forward to the new ideas and innovations that will come forth in 2014.  Will you be here with us to break new ground, boost your business and collaborate with others?

Thank you for giving OfficeSlice an outstanding 2013!

OfficeSlice Startup Story – here’s ours, what’s yours?

OfficeSlice is an exciting new business that combines coworking, collaboration, coaching and education focused on one thing, our members success! Who are our members?  They are entrepreneurs, startups, consultants and established business owners that are ready to work, connect and grow their business in the new economy.

How do we do this?  We do this by providing resources and solutions for today’s entrepreneurs through flexible, affordable workspace, networking opportunities, educational and personal growth workshops.  We also offer entrepreneurial coaching to help our members, and the community, clarify their mission statements, business and personal goals.  We also offer Consultants on Call.  Our Consultants have expertise in law, bookkeeping, mentoring, writing and coaching. This popular program is an excellent opportunity to build relationships, engage with members and the community, while assisting everyone to grow their business.

OfficeSlice was inspired by a need in the community for a place where entrepreneurs, especially women entrepreneurs, could meet, collaborate, work among like minded people, and grow their business.  There is no other place like it in Los Angeles, and no place like it in the local community.

OfficeSlice is a hub of empowerment, learning and practicing what it takes to create, start, market and run a business.  Many of our entrepreneurs are in transition from being long time employees.  They’ve taken charge of their careers, and have decided to create their future based on their goals and dreams.

There are many women entrepreneurs dreaming of a business venture, or starting and growing their dream business.  However, most are unaware of a place to gather and brainstorm as they struggle to establish themselves.  Many women entrepreneurs believe that they must start their business at the kitchen table, or in the garage, and are not able to venture out into the professional world until “they’ve made it.” Isolation and lack of motivation is a very large part of failure of a business, because you may have hit a road block.  Physically gathering, picking up on the creative energy of other entrepreneurs, the opportunity to brainstorm and work alongside other entrepreneurs will help motivate and energize you!

If you’re tired of working at home in isolation, or fighting for elbow room at the local coffeehouse, and you’re not meeting enough of the right kind of innovative people in order to move your business forward, then coworking at a place like OfficeSlice may be for you.

OfficeSlice offers all the benefits of a traditional office, without the drawbacks. The benefits include a dedicated professional workspace, a conference room to meet clients, and the opportunity to learn and gain new skills through educational and personal growth workshops. Grow your circle of influence, increase your productivity, and balance your work with the rest of your life by giving your business a professional home!

At OfficeSlice we strive to inspire and encourage business relationships and friendships, foster new skills, and create newfound connections. If there’s a downside, we haven’t found it yet—come in and let us show you what coworking can do for you alongside other creative women entrepreneurs!

Our biggest challenge has been educating local women entrepreneurs that there is a place for them to meet professionally, to work affordably and to connect with other dynamic women entrepreneurs and business owners!  We are currently educating local women entrepreneurs through networking, our website, creating radio podcasts and soon, a public relations campaign.  Our biggest results come from meeting women, individually and letting them know there is a place for them to work, connect and grow their business.

Entrepreneurs have stepped out, taken a risk and are pushing their comfort zone and limits.  In order to be successful, those limits need to be pushed even more!  Get out of your house, get totally out of your comfort zone, meet people, and extend yourself!  Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you!”  At OfficeSlice you will be supported, championed, make new connections and build relationships that will enhance your life both personally and professionally!   Come work, connect and grow your business alongside us!

We want to hear your startup story!  Email us at info@officeslice.co or comment here!

Girlfriends Are Doing It for Themselves!

Do you remember the great ‘80s song about women’s empowerment by the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin, “Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves”?  It had a real heavy, fun dance beat and the lyrics went like this:

Now this is a song to celebrate the conscious liberation of the female state
Mothers, daughters and their daughters too
Woman to woman we’re singing with you
The inferior sex has got a new exterior
We got doctors, lawyers (Yes we do), politicians too
Everybody take a look around
Can you see, can you see, can you see there’s a woman right next to you
We say, “Sisters are doin’ it for themselves” (Oh yes we are)
Standin’ on their own two feet an’ ringin’ on their own bells
Sisters are doin’ it for themselves

At OfficeSlice, we’ve got girlfriends doin’ it for themselves. One member at a time, one day at a time, we are taking our businesses, our connections, and our vision and working together to grow our influence and our prosperity. Women are leading the charge in the changing economy, and as a result both the business landscape and the fundamental way business is being done are changing as well. We are not the behind-the-scenes women of yesteryear or even a few years ago. We are out in front, heading towards a new bright horizon. The womenpreneurs at OfficeSlice are dreaming big!

The other day I had a conversation with a new member. She related the story of where she had been a few months ago, before she had known about OfficeSlice. She had found herself stuck, really stuck and frightened with no one to turn to or call to get some solid business advice. She said, “I felt like I was in this dark corner, and I could not get to the light switch on the opposite side of the room.” She needed a way to get her business to shift and start growing so she could see the light. She decided to hire a consultant who promised that they could get the “lights” turned on and get her business on track. Our member couldn’t really afford the consultant’s fee, but she felt desperate to get out of that dark corner, so she paid and hoped for the best. This story does not end happily. The consultant took our member’s money and left her almost exactly where she was when she had called them. Does this happen to everyone who hires a consultant? No, but this particular consultant saw someone who could be taken advantage of and did so.

The good news is that OfficeSlice is now our member’s go-to place for business advice and brainstorming. She can meet up with other members and meet with consultants for a complimentary consultation. And the next time she finds herself in a corner, she can come in and brainstorm with other members. The investment is small, but the rewards of belonging to a space like OfficeSlice are huge. It’s not just a place to rent a desk; it’s a community where you can make the connections to help your business flourish.

If you are a small business owner, a startup, an entrepreneur, or a mompreneur, you may find yourself thinking you make your business succeed. Before you let yourself get frozen with fear and confusion, get on the web and Google one of your favorite role models and see what they did to get them through the hard days. Better yet, get out of your head, get out of your house, and get yourself down to OfficeSlice to talk to one of our coaches, consultants on call, or members. There’s nothing for banishing your fears like solid feedback, suggestions, and ideas on what you need to do to get back on track, dream big, and move forward!

Judy Santos is the Founder and Managing Director of OfficeSlice.

She is available for Entrepreneurial Coaching on Mondays between 2 and 3:30!  Call for your appointment. You can contact us at info@officeslice.co or (818) 446-6125!

 

When Starting a Business, Choose Your Entity Wisely!

Guest Blogger Jessica T. Olmon, Vero Law Group

As a lawyer who works with entrepreneurs, I know the early stages of setting up your business can be thrilling.  Successful entrepreneurs are energized and often want to move as quickly as possible to begin operations. They may also have limited cash and try to save by choosing a corporate structure on their own.

However, I’ve seen businesses lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run using this mentality.  In the rush to get started, they didn’t set up the correct kind of business, or in legal terms, they didn’t choose the correct entity.

So what do you need to know to choose wisely? Here’s how I break it down.

Proprietorships and Partnerships: Assets at Risk

Many people starting out in business begin as a sole proprietorship. There are very few legal requirements for a sole proprietorship, though depending on what you call your business, you may have to file a fictitious business name statement. On the plus side, there are no registration requirements with the State of California.

However, this also means that legally there is no separation between you and your business. In other words – your assets are at risk. Your sole proprietorship’s liabilities are YOUR liabilities, which means if your business has a liability to someone else (because of a lawsuit or some other issue), you can lose your house, your car, the money in your bank accounts or any other asset that you own personally.

The same is true for a partnership. Partnerships are very similar to sole proprietorships, but they are a business between two or more people. If you form a partnership, it is extremely important to have a written agreement between all parties. But remember, just like a sole proprietorship, everyone involved in a partnership will have their personal assets at risk if the business has a liability.

If you are a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll eventually want to convert into one of the following structures to protect your assets and make room for growth.

The Limited Liability Company (LLC): Appealing Simplicity

A limited liability company (LLC) protects your assets, and you have no personal liability as long as you are running your company correctly. There are registration requirements, a setup fee and an annual fee in California in exchange for the right to have an LLC. For the purposes of the law, an LLC is a separate entity.

The simplicity of an LLC makes it an attractive option for many business owners. It has a very flexible structure that can be modified when partners have different financial situations. However, from a tax perspective, the default rule is that there is no distinction between what your LLC makes and what you make. So if an LLC makes $100,000 profit in a year, the owners will be personally taxed on that $100,000 whether or not they receive distributions from the company.

Another thing to consider – California has a gross receipts tax for any LLC that grosses more than $250,000 per year. Depending on your business revenues, this tax may make an LLC a less viable option.

 The Four Basic Corporate Structures

Corporations are probably the most well-known corporate entity. Corporations exist as a separate entity, which again, protects your personal assets from business liabilities as long as you are running the company properly. Corporations are required to have an annual board of directors’ meeting and a shareholders’ meeting.

Here are four types of corporations.  It is important to note that you can have an S corporation that is also a B corporation so I will review these to give you an idea of the depth of options when forming your company.

  • C-Corporation: C corporations are taxed twice—first on the net revenue of the corporation and again when the company distributes profits to shareholders. This is the most common kind of corporation among large companies.
  • S-Corporation: S corporations are similar to LLCs in that they are taxed at the shareholder level, not the corporate level. For example, if the S corporation has net revenue of $100,000, and there are four equal shareholders, then each shareholder will pay taxes on $25,000 in income, regardless of how much of that money is actually distributed to the shareholders.  The IRS limits who can be a shareholder of an S corporation.
  • B-Corporation: B corporations are formed to take action for the greater good and also to make a profit. This is a new corporate designation that is available in a few states, including California, which has two types of B corporations, the flexible purpose corporation and the benefit corporation. Successful companies that have transitioned to a B corporation include Ben & Jerry’s and Patagonia. B corporations have some attributes of a C corporation and some attributes of a non-profit corporation.
  • Professional Corporation: This is a special corporate designation for certain licensed professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, nurses or psychologists.

When Choosing an Entity, Hire a Professional

Sound complicated? Well, to be honest, sometimes it is! There are all kinds of considerations to take into account when choosing your entity, such as taxes, legal concerns and making room for projected growth.

Bottom line, it really benefits you to work with a lawyer when choosing your corporate structure. Mistakes in this area can be costly. A great business lawyer will help you choose the right entity and set it up properly. You will have potential tax savings, peace of mind knowing that everything has been taken care of and the ability to hit the ground running as you build your company with an entity that fits your business.

Contact Jessica for with your questions!

Jessica T. Olmon

Vero Law Group

(310) 773-1809

(415) 874-3802

jessica@verolawgroup.com

Is your small business ready to hire? Check out these important tips!

Debbie Petito of Clark & Trevithick was at OfficeSlice a few weeks ago and spoke on the importance of making sure when it comes time to hiring your first employee, you hire the right person, the first time.  As small business owners and entrepreneurs the thought of hiring someone to share some of the burden of the business is both exciting and frightening.  Ms. Petito shared the following tips on how to hire the right person, and to avoid costly employment problems down the road.

Job Description:  Sit down and outline the job, the type of skills required and what type of employee that you are looking for.  Once your job description is complete, you are ready to begin seeking the person to fill the position.

Employee Handbook & Policies:  Create an employee handbook.  Though you are only hiring one employee, establishing an employee handbook is important and can save you time and money if you hire the wrong person.

What kind of policies are you open to giving?  Do you have sick time?  Vacation time?  Overtime?  Establish these policies in your handbook prior to interviewing and seeking an employee.  Don’t just take your former employer’s handbook and believe that it is standard and you can pass it off as your own.  Develop your own handbook with your policies in place.  These policies are required by law. This is an important step, don’t skip it.

Interview:  Ask the RIGHT questions.  There are many questions that are off limits when interviewing potential employees.  To find  out what kind of questions are off limits please review the California Department of Fair Employment & Housing Fact Sheet which can be downloaded here.

Review the application:   Yes take the time and review the application and resume.   Don’t just look at their resume and be so excited that you found the right person, review their fully completed application.

Do the candidates you’ve picked have the qualifications necessary as stated in your job description?

Are there gaps in their employment history that cannot be answered?

Are there other concerns that are popping up in reviewing their application and resume side by side?

Check their references!  Once you’ve interviewed your candidates, call their references!  Find out what their former employer and coworkers are saying about this candidate.

Establish an orientation period.  A 90 day orientation period where both the employer and the employee determine if this position and company are a good fit for each other.  If not, let them go early.  Remember!  Employees generally do not get better with time.

If you have any other questions regarding hiring your first employee, feel free to contact OfficeSlice, or contact Deborah H. Petito of Clark & Trevithick.

Deborah H. Petito
Attorney At Law
DPetito@ClarkTrev.com
BIOGRAPHY
Clark & Trevithick
800 Wilshire Blvd. 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA  90017
T 213.629.5700
F 213.624.9441
 

How to Gently Influence Your Clients, by Dina Eisenberg, Speak Up Powerfully

Asking someone to change their behavior is tricky, to say the least.  You want to say the right things to encourage compliance while avoiding giving offense.

Using an ‘I Statement’ can help you articulate your needs in a neutral, non-threatening way.  Your request is made in a manner that allows the other person to hear it well and act upon it.

The best part is that I Statements enable you to become accountable for your own emotions and thoughts in a way that builds a stronger, more open relationship with colleagues and customers.

What’s an I Statement?

An I Statement is really just a framework or script used for conveying information.  If you’ve ever done a role-play or read a script you’ll be able to use I Statements.  They work because they invite the other person to join you in resolving the issue.  You’re not just imposing your will upon him or her.

What’s the Formula??

I Statement formula is a string of specific clauses:

  1. state what happened
  2. how it impacted you (feelings and consequence)
  3. your desired new behavior
  4. the motivator
  5. the consequence

Imagine your client asks you to create a series of social media content for her and you happily agree.  Before you can create the content you need her to give you the topics she wants covered and help you get a sense of ‘her voice’.  She says yes, but procrastinates.  You get the content right before it needs to be posted for the week.  You were able to pitch in the first week, but you don’t want this to be a weekly occurrence.

Here’s how you can use an I-statement to calmly tell your client what you observed, what you expect and what happens if there’s no change:

Hey Cheryl, can I talk to you about something that will improve the work? 

I noticed that I got the materials very close to the posting deadline, which was frustrating because I didn’t have time to really capture your voice and while the work was good, it wasn’t the best I can do for you.

Next time, I need your materials no later than xxx. Will that work for you?  Otherwise, you won’t be able to achieve your marketing goals.

Or, you could say, “Don’t miss another deadline!”

Which do you think would be more effective?

Key Points for Success with I-Statements

1. Be direct.

I Statements work best when you don’t beat around the bush.  It’s confusing.  Be very specific about the your observation and what change you’d like and the desired new result. Don’t leave the other person guessing about when and what.

2. Use the “F” word- Feelings.

Although it might not seem very professional, talking about your feelings can be very helpful if done in an appropriate way.  Expressing your feelings will give you some relief from them and allow the other person to know what impact on you.

Go beyond the basics of happy, mad or sad, though. Try bemused or perplexed or others to capture the exact feeling.  And, if you catch yourself throwing in ‘that’, as in, “I feel that…” you’re expressing a thought, not a feeling.  Rephrase it to a feeling.

3.  Be open to dialogue

Using the I Statement may open up a whole new conversation about how to get the best results for each of you.  Be open and ready to generate other options to resolve the matter.  Remember that the other person might not be as skilled as you.  Be patient and explain what you’re trying to do—improve your work relationship and get successful outcomes!

Getting What You Want

I Statements are an invaluable tool for solopreneurs and service professional, really anyone who collaborates with clients to create a result.  You’ll save time and frustrating by using this effective communication too. Try one today.

 

Guest blogger:

Dina Eisenberg, JD, Client Whisperer, trains small business and micro-business owners to build their emotional smarts and create easy systems to become powerful, generous, happy and profitable!

Contact Dina:

Speak Up Powerfully

lynch.dina@gmail.com

 

 

Crowdfunding: Raise money for your Project!

Feral pigs in Texas have nothing to do with coworking… but these pigs were the personal cause of someone who used crowdfunding and YouveGotFunds to raise the seed money to help take care of these destructive pigs! Ellen Sperling of YouveGotFunds stopped by OfficeSlice, coworking space in Sherman Oaks, San Fernando Valley designed for women entrepreneurs, and shared information on the basics of how to start a successful crowdfunding campaign.

What is crowdfunding? “Crowdfunding is a financing method that involves funding a project with relatively modest contributions from a large group of individuals, rather than seeking substantial sums from a small number of investors. The funding campaign and transactions are typically conducted online through dedicated crowdfunding sites, often in conjunction with social networking sites. Depending on the project, campaign contributors may be essentially making donations, investing for a potential future return on investment (ROI), or prepaying for a product or service.”

For those looking to start a business, create a new product, fund a non-profit project, crowdfunding is a new and growing option, open to everyone, to raise seed money and capital. Crowdfunding has been behind the funding for the 3-D printer and Zach Braff’s sequel to “Garden State.” Crowdfunding could be what your project or startup needs to get you to the next level.

Want to find out more? Contact YouveGotFunds! They will work with you to make your campaign successful.

Check out this Lunch N Learn video on the Basics of Crowdfunding with Ellen Sperling of YouveGotFunds. Only at OfficeSlice!

Girlfriends Get Connected Get Networking

Tuesday June 4 was the 2nd annual National Girlfriends Networking Day.  Started by The New Agenda, the National Girlfriends Networking Day is a day for women of all ages and professions to get out and meet, support and make new connections with other savvy women.  June 4, 1919, congress approved the women’s suffrage amendment, granting women the right to vote.

OfficeSlice was fortunate to host one of the network meetings.  Over 35 rockin’ women came through the doors, looking for new connections and friends.  The New Agenda’s live panel with Soledad O’Brien, Lesley Jane Seymour, Kym Hampton and Loretta McCarthy was informative, inspiring and heartfelt.  These established, successful women shared their stories of how they ended up in their careers.   My take away, none of them planned it that way!  All of these successful women saw opportunity, followed their instincts and went for it!  Risky?  Absolutely!  But success was waiting for them on just the other side of every trip and fall.  Remember, success is a journey, not a destination!

OfficeSlice is committed to providing resources for women entrepreneurs, startups and freelancers through affordable, flexible workspace, educational and personal growth workshops.  Women are currently the power and force behind the “new economy,” opening businesses at twice the rate of men.  It is time for women to connect, and support each other.  There is enough for everyone out there… even for your competition!

Make some new connections, grow your circle of influence, watch your business prosper!  Join OfficeSlice and meet other like minded, business savvy women who are changing the economy, and their future, one manicured hand at a time!

Girlfriends connected, and exchanging big ideas @OfficeSlice

Girlfriends connected, and exchanging big ideas @OfficeSlice

Girlfriends watching the live panel with Soledad O'Brien, Lesley Jane Seymour, Kym Hampton and Loretta McCarthy

Girlfriends watching the live panel with Soledad O’Brien, Lesley Jane Seymour, Kym Hampton and Loretta McCarthy

 

Women & Work

I feel bad for Marissa Mayer. From the articles I’ve read, it seems she is receiving undue attention in regards to her decision to bring all Yahoo telecommuters back into the office starting in July. Why do I feel bad? Because the decision she made is a sound one, but the criticism she’s getting is due to the fact that she’s a woman who just had a baby while simultaneously taking on a new job in an ailing company. Ms. Mayer was hired to do a job and that is to get Yahoo to a place of profitability, a place their current strategy clearly has not brought them to. Yahoo chose right when they put her at the helm—only a woman can juggle this many projects at once with elegance and grace!

 

At some point in our society having children became a disadvantage to working women. Women, history shows us, either cut back on their hours to raise their children or left the workforce altogether. These choices harmed their careers as they chose to make themselves more available to be with their children. At the same time, career women went in the opposite direction, working harder and longer hours than their male counterparts. Was this to demonstrate that they were just as capable? If these women had children of their own, this work schedule meant that they had to outsource their own childcare duties onto someone else. Well, it’s time we as women create a new way to do business, and refuse to keep trying to plug our square peg into a round hole that is not working for us, for our children, or for our businesses.

 

What is the right answer? I’d like to offer my suggestion (it is my blog, after all!)—a hybrid. Speaking from experience, I’ve experienced a range of unsatisfactory working conditions, from many years locked in a cubicle with no flexibility to working remotely from home, feeling isolated and unproductive. Why does it have to be either/or? Once a business is running where it needs to be, it can utilize a combination of the two, with workers in the office two or three days a week, working from a remote location or a coworking space instead of commuting on other days, and then reserving an afternoon to be at home. But you must establish solid teamwork before you let your team members loose.

 

The bottom line is that the magic of collaboration in a team comes from face-to-face human interaction. This type of psychic energy does not flow through computer screens and telephone lines. The magic of collaboration happens in the hallways, at the water cooler, or in a coworkers’ office at an impromptu brainstorming session. That is what Ms. Mayer is seeking to bring back to Yahoo. Let them get their mojo back, and who knows what the future will hold for Yahoo employees. I bet we’ll be reading about them getting their flex time again once the company has returned to being competitive!