5 Tips Small Businesses Can Take Away From The Tiny House Movement

What on earth could small businesses learn from the tiny house movement if your industry is unrelated? It comes as no surprise that the growth, mission, popularity and purpose of the tiny house movement have grown over the past decade. People are joining this movement for financial freedom, environmental and leisure enjoyment. These owners reduce skyrocketing maintenance costs and living expenses that come from soaring mortgage payments of capacious houses. This movement also frees up more time to spend with family and travel.

Over the past decade, we have seen the increase in restructuring, downsizing and corporate dismantling by many large firms. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 99.7 percent of all employer firms are small businesses. While this percentage is an impressive number, there are some great tips many small businesses can take away from the tiny house movement.

  • Compact and mobile: Owners of tiny houses downsize to reduce the overabundance of clutter, high mortgage payments, and freedom to do more things they want to engage in. They have the capability of hitching their home on the back of a vehicle and can save money on hotel costs when traveling. Depending on your type of business, with the ease and digitization of many applications and smart devices, you can mobilize your business and take it anywhere. Even if you relocate, your business can be just as portable. Small businesses may be compact in scale, but can be substantial in their return on investment.
  • Energy and cost-efficient: Tiny house owners save money by lower operating costs, energy usage, and maintenance costs. You will find innovative ways to curb your budget in certain areas that will free up money for other important business investments to grow your business. Small businesses may not use up as much energy and power as larger organizations. You can operate more efficiently as well as effectively.
  • Environmentally conscious and sustainable: Tiny houses may be built using environmentally friendly and repurposed materials. They are built to last but are as unique and aesthetically appealing as the details in a larger home. Small businesses can apply similar eco-friendly elements and recycled supplies to their organization. Make a statement with personalized and customized brand installations on a smaller scale, but with great innovative curb appeal.
  • Technological advantages: Technology is not as big and bulky as it once was. Tiny houses can embody the same level of digitization as larger homes, just on a smaller scale. At one time, big businesses had the upper-hand with harnessing more advanced applications in technology. Nowadays, not only is technology more advanced and constantly evolving, many elements are far more affordable than they’ve ever been.
  • Innovative: While tiny house living is not a new phenomenon it is increasing in popularity. The idea of living a quality life on a small-scale pushes us to new levels of residential creativity. We are inspired to try something new, creative, and innovative that will make us stellar in our industry. Since many quality products and services are more affordable and reliable, small businesses can make quality purchases and outsource services that will save on equipment and personnel budgets.

Just because a small business may adopt a few ideas from the success of the tiny house movement, some of these applications may not be feasible or appealing to your particular industry. You don’t have to sacrifice quality for affordability. Small businesses have the power, however, to promote their business with creative, personalized and exceptional customer experiences, regardless of size and budget.

Leadership Tips – Small Business Requires Faster Decisions

Introduction

This leadership tip has something in it for managers everywhere, but it’s particularly targeted at those of you with large company backgrounds who have made career moves to smaller businesses that you own and/or manage.

My background is primarily in large scale management of IT organizations. The companies where I’ve worked were places where changing a process or behavior took some time. I always thought I was quicker than most, and action oriented. As a small business owner, I found I had to be much quicker.

I’ll offer this leadership tip in the form of a story. It’s a story of how taking your eye of the ball can cost you money, and worse than that can cost you customers.

My First Small Business

I opened a small personal services business. It was located about an hour from my home office, and with all my other commitments I knew how important hiring the right manager would be for this shop. It took a few tries, but I found one with a good background and references, and she seemed to quickly develop loyalty to the business and to me.

For the first six months we grew slowly but steadily. We were behind plan in terms of customers and revenue, but the trend was up. There were a few staff issues, but overall turnover was okay. I decided to invest a little more in marketing to try and get more new faces in the door.

Over the next three months, customer counts were mostly flat, and average sale was actually down a little. Concerned, I visited the shop a few times more than usual. The people were not as upbeat as they had been. When asked about that, they attributed their moods to less business and less enjoyment of the job. I wondered about seasonality, the economy, and whether I needed even more marketing investment.

Want to know what was really going on? My trusted manager had some personal problems that I had not been aware of before, and was exhibiting some totally unacceptable behaviors:

  • Criticizing staff in front of customers
  • Intimidating staff, letting them know they were at risk of being fired, and telling them I was out to get them.
  • Stealing money by voiding transactions and other means

The Damages

I’m still figuring out how much money all this cost me, but the money is only today’s problem. The customers I’ve lost are a more serious longer term issue, because many of them won’t be coming back.

When I figured out what was going on, I moved quickly to fire the manager. There were only two problems:

  1. I was too late, and there had been several months of damage done;
  2. There was collateral damage. I had to fire two other employees who had adopted the attitude and behaviors of the manager.

Today, I’m working on putting together data to see if I can assemble a case for prosecuting the employees and the manager. An even higher priority, though, is the work I’m doing to recruit and orient new staff and develop a recovery plan for our customer service reputation.
This leadership tip was a painful lesson that I hope never to repeat.

Options for Filing and Reporting Small Business Taxes

Large and small businesses all around the United States are required to file and pay taxes. Small business taxes are applied and determined differently than those of larger corporations. To accurately report and pay taxes business owners are encouraged to follow these helpful preparation tips.

Small business owners have the option of filing their own tax returns or they can hire the help of a professional. Professional tax help can come from a certified public accountant (CPA) or professional tax preparer. Each individual is likely to accurately prepare a small business tax return; however, many business owners prefer working with a certified public accountant (CPA). In addition to a filing a federal or state small business tax return, a certified public accountant is experienced in keeping all financial records in order. Having all financial records in order may allow business owners to claim additional tax deductions or tax credits.

It is possible for a small business owner to prepare their own returns; however, the process is often long and sometimes difficult. To make the process easy many people take a tax course or they purchase a tax software program. The majority of tax courses offer valuable information and helpful tips to those who may have to pay taxes. These courses are usually available at a local college or an establish tax preparation business for a small fee.

Since owning and operating a business is a large project there are many business people who are unable to find the time to take a tax preparation course. These people are likely to purchase a tax software program. Tax software programs can be purchased from a traditional retail store or they can be paid for and downloaded off of the internet. The majority of individuals using a tax software program to determine if they owe any money are required to use the premium software versions because they are usually the only tax software versions that supply the forms needed.

When preparing their own taxes entrepreneurs are urged to keep in mind all of the tax deductions that they qualify for. There are many business owners who do not realize that they could qualify for multiple tax deductions. The majority of office supplies and other equipment that is required to operate a business is tax deductible. It is also possible for the owner of the business to donate some of their old office equipment or supplies to a charity. These donations are considered charitable deductions. Many small business owners make the mistake of just tossing out their old equipment because they do not realize that they can receive deductions for donating old equipment as well as purchasing new equipment. Taking a tax preparation course, using a software program, or hiring the services of a professional are great ways for them to learn about the deductions that they may qualify for.

Many business owners decided to start preparing their own taxes only to later learn that figuring out small business taxes is more difficult than they anticipated. Those who are unable to complete their small business tax returns or feel that they made a mistake on the tax forms can take their partially completed tax forms to a professional tax preparer for assistance and further completion.