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Chicago Far West Suburbs


Welcome to the Virtual World: Remote Work and Video Conferencing Tips

April 30, 2020 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice, Business Continuity

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Since its inception, Supporting Strategies has embraced the remote-work model. In fact, Forbes and CNBC have both included Supporting Strategies in their lists of growing companies offering work-from-home opportunities.

Now that so many people find themselves joining us in working remotely, we'd like to share some tips about working from home:

  • Have a designated spot to work. If you're fortunate enough to have an office at home, that's great. If not, find a space and set it up so you have everything you need in one place. It doesn't have to be fancy, just functional. Doing this will also help you focus and almost feel like you're in an office.

  • Try to stay on the same schedule (or a schedule). It's easy to sleep in when you can flex your work routine but you'll be more productive and feel better if you stick to the same schedule every day. A nice bonus: Since your commute is shorter, you can set your alarm for later.
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Do More With Less: How Your Business Can Survive COVID-19

April 29, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Continuity

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Note: For full information on the FFCRA, please refer to the Department of Labor website. For advice, please contact a legal professional.

With much of their customer base forced to stay home, many businesses have seen their revenues shrink during the COVID-19 pandemic. Press coverage has focused on companies' efforts to stay afloat through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — understandably so.

But some businesses that have secured funding to remain open face a secondary challenge: how to operate with a reduced workforce.

An employee doesn't have to be suffering symptoms of COVID-19 to be absent from work. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) guarantees employees, including part-time employees, up to 80 hours of paid sick leave (see the DOL website for information about calculating hours for part-time employees), at full salary, if they're subject to quarantine due to possible virus exposure. Another component of the FFCRA is that employees, including part-time employees, can receive two-thirds of their regular rate of pay, for up to 10 weeks, if they must stay home to care for children under 18 whose schools or daycare facilities are closed.

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Keeping Your Doors Open With a Business Loan

March 31, 2020 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Continuity

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The coronavirus pandemic is wreaking havoc with businesses of every size and type. If yours is one of them and you're struggling to meet your obligations, you might be eligible for a loan through the Small Business Administration (SBA) or other organization.

Here's what you need to know.

Basic Application Requirements Still Apply
In a recent blog on coronavirus preparedness, our colleague Andy Hale mentioned the new low-interest SBA loans that have become available. These Economic Injury Disaster Loans, which the SBA is offering in conjunction with state governors, can provide distressed businesses up to $2 million in working capital.

Although the SBA is expediting assistance through a streamlined three-step application process, you'll still need to provide some basic financial information, including:

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2020 Vision: Use Year-End Bookkeeping for Business Planning

October 15, 2019 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Business Advice

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As a business owner, you're probably not looking forward to getting caught up on your end-of-year bookkeeping. But with a simple change of attitude and approach, you can transform that process into something positive. Don't think of it as filing your financials. Think of it as tapping into a valuable source of business intelligence.

You Have to Do It Anyway — Make It Work for You
Okay, we get it. No matter how you dress it up, bookkeeping sounds like a chore. This is particularly true if the year hasn't gone as well as you'd hoped.

Actually, that's all the more reason to immerse yourself in those numbers. End-of-year bookkeeping can be an insightful process that reveals not only where things went off track, but also what you can do to set them straight again. Here are some of the important questions it can help answer …

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Using Employee Benefits to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

September 3, 2019 / by John Gotschall posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice

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The concept of "coaching" has become overused, and even abused, in the business world in recent years. That's unfortunate for a company like ours, Coaching Financial Concepts. We've been around for over 20 years, and we apply legitimate coaching techniques that we've adapted from a sports environment to give our client companies that winning edge.

For instance: To turn your company into a champion, you need the best players. And just as professional sports teams will offer creative deals to sign the top free agents, businesses at every level need to offer the best possible benefits package to lure the top talent in their given field.

The Difference Between 'Perks' and 'Benefits'
Different generations often have different priorities. Many articles have been written about the importance of company culture to millennials, for example. One recent study even found that many millennials would be willing to take a $7,600 pay cut in exchange for an "improved quality of work life."

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An Award-Winning Team Effort Saves a Nonprofit

August 1, 2019 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Nonprofits

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It's always gratifying to receive an award for your work — especially when you had no idea you were even nominated. But that was the case recently when our Supporting Strategies | Chicago Far West Suburbs learned we had received the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Pro Bono Transaction of the Year award for our role in helping a distressed nonprofit straighten out its financials and position itself for sale.

Assessing a Community Asset
West Suburban Senior Services (WSSS) in Bellwood, Illinois, had long been a valuable community resource. The nonprofit has provided adult day wellness support for seniors in western Chicagoland since 1972.

When some of its government funding dried up, however, several key executives and staff members departed. WSSS fell behind and missed several deadlines. It would be very difficult for any organization to find a buyer with those unmet obligations hanging over it.

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How to Increase Sales and Be More Productive

July 30, 2019 / by Scott Hansen posted in Chicago Far West Suburbs, Tips for Startups, Business Advice

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As a consultant to some of America's most successful entrepreneurs, I can tell you with 99% certainty the biggest obstacle keeping your business from becoming the success you envisioned.

But fair warning: You might not like the answer.

Time to Look in the Mirror
Simply put: The biggest obstacle to your success is you. Or, more accurately, it's your lack of self-confidence. You believe successful business owners are privy to some secret formula that has somehow eluded you.

Truth is, most of those successful entrepreneurs were once as tentative and full of self-doubt as you. The difference is, they made the decision to overcome those doubts and move ahead with confidence. They became comfortable with being uncomfortable — with pushing past their self-imposed limitations.

You can do it, too. You just need to develop what I call a "champion's mindset."

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Has Your Business Outgrown DIY Bookkeeping?

May 14, 2019 / by Dawn Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services

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Are you frustrated by the amount of time you spend on bookkeeping? Do you put off sales and networking efforts to take care of daily bookkeeping tasks? Many small-business owners are surprised by the extent to which bookkeeping demands can distract them from building their companies.

Few business owners actually want to do the bookkeeping. But many feel they have to, at least in the early stages when money is tight and business is light. This is particularly true in companies that started out as a sideline, where the owner learned to do the books along the way. Some owners might even become competent bookkeepers and enjoy it.

But then comes that inevitable moment of reckoning. As the business picks up, the owner (or business leader) wants to take advantage of new opportunities to grow the company — and they no longer have time for the bookkeeping tasks that had fit easily into their schedule before.

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Midyear Bookkeeping Best Practices

May 9, 2019 / by Mary Kimmel posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Bookkeeping Services, Bookkeeping 101, Business Advice

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Now that the annual springtime flurry of activity that comes with filing your small-business tax returns has passed, you might think you can go on bookkeeping cruise control until you start processing 1099 forms next winter.

In fact, it's important to follow bookkeeping best practices throughout every season. This advice can be particularly beneficial to citizens of Procrastination Nation. Start with this: If you use contract employees or vendors, make sure they submit a W-9 form before you pay them. That way, you'll have that information on file and won't have to chase it down at 1099 time.

Here are some additional suggestions to help keep your organization's bookkeeping in order all year long.

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Business Owners: Beware the Deadlines of March

February 14, 2019 / by Elliot Hershik posted in Small Business Advice, Chicago Far West Suburbs, Business Advice

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"Beware the ides of March," Shakespeare wrote. Well, we have no idea what "ides" are, but we do know our tax deadlines.

Are You Prepared for the March Tax Deadline?
It never hurts to have a reminder about changes in tax laws, because each year brings new ones — especially this year.

You might have changed the structure of your business this year, which could in turn alter your filing status. For example, have you switched from an S corporation to a C corporation? If so, not only are you positioned to possibly pay a lower tax rate — a flat rate of 21% instead of the graduated scale from 15% to 39% — but your filing deadline also moves back from March 15 to April 15.

For S corps, partnerships and multiple-member LLCs, the deadline remains March 15. And don't think that the partial shutdown of the federal government will buy you any additional time. It does not affect any filing deadlines.

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