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Estimates vs. Actuals: Was Your 2018 Budget Reasonable?
As the year winds down, business owners can be thankful for the gift of perspective (among other things, we hope). Assuming you created a budget for the calendar year, you should now be able to accurately assess that budget by comparing its estimates to actual results. Your objective is to determine whether your budget was ...

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Should You Name a Trust as IRA Beneficiary?
An IRA is a popular vehicle to save for retirement, and it can also be a powerful estate planning tool. Some people designate a trust as beneficiary of their IRAs, but is that a good idea? The answer: possibly. IRA Benefits The benefit of an IRA is that your contributions can grow and compound on ...

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3 Ways to Get More From Your Marketing Dollars
A strong economy leads some company owners to cut back on marketing. Why spend the money if business is so good? Others see it differently — a robust economy means more sales opportunities, so pouring dollars into marketing is the way to go. The right approach for your company depends on many factors, but one ...

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Taking the Hybrid Approach to Cloud Computing
For several years now, cloud computing has been touted as the perfect way for companies large and small to meet their software and data storage needs. But, when it comes to choosing and deploying a solution, one size doesn’t fit all. Many businesses have found it difficult to fully commit to the cloud for a ...

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Review and Revise Your Estate Plan to Reflect Life Changes During the Past Year
Your estate plan shouldn’t be a static document. It needs to change as your life changes. Year end is the perfect time to check whether any life events have taken place in the past 12 months or so that affect your estate plan. And the plan should be reviewed periodically anyway to ensure that it ...

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Intellectual Property Requires Careful Estate Planning
If your estate includes forms of intellectual property (IP), such as patents and copyrights, it’s important to know how to address them in your estate plan. Although these intangible assets can have great value, in many ways they’re treated differently from other property types. 2 Estate Planning Questions For estate planning purposes, IP raises two ...

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Change Management Doesn’t Have to be Scary
Business owners are constantly bombarded with terminology and buzzwords. Although you probably feel a need to keep up with the latest trends, you also may find that many of these ideas induce more anxiety than relief. One example is change management. This term is used to describe the philosophies and processes an organization uses to ...

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Take Caution When Including Employees in Your Estate Plan
If you’re the owner of a small business, you may think of your tight-knit group of employees as a family. If you wish to include them as beneficiaries in your estate plan, it’s critical to be aware of possible unintended tax consequences. Unraveling the (Tax) Code Generally, money or other property received by gift or ...

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Reduce Insurance Costs by Encouraging Employee Wellness
Protecting your company through the purchase of various forms of insurance is a risk-management necessity. But just because you must buy coverage doesn’t mean you can’t manage the cost of doing so. Obviously, the safer your workplace, the less likely you’ll incur costly claims and high workers’ compensation premiums. There are, however, bigger-picture issues that ...

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Following the ABCs of Customer Assessment
When a business is launched, its owners typically welcome every customer through the door with a sigh of relief. But after the company has established itself, those same owners might start looking at their buying constituency a little more critically. If your business has reached this point, regularly assessing your customer base is indeed an ...

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Tenancy-in-Common: A Versatile Estate Planning Tool
If you hold significant real estate investments, tenancy-in-common (TIC) ownership can be a powerful, versatile estate planning tool. A TIC interest is an undivided fractional interest in property. The property isn’t split into separate parcels. Rather, each TIC owner has the right to use and enjoy the entire property. TIC in Action An individual TIC ...

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Turn Down an Inheritance Using a Qualified Disclaimer
If you are about to receive an inheritance from a family member, you can use a qualified disclaimer to refuse the bequest. The assets will then bypass your estate and go directly to the next beneficiary in line. It’s as if the successor beneficiary, not you, had been named as the beneficiary in the first ...

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4 Pillars of a Solid Sales Process
Is your sales process getting off-balance? Sometimes it can be hard to tell. Fluctuations in the economy, changes in customer interest and dips in demand may cause slowdowns that are beyond your control. But if the numbers keep dropping and you’re not sure why, you may need to double-check the structural soundness of how you ...

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Educate Your Children on Wealth Management
If you’ve worked a lifetime to build a large estate, you undoubtedly would like to leave a lasting legacy to your children and future generations. Educating your children about saving, investing and other money management skills can help keep your legacy alive. Teaching Techniques There’s no one right way to teach your children about money. ...

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A Strong BYOD Policy Combines Convenience with Security
It’s easy to understand why more and more businesses are taking a “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach to the smartphones, tablets and laptops many employees rely on to do their jobs. BYOD can boost employee efficiency and satisfaction, often while reducing a company’s IT costs. But the approach isn’t without risk for both you ...

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