New,Year,amp,#39,Resolutions,f DIY New Year's Resolutions for Your Home Business
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"Happy New Year" may be the most positive phrase in theEnglish language. For those whose fortunes were less thanthey desired over the last twelve months, the new year is anopportunity to close the book and start afresh. Those luckysouls who came out ahead this year can pat themselves on theback and look forward to repeating their success in 2001. Nomatter which end of the spectrum you fall into, the hopethat springs eternal on January 1 is something we all tendto share. It seems that every culture enjoys a new year's holiday, andthat our tradition of making resolutions dates back to theancient Babylon. Teacher Jerry Wilson of< http://www.wilstar.com > says the most popular Babylonianresolution was to return borrowed farm equipment. Whiletimes and the details may have changed, today's home-basedentrepreneurs are also concerned with improvingrelationships with colleagues and customers - and makingtheir businesses grow. There are lots of changes we can makein our day-to-day lives that can increase our chances oflooking back on 2001 with fondness - and January is theperfect time to start. Resolution #1: Keep Better Records If you tend to stick your receipts in a shoebox or at thebottom of your handbag, you already know the heartbreak oftrying to make sense of your tax returns. You are probablylosing some legitimate deductions! Get in the habit ofsaving and categorizing every receipt, clearly marking thosethat are 100% deductible. Devise a workable filing systemand use it! Resolution #2: Watch Your Miles Do you keep track of your auto mileage for business? If not,you will be surprised at how much you can save on your taxesonce you start - the 2001 rate will be 34.5 cents per mile.However, it's imperative that you keep careful and accuraterecords in case of an audit. Note your mileage at the startof each month and keep track of all miles you incur in thecourse of conducting business. Keep an auto expense journalin your glove compartment or buy expense tracking pages foryour ring-bound organizer. Tax expert Jeff Schneppertells his clients to keep a tape recorder in their cars torecord mileage and expenses as they occur, as a supplementto their paper journals. "Accumulated tapes blow the IRSaway in an audit," he says. You can find some nice shareware for tracking auto expensesat: < http://www.winappslist.com/hobby/automotive_apps.htm > Resolution #3: Get Your Accounts in Order If you've put off getting a business bank account orinstalling that new accounting package, this is the besttime of the year to start. Remember that a separate bankaccount is one of the factors the IRS uses when decidingif your home enterprise is a business and entitled tobusiness-related tax deductions. (Other factors are whetheryou have business cards and stationery, have advertised orcan document that you've been trying to generate business). For more tax advice, visit our friend, Eva Rosenberg (akathe TaxMama) at: < http://www.taxmama.com > Resolution #4: Provide Better Customer Service Vow to answer your email in a timely manner, change yourbusiness voice mail on a daily basis, and treat yourcustomers as you would like to be treated. For moresuggestions on growing your business with good customerservice, go to: < http://www.parentpreneurclub.com/ppc_cserviceart.html > Resolution #5: Update your Business and Marketing Plans You can't get to your destination without a roadmap, andthese are your guides to business success. For specificsuggestions, go to: < http://parentpreneurclub.com/Archive/aaeditor1001.html > Resolution #6: Make Time for Yourself Home-based entrepreneurs are often running in severaldifferent directions - all at once. They shift gears at thedrop of a child's skinned knee, only to shift right backwhen a client calls. Many who work at home are so busytaking care of their families and businesses that theyoverlook the most important ones of all: Themselves. Vowthis year to give yourself a few hours each week to dosomething just for you - be it exercise, coffee withfriends, a bargain matinee -- or anything else that youenjoy. To paraphrase the late Dr. Seuss: These things are fun andfun is good...This year is gone, this year was fun and nextyear is another one!