I'm willing to bet that the cost of insurance and taxes are the number one reason why small businesses fail. Specifically, it seems to me that the cost of unemployment taxes and the cost of workman's comp insurance are out of proportion for micro-businesses.
In seven years, we have had 2 employees collect unemployment payments — yet our required contributions continue unabated. I'm not sure what a better system might look like, but maybe a "savings" account for each company would make sense. Pay up to a certain level and not be required to pay more until one of your employees taps into the account. Now, I realize that insurance and SUTA rates are based on company history and experience — but a "perfect" record does not zero out the requirements.
I don't want to make this column a bitch session, but I'd like to pen a dialog on these and other issues that are critical to the success of struggling entrepreneurs. I've tried throughout these columns to offer examples and some insight into the problems that face the startup company.
I've received some good feedback — which is much appreciated. What much of the feedback lacked, however, was examples of how others have approached — and perhaps solved — some of the problems that have been discussed in this space.
This publication could be a great small business discussion forum if we could get more voices into the discussion. Please contribute your war stories so others can learn.
I've said it before, but I want to remind anyone who does not accept credit cards as payment for product, to do so. Virtually all retailers do. If you're a small manufacturer who sells wholesale, you can do your cash flow a favor by accepting credit card payments. It will cost you a small percent of the sale but it will also ease your cash flow problems.
Do any of you independent service providers accept credit card payments for your invoices? I'd be interested to know.