3 Ways To Level Up Your Business In 2016

As individuals, new year’s resolutions are a great way to level up. You take inventory of the previous year, and focus on the goals that’ll make you a better version of yourself. As a small business owner, you can also resolve to improve your business. For 2016, here are three unique ways you can level up your business.

Take Advantage of New Laws (and Invest in Your Company)

The business regulatory environment is constantly changing, so it’s easy to lose track of all the new laws. For example, the federal government recently made a small but important change to Section 179 of the tax code.

Instead of a complicated depreciation schedule, small business owners can now write off up to $500,000 in business-related purchases. What does that mean in plain English? It means if you purchase a work computer, for example, you can write off that expense completely in 2016 (until you hit $500,000), rather than a portion of the expense in the first year and then a prorated amount over the life of the asset.

That’s a huge tax savings for your small business. So if you’re looking to make an investment in your business in 2016, now’s the time!

Take Better Care of Your Employees (and Get a Tax Break)

We all know the Affordable Care Act, frequently known as Obamacare, is going to impact businesses. But do you know the details? If you are not compliant in 2016, your business may be penalized.

Businesses with 50 or more full-time equivalent employees have to provide health insurance to at least 95 percent of their full-time employees and dependents up to age 26 — or pay fines. Employers with fewer than 50 workers are exempt from the mandate but are eligible for tax credits if they provide coverage.

If you have fewer than 25 employees and are providing coverage, check to see if you’re eligible for credits with the tax credit estimator. To qualify, you must provide benefits through the SHOP Marketplace, among other things. For more information, here’s a guide on how to check if your business is ACA-Compliant.

Take Back Your Schedule (and Use the Latest Technology)

Some of the most prosperous businesses stay ahead of the curve by adopting the latest technology trends. There are new software services, delivered over the cloud right to your computer, that can not only save you time–they can also save you money. And there’s an app for almost everything.

Looking for better accounting solutions? You can try cloud solutions like Xero or Freshbooks, or the online version of Quickbooks. Looking for better scheduling for your hourly employees? Try TSheets or When I Work. Want better communications with your team? Slack and HipChat are great options.

Of course, we also recommend putting your payroll, workers’ comp, and health benefits in the cloud as well! The National Small Business Association estimates that more than 50% of businesses in America spend at least four hours per month on payroll. Over the course of a year, that’s a full work week. When you leverage technology, you shave hours off mundane tasks, which frees you up to focus on the most important thing–running your business.

Source: Jaleh Rezaei for SCORE.