Small Business Owners: What You Should Know
At base, all real estate brokers are small businesses. If you haven’t taken steps to review trends that may affect your business in the coming year, now’s the time to do so before the year progresses further.
The recently passed tax overhaul is sure to affect you, but in what ways? Let’s take a look not only at that, but other economic and market trends to be on the lookout for.
- New tax law. It’s the elephant in the room, and just yet, we can’t be sure of all the ways the revisions will affect you. What’s known is that Section 179 of the tax code allows small businesses to deduct up to $1 million in equipment purchases, a doubling of the previous amount.
- Other IRS news. The Internal Revenue Service has raised the standard mileage rate one cent in the new year, so it’s now up to 54.5 cents per mile. You’ll obviously need to keep track of that for taxes as you calculate your business expenses.
- The growth of automation. Yes, automation is increasing not just in the industrial sector, but even in real estate and sales. Good examples include lead generation and nurturing, email marketing, social media marketing, and most administrative tasks. MeetEdgar, for example, takes your content and reshares automatically to your social media platforms. The tool allows you to upload posts in bulk, schedule them, and MeetEdgar deploys them as you request.
- Human resources and sexual harassment. After the #MeToo movement that launched in 2017, this is the other pachyderm in the room. Don’t waste time in reviewing and updating employee handbooks and agency policies to define what constitutes sexual harassment and what behavior won’t be tolerated. If you don’t have office behavior policies, now’s the time to create them. If you aren’t sure about what to include or that your information isn’t industry compliant, get it reviewed by a human resources profession (the Society of Human Resource Management is an excellent source) or talk to an attorney specializing in labor law.
- Risk mitigation. The real estate industry is one of the great beneficiaries of our long-running bull market, and while the economy is expected to remain strong through the year, it’s a good time to assess your future. Take this boom time to plan for how to protect your business in the event of an economic downturn. Conduct a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) to determine weaknesses in your business model and what risks you may be overlooking.
- Every business is at risk for cyber-attack and there’s no doubt these threats are on the rise so know how to protect yourself and what to do if your business is attacked. You’ll want to ensure your customer’s vital information is protected and service interruptions are minimal.
Certainly, we can’t safeguard our business against every potential risk or prepare for all changes, but as the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”