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How to align your marketing plan with your business plan

Ask a marketer to summarize his or her goals, and chances are high he or she will talk about the importance of knowing and catering to customers’ needs.

At the end of the day, however, marketing plans must support the business owner’s financial goals. If you are a one-man contracting shop and your goal is to work alone, support your lifestyle and retire comfortably at age 60, you may be able to rely on word-of-mouth referrals.

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4 ways to improve cost estimates and earn a profit on every job

One of the biggest mistakes independent construction contractors make is underpricing jobs.

It’s one thing to knowingly underbid one job to win a strategic account. It’s quite another to routinely underestimate labor and material costs and fail to mark up overhead expenses before submitting a proposal to a customer.

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Why sole proprietors should consider keeping personal and business expenses separate

If you organize your business as a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to shield your personal assets from debts and other financial obligations incurred by the business, the business uses separate checking, credit card and other accounts to pay its expenses.

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The ins and outs of financing your next work vehicle

If you are planning on financing your next new truck or van, shopping for loans is as critical to saving money as shopping for deals.

Full-size truck sticker prices start at around $28,000, but the average price paid is closer to $40,000, according to Kelly Blue Book. Few small businesses can afford to pay cash for such expensive vehicles. Following the steps below in their given order, however, will help you secure the best financing deal for your next commercial vehicle.

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How bundling your services can help your business

Many small, service-oriented businesses are overlooking a valuable pricing tool that has been used for decades to boost sales and profits in the fast food, cable television, party and event rentals, HVAC, and roofing industries.

Called “bundling,” it involves offering customers a combination of products and services in a single product offering, often at a modest discount to what they would pay for each component individually.

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How to shop for fuel rewards programs

If your business uses trucks and vans, chances are 50/50 that you’re paying too much for gasoline and diesel, according to the GasBuddy/CSP Fuel Loyalty Report, 2017.

GasBuddy publishes a mobile app that uses crowdsourcing to help motorists find the best gas prices, cleanest restrooms and best coffee at service stations nationwide. In February, 2017, it surveyed more than 11,000 of its users and found that roughly half were not members of fuel rewards programs that can save motorists hundreds of dollars on gasoline and diesel purchases per year.

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Tax consequences of being a sole proprietor

Sole proprietorships are the most popular form of business in America today, probably because they are so easy to set up. Keeping up, however, is another matter.

Keeping up with self-employment taxes is one of the many challenges that sole proprietorships face. The Small Business Administration estimates that roughly one-third of sole proprietorships close in their first year for a variety of reasons.

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7 tips for building your brand by building your local community

Community partnerships remain potent tools for building brand awareness. If they were not, Fortune 500 companies would not invest so much in partnering with non-profits, sending employees to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and sharing their efforts on social media.

Aside from the personal rewards that volunteerism and charity can bring, supporting local community organizations can provide great networking opportunities and show potential customers that you generally care about their communities.

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