Good small business reads #17: Tax tips for self-employed newbies, breaking bad habits, and bridging the generation gap

I come across so many good reads for small businesses on the Internet each month that it’s hard to narrow it down to just the top few. But here are my choices for December. I hope you find them useful.

As I mentioned on my post earlier this week on how to end the year strong, it’s not late to take some actions that will lower the amount you owe Uncle Sam for 2011. But if this has been your first year in business, you might be feeling particularly stressed around the issue of taxes. In “Tax Tips for the Newly Self-employed” from, writer Bonnie Lee provides excellent advice if this is your first time at figuring out the complexities of paying taxes for your new business. The article points you toward numerous free resources that can help you out and lower your anxiety. (Okay, that last part may be stretch…I’ve been self-employed for 22 years and tax time still makes me anxious!)

In “Are You Getting in the Way of Your Startup Success?” from American Express’s Open Forum, small business expert Susan Reid identifies five bad behaviors that she says can stand in the way of start-up success for women. However, I think these are habits that people can fall into long after their business startup period is over, and I also think they apply to men just as much as they do to women.

For example, she cautions against isolating yourself. As someone who works at home, I can certainly relate. It is all too easy to avoid going to social activities, especially during the long New England winters. But this means you’re missing out on opportunities to meet new people who might help your business and to brainstorm ideas with colleagues and friends. And certainly this can happen no matter how long you’ve been in business.

Are there people from different generations working in your business? Then you’ll want to check out “Boomers vs. Generation Y: Bridging the Generation Gap at the Office” from the Huffington Post. The article reports on the results of a recent poll done by the Society for Human Resources Management. For example, the survey found that 47% of younger workers complained that older managers were resistant to change and had a tendency to micromanage. About 33% of older respondents said younger workers’ informality, need for supervision, and lack of respect for authority were problematic. The article then provides eight tips for bridging this divide. Excellent stuff.

Finally, I want to alert you about the great resources that are available for startup companies through the Startup America Partnership’s website. Take some time to thoroughly explore this site; it will be time well spent. Be sure to check the Startup Regions section to see if a Startup America group has been started in your state.

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