February 2022 #SmallBizChat: What Small Businesses Should Know Before 2022 Tax Season
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What You Need to Know to File Taxes in 2022
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach, is a personal finance expert, speaker, and author of 15 money-management books, including the New York Times bestseller Zero Debt: The Ultimate Guide to Financial Freedom. Lynnette has been seen on more than 1,000 TV segments nationwide, including television appearances on Oprah, Dr. Phil, The Dr. Oz Show, Good Morning America, The TODAY Show and many more. For more information www.askthemoneycoach.com
SmallBizLady: What are the biggest tax changes people should know about for the 2022 tax season?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: The big thing is that there are a ton of tax changes related to stimulus funds and other benefits people may have received in 2021 as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. CPAs and tax pros are warning taxpayers to expect smaller refunds in 2022. Part of the reason is that people have to account for that Child Tax Credit that they’ve already received in advance. Additionally, people laid off from work were able to exclude up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits in the year 2020. That exclusion went away last year. So, for anyone who received unemployment compensation in 2021, the full amount is taxable at the federal level – which will also mean a smaller refund.
SmallBizLady: What are some of the most common mistakes taxpayers make — and how can they fix or avoid those errors?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: One huge error people commonly commit is waiting until the last minute to file – and then not having enough time to gather the necessary paperwork to claim all the deductions and tax credits to which they are entitled. Such procrastination can cost people money, especially since the IRS says the average tax refund check is about $3,000.
SmallBizLady: Do you have some specific advice for how people should use you refund check from Uncle Sam?
Lynnette Khalfani-Cox: Instead of just spending that windfall, or letting the money slip through your fingers, be sure to save some of it. With inflation, the ongoing pandemic, and so many people quitting their jobs (i.e. the Great Resignation), it’s more important than ever to have a healthy chunk of emergency savings. Resources like SpruceMoney.com – a free mobile banking app and savings account from tax prep company H&R Block – are great for letting people designate a portion of their tax refund to be allocated toward savings. And you don’t have to be a H&R Block client to use Spruce.
Content Marketing in 2022: What Every Small Business Owner Needs to Know
Carolyn Crummey is a small business advisor and content marketing strategist with over three decades of experience in all aspects of starting, managing, and running a successful small business. She is the owner of VirTasktic, a boutique content marketing agency that offers small and mid-sized businesses the strategic know-how that increases website traffic, brand awareness, lead generation, and customer engagement, and tactically executes those strategies with their done-for-you marketing services. For more information: www.VirTasktic.com
SmallBizLady: What is content marketing, and is it a marketing strategy that small business owners should be investing in in 2022?
Carolyn Crummey: Simply put, content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating, distributing, and promoting valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Marketing activities that fall under content marketing include blogging, podcasting, email marketing, social media, and lead generation. Think of it as any content that you produce as a business and share online to attract and retain customers – that is content marketing.
Small businesses should be investing heavily into content marketing in 2022. The key to success is having a well-thought-out strategy and executable plan.
SmallBizLady: Where do most small businesses fail regarding content marketing?
Carolyn Crummey: We often hear from small businesses that content marketing, or various efforts of content marketing like blogging or email marketing, just didn’t work for them. And when we dig in to figure out why we see a few common things.
The first thing we typically see is that there is no strategy behind their efforts. They simply started blogging or emailing because they were told they ‘have to’ to succeed. Without a strategy, which includes goals you are looking to achieve, you won’t be successful no matter how hard you try. You have to have a strategy that drives what marketing activities and goals you’ve set for yourself.
SmallBizLady: What are two or three content marketing strategies all small businesses should be considering in 2022?
Carolyn Crummey: Other than knowing your audience and creating high-quality content that your audience finds valuable (those are two standards of content marketing!), there are a few other things small businesses should be thinking about adding to their content marketing strategy. The first is video. Video has been on the rise for years, and in 2022 it’s becoming a must. Here’s why:
- Video will account for 82% of all online traffic. (Source: Cisco Annual Internet Report)
- Videos are 53x more likely to generate first page SERP rankings than other SEO tactics.
- 84% of consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video. (Source: Wyzowl)
The second thing small businesses should be considering is a focus on customer retention. Repeat customers are easier to sell to and spend 300% more than new customers. So, as part of your content marketing strategy, consider your existing customers and enhance their experience with your brand.
A final area of consideration would be adding podcasting to your content mix. There are expected to be more than 144 million podcast listeners each month in the U.S. by the end of 2025. This equals opportunity. And while many small businesses may avoid podcasting because they feel it’s too expensive or time-consuming, quite the opposite is true when you think about how many ways you can repurpose podcast content in your content marketing strategy. For example, a single podcast can often be turned into multiple blog posts or video posts, social media posts, and more.
How to Grow Your Business with Amazon
As CEO of ASM Games, Alfred Mai had dedicated himself to create a company dedicated to fun and engagement through clever card games. The mission to create games that bring people together to laugh, talk and build memories. He’s also a power seller on Amazon. Prior to starting his company, Mai was a digital marketing expert specializing in mobile performance ad campaigns and paid Facebook, Google and Apple ad campaigns – growing revenue through proactive client recommendations and optimizations. For more information https://asmgames.com/
SmallBizLady: How did you become an Amazon seller?
Alfred Mai: I didn’t start my business anticipating that I’d even be an Amazon seller. I just needed an avenue to sell a card game that I had created. I explored different options, like creating my own website and shipping things out of my garage like a lot of other new entrepreneurs and small businesses, but I didn’t want to spend my time doing that. I have a professional growth marketing background, so I wanted to spend my time focused on growing the business. Amazon hit all the marks when it came to what I was looking for – they managed payment processing, shipping, and handling through Fullment by Amazon, and just ensuring their website is up and running. So long story short, we created our listing for our product and with good marketing and a bit of luck, within a year of launch, our first card game became the #1 best seller in the Toys and Games category on Amazon for weeks until we completely ran out of inventory.
SmallBizLady: How did you get your products into the bestsellers list on Amazon?
Alfred Mai: There’s sometimes a misconception when people hear stories about Amazon success and they think that by simply joining Amazon and creating a listing, it’ll be an easy golden ticket to 10xing their sales. That’s rarely the case – Amazon is an amazing platform for ecommerce, but how you leverage it is key. The principles of running any successful business remains the same – it’s about creating amazing products and how you market and sell those products. Just because Amazon has 150 million members, doesn’t mean they’re going to flock to your listing. For us, the key to having a best-selling product on Amazon was to market the product as if we weren’t relying on Amazon to drive sales. We spent a year doing growth marketing – working with influencers, paid ads, PR outreach, general online and offline marketing – everything we could to grow sales. During the first December of our business, our card game went completely viral on Twitter. It was retweeted hundreds of thousands of times, and we shot up to being the best seller – we sold more in 2 days of going viral than we had sold the entire year – we were outselling Cards Against Humanity.
SmallBizLady: How to get generate better visibility on Amazon?
Alfred Mai: Amazon has become a very crowded place, so to even have any visibility, you need to get all the basics right. The first is your listing – you’ve got to have a well-built listing. Your images need to be professionally done. Your title needs to be convincing and to-the-point. Your description needs to answer all the questions of why someone would pick your product over anyone else’s. You need to have good reviews (4 and half stars are more – which requires a minimum 4.3 user review rating).
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