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2. Giving Thanks
Two cents from the Chief Visionary
Thanksgiving is a magical time of year - an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, eat bit-too-much delicious food, and express gratitude for people and events that have made a difference in our lives (and businesses) over the past year. It's easy for us, swamped-beyond-belief entrepreneurs, to get caught up in all the "to dos" and forget to appreciate the fantastic people who have helped us along the way. So I would like to use this holiday season as the perfect excuse to say THANKS to everyone who has helped the YES!Circle flourish over the last year! Unfortunately, there is not enough space here (or in my memory bank at this moment) to mention everyone who has contributed to our success with inspiration, expertise, advice, support, and encouragement. I know that there will be many more opportunities to express gratitude and appreciation as we continue to grow. For now, here is the best-effort list of thanks, in no particular order:

  • Catapult Consultants (Nav, Ted and Tony) for designing and maintaining an extraordinary website for the YES!Circle. I constantly marvel at your creativity, diligence and patience. You have expedited our growth by leaps and bounds. If I don't say it enough, you have made a monumental difference in our success - I really can't thank you enough for all that you do!
  • Celsius D.G. (Rodrigue Lawson) for designing a unique, powerful and inspirational identity package, including an ingenious logo for the YES!Circle. You have really created something magical - thank you!
  • Bob Steere for being the perfect strategy consultant and business coach for the YES!Circle and the leadership team. Thank you for your perpetual support, guidance, inspiration and unshakable confidence in our success.
  • Wood Street (Jon and Jamie) for coming to my rescue when I needed a promotional post card designed in five seconds or less. I was beyond impressed with your phenomenal attitude, patience and professionalism, especially during the last-minute and late-hour time crunches!
  • DCJCC Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service staff, particularly Indira Goldstein, for providing the YES!Circle with a comfortable, welcoming home, ideal environment to grow our organization, and an opportunity to sponsor some of your wonderful programs.
  • Rebecca Carpenter, world's greatest marketing guru for your unbelievable imagination, positive energy, and attempts to make it seem like I am doing all the work. Who knew marketing could be this much fun - thank you co-creating so many amazing ideas!
  • Brilliant writers Gina Montefusco and Anne McDonnough (and other contributors) for endowing the YES!Circle Newsletter with your wonderful journalistic creativity.
  • Attorneys Susan Ross, C.J. Blagg, Mitchell Marder and Andreas Akaras for generously contributing to the YES!Circle your invaluable time and shrewd legal expertise.
  • Company of Friends (particularly Devin Marks and the original entrepreneur subgroup) for whole-heartedly supporting the YES!Circle since its very first meeting. We are honored that you've decided to join our organization!
  • Every fantastic presenter who made YES!Circle events unique, dynamic and so appealing to our members (please see the website for names and organizations of past presenters - they are too many to name here)!
  • All the founding members, attendees and volunteers who supported the YES!Circle (and me!) since month one (forward). Your encouragement, support, good will and generosity will never be forgotten! The YES!Circle of today has been created through your word-of-mouth and referrals, the greatest compliment any organization can receive. Thank you!!!
  • On a personal note, HUGE thanks to my clients, mentors, colleagues, friends, family and other cheerleaders for helping this Chief Visionary sustain her vision, energy, commitment, confidence, and occasionally a sense of humor!

Perhaps there are people that have made a difference in your life or business this year? Whether they are customers, suppliers, employees or family members, these people may like to know that their contribution, no matter how large or small, has made a positive impact on your personal or professional development. So I encourage all of us now, and throughout the year, to take a few moments to reach out to those who have helped us reach for the stars!

I look forward to seeing you at the next YES!Circle event!

Margarita Rozenfeld
YES!Circle Chief Visionary

3. YES!Circle Success Story
"As I stumble down the path of a new entrepreneur I know that I can always count on Margarita and the Yes!Circle to provide new direction, meaningful connections, inspiration and support.

One area where I need help is getting the word out about my new business venture. InspirationPoint.com contains information on our romance seminar "Find and Keep the Love of Your Life", creative dating ideas, an ezine newsletter, and distribution info on the new book I co-authored with my wife called "Romantic Antics".

Margarita and Yes!Circle members to the rescue! At one event I met Mindy Hurt, a coach who helps kids with life skills via training (www.vortexstreet.com) and hosts a great internet radio show called College Life 101 on wsradio.com.

Following the YES!Circle motto of asking for what we want, I announced my need for visibility, which lead to my interview on Mindy's show on Happy Dating/Healthy Relationships. I was again interviewed on her show about Money Management for the College Budget on inexpensive but meaningful dating ideas. It was a win/win with Mindy getting a knowledgeable guest speaker for her show and me getting more exposure for my business.

Networking at Yes!Circle made it happen. Thanks Margarita!"

- Kevin Decker, www.InspirationPoint.com

Editor's Request: We constantly get comments about the difference the YES!Circle has made in your lives and businesses. If your participation in the YES!Circle has translated to a new connection, idea, opportunity... please send your "success story" to margarita@yescircle.org.

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4. Event Highlight - Tax-Saver Success Lab
By Anne McDonough
On November 19th, the YES!Circle addressed an issue that butts heads with the creative ideas of every entrepreneur: taxes and accounting. Luckily, our panel of tax gurus - Ted Rose, head of Rose Financial Services, and Laurie Siegel, CPA - was on hand to save the day with helpful tips and strategies.

Ted Rose introduced the PRICE Methodology, an clever acronym that addresses the various roles your accounting firm should play, including processing, reporting, internal controls, and economies of scale. Ted further broke down each of these general categories to explain exactly what they involve. For example, processing covers purchasing, processing payables, issuing payments, administering payroll, tracking fixed assets, reconciling balance sheet accounts, and closing the books monthly, quarterly and annually.

Once raw data - which doesn't in itself tell the entrepreneur much - is processed, it needs to be converted into information in the form of financial statements, management reports, and tax returns. An accounting department is also responsible for internal controls, which prevent fraud, ensure the proper coding of expenses for various purposes (no more expensing personal movie stubs as "client entertainment!"), and make sure that everything financial is running on the up-and-up. Add in tax planning, investing in office space and equipment, and you'll understand why Ted suggests outsourcing your accounting needs so that someone else can take care of the financial headaches while you concentrate on developing your business.

But for those who don't have the resources to contract a financial services company, have no fear. Laurie Siegel had plenty of tips to offer those filing a Schedule C as a sole proprietor:

  • Don't forget to file the Master Business license (or your district's equivalent).
  • Always, always keep a separate bank account for your business to avoid what the IRS terms "co-mingling."
  • Home office deduction hint: if you keep a television and a bed in your home "office" you're probably stretching it-home office use has to be regular and exclusive.
  • There is a bit of room for creativity: you can expense equipment or furniture bought for office use and deduct business-related expenses, even if they are still financed by your credit card.
  • It's kosher to deduct travel expenses if the trip was primarily a business arrangement (i.e. at least 4 hours of business conducted per travel day).
Other helpful accounting tidbits from Laurie:
  • 401(k) contribution limit has been increased to $11,000
  • ROTH IRA and IRA limits have increased to $3,000 and $3,500 for the over-50 set
  • Contemplate getting rid of stocks that have posted losses in order to offset the gains
  • Rates for tax brackets have increased slightly (now they're 10%, 15%, 27%, 35% and 38.6%)
  • Mileage deductions are $.365/mile for business, $.14/mile for medical circumstances, and $.13/mile for charitable activities.
  • Non-business bad debt, such as a loan to a friend that they won't pay back, can now be considered a short-term capital loss
The meeting concluded with the traditional "ask for what you want" round robin and a barrage of further questions for the evening's presenter.

For more information, contact Ted Rose at Rose Financial Services, LLC (www.rosefinancial.com) at (301) 545-1120 x204 or ted.rose@rosefinancial.com and Laurie Siegel (www.TaxBeacon.com/Siegel) at (703) 920-9444 or Laurie.Siegel@Verizon.Net.

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