When Are Estimated Tax Payments Due in 2013?

If you’re a business owner in the United States, most likely you pay estimated tax payments 4 times a year. Here are the days when the payments are due this year:

Fourth Quarter

Tuesday, January 15

First Quarter

Monday, April 15

Second Quarter

Monday, June 17 (The usual day when this payment is due is June 15, but that happens to fall on a Saturday this year. In that case, the deadline is extended to the following business day, which is Monday, June 17.)

Third Quarter

Monday, September 16 (The usual day when this payment is due is September 15, but that happens to fall on a Sunday this year. In that case, the deadline is extended to the following business day, which is Monday, September 16.)

These dates indicate the day by which the estimated tax payment needs to be mailed (postmarked), so it’s okay to mail on the day that it’s due (provided you do so in time to get a postmark from that day).

If the day when the payment is due falls on a weekend or an official holiday, then you can mail the payment the following business day, and it will still be counted as being on time.

By the way, that tax payment in January is actually for the last quarter in 2012, in case you were wondering.

Men Who Built America: Strengthening Areas Of Weakness By Outsourcing

I am not a history buff by a long shot, but that show “Men Who Built America” on History Channel has me hooked. I am fascinated by the personalities of Carnegie, Rockefeller, J.P. Morgan, and the others. It’s really opened my eyes to what goes into being a trailblazer and phenomenally successful entrepreneur.

There was one lesson that really stood out to me:

These titans of business would look for business associates who had totally different skill sets from themselves. By adding someone to the team who could do things that they could not, the company developed an edge that it wouldn’t have otherwise.

These men were good at recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and were also good at identifying people who were strong where they were weak.

Several of the modern day business titans interviewed for the TV series agreed that that is how business partnerships today are made as well–you want to work with someone who is good at the things that you’re not good at.

That is also what wise people do who enlist the services of a virtual assistant. They know they are not administrative people–their skills lie in another area. So, instead of spending time trying to do something that they’re not cut out to do, they outsource the parts of their business that someone would do better. That is when the business starts to really take off.

I am an organizer, a teacher, a writer, a customer relations specialist, and administrative get-er-doner. A person with a successful business would not necessarily be strong in those areas, but yet he or she needs someone who is so that the business can thrive.

I knew that principle was at work between me and my clients, but I didn’t realize that it was a principle that legendary business moguls used to get ahead. Really, if they didn’t seek out others who had different strengths from themselves, they would have never accomplished the amazing things they did.

These men from “The Men Who Built America” may have been lone rangers in their personal work styles, but they were not afraid to outsource work to others.

Here are some other things I’ve learned from the “Men Who Build America” series:

  • These men don’t necessarily invent things, but they are good at spotting a good invention and making it so that that invention can make money on an ongoing basis. Carnegie didn’t invent steel or the machine that could refine steel. Instead he searched for the person who had already done that, and he used that invention to make his own steel plants. Interestingly, Carnegie probably made much more money than the original person who figured how to make the steel.
  • They are good at convincing people to invest money in their ideas, and they are willing to risk everything for their idea. They are not careful–they really are risk takers and place everything on the line.
  • They thrive on competition. I get the impression that business is a big game to them, and their goal in life is to win at all costs. Competitors spur them on and make the game fun.
  • They seem less concerned with making money and more concerned with winning. The money is just a tool in the game, a measurement of who is winning.
  • They are never satisfied. No matter how much money they have or how big their business is, they always want to raise the stakes.
  • They think about “going down in history” and leaving a legacy. It is very important to them that they are remembered.
  • They are trying to prove something to themselves and others. The movie went into the motivations of each man. For example, Carnegie came from a very poor family and he had to be the breadwinner from a young age. That early experience really drove him to succeed in business. He never forgot the bad experiences in his life. Rather, he used them to spur him on.
  • All of these men were optimists. When bad breaks happened or things didn’t go their way, they didn’t give up, but rather took it as an opportunity to come up with a different solution. They always believed there was a way for them to win.

In case you haven’t seen the show, here is a clip from the History Channel called “Traits Of A Titan”. (There may be a commercial at the beginning, but you can skip it after a few seconds):

Virtual Teams and Small Businesses: Procedure Manuals Are A Must!

You might think, “It’s just me and my virtual assistant–why do we need to have a procedure manual?”

Even if it’s just the two of you, it is still a great investment in your business to start compiling a procedure manual. Why?

Here are 5 reasons why you should start building a procedure manual today:

1 – For one thing, it is a teaching aid.

You assemble the procedure one time, and then every time you or your virtual assistant does the task, you can just look at your procedure manual to see the step-by-step instructions on how to do things.

2 – It helps keep you in the loop.

As your virtual assistant takes on more and more of your work, she may be doing things that you haven’t done before or things that you’re not that familiar with. By having a procedure manual in place, you will be able to do what your virtual assistant does, if needed.

3 – It helps you plan for the future expansion of your team.

As your business grows, roles may change in your business. Your virtual assistant may start out doing some things that you later want to assign to someone else. If you have a procedure manual in place, the integration of new team members is relatively seamless.

4 – It helps you present a consistent business “face” and message to your clients.

This is especially true when it comes to customer service. You will most likely have “frequently asked questions” (FAQs) that come in via customer support. By having a FAQs section of your procedure manual, the same answer can be given for whenever a customer asks a common question. That way you aren’t giving out conflicting information. It also saves you time because you (or your virtual assistant) don’t have to start from scratch formulating a reply every time a particular question comes in.

5 – It keeps the level of the work that’s done in your business consistent.

No matter who is doing the work, whether it’s you, your VA, or another member of your team, if the person follows the step-by-step instructions, the product of each person’s work should be relatively similar.

So, it may be just you and your virtual assistant right now, but who knows how your business will expand over the next 5 years? Why not build your business so that it can easily grow and expand?

Are you convinced that you need to start compiling a procedure manual? Next time we’ll cover how to go about creating one.