Project Description

How to Walk the Tightrope When Raising Prices

Raising prices can be fraught with risk during good economic times. So what happens if you try to raise prices during bad economic times?

As Hamlet would say, “Ah, there’s the rub.” If you raise prices, you risk losing clients to competitors. If you don’t, decreasing revenue or rising costs can capsize your company. So what’s a small business supposed to do?

The Art of Pricing

Raising (and, sometimes, even lowering) prices can be a balancing act. As with any major business decision, pricing should take into account various factors. Here are several to consider.

Analyze costs. First, you need to carefully analyze the costs needed to bring your products or services to market. Such expenses might include raw materials, storage, personnel, advertising, delivery, rent, equipment, taxes and insurance. Failure to cover all these costs in your price will inevitably lead to shrinking profits.

Establish profit margin. Next, it’s important to establish an acceptable profit margin. This is where the art of pricing begins. To find your company’s sweet spot with regards to pricing, consider researching competitors in your region to determine their pricing for comparable products, raising your finger to the wind to discern the business climate and asking your customers about their preferences.

Listen to your customers. Your customers will tell you if you raised prices too high. They’ll either continue to buy your product or seek out a competitor.

Consider incremental price increases. Small, incremental price increases tend to be more palatable to customers than a few large changes. We see this every day in the rising cost of gasoline, utilities and taxes. Many customers can handle incremental inflation…just don’t shock them with a huge increase all at once.

When considering pricing, it’s important to take a long, hard look at both your costs and the quality of your products and services. Customers will generally pay a premium for goods and services that provide greater value. Successful business owners endeavor to increase both the actual quality of their products and the perception of that quality in the minds of customers. Do both well, and a price increase may be in order.

 

Retirement Savings Tips for Small Business Owners

As an owner of a small business, you’ve proven that you’re a self-starter by operating a successful private enterprise. Of equal importance is applying your skills towards saving for your future. Here are some of the most popular tax-advantaged retirement vehicles for small business owners in 2020 and some tips on saving for retirement.

Options if you’re not currently enrolled in a plan

For small business owners not currently enrolled in a retirement plan, here are three of the most popular retirement account options:

  • Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA Account. Contribute as much as 25% of your business’s net profit up to $57,000 for 2020.
  • 401(k) Plan. Contribute up to $57,000 of your salary and/or your business’s net profit.
  • Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA Account. You can put all your business’s net profit in the plan, up to $13,500 plus an additional $3,000 if you’re 50 or older.

Which plan should you choose? SEP and SIMPLE IRAs are ideal for either sole proprietors or really small businesses (no more than one or two dozen employees). Due to higher administrative costs, 401(k) plans are usually more suited for larger small businesses (more than one or two dozen employees).

Tips to maximize your retirement contributions

For small business owners who are currently enrolled in a retirement plan, here are some suggestions for maximizing your annual contributions into your retirement accounts:

Pay yourself first. Instead of funding your retirement account with whatever is left over after paying your monthly bills, decide at the beginning of each month how much you want to set aside to fund your retirement. Make funding your retirement each month as important as your other bills. Then assume that you pay your retirement bill first. If you run out of money before paying all your bills, decide if there are any expenses that can be pared back for subsequent months so you can meet your monthly retirement savings goal.

List your retirement contributions on your income statement. It is easy to forget about retirement planning when running the day-to-day operations of your business. To keep retirement contributions top-of-mind, record these as a separate line item on your business’s income statement.

Review your tax situation at least twice a year. Tax planning is now more important than ever with the uncertainty caused by the recent pandemic. So review your tax situation at least twice every 12 months to see how to maximize each year’s retirement contributions.

As always, should you have any questions or concerns regarding your tax situation please feel free to call.