Category Archives: Business News

Smarting from poor returns in the markets, ultrawealthy increase their investments in small businesses

It’s not unusual for America’s wealthiest individuals to invest through angel groups or sit on boards at venture capital firms. But these days the superrich also want to own and operate small companies where their deep pockets and powerful networks can create growth, says Mindy Rosenthal, executive director of the Institute for Private Investors in New York

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How to Make a Brilliant Mistake

Everyone makes mistakes—every entrepreneur, every business leader, every employee. The mark of a great company isn’t that it avoids failures—that’s impossible—but that it has the wisdom to take full advantage of them.

Behavioral economics tells us that we humans are short-sighted by nature. We are wired to seek out evidence that confirms what we already believe and to ignore evidence that contradicts it. On top of that, we are usually overconfident, thinking we know more than we do and underestimating how much we don’t know.  This leads to tunnel vision and myopic judgments. The great virtue of mistakes, whether by accident or design, is that they widen your range of experience and shrink your ego—and thereby open you to discoveries you’d otherwise never make

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Office tenants losing leverage over landlords

If you rent space in an office building and want to move, you’d better act sooner than later.

That’s the advice of office experts who see declining vacancy rates over the next two or three years and very little new construction.

“2012 will not be the year when most landlords gain the upper hand in lease negotiations,” said research analyst Joel Warsh in his 2012 forecast from the Grubb & Ellis’ local commercial brokerage office. “Tenants, however, will see some of their leverage slip as vacancy decreases to an overall figure marginally less than 17 percent.”

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You Are Only as Good as Your Vendor

When Joy Randel set out to build an online retail shop last year, one of the first steps she took was to find companies that could provide the products she wanted to sell.

But Ms. Randel says some of the suppliers she initially struck deals with for her start-up, Dazzle Dog Delight, did a lousy job that cost her sales. “They either sent out the wrong items or the packaging was terrible,” recalls the Oakland, Calif., entrepreneur, who started her business after getting laid off from a large health company.

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More Tax-Law Changes for 2012

Here are a few more:

  • Federal income tax-bracket  For a married couple filing a joint return, the taxable-income threshold separating the 15% bracket from the 25% bracket is $70,700 for this year, up from $69,000 for 2011.
  • The standard deduction is up slightly. For singles, the basic deduction amount for this year is $5,950, up from $5,800 last year. For married couples, it’s $11,900, up from $11,600 in 2011. There are additional amounts for those who are 65 or over, blind or both.
  • The  dependent exemption is $3,800 for 2012, up by $100 from 2011.
  • The maximum  earned income tax credit for low- and moderate-income workers and working families rose to $5,891 for 2012, from $5,751 in 2011. The maximum income limit for the EITC rose to $50,270 from $49,078 in 2011.
  • The foreign earned income exclusion  rose to $95,100 from $92,900 for 2011.
  • The IRS’s optional standard mileage rate for using your car for business remain unchanged at 55.5 cents for 2012.  Drivers have a choice of using this rate or deducting the business portion of actual expenses.