Small Business Reading Room

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Text Message Advertising

Ok, picture this: you're standing on a subway platform waiting for your train, and hear your phone's messaging ring, you take out your phone and open it up only to be horribly disappointed to find out that it is merely an advertising text message trying to sell you the latest Audi automobile.

Well, these times are officially upon us. The world of marketing never ceases to amaze me with their attitude that they can just completely inundate the consumer at every possible point and in every possible way.

I recently came across an article on CNN that said the companies are starting to use text messaging as a means of advertising. The world of advertising has officially reached a new low.

That Audi story is also completely true. However, this is just one example.

Here's another example. Westfield, a major mall owning company, is doing research into using text messaging advertisements in there malls.

Westfield believes it will help profits for their retailers and at the same time benefit the consumer.

However, the logic just isn't there. Most people go to the mall knowing what stores are in that mall, and knowing which stores they would like to shop at. Even if you don't have a particular item you are looking for and are just there to wander around and perhaps buy something, you still have a set list of stores you like to shop in.

Text messages would just be invasive. Picture a teenage girl shopping in a mall. They could get text messages from tons of different stores most of which she would not be interested in, and besides that, unless the text message is advertising some great sale its completely useless, because most people know what stores are in the mall to begin with.

Another problem here is the fact that text messages cost money. Even to just receive a text message costs money. This probably will not sit well with many people, especially when they go to the mall and are bombarded by text messages from multiple stores.

Well, if I haven't made it obvious already, I do not agree with text message advertising, never have, and never will. I will completely ignore all text advertises I may receive, and I will stop shopping at those retailers.

Somebody please get a National Do Not Text Registry started, and sign me up.

Written By: Frank Molfetta

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Inventors, Inventions, Innovators & Small Business

I'm just about reality showed to death.

If ABC had aired their latest and greatest American Inventor reality series a few years sooner, they may have gained me as a viewer. After all, I do have a certain affection and a tremendous amount of respect for entrepreneurs and the small business person.

Could you imagine life without some of these important innovations by U.S. Small firms in the 20th Century?

  • Quick-Frozen Food

  • Oral Contraceptives

  • The Zipper

I didn't even mention some really big ones like the personal computer or hydraulic brake fluid.

You may be surprised to learn that some of the things that we really depend on as a society all thanks to the little guys.

To learn more check out this fact sheet recently released by the SBA.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Businesses Encouraged to Submit Tax Issues for Resolution Program

How many of you business owners out there have tax issues you would like to bring up to the IRS?

Here's your chance.

Business taxpayers and associations may seek resolution of problematic tax issues through the Internal Revenue Service's Industry Issue Resolution (IIR) Program. Submissions received by March 31, 2006, of business tax issues where the tax treatment is uncertain, frequently disputed or burdensome will be considered for IIR project selection and inclusion in the 2006-2007 Treasury and IRS Guidance Priority List.

The objective of the IIR program is to resolve business tax issues common to significant numbers of taxpayers through new guidance. In past years, issues have been submitted by associations and others representing both small and large business taxpayers, resulting in tax guidance that has affected thousands of business taxpayers engaged in a variety of industries. For example:

  • Allowing companies to reduce administrative burden by signing employment tax returns by facsimile. (Rev Proc 2005-39)

For each issue selected, an IIR team of IRS and Treasury personnel gather relevant facts from taxpayers or other interested parties affected by the issue. The goal is to recommend guidance to resolve the issue. This benefits both taxpayers and the IRS by saving time and expense that would otherwise be expended on resolving the issue through examinations.

For those who want to know (or those who have trouble sleeping) the IIR Project submission procedures and selection criteria are described in Revenue Procedure 2003-36. However, if you have less time and motivation, you can review this concise summary of submission procedures.

The IRS reviews submissions semi-annually, after March 31 and August 31 each year.

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