On this edition of Coworker Corner, we introduce you to Tony Perona.  Tony is an author and an incredible community member.  He was the first Annual Member to join Level Two Coworking and was a ardent believer in our mission before we even had a space.

Tony’s main gig these days is writing books and short stories in the mystery genre as a solo author and with daughter Liz Dombrosky.  Together the team has published 7 published books as a part of 2 beloved series including the Bucket List Mysteries!  In addition to being co-author of the Bucket List mystery series, Tony writes the Nick Bertetto mystery series, authored the standalone thriller The Final Mayan Prophecy with Paul Skorich, and was co-editor and contributor to the anthologies Racing Can Be Murder and Hoosier Hoops & Hijinks. Tony is a member of Mystery Writers of America and has served the organization as a member of the Board of Directors and as Treasurer. He is also a member of Sisters-in-Crime.

Tony has also been gracious enough to give our readers access to “The Land Grab”, which is a short story from the Bucket List Mystery series.  You can find access to that short story here. 

Tony was a Guilford Township Board Member and actually served as the Deputy Town Manager of Plainfield for several years.  Currently, Tony is enjoying retired life where he seeks out adventures and hiking with his wife Debbie.  He also loves spending time with his grand children and volunteering at a food rescue operation and with his church.

If you would like to learn more about Tony and his writing, you can visit his website here.  

My IT Indy Ryan Grimes

 

Today on our Coworker Corner, we will introduce you to Ryan Grimes. Ryan has been a member of Level Two Coworking since shortly after we opened late in 2018 and has supported the vision even longer than that. Ryan started his business My IT Indy in 2004 which soon became a leader in the IT services field by helping businesses become more efficient and profitable through the use of technology.  They specialize in managing both Macs and Windows environments and best of all, they will help manage your business technology which allows you to do what you do best, run your business.  Some of the services that My IT Indy provides include:

  • ITAAS (IT As A Service) for your business
  • Microsoft Office 365 licensing
  • Hosted servers and infrastructure
  • Onsite/remote support
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Networking
  • Security for your Technology
  • Business consulting

Ryan is also a Plainfield resident, a soccer and band dad and an all around great guy, and we are lucky to have him.  Recently, Ryan has worked on different mediums to educate the public about issues with IT including using Facebook Live, Clubhouse, and more.  Here is a recent video he shot discussing how not to get Phished, which is something that is incredibly important as we utilize more and more technology. 

If you need help with updating the technology in your business or would like to hire a professional to help you with these details then please feel free to reach out to Ryan at info@myitindy.com.

4 Essential Steps in Starting a New Business

Many people decide to start their own business, as a way to follow their passion, be flexible in the ways they work and in control of how many hours they do. It is important, however, to note that having your own business will be a simple journey that requires little work from you.

Starting a business

You must be prepared to put in a lot of work, especially upfront when starting up the business. This can make the difference between a successful business that is able to expand, and a company that will result in a significant financial loss for you. In this article, we will discuss four essential steps in starting a new business, so that you are adequately prepared and more likely to achieve success.

1.  Research The Market

The very first thing you need to do is to research the market. This will provide you with an idea of any gaps in the industry as well as what competitors in the field already do. This will allow you to make a decision on what niche to focus on as well as identify your target audience so that you have more chances of building a successful business.

2.  Devise a Business Plan

Every business starts with an idea, but in order for you to bring it to life you must develop a business plan beforehand. This business plan should entail what your vision is for the business and what steps will be required of you to take in order to make your dream come true. This plan is very helpful as it will put a guide in place, which you can continuously change and adapt if needed.

3.  Consider Incorporating Your Business

There are different business structures you adapt to when starting your business. It is very important that you are aware of what these are so that you can make an informed decision on what you want. One of the most common structures include incorporating your business, which essentially comprises your company becoming a separate legal entity from you. This can be a complicated process filled with legalities and jargon and how you do it also depends on where you live. If you are planning on forming an LLC in Indiana, for example, you will need to consult with legal professionals in that area so that you follow the local rules and regulations.

4.  Decide on an Office Space

Having a business often requires a designated space where you can do this, even if your business is mainly done online. Working environment is imperative as it builds team spirit and efficiency. You do not have to have a lot of space, particularly as you first start your business. If you are lucky enough to have the financial means, look for office spaces in your area, that will be enough for what you require. Having this separate from your home will also increase the levels of positive balance between work and home life.

Remote Work

Building a new business is not always an easy journey, as there are many things to consider and you will be constantly learning and adapting. However, it can bring so many benefits to you if you follow the appropriate steps. This page should provide you with an overview of essential steps in starting a new business, so that you have higher chances of succeeding. 

As COVID-19 continues to reek havoc on the budgets of Nonprofit Organizations, many are looking for ways to cut overhead costs while still retaining funds for programming and continuing the mission of the organization.  One way to do this is to utilizing a Coworking Space, which have been growing in popularity over the last several years, and can be found within a 20 minute drive from most populated areas.  Here are just a few benefits that becoming a member of a Coworking Space can provide your nonprofit organization.

  1. A Coworking Space Can Help Your Nonprofit Save Money– Rent and Mortgages can be expensive, not to mention the cost of maintenance, utilities and all of the other ongoing costs that come along with having your own office.  Coworking spaces provide a lot of the perks of having your own office such as providing Secure WIFI, private meeting rooms, printing, a kitchen, and even a professional address.  These services can be had usually for a flat monthly rate, which could save your organization a lot of money in ongoing costs.  In fact locally, the Girl Scouts of Central Indiana have started to utilize coworkingspaces to save money on overhead so they can spend more on programming. Level Two Inc is one of the coworking spaces that the Girl Scouts have utilized to save 6 figures annually!
  2. A Unique Perspective for Your Nonprofit – Not only do Coworking Spaces come with printing and WIFI, but their best attribute is their built in community.  This community is comprised of individuals from many different backgrounds with all kinds of expertise.  With entrepreneurs, freelancers, remote employees and more, this community can help your team members by providing unique perspectives and refreshing point of views.  Community members also can serve as a impromptu focus group when your nonprofit is dealing with a tough issue or updating marketing materials.  There is often a feeling of collaboration and comradery between members of a coworking space, as we all want to see each other succeed.
  3. An Expanded Network for Your Nonprofit- While the community at a coworking space can provide unique perspectives, they can also provide your nonprofit with new donors or potential volunteers and Board Members.  Since the community members often come from diverse backgrounds, they often have completely different networks they associate with.  As your organization grows alongside the other businesses in the space, the relationships will tend to grow as well, which can lead to them buying into your mission and sharing it with their networks.  In fact in a 2015 Study , 82% of the members of coworking spaces felt like they had expanded their professional network while 79% said it had expanded their social network.
  4. Your Team Members Will Be Happier and More productive– Even before the pandemic, the trend of remote work was growing.  Purpose and flexibility have become more important than salary.  These trends along with technology gains have lead to employers allowing more and more employees to work remotely.  And while remote work can be great, it can also feel isolating, which is something we all have discovered in 2020.  This feeling of isolation is much less present in remote workers who work out of coworking spaces.  The 2015 study sited previously reported that 89% of the respondents said they were happier after joining a coworking space, while 83% were less lonely and a full 78% said that working in the coworking space “kept them sane” (they must have had young kids at home).  These social effects also had a productivity benefit, 84% of the coworkers surveyed said they were more engaged and motivated when coworking, 69% said they feel more successful since joining a coworking space.  A happy employee is a productive employee!
  5. It Can Give your Nonprofit a Presence in New Markets – For growing nonprofits, coworking spaces can serve as satellite offices for much less cost or commitment.  Coworking Space contracts are often monthly or annual contracts, so if you would like to try out some test markets for your services, you can do so without too much opportunity cost.  It also will show that your organization is embracing current trends in the marketplace and is wise about spending on overhead.  Also, older organizations may have a desire to reduce costs or footprints of satellite offices while maintaining some type of physical presence, which could be done by grabbing a corporate membership to a coworking space in that community.

So Is a Coworking Space Right for Your Nonprofit?  While we have discussed 5 of the potential benefits, there are a couple of drawbacks to a coworking space.  First off, coworking spaces are shared, and while this gives you access to a wonderful community of diverse people full of unique perspectives, there are limits on privacy and storage space.  We have found though, that there are a few ways around this.  First off, as more items are going to the cloud, becoming a paperless nonprofit will help you become more sustainable as an organization.  Second, while coworking spaces may not have much storage space, storage units are much more cost effective than private offices.  Finally, while privacy may be an issue, most coworking spaces have private meeting rooms that can be booked ahead of time.  These rooms can serve as the privacy you need for a committee or Board Meeting.

Coworking spaces are great, and can provide your Nonprofit with incredible benefits, and while the overhead cost savings are tangible and REAL, the best benefits you get are the social aspects.

If you have any questions about our Coworking Space, do not hesitate to call us at 317-932-0369 or email me at John@LevelTwoCoworking.com.

 

 

 

While some banks are beginning to accept PPP Forgiveness applications, others are still waiting for more information from the SBA.  Also, while some banks are allowing forgiveness applications to be submitted when the loan proceeds are spent (such as TD Bank), still others are waiting until your covered period is over (Bank of America), and there are even more banks that are only accepting forgiveness applications via email invitation in order to provide “better customer service.”  It is important to note that your particular covered period could be 8 or 24 weeks, depending on which election you choose when you apply for forgiveness, and your particular situation.  Due to the updated guidance for the Independent Contractors, Freelancers, and those who are self-employed issued in June, these individuals may wish to choose the longer covered period to obtain forgiveness more easily.  Here is a segment of the guidance:

The SBA and Department of Treasury had “determined that it is appropriate to limit the forgiveness of owner compensation replacement for individuals with self-employment income who file a Schedule C or F to either eight weeks’ worth (8/52) of 2019 net profit (up to $15,385) for an eight-week covered period or 2.5 months’ worth (2.5/12) of 2019 net profit (up to $20,833) for a 24-week covered period per owner in total across all businesses.”

This means that if you do not have a lot of covered expenses like rent, business mortgage interest, or utilities, you can opt for the extended covered period of 24 weeks (instead of the original 8) and will most likely receive full forgiveness.

Keep in mind that banks may be slowly rolling out forgiveness due to the provision that once the application for forgiveness has been submitted, they only have 60 days to make a ruling on that application.  Here is where we get some good news.

Due to the potential log jam in making ruling on these smaller loans, on October 8th the SBA and Department of the Treasury issued a new streamlined forgiveness application that is only 2 pages.  This application (Form 3508 S) can be utilized by those companies who have received PPP Loans of $50,000 and less.  While you will still need to send in supporting documentation with this streamlined application, the hope is that the turn around time will be much much quicker, and your administrative headache will be much smaller.

If you are an Independent Contractor, sole proprietor or self-employed your documentation could also be much easier with this new streamlined application.  According to this Bench.co article:  “you are eligible to take owner compensation replacement (OCR). If you are taking OCR, you will have to provide your 2019 Schedule C (or a drafted Schedule C for January to February 2020 reviewed or prepared by a CPA if you started your business after June 2019). Your forgiveness amount will be based on the 2019 Schedule C or drafted January to February 2020 Schedule C provided. You can calculate this number by taking 8/52 or 24/52 (depending on your covered period) of the net income reported on line 31 of the Schedule C.”

We continue to get more information about this program, and as we do we will work to keep you all informed.  As always, please keep in touch with your bank to the extent that you can, and make sure that your CPA’s and other advisors are kept up to date.

Have a great week, and best of luck!

While Level Two Inc has a wonderful coworking space, we want you to know that we are more than that.  We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization with a mission to foster entrepreneurship and cultivate growth in small business by providing space, networking, and educational opportunities.  I mean sure we have a great space with 5,000 sq ft of amenities at The Shops at Perry Crossing in Plainfield with private meeting rooms, speedy and secure WIFI, and a kitchen with coffee and teas, but we also have a community of peers here that can support you and help you through the difficulties of entrepreneurship.  Right now we are feeling more isolated than ever, and having a place to go to get work done in a productive and collaborative environment can do wonders for you.

Shared Office Space

Join Level Two

We also provide networking and educational opportunities.  For instance just last week we did a Happy Hour on the patio of Brew Link, a local brewery and eatery, in partnership with the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce and Junto (a local professionals club).  This week we are hosting the Plainfield Small Business Roundtable, which is open to our members as well.  We also provide educational opportunities for you to start and grow your business.  This week on Wednesday we are hosting a free Livestream directly from Google called Sell Online this Holiday Season, where you can learn how to set up an online store with Shopify and lest products directly on Google.

Level Two also serves as a source of much needed information.  Our blog (which you are reading now), newsletter and Facebook page sends out up to date information and resources for you.  These topics include great resources for you to be more productive, information on the PPP program and other legislation, and more.  For instance, did you know that there is new PPP forgiveness guidance out for PPP loans under $50,000 or that Indiana expanded its criteria for the Restart Grant to include small businesses who had received PPP or EIDL funds?  We put both of these out, and hopefully have had businesses benefit from them.

Finally, Level Two is a partner with other organizations.  We partner with the SBA and have contacts there to bring you information on small business funding.  Our partnership with the Indy Chamber’s Business Ownership Initiative allowed us to host a free business coach at Level Two pre-COVID-19, but we also could point you to their Microloans and other programs that they offer.  Our partnership with the Indiana Small Business Development Center can also let us point you to those with expertise in business coaching and valuations, as well as the strategy and market research your startup needs to thrive!  Finally, our relationship with SCORE can help give our local entrepreneurs access to the Mentorship they will need to get them to the next level in their business.

These are just a few things that the Level Two Inc organization has to offer.  If you know of anything else that may benefit our local entrepreneurs or startups, we ask that you contact us and let us know your thoughts, so that we can help make Hendricks County and our surrounding areas in Indy and Mooresville a successful hub of Small Business growth and entrepreneurship!

Here are some additional Grant and Loan opportunities for our Local Businesses, along with some new Webinars that you may want to check out.

Small Business Grants

LISC Small Business Relief Grant Round 5- Due by August 3.

Applicants may apply for one business only and must be 18 years of age to apply. For business owners with multiple businesses, please complete this application based on your largest business owned. Each grant is limited to one individual/business.

What are the size of the awards?
Grants will be made in amounts ranging from $5,000 to $20,000. LISC will use the funding to provide grants to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19.

What can the grant be used for?

  • Payables to include rent and utilities
  • Meeting payroll (to include the applicant)
  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors
  • Other immediate operational costs

The Grantee shall fully comply with all applicable federal, state, local (and any other governmental) laws, executive orders, rules, and regulations in connection with its use of grant funds.

Awards will be made to qualified businesses, and eligibility is based on accurate and complete submission. Priority will be given especially to entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically under-served places who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital.

All awardees will have to certify that they are promoting the best interests of the community and are negatively impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Kiva 0% Interest crowd funded Microloans of up to $15,000

Businesses in the LISC network are eligible for matching funds from LISC that match loans from the crowd dollar for dollar through the platform.

Businesses can apply for both the LISC grant and the loans, and are encouraged to contact indianapolis@local.kiva.org to let them know of the LISC referral once an application has been submitted in order to be eligible for the match.

Upcoming Webinars

20 Cyber Topics in 20 Weeks Series – SBA

Thursday July 30th at 11:00 am

Under the leadership of the Indiana Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Purdue MEP and many Indiana cybersecurity providers have developed a series of essential cybersecurity topics. 20 cybersecurity topics in 20 weeks is an effort to provide Indiana businesses with the training needed to achieve CMMC Level 1/basic small business information security and to improve the Indiana DIB’s cyber-health. In addition to live webinars, all of the presentations will be recorded to create a library of cyber information that clients can view when they do have the time to focus on cyber health and defense acquisition regulation compliance. 20 weeks of cybersecurity training will begin this month and run through December 2020. These training sessions will be delivered by a wide-range of Indiana cybersecurity providers; Purdue cyberTAP, Sterlyn Group, TCC Solutions, Lifeline Data Centers, RevealRisk, AME Group, Sondhi Solutions, IU Health and more! Cost? This training is free!

3 Tips to Publish Your Website With Confidence – SCORE

Thursday July 30th at 1:00 pm.

With the world changing every day, publishing and updating your website can feel like a daunting task.

Even with a template that takes care of the look and feel of your website, you still need to create the content for your pages that reflects current events and COVID guidelines surrounding your business.

It’s easy once you know where to focus. You can publish your website quickly with just the essential pages you need to get yourself online.

Join us for this presentation led by Jenna Shaffer with Constant Contact, where she’ll show you the best practices on:

  • 4 questions your homepage must answer before you hit publish
  • The real purpose of your about page and how to create one your visitors want to read
  • How to make it easy for visitors to find and contact you
  • Tips for using images on these pages
  • eCommerce and shopping cart landing pages
  • And more…

Use Test My Site to Optimize Your Website – GOOGLE

Thursday July 30th at 3:00 pm

Join us for a deep dive on how to use Google’s free Test My Site tool to help optimize your website. In this session, we’ll be joined by Billal Qureshi, Performance Lead for Mobile Experiences at Google, who will take you through the process of diagnosing site issues using Test My Site. You’ll learn simple steps that have helped others increase conversions and lower bounce rates, all while creating the best user experience possible. No coding is required — just bring a healthy appetite for discovering new ways to make the best of your landing pages.

Products: Test My Site
Difficulty Level: Introductory

Thursday July 30th 6:00 pm

The Business Ownership 101 workshop outlines four critical stages of business development. It will help shape your business idea, share a variety of resources in each stage, and create next steps needed to launch and/or grow. The workshop will also give you time to ask questions and learn from others who are looking to launch a business. This is the first step on your path to becoming a successful business owner!

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

New PPP Loan Forgiveness for Small Business Tool Released by AICPA

Recently, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants launched a new platform geared towards helping small businesses work on PPP forgiveness.  This platform can be found at PPPForgivenessTool.com.  “We are now incorporating our PPP calculation and process recommendations into a dynamic PPP Forgiveness Tool to help drive a simple and effective forgiveness process,” said Erik Asgeirsson, president and CEO of CPA.com. “Our broader goal with this tool is to also to help drive a common approach to this process with the payroll and lender communities.”

Hopefully this new tool will help our local small businesses and entrepreneurs fill out the PPP Forgiveness Application 3508 or 3508 EZ, while cutting down on the extra stress that paperwork can cause in this already stressful time.  You should also remember that “final Treasury and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) FAQs on PPP forgiveness are expected to be released soon, and the PPP loan forgiveness tool will be updated to reflect any new changes. Based on this, the AICPA recommends that borrowers and CPA firms wait for the final guidance before generating the final signed Form 3508.”