Well, it doesn’t look as if the minimum wage increase is happening.

But all kinds of other interesting nuggets are inside the Senate version of the third stimulus package, the “American Rescue Plan” (i.e. the Biden stimulus).

Now, portions of unemployment are NOT taxable (when previously they had been); the actual stimulus payments have a very steep phaseout (between 150 and 160 K per year in a married filing joint returns situation) and lots of other goodies in there.

Nothing is final yet, and I’ll have more details once it is, but I *do* have a quick word of advice:

If your 2020 AGI is higher than your 2019, AND it might take you over the threshold, it is a very good idea to wait before filing your 2020 taxes. Current Harris County clients, we’re already on top of this for you … but this would be a very good thing to share with any Harris County friends of yours who do not regularly read this blog.

And, if any of them want to talk with us, we’re right here:
713-942-1040

(We’ve also been advising many Harris County businesses about the second draw of the PPP, about which I wrote last week.)

More to come from me on all of this once the actual legislation is signed. As of this writing, the Senate version of the third stimulus package has been sent back to the House to get the differences ironed into something final that will go to Biden’s desk for a signature.

And we’re on top of all of this for you, so rest easy.

But shifting gears a little, I did want to offer you a thought today.

Edward Gardner’s Third Stimulus Package Update
“A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.” – Richard Branson

Unfortunately, many small businesses brainlessly ape big corporations with their marketing, by (wrongly) believing that “if these huge companies built their businesses by that kind of marketing, then it surely should work for us.” Build the brand, they say.

The thinking behind that kind of marketing is that you “get your name out there,” and the clients and customers will pour in. “It’s all about word of mouth,” they say.

Well, if you choose to go down this road, far better is real word-of-mouth advertising.

And that is something that can actually be stimulated and stewarded. And one of the best companies to learn from about this is Disney, specifically about their parks.

(And this is still true in 2021, btw, with all of the health restrictions taken into account.)

Word-of-mouth marketing is taught there as “find ways to do what you do so well and so uniquely that your customers cannot resist telling lots of other people about you.” At the Disney Parks, this principle is implemented in the forms of cleanliness and authenticity.

When first-time visitors to Disneyland and Disney World are surveyed and asked what sticks in their mind most about their visit, the overwhelming, number-one answer is the cleanliness of the parks. The number two answer is the authenticity of the environments.

Disney marketing pros understand how this translates into real life. Tom and Sally go back to Peoria and tell their friends, “You can’t believe how clean the parks were!”

Then four more families from Peoria pile into motor homes and bring their family (and their money) to the home of the Mouse.

Because they understand this: the Disney people think of park cleanliness as marketing, not just maintenance. They use this to stimulate referrals.

And any business can also find ways to stimulate referrals, to stimulate word-of-mouth advertising, often by doing things that should be done anyway.

In a retail business, excellence and creativity in the store environment and in customer service are most likely to stimulate referrals. You can identify hundreds of different things to change in the office or store environment, as well as customer communications, which can be directly responsible for developing a very high level of word-of-mouth advertising.

And that will beat “brand-building” every time.

I’m grateful for our partnership and for your referrals.

Warmly,

Edward Gardner
(713) 942-1040
Edward M. Gardner PC CPA

 

Feel free to share this article with a Harris County area (or beyond!) business associate or client you know who could benefit from our assistance. While these particular articles usually relate to business strategy, as you know, we specialize in tax preparation and planning for families and business owners.