Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: What the Tax Reform Bill Means for You

Submitted by JMR & Company, LLC

Congress has passed tax reform that will take effect in 2018, ushering in some of the most significant tax changes in three decades. There are a lot of changes in the new bill, which was signed into law on Dec. 22, 2017.

Key changes for individuals:

Here are some of the key items in the tax reform bill that affect individuals:

  • Reduces income tax brackets: The bill retains seven brackets, but at reduced rates, with the highest tax bracket dropping to 37 percent from 39.6 percent. The individual income brackets are also expanded to expose more income to lower rates (see charts below).
  • Doubles standard deductions: The standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married filing jointly. To help cover the cost, personal exemptions and most additional standard deductions are suspended.
  • Limits itemized deductions: Many itemized deductions are no longer available, or are now limited. Here are some of the major examples:
    • Caps state and local tax deductions: State and local tax deductions are limited to $10,000 total for all property, income and sales taxes.
    • Caps mortgage interest deductions: For newly acquired homes, mortgage interest will be deductible only for mortgage indebtedness of no more than $750,000. Existing homeowners are unaffected by the new cap. The bill also suspends the deductibility of interest on equity debt.
    • Limit of theft and casualty losses: Deductions are now available only for federally declared disaster areas.
    • No more 2 percent miscellaneous deductions: Most miscellaneous deductions subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income threshold are now gone.
    • Tip: If you’re used to itemizing your return, that may change in coming years as the doubled standard deduction and reduced deductions make itemizing less attractive. To the extent you can, make any remaining itemizable expenditures before the end of 2017.
  • Cuts some above-the-line deductions: Moving expense deductions get eliminated except for active-duty military personnel, along with alimony deductions beginning in 2019.
  • Personal exemptions have been eliminated with the new tax bill.
  • Weakens the alternative minimum tax (AMT): The bill retains the alternative minimum tax but changes the exemption to $109,400 for joint filers and the phaseout threshold to $1 million. The changes mean the AMT will affect far fewer people than before.
  • Bumps up child tax credit, adds family tax credit: The child tax credit increases to $2,000 from $1,000, with $1,400 of it being refundable even if no tax is owed. The phaseout threshold increases sharply to $400,000 from $110,000 for joint filers, making it available to more taxpayers. Also, dependents ineligible for the child tax credit can qualify for a new $500-per-person family tax credit.
  • Expands use of 529 education savings plans: Tax-deductible contributions to 529 education savings plans can now be used to pay tuition for students in K-12 private schools.
  • Doubles estate tax exemption: Estate taxes will apply to even fewer people, with the exemption doubled to $11.2 million ($22.4 million for married couples).

What stays the same for individuals:

  • Itemized charitable deductions: Remain largely the same.
  • Itemized medical expense deductions: Remain largely the same. The deduction threshold drops back to 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income for 2017 and 2018, but reverts to 10 percent in the following years.
  • Some above-the-line deductions: Remain the same, including educator expenses and student loan interest.
  • Gift tax deduction: Remains and increases to $15,000 from $14,000 for 2018.
  • Kiddie tax threshold: Remains at $2,100 (amount of unearned income that can be taxed at your child’s lower tax rate).

Farewell to the healthcare individual mandate penalty

One of the changes in the tax bill is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) individual mandate penalty. The penalty is set to zero starting in 2019, but remains in place for 2018 and prior years.

  • Tip: Retain your Form 1095s this year, which will provide evidence of your healthcare coverage. Without it, you may have to pay the higher of $695 or 2.5 percent of income, though 2018 may be the last year you’ll need to worry about it.

For more information contact:

JMR & Company, LLC
Fall River Ph: 508-679-6079,
Fairhaven Ph: 508-993-2255
New Bedford Ph: 508-997-5556
Web: www.jmrcpas.com

 

 

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7 Things You Can Do to Land an Interview and Ace It

The interview is both the most elusive and the most stressful part of the job-hunting process. You can spend weeks desperately looking for one, and then when you have it, you can spend days worrying about it. However, interviews don’t have to be an absolute nightmare. Being smart about your applications and doing the correct research will ensure you arrive at your interview confident, positive, and well-prepared.

 

Tailor Your Applications

Yes, it’s tempting to send every job you see the same resume and cover letter, but what you gain in speed you lose in value. The first mistake people make is applying for jobs they are only vaguely qualified for (if at all). This is a waste of time for everyone involved. While irrelevant applications are useless, generic applications are usually boring and unremarkable. Have a template resume and cover letter for the formatting and formalities, but tailor each one to the specific job. This includes clearly referring to the job’s requirements as listed in the advert and showing that you understand the company and its goals. Check for basic mistakes like typos, a lack of focus, and unjustified periods of inactivity in your resume.

 

Follow Up

You don’t have to send a follow-up email to every job application you send out, but it’s definitely worth it for a job you genuinely think you are perfect for. It’s easy for an application to be lost in the crowd, so anything that makes you stand out is a plus. Make sure you keep it to only one phone call or email — you don’t want to come off as annoying.

 

Do Your Homework

So you’ve got your interview — what’s next? The single most important thing you need to do is your homework. Look up potential job interview questions they are likely to ask you, and don’t forget to have a few questions of your own. Find out about the industry and company, and print out your resume and/or portfolio just in case.

Arrive Early

Make sure you know exactly how you are getting to your interview, and if possible, do a trial run of the journey. Give yourself ample time to arrive there early — about 10 to 15 minutes is ideal, as anything more can be an inconvenience to them. Use this time wisely to make a good impression and put your mind in the right place.

 

Dress Up

When in doubt, overdress. For the vast majority of jobs, a suit for men and office wear for women is the way to go. If you are interviewing for a young and casual company, you can dress down somewhat, but you should still look neat and presentable. Indeed.com has advice on how to dress for every type of interview, including tips for business casual environments.

 

Smile And Chat

Professional but stiff is generally not a good look. We know interviews are stressful, but you should still do your best to seem personable and friendly — after all, managers hire people they like. Focus on maintaining a (genuine) smile throughout the conversation and work on your small talk to form a quick connection with the interviewer.

 

Follow Up (Again)

Very few interviewees do this, but it is always appreciated. A quick follow-up email when you get home from the interview (or the following day) shows good manners, reinforces your interest, and keeps communication open between you and the employer.

An interview may sound like an elaborate form of social torture, but it’s really just a conversation. The employer is trying to find out if you’re the person for the job, and convincing them shouldn’t be that hard if you are the person for the job. As long as you know what you can bring to the table and do your basic prep, everything should go smoothly.

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Member Spotlight: Ulshoeffer CPAs, PLLC

Ulshoeffer CPAs, PLLC was established in July 2018, by husband and wife Mike and Ashley Ulshoeffer. Located at 6 Water Street, Mattapoisett, MA, Ashley and Mike are dedicated in providing closely held businesses, families, and individuals a full range of advisory, accounting, and assurance services, alongside tax planning and tax compliance services. Together they have over 25 years of public accounting experience with time spent at both the large Boston-based public accounting firms as well as the local and regional firm level. Whether it be the preparation of annual tax returns or financial statements to sophisticated tax planning and advisory services, Ashley and Mike are able to offer the same high quality of services you and your business would get from a large national CPA firm but with the personal service and attention you’d find and deserve at a local CPA firm.

Today many local and regional CPA firm owners and advisors are moving into a stage of life where they are retiring and considering a more viable retirement option, which is to sell their practice to a larger CPA firm that has the ability to acquire and absorb such an acquisition. This however sometimes leaves closely held businesses, families, and individuals caught up in a bigger CPA firm setting where they don’t necessarily receive the attention and help they once had 100% of the time. Ulshoeffer CPAs, PLLC is uniquely positioned as your next generation of hardworking and enthusiastic advisors providing proactive, respectable, and complete solutions for your accounting and tax needs, 100% of the time.

Mike and Ashley grew up in small Massachusetts communities and decided to move to the South Coast to raise their family, closer to family and the ocean. Mike and Ashley both volunteer time to the Mariner Youth Soccer program.

To find out more information you can visit their website at ulshoeffercpas.com or email info@ulshcpas.com. They look forward to hearing from you!

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An Overview of Massachusetts’ “Grand Bargain”

In late June 2018, Massachusetts’ Governor, Charlie Baker, signed “An Act Relative to Minimum
Wage, Paid Family Medical Leave, and the Sales Tax Holiday,” more commonly known as the “Grand
Bargain.” As the Act’s long name suggests, the law raises minimum wage while eliminating
mandatory Sunday and holiday pay, introduces paid family medical leave, and establishes an annual
statewide sales tax holiday.

Read the full update here.

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Bristol County Chamber and SouthCoast Chamber Exploring Integration Opportunities

At meetings held separately of the Boards of Directors of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber, on December 19 and December 20 respectively, the Boards of both organizations agreed to establish a task force to explore and provide due diligence on the integration of the two organizations.


The task force, with appointed members from the Boards of each chamber, will spend six months reviewing opportunities for integration. Among stated goals of the task force are to maintain the identity and preserve the jobs of the current employees of each organization while providing members the resources and expertise of one organization that seeks to unite the South Coast region through effective advocacy, strong support for economic growth and workforce preparation, enhanced member value and ultimately efficiencies that derive from scale.


Brian LeComte, Chair of the Board of the Bristol County Chamber and a senior executive at Gold Medal Bakery, said, “Each Chamber brings definable and complementary strengths to the table. The goals of the exploration are to see how those strengths can potentially lead to a structure that provides the best possible service to all members, especially the small members that make up the vast majority of each chamber.” LeComte added, “There is no predetermined outcome to this examination by the task force. We are searching for the best possible outcomes and impacts for our members by executing the due diligence required.”


The task force will be reviewing financial information, member benefits, major and smaller events, governance and efficient use of existing staff. The goal is that the task force analysis will be complete by June 15, 2019 after which a single recommendation will come forward from the task force to each Board for consideration.


Kim Perry, Chair of the SouthCoast Chamber and a senior executive with Waring-Sullivan and Rock Funeral Homes, said, “This task force is perfectly timed. Both organizations are financially strong and have effective and committed volunteer and paid leadership. There has never been a better time to approach this discussion. At the end of the day, any decision is about what is best for the members of the Bristol County Chamber and the SouthCoast Chamber.”


The task force will be co-chaired by Mike O’Sullivan and Rick Kidder, CEOs of the two chambers and will include the following members – Rose Lopes of the Sylvia Group, Doug Glassman of ServPro (New Bedford and Fall River), Ron Ellis of Edward Jones, Doug Rodrigues of JMR Accounting, Catherine Dillon of BankFive, Carl Sawejko of Sawejko Communications and Bill Perkins of People Incorporated.

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We’ve moving!

If you’ve been by the Chamber office recently it’s plain to see that the SouthCoast Chamber is in moving mode. We will be moving to our new offices this week which are also located in downtown New Bedford.

New Address:

227 Union Street

Mezzanine 2

New Bedford, MA 02740

 We appreciate your patience during this time, as we will have limited access to internet on Dec. 13th & 14th. Our website will still be up, and access to your member profile and event registration will be available during this time.

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Small Business Saturday!

The SouthCoast Chamber and SouthCoast Media Group are thrilled to be Neighborhood Champions, promoting the American Express “Shop Small” initiative on Small Business Saturday, November 24th.

FREE Bus Fares with SRTA
As part of Small Business Saturday, SRTA is offering free fares all day long, as a way to encourage people to shop on the South Coast.

Numerous businesses in the region will be taking part by opening their locations that day to promote shopping local. Check back frequently as we will continue to add retail and business partners to the list of participants, and be sure to look our for special sales, deals, and promotions that many of the retailers will be offering.

Cindy Irving Photography
$55 print credit when you book a session.

Mellisa’s Pet Depot
30% off a non-food item (excludes flea/tick products).
A free treat & goodie bag for the first 25 customers who make a purchase.

Mike’s Restaurant
Get a $10 gift card with a purchase of a $100 gift card.

Salon En Vogue Organic
$100 off holiday gift sets, 20% off haircuts and $18 blow outs

The Barre
Receive $15 off the monthly membership rate ($115, normally $130), deals on class packs and enjoy 15% or more on all retail clothing.

Brewer Banner
20% off stock sewn decorative flags and banners

Ritual Sweat Society

New Bedford Harbor Hotel
20% off dining in our Restaurant (Excludes alcohol, tax & gratuity, Cannot be combined with any other offer)

Come in on Small Business Saturday to book an overnight stay and receive 20% off (Must stay  before 12/31/18, Cannot be combined with any other rate offer.)

New Bedford Fishing Heritage Center
Free hot chocolate and a free gift with any purchase of $25 or more.  We are open 10-4 on Saturdays.

Found Treasures

Spend $50 and be entered in for a chance to win a decorative wreath.

Savage Advertising Solutions
20% Off any purchase over $150 (not to be combined with other offers)

Waterfront Grille, Bittersweet Farm, Ten Cousins Brick Oven, The Galley Grille
For every $50 in gift cards purchased, receive $20 bonus card.

Moby Dick Brewing Co.
For every $50 in gift cards purchased, receive $10 bonus card.

Boutique Fitness, Inc.

Davol Grooves & Nutrition on Davol
15% off a 10 class pass $85.00 or 15% off membership packages
10 shakes & teas $76.00, $93.00 or $110.00.
20% off all your product orders/direct ship to the location of your choice.

Sagres Vacations
Discounts on package deals to Lisbon, Madeira and the Azores.

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Awards Presented at SouthCoast Chamber’s 132nd Annual Meeting

The SouthCoast Chamber is pleased to recognize organizations for their significant investment and contribution to the economic development, educational leadership and outstanding service of the region with the presentation of the 2018 Economic Impact Awards, Educational Leadership Award, and the Outstanding Service Award. The awards were presented on November 14, 2018 at the Chamber’s 132nd Annual Meeting at Century House. These businesses, through their investment, have generated economic growth, helped positively impact schools and provided outstanding service throughout the South Coast.

 

ECONOMIC IMPACT AWARDS PRESENTED BY SOUTHCOAST CHAMBER AND SYLVIA GROUP

Lockheed Martin, New Bedford Wind Energy Center & New Bedford Harbor Hotel

 

Lockheed Martin

For more than a century, Lockheed Martin has used forward thinking and innovation to positively influence the global economic climate while remaining an active contributor to the SouthCoast Region.

One of the area’s largest employers, Lockheed Martin’s plant located in Marion, employees a workforce of over 300. A strong supporter of employee growth and development they provide professional advancement opportunities through leadership workshops, seminars, and mentorships. These employee-growth programs provide academic scholarships that will both prepare and train our workforce while supporting local colleges and universities.

Lockheed Martin provides generous funding to STEM education for students of all ages. They support campaigns concentrating on student achievement and teacher development.  They collaborate with organizations such as Girl’s Inc., the YMCA, and the Boys and Girls Club on several outreach projects to make science fun, interesting and easily accessible. Their programs such has Generation Beyond, Engineers in the Classroom and Imagine Science have fostered an environment filled with diverse educational opportunities for the entire community.

Lockheed Martin supports several veteran initiatives and assists active service members transition their military skills into civilian employment opportunities.  These practices, amongst the countless hours Lockheed Martin’s army of volunteers has generously donated to community events, proves their dedication to the betterment of our region.

Lockheed Martin strives on retaining local talent while attracting new innovators to the area. With partnerships and customers from all over the globe, Lockheed Martin is responsible for creating international commerce for the local business community.

 

New Bedford Wind Energy Center

A trailblazer in developing the offshore wind industry, the New Bedford Wind Energy Center is a unique collaboration of three power players responsible for the development of offshore wind in New Bedford.  The New Bedford Economic Development Council, the New Bedford Port Authority and Bristol Community College are capitalizing on one of our greatest assets to bring sustainable clean energy to the SouthCoast.

A few miles south of New Bedford exist some of the strongest and most reliable winds in the country.  Their location and strength possess the capacity to fulfill roughly 40% of Massachusetts’ energy needs.  The Wind Energy Center’s advocacy has attracted international investors and named New Bedford a first-mover in the Off Shore Wind industry.

Aside from securing our position as a key player in the Off Shore Wind Industry, the Center’s work will produce countless job opportunities in a variety of fields; create new areas of study for our local educational institutions, and provide local vendors with new business.  The Wind Energy Center’s collaboration will generate long-term economic growth and sustainability in New Bedford, the SouthCoast and across Massachusetts at every step of the supply chain.

 

New Bedford Harbor Hotel

The latest hotel to open in our vibrant and culturally rich city, The New Bedford Harbor Hotel is a prime example of economic growth and progression.  This historic 46,000 square foot  building located in the heart of downtown New Bedford was restored into a fully operating hotel featuring 70 upscale guest rooms, a restaurant and bar, a fitness center, and unique banquet and meeting spaces.

Currently, they have a workforce of 50 employees, 42 of which are residents of New Bedford.  Strong believers in using and retaining local talent the hotel works closely with educational institutions to prepare students for careers in the tourism and hospitality fields.

The New Bedford Harbor Hotel has maintained occupancy rates consistently above 85%, since it has opened its doors.  They invite tourists and business professionals to indulge in our local restaurants and retail shops while introducing them to our unique history and flourishing art culture.

This special economic development project was funded by a combination of private equities, outside investors, the City of New Bedford and the state of Massachusetts. From its very beginnings to its grand opening in July 2018, the New Bedford Harbor Hotel is validation of the general optimism for the city’s future and its economic progression.

EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP AWARDS PRESENTED BY SOUTHCOAST CHAMBER & BRISTOL COMMUNITY COLLEGE

BankFive

BankFive has a passion for education and workforce development.  With 13 full-service branch locations they specialize in helping with all your banking and lending needs. BankFive has gone beyond putting this passion to practice, especially when it comes to preparing our future workforce for employment.

BankFive offers valuable work and learning opportunities for our area youth. This summer, they provided a New Bedford High School student with a 120-hour paid internship.  Their talented intern Marcos worked diligently with BankFive staff as a Compliance Assistant.  His position required him to assist with daily operations including preparing statistics, monitoring new business accounts, and researching loan accounts.  His attention to detail and efficiency transitioned Marcos into employment beyond the summer internship and into his present school year.

BankFive volunteers with several community organizations and works closely with Junior Achievement and other outreach programs to connect with local students.  In addition, BankFive offers full and part-time employee’s educational advancement opportunities through tuition assistance for associates, bachelors and master’s degrees.  They are also a major sponsor for Leadership SouthCoast a local yearlong course that engages, educates, and empowers diverse individuals shaping them into civic minded community leaders.

 

OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD PRESENTED BY SOUTHCOAST CHAMBER CHAMBER

Tom Menchi, Toyota of Dartmouth

A SouthCoast resident for over 30 years, Tom Menchi has been an advocate for local businesses while remaining actively involved in the community.  Tom is a graduate of Milton High School and later attended Burdett Business School in Boston.  As a hands-on, loyal employee for Toyota of Dartmouth for more than three decades, he has managed and directed several departments.  Today, he is the Vice President of Fixed Operations and Community Relations and supervises a staff of more than 25 technicians and employees.

Happily married for 45 years, with two children and three grandchildren, Tom has dedicated his little free time to the advancement of SouthCoast region.

One of his main priorities is to develop Toyota’s personnel while preparing and retaining our future workforce.   To accomplish this goal, Tom works directly with all local vocational high schools schools, MTTI Technical Institute, New England Tech, and Mass Bay Community College as an Advisory Volunteer Member.

Under Tom’s leadership, Toyota has supported countless community programs that are a driving force behind the betterment of the South Coast.  They are major sponsors for Junior Achievement, Bristol Community College Earth Day Fair, Boy Scouts of Westport, the Wareham Elder Expo and the Lion’s Club of Mattapoisett.

A front-runner in economic development, Tom is an active ambassador for both the Bristol County and SouthCoast Chambers.  He hosts networking events annually that connect local organizations and business professionals generating new partnerships.  Tom works diligently every day to ensure that Toyota’s operations have a positive impact on the SouthCoast’s economic environment and enhance our quality of life.

 

In addition to the awards, the Chamber recognized incoming board members: Kathy Carter, Charlton College of Business, UMASS-Dartmouth; Paul Chasse, REALTOR® Association of Southeastern Massachusetts; Doug Glassman, SERVPRO of Dartmouth/New Bedford & Marion / Middleboro; Cheryl Bartlett, New Bedford Community Health Center; Mike Tavares, Horacio’s, Inc.; and Luke Lehman, BankFive. They join existing board members: Nathan Araujo, R4L Management; Henry Arruda, WJFD-FM; Kevin Carando, Acushnet Company; Dr. Laura Douglas, Bristol Community College; Stephen W. Connulty, Paul & Dixon Insurance; Gail Fortes, YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts; Jeffrey Glassman, Darn It, Inc.; Ellen Gitlin, Diversified Marketing Group; Chuck Lord, AHEAD; Lynne Mastera, Precix; Douglas Rodrigues, JMR & Company; Kristy Roussel, Lafrance Hospitality; Derek Santos, New Bedford Economic Development Council; Carmen Sylvester, Southern Mass Credit Union;  and Robert Unger, Unger LeBlanc. The Chamber’s executive committee members were also appointed as follows: Chair of the Board, Kim Perry, Waring-Sullivan Funeral Home; Chair-Elect, Ron Ellis, Edward Jones; Treasurer, Carl Taber, BayCoast Bank; Vice Chair of Government Affairs, William Burns, Southcoast Health Systems; Vice Chair of Community Affairs, Chris Howard, First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union; Vice Chair of Membership, Jeff Pagliuca, Bristol County Savings Bank; Vice Chair of Economic Affairs, Rose Lopes, Sylvia Group; and Immediate Past Chair, Dave Maher, Lockheed Martin.

 

The corporate sponsors for the SouthCoast Chamber’s 132nd Annual Meeting were Southcoast Health System and St. Anne’s Credit Union. Supporting sponsors included Bristol County Savings Bank, Bristol Community College, BayCoast Bank, Lockheed Martin, Sylvia Group, and Waring-Sullivan and Rock Funeral Homes – Dignity Memorial.

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Here Is What You Must Consider as a New Small Business Owner

There’s no precise recipe for small business success. There are, however, things you can do as you’re starting out to give yourself a better chance. Starting a business is a beautiful combination of risk, risk aversion, dreaming, practical maneuverings, skill and luck. It’s tough but rewarding. Here’s what you have to consider right now getting off the starting line quickly and setting yourself up for long-term success.

Consider how to think long-term from the get-go

Starting a new business is not a sprint. It may not be a marathon either (maybe something in between), but you need to prioritize its long-term viability. While it’s true that passion isn’t everything and you cannot always turn what you love into a thriving business, longevity depends on being engaged.

“Many young entrepreneurs make a big mistake by letting the current economy decide what type of business they should open instead of the other way around,” reports an article in Forbes. Your new business must have broad and growing appeal — businesses that are becoming popular such as phone cases and wireless headphones.

Consider how you’re going to grow on a budget

Throwing money at a problem rarely works, and even if it did you probably don’t have the capital to try right now. You need to be able to grow and save at the same time. Your first concern is probably marketing — how do you promote yourself? This is easier now than ever before, thanks to the internet and specifically social media. Pushing content and interacting with customers/clients on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like is free. Even if you want to go down the paid promoted posts route, it’s cost-effective.

Other ways to expand on a tight budget include interacting and cross-promoting with other small businesses, reaching out and getting involved with local organizations and events, and developing trusted relationships with everyone you work with — suppliers, clients and beyond.

Consider how you’re going to make ends meet when you’re starting out

If you have a ton of extra capital lying around to sink into your business on day one and to also help you live, this section isn’t for you. For most of you, however, you’ll want to read on. Starting a small business is time-consuming so you’ll want ways to generate income that are, above all else, flexible. Apps have made it easier to get involved in the sharing economy, where you can drive cars, walk dogs, fix houses, and rent your home for money. The Internet has made it easy to sell your crafts, wares, tutoring services, consulting services and more. And while you don’t want to get too deep into this for a lengthy period of time, bartering with other businesses can be a great way to free up cash at the start of your venture.

Consider how you’re going to stand out amongst the crowd

Unless your business is so niche that it literally has no competitors, part of your plan must be figuring out how to stand out amongst your competition. Sometimes standing out isn’t about what you sell — it’s how you sell it. Find a way to do business in a completely different way than your competitors. Prioritize customer interaction. Offer deals or promotions that nobody else will.

There are nearly 6 million small businesses in this country, and over 28 million if you count the ones without additional employees. What does this mean? It means two things: First, you can do it. Second, that’s a lot of competition. But, you’ll need to work hard and work smart to succeed.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

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Local Businesses Recognized at the Portuguese-American Business Recognition Awards (PABRA)

The SouthCoast Chamber and the Portuguese consulate had the pleasure of hosting the first annual PABRA on October 19, 2018. The ceremony took place at the Waypoint Event Center located at 185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, MA.

The Portuguese-American Business Recognition Awards, (PABRA) celebrated the economic and civic contribution of various Portuguese-American businesses. Additionally, the SouthCoast Chamber had the honor of recognizing 11 local Portuguese businesses as finalists and awarded three 2018 PABRAs. This year’s PABRA recipients were: DeMello International Center, Luzo-Auto Center and Fernandes Masonry Inc.

 

DeMello International Center

 Through the vision of Jim DeMello in 2016, this organization came to New Bedford with a mission focused on professional and educational development, support for major non-profits, and an increased quality of life for residents of the South Coast.  In two years, the DeMello Center has transformed a previously nearly empty building with a 20% occupancy rate into a full operating business center housing 35 businesses.

The Center houses daily operations for three major educational institutions and ten non-profit organizations including Junior Achievement, the New Bedford Symphony, and The United Way.

By accommodating a variety of organizations from every industry, they support each aspect of our local economic development. These companies provide local employment opportunities in numerous fields both traditional and non-traditional, ranging anywhere from cosmetology to public policy.

With strong beliefs in educating our future workforce and retaining local talent, this past spring, the Center welcomed Lesley University to the Business Center.

The DeMello International Center has spent countless hours servicing the community and generously donated to and sponsored local charity events and non-profit organizations.

The DeMello International Center has created a thriving business center in the heart of downtown New Bedford that has strengthen our economic climate. The Center is a reflection of Jim DeMello’s commitment and dedication to the community while fostering an environment devoted to education and professional development.

 

Luzo-Auto Center

For more than half a century this small business has succeeded with hard work, high quality service, and impeccable customer relationships. Today, Luzo Auto Center operates with sixteen employees and a reputation to meet consumers’ needs with fairness and understanding.

Today, they have evolved into one of the major players in the Collision Repair and Service industry. Luzo’s customers includes numerous commercial organizations alongside of countless resident accounts throughout the South Coast.

Over the years, Luzo’s professionalism and hard work has allowed them to expand their showroom, add four new job opportunities to their workforce and continuously modernize their equipment and technology.

The focal point of their mission is to give back and support the community.  Luzo Auto Center sponsors several youth athletic teams and are strong supporters of a variety of local organizations including the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Prince Henry Society.

Luzo Auto Center has unceasingly contributed to our economy by supporting local businesses, servicing residents and creating and sustaining local job opportunities.  As an active member in the community, they are committed to creating a better South Coast.

 

Fernandes Masonry

As a local employer for twenty plus years, this family organization has flourished into one of the leading businesses in the area.

With a workforce of more 120 employees, Fernandes Masonry’s dedication to quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction has continuously influenced our economy.  The company works closely with local vendors and suppliers in every industry believing the best service and support comes from the companies’ closest to them geographically.

The Fernandes Masonry workload includes multi-million dollar projects in the private, public and government sectors all over New England. Aside from fueling our economic development, they support local businesses and have been a driving force behind the betterment of the South Coast.

They donate countless volunteer hours, are members of numerous trade organizations and are active sponsors with non-profits and local sporting clubs. After raising over two million dollars, with help from an army of volunteers, the Team Noah Foundation, a non-profit organization Fernandes created, undertook one of New Bedford’s largest community building projects. This past year, Noah’s Playground was completed and is the area’s largest fully accessible playground.

Fernandes Masonry has been a staple organization within our community for more than two decades, they continue to expand operations and cultivate our economy while remaining devoted to the community’s quality of life.

2018 PABRA finalists included: Azores Airlines Vacation America, Inc.; DeMello International Center; The Castelo Group; Fernandes Masonry; Horacio’s Inc.; Luso-American Financial; Luzo Auto Center; Hair In Motion; Places to Go Transportation; Sagres Vacations; WJFD-FM, INC

 

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