Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Click The Pumpkin


I am saying it again!!!

The Beauty Industry Report Newsletter is the one publication that gives me the best insight into the industry (but no pictures or fluff). Editor, Mike Nave, provides straight information and facts without all the glitter. It is one publication that I read the day that it hits my desk. Below is a taste of what you will read in the BIR.

We Must Teach Salons to Retail
By Bob Oppenheim

Well, I guess it’s official: It’s the manufacturers who are responsible for most of the diversion in our industry. Regis president Paul Finklestein made it official with his statement in a recent BIR that, “Manufacturers bear 95% of the blame.” Coming from Paul, it is a confirmation of what most of us have believed all along. Those ads and earnest protests against diversion were just smoke and mirrors to tell the hairdresser somebody else might be doing it but not us.

So how does “professional” merchandise get into supermarkets, mass merchandisers, independent and chain drug stores? Easy. The retail operations send their trucks and the manufacturers load them up. Or the retail organization orders merchandise and the manufacturer ships it. Or, if they want to deny that they do this, they allow distributors to sell to retail operations while they look the other way. You must remember that when vast quantities of merchandise are diverted, everybody except salon owners makes out. The distributor gets his profit, the manufacturer’s sales person selling to the distributor makes his numbers and the manufacturer cries all the way to the bank.

It’s not going to stop, folks. There’s too much in it for everybody—except the salon owner. And it won’t work simply to discontinue lines you see on retail shelves. That would eliminate almost, but not quite, everybody. Even outfits like Regis’ Trade Secret might have to fold their tents.

What to do? Consider this: Among the giants in our industry, we have all the knowledge there is to be had about retailing. There’s Procter & Gamble, L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Shiseido. That’s a lot of retail know-how. In fact, it’s everything about retail know-how. Let’s call on all of them to do the right thing. Teach salon owners HOW to retail. There’s advertising, marketing, merchandising, displaying, inventory control and on and on.

Remember manufacturers, Revlon grew to eminence by having a crew of women traveling the country incessantly teaching salon owners about manicuring. Revlon became the leader. Clairol had a couple of hundred haircolor consultants calling on salons, giving classes, clinics, workshops. And Clairol became the leader. Paula Kent Meehan had an educational juggernaut to convince salon owners that, yes, they could retail. And Redken became the leader. When the Nordstrom family owned Creative Nail, they had an army of nail techs out there evangelizing and they thrived. Manufacturers that teach and demonstrate the many aspects of successful retailing will be rewarded by sales to and orders from appreciative salon owners.

Salons can compete with standard retail operations. Salons have unique advantages, but they think (because they have been taught) that they must have exclusive products. Not so. They must learn HOW to compete. Manufacturers who teach them will be rewarded not only with increased sales but with the ability to look in the mirror and know they are helping not hyping. Do it manufacturers! You’ll sleep better at night.

Click here to review a BIR free issue – then sign up. This will be the best money you ever spent and tax deductible!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Here is some sound advice from This may eliminate some spam from your mailbox if you follow it.

1) Any time you see an E-Mail that says forward this on to '10' of your friends, or sign this petition, or you'll get bad luck, good luck, or whatever, it almost always has an E-Mail tracker program attached that tracks the cookies and E-Mails of those folks you forward to.

The host sender is getting a copy each time it gets forwarded and then is able to get lists of 'active' E-Mails to use in SPAM E-Mails, or sell to other spammers.

2) Almost all E-Mails that ask you to add your name and forward on to others are similar to that mass letter years ago that asked people to send business cards to the little kid in Florida who wanted to break the Guinness Book of Records for the most cards. All it was, and all any of this type of E-Mail is, is a way to get names and 'cookie ' tracking information for telemarketers and spammers - - to validate active E-Mail accounts for their own profitable purposes.

You can do your friends and family members a GREAT favor (PLEASE) by sending this information to them. You will be providing a service to your friends, and will be rewarded by not getting thousands of spam E-Mails in the future!

If you have been sending out (FORWARDING) the above kinds of E-Mail, now you know why you get so much SPAM!

Do yourself a favor and STOP adding your name(s) to those types of listings regardless how inviting they might sound! You may think you are supporting a GREAT cause, but you are NOT in the long run. Instead, you will be getting tons of junk mail later! Plus, we are helping the spammers get rich! Let's don't make it easy for them!

Also: E-Mail petitions are NOT acceptable to Congress/Parliament or any other organization. To be acceptable, petitions must have a signed signature and full address of the person signing the petition.

Friday, November 21, 2008


If you are a corporation with a vehicle owned by the corporation, don't forget to add back to your W-2 the personal use of your corporate vehicle. The IRS has charts on how to calculate per use. Check out for more information.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I posted an entry on November 10th on important tools for salon owners. Other than good financial statements, I feel that it's important to have excellent software in place, and to know how to use it.

Ken Cassidy, noted educator, followed up with his recommendations. I agree with his comments which are listed below.

"Larry, I would have also said that it's important to have a good industry contract for my employees, along with a policy and procedural manual to guide and direct my staff for success. In the booth arena I think it's important to have an Industry Space Sub Lease if salon or spa owners do not own the business. If they own the building where their salon or spa is located, then it would be a Space Lease. And let’s not forget management forms to guide your staff regardless of what title you have bestowed upon them." ~Ken Cassidy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


The Holidays are upon us...what a busy time of year! If you plan to do any baking in the midst of all the holiday chaos, you might enjoy the following link. Pick A Cake

I thought it was pretty cool. I forwarded it to my wife... I'm not sure if she will get the hint. All you have to do is click on a link and the recipe will come up.


Larry Kopsa CPA


Hi Larry, I own a skincare studio and I often purchase retail products from drugstores and the like to be in the know when clients ask me about product lines they've heard of or tried. I am also constantly sampling products because there are new things coming out all the time and sometimes I end up bringing something new on as a result. I also occasionally get facials to scope out the competition and compare my services. Are these tax deductible? I wanted to classify them as Research & Development but my accountant said I wasn't able to do so. She doesn't specialize in the spa industry though so I thought I'd check with you. ~Abbey

Abbey, I think the key to your questions is documentation. With good documentation I think a reasonable amount of items could be purchased and deducted as an ordinary and necessary business expense. Of course, you couldn't purchase the same product over and over again, but if you had a listing of the products that you purchased and why you purchased them, I would presume that the IRS would allow a reasonable amount, as you call it, for research and development. Regarding going to other spas to get a treatment, I think it's documentation. Of course, you couldn’t go to the same spa over and over again because you would not be learning anything new. If you went to a spa and came back and used your minutes for a staff meeting about customer service and how the treatment went, I think this would satisfy the IRS that this is a reasonable expenditure.

If we think about it, I would imagine Pepsi Cola is always looking at what Coca-Cola is doing. You can’t tell me that the Marriott people aren’t having people go to the Hilton Hotels to see what they are doing. I’m sure they are deducting all of those things. Pizza Hut always has something new on the menu. I would imagine a lot of the items they have are part of the copying they are doing from other successful pizza restaurants. It’s part of doing business and if it sounds reasonable enough and with documentation, no guarantees, but I think you are fine.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Larry, thanks for the information. I can document everything but I am a 1 person business so although I am using the information to improve my services, I don't have any employees to train with the new info. Do you think that is still OK, as long as I document? ~Abbey

Abbey, if it were me I would still document my expenses and reasoning and take the deduction. The worst that could happen is that the IRS would audit you and disagree, and if you decide not to fight them you would pay the tax and some interest. You would not be committing tax fraud so there should not be penalties. I can guarantee this, if you don’t take the deduction the IRS will not give it to you.

Larry Kopsa CPA


All we seem to hear is bad economic news. If you read the "real" economic news, the economy is not great, but certainly not as bad as you would think. The "talking heads" on the tube would make you think that the big depression is coming back. As the columnist George Will recently said, "an airplane that lands safely does not make news." Did you know that in October the economy rose by about 3%? That is off from past growth, but is still positive.

Here is an article that I thought might shed a little light on the subject.

(Star Tribune, Minneapolis) -- Suppose that everything you know is wrong.

· Consider the commonly held belief that corporate America is headed into a recession, tapped out for cash. Not so. Cash compared with total corporate debt is near a 50-year high.
· Certainly consumer debt appears unmanageable, with late payments nearing record levels on credit cards and real estate, right? Not true. The percentage of home loans 30 days or more past due, while rising, is nowhere near record levels.
· You say troubled home and auto loans are dragging down the economy as never before? Wrong again. While together such loans lopped 1.5 points off U.S. economic growth in recent quarters, it has been worse. In the final three months of last year, housing and auto pared more than 2 points from the chief barometer of economic progress.

“Most of that, I’ve got to believe, is behind us,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management. Paulsen argues that the economy has more going for it than popularly believed. Paradoxically, the president, Congress and Federal Reserve officials have stoked fears instead of calming them, in Paulsen’s view. “We’ve never had a fear crisis like this,” he said. “All of our monetary and fiscal tools are to restore economic fundamentals. When it comes to fear, our toolbox is empty.” In earlier economic crises, three of every four problems were fundamental roadblocks to economic growth, Paulsen said. “This one is three-quarters fear.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Hi Larry, I have a question for you regarding a tax write off. I am a partner of a salon that is a Corporation. I belong to a non-profit organization. Several of my clients (at least a dozen) belong to this organization. Next year I will be representing the state of Mo. and will travel several times a week. Also in my travels I will be doing other women's hair for our functions. We do give to several Charities. My question is could I take any expenses off for this? ~Rachel

Rachel, thank you for your charitable efforts. It is always good to hear from someone who is giving back to the community. You asked if you could deduct your travel costs for the functions that you are going to be attending. The answer is yes. Mileage is deductible at $.14 and then of course any land or air transportation would be at actual costs. These deductions would be to you personally as opposed to the corporation. One thing that is important is to be sure that you are a delegate of the organization. There have been instances where someone has good intentions and attends a convention but they were not actually requested or required by the organization to attend. The IRS has disallowed the deduction.

As an example, let’s say I was an assistant Boy Scout leader and I went to Las Vegas to attend a Boy Scout leader’s convention. If the Boy Scout troop or the sponsor of the Boy Scout troop requested that I go to the convention, then I could take deductions for my airline ticket, my $.14 a mile to the airport, my hotel and my food while at the convention. On the other hand, if I just went there because I was looking for an excuse to get out of the house and go to Las Vegas and they had not requested or required me to go, then this would be considered a personal expenditure by the IRS.

As far as the haircutting and other work that you do, the only thing that would be deductible would be your actual supply cost. The value of your time would not be a deduction.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

It is a pleasure serving you.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Monday, November 17, 2008


Larry, I own a small salon with 5 stylists. They want health benefits. An insurance agent said it would be best in my instance to offer them a bonus based on performance that they can use as they want, and have them take out their own policies so I am not involved.

Do you have experiences/solutions on how I can offer insurance without getting into something I cannot afford? Linda

Linda, I received your question regarding health benefits. This is really difficult. We want to attract good people, but at the same time with health benefit rates as high as they are, it’s hard to maintain profitability if we’re offering fringe benefits. It is somewhat a “catch 22.”

My advice to you at this time would be to wait. For our clients that are considering health benefits, we are advising them to wait to see what President-elect Obama is going to do with health care. I think it is a good consensus out there that one of the first things that President-elect Obama is going to attack is the health care problem. It would be foolish to put a system in at this time and then find that next year, that system is completely changed due to new government policy.

Keep in touch with me on this and if I do see anything, I will let you know.

It is a pleasure serving you.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Friday, November 14, 2008


The stock market has made headlines this year with record volatility, record drops, and even record gains. And while many investors are still sitting on the sidelines, you may already be looking for bargains amidst the wreckage. So, we're writing to alert you to a possible problem with acting now.

Are you considering buying mutual funds in a taxable account (as opposed to an IRA or 401K)? Then you should be aware that most funds distribute capital gains this time of year. These distributions are taxable to you as long-term capital gains, even if you just bought the fund.

The average U.S diversified stock fund is down about 33% for the year. Funds in most other categories are down as well. But many of those funds sold assets for nice profits earlier this year. This means you may get socked with a nasty tax surprise!

There are generally two ways to avoid this bite. The first is to find funds without capital gains to distribute. The second is to wait until a fund actually pays out capital gain distributions. Make sure that you discuss with your broker to see if they expect distributions, and if so, when they will be paid.

Today's challenging market makes it even more important to invest with an eye on taxes.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Larry, I saw you in Lake Geneva last week. You were talking about increasing prices and you mentioned something about a $90 bottle of wine. Could you pass this information on to me again. Thanks - Brenda

Brenda, we published this article on our blog back in February. Here it is again. I hope this helps. Larry

At a recent program I gave in Wichita Kansas a couple of the salon owners challenged me when I was talking about increasing prices. They said that I did not understand that they lived in a small town and that if they increased their prices they would lose many of their clients. They said that there were several salons in their small towns that their clients would go to. I asked them what they charged and they told me $25 for a cut and style. When asked when they last increased their prices they said that it was three years ago and that nobody in town was increasing prices.

That is not the first time I have heard that excuse for not increasing prices. My comment to them is that if they were providing great customer service they would not lose clients by doing normal increases. I also told them that when my wife Maggie was cutting hair 11 years ago, she was charging $65 when everyone around her was charging $20 to $40. I also told them that every time she increased her prices she got busier. After I said this, several people sitting next to them agreed that higher prices many times can bring more business.

Now we have a study about the price of wine that proves I was correct.

Researchers at Stanford Graduate School of Business have finally proven what most of us suspected long ago. Expensive wine tastes better!

Researchers used MRIs to study Caltech grad students' brains as they swallowed five red wines priced at $5, $10, $35, $45, and $90 per bottle. They found that as the price of the wine rose, so did the activity in the subjects' medial orbitofrontal cortexes. (Apparently, that's the part of the brain that experiences pleasure.)

The "catch," of course, is that the subjects didn't drink five different wines -- they drank three. The $45 wine was really the $5 wine -- and the $10 wine was really the $90 wine.

So why did the subjects like the $5 wine more when they thought it was $45? And why did the $90 wine taste like swill when they thought it cost $10? Researchers concluded that the perceived price of the wine actually affected real quality -- at least, "real" as interpreted by the medial orbito . . . er, brain.

So what's the lesson? (If you answered "you can fool some of the people some of the time," well, you're right -- but that's not what I'm looking for.)The real lesson is that the price you charge for your service affects the value your clients see in it. If you're offering a $90 bottle of wine -- and you want your clients to value it at $90 -- don't pour it into a cardboard box with a $10 price tag!

Do you give your clients more value than your competitors down the street?

Are you charging what you're worth or are you pouring $90 wine into a $10 cardboard box?

Clients will pay more for your service if they see you give them more. The Stanford study proves they'll even feel better paying more! Competing on price is a losing proposition unless you offer the lowest price of all. It's better to compete on value. Give your clients a reason to do business with you, not your competition. Give them a reason to pay more. And they will. Really, they will. The key is showing confidence in your value -- and when you do that, you sell yourself, not your price. You should find it much easier selling yourself than your fee.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Tuesday, November 11, 2008



As we have heard, “change is coming.” We are concerned that one change that is coming is higher taxes! Given the projected increases in the federal income tax, capital gains, and qualified dividend rates, you may want to take action before December 31st to keep more of your money in your pocket. To determine if you'll be affected, we have prepared the enclosed checklist for you. Please click on this link to review the checklist: Call to Action Checklist.

If you feel that you might be impacted by any or all of these items, contact us! If you already have a pretax appointment scheduled with us, we will be discussing these items at that time.

We are watching the activity in Washington D.C. very closely so that we can best serve you, therefore we will keep you posted. Let us know if you have any questions.

It is a pleasure serving you!

Larry Kopsa CPA

Monday, November 10, 2008


Larry, thank you for newsletters, I appreciate the information I get off your blog. You’ve really helped me to be more profitable. You are certainly an asset for our industry. What I was wondering is how you would answer this question. “What is the most important management tool that a salon owner should have?” I know you’re going to say good financial statements so make that other than good financial statements, “What do you think the most important tool an owner should have?” Clare

Clare, thank you for your kind comments. We are struggling to help the salon industry be successful. It's words like yours that keep us going.

You're right, good financial statements tell you where you’re going. You understand that, so I won’t get into it. Your question is, what’s the second most important? How would you like to have a friend – person that is a genius at booking appointments, can track retail sales by individual, can monitor the frequency of clients, can look at prebooking, has memorized client’s birthdays and important events, and can determine when a client hasn’t been in for a while? Finding someone like that, especially someone who can do that with a smile on their face, is probably an impossible task. Even though we cannot find an individual like that, we can get the same information from our salon software. There is excellent salon software out there that can provide an enormous amount of management information. The key is having the software in place and knowing how to use it.

One of the things we find with most of the software companies is that they are very good at what they do, and as such, they have the ability to prepare numerous reports. The key for salons is finding those reports that give them the information they need and then using those reports. As part of our services to our clients, we pull many of those reports and do some summaries so that we can spot trends. Trends are very important. If you can see an upward or downward trend, you can correct or capitalize on those situations.

Thank you for your inquiry. I hope this helps you.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Salon and spa owners are always wondering how they compare to others. The August 2008 issue of American Spa magazine had an article that was titled, “Spa Confidential.” In this article, American Spa readers shared their thoughts on the latest industry trends by a web survey and printed the results. You can obtain more information on this from

Friday, November 7, 2008


Do you want to take your business to the next level? Try this...

I am a small business owner like you. I know that on a day to day basis, we are busy doing what we need to do to operate our business. How many times do we say, “If I just had time to …?”

As I write this, I am taking time to do exactly that. I am held up at Embassy Suites for the weekend doing a “think-business development day.” No friends...TV is unplugged...books all over the place, but I have an agenda. I am lucky that my family understands the importance of me getting away just to concentrate on business.

I’ve brought along the stack of magazines I’ve been meaning to get to, the staff evaluations, the client list, the budget and some business development books. I have spent Friday night, Saturday and most of Sunday just concentrating on business. Monday will be back to normal, but over this weekend I am developing strategies and doing the things that will help to make sure my business is running properly.

I read that Bill Gates takes four days a year he calls “think days”, to go out and strategizes. If success leaves clues, certainly Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, would be a good example to follow.

If you haven’t done this, try it.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I hope you can help me with a personal question. I understand that there are some energy credits that I can get by purchasing energy efficient insulation, etc. I’ve been trying to find what actually qualifies and what doesn’t. Could you help?

There are some energy credits out there that could reduce your income tax bill by $500. Not a big deal, but if at the same time you are making some purchases; you just as well get the credit. One thing you have to remember is that the credits are not in effect until purchasing after January 1, 2009 and ending December 31, 2009. You might want to wait until after the first of the year.

There is a web site out there that gives you some good information. You might check out\taxcredits.

Here’s a summary:

· Purchasing insulation, exterior doors or roofs. There’s 10% cost of the product but not the installation of up to $500. This includes seals to limit air infiltrations such as caulking and weather stripping materials as well as storm doors. Roofs must meet certain standards before they qualify.
· Central air conditioner, heat pump, water heater or corn stove. You can receive a credit of up to $300 towards the full purchase price of any qualifying items including the installation cost.
· Exterior windows that meet certain standards, including sky lights and storm windows. There is 10% of the total cost up to $200.
· Furnace and Boiler. Can give you a credit up to $150 towards the full purchase price or $50 for efficient air circulating furnace fans including installation cost for both furnace and fan.
· Windows, doors, insulation and roof must be expected to last at least five years. A two year warranty is sufficient to demonstrate this.

Remember, the over all cap is $500. I hope this is helpful.

Larry Kopsa CPA

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


“A people ... who are possessed of the spirit of commerce, who see and who will pursue their advantages may achieve almost anything.” - George Washington

“A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned -- this is the sum of good government.”- Thomas Jefferson

“Agriculture, manufactures, commerce, and navigation, the four pillars of our prosperity, are the most thriving when left most free to individual enterprise.” - Thomas Jefferson

“To take from one because it is thought that his own industry and that of his father’s has acquired too much – in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill – is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone of a free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.” - Thomas Jefferson

"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government -- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests." - Patrick Henry

“[T]he government of the United States is a definite government, confined to specified objects. … Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.” - James Madison

“There are more instances of the abridgement of the freedom of the people by the gradual and silent encroachment of those in power, than by violent and sudden usurpation.”- James Madison

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.” - Benjamin Franklin

“It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” - Samuel Adams

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I'm sure you all know Neil Ducoff, author and founder and CEO of Strategies. Neil has a new book out called No-Compromise Leadership. I can't wait to get my copy. Neil has such insight into the industry. Neil’s new book just rolled off the presses to rave reviews.

I have spoken to Neil about his book and he is very pleased with the end product. No-Compromise Leadership is all about the thinking, behavior and accountability that support all leadership results and outcomes,” explains Neil. “Joined together, these two simple words immediately establish a higher standard of leadership thinking and behavior; it’s a powerful internal compass that keeps you and your company steadfastly on course. By design, no compromise cuts through the myriad excuses, emotional blockages and procrastination that silently infect leadership performance. When no compromise becomes your mandate—the guiding principle upon which all other leadership behavior emanates—the resulting business outcomes will be nothing short of breakthrough.

You can help Neil to make No-Compromise Leadership a national best seller if you place your order on between Sunday, November 2nd and Saturday, November 8th. Neil needs all orders to be placed within this one-week time period.

To thank you for helping Neil reach this goal, just forward your receipt to: and Neil will give you a No-Compromise Leadership DVD, a $100 value!

Monday, November 3, 2008


To control your retail inventory, keep an eye on the most popular inventory items and your slow moving items.

· Make sure that as you reorder, you’re reordering your fast moving items not your slow moving items.
· To determine what your hot items are, just look at your last couple of weeks sales. Usually, your last weeks sales are a good indication of what your future sales will be.
· Have your computer run items which have been on the shelf and have not sold for a long time. Consider donating these items or doing a fire sale to get rid of items that are not selling.
· Put yourself on a purchase budget. Assuming that your mark up is 100%, when you make your two week order, take your retail sales from the last two weeks, divide that number by two and that number is the amount that you can reorder. Stay within that reorder point. For example, if in the last two weeks you’ve sold $6,000 worth of retail products, then you would be on a budget to purchase only $3,000 worth of items this year ($6,000 x .5%).

Using these tactics will only keep your inventory at its current level. You are going to have to be careful that you replace those items that you are selling quickly. If you want to reduce your inventory, you need to make sure that you have your shelves full on those items that you need to keep, but at the same time you need to reduce your items to get your inventory down to a reasonable level.

I hope this is helpful.

Larry Kopsa CPA