Thursday, December 15, 2011

Florida gets a "C" grade for Following the Dollars and Turning Them Into jobs

I read a Post On Politics which  hightlighted the results of a report by Good Jobs First (a non-partisan, nonprofit based in Washington, D.C.).  According to the report, Florida's ability to trackand creating jobs which bring decent wages meets the national average. Click on link for details
Have you taken advantage of any of Florida's incentive programs, like QTI, Closing Fund or Workforce Training Grants? What has been your experience?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hit Your QTI Target On the First Try?

I’ve learned, over the years that many businesses celebrate receiving a QTI award. And obtaining a QTI award is awesome! However, a business will not receive the scheduled payments unless it demonstrates that it has successfully hit all of the established QTI target goals.

Knowing ahead of time what is required eliminates the “unknown”. When it comes to any economic incentive project, you must ensure that your target goals are in sight at all times. For this reason, I usually recommend that my clients start aiming at their economic incentive target goals as soon as an incentive agreement is executed. Waiting until your incentive report is due to determine if you have met your goals is TOO LATE.

To see the full article on Tallahassee Chamber's blog, click the link:

Friday, December 2, 2011

National Solar Selects Gadsden County For its First Solar Farm

In an article called "Ray of hope for economy in Northwest Florida" (, Florida Trend highlights how Northwest Florida can expect a burst of economic energy after being selected by National Solar Power for its first solar farm.  This $1.5-billion venture will convert Florida's sunshine into electricity.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Medical Facilities Mandated to Transition to Electronic Medical Records

The Federal Government mandated that all medical records in the U.S. are to be converted into an electronic format by 2014.  Penalties will be levied on healthcare organizations and physicians who fail to convert to an electronic format for storing and maintaining their patient's medical records.

In an article written by Charlotte Crane, (see full article here, an organization called the Big Bend Regional Healthcare Informationn Organization is helping to digitize medical records for Leon and the surrounding Counties.

Medical facilities who are training their employees on this new format to ensure accurate data transfers and maintenance of their patient's records are also taking advantage of Florida's workforce grants.  Through these training grants, a medical facility may reduce the cost of training its team by 50%. 

To find out how you can reduce the overall cost of complying with the Electronic Medical Records Mandate, give me a call at (850) 727-0293.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Florida told to track cash incentives

I read an article this morning in the Miami Herald and thought it was worth sharing with you. See full ( Economic incentive programs like QTI are usually scrutinized because taxpayers want to ensure that the State is accountable for the dollars being used to support these programs. Often, economic incentive programs are criticized when businesses fail to meet the obligations established under their incentive program agreement. I agree that a business should not receive State funds under these programs if the criteria for receiving the award are not satisfied.

Like any contractual agreement, a business must make every effort to ensure that the requirements of its incentive agreement are at the fore-front at all times. My clients are encouraged to be proactive with their economic incentive project(s). Rather than waiting until the report is due, I usually suggest that my clients consistently analyze their incentive goals during the year to avoid surprises at the end of the year. Clients who adhere to this recommendation are more likely to succeed with meeting their incentive project goals as they are able to make adjustments before the requirements are due.

If you want to ensure that your company satisfies its economic incentive commitments so that your company does not show up on this list in the future, give me a call at 850-727-0293. As an experience Incentives Consultant, I will hold your hand through the compliance process. Together, we will ensure that your company is able to receive ALL of its scheduled economic incentive payments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Get Your Incentive Reports Right The First Time

The other day, I noticed a gentleman shooting arrows at a target. It was amazing to see that he was able to hit his mark, even from a far distance.
His ability to successfully hit his target probably came from the following:
·         Learning from others’ experiences
·         Determining which type of bow was best
·         Implementing the tools and skills he learned

I immediately thought about economic incentive programs like QTI. I can appreciate that there are a required targets a business must hit before it can qualify for its annual QTI payments. Unfortunately, many businesses miss their QTI target goals because their aim is off. 
Typically, a business being awarded an economic incentive award is celebrated. This is for a good reason. The community is excited that a business has made a decision to grow here. However, it is imperative that the business owners understand that the business must hit all of its incentive goals in order to receive the scheduled award payments.
Just like someone participating in the sport of archery for the first time, a business must learn the rules of the game.

To successfully hit a QTI target on the first try, the following must be done:
  • Learn from others who’ve had experience with the QTI program
  • Determine why one method of documenting QTI goals is better than another
  • Master the skills needed to track and report QTI project results
  • Implement the tools and skills learned to accurately prove to the State that the QTI goals have been met
Knowing ahead of time what is required eliminates the “unknown”. When it comes to any economic incentive project, a business must ensure that its target goals are in sight at all times. For this reason, I usually recommend that my clients start aiming at their QTI target goals at the beginning of the year, rather than waiting until the report is due to determine whether they meet their goals. By then, it may be TOO LATE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The names of companies that received state incentives, but didn't create jobs has been released....

Today (10/27/2011) , the Department of Economic Opportunity (formerly OTTED) released the names of six companies it says received state incentive money to create jobs but didn't deliver as many jobs as promised. View full article at

Reading this article solidified my belief that businesses participating in State economic incentives should properly manage their incentive projects to guarantee that they meet their project requirements. If these companies had tracked their incentive project goals during the year, they may not have fallen short of their project requirements.

Call us now (850-727-0293) to find out how you can successfully track your project goals, demonstrate that you've met your incentive project requirements, and receive a full refund/credit from your State incentives. If I were you, I wouldn't wait until December. By then, it may be too late!

What Not To Do With Your QTI Project

In my last blog post for Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, I explained that the biggest mistakes usinesses make with their incentive projects (like QTI) are:

1. Not tracking project commitments
2. Not communicating
3. Assigning an inexperienced Project Manager
4. Submitting inadequate documentation

View full post here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is Lack of Communication Costing You a Full QTI Refund?

While having a discussion about economic development incentives, someone asked “what is one of the BIGGEST issues that cause a breakdown in the incentives process? After thinking about it for a minute, I recognized that lack of communication may be one of the biggest factors that negatively affects the incentives process.

My reasoning behind this statement is based on past experiences working with economic incentive projects like QTI (Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund Program). Over the years, I've noticed that after a business' management is approved for an incentive project, it  celebrates and assigns a staff to manage the project. Unfortunately, since the project administrator has not been involved earlier, he/she may not be knowledgeable enough to successfully manage the project.

Fast forward one year later and its time to qualify for the incentive payment.  After receiving the notification, questions like, “What is this project about?”; or “How did the State come up with our commitment?” are asked.  If the project administrator was involved from the beginning, he/she would know about the project and itscommitments. 

Failure to communicate about an incentive project prior to the reporting deadline may be detrimental.  If you do not track your compliance goals, you may learn too late that you do not qualify to receive your incentive payment. Alternatively, you may find that you qualify for your incentive payment, but the stress of reporting at the last minute may prove to be an overwhelming task.

What Should Happen: Management is responsible for providing enough information to allow the project administrator to successfully manage the incentive project. The project administrator should then set up a system to periodically monitor compliance goals to keep track of the commitments. When the reporting deadline approaches, the project manager would be in a better position to effectively prove that the company achieved its commitments to qualify for the incentive payment.
Of course, if this process seems to be too much for the project administrator, I'd suggest communicating the need to hire an Incentives Consultant to assist with managing the project early on.

As you can see, communication does play a significant role in determining the success or failure of an incentive project. I recently worked with a client who was overwhelmed with the QTI reporting process. She was unsure of what was required, but her manager insisted that she figure it out on her own. Eventually, I was able to help her through the process. As a result, her company was able to secure the full refund.

If you would like to have someone hold your hand through your economic incentives reporting process, give us a call at (850) 727-0293.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

$2M in Training Grants for Florida Exports and Trade

I read an article on Florida's Training Grants that I'd like to share with you: Florida's Exports and Trade industry has just gotten a needed boost! Workforce Florida announced $2 million in training grants to support Florida’s growing export and international trade sectors. According to Dale Brill, FCF president. “Workforce Florida’s investment in the talent supply for the industries of the future will help position Florida to be the No. 1 job-creating state in the nation.”

Quick Response Training grants supports customized training for new and expanding businesses. Businesses receiving the grants decide what training is needed and who will deliver it to their employees. Participating employers must make a matching investment to qualify for QRT funds.

To view the full article, click on the link -

Florida's training grants are a great way to subsidize the cost of your training. The State will reimburse 50% of the direct cost of training, up to $50,000. Don't you think this is worth the time and effort needed to apply? What do you have to lose? I'm sure you have more to gain!!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Florida's small business employment rose by 43%

In an article written by reported an increase in the number of jobs created by Florida small business. To read the full article, click on the link:

Monday, August 29, 2011

With a million Floridians still out of work, Gov. Rick Scott has a tall mountain to climb if he's to make good on his promise to create 700,000 new jobs over the next six years.

This was another interesting article. Gray Swoope, Florida's Enterprise Florida head and soon to be Secretary of Commerce met with local business & political leaders in Pensacola to discuss Governor Scott's job creation plan. Read the full article here -

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Workforce Florida announces $2.2M in transportation training funding

Just read this article and wanted to share it with you:

Florida transportation industry workers will get a skills upgrade boost through a state-funded training opportunity through Workforce Florida in the amount of $2.2 million. Now, here is how the $2.2 million will be allocated:

$987,000 will be used to train about 1,000 new and current workers at port-related, manufacturing and logistics businesses. This portion of the money is aimed at retaining jobs and expanding international trade. Instruction will take place at the University of North Florida.

$630,000 will be used to improve skills for employees at air cargo-related firms. This training will take place at Broward College.

$600,000 will be used to create up to 15 career academies in high schools throughout the state, focusing on international trade.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

State of Florida Recognized for Workforce Training Programs

I read this article about Florida's ranking as number one for its workforce and training opportunities in the Enterprising States report. Last year, Florida ranked second. This is a great accomplishment, as it makes the State more attractive to business development and growth. The State of Florida is showing its dedication to upgrading the skills of its workforce. Great Job!!

To read the full article, click the following link:

Monday, August 8, 2011

How To Overcome Industry Changes That Affect Your Business

I recently read an article written by Jerry Osteryoung called "Beware of industry shifts" ( To briefly summarize the article, Mr. Osteryoung addressed how many industry changes are a result of changes in technology. According to Mr. Osteryoung, these changes cause disruptions.

This made me think of how training your employees can be one way to adapt to industry changes. As a business owner, you have an option of crumbling under these changes, or finding ways to overcome them. It goes without saying that if you choose not to acclimate yourself to inevitable changes, your business may not succeed.

A better suggestion would be to take on these changes head on. The best way of addressing industry shifts is to train your employees. A good example would be businesses in the Information Technology industry. We often see that as technology advances, businesses in these industries must prepare their employees. As your clients request these new services, it would be in your best interest to be able to provide them.  If not, clients will search elsewhere to find it.

As a business owner, it is your duty to recognize the inevitable changes in your industry. However, when these changes occur, don't shy away. As your industry encounters these changes, prepare your team for them.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Florida Black Business Investment Board

The Florida Black Business Investment Board (FBBIB) provides access to capital for black entrepreneurs and business owners. The FBBIB also provides technical and procurement assistance.  Black entrepreneurs and business owners get access to financing (direct loans and loan guarantees) through FBBIB’s network of partners called black business investment corporations (BBICs).

Loan terms and pricing are established based on individual circumstances and credit risks of the business owner.  Loans may be provided for general business costs – equipment or inventory purchases, business start up or franchise purchases, real estate purchases, working, etc.  An eligible business owner must be black AND a Florida resident. If a corporation, LLC or partnership applies for the loan, the business entity must be a Florida entity with at least 51% ownership and management by a black Florida resident.  Since these loans are partly funded with public dollars, they must serve a public purpose, such as job creation or retention.

Are you trying to get access to additional capital for your business, call me at (850) 727-0293

Friday, July 8, 2011

How To Leverage Available Incentives

I read this article and thought it was worth sharing. It brings home the point that although some companies are taking advantage of economic incentives, they are still missing out on other incentive opportunities. Maybe because because they don’t know that other incentives exist, or they feel it is too much of a bother to pursue them. That is where I come in...... I can help you take the guess-work out of Florida incentives

Friday, June 10, 2011

Business growth cuts surprise officials

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Economic Bright Spot: Small Businesses Are Hiring

This was an interesting article detailing the results of a survey conducted by Manta Human Resources Center. In short, 57% of small businesses indicated that it has hired or plans to hire new employees in 2011. Of those businesses hiring, one of the most important factors when deciding on an employee is experience. This is food for thought. To draw some insight from the full article, please click on the link below:

Economic Bright Spot: SMBs Are Hiring Manta Human Resources Center

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Ask Margo: Frequently Asked Questions About Economic Incentives (Final)

Finally, we are at the last post for this series.  Again, I want to remind you that this series is based on questions or concerns I've encountered over the years, while working with the State's agent for managing a number of its major incentive projects. I've also been getting calls recently from businesses with the same the same questions and concerns.  As such, I decided to prepare this list for your review.  If your burning question is not included in any of these posts, send me an email at and I will add them to the list.

Now, here is the final post of Frequently Asked Questions related to incentive programs:

What are the benefits of working with a consultant, rather than doing it myself?
Although managing your project and proving to the State that you meet the scheduled requirements are not difficult, it is time consuming and requires knowledge of the incentive program. As such, I believe the greatest benefit of working with a consultant is you’ll have the benefit of an expert to manage your project and report your incentive commitments to the State. Ultimately, this frees up your team’s time to focus on the real reason why you are in business – to provide excellent client service and to increase your business’ revenue.

If you choose a consultant to provide full compliance services, the consultant acts as your Compliance Department. As a result, you won’t have to worry about your incentive commitments, because someone else if monitoring those commitments on your behalf. If you choose to manage your project on your own, but you feel you need some quality control to ensure that your analysis and annual reports are appropriate and accurate, you may work with a consultant to provide an oversight review. This process gives you peace of mind, knowing that your project’s reporting package will be reviewed and approved in a timely manner. Another option, if you choose to manage your project on your own would be to have your team participate in a training program to ensure that they have the tools needed to successfully manage and report your project commitments. Again the benefit is the peace of mind, knowing that your project is in good hands.

Feel free to comment or send me an email at if you have other questions that you want answered. I look forward to hearing your comments, questions and concerns about your incentive project. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ask Margo: Frequently Asked Questions About Economic Incentives (III)

The posts of the past three weeks have included a list of questions/concerns I’ve received from a number of businesses enquiring about their incentive projects. I promised to provide some additional questions/concerns that you may be interested in. The following list encompasses questions I’ve received over the years, as well as others that may not have been asked yet, but will come up. If your burning question is not included, email them to me at and I will add your question to the list. If you haven't had the opportunity to review the previous blogs, I encourage you to check them out now.

Why is managing my incentive project so important?
In my experience, many businesses do not worry about their incentive projects until it’s time to submit their reports to the State for approval of their payments. The problem with this method is it does not give you an opportunity to make adjustments if you do not meet one or more of your project requirements at the end of the year. Usually, if you fail to meet one or more of your incentive commitments, you will not only lose the scheduled payment for that year. You will also forfeit any remaining payments under your incentive agreement.

Can I manage my incentive project on my own?
Sure you can! With some assistance, most businesses are capable of monitoring and reporting their incentive project commitments on their own. I would suggest, however, that the team working on your project participate in a training program to ensure that they know the specific requirements for your project. The State requires specific documentation to confirm that your business qualifies to receive a payment. To ensure timely review and approval of your payment, your team should be familiar with the types of documentation and the methods used by the State to analyze your requirements to confirm that you’ve met those requirements.

How would you help me manage my project?
A consultant assisting a business with management of its incentive project should perform periodic reviews of the business’ incentive obligations to ensure that the business is on track to meet those obligations. At Marlynn Consulting, we perform periodic analysis of your incentive requirements during the year and provide you with a report of our results. Our report also details any findings or recommendations that we believe will help you to meet your project goals.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ask Margo: Frequently Asked Questions About Economic Incentives (Part II)

As I stated in last week's post, I’ve been receiving calls from a number of businesses enquiring about their incentive projects and voicing their concens. I promised to provide some additional questions/concerns that you may be interested in. Again, this post is a continuation of  Frequently Asked Questions.
The following list encompasses questions I’ve received over the years, as well as others that may not have been asked yet, but will come up. If your burning question is not included, email them to me at and I will add your question to the list.

What happens if I miss my QTI goals and don’t qualify for the scheduled payment?
Usually, if a company does not qualify for one of its payment, that business will LOSE its QTI project. What this means is that the business’ annual QTI claim application will be denied. You will not receive a payment for the year you miss one or more of your incentive commitments and you will also lose any remaining payments scheduled under your incentive agreement.

However, if the State has approved an Economic Recovery Extension (ERE), you may be provided an opportunity to apply for the extension if your project is denied.

What is an Economic Recovery Extension (ERE)?
Usually when there is an extreme economic downturn, the State’s Legislators approve an ERE to assist QTI Businesses whose project goals may have been negatively affected. The ERE allows a business that was unable to meet one or more of its job requirements to extend the project’s job commitments by one or two years.

My payment was denied, what happens now?
With most incentive programs, if a business’ scheduled payment is denied because it did not meet one or more of its project’s commitments, that business’ incentive project will be terminated. What this means is that business will not receive the payment for that year. Nor, will it receive any remaining payments scheduled under its incentive agreement.

The QTI program has a concession that allows you to extend your job requirements by one or two years. However, the extension is not always available. For the other programs, this extension is not an option. If your incentive requirements are not met, you will LOSE your project and forfeit ALL remaining scheduled payments.

What if I don’t qualify for my Quick Action Closing Fund payment?
The Closing Fund program is a little bit different than the QTI and other incentive programs, in that businesses approved for a Closing Fund project are paid at the beginning, once the project is approved. In this case, if your business does not meet one or more of its Closing Fund goals, you will be responsible for repaying the State a portion of the money you received – plus interest and penalty.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Do Florida's corporate tax breaks pay off in jobs?

OK. I know that I've posted something for the week. But I found this article in my search on economic incentives. Thought it was worth sharing, although I don't agree with all of the assumptions. As a professional working with economic incentives for ten years, I realize that although some businesses have already made up in their minds that they will expand/relocate in Florida, the incentives help to close the deal for others who have not fully made a final decision. Economic incentives help persuade companies to choose Florida over other alternatives, like Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina.

Do Florida's corporate tax breaks pay off in jobs?

Ask Margo: Frequently Asked Questions about economic incentives (Part I)

Recently, I’ve been receiving a number of calls from businesses that are participating in Florida incentives. Some of their concerns have been related to what needs to be done to qualify for their payments, how to prepare for their reporting requirements and, what happens if they are unable to meet the schedule requirements?
My guess is if some businesses have asked these questions, there may be others who have the same concerns. As a result, I thought it would be fitting to answer some of these questions here. The following list encompasses questions I’ve received as well as others that may not have been asked yet, but will come up. If your burning question is not included, email your questions to me at and I will add your question to the list. To avoid information overload, I will present these questions in a series of posts. So, I urge you to return next week. 

My QTI project has been approved! Now what? What’s the NEXT step?
Congratulations! You’ve worked hard to negotiate your incentive project. You should give your team a pat on the back for a job well done. The NEXT type in the incentive process is to prove to the State that you meet the requirements to receive your payment. However, before you can do that effectively, I strongly suggest you make the decision to assign someone to manage the project on your behalf. If you choose to use a consultant for this process, you should find someone who is an expert on economic incentives, and who is familiar with the compliance management process. Be aware that most Incentive Consultants ONLY prepare their client’s annual reporting because it is profitable for them. If you choose to utilize your team, you need to participate in a training program that will provide you with the tools needed to successfully manage and report your project commitments.

Why is it taking so long to receive my payment?
Many businesses ask this question after their claims have been submitted to the State’s agent for review and approval. Unfortunately, the payment process takes some time. Project claim applications and supporting documents are due to the State’s agent by January 31st of each year. The agent is responsible for analyzing your incentive claim application and support documents to confirm that you satisfy your incentive project commitments in order to receive your payment.

The State’s fiscal year begins July 1st of each year. As such, the State cannot make a payment until the funds are available. In addition, the State CANNOT make a payment until it has received the local match (usually 20%) from the participating local government. For example, if a business submitted its claim in January 2011 (the State’s 2011/2012 fiscal year), the State will receive most of the local match payments in the local governments corresponding 2011/2012 fiscal year, which begins October 1st each year. What this means: if your County or City chooses to make its payment in October is, the State will process your payment once it receives the County or City’s local match payment. Therefore, it is safe to say that most businesses do not receive their scheduled payments until the last quarter of each year.

Stay tuned to next week's update of FAQ. As always, if you have any questions about tax incentives, feel free to contact me at

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Community Contribution Tax Credit

The Community Contribution Tax Credit Program (CCTCP) encourage Florida corporations to make donations toward community development and low income housing projects.

Florida Corporations that make donations to approved community development projects may receive a tax credit equal to 50 percent of the value of the donation.  Businesses may take the credit on Florida corporate income tax, franchise tax, or insurance premium tax.

Who qualifies as a sponsor?
§  A Sponsor MUST meet one of the following criteria:
o   Community Action Program
o   Community Development/Redevelopment Agency
o   Neighborhood Housing Services Corporation
o   Local Housing Authority
o   Historic Preservation District Agency or Organization
o   Regional Workforce Development Board (formerly Private Industry Council)
o   Direct-Support Organization (DSO)
o   Enterprise Zone Development Agency
o   Non-profit corporation affiliated with economic/community development efforts
o   Unit of Local/State Government
o   School Board

§  Donate to a project to construct, improve, or substantially rehabilitate housing, commercial, industrial, or public facilities, or to promote entrepreneurial or job development opportunities for low-income persons.

§  Donate to an eligible project in an area designated as a Florida Enterprise Zone.  [A project designed to construct or rehabilitate housing for low-income persons does not have to be located in an Enterprise Zone].

Who is eligible?
Any corporation paying Florida corporate income tax, franchise tax or insurance premium tax is eligible to receive a tax credit up to 50 percent of the value of donations to approved community development projects.

What is an eligible contribution?
Cash, property, and goods donated to approved sponsors are eligible for the credit.

How much credit can a business receive?
A business is eligible to receive credits of up to $200,000 per tax year.  Unused credits may be carried over for up to 5 years.

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's That Time Again!! Are You Tracking Your Incentive commitments?

Businesses participating in Florida's Economic Incentive Programs like QTI (Qualified Target Industry Tax Refund), BRF (Brownfield Redevelopment Tax Refund), or CITC (Capital Investment Tax Credit) are encouraged to monitor their incentive obligations.

You may be thinking that your commitments aren't required until December 2011.  And yes, that is true.  But, let's say that you wait until December to figure out if you've met your obligations. What if you are short on the required average wage? Are you prepared to LOSE your project because you did not meet the wage requirement? That's probably not the option you'll want to take! 
  • Have you considered analyzing your jobs and wage data to determine if you are on track to successfully achieving your incentive compliance goals?
  • What about your taxes? Have you considered monitoring your tax data now to avoid being OVERWHELMED at the end of the year?
Insider TIP: If you haven’t started monitoring your compliance commitments, don’t fret. You still have time.  Begin analyzing your first quarter's jobs, wage and tax goals NOW to determine if you are on track for meeting those goals.
I strongly urge that you DON'T WAIT UNTIL YEAR END TO DO THIS! Be proactive.

You may ask what is the benefit of managing your incentive goals throughout the year? My answer to that question is simply: If you monitor your project goals and determine that you are not on track for meeting one/more of those goals, you have an opportunity to make adjustments before it's too late.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most businesses do not track their incentive goals until the end of the year. For some businesses, this may be ok. However, for others, this may be to their detriment. Do you really want to take this chance?

To find out how to analyze your payroll and tax data to determine if you are on track for receiving a tax refund next year, email me at

Friday, March 25, 2011

Does the Cost of An Incentives Consultant Outweigh The Benefits? Part II

In my earlier post, I discussed how a business may consider using an Incentives Consultant to help guide them through the incentives process. To continue this discussion, I urge you to consider the potential consultant's experience with tax incentive programs and their associated requirements.

After your project has been approved by the grantor agency and an agreement has been negotiated, you may wish to continue your relationship with your current consultant, hire a new consultant, or utilize your staff to monitor and prepare the required compliance reports.  Whichever strategy you choose for this stage, ensure that the person(s) assigned to your project is truly knowledgeable of your project’s compliance requirements.  This is extremely important, as this is the part of the incentives process where you begin receiving your scheduled payments.  Again, in order for you to achieve any benefit, your consultant should be knowledgeable of economic development incentives and their requirements.  Your consultant should also be efficient, to ensure accurate and timely reporting. Essentially, your consultant’s goal is to ensure that you maximize your incentives payments.

Based on my experience, a business may be justified in hiring a professional consultant to assist with obtaining government incentives. A business should also consider whether it is better to use a consultant to assist with the monitoring and reporting functions of the business' compliance requirements. If your consultant adds value to the incentives process for your company, I believe the benefits outweigh the cost.

If you believe an incentives consultant will make participation in the incentives process, contact me at

Monday, March 21, 2011

Does the Cost of An Incentives Consultant Outweigh The Benefits? Part I

Is your company embarking on a new business venture (business start-up, expansion or relocation)? Have you considered sharing the cost of your next business venture with the government? Have you considered the amount of effort required to obtain, monitor and report your benchmarks? Consequently, have you considered the associated costs?
Many businesses seek and are approved government incentives or grants to fund a variety of growth projects. Once a business has determined that a project is viable, key staff may be assigned the task of researching and negotiating available incentives or grants in the areas the company is considering.  Some organizations may hire a professional consultant to guide them through the incentive acquisition & negotiations process.  Since many businesses have limited personnel and time constraints, hiring a professional would free their employees to fulfill their ongoing business obligations. Naturally during these low economic times, though, companies may weigh the cost of hiring an Incentives Consultant to the benefits.

To justify the cost of hiring a professional consultant, your company must evaluate if the prospective consultant is experienced and knowledgeable about incentive programs and their associated requirements.  Once your business has established a viable project, your consultant should research available incentives in the areas you are considering. The consultant should be responsible for evaluating the compliance requirements of each available incentive/grant, and determine if your business can possibly meet the proposed benchmarks.  The consultant should be knowledgeable of the overall incentives process and should be able to guide you from application to closeout. 

See the second part of this post, which provides some more details about considering an Incentive Consultants.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Top economist: Florida economy ready for takeoff"

Florida Trend article, "Top economist: Florida economy ready for takeoff" written by Dale White (Published: Wednesday, February 2, 2011 at 6:29 a.m.) highlighted a cautiously optimistic picture of Florida's economy.

I believe this article should interest Florida businesses, as it gives us hope that Florida's economy is rebounding and the likelihood of job growth is high.  I am optimistic! 
For small businesses, this is also good news!  A growth in the State's economy usually produces new growth opportunities for small businesses.  Have you considered the wealth of new opportunities that may occur for your business?  Attracting these opportunities, of course, may require some creativity on your part.  Have you considered how your business will rebound? 
Will you need to hire new employees?
What about training for your existing employees?
As you think about the endless possibilities (get creative), remember that the State provides funding in the form of tax credits, tax refunds and grants to assist businesses with their growth and training efforts.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

"Punxsutawney Phil Predicts Quick End to Winter" - AOL News

"How does this benefit me," you ask? Well, on February 2, 2011, the ground hog (Punxsutawney Phil) cast a shadow, which signaled that SPRING IS COMING!

Now you may be wondering what spring has to do with the Economic Gardening Loan Program. Doesn't the thought of spring jog pictures gentler weather and flowers blooming? Generally speaking, spring makes us think of GROWTH. And I would be amiss if I didn't think of the GROWTH we can achieve as small business owners.
This leads me into my discussion of Florida's
Economic Gardening Loans.  This loan program was created to stimulate investment by Florida’s small businesses 

Loans are provided to qualified 'stage 2' businesses meeting the following criteria:
·  Revenues between $1 - $25 million, with
·  10 – 50 employees

You receive up to $250,000 to be used for the following:
·   Working capital purchases,
·   Employee training, or
·   Salaries for new Florida jobs

The Economic Gardening Loan is to be paid in 4 years, with a 2% interest rate.  Only interest is paid in year one.

Is the Economic Gardening Loan program an option for your business?  Contact me at to find out!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Presentation: City of St. Mark's Commission Meeting

Last night, I participated at the City of St. Mark's monthly Commission meeting.  I presented on Florida economic incentives (i.e. tax breaks in the form of credits, refunds and grants).  It was an amazing experience.  My goal was to inform smaller communities about the availability of these incentives and briefly describe some of their benefits. 

My BIG questions: If I offered you a check for $25,000 for training your employees, would you take it?  What if you had to do the training anyway, would the $25,000 check encourage you to get a move on it?

The responses: What's the catch? It's free money, sure I would take it!

Ultimately, what I wanted to get across to the audience was, the money is available each year.  As small business owners, we have to be willing to get help.  No man is an island.  We cannot exist in a vacuum.  And, although some business owners may consider this a hand-out, when you think about it, it is really your money.  If you pay taxes, consider a tax incentive as the government returning some of your money back to you to help with your growth and training needs.

So, I ask this question again, "If I offered to give you a check for creating, retaining or training your employees, would you take it?"


Why not start now? Email me at so we can discuss how you can start receiving money from to help your business grow.

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Small Businesses Are Rebounding With Tax Incentives (Tax Credits)

I recently read an article on, titled: "Small Business Is Hiring, but Very Carefully."  The article indicated that in past recessions, small businesses led the rebound, now they're relying on part-time workers and more productivity with fewer people.  The article also discussed an interview with the CEO of a sales promotion company who let go some of his full-time salespeople as a result of the downturn in the economy. The company later kept these employees on as contractors, reducing payroll costs.  

While reading this article I thought about a conversation I had with a local economic development agency.  Florida and local communities within Florida offer tax incentives to businesses to help with their growth and training needs.  There are even greater opportunities for companies located in enterprise zones, brownfield redevelopment, urban and rural areas.  THE PROBLEM? Many small businesses do not take advantage of these opportunities!

As a small business owner, have you thought about getting money to help train your employees?  Or, maybe you’d prefer a tax credit on business equipment and materials?  In a down economy, as a small business owner, you should be excited these opportunities exist.

I hear you asking, what if my business isn’t in Florida?  That is definitely not an issue.  I assure you that your local community offers similar tax incentive programs.  I strongly suggest you contact your local economic development agency and inquire about available tax incentives.  Whatever your situation is, don’t you think you owe it to yourself to at least check these out?

Email me at to find out what incentives are available.  I can also help with other State incentives.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Marlynn Consulting's Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

OK guys, this week was a busy one.  First, I participated in my Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Tallahasse Chamber of Commerce on Monday - WOOWEE!! 

Monday afternoon found me at a Manufacturers Association of Florida meeting, where I learned about developments in the manufacturing industry as they prepared for “Manufacturers Day At The Capital”.

On Tuesday and Wednesday I spent my days at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Tallahassee, where the following meetings took place:

·         Rural and Urban Working Group
·         Competitiveness Working Group
·         Technology, Entrepreneurship & Capital Committee
·         Global Commerce & Investment Committee
·         Florida Life Sciences Council
·         Legislative Policy Committee
·         Board & Stakeholders Meetings

There was a great wealth of information provided at these meetings related to Florida’s economy, economic incentives, and Florida’s key industries.  The general consensus of the group was to determine how to keep the State’s competitiveness to bring in new and retain existing Florida jobs.

On Thursday, the Office of Small Business Advocate held a Small Business Issues Forum in Tallahassee to figure out what burning issues were affecting small businesses.  Business owners voiced concerns about the following topics:

·         Regulations affecting licensed businesses, but lack of penalties for competitors who are not licensed.
·         Difficulty in finding out information from one source, rather than having to look all over the internet.
·         Doing business with State government.
·         Contracting issues for minority-owned and other small businesses.

On Friday, I joined a List Building Challenge call with Emily Morgan ( Finally, on Saturday I will participate in a Toastmasters training workshop. Then, it is time for a little "Rest & Relaxation"

Need Money For Your Business?

Are you familiar with Economic Incentives?

Has your business participated in any tax incentives in the past?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with tax incentives, here is a simple explanation of what an economic development incentive is:

Economic incentives are simply tax breaks provided by the government to stimulate the local economy and encourage business growth.  Economic incentives are commonly available as tax refunds, tax credits, or grant reimbursements.  There are a number of Florida tax incentives, which include tax refunds like QTI (Qualified Tax Refund) and Brownfield Redevelopment; discretionary payment programs like Quick Action Closing Fund (QACF) and HIPI (High Impact Performance Incentives); tax credits like Enterprise Zone, Capital Investment and Commmunity Contribution Tax Credit (CCTCP); and training grants like Incumbent Worker Training (IWT) and Quick Response Training (QRT).

Other programs include, but are not limited to The Economic Gardening and Black Business Loan Programs.

Contact me by email if you wish to find out if you qualify for a tax break under economic incentives.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


If you are a participant of the State of Florida’s Qualified Target Industry Tax Incentive (QTI) program, you should have received your QTI Claim Application by now.  It is time to prove to the State that you have met your QTI compliance goals for 2010. 

Have you analyzed your payroll data to determine if you successfully achieved your QTI compliance goals?

Have you analyzed your tax data to determine if you qualify for a full refund?

TIP: If you haven’t started preparing your compliance reports don’t fret, you still have time.  The State gives you an opportunity to request a one-time 30-day extension, which gives you some additional time.  Please note – your request must be in writing.  This gives you until March 2nd to submit your claim application and supporting documents to the State’s agent responsible for verifying your claims.

It is your responsibility to ensure that all required documentation is submitted to support satisfaction of your compliance goals/commitments.  Proper documentation will result in timely review of your QTI claim package, which will ultimately result in timely payments.

For additional information on how to analyze your payroll data to determine whether you qualify for a tax refund; how to determine the amount of refund you will receive; or what type of documentation you are required to submit, contact me by email at