• United States

Reasons to be cheerful

Jul 14, 20043 mins

* Events and trends are cause for home-based optimism

Forget the headaches inherent in working at home – the crashed PC you must fix yourself, the shrieking kids in the backyard, the slow-paying clients. Maybe my fast-approaching week on Cape Cod is making me giddy, or maybe it’s the fact that my kids are in summer camp, rendering my own yard shriek-free, but I’m feeling good about my prospects. Once you read up on a few recent developments, I think you will,too.

Item: Both Presidential candidates love us. No matter who wins November’s presidential election, small-business owners stand to profit. That’s because both George W. Bush and John Kerry support a variety of technology and tax plans that benefit us, such as universal and affordable access to broadband and a continuation of the federal moratorium on a sales tax for Internet transactions. And both have been aggressively highlighting their small-business programs on the campaign trail.

Here are Kerry’s Web pages for small biz and tech: and

The Bush-Cheney site doesn’t break out the issues the same way, but here’s an article discussing broadband as it relates to starting up a business:,10801,91728,00.html

Now, July stump-speech platitudes don’t mean diddly-squat after Inauguration Day. What’s significant is that small business has been identified as a group of voters worth wooing. Presidential candidates don’t make empty promises to just anybody, you know.

Item: Sticking with the Sally Fields theme (“You like me! You really like me!”), I want to point out big names have noticed us and launched Web areas focused on our needs. Tech vendors you associate with massive enterprises are now paying more attention to small businesses.

* Oracle:

* Computer Associates:

* SAP:

* Cisco: and

Item: Did you know about a bit of legislation signed in May 2003 that allows smaller companies to write off IT purchases through Jan. 31, 2005? Section 179 of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 allows SMBs to write off up to $100,000 in new-technology buys including PCs, telephone gear and (for the first time) software.

I know that for me, it’s always tempting to put off technology purchases because prices are constantly falling. This means I tend to hang on to equipment longer than I should (case in point: my printer, which cost $500 and is steam-powered). Not this year – the write-off prompted me to purchase wireless networking equipment (which I’ll write about soon), and a printer and PC upgrade are in the works.

Item: You’re not in a cubicle. There are millions who would happily trade places with you, even if they had to listen to the kids shriek in the backyard. Enjoy.