ROI is in the mind of every business owner. Knowing where to spend your hard earned dollars can be a confusing task. It is important to participate in as many networking functions as you are able to attend. Staying front of mind, and in this case, front of face, will garner you more business opportunities. The less you are seen, the more vulnerable you are to fade into the woodwork. Be sure to share any new information about your business. If you can, take advantage of bringing other professional contacts into the group. You are building relationships with other nearby business men and women as well as expanding your referral opportunities even further. Another item that comes with the end of the year is tax time. Consider this… you may have heard the saying, “it pays to have connections”. The same holds true for your networking outlets. There are actually many networking related write-offs that you might want to pay attention to. These range from business gifts sent to clients, trade-show attendance and dues for professional associations (such as PRE!) Events that qualify as continuing education to maintain or improve your skills in the profession also count. (See a list below of more tax deductible items you may be able to take advantage of). Keep in mind anything that may be business related and as always discuss these items with your accountant. The tax laws change constantly, but you may be pleasantly surprised at what you can find out. Some examples that may shock you include a wine shop owner who deducted his surgery to improve his sense of smell, junk yard owners who deducted the cost & care of a cat (to ward off nasty creatures as pest control) or a guard dog. Here’s a list of some more things that may spark an idea! Legal and consultancy fees, Marketing expenses, Bad debt or theft, Loan interest, Interest payments on a business credit card, internet service fees, parking, postage, office furniture & supplies, insurances, local business taxes & fees, business licenses & permits, bank service charges, auto expenses/gas mileage, home office deductions, first year expense deductions, rent, phones, utilities, entertainment, gifts, travel, etc.