Category Archives: Business Planning

How a Toll Free Number Will Help You Generate More Business

Toll Free NumberWhether you’re starting a business or growing an existing company, being accessible to customers is an essential ingredient for success. Your clients and potential customers must be able to reach you whenever needed.

Modern technology has brought about new methods of communication – email, social media chat, VoIP, and more. Because of this, it seems that in this technological age, installing a conventional telephone system and getting a toll-free number for one’s business is a waste of precious company funds. However, companies immensely benefit from having a toll free number that customers can call anytime. Hence, despite the availability of Internet-based communication apps and software, a toll-free number is still essential to most businesses.

Getting a Toll Free Number

A toll-free number allows your customers and prospective clients to call you for free no matter what state they’re calling from. Also, toll-free numbers are typically utilized for customer service hotlines.

Obtaining a toll-free number for your business is easy. The first thing that you need to do is look for a reputable 800 service provider. Then, find out how much you need to spend to get a toll free number. You must be capable of including the service fees in the company’s operating budget.

The expenses associated with toll-free numbers for your business will be based on the plan you choose from the service provider. On top of the monthly base fee of $10 to $15, it usually costs less than 10 cents up to 30 cents per minute of call.

4 Signs You Should Have a Toll Free Number

You may be wondering whether your organization will still benefit from having a toll free number. Getting a toll free number seems irrelevant when there’s numerous voice calling apps that the company can utilize for a lower fee.

Here are four signs that your business should have its own toll free number.

  • Customer Base is Not Local

When your customer base is not confined to your neighborhood or region, your business benefits from having a 1-800 number. A toll-free number dedicated to your company encourages customers to call you no matter what state they’re at.

Long-distance calls are relatively cheaper nowadays than it was years ago. However, an 800 number often saves your customers money when they contact you, which is always a good thing.

  • Gain Market Share

Local businesses that want to broaden their customer base should consider obtaining a toll-free number. Having an 800 number shows the company’s desire to serve both local and national customers.

A toll-free number adds a national appeal to your business. Potential clients don’t have to wonder what particular region you belong to before doing business with you, making it easier for the company to penetrate new markets.

Toll-free number service providers also provide company owners with valuable business data and intelligence. You can obtain location-based data, call tracking, information on peak call times, and more. Internet-based apps may be able to provide the same data, but it’s worth remembering that not all customers want to use online communication apps for business transactions.

  • Improve Your Brand Image

If you want to boost brand awareness, you should consider getting a dedicated 800 number for your business. A toll-free number is a relatively cheap investment that does wonders for your company’s image. Toll-free numbers can be utilized as a business marketing tool. Because these are very easy to remember, you’re guaranteed that customers will not forget it, especially if you select a vanity number.

It also helps make your company seem bigger, more established, and more reliable. By investing in a toll-free number for the company, you’re building a legitimate and professional business image.

  • Value Customer Satisfaction

Customers are the reason your business exists. Thus, you should always ensure their satisfaction with your products or services.

One way to make sure that customers are happy with your offerings is to be easily reachable through every stage of the business transaction. If your clients find it challenging to reach you, they’ll cease doing business with you.

Businesses that utilize toll-free numbers experience increased customer trust by making it easier and more convenient for them to communicate with their chosen company at any given time.

Conclusion

A toll-free number associated with your business drives both local and national customers to communicate with you. A convenient and hassle-free communication process encourages clients to do business with you over and over again.

The fees that you spend obtaining toll-free numbers for the company are a worthwhile investment that benefits your organization over the long term.

How to Fund Your COVID-19 Office Improvements

Office Improvements

Figuring out what to do to protect your employees as they come back to work from time off due to COVID-19 health risks is a challenge every business owner has to deal with. It is not going to be cheap. So how do you fund your COVID-19 office improvements?

Many business owners have applied for SBA disaster relief loans, but what if you are one of the many whose loans don’t come through or don’t come through soon enough to get the office improvements done in time for the return of employees? How do you fill the gap?

Different Loan Options for Office Improvements

Office improvements are expensive and costly, and using your business cash flow to fund the improvements may not be an option. Applying for a loan is the next best option that you have. There are different loan options that you can use to finance your office improvements. Check the following list below and see what loan option best fits you.

Traditional Term loan

The traditional term loan is what you think it is. You apply for a lump sum of cash, and once approved, you will receive the amount in full. It is under the condition that you need to repay the whole amount together with the total interest and fees included over a specific period. Your repayment schedule condition depends on the lender, but you can choose to have it done on a weekly or monthly basis.

To qualify for a traditional term loan, you need to have a good credit score, outstanding business transaction records, and an increasing business revenue over the years. However, if this seems to be overwhelming, there are still other options, like short-term loans, that you can apply for.

Short-term loan

Many lenders offer short-term loans to startup business owners that are looking for additional funds in handling their business expenses.  One of these expenses includes renting an office space for their business operations including office improvements.

Short-term loans don’t need many requirements to get approved. Having a fair to good credit score should get you the approval you need. Also, short-term loans work best for startup business owners as they are still getting the hang of running their business. Handling the repayments for a  short-term loan wouldn’t be too much of a burden to a recovering business.

A business line of credit

Any business can apply for a business line of credit. The good thing about having a business line of credit is that you can have a higher credit limit compared to other loan options. If you have excellent business revenue, a clean credit history, and other essential factors, you can avail of a high credit limit that you can use for your office improvements.

Another notable distinction of getting a business line of credit as a loan option is that it offers flexible payment options. Funds can also be used for different business-related purposes, and borrowers have access to cash on demand. Handling the payment for a business line of credit is much like paying for a credit card. You only need to pay for the interest of the funds you used.

Credit Card

It is very seldom that business owners rely on the use of their personal credit cards to finance any business-related expenses. The truth is, utilizing your credit card is a good financial option to fund your business. If the ideal, rentable office space you found can be settled by paying through your credit card, then you have a good deal.

However, make sure that you don’t overspend your credit limit. You don’t want to be burdened with monthly repayments and interest accumulation.

Pro-tip: In any business, it is inevitable to have a slow period during the COVID-19 crisis. The slow period might be one of the reasons why many business owners struggle to pay off their debts on time. If caught on a tight end in repaying your loan, you can do a balance transfer loan. A balance transfer loan can give you leeway as it allows you to transfer or move your debt to a different financial institution that has a zero or lower interest. 

Before you perform a balance transfer loan, make sure to check the company’s terms of service. Credit card companies offer different terms, and some of them might not appeal to your preference. Find one with a very low-interest rate, no balance transfer fee, high credit limit to cover previous balances, and a long introductory period before proceeding to have a transfer done.

Image Source

6 Best Practices When You Reopen Your Office

Reopen Your OfficeIn most cases, a crisis acts as a transitioning period, which requires one to adapt accordingly. At the moment, most businesses, like yours, are focusing on how to reopen your office and resuming office operations at some point in the coming days. For that reason, most business owners are now working on the best  formula for returning to day-to-day office engagements while keeping their employees safe.

The general expectation is that employees will be more cautious as they consider going back to the office. The implication, in this case, is that employers should prioritize making the office environment safe for their workers before normal operations resume.

Additionally, it is a fact that daily office activities will not take off at once, but gradually, depending on various factors affecting the operations of each office. As such, business owners should shift their attention to the best practices they should adopt as part of their return to the office strategy. Here are some of the measures you should consider putting in place before reopening your office.

1. Identify The Employees Who Should Resume Office Operations

Every employer will need to exercise extra caution when recalling workers to resume their office duties. Starting with a full office as operations resume will not be advisable. Additionally, authorities will also have guidelines on a workable return to office formula, and you need to consider that as well.

Once you have details about the return to office guidelines from the government, you can blend the same with what will work best for your organization. Some of the questions to ask in this case will include;

  • What employees perform critical functions?
  • What tasks can workers attend to only from the office?
  • Is the return to office plan for employees who perform critical functions mandatory or not?

You can also consider using anonymous surveys to establish the concerns and willingness of your workers to resume office operations.

2. Perform Enhanced and Routine Office Cleaning

Cleanliness will indeed become the focal point for most offices as they reopen in the days to come. So, before opening your premises, you should prioritize enhanced cleaning to ensure the environment is clean and safe for everyone.

Routine cleaning of workspaces that individuals touch frequently will also be necessary going forward. It is also true that the demand for cleaning services will also be high as offices reopen, so contacting providers of such services in advance will be a wise idea.

3. Erect Barriers Where Possible

If you have an open-plan office, you need to look for ways of safeguarding the health of your  employees who will be using such spaces. It is important to note that workers will be a bit reluctant to return to the office if they discover that the environment is posing health risks.

Erecting barriers in open office spaces is one of the ways you can create cubicle-like separation between one worker and the next within your establishment. Where possible, you should create barriers in your office before resuming operations.

4. Stock Your Office with Adequate Supplies

Personal hygiene and maintaining a clean environment will become buzzwords as offices reopen. That means that providing your workers with hand sanitizers, tissue, and no-touch disposal receptacles will be necessary. Even face masks should be available for both employee and customer use. Placing these essential supplies strategically within your office, including posters next to such items, will promote good hygiene habits in-house.

Since personal hygiene supplies and toiletries may be in high demand by the time you reopen your office. In that case, placing orders for necessary office supplies in advance will be prudent.

5. Reorganize Meal Times

Open common spaces can cause overcrowding, which is why you need to rethink meal times as office activities resume. If a company run cafeteria is available within your entity, you can control the opening hours and limit the number of people accessing the facility at any one time.

Opting for pre-packaged foods and marking your office cafeteria’s floor with lanes and quadrants to keep your employees safe is worth considering too. Alternatively, you can plan for food catering or delivery to prevent workers from frequenting public eating outlets during meal times when your office reopens.

Also, encourage as many employees as possible to carry food from home. Staggering office meal breaks as a way of minimizing physical contact between employees may be necessary too.

6. Determine what Is Best for Your Organization

Covering for any losses and reviewing set targets may be a priority as you return to the office, but that should not be at the expense of the wellbeing of your workers. Remember that your employees are an essential resource, and protecting them is part of your responsibilities. So, even as you consider how you will recover lost time when you reopen your office, you need to involve your employees too.

Ask your workers how you can improve the workplace environment to enhance their productivity. The input of your employees and implementing the same will affect your bottom line. The reason is that your workers are part of the determinants of what is best for your enterprise as you reopen your office.

Conclusion

Now is not the time to get into the rush of reopening your office, but planning how you will go about this process with extra caution. The future of your office operations depends on the decisions you make now and the impact they will have on your employees. Also, before implementing your return to the office strategy, you will need to review all relevant factors that will inform your decision-making process.

The desire of every individual right now is for normal operations to resume as soon as possible, including the reopening of various offices. However, that will not be possible if you do not take the necessary precautions from the onset. The best practices above can help you develop a workable return to office strategy, which addresses both your needs and those of your workers.

Currently, it may not be clear how long it will take for businesses to recover, but you can fast track that process if you adopt the best practices above.

If you need office space or help with your current lease, contact us today! We offer advice from our network of over 450 local tenant reps for free!

Keeping Your Business Secure from Cyberattacks

cyberattack grid

As the frequency of data breaches and cyberattacks grows, the failure of companies to have stable counterattacks and security measures in place is no longer an option. Securing your company network when you move to a new office is critical to ensuring the security of your business and client data.

Cyberattacks are now a scary reality for every business, regardless of size or government stature. Although hackers often target large companies because of their size, small and middle-sized companies are more vulnerable because they lack the top-notch defenses of larger organizations.

You cannot afford to overlook or put off securing your new office space because the looming threat of malicious actors on a mission to destroy, hijack, or steal information is real.

Instead, you must be responsible and prepared to protect your network and systems against hackers. The following nine tips can help secure your new office network.

1. Create a Cyber Security Plan

A well-thought cybersecurity plan can protect your company’s critical infrastructure and information systems and reduce exposure to vulnerabilities. If you don’t have one, look at cybersecurity frameworks for guidance. You can even adopt an existing framework to meet your new office needs or develop one internally.

2. Secure All Hardware

Companies often place a lot of attention to acquiring the latest cybersecurity software, leaving out hardware security. The loss of devices connected to your office network is a real threat because attackers can use the gadgets to infiltrate your systems.

Secure your new office by protecting all the physical devices connected to it with complicated passcodes or other authentication requirements. You can also install location software such as ‘find my device’ on all laptops, tablets, and phones.

3. Physically Secure All Ports and Equipment

Hide and secure all network equipment such as routers, access points, and switches from visitors or public access. Intruders who gain access to these points could easily plugin and enter your network. Ensure all wall ports are behind desks or are in locations that visitors cannot access. Disconnect any open or unused public ports from your office network, or remove them altogether.

4. Encrypt Your Wi-Fi

Encrypting your Wi-Fi locks out unauthorized users from your office network. It is best to use WPA or WPA2 enterprise-mode security for your office network. This way, employees will not see your encryption password. It also reduces the chances of being hacked since you don’t store the passcode on multiple devices lest they get lost or stolen.

WPA-Enterprise uses 802.1X authentication, which experts recommend for office and business networks. All users must provide login credentials to gain access.

5. Encrypt and Back-Up Data

Apart from preventing the physical access to your office network, you also need to encrypt your data to render it useless should it fall into unauthorized hands. Data encryption is the best fix for data breaches if they occur. Encrypt all sensitive data, including business, customer, and employee information. Ensure that you activate and update the encryption software on all office devices.

Data backup is another necessary protection against security breaches. You can use it to restore your data if you suffer loss or a ransomware hack.

6. Put Up a Firewall and Restrict Access

Putting up a corporate firewall and restricting employee access is an essential step in securing your new office network. Some firewalls have an integrated VPN whose encryption provides additional protection. You can use a VPN as a security barrier between the employee PCs and your server. Hence, all computers on your network will work across an encrypted passageway whenever they access the server.

7. Create a VLAN for Guests

Never let guests or the public onto your private network to prevent eavesdropping, breaches, or hijacking of online accounts. If you must offer guest access, assign them to a separate LAN and SSID if your network equipment allows it. Otherwise, consider operating a different Internet connection and wireless router.

8. Invest in Cyber Security Insurance

Cybercriminals work tirelessly to find novel ways of breaching network security defenses, which means that all businesses are at risk of attacks. According to a 2019 IBM report, the average cost of a single breach was $3.92 million. To mitigate network breaches, get cybersecurity insurance. Seek specialist assistance to help you select the best cover for your business.

9. Educate Staff and Create a Secure Workplace Culture

Educate your staff on proper network security protocols to protect against breaches. Security is the responsibility of every employee. Thus, create a formal Internet policy for your business and ensure that everyone adheres to it.

Summing Up

Most businesses rarely think of the day-to-day threats of cyberattacks until they get affected. Having a cybersecurity plan in place allows you to survive attacks and continue your operations. Protecting your new office space from cyberattacks requires several measures, including securing hardware and access points, encrypting your Wi-Fi, using a firewall, creating VLAN for guests, educating employees, and investing in insurance.

Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loans Available

SBA disaster assistance loanAt OfficeFinder we want to help however we can. We know that many businesses will need help in the coming months. Here is one way to help alleviate the strain, a Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Loan. Here is some information on them.

The SBA announced on Wednesday that businesses can now apply for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans to cover the temporary loss of revenue and meet working capital needs. Funds may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other expenses that cannot be met due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19.   Recognizing the high number of small businesses that will likely apply for loan assistance, the SBA says it may take three weeks or longer for the SBA to approve or deny loan applications.

SBA disaster assistance loan applicants should provide at least two years’ worth of financials to demonstrate the extent to which the pandemic has depleted cash flow.
To apply, business owners can log onto https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance to complete an online application

Businesses with access to traditional banks loans may not qualify for economic injury disaster loans.  Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

Credit Requirements:
• Credit History – Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to SBA.
• Repayment – Applicants must show the ability to repay the loan.
• Collateral – Collateral is required for all EIDL loans over $25,000. SBA takes real estate as collateral when it is available. SBA will not decline a loan for lack of collateral, but SBA will require the borrower to pledge collateral that is available.

Interest Rates:
The interest rate is determined by formulas set by law and is fixed for the life of the loan. The maximum interest rate for this program is 4%.

Loan Terms:
The law authorizes loan terms up to a maximum of 30 years. SBA will determine an appropriate installment payment based on the financial condition of each borrower, which in turn will determine the loan term.

If there are ways we can help, let us know. Feel free to contact me directly at jim@officefinder.com.

Top Ways To Promote Growth And Scale Your Business

Business Owner

Running a business is not easy. It takes substantial time and effort if you want to make it successful. When your business is generating revenue, it’s time to scale it up.

Scaling up your business means generating income faster than your expenses. Doing that is not a smooth process when you don’t know the right strategies. So here are some ways through which you can easily scale up your accounting business and make it a more fruitful one:

  1. Build A Sales Funnel

Since you’re doing business in the digital age, digital marketing has become a trend over the years. Without such, you will not be able to grow your business rapidly. This means you may need a website or a social media accountant for your various aspects of your business. As an example, accountants in brisbane and an accounting services company uses sites to reach more potential clients.

This is true because you need an online presence if you want to generate more leads that can then become potential paying clients.

One of the most effective ways to scale up your business is to build a sales funnel. The sales funnel refers to the buying process you need to create to encourage clients to pay for your accounting services. So here’s a list of how you can do it:

  • Connect with your potential clients. You also need to know what frustrates people when it comes to paperwork related to accounting.
  • Now that you know what their accounting issues are, it’s time to give them something valuable. For instance, maybe you can offer them a free consultation or free e-book related to their frustrations. By doing such, you’re making your brand known online.
  • It’s also vital to use related keywords that your target audience is searching for. That way, you can create content or product offers using such keywords.
  • Afterwards, you should create a landing page that can attract your audience’s attention. With this, you should have an irresistible call to action.
  1. Delight Your Employees

Aside from the sales funnel, you should also consider your employees. Part of becoming a successful boss is to have loyal and efficient employees. You can have such workers by valuing them. Especially since accounting services can be stressful work, your employees will value you when you give them importance as well.

When your employees feel that you value them, they won’t come and go. Thus, it can save you a lot of hiring and training expenses caused by resigning workers.

A simple thank you, greetings, or friendly chit chat can do wonders. But to make it more effective, you can give your employees bonuses for their hard work. This is a simple way of appreciating their efforts.

Aside from that, unlimited sick days, paid leave for volunteering, and paid leaves may show that you also value your employees’ welfare. As a result, your employees will know they’re in a healthy workplace. For this reason, they wouldn’t even think of leaving.

  1. Invest In Your Clients

Of course, the other people you need to value are your clients. That way, you can also expect loyalty or returning clients. Not only that, but satisfied customers can become your marketing tool as well. They can talk about you or refer you to their friends who need accounting services. Remember, testimonies coming from other people are more effective than claims coming from the business owner.

That’s why you should do the following if you want to satisfy your customers:

  • Give them a great experience by reaching out to them as soon as possible. Keeping your clients waiting for too long may add up to their frustrations with their accounting needs.
  • Establish different communication channels so that clients can reach you conveniently. Telephones are not enough nowadays, you must also have a social media account, website, emails, and messaging apps.
  • Most importantly, analyze feedback from previous clients. When you value their feedback, it helps you deliver a better accounting service in the future. This way, you can eliminate services that may not be satisfying your clients.
  1. Ask For Help

Well, if you think asking for help when doing business is a weakness, then think again. Even Steve Jobs said that asking for help from known entrepreneurs is worth it. Not only that, but successful business people also have their mentors from whom they seek regular advice.

That is why, you should have a mentor for the following reasons:

  • Scaling up, as mentioned, is not that easy. But with a mentor, you can generate more ideas to make your original plan more effective. Because advisors can share a different perspective, you can learn more from them.
  • Since you’ll face ups and downs during scale-up, you might drain yourself. When you’ve got a mentor, they’ll become a source of inspiration. They can share their hardships and how they overcame them. Thus, they would encourage you not to give up.
  • Lastly, with a mentor, they can see your point of weakness in your accounting business. You may not see it yourself, but your mentors might recognize it. Not only that, but mentors can even give you suggestions on how to address such issues.

Conclusion:

Scaling up your business means you’re one step ahead of growing your business. It may take time, but it’ll be an exciting process. However, together with such excitement, you’ll also face hardships. That’s why you must learn how to establish a sales funnel to keep your income flowing. And your employees can help you with growing your business, so you need to invest in them too.

While it’s vital to keep your employees delighted, you must also satisfy your customers throughout their experience. But most importantly, you’ll need a mentor who can give you inspiration and suggestions when you feel like giving up.

How a Successful CEO Gets Ready in the Morning

Ask the most successful chief executive officers (CEOs) the secret to success, and you might just find that it all starts with the morning routine. The way you get ready in the morning sets the stage for the day and can completely alter its outcome, laying the foundation for productivity, creativity or whatever intention you set. Let’s take a look at some of the morning routines of some of the most powerful business leaders to see how the a.m. grind affects their success.

  • They Get Up Early—What’s one thing all successful members of the C-suite tend to have in common? They get up early. In fact, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Sheryl Sandberg reportedly gets to work by 7 a.m. every day. The amazing thing? Despite the fact that she runs one of the world’s biggest tech companies, she still manages to leave work every day by 5:30 p.m. It’s all about work-life balance! Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Elon Musk (SpaceX, Tesla) and Tim Cook (Apple) all rise before 5:30 a.m., and Cook reportedly gets up each day at 4:00 a.m.!
  • They Check Their E-Mails and Read the Paper—Just about all the biggest figureheads tend to wake up with their face in their phone, including Sandberg, Cook and Musk. Others like to get their mind going the old-fashioned way, by reading a book, magazine or newspaper. It may not surprise you to learn that the octogenarian CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffet, reportedly opens up each day by reading a physical newspaper, but it may come as a shock to learn that Google’s 47-year-old CEO, Sundar Pichai, does the same thing to get the brain in motion.
  • They Do a Morning Workout—Even 87-year-old Warren Buffet makes time to work out every morning. In fact, he reportedly gets his sweat on after a breakfast of McDonald’s and Coca-Cola (seriously). On the other end of the spectrum, Jesse Moeinifar, the CEO and founder of the audience development platform Viafoura, says he blocks off three hours each morning, between 5:30 and 8:30 a.m., for physical fitness. He follows up his daily morning workout with a mix of ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, lime and honey, which he says, “has enabled me to ward off any sickness for 13 years straight now.” Packing your gym bag with a men’s toiletry bag full of the basics is a great way to emerge from your morning workout energized and look amazing when you get to the office.
  • They Outline Their Goals for the Day—Whether via a peek at their Google Cal or a mental rundown of what the day will look like, almost all successful business leaders begin each day evaluating what’s on their plate. In fact, the founder and CEO of HighTower, Elliot Weissbluth, says that (after waking up at 4 or 4:30 a.m.) he goes over his goals for the day and reshuffles any priorities with regard to his work and his family. He says he uses the Chrome plugin Momentum, which allows him to set a daily intention and helps to eliminate distractions throughout the day.

Successful CEO

  • They Put Effort into the Way They Look—Don’t look to Facebook CEO and Founder Mark Zuckerberg for advice here (the guy is known for wearing the same outfit every day, which he says gives him “one less decision to make.”) But, contrary to what Zuckerberg would have you believe, what you wear to the office and how put-together you appear does matter when it comes to how people perceive you. By using some top-notch men’s grooming tools and products and selecting well-tailored outfits, you can look like a super-polished CEO without putting in much effort at all.
  • They Eat Breakfast—Yup, even the busiest people in the world somehow find the time to eat breakfast. And, barring Buffet—whom we all know gets his day going with a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit from McDonald’s—they pretty much all start their day with something healthy to eat. Oprah reportedly enjoys egg, toast and avocado with a chai tea, while Shark Tank investor and Dallas Mavericks co-owner Mark Cuban says he lives off Alyssa’s Cookies, which are low in calories but high in protein and fiber.

Successful CEO

  • They Check in with Themselves—The late head of Apple, Steve Jobs, was known for infusing some mindfulness into his morning routine. He reportedly asked himself each day, “If today was the last day of my life, would I be happy with what I’m about to do today?” According to Jobs, if the answer was “no” too often, that was his signal that he needed to make some big changes in his life. Oprah, Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins also say they start out each day with mindfulness by way of an energizing 20- or 30-minute meditation sesh.
  • They Listen to Audiobooks—The CEO of Twitter and Square, Jack Dorsey, gets his morning exercise by walking the five miles from his home to Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco. On the way, he reportedly listens to audiobooks and podcasts. Sriram Sridhar, the co-founder and CEO of the website LateShipment.com, does the same, saying he spends the half-hour drive to work listening to audiobooks rather than music, which allows him to listen to more than 30 books a year.

They Maintain a Routine

Regardless of if they meditate, listen to audiobooks or read the newspaper, all successful CEOs have one thing in common: they do the same thing every morning. Settling into a routine is one of the best things you can do to hold yourself accountable and get into good practices for a lifetime. No matter what gets you going in the morning, doing it at the same time every day is a great way to hold yourself accountable and to build positive habits that set you up for success.

Is Your Business In Labor Law Compliance?

labor law compliance

One of the most important milestones of a business is to hire employees. It’s an exciting endeavor, especially for startups. It’s an indication that you have a thriving and growing business. However, it doesn’t mean that hiring staff doesn’t come with a disadvantage. Yes, despite being a step towards success, hiring employees requires you to have the knowledge and be in compliance with labor laws. And that is not always easy.

In every operation that your business undertakes involving your employees, it’s essential to make sure that you’re going to comply with the federal and state rules. Staying apprised of the existing legal landscape will be beneficial as it can be easy to violate them, especially if your business has multiple locations.

Compliance with labor laws, however, isn’t only about avoiding fines, it is also about maintaining a safe work environment for all employees. Labor laws also present guidelines on how to treat your workers fairly. Therefore, if you want to build a long-lasting and sustainable business, you have to keep up with federal labor law, together with state and local regulations.

How To Stay Labor Law Compliant?

There are simple things you can do or implement for your business to be in labor law compliance as possible.

The first thing, of course, is to know what labor laws apply to your business. Some federal laws have specifications in terms of its applicability, and others may have variations as they reach the local level. An excellent example is the Age Discrimination In Employment Act, which only applies to businesses with twenty or more staff.

Another step you can take is to create or come up with a compliance checklist. A compliance checklist should contain all the required notices on hand. Having a list of these notices will help you to determine further actions that you have to take more efficiently. It’s also a way to track how your business manages compliance tasks and if it’s doing enough to complete these tasks by the appropriate deadlines.

Last but not least is to develop an employee handbook as part of your compliance toolkit. It will help in reducing misunderstandings between you and your staff by giving them helpful information about their rights and benefits.

What Are The Labor Laws That You Should Comply With?

Missed opportunities might result from only fulfilling the minimum requirements instead of ultimately meeting your legal obligations. Always staying in full compliance will allow you to take advantage of all the benefits that various laws, rules, and regulation offers.

Below are some of the laws you should comply with as you move forward with your business operations.

Correct FLSA and IRS Employee Classification

To keep their operations running, many startups rely on workers known as independent contractors. Despite being called “independent contractors,” the federal government may still consider them as employees depending on the relationship they have with your business.

At a rate that gets calculated as one-and-a-half times the regular hourly rates of the workers, employees that FLSA or the Fair Labor Standards Act covers should receive overtime pay from employers. Employers give overtime pay to workers who work more than forty hours a week. Employers can benefit from modern financial tools to make sure that compensations get calculated accurately.

The overtime pay has exemptions, though, and it happens once an employee falls under the executive, as well as the administrative or professional FSLA exemptions. The white-collar exemptions involve specific job responsibilities that may cover one of your workers.

Some businesses purposely misclassify employees to avoid paying payroll taxes, overtime compensation, and other employee-related expenses. It’s something that you have to avoid doing if you don’t want the Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service to hunt your business. Based on three significant areas, which include the type of relationship, financial factors, and behavioral factors, a 20-factor test gets performed by the IRS to determine the status of a specific worker accurately. The worker status gets classified through his contributions to your business as well as the level of control you have over his daily operations.

FMLA or the Family and Medical Leave Act

One of the most commonly misunderstood labor laws is the FMLA or the Family and Medical Leave Act. For twelve months, given there are valid family and medical reasons, workers have to receive up to twelve weeks of unpaid yet job-protected leave from private-sector employers. It holds as long as the employer has fifty or more employees.

Employers don’t have the power to interfere, prevent, or deny employee rights because these are provided for them by the law. It’s essential to understand the nuances since the FMLA has very specific requirements concerning coverage and eligibility.

However, the FMLA has standards that employees have to meet before they become eligible for leave. That said, part of the responsibilities of employers is to carefully examine the reasons for asking leave to reduce abuse of the FMLA act.

Minimum Wage Fairness Act

Businesses also have to comply with minimum wage increases that the law demands. There are now more labor laws that favor part-time and hourly workers, so you have to make sure that you keep yourself updated with the current minimum wages in every state where your business operates.

Final Thoughts

The laws mentioned above are only some of the many labor laws that are existing in the country. Ask yourself if your business is in labor law compliance and prepare for new changes and developments to the existing rules to avoid consequences.

Business Planning: Do You Know Your Break-Even?

Break-EvenWhen you are planning for your business, you need to know when you will earn a profit. Calculating when is usually done through a break-even analysis, and it is always a necessary part of any business plan. The report will help identify when you will reach profitability and if your business will make money through the break-even point. Many beginners in companies get to be overwhelmed by the idea of creating a break-even analysis, but it is critical to know how a business can be successful.

A break-even analysis is essential because it will show if your anticipated revenue will be higher than your costs. Do you have a great business idea in mind? You need to know your break-even point first. Read on below to learn more about learning more about break-even analysis.

How to Begin With Your Break-even Analysis

  1. Estimate expenses and revenue streams

To generate an accurate estimate of your expenses and revenue, you can do some research on the current market that is related to your business. These estimates are essential in calculating your break-even point:

  • Overhead expenses or Fixed Costs – these include your monthly expenses like rent, utilities, and insurance.
  • Variable costs – these are expenses that are dependent on the number of items produced for the business. Examples are raw materials and labor
  • Revenue – this is the amount you expect to make from all of your sales. These numbers could be estimated monthly or annually.
  • Contribution Margin – this is calculated by subtracting a good’s variable cost from its selling price. If you are going to sell a product for $100 and the cost for materials and labor costs $50, your contribution margin is $50. The remaining $50 is used to cover overhead expenses, and whatever is left from that is your net profit.
  1. Calculate Break-even Point

After having the estimates identified above, you can calculate your break-even point. There are several ways to calculate your break-even point. One way is to calculate it based on units. You divide the overhead expenses by the revenue per unit produced minus the variable cost per unit of manufactured goods.

Break-Even Point (Units) = Overhead Expenses ÷ (Revenue – Variable Cost) per unit

In calculating the break-even point in terms of dollar sales, you will divide the fixed cost by the contribution margin.

Break-Even Point (dollars) = Overhead expenses ÷ Contribution Margin

How Break-Even Analysis Can Help You Launch Your Business

Based on numerous definitions, profit is defined as the amount of revenue a business gained that exceeds all the expenses involved in the business activities. Your business’ need to get enough profit depends uponyour business goals. Having a break-even analysis can help you with that. The second part of the break-even analysis will help you identify how soon you can earn profit and what you need to do to improve the time it takes.

Here are other benefits of generating a break-even analysis before creating a business plan:

  • It helps you plan to avoid losses.

When you have the numbers from your break-even analysis, you can determine the sales quantity for you to generate enough revenue to keep the activities going. Knowing how much you need to produce or how long you need to provide services will avoid potential losses in the future.

  • It helps you determine your profit levels.

Just like what was mentioned above, using break-even analysis can help owners to determine how much they can earn at different sales volumes. Any sales volume or number that goes beyond the break-even point is already a profit. When you already determine the sales volume you need to reach a certain profit level, you can plan your business needs accordingly, like materials, labor, and other costs.

  • It helps you set the right price for your goods and services.

Your price offering is one of the significant factors that you must consider when you start a business. Setting the right price for your goods and services will dictate if you will succeed or not. Selling price affects business profitability in several ways.

You may be tempted to underprice your product if you want to compete in the market. Many people may think that lowering sales prices can increase sales volume. However, cheap goods or services can be perceived by the masses as something of poor quality. Setting the price low is also a tricky strategy if you want to be present in the market scene for the long term since people might not trust you in case you suddenly increase prices due to rising variable costs.

If you have your break-even analysis, you can set different price levels and evaluate break-even numbers for each level. The numbers will help you study the effect of each price level taking into consideration other factors like competition, affordability, and inventory management.

  • It helps you with scheduling your inventory requirements.

Generating your break-even analysis can help you with maintaining healthy product inventory levels. It is critical for any non-service business to stock enough inventory and has products available over a given period. You can set your inventory volume based on the number to provide by the analysis when you use the constant quantity of units needed to be sold at a given period to have stead profit. It will help you prepare your initial inventory and plan on the restocking based on your cash flow. For service industry businesses, you need to know what level of employment is needed in the same way as product based businesses.

  • It helps you create your business timeline.

One of the primary reasons why having a break-even analysis is essential before creating a business plan; it is because it will dictate your business timeline. Any business owner would want a stable income flow that is also sustainable. A good standard for measuring optimum sustainability for any business is when it earns profit within the first four years of operation.

Profitability is affected by several factors like the nature of business and the current market status or competition. According to reports, advertising, marketing, banking, and insurance businesses tend to profit the fastest. Meanwhile, companies in the food and medical industry tend to earn longer due to high competition in the market. Considering all the factors that affect profitability, industry-wide data, and your break-even analysis, you can plan your business timeline accordingly.

  • It will help you increase your profit faster.

Provided that you already have a realistic timeline, you will know when you can earn your profit. However, if you want to be aggressive in your business and take calculated risks, using the break-even analysis can help you increase your profit faster. To reach a certain profit level, business owners need to stay focused on fixed and variable costs. It would be best if you optimized revenue while reducing your costs.

If profits are getting smaller, considering that there are no issues in the current market and sales volume, you should look into the expenses. Break-Even analysis always has the expense side of the equation. Through the study, you will have an idea to continually review your spending habits and ensure that everything brings value to the business. If you reduce the costs, even without increasing the sales volume and price offer, you will see an increase in profit.

  • It can help you determine the tools to help you in your business.

Make sure that you have the right tools and equipment to keep business activities running smoothly. Since the break-even analysis will show you how much you need to spend and how much you need to produce, you can plan finances accordingly.

Most businesses need to borrow funds as a source of capital. Loans are already considered in your fixed costs. You might need to borrow money to produce a certain number of products, and the amount you will loan is included in your break-even analysis.

In reality, the need for capital will often decline over time. This is because it is expected that you will have growing revenue. However, if you are planning for your business to stay for longer periods, you can expect to borrow again to sustain the operations and have a steady cash flow.

Conclusion

Numbers generated from your analysis will give you an idea of how much you need to produce to reach that break-even point or achieve your target profit or margin. Aside from that, break-even analysis is also used for daily operations and planning.

The break-even point can dictate if the prices of the goods and services are already enough to gain decent revenue or profit. Aside from that, it can also help you with deciding which variable costs are sustainable. Apart from that, it can also help determine the need for new products and services to increase profitability.

The bottom line is, calculating the break-even point is useful not only during the beginning of a business plan but also for its continuity. It is an essential tool for business planning and ensuring that any business opportunity can provide profit. That is why it is never wise to skip this critical step when creating a business plan. Always consider generating an analysis before engaging in any business activity.

On the other hand, we see a lot of companies that are not as concerned about break-even as they are about market share. Some of those companies are loosing significant amounts of money as they build their brand in the hopes of huge profits in the distant future. The WeWork fiasco of 2019 is a perfect example within the office space industry how things can go very badly with that strategy. WeWork lost $1.61 billion in 2018, up from $884 million in 2017 and $429.7 million in 2016. And yet, their founder walked away with a $1.7 billion dollar payout. In 2018 the Wall Street Journal identified that 80% of IPOs in 2018 have been for money-losing companies.

So what’s the best strategy? Let us know what you think?