The uncertain and constantly changing nature of the world economy has posed significant challenges for small and large businesses in all industries. Many employees are looking for support and direction, but many businesses aren’t giving it to them. The best way to assist them is through a mentoring program. Such programs can go a long ways towards helping workers navigate through challenging times, but such programs must be created and implemented correctly. Below are some best practices for achieving this.
Recent storms such as Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria have reinforced the need for small businesses to prepare by backing up their data. This is true even for companies that are not in hurricane zones. Important records must be safeguarded and emergency plans should be established to help the organization maintain its continuity in the face of the unexpected. Below are some tips for doing this effectively.
Companies should make a habit of duplicating documents which are critical, such as bank statements, payroll records and tax returns. They should be stored in containers which are waterproof and which are stored in locked areas which are separated from normal documents. Documents should also be stored electronically and placed on a flash drive, DVD or other forms of removable storage. Storage technology will change and advance over time, but the need to store data won’t.
If your company uses third party payroll, it is critical to find out if they provide fiduciary bonds. The reason for this is because these bonds will protect your company in the event that the payroll service defaults. Many companies make use of third party services to process their payroll more efficiently.
Hurricane season starts around June and ends by November 30th, so companies which operate in Florida, the Gulf Coast or Caribbean should be aware of this and prepare accordingly. But preparation isn’t limited to companies that operate in Hurricane zones. Natural and manmade disasters can occur anywhere and jeopardize the operations of businesses which are present in the region.
For instance, any company based near an active volcano should be prepared for the possibility of an eruption. Any businesses that operate in California, which has a history of earthquakes, should be prepared for that eventuality. Organizations which operate in unstable countries known for political upheaval or terrorism should have contingencies set in place to rapidly evacuate and protect employees and valuable data.If a nationwide disaster occurs which is federally declared, companies may contact the IRS at 866-562-5227 to talk with someone trained to respond to such emergencies. Employers have the option of asking for backup copies of tax returns which were filed in the past, along with attachments such as tax statements and W-2 forms. This can be done by completing Form 4506.
Companies that fail to prepare for the unexpected runs the risk of being completely destroyed when disaster occurs. The recommendations here are more for smaller businesses than larger businesses, as most fortune 500 and 1000 corporations have elaborate contingencies including underground vaults and bunkers. It is small and medium sized businesses that have a greater tendency to be lackadaisical when it comes to preparedness, which may partly stem from having access to fewer resources. Regardless, businesses of all sizes must prepare the best way they can.
Controlling costs is a fundamental aspect of running a small business, and nothing can increase them faster than labor. For many corporations labor costs will be their most significant expense, and while many attempt to mitigate the issue by paying their employees less, at best this is a temporary fix that will create long term issues. Below are some ways to maintain reasonable costs for labor over long periods of time.
There are some projects which do not require the work of a full time employee, and can be delegated to a freelancer instead. Examples of this include website redesign or tax management. Freelancers don’t require the benefits that many employees must receive by law and as such are responsible for their own healthcare and other things of that nature. Recruiting freelancers can save you substantial amounts of money over the long term.
Employees who prove themselves to be responsible, ambitious and quick learners should be cross trained, or taught multiple skillsets simultaneously. While we live in a society that is increasingly moving towards specialization, being a generalist has its benefits, particularly when it comes to lowering labor costs. An employee that can perform multiple tasks and roles reduces the need to bring in new workers, which keeps costs for labor low.
While profit sharing may not seem like a way to reduce your costs for labor, it is. Consider how much you spend on advertising and marketing. What if your employees were offered the opportunity to market and sell the products or services on your behalf, with the understanding that they would receive a cut of the profit by doing so? This would be much more cost effective than hiring new workers, and you would also reduce marketing and advertising costs.
Whereas with advertising and marketing you’re required to spend money up front with the expectation that the exposure will result in increased sales down the road, with profit sharing you only pay employees “after” they’ve already sold your product or service, which is far more efficient and lucrative. While many employers foolishly attempt to keep their costs of labor low by paying their employees less, with profit sharing you can keep your costs low by paying your employees more.
The times in which your employees work are just as important as how much they get done. If your weekly schedule is disorganized, you will actually end up paying more than you should be. You should have specific employees working on specific tasks at certain times and if they are cross trained they can focus on different tasks on different days, perhaps rotating with other employees. Time management is a key component in being able to lower costs of labor. The better your time and that of your employees is managed, the more money you’ll hold onto.
A verified Twitter account is a special account offered through the social media giant Twitter which is reserved for both organizations and public figures. They are designed to assist users in finding qualified accounts and information, and in the past were exclusive. However, a growing number of small businesses are recognizing the benefits of having one. Below are some guidelines that those who wish to setup these accounts should be aware of.
It is critical for those running a business to keep their business credit and personal credit separate. While this isn’t much of a problem for medium to large businesses, it is a common mistake made by small businesses. Below are some tips for making sure the two types of credit are kept separated.
A lot of people talk about starting their own businesses, but talk and action are two different things. Being a new startup owner can certainly be rewarding, but only when you’re realistic and mentally prepared for the challenges you’ll face. Below are some of the core skills you will have to develop to succeed.
This is a time of great change and innovation. Research shows that millions of company executives will retire this year, leaving the market open for a newer, younger workforce. This combined with constant advances in technology mean that firms of all sizes must be ready for these changing business trends.
Trends in the workplace, like so many areas of life, are in a constant state of flux. Just a few of the changes which have been witnessed in the workplace during 2016 include overtime and salary, the elimination of yearly performance reviews, and the increasing desire for a workforce which is on-demand. Here are some 2017 workplace trends to watch for.
It takes extraordinary effort, time and patience to build a profitable business. Those who choose to run their own operation as opposed to working for someone else are few in number, and even fewer are actually successful. The path of the entrepreneur is one of the hardest, most arduous lifestyles an individual can lead, but the rewards for those that win are beyond words.
Foreign expats who are doing business in the United States may notice a number of differences between U.S. business culture and the culture of their country of origin. This is true even for many European, Australian, or Canadian expatriates. Understanding the American way of doing business will make it easier to fit in and remain productive. Below are some things to bear in mind.