Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

An Overview of Common IT Roles


The IT job market grew by more than 17,000 jobs in April. Businesses of all sizes are hiring IT staff in light of inflation and a potential drop in economic activity.

If you’re hiring an IT specialist to join your business, do you know what you’re actually hiring for? There are dozens of different IT roles within information technology.

Understanding some of the jobs in IT will help you decide exactly the type of employee you need. We’ve got you covered because you’re about to learn more about the most common technology jobs.

Read on to find out what they are.

Security Specialists

Hackers love to target small businesses. They send phishing emails every day, hoping some unsuspecting business owner gives up passwords or bank account information.

Unfortunately, it works all too well. That’s why it’s one of the top cyber threats businesses face.

IT security specialists get your business ready to prevent and respond to cyber threats. They also keep up with new threats so your business is secure.

Data Analysts

Businesses generate a ton of data every day. They collect data on their customers. That have powerful insights right in front of them.

The problem is that they don’t know how to gather and interpret the data they have. Business owners lose a competitive advantage because they can’t make strategic decisions.  

Data analysts collect data, scrub it for accuracy, and generate reports. They present their views and interpretations to the company’s executive team.

Cloud Engineers

Do you know what a zettabyte is? It’s the number one followed by 21 zeros, or a trillion gigabytes. That’s how much data is going to be in cloud storage by 2025.

Cloud engineers help businesses migrate their operations to the cloud, secure their systems, and optimize the network infrastructure.

If you’re going to hire a cloud engineer, make sure you work with one that specializes in cloud technologies like AWS. Reach out to AWS recruiters to make sure you hire the right candidate.

Technical Support

A technical support person is there to help your employees or customers solve minor technical issues. Employees lose too much time trying to diagnose why their computers don’t work or why they can’t connect to the printer.

Tech support is one of the important IT roles because of the amount of time it saves. If you need tech support for your customers, you’ll realize how it impacts customer retention.

Web Designers and Developers

About 23% of small businesses still don’t have a website. A website designer and developer can help you build or redesign an existing site.

Web designers focus on the user experience and look of the site. Developers work on the backend to make sure your site performs well. You should have both when you work on your website.

The Most Common IT Roles

Information technology encompasses a wide range of critical functions. The IT roles presented here only cover the main IT roles you can hire for.

In the end, your business will become more efficient and secure because you hired IT experts in the areas you need.

For more business tips, check out the other business articles on the blog.

Small Business Brief

Employees, Marketing

How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager


Do you have a unique view on digital marketing? Do you think you can come up with strategies to help various clients gain customers through online advertising?

If so, becoming a digital marketing manager could be the gig for you. It takes certain skills and an education to go down this road.

Keep reading to learn how to become a digital marketing manager.

Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Step one on how to become a digital marketing manager is to earn a bachelor’s degree. A digital marketing manager has different roles and duties which allows students from different backgrounds to pursue the career path.

Typically, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as communication, digital media, marketing, or graphic design. English and liberal arts degrees are also common.

Learn Important Digital Marketing Skills

Digital marketers should have a variety of skills to help their clients make informed decisions about marketing campaigns. While you can learn specific skills, there are some general ones every marketer should have. They include:

Discovering your skills and finding out what you are good at will help you with the next step of the process.

Choose a Path

The digital marketing field is broad, so it’s common to select a specialty that suits your interests. Some of the most popular digital marketing jobs are:

  • Content Manager
  • VR Developer
  • SEO Specialist
  • UX Designer
  • Email Marketing Specialist

Some digital marketing managers play an active role in different paths as well.

Continue Your Education

One of the best digital marketing tips to become a marketer is continuing your education throughout the life of your career. New technology, trends, and business approaches are constantly emerging.

For example, it’s important to stay on top of digital marketing trends like the top inbound marketing apps.

You might find that technical certifications are necessary depending on your niche. Even if they aren’t necessary, having these certifications might better your chances of getting a job.

Get an Entry-Level Digital Marketing Job

Most digital marketing managers don’t start off with that job title. It’s common to work your way up from an entry-level digital marketing job.

An entry-level job is a great way to gain experience and build a portfolio. It’s also a way to get a better idea of the path you want to go down if you still can’t decide on a niche.

If you struggle finding an entry-level marketing job you might want to consider completing an internship or offering your services for free in exchange for testimonials.

How to Become a Digital Marketing Manager Explained

Learning how to become a digital marketing manager involves different steps depending on the path you want to go down. However, no matter what you choose, it begins with getting a bachelor’s degree.

From there, you can learn digital marketing skills, choose a niche, and get your first entry-level job. During your career, continue learning as trends change.

For more articles on marketing, check out the other posts on our blog.

Small Business Brief

Plumber

Does an Automatic Flush Toilet Save Your Business Money?


Did you know there are approximately 27 million self-flushing toilets in America?

Automatic flush toilets are becoming more and more popular, but there are a lot of misconceptions about how they impact your business budget.

Businesses need to weigh the pros and cons of installing an automatically flushing toilet before making a decision.

Keep reading because our guide will help you understand the true costs of an automatic flush toilet so you can make the best decision for your business.

What Is an Automatic Flush Toilet?

An automatic flush toilet is a device that flushes the toilet automatically after each use. There are many types of automatic flush toilets on the market, but most operate using a sensor that detects when someone has left the seat and then triggers a mechanism.

Advantages of an Automatic Flush Toilet

You now know what an automatic flush toilet is. Let’s look at some of the benefits of automatic flush:

1. More Sanitary

There are many reasons why automatic flush toilets are more sanitary than manual flush toilets. First, they flush automatically after each use, which prevents the build-up of bacteria and other germs.

Second, they have a self-cleaning feature that helps to remove any residual dirt or debris. Third, they are made with smooth surfaces that are easy to clean and disinfect.

Finally, automatic flush toilets typically have a stronger flush than manual flush toilets, which helps to remove more bacteria and other contaminants.

2. More Convenient

Automatic flush toilets are a more convenient option than manual flush toilets for a variety of reasons. Firstly, you don’t have to remember to flush after each use, which can be especially helpful in busy households or businesses where people may forget.

Secondly, they often offer a more powerful flush than manual toilets, meaning that waste is cleared away more effectively. Finally, automatic toilets are often equipped with sensors that help to conserve water by only flushing when necessary.

As a result, they can save you money on your water bill in the long run.

3. Save Water

You might be thinking, “does automatic flush save money?” The answer is yes! Automatic flush toilets can also save water because they only flush when necessary.

This is opposed to manual flush toilets which are often over-flushed, wasting water. Automatic flush toilets typically have sensors that detect when someone has used the toilet and then trigger the flushing mechanism.

This means that the toilet will only flush when it is needed, which can save a significant amount of water over time.

4. Reduce Clogs

Another advantage of automatic flush toilets is that they can help reduce clogs. Automatic flush toilets only flush when necessary, as opposed to manual flush toilets which are often over-flushed and can lead to clogs.

Over-flushing manual toilets can not only lead to more frequent clogs but can also wastewater. In contrast, automatic flush toilets are designed to conserve water by only flushing when necessary.

As a result, using an automatic flush toilet can help reduce the likelihood of clogs while also helping to conserve water.

Disadvantages of an Automatic Flush Toilet

Yes, automatic flush toilets have a lot of positives. But let’s now look at the disadvantages:

1. Higher Initial Cost

One of the main disadvantages of automatic flush toilets is that they can be more expensive than manual flush toilets. This is because they require electricity to operate and often have more complex mechanisms.

2. Requires Regular Maintenance

Another disadvantage of automatic flush toilets is that they require regular maintenance to keep them functioning properly. This includes regularly cleaning the sensors and flushing mechanism to prevent build-up and corrosion.

3. Can Be Less Reliable

Automatic flush toilets are a convenience that many of us take for granted. But as any homeowner knows, they can also be less reliable than manual flush toilets. That’s because they rely on electricity and sensors to function properly.

If there is a power outage or the sensor becomes dirty or damaged, the toilet will not flush automatically. This can be a real hassle, especially if you have guests over or if you’re trying to avoid touching the handle yourself.

Manual flush toilets may not be as fancy, but they’re more dependable. So next time you’re considering upgrading your bathroom, think twice before going automatic.

4. Not Always Eco-Friendly

Automatic flush toilets are a convenient way to save water, but they are not always eco-friendly. This is because the manufacturing and shipping of these toilets often create a large carbon footprint.

In addition, the sensors that trigger the flush can often be inaccurate, leading to unnecessary water use.

While automatic flush toilets can be a helpful way to conserve water in some situations, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these devices before choosing to install them.

5. Not Always Available

Another downside of automatic flush toilets is that they’re not as widely available as manual flush toilets. This is because many businesses and households still use the latter type of toilet.

Automatic flush toilets are more often found in newer buildings or renovations. While this may not be a concern for those who always have access to a modern bathroom, it’s worth noting that you may not be able to find an automatic flush toilet when traveling.

In these situations, you’ll likely have to resort to using a manual flush toilet, which can be inconvenient if you’re not used to it.

If after reading this guide, you are interested in getting an automatic flush toilet, check out concept-hygiene.co.uk.

Ready to Install an Automatic Flush Toilet?

Although an automatic flush toilet may seem like a costly investment at first, it can save your business money in the long run. By reducing water waste and promoting hygiene, you can improve your bottom line while providing a valuable service to your customers.

For more information on how to make the most of your bathroom facilities, check out our blog for more articles like this one.

Small Business Brief

Retail

Clothing Label Requirements and Regulations


Imagine a fashion designer, business owner, or entrepreneur. They’ve worked so hard on a piece of clothing and set a date to sell it. The day soon rolls around as they double-check every operation.

It all seems to pass the white-glove test. 

But wait: what about the label?

That small, unnoticeable tag appears insignificant, yet can have legal repercussions if it lacks certain information or goes missing altogether. In fact, such information differs per country. 

Learn what the proper clothing label entails to prevent legal trouble, now!

Who Handles Labeling? 

Different people and organizations manage label requirements per country. The U.S. has the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CPB). The FTC dispenses such requirements, while the CPB examines and reviews them.

Both implement stricter regulations that meet or exceed most other countries’ rules. Additionally, they impose harsh monetary consequences when label requirements go unmet that make manufacturers pay up to thousands of dollars. 

What to Find in a Clothing Label

The U.S. requires that all textile, garment, and apparel labeling includes:

  • Country of production/origin
  • Care instructions from the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
  • Manufacturers
  • English
  • Material/fiber makeup

Some countries might even restrict or require certain amounts of material in various apparel.

Labeling requirements aside, we can then design our labels as we wish. We can choose how to orient the label, set dimensions, incorporate logos, color them, and so on. 

We’ve mentioned earlier that U.S. regulations cover most regulations in other countries. Yet some places, like the EU, have separate rules for children’s clothing. They aim to protect children from preventable clothing accidents.

How Should We Attach or Add Labels?

We have a few different options to consider when we attach labels. That said, we want to ensure our labels stay on permanently (rather than fall off, unstick, or diminish). 

Use any one of these FTC-approved methods to label garments/textiles:

  • Ironed at collar
  • Sewn into garment
  • Embroidered into garment

Try to avoid tagging labels as people can easily remove them. 

Label attachment, in addition to its decor (as mentioned in the previous section), contributes to a brand’s image. It becomes a hallmark for where and how a brand does something. For example, Levi’s accomplishes this so one can easily determine whether they have a real or genuine product.

Obviously, companies must dedicate a lot of thought, effort, and care to their textile labeling. Furthermore, it helps save money plus legal troubles. Thus, they need someplace like this online shop so they can make the best label (and brand) possible.

What to Say About Clothing Labels

A clothing label, albeit small, carries plenty of legal weight. It holds valuable information for consumers to be safe, care properly for their garments, and makes it easy for countries to regulate. 

Label requirements become more important than ever as garments, textiles, and apparel diversify. Labeling serves as an opportunity for brands to establish themselves, while it shows transparency toward consumers.

Like this article? Then check out our site for more information on other fascinating topics!

Small Business Brief

Accounting, Employees, Safety & Loss Prevention

What Is Time Card Fraud and How Do You Prevent It?


Did you know that time-theft schemes affect around 75% of US businesses?

Timecard fraud is a big problem for employers. You’d like to believe that all your employees are trustworthy, and the vast majority are. However, the time card cheaters among your workforce are stealing directly from your company.

Learning about time card fraud and how to prevent it will help you implement a time card fraud policy. This guide explains how to get started.

Read on for more information.

What is Time Card Fraud?

There’s more than one way for time card thieves to steal company time. Let’s take a look at some of the most common forms of time card fraud:

Buddy Punching

Buddy punching is when employees clock in or out on behalf of each other, giving the impression that they were in attendance when they weren’t. This scam is easier to achieve if your company still uses paper timeslips. 

Exaggerated Hours

This is one of the most common ways that employees steal company time. By adding 15 minutes here and there, untruthful time card frauds can quickly start to become a drain on the company. This can happen with both paper and digital clock-in systems unless monitoring is practiced. 

Extended Breaks

Again, this is often just 5 or 10 minutes extra on scheduled lunch breaks. However, this amounts to hours in the long term, especially if your company is relaxed around breaktimes. Employees who take longer than their mandatory break commit time theft, whether intentional or not.

Not Working

If your employees work out in the field, on job sites, or visiting clients, your company is particularly vulnerable to time theft. Because workers clock in on a remote app, it’s easy for them to go online while also taking care of their personal business.

Overtime Favoritism

Sometimes, your employees need to work overtime to achieve goals and deadlines. In terms of productivity, it makes the most sense to assign a worker who has not reached their 40-hour week yet. With overtime favoritism, managers may allocate overtime to preferred employees who have already worked a full week, costing time and money.

Preventing Time Card Fraud

If you want to stop time theft, develop time monitoring and reporting procedures. If you use paper time tracking methods such as timesheets and time clocks, going digital is also a good idea.

When you track employee hours digitally, it makes it more difficult to falsify data and guarantees that your firm can readily record when and where workers are working.

Your time card fraud policy should be thorough, dealing with all types of potential abuse. Immediate dismissal is the only fair time card fraud punishment.

Dealing With Time Card Fraud By an Employee

There’s no place on your team for time card fraud. You need employees who are trustworthy, reliable, and honest. While being diligent at the interview stage is crucial, you also need a time card fraud investigation procedure to root out those who fall through the cracks.

We hope this brief guide has offered some clarity on one of the biggest challenges facing employers today. 

If so, check out the rest of our blog for more forward-thinking advice.

Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention, Technology & Software

4 Business Data Protection Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


It’s hard to understate how much cybercrime has increased these days. Over the past two years, internet crime has increased by 60%. If you don’t take the common cyber threats seriously, protecting data online won’t be easy for your business.

You need to be aware of common business data protection mistakes to stay secure. Keep reading to learn four common mistakes to avoid when creating a data protection strategy.

1. Transmitting Unencrypted Data

Many companies are shifting to remote work. Employees are demanding it now that they’ve seen how much gas and time they save every week. On top of that, you require less office space to house your employees.

However, there is a risk if your employees use public and unencrypted networks to access company information. What happens if someone is snooping on an employee’s internet traffic?

Without encrypted data, a hacker can steal sensitive information. Create a VPN account for remote employees to ensure they have encrypted data.

2. Skipping Two-Factor Authentication

If you think a password is enough to protect your online account these days, think again. Even if you enforce strong passwords, there are other ways to compromise accounts. Hackers use malware, phishing, and other methods to steal account information.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) protects you in those situations. Instead of allowing you in your account after entering a password, a 2FA system sends a secondary code to another device.

This code can arrive by email, hardware key, text message, and authentication application. You can’t access an account with a password unless you have access to the authentication method.

3. Not Training Employees

Unfortunately, your employees are one of the weakest links in internet security. Even if you have an excellent security policy, it only takes a mistake from one individual to compromise your business network.

Make sure you have enough training to give people the education they need. One of the best ways to do this is to offer online courses and in-person training to your employees.

You can also create a data safety sheet to help people get a refresher. Find more information here about what a safety sheet entails.

4. Skipping Software Updates

Even if the software you use now does an excellent job of protecting your data, the same won’t always be true. Software isn’t perfect, which means hackers can exploit unknown vulnerabilities. The problem is that it takes time to secure those security holes.

Regular software updates will ensure you don’t fall victim to this type of attack. Keep an eye on your software updates to keep everything in your organization current.

Even if you can’t update immediately because of compatibility concerns, make sure you test updates quickly to solve any problems.

Don’t Fall Victim to the Common Business Data Protection Mistakes

There are more threats than ever on the internet, and the number of threats will likely continue growing in the future. If you don’t take care of your company’s data, you won’t be able to keep your business safe. Avoid the business data protection mistakes above to stay safe in the future.

Of course, you’ll need more knowledge if you want to make the most of tech in your business. Learn more by heading back to the blog.

Small Business Brief

Manufacturing

4 Product Manufacturing Tips


An amazing 30,000 new consumer products are released, on average, in a given year in America. Are you looking to launch a product yourself? That’s a lot of competition—depending on your niche.

To make your product stand out against all others, you need to pay attention to a few critical steps in the product manufacturing process. These include ideation, design and prototyping, testing, and finding the right manufacturer.

Read on to learn what each of these steps entails.

1. Spend a Lot of time on Ideation

Having a solid idea is one of the most crucial manufacturing tips you’ll ever need. Why? Because without an idea, you don’t have a product at all!

Before heading to the design stage, you need to make sure your product idea is something people need in their lives. This means diving into market research to determine if your product will solve a problem for a decent segment of the population.

Don’t forget to analyze your competitors, too. Who else is already making products similar or even the same as your idea?

2. Design Your Product Diligently

The result is only as good as the initial design when manufacturing products. Spend time on creating a product that not only looks aesthetically pleasing (or trendy, or whatever it is your customer base cares about visually) but is also user-friendly.

Given the emphasis on sustainability in the marketplace today, it’s essential to build some element of circular economics into your product design. Companies like GGS help their clients consider the entire lifecycle of any given product.

3. Don’t Skimp on Prototyping and Testing

Prototype your designs, then test, test, and test again! This is one of the most crucial business tips in product creation.

For one, you can show your prototypes to potential funders and manufacturing partners, helping to convince them to join your project. Secondly, you can be confident you end up with the product you expected once it’s gone through the manufacturing process.

4. Find a Reliable, Affordable Manufacturing Partner

There are a few ways to find a manufacturer for your product. You can do a Google search, research to find out who other businesses in your niche are using, visit trade shows, or use a manufacturer directory.

Think about the following at the discovery stage:

  • Always visit in person, even if that means traveling overseas
  • Ask if the manufacturer has an MOQ
  • Don’t be afraid to negotiate on pricing and production timeframes
  • Ask about their distribution methods

To finalize your manufacturing partner, consider balancing the company’s costs, size, location, and capabilities. If you’re a small business, the budget will be your primary consideration.

Product Manufacturing for New Entrepreneurs

Do you have a niche-busting product manufacturing idea in mind? Whether it’s something for the home, a tech product, or a pet accessory, following the steps outlined above is vital. This way, you can be sure your product will stand out in a crowded marketplace and attract the consumers you need.

For more advice for busy entrepreneurs, read the other articles on our website.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Sales

How to Generate Leads in Digital Marketing


Nearly half of all Google searches are for local businesses. Without a digital marketing strategy, however, consumers might not find your business. Learning how to generate leads in digital marketing could prove essential to your success.

Here are five ways you can start generating leads in digital marketing. With these tips, you can prepare your business for lasting growth.

Get started with these easy digital marketing tips today. 

Create Opportunities

First, you need to make sure your website is primed to generate leads.

Create multiple lead generation opportunities across your site to appeal to consumers at different points in the buyer’s journey. For example, you can add an eye-catching button to your navigation bar. Consider adding a form to your website’s footer, too.

Try adding lead magnets across your site, too. You can offer consumers a helpful tool, like an eBook, in exchange for their emails. Real estate agents might offer consumers a local buying guide. 

Make sure each form on your site is easy to complete. Remove any unnecessary fields.

Then, improve the user experience (UX) across your site. Make sure your website is fast, mobile-optimized, and secure. Mobile optimization can help you appeal to on-the-go consumers. 

SEO Blogging

Search engine optimization (SEO) can help your website rank higher on search engines like Google. Remember, nearly half of all searches are for local businesses. When someone looks for your offerings online, your content could appear in a search.

Gather keyword research to determine what keywords your customers use while searching for your offerings. Focus on longer keywords that are posed as questions.

Then, start creating blog content that answers those questions.

In time, consumers will recognize you as a thought leader in the industry. You can start generating leads in digital marketing while proving your credibility. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing can help you engage and attract leads as well. 

Reformat your blog content for each social media platform. Then, use hashtags to expand your reach.

Consider working with social media influencers, too. They can promote your brand, allowing you to reach more customers. 

Google Business Listing

As part of your SEO strategy, make sure to claim and optimize your Google Business listing. Your listing can display your:

  • Business name
  • Address/directions
  • Phone number
  • Hours
  • Customer reviews
  • Posts
  • Photos/videos
  • Website

This information can help you generate leads in digital marketing and more foot traffic to your business. If you need help, consider working with a team like Get Found Fast for results-driven marketing. 

Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising can help you reach relevant consumers on Google, websites, or social media platforms. Consumers can click on your digital ads before reaching your website.

Consider using remarketing ads to reappear in front of previous website visitors for a chance at more leads. 

How to Generate Leads in Digital Marketing: Boost Business Today

Learning how to generate leads in digital marketing doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, give these five strategies a try. Review your analytics to determine the best ways to appeal to your target audience in the future. 

As you generate more leads, you can set your business up for lasting success.

Searching for more tips? You’re on the right blog.

Explore our latest articles today for more. 

Small Business Brief

Cleaning Business

5 Things to Ask Commercial Janitorial Services near Me before Hiring


It’s hard enough to keep a home clean. It’s even harder to keep a clean commercial space. With so much room, it’s easy to let dirt pile up and let things turn into a mess.

That’s why there are over 1.1 million janitorial services in the United States. A cleaning service will keep your office clean and free up your time to do your job.

Are you asking yourself, “how can I find commercial janitorial services near me?” Keep reading to learn five questions to ask the janitorial services in your area.

1. What Services Do You Offer?

A lot goes into keeping an office building clean, which means not every company may offer what you need for your facility. Before you start your search for a commercial janitor, you need to figure out precisely what your office needs.

Once you know your needs, you can look at the services offered by a cleaning service. Ensure you get everything you need from one provider so you don’t have to work with several companies to keep your building clean.

Check out this to learn more about the different services you can get.

2. What Are Your Costs?

Cost is critical to consider for a cleaning service. You don’t want to only look at one provider and learn what they charge, and you need pricing information from as many janitorial services as possible.

Without detailed pricing information, you may overpay for janitorial services. At a bare minimum, get pricing information from at least three companies.

3. Can You Verify Insurance

Insurance is a must for anyone you allow in your office building. Even if the chance of an accident is small, you don’t want to take any chances. You may end up on the hook for damages if a janitorial company doesn’t insure its employees.

Get insurance verification before you sign any contract. If you can’t verify someone’s insurance, you need to look for another cleaning service.

4. Do You Offer Guarantees?

Getting the job done right is critical for a cleaning service. Unfortunately, employees make mistakes and miss cleaning spots. The question is, will a janitorial service stand by its work.

A guarantee protects you in this situation. It will help you get your office cleaned the way you expect.

5. Can You Provide References?

Hearing from janitorial services and reading online reviews may not be enough to learn about janitorial services. People can pay for reviews and embellish their skills when you interview them. If you want to learn more details, you need to speak with other customers.

Ask a janitorial service about providing references. You can speak with those customers to learn about the janitorial experience they have with a company and if they’re worth using.

How Can I Find Commercial Janitorial Services Near Me? Now You Know

It’s not easy to find good help in the business world, so many people constantly ask, “how can I find commercial janitorial services near me?” Luckily, there are many questions you can ask to remove the bad janitorial service companies from your search. Keep the questions above in mind to find the best cleaning service for your business.

Of course, you’ll also need to put in some work if you want to maintain tidy and effective office space. Learn more office management tips by heading back to the blog.

Small Business Brief

Employees

How Hard Is It to Hire Employees?


It may come as a surprise to learn that over 600,000 businesses are started in the United States each year. One of the most important factors to consider when it comes to the longevity of your business is the employees that you hire. Hiring employees isn’t always the easiest process, and many entrepreneurs are no stranger to the difficulties faced with hiring employees.

We’ve put together a brief guide that details everything you need to consider before you hire employees for your organization. So, how hard is it to hire employees? Let’s dive into the key factors that influence the process.

Finding the Right Level of Talent

The first difficulty that you may face when hiring employees is finding the right level of talent. You want to make sure that you’re choosing workers who are skilled and knowledgeable in their field so that they can pull their weight at your company. It can be difficult to find that balance, but it’s important to remember that the quality of your employees is something that you cannot neglect.

You may also find it difficult to assess the level of talent of potential employees. This is where conducting interviews and reference checks can be very helpful. By taking the time to speak with potential employees and get an idea of their skills and experience, you can better gauge whether they’re a good fit for your organization.

Consider the Cost

Another important factor to consider when hiring employees is the cost. You need to make sure that you’re able to afford the salaries of your employees, as well as any benefits that you offer.

Offering competitive wages is important, but you also don’t want to overspend on salaries. You may also want to consider the cost of training your employees.

If you’re hiring employees who are new to their field, you’ll need to invest in training them so that they’re able to do their job effectively. This can prove to be a significant cost, but it’s important to remember that it’s an investment in your business.

Think About the Future

When you’re hiring employees, it’s crucial to think about the future. You need to make sure that you’re hiring employees who will be with your company for the long haul.

This means that you should look for employees who are dedicated and hardworking. You should not neglect the importance of loyalty when you’re hiring employees. Employees who are loyal to your company are more likely to stick around for the long term, and they’re also less likely to leave your company for a competitor.

Make Sure You’re Prepared for the Hiring Process

It’s crucial to make sure that you’re prepared before you start the process of hiring employees. This means that you should have a clear idea of the type of employee you’re looking for, as well as the budget you have to work with.

You need to ensure that you have all of the necessary paperwork in order. This includes things like job descriptions and contracts.

By taking the time to prepare everything in advance, you can make the process of hiring employees much smoother. Attitude testing is something that your business should not neglect. This will help determine how well a potential employee will integrate into your workplace environment.

You can check out this resource to get online attitude testing information.

There May Be a Shortage of Workers With Specific Skillsets

Unfortunately, there may be a shortage of workers with specific skillsets. This means that you may have difficulty finding employees with the specific skills that you need.

This is especially true for jobs that require highly technical skills. If you’re having difficulty finding employees with the right skills, you may want to consider offering training to your employees.

This can be a cost-effective way to ensure that your employees have the skills that you need.

Smaller Companies Might Not Have the Budget

Although a small business may need a handful of skilled professionals, it might not have the budget to hire them all at once. In this case, you may need to start by hiring entry-level employees and then training them up so that they can eventually take on more responsibility.

Hiring entry-level employees can be a great way to save money, but you also need to consider the costs associated with training them. As long as you handle it appropriately, it will prove to be a substantial investment in the future of your business.

Make Sure You’re Compliant With Laws and Regulations

You should always make sure that you’re compliant with the law.

There are a number of laws that regulate the hiring process, and you need to make sure that you’re following them. These are put into place to ensure that employers cannot discriminate against potential candidates based on certain criteria. For instance, it’s illegal to refuse to hire someone simply because they are a woman or practice a certain faith.

Otherwise, you could find yourself facing legal consequences. These typically include fines, fees, and other penalties that can prove to be a significant setback for a company.

It’s also worth noting that some industries have more rigid standards. The healthcare and tech spaces, for instance, have regulations in place that many other industries do not.

How Hard Is It to Hire Employees?

Put simply, it’s not always easy.

Hiring employees can be a difficult process, but it’s an essential part of running a successful business. By keeping the answer to “how hard is it to hire employees” in mind, you can ensure that you’re able to find the right employees for your organization.

Looking for other useful information that can help you keep your business on the right track? Our blog has plenty of high-quality articles like this one.

Small Business Brief

Cleaning Business

5 Questions to Ask a Pressure Washer Professional before Hiring


Did you know 75% of homeowners who invest in curb appeal say they enjoy being home more?

Taking the time to make the outside of your house or business shine can bring you more money when it comes time to sell. But more importantly, it can help make you happier and more comfortable while you’re still there.

If you’re going to get pressure washing done to get rid of dirt and grime, you might feel overwhelmed about choosing someone to hire. Keep reading to learn five questions to ask to make sure you’re hiring the right pressure washer professional.

1. What’s Included in the Service?

Whether you’re going to pressure wash your business or your home, knowing what to expect is important.

All pressure washing services include the exterior of the building, but what about sidewalks, sheds, windows, and parking areas? You should ask about these items to know if they’re extras and can plan accordingly.

2. Do You Have Insurance?

One major reason why it’s best to go with a professional pressure washer service is because of the risk involved. It’s better to leave it to the professionals who are well trained and know exactly what they’re doing.

But because accidents happen, you might wonder if you’ll be covered in the event of one. So double-checking to make sure each of their workers is covered under an insurance policy is crucial if you want to feel comfortable as they work and know you’re protected from liability.

3. Do You Have Before and After Pictures?

Any professional power washing company should have before and after pictures from their previous jobs. Asking to take a look at them to see their work can give you a better idea of what to expect.

Plus, it should quickly narrow down options as you see how good of a job various businesses do.

4. What’s Your Schedule?

Every company handles scheduling differently. And each one also has different clients and demands.

Because of this, there might be a wait for certain companies. If you need the pressure washing done before a specific date due to an event, listing a property for sale, etc., then asking the earliest they can come to do it is crucial.

5. What’s Your Pricing?

Everyone has a different budget. While most pressure washing services will cost around the same amount, each company is different.

If you have a strict budget, asking about their pricing before booking anything can prevent you from being shocked when the bill comes.

Hire a Pressure Washer Professional for a Sparkling Exterior

If you need to spruce up the outside of your home or business, hiring a pressure washer professional is one of the easiest ways to make a big difference overall.

Try getting in contact with someone today to get rid of dirt, dust, bugs, and grime and enjoy a clean feeling again.

If you found this article helpful and would like to read more like this, please check out our site.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

The Importance of Setting Business Goals for Success


In order to achieve success in your business, you need to be working towards a common goal. This is where setting business goals come in.

Without clear goals, your business will get messy and you’ll likely find yourself spinning your wheels without making any progress. This is not a possibility, but a very casual reality for businesses without goals.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of setting goals for your business and how to go about doing it effectively. 

By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to achieving the success you’ve always dreamed of! Isn’t that what every business wants?

Why Are Business Goals Important?

There are a few key reasons why setting business goals is so important. First, it gives you something to strive for.

Having a goal to work towards gives you a sense of purpose and drive. It also helps to keep you focused on what’s important. When you have a clear goal in mind, it’s easier to stay on track and avoid getting sidetracked by less important tasks.

Additionally, business goals can help to hold you accountable. If you’re not seeing the results you want, it may be time to re-evaluate your goals and see if they’re realistic and attainable.

Finally, setting goals can also help motivate your team members by giving them a sense of ownership and responsibility for the success of the company.

It’s bound that a company without goals will fail. Without direction or directive for the goals, there cannot be any progress. Maintenance is possible, but even then it’s very unlikely, even then you need goals.

How Can Setting Business Goals Occur?

There are a few key steps you can take to establish business goals that will set you up for success.

The first step is to brainstorm and come up with a list of potential goals. These can be big or small, but they should all be specific and measurable. Once you have your list, it’s time to start narrowing it down.

Think about which goals are most important to your company and which ones will have the biggest impact on your bottom line. From there, you can start setting deadlines and creating action plans for each goal.

It’s also important to remember that business goals should be reviewed and updated regularly as your company grows and changes. What works for you today may not work tomorrow, so it’s important to be flexible and adjust your goals as needed.

Business Goal Frameworks: OKRs & KPIs

There are two popular frameworks that business owners can use to establish and track their goals: OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).

Both of these frameworks can be helpful in setting and tracking progress towards your goals. However, it’s important to choose the one that makes the most sense for your company.

The OKR framework is focused on setting objectives (goals) and measuring key results. This framework is best suited for companies that are looking to make major changes or achieve significant growth.

The KPI framework, on the other hand, is more focused on measuring performance against specific metrics. This approach is best suited for companies that already have a good handle on their operations and are looking to fine-tune their performance.

No matter which framework you choose, the important thing is that you’re taking the time to set goals and track your progress. By doing so, you’ll be putting your company on the path to success!

Important Factors to Keep In Mind

One of the most important things to keep in mind when setting business goals is that they should be realistic. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new venture and set unrealistic goals that are impossible to achieve. This can lead to frustration and eventually give up on your goals altogether.

Instead, take some time to sit down and really think about what you want to accomplish and what is achievable given your resources and timeline. Once you have a good understanding of what you can realistically achieve, you can start setting some specific goals.

Another key tip for setting effective business goals is to make sure they are measurable. This will help you track your progress and see whether or not you’re on track to reach your objectives. Without measurable goals, it’s easy to get discouraged when you don’t see results right away.

Finally, be sure to involve your team members in the goal-setting process. This will help them feel ownership over the company’s success and buy into the goals you’re trying to achieve.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to setting effective business goals that will help you achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of! If you’re having trouble with OKRs, please look here for more advice.

Business Success Based on Goals

Setting business goals is essential for long-term success. By taking the time to set realistic, measurable goals, you’ll be putting your company on the path to success.

Involving your team in the goal-setting process is also key to ensuring buy-in and ownership of the company’s success.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the business success you’ve always dreamed of! If you want to learn more about business optimization, check out the other articles in this category.

Small Business Brief

Retail

5 Ways to Give Your Retail Storefront Great Curb Appeal


Did you know that 20% of new businesses don’t make it past their first year? If you’re hoping to be a successful business for years to come, you need to invest in boosting your business’s curb appeal. You’ll create a welcoming exterior that encourages visitors to become customers!

Read on to learn about 5 ways to give your retail storefront great curb appeal.

1. Invest in Cosmetic Changes

If you’re on a limited budget, even modest cosmetic updates can enhance a retail storefront. For instance, you could remove a faded awning to allow more sunshine to spotlight your building’s vintage brickwork. Or you could replace a weathered door with a bright red one.

Applying a fresh coat of bold paint can spruce up dull trim. And even something as simple as washing your windows and sweeping the stoop can make a big difference. 

2. Get Better Retail Storefront Signs

Is your outdoor sign faded or dated? Then it’s time to invest in a sign that showcases your business’s name — and reflects a sense of style! Consider updating your logo, too, and reflecting your new business branding on your storefront.

Choose a color scheme that creates enough contrast between the letters and background. And avoid getting too curvy with letters since you want the name to read clearly. Turn to https://resource4signs.com/channel-letters when you’re looking to refresh your retail store signs!

3. Boost Curb Appeal with Landscaping

Some splashes of greenery will create a more attractive storefront. Place potted plants on either side of your front entrance. Or plant some textured shrubs to soften the appearance of concrete or bricks.

For a retail business with bigger grassier areas, grab your fertilizer and edger. A neat and lush field of green will show that you care about how you present your business. While you’re at it, add fresh mulch to your flower beds every spring!

4. Place Merchandise Outside

You might not want to place your most expensive items beyond your field of vision. But consider placing a few cheaper items outside of your store. This is an easy way to woo people passing by on the sidewalk

If you sell seasonal goods, add a shiny snow shovel or autumn wreath outside. Or, if you have big windows, use them to create a window display that features new merchandise each month. An attractive window display will become a magnet that draws people to your storefront. 

5. Add Outdoor Seating

You don’t need to add a patio set or lounge chair to your outdoor space. But even a bench or chair can be a welcome addition to your retail business.

Situate a retro metal chair on a bright outdoor throw rug. Or add a white wicker loveseat so people can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. You’ll build an inviting entrance to your business!

Enhance Your Retail Storefront

A snazzier retail storefront offers a more welcoming space to visitors. You’ll show a higher level of professionalism when you update your signage and landscaping. And you can tempt people by showing off your merchandise.

Find more ways to build your business branding strategies. Check back soon for new articles!

Small Business Brief

Restaurant

3 Important Tips for Running a Restaurant


Estimates claim that there are over one million restaurants in the United States, which together employ over 14 million people. As you’ve likely figured out already, this means that most restaurants are small businesses with no major corporations to back them up.

This is unfortunate because running a restaurant is quite tough. Over half of all restaurants fail within the first year, and the vast majority don’t make it past five years.

While running a restaurant is challenging, it isn’t impossible. In fact, you can raise your chances of success quite a bit by following a few simple tips. We’ll discuss some of those tips in this article.

1. Choose a Good Location

There’s a reason you never see restaurants on random country roads twenty miles from the nearest town. Nobody’s going to go to a restaurant that’s hard to find or is too far out of their way.

Try to build your restaurant in a population center. It doesn’t have to be New York or LA, but there should be at least a small town’s worth of people living there.

For this reason, it’s important to do market research. Try to figure out what town needs a restaurant and what kind of restaurant they need. There are often easy and affordable ways to do this research, like taking a clipboard and writing down answers to a survey.

2. Choose the Right Menu

So much of a restaurant’s success depends on what they’re serving. An otherwise good restaurant can fail simply because somebody else in town did it better.

For instance, most of us wouldn’t start a family-owned pizza parlor in downtown Chicago. It’s the birthplace of deep dish. We could make some incredible pizza but we won’t make a dent in that market.

This is why it’s important to look around your location and see what the town needs. Do they have a good steak place? If not, try becoming a steak place to attract customers.

3. Choose and Treat Staff Well

Many business owners emphasize the importance of hiring the right employees and keeping them around. A happy, well-trained staff is essential to every part of your business, and even the restaurant cleaning services you use should be treated well.

There are a lot of things that go into keeping your staff happy, but it’s also important to understand which ones are realistic. We’d all like to offer our employees flexible hours, help with their education, and whatever else they need, but small businesses can’t always do that.

One thing that we can do is pay our staff well. A smaller staff with higher wages can often be more productive than a large staff with low or even average wages. 

Successfully Running a Restaurant: A Guide

Running a restaurant is notoriously difficult, but it can be much easier if you know what you’re doing. We’ve offered some advice for running a successful restaurant in this article, but there’s always more to learn.

If you want to know more about various kinds of small businesses and how to run them please visit our site. 

Small Business Brief

Marketing

5 Digital Marketing Tips for Manufacturing Companies


More than 95% of small businesses have social media as part of their digital marketing strategy, 41% of these businesses actually rely on social media in order to increase their revenue. 

Digital marketing is a machine that has many moving parts, from social media to SEO to content marketing and more. So, how does a manufacturing company use it to its full advantage? 

Keep reading to find out why a solid digital marketing strategy matters for your manufacturing company. Here are 5 digital marketing tips that you can implement today. 

Digital Marketing Tips for Manufacturing Companies 

Typically, your digital marketing strategy is going to include a few strings of marketing on different platforms. Here is a list of what your digital marketing tactics might include:

  • Content marketing covers both written and visual content created and published online 
  • Email marketing is aimed at direct messaging to your own client or prospect database 
  • Influencer and affiliate marketing is about using a network of other people to help increase sales or brand awareness
  • Social media marketing is about using Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms for content and advertising purposes 
  • Paid advertising comes in the form of digital banner ads or Google Ads 

Also, SEO for manufacturing companies (Search Engine Optimization) is about optimizing your website for increased organic traffic to your website. All of these meshed together are what crate the optimum digital marketing plan. You don’t have to implement them all, as long as the ones you choose are well-thought-out and planned correctly. 

1. Set a Budget

The foundation of your marketing strategy is about how much you can and are willing to spend. Remember, your need to budget for things like design and copywriting as well as the resources needed to implement and manage each digital marketing campaign. 

2. Put Someone in Charge 

It’s always best to have someone leading your marketing team. This allows accountability for marketing campaigns both in positive and negative situations. It helps to have one person to discuss your digital marketing with as opposed to having to gather many team members.  

It’s the same if you hire a digital marketing agency, you’ll have an Account Manager who is your point of contact and takes responsibility for your account. 

3. Prioritize Branding 

When it comes to digital marketing, a solid, consistent brand is key to success. If you don’t have a brand identity, then now is the time to create one. Or if you do have one, perhaps a refresh is in order? 

Branding can help your digital marketing communicate authentically with your audience. 

4. Know Your Customer 

Before you launch anything or design anything or publish anything, you need to know who you are targeting. Extensive research needs to be done on who your target audience is and how you plan on engaging with them. 

Doing this allows you to create content that is relevant and useful to them, and makes your brand seem authoritative. 

5. Keep an Eye on the Competition 

Knowing what your competition is doing can give you an advantage with your digital marketing tactics. Perhaps they launch a campaign that’s outperforming yours, you can learn from what they’re doing right. 

Or they can give you insight into keyword and content strategies if their website is performing better than yours. Make time to monitor what they’re doing!

Go Forth and Market Digitally! 

These digital marketing tips are just the tip of the proverbial digital marketing iceberg. There is so much more depth to things like social media marketing and content marketing! 

When all the moving parts come together though, you’re bound to see super positive results if you stick to your strategy. 

If you glance to the right of this page, we have an entire marketing category just waiting to go deeper into detail with you, check it out! 

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Employees

How to Manage Time-Off Requests Effectively and Fairly


The average US worker will get ten days of paid leave every year, depending on the company they work for. Every employer knows how stressful handling time off and time off requests can be. Between tracking dates and finding someone to cover for the employees, it can get a tad overwhelming.

That’s why most employers will create a time off request policy that dictates the terms of taking paid leave. If you don’t have one yet or the one you have doesn’t work, we’re here to help.

In today’s post, we’ll be highlighting a couple of tips for the seamless handling of time off requests.

Have Clear Policies From the Get-Go

The first step to managing time off requests is to have clear policies in place. Employees should know how much time they’re entitled to, the process of requesting time off, and what documentation is required. Ensure all employees know the rules for requesting time off and where o get the time off request form.

This will minimize the back and forth between employer and employee when it comes to requesting time off. All the information should be readily available.

Create Strict Deadlines for time off Requests

Ensure you have strict and definite deadlines for requesting time off. This will ensure that employees submit timely leave requests, so you’ll have enough time to plan accordingly.

A good rule of thumb is to require employees to submit their time off requests at least two weeks in advance. This way, you can easily plan for coverage and avoid last-minute scrambling.

Requests after the deadline should only be approved in extenuating circumstances.

User Rewards to Retain Employees During Peak Periods

It’s hard to find employees that’ll willingly work through Christmas and other holidays.

Instead of being punitive and denying your employees time off, you can leverage rewards to your advantage. These rewards can include extra paid time off, bonuses, and other perks as an incentive for employees to work during these periods.

It’s a win-win situation for both employer and employee. The business gets the coverage during peak periods, and employees are compensated for their time and efforts.

Use Software to Help With Management

One of the easiest ways to streamline time off requests is to use software. Tons of software solutions can help you handle employee leave management. You can use them to keep track of off-duty employees, leave periods, and incoming requests.

Some software solutions will even automate the approval process, so you don’t have to constantly check and approve requests. This can free up a lot of your time, meaning you can focus on other areas of your business.

Handle Your Time Off Requests Like a Boss

Time off requests can be a huge headache, but the above tips should help make them a cakewalk. Consider using software for managing these requests and also sleeping accurate records.

For more informative content, check out the other posts on the site.

Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

The Brief Guide That Makes Improving Workplace Safety a Simple Process


There were 2,654,700 workplace accidents across the United States in 2020. Having a culture of workplace safety is crucial for reducing accidents in your organization. Positive workplace culture is the foundation of safety.

Whether you are a small business owner or help manage a large corporation, you need to focus on safety. Employee happiness and employee safety go hand in hand. Smart management personnel craft techniques that foster both.

So how can you best develop your workplace safety strategy? The answers are in this guide. Read on to find out how to make improving workplace safety a simple process. That way, your organization will reach its full potential!

Foster a Culture of Safety From Day One

From day one of their employment, your employees should understand the importance of safety at your organization. Part of smart business ownership is setting expectations early. That way, your employees know what to expect.

Make it clear throughout the onboarding process that workplace safety is paramount at all levels of your organization. That way, from the very beginning of their employment, your workers will know where you stand.

Codify Standards for Workplace Safety

You need to put in writing what you expect from your employees when it comes to safety. Codify any specific safety practices that you have. Outline any disciplinary actions for violations. Draft a document that your employees sign.

Not only will this increase accountability throughout your organization, but it will also provide legal protection to your business. Safety is an employer-employee agreement that both parties need to uphold at all times.

Provide Proper Workplace Safety Equipment

Your employees can’t stay safe on the job if you don’t provide them with the right equipment. Make sure that they have the right PPE for their job. This can range from uniforms to things like eye protection.

For instance, if you manage a road crew, ensure that they have the right high-visibility workwear. That way, they can be seen by motorists. By furnishing the proper safety equipment, you’re fulfilling your obligations as a safe employer. 

Review and Analyze Incidents

Safety violations, incidents, and injuries happen no matter how great your workplace safety program is. After each, you need to sit down with the parties involved and discuss what happened. That way, you can learn from them.

The point of reviewing incidents with employees is not to reprimand them. It’s to learn as much as you can about what happened so you can avoid future incidents from occurring. Handle disciplinary actions separately from review.

Keep Your Employees Safe

Workplace safety is everyone’s responsibility. From entry-level employees to company leaders, everyone must do their part. You owe it to your employees to provide them with a safe work environment. Don’t neglect workplace safety.

Use the information in this guide to craft a successful workplace safety strategy. That way, your employees will be safe on the job and come home after their day is done. For other crucial information, check out our page again!

Small Business Brief

Accounting

How to Prepare Sales Tax For Your Business Operations


According to studies, there was $5.3 trillion worth of taxes collected in 2019.

Tax time is a scary time as a small business owner, especially when you have a lot on your plate. You’re responsible for sales, marketing, operations – and now you have to worry about taxes too?

Filing your taxes can be confusing and time-consuming, especially if you’re not familiar with the process.

But don’t worry. Keep reading to learn how to prepare your sales tax for your business operations.

Know Your State’s Requirements

Sales tax is a type of taxation that is imposed on the sale of goods and services. The tax is typically calculated as a percentage of the sale price, and it is collected by the seller at the time of purchase.

Every state has different requirements for sales tax, so it’s important to know what applies in your state. You can find this information on your state’s website or by contacting your state’s tax agency.

In general, states require sellers to collect sales tax on all taxable transactions, but there are some exceptions. For example, many states exempt food and medicine from sales tax.

Some states also offer lower rates for certain types of purchases, such as clothing or textbooks.

Keep Good Records

Good recordkeeping is essential for any business, but it’s especially important when it comes to sales tax. Sales tax can be a complex and confusing topic, so it’s important to keep meticulous records of your sales.

This will help you ensure that you are correctly calculating and remitting sales tax to the appropriate authorities.

Additionally, good recordkeeping will help you take advantage of any exemptions or discounts to which you may be entitled. By keeping careful track of your sales, you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle.

Use Software to Help You File and Pay Your Taxes

If you’re self-employed, you know that there’s a lot to keep track of. In addition to managing your daily workflow, you also have to stay on top of your finances and make sure that you’re paying your taxes on time.

Fortunately, there are a number of software programs available that can help you with this.

Sales tracking apps can help you keep track of your income and expenses, and tax filing apps can help you ensure that you’re paying the right amount of tax.

These apps can be a big help, especially if you’re new to the self-employment game. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the paperwork, be sure to check out some of these helpful programs.

Stay Up to Date on Changes

As a business owner, it’s important to stay up to date on any changes in tax law that could affect your bottom line. The laws are always changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest developments.

One way to stay informed is to subscribe to email newsletters from tax agencies or organizations. This way, you’ll always be aware of any new regulations or deadlines that could impact your business.

You can also follow tax agencies on social media for updates and announcements. By staying informed, you can make sure that you’re compliant with the latest tax laws and avoid any penalties or fines.

Get Help From a Professional

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the whole process, you may want to consider getting help from a professional. A tax preparer or accountant can help you make sure you’re doing everything right and avoiding any penalties.

Use an Online Tax Preparation Services

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of preparing and filing your own taxes, you can use online tax services like TurboTax or TaxACT. These services will do all the work for you and usually provide a money-back guarantee.

Be Prepared for an Audit

Audits can be a major source of anxiety for taxpayers, but it’s important to remember that audits are actually quite rare. In fact, for individual taxpayers, the odds of being audited are less than 1 percent.

Even if you do receive an audit notice, there’s no need to panic. The vast majority of audits are conducted through the mail and involve no face-to-face contact with an IRS agent.

As long as you have all your documentation in order and cooperate with the auditor, the process should go smoothly. And if you do owe additional taxes, remember that you can usually negotiate a payment plan with the IRS.

So, while audits may not be pleasant, they’re nothing to be afraid of. You can even use tools like Sales Tax Nexus Audit to audit yourself.

Know When to File

Sales tax is a tax levied on the sale of goods and services. In the United States, the government control sales tax at the state level, which means that the due date for filing your sales tax return can vary from state to state.

However, most states have a due date that falls either monthly, quarterly, or annually. Regardless of the due date in your state, it’s important to make sure that you file your sales tax return on time to avoid any penalties.

Penalties for late filing can be significant, so it’s worth taking the time to ensure that you submit your return on time.

Prepare Sales Taxes for Your Business Operations

If you are a small business owner, it is important to be aware of the sales tax requirements in your state.

Check out our blog for more information on sales tax, business operations, and other important topics for small businesses.

Small Business Brief

Productivity

3 Ways to Improve Productivity in the Workplace


Did you know that the average worker is only productive for 60% or less per day? For some, this equals out to less than 3 hours a day!

If you’re the business owner, then this is problematic, as you’re not getting results for the pay you’re giving your employees. But the good news is, there are ways to bump things up!

If your employees need to improve productivity, then keep reading. Here are 3 ways you can improve workplace productivity!

1. Get Rid of Distractions

Distractions are at the top of the list when it comes to productivity hindrance. You might think it’s something as innocent as coworkers asking one another about their lives, but in reality, it can be much more than that.

For instance, did you know that meetings are one of the most unproductive things at work? Most employees admit that they daydream, sleep, multitask, or even miss “mandatory” meetings. So instead of plugging up their time with pointless meetings, allow your workers to get straight to business by booking fewer meetings.

You can also implement things like quiet zones/hours so your employees have somewhere quiet to work. You can also request that cell phones be kept on “do not disturb” while at work.

2. Encourage Employee Wellness

All too often, workers find themselves exhausted and even burned out. Mostly, they view their employers as the enemy; they’re the slave drivers, after all.

Show your employees that you’re on their side by encouraging employee wellness. Some ideas include:

  • Gym memberships
  • Healthy snacks and food
  • Ergonomic workstations
  • Enough paid time off

Many employers are hesitant to do the last item on the list. However, by investing in your workers’ well-being, it’ll pay off in the long run. Giving them the necessary time off to rest and recharge will ensure they’re even more productive once they return to the workplace!

3. Embrace a Lean Office

No, we don’t mean slim people. Instead, it means a philosophy of removing waste and streamlining business processes.

You may have heard of terms like “lean” and “agile”, which all refer to proven methods that can boost workplace productivity massively. But while you know these terms, it can be hard to know where to start. You can study the methods, but it’s challenging to put them into practice.

This is where third-party training can come in handy. For example, Lean Six Sigma training will transform your workplace. It can get rid of organizational issues and pave the way to efficiency so your company sees results.

Improve Productivity at Your Workplace

It’s time to say goodbye to wasted work time and hello to productivity. Take the advice we’ve given you from this article to improve productivity at your workplace. Once you’ve implemented everything, you’ll be surprised at just how much work your employees can get done!

Did you find these tips on how to improve productivity at work useful? Then check out the rest of our blog page now!

Small Business Brief

HVAC

How to Start an HVAC Business: Tips for Long Term Success


There are around 118,012 HVAC contractors in the U.S, which means you must find ways to stand out.

Launching your HVAC company lets you capitalize on your expertise and solidify yourself as an industry expert. But, like with any venture, starting can be daunting so it’s important to know the basics. Perhaps you’ve toyed with the idea of opening a shop and you’re looking for advice. 

Sounds familiar? No worries, we’ve got you! Here’s how to start an HVAC business.  

Prioritize Quality 

Our guide to starting an HVAC business wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the importance of quality. Although it’s tempting to cut corners with affordable materials, these won’t be durable so there’s a risk of them breaking down quickly. Instead, spend more to secure quality units as it will prove you care about customers.  

Organize Your Finances 

Anyone looking for HVAC business advice must keep their finances organized. Take the time to detail a business plan that covers your current funds and your financial goals as it will guide you in the right direction.

You should also decide whether to take out a bank loan or use your savings to fund your new HVAC business. If you choose the former route, make sure you have a good credit score, so you look appealing on paper.   

Secure Licensing, Business, and Insurance Requirements 

Every successful HVAC business has the right licenses and insurance in place. The license will vary depending on where you live so research your state for more details.

Next, at the very least, get general liability insurance as it will protect you if an accident happens on a client’s property. And if you’re hiring a team, apply for workmen’s compensation insurance to protect your business from personal injury claims.  

Gather Your Supplies 

Your HVAC system can’t run without essential supplies. List all the tools you need to install, repair, and replace units. For instance, this includes drills, wrenches, and vacuum pumps. Plus, get enough safety equipment for your team, otherwise, it could make your insurance void.    

Offer Stellar Customer Support

When managing an HVAC business, providing excellent customer support is crucial. Make sure you have a receptionist to handle queries and go the extra mile for your clients. You should also consider adding a chatbot to your website so you’re accessible around the clock.

Market Your Business 

Once you’ve covered the basics, it’s time to market your business. Build a clean website and sign up for several social media platforms that are relevant to your industry. For instance, target customers on Facebook because there are often local groups. 

If you’re interested, learn about HVAC SEO services to further your reach and drive sales.  

How to Start an HVAC Business

Now, you know how to start an HVAC business and bring your dream to life. 

When starting a business, there are many considerations like sourcing quality products and providing excellent customer support. Business owners should also secure the necessary documents and constantly market their company to generate leads. Good luck!   

Browse our blog for similar content.

Small Business Brief

Employees

This Is How to Hire Employees for Your Small Business


In the United States, it takes an average of twenty-four days for a company to hire a new employee. That means the company is understaffed for more than three weeks – far longer than most small businesses can afford.

One reason the hiring process takes so long is that many employers don’t truly understand how to hire employees. Hiring employees doesn’t have to take weeks if you know how to find the right people for the position.

The hiring process starts the moment you decide you need a new employee, so start things off right. Read on to learn how to streamline your hiring process and find people who will help your company grow.

Write a Clear Job Description

The hardest part of the hiring process is finding employees who fit your needs. You need to find ways to narrow your pool of candidates quickly; one way to do that is to fine-tune your job description.

Vague job descriptions do you no favors. The broader your job posting is, the more people will apply, forcing you to sift through more resumes and hold more interviews.

A clear, concise job description lets people know right away if they’re a good fit for the position. You’ll weed out unqualified candidates immediately.

Prepare for Interviews

Most people think that the employer holds all the power in an interview, but that’s not the case. You might be running a business, but you need employees just as badly as they need the job.

That means you need to be able to convince candidates that they want to work for you. Think of the benefits you can offer and try to anticipate questions your candidates may have.

Use a Temp Agency

Business management is complex, but you don’t have to handle every aspect of your business alone. Take some of the stress out of the hiring process by using a temp agency.

Temp agencies are experts at finding qualified candidates in every field. They’ll take care of the most difficult parts of finding employees, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your business.

Be Flexible

As we said earlier, it’s important to know your company’s strengths. Your small business may not be able to offer the same salaries and benefits that larger corporations can afford, but you can make up for it with flexibility.

Small business employees value things like flexible schedules or the ability to work remotely. Don’t be afraid to offer those benefits if the right candidate comes along.

Remember, hiring employees isn’t just about filling a position–it’s about finding someone who can make your business better. If you find the perfect person, it’s worth making a few reasonable accommodations for them.

Understand How to Hire Employees

Once you know how to hire employees, you’ll be able to take your business to the next level. Finding employees who fit your company’s culture and share your vision is vital if you want your business to keep growing.

Are you looking for more ways to improve your company? Visit our blog, where you’ll find business articles that can help you improve morale, boost your sales, enhance your marketing, and more!

Small Business Brief

Cleaning Business, Office

How to Clean Offices


Even if it looks clean, your office can be teeming with germs. The desk you use every day has 400 times more germs than your toilet seat! 

Getting rid of these germs is necessary for a clean workspace that keeps all employees healthy. A clean office also looks more professional and can help boost productivity. 

If you are looking for how to clean offices, there are a few key steps to understand to get the deepest clean. 

We go over how to keep your office spotless in this office cleaning guide. 

Organize Loose Papers 

Office cleaning should start with the organization of any loose papers. Piled paperwork makes an office look messy. File any important paperwork in file folders and dispose of any documents that are trash. 

Disinfect the Bathrooms

A clean bathroom is vital for the health and safety of your employees. A bathroom needs cleaning each day to keep it sanitized. 

Disinfect the toilets and scrub the bowl with a brush and toilet cleaner. The sink and faucets also need disinfecting. 

Wipe down any counters and sweep up the floor. Finally, check the soap and paper towel levels and refill as needed. 

Clean Any Common Areas 

The next place to clean is any common areas like the break room. If there is a fridge here, make sure there is no old food in it. You should also wipe down microwaves regularly to keep them from getting very dirty. 

Any countertops, tables, and chairs need wiping down with a disinfectant. If there is a sink here, make sure it is clean and free from dishes. Wash and replace the dishtowels every few days. 

If you have a public waiting area, make sure it looks presentable. Straighten any chairs or magazines. Make sure any trashcans are empty of trash. 

The floor can get dirty with so much foot traffic, so vacuuming it each day is necessary. Disinfect any tables using an all-purpose cleaner. 

Tidy the Front of the Building 

Make sure to run a vacuum in the front entrance of the building and any hallways. Using a window spray, clean any windows in the front of the building. 

Office Cleaning Tips

Use baskets and other organizers to keep desks neat. 

Having your office cleaned each day means less upkeep to do in the long run. If you don’t have time to clean, consider hiring a cleaning service, like megasvs.com, to do the job for you. 

When you have a clean office, your office employees will be more efficient. Clean spaces also make your employees feel valued. 

When You Know How to Clean Offices, Your Work Space Will Function at Its Best 

Office spaces are prone to dirt and disorder because of how many people are in and out of them. When you know how to clean offices, your space will look professional and boost office morale. 

Did you find our article helpful? If so, there is more where that came from! Check out our other business and cleaning blogs today. 

Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

How Can Working With a Truck Broker Benefit You?


Do you run an eCommerce business and are losing out on sales because of the high shipping fees and other related issues?

If so, you should consider working with a truck broker. This is an organization that will assign a truck or fleet of trucks to help deliver your goods. 

This service helps you provide more efficient shipping and delivery options to your customers. You’ll also save money and increase your revenue in the long run.

Here’s what you need to know about a truck broker:

How a Truck Broker Works

When you sign up with a truck broker for your business you are entering a contract as you would with any other vendor.

They’ll set up a consultation session with you first. In this session, you’ll provide them with the average number of orders you receive per week. You’ll let them know how fast you’d like orders to get shipped and delivered.

They’ll provide a quote based on your expectations. You can then use their services each week for your eCommerce business!

The Fleet of Trucks

One thing that you should know when working with a truck broker is that they seldom own any trucks!

In most cases, a truck broker will work with a company that owns a fleet of trucks. They’ll request the company to allocate trucks each week to make your deliveries.

They work as the intermediary between your business and the trucks. They’ll also be on the lookout for different trucking companies. If another trucking company provides a better service, they’ll switch to using said company.

What to Expect

So what should you expect if you work with a truck broker?

As mentioned in the previous section, they’ll continuously vet different trucking companies. They’ll ensure that their customers never have to deal with a mediocre trucking company.

When your customers place an order, you send the shipping information to the truck broker. The truck broker then works with the trucking companies to handle the logistics for the delivery.

You can choose to pay a fixed salary to a truck broker each week or month. Or you can use the truck broker on a ‘per-use’ basis and they’ll send you an invoice for every order.

Before you use a truck broker you want to assess their quality. You can judge a great truck broker based on their customer service. You’ll also want to ask them for case studies to see how they’ve assisted other clients.

Hire a Truck Broker

Now that you know the benefits of a truck broker you can hire one for your eCommerce business.

They’ll help you find a fleet of trucks that can help your business deliver your goods as fast as possible. They’ll handle the negotiations with trucking companies and vet the best ones.

With a truck broker, you’ll work with them as a vendor whom you’ll pay on a per-use basis. On occasion, you can treat them as an employee and pay them a regular salary.

You can learn more about how to work with a truck broker on our blog.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

The Importance of SEO for Your Company: A Simple Guide


About 76% of people who search on their smartphones for something nearby will visit a business within 24 hours. Meanwhile, nearly 30% of these searches result in purchases. With search engine optimization (SEO), you can start reaching these consumers.

Not sure if you want to invest in SEO services this year? Read on to discover the importance of SEO first.

After reading this guide, you can make an informed choice with your company’s future in mind!

Reach Ideal Customers

One of the top benefits of search engine optimization is it allows businesses to focus on their ideal customers. 

Traditional marketing materials like billboards and flyers can appear in front of almost any demographic. Not every consumer wants or needs your offerings, though. With SEO, you can create content based on the search queries your customers use online.

Then, your website will appear as these consumers are learning about your business and offerings.

You can even use your Google My Business listing to reach local consumers. Your listing can provide them with your phone number, address, website, and more.

Providing consumers with the information they need could help you generate more leads and sales. 

Establish Credibility

Once you recognize the importance of SEO, you can use SEO services to establish your credibility in the industry.

For example, you can create thought leadership pieces to show consumers you’re a go-to resource. Establishing your credibility as a thought leader can help brand trust grow. Generating brand trust can help you gain more leads and sales.

It can also help boost brand loyalty, turning one-time customers into repeat, loyal customers.

Generating more customer reviews on your Google My Business profile can boost your credibility, too. 

Generate Quality Traffic

One of the main benefits of SEO you’ll experience is an influx in high-quality website traffic.

You can use SEO to rank for a range of different keywords. Consumers will recognize you have the answers they’re looking for online. Then, they can visit your site to learn more about your business.

You can generate more traffic through your Google My Business profile, too.  You can learn more about Google My Business SEO here.

Boost Leads and Sales

As you generate more website traffic, consumers can discover what differentiates you from other businesses within your industry. They could recognize your unique value proposition and expertise. Consumers might decide to convert on your website as a result.

Using the different types of SEO can help you generate more leads and sales.

Since SEO is a cost-effective marketing strategy, it’s a great way to boost your marketing ROI, too.

Discover the Importance of SEO for Your Business Today

Discovering the importance of SEO can help you discover new ways to grow your business. Consider investing in SEO services this year. An experienced SEO agency can help you get started.

Boost your business with search engine optimization today!

Searching for more tips? You’ve come to the right blog.

Check out our latest guides today for more useful advice.  

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

Avoid Failure by Managing These Risks in Business


Did you know that 20% of small businesses fail in the first year? However, making it past year one doesn’t mean you’re out of the woods. According to the same study, half of all small businesses fail by year five.

The question you need to answer is how to avoid the same fate. What can you do to make sure your business is thriving after your first, fifth, and twentieth years?

The answer lies in avoiding detrimental business risks that have the potential to run your company into the ground. We’re here to provide a little insight into risk management so you can enjoy a long and successful career as a business owner. Keep reading for the top business threats that could be looming over your company.

Too Much Overhead

One of the biggest risks in business is starting out with too much overhead. This is a common mistake made by brand new business owners who may not have analyzed the market thoroughly.

We always recommend starting small and allowing your business to expand as your customer base grows and becomes more predictable. Launching an untested business with a massive amount of overhead is a sure-fire way to bury yourself in debt.

If your business is doing well, the same rule applies to expansion. Learn how to scale your business appropriately without taking on too much overhead.

Poor Marketing Efficacy

Running a business is a balancing act. Where you put your time, energy, and resources directly impacts the success of your company.

Marketing is one area in which you can’t afford to slack off. Ineffective marketing strategies (or a lack thereof) are one of the most common business risks. If consumers aren’t seeing your brand and hearing about your products or services, you can’t expect to make any sales.

Just as importantly, your marketing campaign must hone in on your target audience. You must represent your brand in a way that shows consumers you are better than your competitors.

Employee Injuries

Employee injuries are one of the greatest risks in business, particularly in physical jobs or those that are inherently dangerous. However, that’s not to say that office-based jobs and other sedentary work environments are immune to these business threats.

Proper risk management assesses all the environmental factors that can lead to workplace injuries. This includes everything from slips and falls to equipment-related injuries.

Click here to find out more about how you can help your employees avoid unnecessary injuries in the workplace.

Bad Public Relations

Running a business successfully requires building a reputation for yourself in the community and industry. One of the worst risks in business is developing a negative rapport with consumers. This is often the result of:

  • Poor customer service skills
  • Poor communication skills
  • Low-quality products
  • Low-quality services
  • Etc.

If you’re not holding up your end of the bargain, you’re going to get bad reviews. The more bad reviews you collect, the less likely you are to secure new customers.

Are You Avoiding These Risks in Business?

As you can see, there are a ton of risks in business that can lead to the downfall of your company. Fortunately, all of these business threats are within your control. Take positive steps to mitigate these issues.

For more business advice or risk management tips, stick around. Look through some of our other articles to see if you can find more helpful insight. Our blog was created to help business owners like you.

Small Business Brief

Marketing, Technology & Software

Why Is Backlink Tracking an Essential Part of SEO?


Did you know that only 39% of websites contain backlinks, yet backlinking plays an essential role in SEO?

Google Search has built a reputation for producing quality results. The first page in the search engine results pages (SERPs) offers the top ten pages for that query.

One of Google’s quality control indicators is backlinking. Yet, many pages don’t benefit from a qualified third-party source.

This article examines the importance of backlink tracking in SEO to boost your quality score.

Read on to discover what backlinking is and how it works. Learn how to track backlinks with the right SEO tools. And enhance your SEO performance to improve your site’s rankings.

What Are Backlinks?

Backlinks are also called inbound or incoming links. They are simply links to your web pages from another website.

According to Google’s guidelines, a key indicator of quality is an endorsement from other quality sites. The idea is that a ‘good’ site will only promote other ‘good’ websites.

This follows Google’s original PageRank algorithm that not only looked at the content on a page but how it interacted with other domains.

The more inbound or backlinks from top websites the higher your PageRank. That in turn can strengthen your Google Search ranking.

What Is Backlink Tracking?

How many backlinks does your website have? What percentage are quality links? How many does Google see as spam?

Backlink tracking helps you identify all of your inbound links and assesses whether they will benefit you.

Artificial Intelligence helps to produce accurate results. You can spot spam issues immediately. You can also track backlinks in relation to keywords or search queries.

SEO Performance and Backlink Tracking

Google hates spam.

It defines spam backlinks as any attempt to manipulate PageRank using a ‘link scheme’. That includes hiring so-called SEO experts to create false links from fake websites.

Knowing what sites link to your pages plays a major role in discovering this spam. But that’s not all they do as Google checks for sites that:

  • Create text ads that bypass PageRank checks
  • Use unnatural and keyword-stuffed links
  • Are low-quality directory sites
  • Automatically redirect links

How then can you check backlinks? Are there any tools you can use? How much do they cost?

SEO Tools to Check Backlinks

Googling ‘check backlinks’ produces thousands of results all with subtle differences.

You’ll notice that some offer a basic backlinking service i.e. the total number of internal links along with URLs. The best SERP checker tools aim to provide a range of additional services to help your SEO.

For example, some sites send you daily updates on newly acquired inbound links. Each gets a spam score breakdown.

The secret sauce lies in the database that the service uses. The more links it holds the more accurate results it gives. Filtering those results must be intuitive and easy to understand.

Yet, what do you do if your site has hundreds of spam links?

Removing Spam Links

Disavowing is the technical term for removing spam links from Google.

Google’s documentation states to list each spam link and domain in a text file. Next, visit Google’s Disavow Links page and upload the document.

However, the best SERP tools include this feature as standard. All you have to do is click a button!

SEO Boost Tips and Advice

Backlink tracking helps you identify what pages link to yours and to separate the good from the bad.

Combined with other SEO tools, these services will give your SEO a major boost. That includes removing spam links.

Learn more on how to boost your SEO on our blog.

Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

4 Electric Benefits of Electrical Safety Training


Did you know that about 4,000 people get electrocuted in the workplace every year? Besides, electrocution ranks sixth as the most common cause of workplace death in America.

So, it’s essential to organize an electrical safety training program at your workplace.

It’s a good practice to involve your workers in all aspects of the electrical safety training program. That will include setting objectives and identifying and reporting potential electrical hazards.

This article provides you with four benefits of electrical safety training.

1. Protection From Electrical Injuries

Usually, the majority of electrical injuries end up in burns or shocks. You can get an electrical burn if your skin comes into direct contact with electricity.

Electricity burns affect the muscles and tissues in your body. Besides, the electrical current may take time before exiting your body, thus injuring anyone who tries to help. So, when treated like other minor burns, electrical burns can worsen.

Your electrical shock injury will depend on various factors. These include the type of electrical contact, the voltage of the electrical current, and the exposure time.

Electrical shocks can cause muscle pain, breathing problems, seizures, and death. Your employees should undergo the Arc Flash electrical safety training to learn about the shock hazards and potential remedies.

2. Protection From Electrical Fires

Electrical safety training can help keep your employees safe from electric shock and other hazards. It’s also essential to ensure that your business remains safe from electrical fire damage.

Electrical fires are often caused by poor electrical systems maintenance. Use of old electrical equipment and violation of lockout and tagout safety rules are other factors.

3. Keeping Your Workers Informed

Electrical safety programs can educate your employees on up-to-date safety measures to follow. Informed workers will reduce the rate of electrical accidents, which can be fatal.

The fewer accidents you encounter, the more resources your business will save. Some of the unwanted expenses can include compensation costs for your workers. You may also have to replace your damaged electrical equipment.

4. Retaining Talent

It’s easy to hire high-performing workers for your company. Yet, retaining these employees can be difficult and time-consuming.

You’ll need to ensure that your employees are content to continue working in your company. One way to do so is through an electrical safety training program.

If you train your employees on their safety, it makes them feel that you care about their well-being. It will also motivate the workers to become more productive.

Through electrical safety training, employees learn the importance of wearing electrical PPE (personal protective equipment).

Electrical Safety Training Programs

Electrical safety training is significant whether you’re a new business or hiring new employees.

Employers must follow OSHA requirements to guarantee employees’ safety at work. After training, experts assess and certify employees to undertake electrical work.

Consistent electrical safety training will make sure your employees are always updated. You’ll also enjoy an increased ROI in the long run.

Keep reading to learn more benefits of electrical safety training.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

The Beginners Guide to the Top 5 Digital Marketing Strategies


In our ever-evolving digital world, there have never been so many avenues open for marketing your business. However, while there’s opportunity, competition is feirce, and standing out is a challenge.

To boost brand awareness, you need to harness the power of digital marketing, and use an effective strategy that delivers results.

So, what should you include in your digital marketing strategy?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the top 5 digital marketing strategies and share some tips on how to implement them.

1. Implement Search Engine Optimization

Your website may act as a calling card for your business, or it could be the hub of your operations. But, in an ultra-competitive online playing field, getting your site to the top of the search results takes a considered digital marketing strategy.

Search engine optimization (SEO) uses a range of practices that aim to improve the search engine visibility of your website. SEO tactics include:

  • Keyword optimization – Using relevant key terms in your content to match search intent
  • Site optimization – Ensuring your site loads quickly and works well on any device
  • Link building – Building the authority of your website as a valid resource by generating links from other sites
  • Local SEO – Increasing visibility in local searches and putting your business on search engine maps

Often, SEO forms a major part of a cohesive marketing strategy.

2. Invest in PPC Advertising

Advertising has long been the best way to get customers’ attention. When it comes to the internet, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is the way to go. 

When placing a PPC ad, you’ll bid on the keywords that are relevant to your business. Users searching these terms will then be met with your ad at the top of the search results. But the beauty of PPC is, that you’ll only pay for the clicks you receive. 

PPC ads are found in search engines, social media, along with various other online platforms. 

3. Marketing on Social Media

Did you know that 72% of people in the US use social media? With such a big audience, building your brand’s profile on these platforms is almost essential these days.

When creating a social media marketing strategy consider the following:

  • Creating interesting and entertaining posts often
  • Engaging with users that comment on your posts
  • Using chatbots to manage communication effectively

Social media allows you to specifically target desired demographics. Once you understand who your ideal customer is, you can find them with pinpoint accuracy using platforms such as Facebook that hold a wealth of personal data on their users.

4. Run an Email Marketing Campaign

Email has long been a great tool for marketing and it shows no sign of stopping. Encouraging customers to provide you with their email addresses will allow you to send out personalized and targeted emails about new products, services, and promotions.

5. Content Marketing

Using videos, blogs, and podcasts is a great way of growing your brand’s reputation online. Users engage with informative and entertaining content, and if there’s an angle you can use to mention your business, it might help drum up some trade.

Implementing the Top 5 Digital Marketing Strategies

Most businesses use a combination of the top 5 digital marketing strategies to achieve results. For many organizations that don’t have the resources in-house, digital marketing agencies provide the services needed to take your business forward. 

Whether you’re carrying out your marketing yourself or outsourcing it, having a clear understanding of the different techniques will better equip you for planning and budgeting.

For more great business advice, check out more of our articles today.

Small Business Brief

Financial Services

How Do Credit Card Chargebacks Actually Work in Practice?


Did you know that the cost of chargebacks is expected to go from $690 million in 2020 to more than $1 billion by the year 2023, in the United States? If you are a new business and are new to the world of credit card chargebacks, we are here to help you learn the ins and outs of chargebacks.

Read on to learn more about how they work and how you can help your business in this situation.

How Does a Chargeback Work?

The typical process of a chargeback begins with a purchase a customer makes with their credit card from your business. Once the transaction is processed then the business receives the funds. 

Next, the customer sees the transaction on their credit card, and for one reason or another, they contact their credit card company and file a chargeback for the transaction. The chargeback process begins and the bank that issued the credit card initiates the process.

This is where the issuing bank will reach out to the merchant bank asking for any documentation to dispute the chargeback. Typically the issuing financial institution will grant the dispute to the customer and pull the funds from the business and return them to the customer because the business does not provide the documentation on time. 

If the business provides documentation to dispute the chargeback, the issuing bank will evaluate the evidence. Then they will make a decision about the chargeback being valid or not. 

Reducing Chargebacks

There are several ways to avoid your business losing money from chargebacks. One way is to promptly answer the bank with your dispute documentation so that they can further investigate the validity of the chargeback. Keep in mind that in order to answer promptly this will entail having a very organized system of receipts, emails, etc. 

Another solution to reducing chargebacks is using an RPA solutions provider. This will complete your dispute resolution process automatically through robotic process automation. Thanks to technology bots can research and obtain key documents to validate claims. 

If a bot finds a claim to be invalid then it will immediately issue a dispute claim. This will avoid you having to manually do all of the work. This is definitely the way to go if you want to save time and money.

How Long Is the Process?

The time for a chargeback to be resolved can vary between a few weeks to 75+ days. Keep in mind that this is a much longer process than a refund, which takes between 3-7 business days. 

Some chargebacks take long because of the back-and-forth disputes with the banking establishment.

Feeling Like a Credit Card Chargebacks Pro?

We hope that now that you are aware of the process for credit card chargebacks, you are feeling better equipped if your business is dealing with any at the moment. 

If this blog post came in handy please keep browsing the rest of our business section to stay up to date with our latest helpful articles. 

Small Business Brief

Auto Dealership

Business Owners: Here’s How to Recycle Tires


Calling all business owners! Do any of you work with tires? If you do, you know how hard it can be to dispose of them. 

You can’t take them to the local landfill or dump. You can’t leave them at your place of business as they’ll start to pile up. 

It’s best to recycle them. This can help prevent the tires from ending up in the ocean

Want to learn how to recycle tires? Read on to learn how simple it’s to do so. 

The Benefits of Tire Recycling 

Why recycle tires, you ask? Old tires that don’t get recycled end up in landfills. They’ll take up valuable space there. 

Tires in landfills pose an environmental risk. Under certain conditions, piles of tires can be flammable. The smoke from the fires can affect nearby areas. 

Recycled tires can get new uses. Did you know that tire scraps can get new life as a road paving material? There are ways to turn old tires into reusable materials. 

Take Old Tires to a Tire Shop

Now, you might want to know how to recycle tires the best way. The good news is that there are several options. The first place to start is at a tire shop. 

Most tire shops will take old tires. The shop will take your old tires off your hand if you’re a customer. There’s no need to worry about the tires as the employees will know how to recycle them.

Call the Tire Manufacturer

You can call the tire manufacturer to learn how to recycle their tires. Look at the tire to find the manufacturer. Ask to speak with customer support. 

Most tire manufacturers have recycling programs they can refer customers to. In some cases, they’ll allow customers to drop off their old tires at one of their stores. 

Sell Your Old Tires

Tire repurposing is another way to recycle tires. If you have reusable tires, consider selling them to someone who can use them for projects. 

Some folks like to use old tires as planters. Others like to use them as tire swings. Parents with children often need old tires to make sandboxes. 

This is a great way to get rid of the tires without having to throw them out in a landfill. Plus, you can make some money. 

Go to a Tire Recycling Center

Taking your old tires to a recycling center is one of the best things you can do as a business owner. These centers follow all regulations. You get peace of mind knowing your old tires will not affect the environment. 

Most tire recycling centers use a tire shredding machine. If you have a lot of tires, it’s best to buy a tire shredder. It’ll save you the trouble of hauling the tires off to the center. 

Use This Guide To Learn How To Recycle Tires

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to protect the environment. Recycle any old tires. Now that you know how to recycle tires, it’s best to do the right thing. 

Make sure to explore the rest of our blog to continue reading more great articles. 

Small Business Brief

Marketing, Technology & Software

Click for Insight: How to Create Automated Email Marketing Funnels That Work


According to studies, email marketing generates $42 for every $1 spent.

Email marketing can be a great way to boost your campaign’s ROI, but only if it’s done correctly.

Many businesses struggle with creating effective email marketing funnels, which can lead to poor results.

Keep reading to learn how to create automated email marketing funnels that work. With our tips and advice, you’ll be able to increase your email campaign’s ROI and see better results.

Choose the Right Software

When creating email marketing automation, you need the right software. There are several different software options available.

For example, Mailchimp offers a wide range of features for creating and managing email campaigns, and its affordably priced plans make it a good option for small businesses.

Similarly, Constant Contact provides a user-friendly interface for creating email marketing funnels, and it offers a free trial so you can test out the software before committing to a plan.

Ultimately, the best software for creating an automated email marketing funnel will depend on your specific needs and budget.

Identify the Stages of Your Funnel

The first step in creating an automated email marketing funnel is identifying the stages of your funnel. What are the steps someone takes to become a customer?

Break those steps down into individual emails, and create a sequence for each one.

Create Engaging Content

Any successful marketing campaign depends on engaging content This is especially true for automated email marketing funnels.

To convert recipients into customers, you need to make sure that your emails are interesting and useful. Boring or repetitive content will quickly lose people’s attention, so it’s important to keep things fresh.

One way to do this is to vary the format of your emails, mixing up text-based content with images, videos, and infographics.

You should also consider segmenting your audience so that you can send targeted messages that are relevant to their interests.

Test and Tweak

Once you’ve created your automated email marketing funnel, it’s important to test it to make sure it’s working correctly. Tweak the sequence as needed to ensure the best results.

Keep It Fresh

Email marketing funnels can be a great way to keep your customers engaged with your brand. However, like any other marketing tactic, they need to be refreshed regularly to keep recipients interested.

Otherwise, your funnel will quickly become stale and ineffective.

One way to keep your funnel fresh is to regularly update the content. This could mean adding new blog posts, whitepapers, ebooks, or even just new images and graphics.

If you’d like help building your own automation email marketing campaign, check out Upmkt Digital.

Implement Automated Email Marketing Today

By understanding how automated email marketing funnels work, you can see a significant increase in your email campaign’s ROI. We hope this article has given you some ideas on how automated email funnel can work for you.

If you’re looking for more great email marketing ROI tips like this, be sure to check out our blog. Thanks for reading!

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Employees

Roger That: 3 Great Reasons You Need Two-Way Radios for Business Communication


If you had to get in touch with an employee right this minute, how would you do it? They might miss a phone call or text message, and there’s no telling how long it might take them to check their email.

In an emergency, a delay of even a few minutes could spell disaster. You need a quick, efficient way to contact employees; two-way radios can provide that.

Radio communication is the perfect way to stay in contact with your workers at all times. Keep reading to learn about three of the biggest benefits you can gain from using two-way radios on the job.

1. Get in Touch Instantly

When it comes to business communication, you need two things: clarity and efficiency. Two-way radios can offer both: they allow you to reach any employee at any time and hold a conversation.

You might be thinking, “Doesn’t a cell phone accomplish the same thing?” Handheld radios have several advantages over cell phones, though; for instance, their service areas aren’t limited the way cell phone service is.

Two-way radios don’t rely on cell towers. Instead, they transmit your messages through radio waves, which are far more reliable (especially in remote areas).

They’re also more efficient than cell phones. Workers won’t have to scroll through their phones or type in phone numbers when they need to reach someone; easy communication is available at the press of a button.

2. Fit Any Budget

Handheld radios are an affordable way to upgrade your business communication. There are many kinds of radios on the market, so it’s easy to find devices that your company can afford.

Big names don’t necessarily mean big price tags, either. Motorola two-way radios have a reputation for quality, but they won’t break the bank. You can view a Mototrbo R7 to get an idea of the features these radios provide.

Compared to the cost of company phones and cellular plans, two-way radios are very affordable.

3. Endure Harsh Conditions

Everyone has dropped a cell phone at some point; all too often, a simple slip-up leads to a cracked screen or broken phone. Waiting for repairs can bring your business communication to a screeching halt.

Handheld radios are built to survive falls that would destroy lesser devices. They’re a perfect choice for construction sites and other areas where your equipment might take a beating.

In addition to impact resistance, many two-way radios are waterproof.

They last a long time, too–some Motorola two-way radios offer up to twenty-eight hours of battery life, so you won’t have to worry about them losing power at a crucial moment.

Enjoy the Benefits of Two-Way Radios

Two-way radios have a lot to offer your job site. They allow seamless, instant communication between workers and are hardy enough to survive even the roughest working conditions.

Best of all, they do all of this at a price you can afford, no matter your budget.

Are you looking for more ways to improve your company? Check out our business articles for tips and advice on growing your brand, boosting your sales, streamlining your hiring process, and more!

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Technology & Software

The 5 Best Software for Small Businesses


Millions of entrepreneurs start a business to be their own boss. They want the freedom and flexibility that working for someone else doesn’t offer.

They don’t realize that they’re creating similar problems that look a little different. Most entrepreneurs still work at least 50 hours a week.

You might be your own boss, but you’re still working harder than ever. There are hundreds of tools out there to help you work smarter and take control of your business.

It’s essential to have the best software for small businesses. Before you start shopping, take a look at this article.

You’re going to find out which software tools you need for your business.

1. Accounting Software

Managing business finances is one of the biggest challenges for every business. Cash flow is the main reason why many businesses close.

Accounting software is the very first software program to get for your business. Programs like Quicken and Wave are good choices to start with.

Managing business expenses and reporting is another issue that small businesses face. It’s hard to keep everything organized and put controls in place.

Out of all of the small business software, a virtual card puts those controls in place. Check out https://bentoforbusiness.com/ to see an example.  

2. Customer Relationship Management Systems

You may have leads, customers, and so much more in your head. It’s hard to keep track of leads, people to contact, and the last conversation you had.

A customer relationship management system is an essential small business software tool. You keep track of all of your contacts.

Add notes from each conversation, create follow-up reminders, and automate email responses.

Some CRM systems track deals. That lets you make sales projections with ease.

3. Marketing Automation Programs

Marketing automation lets you do more in less time and with fewer resources. Marketing automation tools let you schedule social media posts.

Later, Hootsuite, Buffer, and Loomly are the most affordable software for small businesses.

Other marketing automation tools help you write content faster. They use artificial intelligence to write blog posts, emails, headlines, and more.

4. Website Tools

Your business wouldn’t exist without a website. It’s the one piece of your digital marketing strategy that you can’t be without.

Website builder tools like WordPress let you build an attractive, functional website in a few minutes. It’s necessary to learn to code because there are plugins that let you do more with WordPress.

Install security, SEO, and website performance plugins to start with.

5. Communications Software

Your customers expect a high level of service. They want to reach someone through messaging, live chat, phone, and social media.

Install a chatbot on your site to answer questions while you sleep.

Internally, communications tools can help your teams stay on track. Use Slack to keep track of projects and keep your team updated.

Get the Best Software for Small Businesses

What do you need to do more with less? You need the best software for small businesses. The small business software on this list will help you track finances, customers, and communications.

Head over to the home page of this site for more business tips.

Small Business Brief

Retail

7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Retail Worker’s Work Environment


Maureen Conway from the Aspen Institute explains in an article that “The US labor shortage is the deserved outcome of a systemic failure to value workers.” She may be right, but what to do about it if so?

Retail workers need to feel valued in their jobs, especially if their wages and salaries aren’t the best in the grand scheme of things. Yes, you might not be able to pay higher wages, but there are other solutions to bring about happier employees.

In this short guide, let’s take a look at seven different ways you can improve your retail worker’s work environment.

Be Prompt With Scheduling

Good and prompt scheduling can improve retail employee happiness. How? By letting your retail employees know well in advance when they will be working, you allow them to plan their lives much better.

When a worker can plan their lives better, they can start creating a healthy work-life balance. For instance, they’ll know what days they can switch off and relax, take the kids out for a treat, or even go on a vacation.

Incentives and Rewards

Give your employees incentives and rewards to motivate them. If every day seems the same, workers can become bored and are less likely to go the extra mile with customers.

When you give them incentives and rewards, you offer some excitement. You also provide a chance for employees to get a little competitive and show what they’re made of!

Make Use of Technology

Innovative technology can make a retail work environment much more pleasant for staff members. The idea is to try to get technology that alleviates employees from doing boring, repetitive, and strenuous tasks.

Plus, people love mastering and using technology. It can also give employees a new sense of responsibility in the workplace and improve employee retention.

Have One-On-One Meetings

Another way to promote employee retention and better workplace culture is to have a one-on-one meeting with your retail staff. By doing this you make your employees feel valued and show they are not unnoticed in their efforts.

Furthermore, you can develop stronger relationships this way. And you can learn from your staff too.

Develop Open Communication

Good communication is key to most things in life (like marriage). If you develop open communication between retail workers and management, you’ll find people become less stressed.

Every employee at whatever level will face some sort of problem at some point during their time at your company. Make sure they feel free to voice their problems so they can be resolved.

Show Recognition

When employees do well, share it with the team. It will be a great motivator for that individual.

Also, try to give recognition to all staff members individually at some point. This way you can boost your entire team’s morale! Here, you can learn about employee recognition in more detail.

Encourage Regular Feedback

Your retail employees are on the frontline. They will know what customers are saying and thinking about the business.

Make sure you allow them to voice their concerns. Then, you can make changes and improve the work environment for happier employees, and customers.

Value Your Retail Workers

You really have to value your retail workers and their efforts. Money isn’t everything, and if you can’t offer them more, at least make their work environment a place that’s pleasant and rewarding.

For more tips like the ones in the post, go to our blog.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

The Secrets to Building a Growing Brand Idea


Did you know that nearly five and a half million new business applications were filed in 2021 in the United States?

In a year of continued hardship and economic uncertainty, many people decided to pursue their dreams of small business ownership.

If you’re one of these many new entrepreneurs, you probably already have a brand idea in mind. However, did you know that there are specific steps involved in successfully building a brand? How do you know whether you’re on the right track?

Here, we’ve laid out a few key considerations to keep in mind when growing a brand. Keep reading to make sure you have these fundamentals covered in your brand strategy.

Know Who You Are

The first step in building a brand is knowing who your company is and what it stands for. This includes having a keen understanding of the solution that your product or service provides to your customers, but it’s also so much more than that.

These days, consumers expect to connect with the brands they buy from on their values. They want to have a personal relationship with your company, and they use your brand to determine your company’s “personality.”

Does your company value inclusivity at all levels of the business? Do you focus on sustainable production processes? Are you invested in offering the highest-quality product at the lowest possible cost?

Figure out what your company believes in and how this is unique within your field or industry. Build your brand on this foundation.

Consistency Is Key

Once you’ve developed your company’s values, use these to inform the messaging that you share with consumers.

Create a logline, advertising messaging, and online content that supports these values. Figure out the tone that best communicates these values (is your brand casual? friendly? serious?) and imbue that in all your messaging. Choose a logo and brand colors that also support this tone.

After choosing these brand elements, don’t change them! While you may need to do a brand refresh down the line, doing this too soon can create confusion in your customer base. Maintain consistency so that your customers can gain familiarity with who you are as a brand.

Get Your Brand Out There

Now that you have all your brand elements in place, it’s time to share them with your audience!

Update your website and social media profiles with these brand elements. Create a personalized email signature block for all your employees. Ask for partnerships or buy advertising space with other brands so that their customers can see your brand as well.

As important as digital branding is, don’t forget the power of branded products. Apparel, mugs, and other branded swag integrate your company’s branding into the fabric of your customers’ lives. See for yourself how branded swag can be a powerful tool for building a brand.

Take Your Brand Ideas Further

These three considerations are just the beginning of developing your brand idea. Once you have these branding basics down, take it further with your own creative ideas. Your customers will love your uniqueness, and you’ll stand out from your competition!

Looking for more advice on building your startup? Check out the other articles on our site!

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Restaurant

8 Actionable Strategies for Improving Restaurant Operations


It is estimated that around 60% of restaurants will fail within their first year. By the fifth year, 80% of new businesses in the industry will have closed. So how can you ensure your eaterie does not become another statistic?

Luckily, there are several small tips you can perform to get big results. Read on as we give 8 action steps to take to improve your restaurant operations. 

1. Streamline Your Menu

Cutting back your menu allows you to concentrate on delivering dishes of a higher quality. When you have fewer options to prepare, you can concentrate on getting quality ingredients and serving them correctly. If your menu is curated right you can even cut back on costs, buying local and seasonal ingredients. 

This does not have to mean you conduct a large cull or make huge changes. Instead, make sure you keep the favorites and have an option for vegetarians and vegans. Try to limit it to one page containing starters, mains, and desserts. 

Make sure you also curate your delivery menu. Some items do not travel well and may result in negative reviews on delivery applications and review sites. 

2. Create Systems

When you have structured systems in place, running a restaurant becomes much easier. If people don’t know what or how to perform a task, they will improvise it. This can lead to miscommunication and problem solving later down the line. 

Kitchens, ordering, deliveries, and customer service can all have processes added. This ensures they are dealt with and managed correctly. Even daily tasks can be made easier in this way. 

3. Keep Staff Trained

Another way to improve restaurant operations is to invest in your staff. If you keep them trained it works on two levels. First of all, your staff will know how to operate and manage the processes and procedures in the building. 

After this, correct training makes people feel empowered. They will feel valued in your workplace. When you are working in a high turnaround industry such as hospitality, this can help and improve staff retention. 

4. Reduce Food Waste

Even the most well-managed restaurant can’t cut down on food waste entirely. Ordering, preparation, and even the food on people’s plates will produce some waste. Yet one of the best restaurant business tips is that you should aim to cut down on it as much as possible. 

Food waste is not only environmentally unfriendly but costs you money. Start by getting the system for your inventory and ordering correct so you are not letting ingredients go out of date or spoil before being used. 

Follow this up by checking portion sizes. If there are lots of ingredients left on customer plates, you may be able to cut down on their use. Some may be omitted entirely. 

Finally, create food cards. These should contain the costs of each ingredient and meal, then the profit you make on it. You can look to see which are the most profitable items and which are not making the revenue you need. 

5. Optimize Staff Schedules

Improving restaurant efficiency through its scheduling has several advantages. The main one is that it helps reduce staff turnover. You can’t expect your staff to work at peak efficiency if they have not been well-rested or are exhausted. 

This also cuts back on understaffing which can seriously hamper your service. The only alternative is to hire from an agency, but this then creates a transient workforce that is not conducive to building a community. 

You will also help keep staff payroll in check as you can monitor hours worked. It will also help comply with labor laws regarding how ad when working hours can be conducted.

6. Provide and Get Staff Feedback

Providing staff feedback increases morale. This will ensure you have better retention of staff and increase productivity. Have a clear system for providing feedback, being positive but always including constructive tips on how to improve. 

Feedback sessions can be set up either monthly or quarterly. Make sure you follow up on them to see what improvements have been made and if it has had an impact. 

In turn, you should also listen to feedback from your staff. They are the ones who are deep in the process, whether in front of the house or working in the kitchen. This puts them in the best places to get customer opinions and see how things can be improved, so don’t forget to ask them for their input. 

7. Give Your Workforce the Right Tools

There are certain elements you can not change when managing the finances of your business. The tools your staff need for running a restaurant will always be a cost factor. Yet choosing the right equipment carefully can bring a huge return on investment. 

Ask them what you could buy to make the processes easier. It could be extra industrial dishwashers or points of sale. 

8. Listen to Customers

The greatest method you can use to improve restaurant operations is by looking at customer feedback. If you don’t, then a lack of customers is going to prove a problem. You should also understand that retaining customers is just as important as attracting new ones. 

With online reviews and feedback, it is easier than ever to see where problems are occurring. Always reply to customers professionally for both positive and negative reviews. 

Improving Restaurant Operations

These tips to improve restaurant operations are all easy to implement. Plan to introduce them over the coming months, allocating time and a budget. The benefits and the return on investment will become apparent extremely quickly. 

This article is one of many helpful business guides to maximize your profit. From finance to marketing, we can assist in all aspects of business in the coming year. 

Small Business Brief

Auto Dealership

How to Be a Mechanic: 3 Crucial Steps


Everybody wants a big-name career; doctors, lawyers, businessmen. But most people often forget the litany of support roles that prop these kinds of people up.

Doctors have nurses, lawyers have legal aides and interns, and businessmen have the entire staff of the business. However, some jobs support all of these people as well as their businesses. Those are people like plumbers and mechanics.

Surprisingly, there are few prerequisites to becoming a mechanic specifically. Here are three major tips on how to be a mechanic, and see how you can start making money today.

1. Get a Well-Rounded Education

Although you don’t necessarily need a degree to become a mechanic, it does help to have a well-rounded education

Firstly, you should have at the very least a high school diploma as well as a vocational school or technical program certification to become a mechanic. 

Most vocational training programs offer basic classes such as Automotive Electrical Fundamentals, Intro to Automotive Technology, Diesel Service techniques, etc.

2. Get the Skills Needed

In the mechanic career, there are many other skills you need to possess to handle the job effectively and not all of them are academic. You need some physical traits as well.

Mechanics often have to be on their feet for long hours, have to fit into tight or awkward spaces, and have to lift heavy objects. It’s beneficial for prospective mechanics to have traits that can help them in these situations.

Walk and exercise regularly with strength exercises to mitigate the long hours on your feet as well as being able to lift heavy objects. You can also improve your hand steadiness and hand-eye coordination to help you.

3. Get Licensed & Find the Right Shop 

To become licensed to operate as being a mechanic, there are several exams that you must take. Each state has its local qualifications and exams. You can research what you need to do in your state on the occupational license database. 

you can find quality companies to work with such as Kahn Mechanical that will also help get these certifications. There are other certifications that you can pursue to not only increase your pay but also heighten your prestige in the industry.

This can include a refrigerant license, as handling refrigerant is dangerous. There are also manufacturer-specific specializations and certifications. These are given to mechanics from automotive companies who demonstrate they are company-promoted mechanics for their cars.

How To Be a Mechanic

Learning how to be a mechanic is easier than most jobs, but it doesn’t mean it will just come to you overnight. You have to put in the work before you can start blessing people’s cars.

Although your friends might all want a big career, you should take the more sure route. Before you know it, your doctor, lawyer, and manager friends will all come to you so you can fix their cars. Become the mechanic you need to be today.

For other interesting and informative articles on how to improve your career, be sure to browse our blog for more.

Small Business Brief

Restaurant

Opening a Restaurant Checklist: What You Need to Start One


America’s food industry is one of the largest worldwide, with revenues of $898 billion expected in 2022. It’s no wonder the sector attracts so many new entrepreneurs. 

If you’ve been looking to enter the food sector, you may want to consider starting a restaurant. These establishments can be lucrative sources of income, hence their proliferation across the country. Today, roughly 149,338 single-location full-service restaurants exist in America.

But, how do you open a new restaurant? If that’s your question, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a full restaurant checklist to help ensure you’ve missed nothing come opening day.

Decide on a Suitable Restaurant Concept

The first step in starting a restaurant business is to come up with a concept. This will be the foundation of your restaurant and will dictate everything from the menu to the decor.

When coming up with a concept, it is important to consider your target audience, what kind of experience you want them to have, and what makes your restaurant unique.

Draw an Actionable Business Plan

After you have settled on a concept, the next step is to create a business plan. This document will outline your restaurant’s goals, strategies, and financial projections.

A well-crafted business plan is essential for any successful restaurant. It will help you secure funding, attract investors, and make sure that your business is on track to meet its goals.

Pick a Great Location

Choosing the right location for your restaurant is crucial. Your restaurant’s concept will determine what kind of location you need. For example, a fine-dining restaurant will require a different type of location than a fast-food restaurant. Generally, the location should be accessible, visible, and in a safe area.

Once you have found a few potential locations, it is important to visit them in person to get a feel for the space and see if it is a good fit for your restaurant.

Sort Out Licenses and Insurance

You can’t open a restaurant without the proper licenses and permits. The type of license you need will vary depending on your restaurant’s concept, location, and menu.

Some common licenses and permits that all restaurants need include a business license, a food handler’s permit, and a liquor license. You will also need to obtain any required building permits before you can start construction on your restaurant.

You will need to have liability insurance in case of any accidents or injuries that occur on your property. You should also consider getting property insurance, as well as product liability insurance if you will be serving alcohol.

You can find out how to get your restaurant insurance through a reputable insurance company.

Get Your Finances in Order

Opening a restaurant is a costly endeavor. You will need to secure funding to cover the cost of rent, construction, licenses and permits, equipment, inventory, and staff.

There are a few different ways to finance your restaurant. You can use your own savings, take out a loan, or seek investors.

If you are using your own savings, it is important to have a solid financial plan in place. This will help you avoid going into debt and ensure that you have enough money to keep your restaurant afloat during the early months when business may be slow.

If you are taking out a loan, it is important to shop around for the best interest rate and terms. You should also make sure that you can comfortably make the monthly payments.

Outfit Your Restaurant

The next step is to outfit your establishment with the necessary furniture, fixtures, and equipment (FF&E). This includes everything from tables and chairs to kitchen appliances and dishware.

When choosing FF&E for your restaurant, it is important to consider the style of your restaurant, your budget, and the functionality of the items. For example, you will need to decide whether you want tablecloths or not, and if so, what color and material they should be.

It is also important to make sure that your restaurant meets all the necessary health and safety regulations. This includes having adequate ventilation, lighting, and storage for food and supplies.

Create a Superb Menu

Creating a menu that appeals to your target audience is essential to the success of your restaurant. Your menu should be reflective of your restaurant’s concept and offer a variety of items that will appeal to your customers.

It is also important to consider the cost of ingredients and the price you will charge for each dish. You want to make sure that your menu is affordable for your customers but also profitable for your business.

Offering a variety of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options will help you appeal to a wider range of customers.

Recruit Restaurant Staff

One of the most important aspects of opening a restaurant is hiring qualified staff. This includes everything from servers and cooks to dishwashers and bussers. You will need to carefully screen all potential employees and conduct interviews to find the best candidates.

It is also important to provide training for your staff on the menu, restaurant procedures, and customer service.

You should also create a schedule that ensures that your restaurant is properly staffed during all shifts. Creating a positive and productive work environment will help you retain good employees and keep your restaurant running smoothly.

Establish Strong Vendor Relationships

In order to run a successful restaurant, you will need to establish relationships with vendors. This includes everything from food suppliers to equipment providers.

It is important to find vendors that offer quality products at a fair price. You should also make sure that they can provide reliable delivery and service.

Market Your Restaurant 

Now that you have all the necessary components in place, it is time to start thinking about branding. This includes everything from the restaurant’s name and logo to the overall design and ambiance.

Your restaurant’s branding should reflect its concept and target audience. It should be unique and memorable, and it should help you stand out from the competition.

Start Strong By Following a Comprehensive Restaurant Checklist

With the right planning and preparation, opening a restaurant can be a fun and rewarding experience. Follow this restaurant checklist, and you’ll be sure that your business is ready for success and ultimately go on to build restaurant chains.

Did you enjoy reading this article? Keep visiting our blog for more exciting content.

Small Business Brief

Marketing, Search

Everything You Need to Know About Enterprise SEO


According to some research, 50% of web traffic comes from organic searches. Many marketers use SEO strategies, but are you using enterprise SEO?

What is this type of SEO, and what enterprise SEO tactics can you use to get more traffic to your website?

Keep reading to learn all you need to know about how to use this type of SEO.

What Is Enterprise SEO?

Enterprise SEO is a large-scale and strategic approach to improving search engine optimization. This solution will align with your company’s goals and find a way to fit them into a border market.

It will also help to build your brand’s reputation and maximize how many more customers trust you. It will also give you more marketing opportunities since you’ll have such a larger scale. 

Differences Between Normal and Enterprise SEO

When you’re looking at analytics for enterprise SEO, you’ll notice that scaling is one of the largest differences between enterprise and normal SEO. 

If you have a small website, you only need to optimize a few pages. However, a larger website has thousands of pages that you’ll need to scale. If you don’t scale it, you’re not going to make much of a difference in the organic traffic on your site. 

To help with this, you’ll likely want to use internal linking. But with a smaller site, you’ll only have a few pages to link to. This won’t make much of a difference in your overall traffic.

The Benefit of Enterprise SEO

One of the main benefits of using this type of SEO is that it will get your brand in front of more searchers, regardless of where they are at in the customer journey. This means that your company will feel more familiar and trusted. 

Many people will want to focus on driving traffic to pages that will really help produce leads or sales. However, the other portions of the website are just as important because they will boost your online reputation. 

Enterprise Strategies

One strategy you can try for your enterprise is to keep your content up to date. This means that you might need to refresh it to stay on top of industry trends and standards.

However, you may not want to delete the old content if it has a lot of backlinks and high page authority. This is where you can refresh the content and add secondary keywords to the pages. 

When using this strategy, make sure that you also do your keyword research. Sometimes it can feel like you’re using the same keywords over and over since you have so many pages, which is why it’s important to also find secondary keywords to rank for.

Learn More About Enterprise SEO

These are only a few things to know about enterprise SEO, but there are many more factors to consider before you can implement this practice.

SEO updates are always changing, and it can be difficult to keep up with them. That’s why you should explore our website to find even more SEO tips to help you out. 

Small Business Brief

Accounting

How Much Money Does It Take To Create a Company?


Over 600,000 new businesses are created each year.

Starting a new business provides a way to make money without depending on an employer. It also opens up opportunities to work hard to make as much money as possible.

But starting a new business isn’t free. It requires an investment, and you’ll need a way to generate enough cash to pay for the startup costs. So how much does it cost to create a company?

If you’re wondering how much cash you’ll need, keep reading. This article describes the typical startup costs people must pay when starting new businesses. 

Business Location Expenses

Starting a new company requires an investment in the location. For example, you may need to rent office space to start your company, or maybe you need warehouse or storage space.

You’ll have some upfront costs for the rent or down payment required for the purchase. You might also have to pay for the utilities and insurance you need for this new business space. 

Some new business owners save money by operating out of their homes when first starting. If you can run it out of your house, it could help you reduce the startup costs. 

Legal Costs

Starting a new company also requires some legal expenses.

First, you’ll need to choose the right business structure when you start a company. For example, do you want to use a sole proprietorship or limited liability company? Perhaps you prefer incorporating the business. 

If you choose to incorporate, you should research the best state to incorporate in before determining your location. 

Additionally, you might need a lawyer’s services to help you create contracts or hire employees. Most small businesses will need some advice from a lawyer. 

Inventory and Supplies

You’ll also likely need to spend some money on inventory, supplies, equipment, and furniture when you start a business. For example, do you need an office desk? If so, you’ll need to invest in that. 

You might also need a computer, printer, and other office supplies for your business. Additionally, you might need inventory for it. 

Most small businesses spend less than $10,000 when starting, but your amount depends on your business nature and needs. 

Marketing Costs

One last area to consider is the marketing costs for your new business. Your marketing efforts help people find your business. As a result, these activities are vital for your company’s success.

You might want to handle these activities yourself to save some money. But if you’re uncertain about how to market your new business, you could invest in your company by hiring a marketing firm. 

Are You Ready to Create a Company?

If you’re ready to create a company, this article might give you an idea about the expenses you might encounter. While starting a company costs money, it also provides a way to control your future. 

Did you enjoy this article? If so, check out the rest of our site for more articles you might like.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Technology & Software

5 Questions to Ask Before You Hire a Web Developer


About 40% of people will stop engaging with a slow website. Poor user experiences drive 50% of consumers to choose competing brands, too. If there are issues with your site, hire a web developer right away.

With their experience and expertise, you can improve your site with your target audience in mind.

Not sure how to hire a good web developer you can trust? Ask these five questions during your search. Then, you can find the best web developer around.

Get started by asking these questions today!

1. How Long Have You Worked in the Industry?

Before you hire a web developer, it’s important to find someone with years of experience in the industry. Determine how long each professional has worked in web development. Ask how many clients they’ve helped in that time, too.

Try to find someone with experience relevant to your needs. For example, you might want to hire someone who worked for a business like yours in the past.

Maybe you want to find a web developer with eCommerce website experience. 

Finding someone with relevant experience and expertise can help you feel confident in their abilities. 

2. What Services Do You Offer?

When learning how to hire a good web developer, make sure to consider your specific needs. Otherwise, you might find they don’t offer the services you need for your site.

Nearly 90% of consumers won’t return to a site after a bad user experience. Determine if the developer offers UX design and development services.

Most users prefer accessing the internet with their mobile devices. Make sure the developer can mobile-optimize your site, too. 

Otherwise, you might want to make sure they offer java development services as well.

3. Can I See Your Portfolio?

When determining what to ask a web developer, you’ll want to find proof that they’re the best person to work on your site. Review their portfolio. Make sure their website development work meets your expectations.

If you’re not impressed, keep searching.

4. Can You Provide Reviews?

Ask each web developer for references and reviews. Speak with three of their recent clients. Make sure each client was satisfied with the services they received.

Try to find a web developer who has a strong reputation. They’ll work harder to maintain the reputation they’ve earned over time. 

5. How Much Will It Cost?

Ask three different web developers for an itemized list of their services or an overall estimate. Gathering more than one quote can help you compare your options. If someone’s pricing is higher than another’s, determine why that is.

For example, you might pay more if you hire a more experienced web developer.

Don’t hire the cheapest developer you find. Instead, choose someone who can accomplish your goals. 

Best in the Business: Hire a Web Developer Today

Learning how to hire a web developer doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, use these tips to find the best developer around. Using these tips will ensure you find someone who can meet your needs and expectations.

Then, they can improve your website with your goals in mind.

Searching for more tips? You’re in the right place.

Explore our latest articles for more advice today. 

Small Business Brief

Investing

Investing in Precious Metals: A Quick Introduction


Did you know that more than 10 percent of people in the United States of America own gold? Investing in precious metals is one of the most effective approaches to diversifying your investment portfolio and growing your wealth. There are many different options for you to make investments beyond gold, with silver and platinum also great for precious metal investing.

If you’re looking to make a good investment that will protect you from economic downturns and inflation then you need to learn more about what it takes to buy gold and silver. The good news is that you’re in the perfect place to learn all of the basics that you need in order to start investing in precious metals.

Keep reading this article to learn more today!

What Are Precious Metals?

When people mention precious metal investing, the first type of metal that comes to mind is always gold. Choosing to buy gold is a great investment because it has held significant worth ever since it was first discovered. Gold and other precious metals are more than just metals, they’re commodities.

These commodities make for great investments because they aren’t tied to the economy or the stock market. If you plan on investing then you want to get commodities that will hold their value even if the economy goes through some hard times. Here are 24 Interesting Facts about gold where you can learn more.

There are certain precious metals that you should put an emphasis on investing in. Gold is the most popular, and one of the most expensive. An ounce of pure gold was selling for $1,700 per ounce in 2021, which means that you should expect to spend some money when pursuing precious metal investing.

Silver is another wonderful option if you’re looking to diversify your investment portfolio. It is much more affordable than choosing to invest in gold, with pure silver costing around $27 per ounce. Silver is great because it has value and a lot of practical uses as well.

You can use silver for photography, dental alloys, as well as batteries. You’ll definitely get your money’s worth when you choose to invest in precious metals like silver.

Platinum is another great option if you’re looking to invest in precious metals. It is expensive due to the limited supply of this metal, but it sells for around $1,600 per ounce. If you want to invest in something besides gold then you can’t go wrong with getting platinum.

Ways to Invest in Precious Metals

There are a number of routes that you can take when you decide that the time has come to buy gold and other precious metals. Knowing your options will help you find the right course for your portfolio and personal finances.

Bullion

Investing in bullion means that you’re purchasing the physical metal of your choice to add to your portfolio. Buying gold bars is a perfect example of investing in bullion when it comes to precious metal investing.

One of the pros of investing in bullion is that you own a physical asset that has a ton of value. You can hold that asset in your hand or keep it in your possession, which has a certain sense of security to it. It is also easy to transfer if the need ever arises since it is a physical asset that has tangible value.

The one major downside to consider when it comes to buying bullion is the space that you’ll need in order to store it. You either need to create a secure space at your home where you can store your bullion or you need to find a trusted and reputable third party to help you store it.

Exchange-Traded Funds

Another option at your disposal if you decide that you want to invest in precious metals is exchange-traded funds. This option is like investing in a mutual fund. There are ETFs that offer you gold, silver, and platinum.

Going this route brings a lot of positives in your direction. These ETFs are quite easy to buy or sell depending on your plans for your wealth. They’re also liquid assets, so they’re great if you need to trade them out for cash in a hurry. Best of all, you can invest any amount of your money into getting exchange-traded funds.

The biggest downside to getting exchange-traded funds is the fact that you have no physical representation for the value. You can’t hold it, which means that it isn’t a tangible asset.

You also run the risk that the company that you got the ETF through goes out of business. If that happens then you’re out whatever amount of money you’ve invested.

IRAs

IRAs are a bit outside of the box when it comes to investing in precious metals, but they’re quite versatile and a great option for maintaining your wealth. You can pull your money out of your retirement fund to put towards real estate, precious metals, as well as private equity.

The biggest benefit that you’ll gain from investing in precious metals through an IRA is the tax benefits. You can defer your taxes on your precious metal investments thanks to your IRA. You also have a ton of different options where you can make investments and grow your wealth even more

You’ll need to be aware that there are fees that will add up when you have an IRA, and the money that you’re investing could get tied up until after you retire. You also run a higher risk of losing money if you’re running a self-directed IRA when you buy gold and make investments.

Start Investing in Precious Metals Today

Investing in precious metals is a great way to protect your wealth when the economy starts going through a hard time. People buy gold because it is immune to inflation and it is independent of the stock market. Consider investing in precious metals through bullion, IRAs, and ETFs for the best results.

For more helpful and exciting articles like this one, make sure you check out the rest of our blog.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Energy

8 Important Eco Friendly Tips for Businesses


The cost of carbon is increasing and for many businesses, carbon is their biggest liability. If your business manages its carbon exposure today, then you’ll still have time to begin reducing these risks. Not only do you want to save your company money, but you also want to make a difference in the environment. 

To do both of these things, you’ll need to know several eco-friendly tips for businesses. Switching to a green business is the first step towards caring for the planet. As a small or large business, making the small switch to a more environmentally friendly approach leaves a big impact on the planet. 

In this guide, you’ll find several ways you can begin making the switch to a greener business today. Continue reading below to get the process started!

1. Encourage Car-Less Commutes

If you’re still in the process of finding a location for your business, then consider finding a location close to transit options. If your employees can easily walk, bike, or take public transportation to work, then they’ll be more inclined to do so. Always encourage car-less commutes to reduce your carbon footprint. 

Gather a team of employees to come together and create a carpooling schedule. Offer your employees some type of reward or incentive for carpooling. For example, each time an employee carpools 10 times, they earn a small bonus. 

2. Enforce the BYOC Rule

Do you have a coffee and water station set up in the snack or break room? Coffee and water are beneficial for the employees to have access to and maintain productivity levels. However, using multiple paper cups for water and coffee needs adds up fast. 

There’s no better time than now to enforce the BYOC (Bring Your Own Cup) rule with your employees. Encourage all employees to bring their own coffee cups and thermoses. This will not only reduce the number of paper products your business uses, but it also saves you money by not having to purchase these products. 

3. Install Paperless Handwashing Stations

Another great way to reduce your paper use is to install paperless handwashing stations. Rather than providing paper hand towels in the bathrooms and other sinks, install air hand dryers. You can install two or more of these dryers to prevent lines from forming. 

You can also install hand sanitizer stations around your business so employees and customers can easily sanitize their hands without the need for paper towels. Consider placing hand sanitizing stations near each entrance of your business as well to keep germs inside the building at a minimum. 

4. Conduct Regular Leak Inspections

Throughout the year, it’s ideal to conduct regular leak inspections in your building. At times, there might even be a leak you’re unaware of. A leak doesn’t have to be significant in order for it to have a significant effect on your utility bill and the environment. 

Hire a professional to conduct professional inspections of your entire building. Any leaks found, even the smallest ones, should be repaired as soon as possible. 

5. Invest in Solar Panels 

Have you considered the benefits of switching to solar panels? Let’s have a look at the benefits of solar panels and the best commercial roofs to install them on. For starters, solar panels don’t emit greenhouse gases and are pollution-free. 

The power given to you by your solar panels is renewable and clean. Even on cloudy days, you’ll still receive solar power. There’s also an ROI (return on investment) for solar panels, which you don’t receive when paying for electricity. 

The best types of commercial roofing for solar panels are composite roofs, metal roofs, and tile roofs. Solar panels are possible on all other types of roofs as well, but the installation process requires a bit more work. 

6. Recycle Electronics and More

When a computer crashes and is unrepairable, what do you do with it? When the copy machine stops working and the repairman is unable to correct the issue, where does it go? If you’re not already doing so, then now is the time to start recycling electronics and more!

Whenever you’re ready to replace certain electronics, donate working ones to schools and other charities. Then, speak with recycling specialists about where to recycle electronic parts. You can also place recycling bins throughout your business for employees to make use of. 

7. Find Sustainable Partners

If you want to make a positive impact on the environment, then you need to partner up with like-minded individuals and businesses. When you work with other companies and organizations that also want to reduce their carbon footprint, you’ll yield greater results. 

Everyone can come together and brainstorm different ideas. This is also a great networking opportunity for your business as well. 

8. Consider Reusable Office Supplies

How many pens does your business throw away on a weekly basis? Could you save your business money and help the environment by supplying reusable pens? Of course!

How else can you reduce the amount of plastic and paper products that your business sends to the landfill? Stop using sticky notes and start investing in dry-erase boards. You can also use tablets, smart screens, and notebooks to take notes electronically. 

It may take a few years to make a complete transition, but start small and make small changes throughout the year. 

Know Some Eco-Friendly Tips All Businesses Could Benefit From

Making a full transition to an eco-friendly business won’t happen overnight. With the best eco-friendly tips, your business can make a full transition in an ideal amount of time. Remember, offer better commute options, enforce BYOC rules, reduce paper and plastic use, invest in solar panels, inspect for leaks, recycle more often, and find partners in like-minded corporations.

Are you interested in more business and corporation topics? Check back here often for more posts!

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Technology & Software

5 Things to Look For When Choosing the Best NetSuite Support for You


Trying to run a bustiness without the right tech support that you need can be the difference between a successful business or one that fails. In fact, every business needs the right support.

So what does that look like? What do you truly need to know before choosing the right support for you? Well, let’s look into the top things to look for when looking at netSuite Support for your business!

1. Size of the NetSuite Partners

When looking for the right support for your business, you want to make sure they have enough experience. But you also want to make sure that the company is small enough to care about your business individually.

This means you should take the time to look at the size of the company. You may even want to look into a netsuite support replacement.

2. Understand All of the Services They Offer

Some companies offer just a few services, while others offer more than you’ll ever need (or maybe you will eventually need them!). Looking at these details from the get-go can help you decide which netSuite partner to choose.

For instance, they may offer support, implementation, commerce, licensing, customization, or others. Knowing what type of netSuite software and services you need is important for your search.

3. Look at the Industry

When looking for the right netSuite support partner, you must make sure that they cover the industry you are in.

You want to make sure that your website and company is fully integrated in the way your specific niche needs to be. Fashion industries’ support systems are going to look different from the food service industry or the non-profit sector.

4. The Ability to Provide Long-term Support

As a business, it can be easy to hope that you only need support once and the rest you can figure out from there. But most of the time, it doesn’t work that way.

Because of that, you want a netSuite partner that is there through it all. You want them to be invested in your success and the software implementation.

5. Be on the Same Page With Goals

As a business, you are bound to have a few (or a lot) of goals. Before hiring a netSuite support partner, you need to discuss these with them.

You should be on the same page before getting started. By doing this at the start, you’ll avoid any awkward conversations or difficult scenarios months down the road.

Look For These Five Things When Choosing NetSuite Support

Choosing the right netSuite support company can make your business that much more successful. By looking at these five things, you’ll end up with the best netSuite parter for you.

Did you enjoy learning about how to find netSuite partners and what criterion you want to look out for? Be sure to check out some of our other articles to learn even more!

Small Business Brief

Marketing

Unique Needs of Franchise Marketing


There are about 300 industries that have franchising opportunities. Franchises make up about 11% of all businesses in the United States.

It’s an appealing model to start a small business because you have a proven business model that works.

Where you might run into problems is in franchise marketing. If you compare franchise vs. small business marketing, you’ll find that there are a lot of differences.

How is franchise marketing unique? Keep reading to find out.

Local vs. Corporate Strategy

There’s a push-pull dynamic between franchisors and franchisees. Franchisors want to appeal to a broad, national audience. Franchisees want to appeal to a local audience.

These needs require different franchise marketing strategies. For instance, there might be a corporate Facebook account and accounts for each individual franchise.

Different Audiences

Along with the corporate and local franchise marketing strategies, you have different audiences. No one understands the needs of the local audience like you do.

Finding ways to within the guidelines and reach the local audience can be challenging for the best marketing teams.

One of the differences between franchise vs. small business marketing is that there are two very different audiences.

With small business marketing, you work to reach the end-user, or customer.

Franchise marketing has two distinct audiences. The corporate office wants more franchisees to grow the business and the brand. They also want to reach consumers to visit franchise locations.

These audiences have different demographics, incomes, and needs. Franchise marketing has to appeal to both audiences.

Multiple Locations

You’re not the only franchise in town. People are going to look up the franchise name online. How can you be sure that your location appears in search results?

That’s a problem that franchise marketing solves. You’ll need to make sure that your listings are accurate and each franchisee has an opportunity to get found in search results.

Consistent Branding

The reason why franchising is so valuable is that you’re getting a well-known brand. It’s up to the franchisor to establish strict brand usage guidelines.

Franchisees have to abide by these guidelines in every aspect of marketing. Failure to comply dilutes the brand.

It leads to consumer confusion and a reduction in sales. Every piece of marketing from corporate on down to the smallest franchisee has to be consistent.

Using the Right Media Channels

As a franchisee, you know your audience. Do you know the right marketing channels to reach them?

You could rely on content marketing, but you need to decide which website to post the content on. Email marketing is effective as long as you can build a list locally.

Social media is just as effective. The corporate office can use LinkedIn to appeal to potential franchisees, while other locations can use Instagram and Facebook to appeal to local audiences.

Get Your Franchise Marketing Strategies Down

How is franchise marketing unique? You need to consider multiple audiences and locations while maintaining brand consistency.

If you enjoyed learning about the ins and outs of franchise marketing, you’ll find the other articles on the blog to be helpful. Check them out today!

Small Business Brief

Food Business

Local Grocery Store Advice: 4 Ways to Increase Traffic to the Meat Counter


Food for thought: what if a meat counter uses means aside from meat itself to attract consumers?

It seems odd that a product, that a food, which struts simple, transparent packaging, needs more than its juicy deliciousness to sell itself.

But, a meat product benefits from a strategic marketing plan, as with any other good or service. We can accomplish this in 4 ways.

1. Catch Someone’s Eye

This becomes the first step in our meat marketing plan since we need someone to notice something before they can even decide on anything. 

We want a deli meat counter display to follow these basic tips:

  • Stay clean/neat
  • Create a fronted display
  • Emphasize name brands (then promote other lesser-known ones)

The first point ensures sanitation, improves trustworthiness/credibility, and allows a consumer to easily navigate shelve space. It also helps improve readability, segueing into the next point.

A fronted display makes products pop, adds a professional touch, and informs the consumer which meat products they can buy. A store often fronts any and all name brands. It may also help promote lesser-known ones that further establish trust and credibility to consumers.

2. “Customer Service, How May I Help You?”

We should always incorporate friendly, professional customer service in every plan, whether that be a frozen meat marketing plan or a regular meat marketing plan. 

People often seek guidance for what to spend on and how much to spend, especially if in-person. They may inquire about the various meats in meat case dividers or how to properly prepare certain meats.

An appealing display helps attract consumers, while quality customer service helps keep them.

3. “Tell Us What Makes You a Great Fit”

Today, the media, health officials, our peers, all bombard us with “the best” meat product(s) for our wellbeing. As such, we should know what goes into our meat. 

Antibiotic-free? Tell us!

No added hormones? Preach it!

Grass-fed? Organic? Bring it on!

Use packaging to let everyone know what exactly goes into their meat.

4. Cater to a Wide Audience

People’s tastes differ across the board, so we must do what we can to accommodate such diversity. 

Some like marinated meat, others prefer it plain. 

Some people have large families (or appetites) and desire larger (i.e., 1 lb vs. 5 lbs of meat) or more ( i.e., package of 4 slabs vs. 10 slabs of meat) portions. 

Offer various packaging sizes/models plus kinds of meat to expand, then maintain a customer base.

What’s in a Meat Counter?

A meat counter entails more than the meat it sells. It includes a comprehensive marketing strategy that encompasses different elements and different people. 

Consumer preferences matter because they help optimize sales, attention, and a store’s overall reach. We can maintain such a solid foundation because we’ve created a dynamic strategy that evolves alongside the consumer. 

Did you like this article? Check out the other articles on our site to read more exciting content!

Small Business Brief

Marketing

The 5 Top Reasons for Using Scent Marketing to Promote Your Business


Have you ever noticed an amazing smell only to discover that it was coming from a nearby shop or restaurant? Could you resist going inside?

Despite rumors to the contrary, humans have an amazing sense of smell. Because of this, scent marketing is becoming incredibly popular and is doing a great job of helping promote businesses.

Here are the 5 top benefits of scent marketing that you should know about.

1. Bring More Customers In

If someone is walking by your business, a great smell can attract them and convince them to come inside. The smell of coffee and a cinnamon roll, for example, are two enticing scents that people will take notice of.

If you have a great scent that customers can smell in front of your business premises, they may end up coming inside to check out your products, even if they would have passed it by otherwise.

2. Keep Customers Around

Not only will great scents bring someone into a store in the first place, but they can also influence them once they’re inside. If your business has a great, comforting scent, then people will be more likely to want to stay inside your business for a longer period of time.

More time spent in your store also means more purchases, since customers will browse for longer. They’ll have more time to discover something that they like.

3. Create a Great Customer Experience

Scent marketing ideas can also improve the customer experience. Refreshing scents boost the mood of your customers and can help promote relaxation. 

Customers will end up associating these good feelings with your business. This will improve their overall perception of your brand and will make them more positive towards it and more willing to come back.

If you want to start experiencing this benefit, you may want to start using Aromatech scent machines.

4. Reduce the Impact of Bad Scents

Most business premises will already have certain scents that they don’t have control over. The smells of your building or your products could be unpleasant, and if they are, they may be scaring people away.

Being more conscious of the scents that you have on business premises can be well worthwhile. Utilizing scent marketing can allow you to have more control over your business’ atmosphere and can help ensure that bad smells aren’t causing problems.

5. Boost Staff Productivity

Great scents won’t just affect the moods of your customers. They can also affect your staff as well.

Your team will be more productive when your workplace smells good. They’ll be happier at work, will provide better customer service, and will be more productive. This can benefit your business in a lot of ways.

Understanding the Advantages of Scent Marketing

If you’re not sure whether you should use scent marketing for business, be sure that you consider the above benefits carefully. Scent marketing can not only pull customers into your business but can also increase sales and boost staff productivity. 

Searching for more useful marketing advice? Browse our blog now to find more tips for businesses.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

How to Find the Best Content Marketing Agency for Your Software Company


Did you know the content marketing industry is expected to grow by over USD 417 billion between 2020-2025? There is clearly plenty of demand for these services, and if you run a business you may already be thinking of hiring content marketing services.

But, how can you find the best content marketing agency for your company? There are so many options that it can be challenging to know where to begin. The good news is you can look for several key factors that set the finest content marketing firms apart from their rivals. 

Let’s dive in and learn more about hiring a content marketing company.

Experience and Expertise

It’s important to work with an experienced content marketing company that has expertise in your sector. For example, high-quality SAAS content marketing agencies will know the most effective strategies to increase your business’s brand awareness if you work in the SAAS industry.

In contrast, firms that focus on other sectors may not have the knowledge required to help your business become more visible in the SAAS space. By working with the right company, you can supercharge your content advertising results and enjoy an excellent return on investment. 

Reputation

It can give you peace of mind to hire a content marketing agency that has a solid reputation. You can find out if this is the case by reading online reviews, and by asking the business if they have a list of verified customer testimonials. These client comments could confirm a company comes up with innovative ideas, or that they always put the needs of their customers first.

But, if there are many negative reviews, you can then cross that agency off your list.

Communication Skills

One of the most overlooked content marketing tips is to only work with an agency that has terrific communication skills. For example, they should be able to clearly outline their marketing plan in layman’s terms. In addition, the agency should provide you with regular updates as to the progress of your campaigns.

If a firm is slow to reply to emails before they have your business, this could be a warning sign you should look for another content marketing partner. 

Value for Money

As a savvy business owner, you won’t want to hire an expensive content marketing service provider. But, you may also not want to choose the cheapest business either. It’s good practice to ask for quotes from at least three agencies and compare their prices and services. You should also ask if a business offers discounts, and try to negotiate a better rate. 

This could help you reduce your costs and get better value for money. 

Hire Your Ideal Content Marketing Agency

Hiring a content marketing agency can transform your business, but you need to ensure you only work with a high-caliber firm. It can help to ask about a business’s content marketing experience and ensure they have excellent communication skills. You should also look for reviews from current and past clients, and confirm they offer a reasonable pricing structure.

You could soon be enjoying the benefits of working with a top-class content marketing company!

For more helpful hints and tips, be sure to check out more great posts in our Marketing category before you go.

Small Business Brief

Construction

The Best Contractor Management Software Every GC Needs


Did you know that 1.2 million residential housing projects get planned each year in the United States of America? Working as a general contractor is no easy task, and failure to use the right tools that you have at your disposal only makes your job more difficult. Contractor management software is one of the most beneficial tools that any contractor can add to their toolbox.

Working with the best construction software makes it much easier to keep all of your subcontractors on schedule. It allows you to check off each step of building a new home. Failure to use construction project management software could lead to a nightmare of a building project.

The good news is that you’re in the right place to learn all about your best options for construction software in 2022. Keep reading to learn all about the construction software companies to check out for your software needs today!

JobProgress

JobProgress offers you everything that you’ll need in order to manage your construction projects from start to finish. It is an all-inclusive software program that operates on the cloud for easy access and collaboration. You’ll have no problems monitoring the progress of each task when it comes to the job site and the construction project.

Another great benefit of JobProgress is the fact that it is compatible with mobile devices and it offers an app that you can use. You’ll have a difficult time finding construction software that is easier to learn and use than JobProgress.

It has features that allow for customized jobs that give you an update on the workflow through an innovative dashboard. It also comes with tools that make sales and marketing much easier. You can use this construction software to market your construction company and get more jobs.

Procore

Procore is one of the best construction software companies out there, and they’ve been in business for 20 years. Procore also uses the cloud for their construction software services and they’re quite popular. Procore claims that there are 1.6 million users for their software programs for construction projects.

It is meant to help every builder with residential construction projects and it is known to make it easy to set and work within a budget. You can manage all of your projects and keep an eye on your financial status using this helpful software option.

Everyone from construction company owners to subcontractors uses Procore. It is perfect for their construction projects since it has so many useful features. It comes with accounting and financial tools built-in, and it also includes quality and safety protocols that you should use at the job site. Pair that with the services and costcertified.com

Contractors Software Group

Contractors Software Group has been in business since 1984. It focuses on selling commercial and residential construction software programs. There are different varieties of software programs for different jobs and purposes. There are programs for people that handle putting siding on homes and programs for general contractors.

Each variety of software is tailored to meet the needs of the different construction positions. The nice thing about this software program is that it is a module. You don’t have to purchase a bunch of unnecessary things in order to get the features that you need. 

You can purchase certain things that meet your needs without a bunch of extras that you’ll never use. You’ll get features that help with project management and estimations, as well as tax forms for the construction project.

CoConstruct

The person that founded CoConstruct did so because of the chaos that they experienced when trying to build a home in 2004. After that experience, the founder set out to make a difference. They built a construction software program that would make things more organized. It makes a big difference for builders, subcontractors, and homebuyers alike.

CoConstruct comes with a helpful app that is great for preparing estimates and making bids on construction jobs. It is also perfect for managing teams that are working on different construction jobs. If you use QuickBooks for your construction company’s accounting needs then you’ll love CoConstruct. It integrates with QuickBooks seamlessly.

It comes with a bunch of templates and features to help you with customer relationship management. It also makes coordination between the field and the office at your construction company a breeze. Best of all, you can make helpful to-do lists that will make monitoring your building progress a walk in the park.

Bluebeam

Bluebeam is a construction software company that has been in business since the year 2002. It is a construction project management software program that has drawn great reviews. Construction professionals and design firms all across the United States of America love it. There are more than 2 million users of Bluebeam across the globe.

The primary goal that Bluebeam has expressed is to allow users to finish their construction projects on time and within the set budget. It is one of the best construction software options for large construction companies. This is thanks to its many features that work with computers as well as iPads.

Fieldwire

Fieldwire is a newer option in the world of contractor software as it has only been around since 2013. It is designed for use by teams that are working on construction projects of all sizes. It is tailored to meet the needs of general contractors and subcontractors that are working on construction projects.

They’re one of the best construction software options if you want free construction software. They also have different premium packages. These include additional features at an affordable price. If you’re a small construction company then you’ll love everything that Fieldwire provides.

You’ll get to add five users for free when you choose to use this construction software. You’ll get real-time progress reports on all sections of your construction project.

Get the Perfect Construction Management Software Today

Getting construction management software for your construction company is a great move. It will allow you to stay within your budget and collaborate with subcontractors and team members. Make sure that you also get features to help with marketing and accounting at your construction company. You should also look for construction software options that are based on the cloud.

For more insightful and fun articles, make sure you check out the rest of our blog.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

What Is Online Reputation Management?


These days, the internet is our one-stop-shop for information. Google processes an estimated 63,000 queries every single second, from searches about the weather to questions about the latest trends.

Of course, when it comes to your business, this easy access to information can feel like a bad thing. With searchers trusting whatever Google tells them, lingering bad reviews or negative press can damage their opinion of your brand.

That’s where online reputation management comes in. Let’s take a look at what you should know to protect your company online.

What Is Online Reputation Management?

As the name suggests, online reputation management (ORM) involves monitoring and boosting your brand’s online reputation. With the right ORM tactics, you can take control of the online conversations about your brand, and you can even ensure that potential customers encounter the right links and resources when they search for you online. In essence, you’re creating your own reputation rather than allowing others to create it for you.

What Are the Key Online Reputation Management Benefits?

There are a few key benefits of ORM strategies. Note that not all businesses will use all of these strategies, and every campaign is unique, which is why it’s important to talk with an experienced ORM company about your goals for your brand. Here are the most common approaches:

  • Monitoring online mentions of your brand
  • Creating a timely response to those online mentions
  • Publishing positive content about your brand on trusted sites
  • Making positive content about your brand more visible
  • Suppressing negative content by contacting the source for removal
  • Filing complaints about wrongful or harmful negative content
  • Promoting positive customer reviews
  • Sponsoring giveaways and contests to boost public opinion
  • Managing, monitoring, and optimizing social media posts
  • Optimizing existing website content based on select keywords

If you’re already using search engine optimization (SEO) tactics, you might see familiar items on this list. Note that while ORM does make use of these tactics, SEO alone is not enough to manage your reputation online.

Should I Look Into Online Reputation Management Companies?

The simple answer is yes. Whether you’re a new company with a growing social presence or an established firm that needs to counter misinformation, ORM can help. Don’t forget that your customers’ perception of you affects their buying decisions, which in turn impact your success!

The right online reputation management services will help you monitor your reputation and improve your digital risk protection.

Look for a trusted firm like NetReputation—because after all, their current online reputation is a good indicator of how they can help yours! Ask yourself, “Is NetReputation legit?” and see what people are saying in their online reviews. Don’t hesitate to reach out to any company you’re interested in for an interview or consultation to decide whether they’re a good match.

Take Charge of Your Reputation

The information that people learn about your brand online can impact your success—so why not take charge of it? Instead of allowing other users to create your reputation for you, online reputation management helps you steer the discussion with ease. To learn more, reach out to a trusted ORM firm today!

Want more tips to help build your brand? Don’t forget to check out our other business guides.

Small Business Brief

Employees

6 Ways To Improve Your Company’s Employee Training


While a fair raise is a good bait, it’s not the primary reason employees choose to remain longer at a company. Employees last long at a company that considers their professional growth. 94 percent of employees stay at a company that invests in employee training and development.

Employees’ professional growth harmonizes with the company’s growth. The former will blaze a trail of great benefits to the former and vice versa. What best way to achieve professional growth than employee training?

Is employee training one of your checklists to cross out? Consider this guide to get you started. The following are the top tips when planning to invest in employee training.

1. Establish Your Goal

Start by identifying what you’re trying to achieve with employee development training. Goals and objectives help you understand what skills are essential to meet demands. At the same time, it will entail which ones will bring the most significant payback in the future.

2. Assess Employee Skill Level

A group of employees with the same skill level is almost impossible. Assess their present skills to design a more tailored strategy to address each need.

You don’t have to waste time teaching all the fundamentals to a skilled employee. What you can do is to divide the group into smaller groups based on their skill level. It will allow for an efficient employee training program.

3. Consider Future Benefits

Providing employees with training before they begin will ensure a job well done. Like any other investment, employee training will offer you as many benefits in the long run. It will result in skilled and happy, contented, and productive personnel.

It aids in the reduction of employee turnover and continual performance improvement. It can be a long-term investment in your workforce’s growth and development.

4. Devise A Compelling Training Method

To motivate employees while learning, you need fun and engaging training programs. You can make training videos for employees to learn at their own pace, from anywhere and anytime.

Investing in a comprehensive LMS will also allow organized training sessions.

5. Allow Enough Rest

Employee training does not have to be so complicated and time-consuming. Employees must get plenty, even when it’s virtual training.

Enough number of breaks also allows the employee to complete other tasks. Moreover, they will concentrate better because of their increased flexibility.

6. Assess the Result

Workplace training does not only mean hours of lectures or one-sided material. What’s more crucial is that you follow up on your employees’ progress. Make sure you go over everything with your employees and get their input.

Evaluating learning outcomes will let you know whether your employees learned something. This approach is also an excellent way to track how employees use the new information. Moreover, this will entail the training’s effectiveness and give points to improve.

Invest In Employee Training Now

Employee training is a mutual benefit for the business and its employees. So, keep your employees through training and development programs.

Follow these tips when making the most of your program.

Are you looking for more handy guides like this? Daily Magazines have more! Be updated about various topics on health, home improvement, sports, technology, and more.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

5 Small Business Management Mistakes and How to Avoid Them


Did you know that bad management costs money? Managers are one of the top reasons why people leave companies. Employee turnover costs one and a half times an employee’s income.

Bad managers are stressful to be around. The added stress creates health issues. Those healthcare costs add up to $190 billion a year.

No one teaches you how to be a good manager, which is why you’re prone to make small business management mistakes. Fortunately, you’re in the right place to start learning.

Read on to discover the top mistakes that small business managers make and how you can avoid them.

1. No Long-Term Business Goals

Most employees want their work to have meaning. If you want to get employees on board with your business, you need to have direction.

This helps them understand why they show up to work each day for eight hours. Have long-term business goals and share them with your team.

2. Do It All Yourself

Instead of doing it all yourself, focus your attention on training and empowering employees. Delegate tasks to them.

It sends the clear message that you trust them and you believe in their abilities. Decide which tasks you need to do and the tasks for employees.

This leads to higher employee engagement across industries, and it’s vital to restaurant success.

3. Confuse Leadership and Management

There’s a big difference between leadership and management. Bad managers tend to think that leadership is the same as telling people what to do or controlling by fear.

Managers look for control whereas leaders look to inspire and motivate. Oversee processes and give directions.

At the same time, give room for employees to use their creativity and style. They can add so much more to your business if you give them space to do so.

4. Lack of Financial Mastery

Cash flow is one reason why businesses close. Financial management is just as important as employee management.

Be sure to understand business finances. Your financial skills lead to a more profitable business.  

5. Fail to Communicate

Communication is key to having a successful business. You communicate with customers, vendors, and employees.

If you want to realize your vision, you need to communicate it clearly and effectively. Clear communication is essential when delegating tasks for employees.

How can you work on your communication skills? Take courses to understand how communication works. You’ll learn how people process information.

Sharpen your listening skills, too. Listening helps you understand the meaning behind the words.

Avoid These Small Business Management Mistakes

There aren’t many programs that teach you how to be a great small business manager. That could lead to a lot of small business management mistakes that cost your business money.

Get your business heading in the right direction with these small business management tips. Be sure to delegate work, have a clear business management strategy, and communicate your vision for the business.

Those are steps that lead to better business outcomes. Visit the home page of the blog for more tips to grow your business.

Small Business Brief

Entrepreneurship

What Are the Common Benefits of Starting a Business?


Are you tired of working for someone else?

Let’s face it, having a boss is exhausting. After all, you’re constantly being told what to do, and your career is largely in someone else’s hands. Thus you have very little control over how quickly you’re able to climb the corporate ladder.

This is one of the reasons why so many people have chosen to become entrepreneurs in recent years. 

Here we take a look at the benefits of starting a business, including great business advice that can provide the inspiration you need for taking the first step. Keep reading to learn more.

Be Your Own Boss

One of the biggest reasons most people choose to break away and bet on themselves in business is the desire to be their own boss. After all, it can be claustrophobic always having to answer to someone. 

Do you get tired of having a boss looking over your shoulder? You’re not alone. Starting a company and taking responsibility for its success can be scary, but becoming successful because of your great ideas and hard work is an incredibly rewarding experience.

There’s No One Holding You Back

It’s also exhausting having employers who prevent you from reaching your full potential. This is another of the top reasons to start a business.

When you know that you have what it takes to rise above the crowd. If you’re in the interior design business, for example, you need to have the freedom to make important decisions and act quickly without worrying about what your boss might think. 

Plus, there’s no risk of being fired when you take big swings that may or may not pay off in the long run. But you’ll never reach the top without taking those chances.

You’ll Reap the Rewards of Your Efforts

Few things in your professional life are more frustrating than doing a good job and watching someone else reap the rewards.

Starting your own business might be full of risks, but it also means you receive all the benefits of creating a successful company. In other words, you get all the credit when things go right.

To optimize your efforts, look for guides and resources particular to your industry. For interior design, for example, you could check out this podcast with business and marketing advice.

Build Wealth for Retirement

It’s incredibly challenging to get rich working for someone else. But there are no limits when you’re the boss. This gives you a tremendous amount for building wealth for retirement. Thus you are more likely to work hard to become as successful as possible.

Plus, you never really have to worry about retirement. That’s because you can simply hire someone to run the operation while you enjoy the benefits of the company you’ve created.

A Guide to the Benefits of Starting a Business

There’s nothing easy about building your own company from scratch. It requires hard work, focus, and a little luck. Fortunately, this guide to the benefits of starting a business will help provide the tools you need for your best chances of success.

Keep exploring the incredible library of articles contained on this blog to discover more content filled with tons of business-related tips and advice.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

What Is Organic Search Marketing? 7 Things You Need to Know


The average marketing budget for businesses is around 8% of their revenue, and with an ever-changing marketing world, many businesses are wondering how to spend that marketing budget. Should they spend more on ads? More on influencers? Or more on search engine marketing (SEM)?

SEM is your mix of paid search advertising and organic search engine marketing, and when used together, you could develop a long-lasting, lucrative, and affordable marketing strategy. That’s where we’d invest the bulk of our budget (and have, or else you wouldn’t have seen this article). 

So, what is organic search marketing and what do I need to get started? We’re glad you asked!

1. What Is Organic Search Marketing?

Organic search in digital marketing is the traffic that finds you, not the other way around. When somebody searches on Google (or other search engines), finds a page on your site, and clicks on it, that is organic traffic.

In that context, organic search marketing is how companies seek to have their websites shown on these relevant search results, primarily through search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of optimizing your content so that Google’s algorithm will rank your website higher in relevant search results.

Also, organic traffic has plenty of serious benefits to your digital marketing strategy. Not only does it help diversify your website’s traffic, but the quality of the traffic itself is much higher.

Think about it. When you search for something on Google, how often do you skip over the ads on top in favor of the organic results? We all do it.

Well, when users click on these organic results, they start out on an initial note of trust, which can generate higher conversion rates, build positive brand associations, and brand loyalty over time.

2. Organic Search Starts With Your Website

The quality and usability of your website will make or break your organic strategy. Google and other search engines use over 200 factors to determine your site’s ranking, and almost all of them relate directly to your website.

From Google’s perspective, it would reflect poorly on their search engine if they were constantly matching users with low-quality websites. For that reason, their crawlers will index sites and rank them based on factors like:

  • Page loading time
  • Mobile usability
  • Linking structure
  • Page structure
  • Navigation system

The list goes on, but these are some of the most important aspects. Moreover, your website acts as the center of your entire digital marketing strategy and the foundation for your organic marketing strategy that you can build upon over time.

As a bonus, when optimizing your website for organic traffic, you should notice a boost to your paid traffic and other digital marketing strategies, as they all depend heavily on your website.

3. Competition Is Still Limited

Believe it or not, there’s nothing holding you back from ranking, even if your competition has an enormous headstart. Any business can build an SEO strategy and it’s easier now than it will ever be.

The reason is that around 70% of businesses still don’t have an SEO strategy. Especially if you’re competing at the local level, you should have a fairly easy time getting ahead.

4. It Takes Time to Develop

Unfortunetely, organic search engine marketing is different from paid marketing in the time it takes to come to fruition. While paid advertisements can have instant payouts, organic search is more of a long-term strategy.

Consequently, we always recommend diversifying your digital marketing strategy rather than keeping your eggs in one basket. Paid search can easily fill in the gaps while you build your organic strategy.

5. Payoffs Are Huge

Yes, it does take time to build an organic search marketing strategy, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth the effort.

Not only are the payoffs of a successful SEO campaign potentially massive but they’re long-lasting. Unlike PPC campaigns, you don’t have to continue to pour money in to receive clicks.

Instead, you have to build the foundation for your site, follow up with killer content marketing, and you could generate high levels of traffic for little to no ongoing expenditure. Once that content is on your site, there’s no limit to how much it can earn, and you’ve already paid for it with time or money.

6. Costs Are Unbeatable

While most companies will invest some funding into their SEO strategies, building organic traffic can be entirely free. If you are willing to take the time to learn how SEO works and build a strategy from scratch, you can build long-term traffic without spending a dime.

Again, that’s not always how it plays out, but it is entirely possible and practiced by many successful entrepreneurs around the world. 

7. Help Isn’t Too Pricey

Now, if you do choose to pay for organic search marketing services, you can consider it a “buy once, cry once” type of investment, meaning that once the relatively small fee it’s paid, you can earn an unlimited amount for as long as possible.

With companies like Direction in DC, you can start ranking ahead of the competition in no time. While DIY is an option, the field is getting more competitive as time passes, and starting your strategy with a solid foundation could make a world of difference.

Start Ranking

Now that you know the benefits and nature of organic search marketing, the sooner you start your strategy, the soon you can acquire these benefits. Remember, SEO is a marathon, not a sprint.

However, appearing at the top of one high-traffic search result is enough to keep a business afloat for years to come, so start your strategy as soon as possible!

Start today and keep reading our blog for our latest digital marketing tips!

Small Business Brief

Food Business

Home Brewing Tips That You Should Know


Did you know there are almost 9,000 American craft breweries? Beer lovers’ demand for small independent breweries has skyrocketed in recent years.

However, many find that home brewing is an even more satisfying beer drinking experience. Have you considered buying home brewing supplies to create your own trademark beer?

The following home brewing guide will explain several tips to help get you started.

What Is Home Brewing?

Home brewing can mean making wine, cider, and even kombucha. Although, making beer is the most popular form of home brewing.

People brew their own beer at home using special equipment. Homebrewers typically use a large pot that functions like commercial brew kettles. The pot usually holds around 4 to 5 gallons.

Then, they use a bucket or a large container to store the brewed wort for the fermentation process. Buckets are typically about 8 gallons and use an air-tight lid. The lid goes on top and has a small hole for an airlock.

The airlock lets carbon dioxide out during the fermentation is in process. They also prevent oxygen, bacteria, and other yeasts from contaminating the brew.

Expect to spend 6 to 10 hours brewing your beer depending on its complexity. Your beer will be ready to drink after about 2 to 4 months of fermentation after brewing.

Home Brewing Equipment Tips

Use a propane burner outdoors instead of using your stove to heat the brew. It’s a good way to avoid boiling over and making a mess in your kitchen. It also gives you more space when using large brewing pots.

A lot of starter kits come with plastic fermenters. They’ll work fine but glass fermenters last much longer. Glass also won’t leak and they’re easier to clean.

Make long-term purchases instead of multiple short-term purchases. First-time brewers often upgrade the size and quality of their equipment after one or two brews. It’s cheaper if you buy the quality equipment from the start.

Common Home Brewing Mistakes

First-time homebrewers often neglect proper sanitation to reduce contamination. Wash your hands, surfaces, and equipment to prevent bacteria from ruining your batch.

Water is often overlooked by beginners but it’s important to the quality and taste of your brew. Avoid tap water because it contains chlorine, dissolved solids, and other contaminants. Use filtered water for your brew instead.

New brewers tend to neglect their yeast. Don’t let it sit for too long and give it the right nutrients and amount of oxygen. Taking care of the yeast properly makes a better-tasting beer.

It’s tempting to create a highly alcoholic beer but that’s harder to accomplish for beginners. Although, some beginners go too light and it exposes flaws in the flavor. Stay in the 5 to 7 percent ABV range when you’re first starting.

Ready to Try Home Brewing?

Now you know key home brewing tips to help start your very first batch. Remember, have fun and keep your expectations low for your first brew. It’s a challenge to get things just right and requires patience and practice!

Check out the rest of our site for more helpful hobby tips and other fascinating articles.

Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention

5 Critical Components of Keeping Customer Data Safe


Data security is something you can’t skimp on these days. There are countless threats on the internet that can cause problems for your business. It pays to invest early in cybersecurity best practices to protect your data when it takes half a year to detect a data breach.

It’s on you to keep your customer data safe if you want people to trust your company. Keep the five things below in mind to build a customer data security system that works.

1. Access Management

Controlling who can access customer data is one of the biggest parts of keeping it safe. Even if you have a robust security system, it only takes one mistake from an employee to compromise your information.

If you want to minimize damage when that happens, make sure your employees only have access to the files they need. You only have exposure for a limited data set when you do this.

2. Encrypt Your Data

It makes sense to use unencrypted data when looking at something. Most people don’t understand encryption protocols, so you need to unencrypt your files when needed.

However, that should be the only time your information is in that state. If your data is at rest, make sure to add encryption. Doing this means nobody with access to your server can read your customer data.

3. Work on Secure Connection

Even if your customer data gets encrypted in transit, that doesn’t mean you should take things easy. You still don’t want the possibility of intruders intercepting information in transit.

Make sure you encrypt all communication that involves customer data. That means using HTTPS on websites and using encrypted VPN tunnels when sending data throughout your company.

If you want to add security to email, use the encryption feature in your email software.

4. Wipe Old Hardware

There will come a time when you need to update your storage devices. While modern drives last a long time, they won’t stick around forever.

The question is, what do you do with the data on those drives? It isn’t enough to simply delete the files. Anyone with good computer skills can recover the files.

It’s smarter to do a complete drive erasure. Find a company that offers certified destruction to make sure all old data is removed from your old hard drives.

5. Keep Your Systems Updated

One big thing many people fail to do on computer systems keeping them updated. It’s tempting to hold off updates since you don’t know what problems new software versions will cause. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait too long.

Set up test systems to try new software updates as soon as possible. Doing this will let you find any potential issues and resolve them before rolling out updates to your computer systems.

Don’t Underestimate the Importance of a Customer Data Protection System

With how much cybercrime happens these days, it’s a mistake not to take the right security precautions. It’s on you to keep your customer data safe. If you don’t create a customer data protection program, you risk taking a considerable reputation risk and not following security regulations set out in your industry.

Do you want to learn more tech tips that will help you manage your business and customer data security? Check out the blog for more ideas that will help.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

Corporate Event Planning: 4 Tips to Ensure a Successful Event


A corporate event is a great way to boost company morale, encourage team building, and share important company news. 

Putting together an event takes careful preparation, attention to detail, and precise organization. It is also an excellent opportunity to get creative and show off the business’s brand identity. 

If you are in charge of corporate event planning for your company, these tips will help ensure the event is successful. So stay with us, and you’ll make sure your corporate event goes off without a hitch!

1. Have a Purpose For the Event 

This is one of the most important corporate event planning tips. Most of the ideas for your event will be centered around the reason you’re having the event. 

Your company might be launching a new product, providing employees a networking opportunity, or hosting a seminar on new company services. The event’s purpose will dictate many of the following decisions, including the food, entertainment, guest speakers, and decor. 

For a networking event, you want to leave your guests ample time to mingle amongst one another. With a product launch, you want great audiovisuals to give your audience a demonstration of the new product or service.  

2. Set a Budget and Stick to It 

This is another vital piece of corporate event planning advice. Establishing your budget will help you allocate the funds where you need them most. 

The venue and food and drink take up most of the budget for most events. If you’re hosting a networking event, you want to ensure that you give your guests a memorable experience with top-of-the-line catering. Learn more about corporate catering services and make a splash with exceptional dining at your next event. 

Set the budget before you start planning, and make more efficient decisions based on that.  

3. Keep a Checklist for Your Corporate Event

Keeping a detailed checklist is essential if you want to organize a corporate event. This is the perfect way to keep track of your invitations, guest list, suppliers, and payments.

With a checklist for a corporate event, you can track the progress of the event plans and have a clear idea of what tasks still need to be taken care of.  

4. Incorporate an Easy RSVP System 

When sending out invites to your corporate event, you need to assume that your guests will take time out of their busy schedules to attend. With that in mind, you want to make the invitation and RSVP process seamless. 

Have an automated system through email or mobile app that allows your guest to RSVP to your event. 

Four Tips to Elevate Your Corporate Event Planning

Planning a corporate event takes organization and creativity. Corporate event planning and live events require many elements to be successful. Be sure to establish the purpose for the event, set a budget, keep a checklist, and ensure easy RSVP.

If you enjoyed this article, return to our blog for more insightful information on corporate events!

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

How to Set Up a Shopify Store the Right Way


You’ve decided to set up a Shopify store. Congratulations! This is a great decision if you want to get serious about selling online. But before you get started, there are a few things you need to do to make sure your store is set up correctly. 

In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to set up a Shopify store the right way. Keep reading to learn more about it!

What Is Shopify?

Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce company founded in 2004. It offers online stores and retail point-of-sale software. Shopify was the second company to be registered on the Toronto Stock Exchange’s TSX Venture Exchange.

Shopify is a platform that allows users to create an online store. It offers users a customizable platform, a simple checkout process, and a vast variety of features. Shopify also has a large app store that offers additional features and functionality for users’ stores.

Shopify is used by over 500,000 businesses around the world. Some of Shopify’s notable users include Tesla, Budweiser, Red Bull, and Kylie Cosmetics.

How to Set Up a Shopify Store

Setting up a Shopify store can seem daunting, but with the right tools and resources, it’s a breeze. Below, we’ll discuss the basics of starting a Shopify store, from choosing a domain name to adding products.

First, you’ll need to create an account on shopify.com. Once you’ve created an account, you’ll be taken to your dashboard. From here, click “Create a new store.”

Next, you’ll need to select a template for your store. There are several templates to pick from, so find one that suits your needs.

Once you’ve chosen a template, you’ll need to name your store and choose a domain name. The domain name is the web address of your store, so be sure to pick something that’s easy to remember.

Next, you’ll need to add some products to your store. You can add products manually or use a Shopify app to upload them automatically.

Finally, you’ll need to set up your payment and shipping settings. You can accept payments via credit card, PayPal, or Shopify Payments. You’ll also need to decide how you want to ship your products and set up shipping rates.

That’s it! You’ve now created a Shopify store. If you feel like you need a bit more help with setting up your online store, it’s a good idea to hire Shopify expert professionals to assist you.

Start An Ecommerce Business: Setting up a Shopify Store

That’s it! Now, you now know the basics of how to set up your own Shopify store. If you want to read more content like this, be sure to check out our website for more guides on all things e-commerce. 

We also have a ton of other content. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your new business venture!

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

7 Benefits of Using a Technology Integration Program for Small Businesses


Did you know that 80 percent of all small businesses are still using manual data integration tools? Not only does this waste time and lower productivity, but it also adds human error into the equation.

Technology integration is essential for any business. It can allow you to streamline processes and to get an overview of your business so that you can make improvements where necessary. But what are the actual benefits of an integration program?

Read on to find out how an integration program can help you with running a business.

What Is an Integration Program?

System integration lets you bring all of the programs that you use for your business together to create one seamless system. Integration lets systems interact with one another to get a smooth function that makes your business more efficient.

An integration program not only connects people, departments, and functions together but it also adds value by removing repetitive tasks.

1. Increased Productivity

Boosting your business’s productivity means more satisfied customers and more revenue. This is one of the most important benefits a technology integration program can offer.

Having to work with different programs and having to perform repetitive manual actions takes up a lot of time and effort that you and your employees could be using for other things. An integration program can also protect against errors that can cause even more delays. When all of your data is kept together and is organized and accessible, letting you share it across different platforms, you will save time.

Adding an integration program to your business lets you cut the time spent on repetitive tasks and ensures mistakes are at a minimum to make your company’s function much more efficient. Discover more here to see how an integration program can improve productivity.

2. Improved Communications

When you add an integration program to your business, you are allowing your devices and platforms to talk to one another. They can share data and they can work together to help analyze data.

It also lets your employees communicate more easily. Different departments can share information more rapidly, allowing for real-time decisions that can improve customer satisfaction. You can keep all departments updated on company changes or anything else you want them to know.

It can also help employees who work remotely and can even add that possibility to your business.

3. Accelerated Growth

When you have a business that can make real-time decisions using the most accurate data that they can easily share with one another, you are on the path for accelerated growth.

When using an integration program, you can get feedback on where you are doing well and what areas need improvement or need to be changed altogether. As your business grows, it is easier for an integrated program to keep up than having lots of different programs you have to update and tweak. You can scale up with fewer difficulties.

An integrated program also lets you add new clients, employees, and even entire departments into the loop without a problem.

4. Better Analysis and Management

If you use different platforms for your business, it is much more difficult to analyze data and make decisions on how to improve your business. Performing data analysis on various programs takes a lot of time and can many times produce results that are too complex to act on.

Using all of these different programs can make getting the big picture of your business almost impossible. Without the right analysis of your business, you cannot keep up with the competition. With integrated technology, you can get that overview of your business so that you can compete in the market.

5. Improved Customer Satisfaction

An integration program helps reduce production times, letting you get your products or services to your customers quickly. It also lets you have the customer information you need at hand, allowing you to offer them the personalized service they want.

Because an integration program gives you information in real-time about each order, you can also let your customers know about any delays. The sooner you do this and the better your communications with the customer are, the more understanding they will be with delays.

When you have customers who are happy with their experience, you are much likelier to get repeat clients.

6. Make and Save Money

instead of having to spend money on many different platforms and programs, you can pay for one integrated option. Not only will your business save money, but it will also make money since integrated programs can boost productivity. The more efficient your business is, the more revenue you will have.

Add to that an increase in customer satisfaction which lets you maintain and gain new clients, and you will see your business’s bottom line improve.

7. Better Data Accessibility

You want employees and even entire departments to be able to access the data they need. With various platforms and devices, this can be a chore but when you have integration, you can ensure your employees have the information they need when they need it.

Data accessibility also makes it possible for employees to make data-driven decisions, which means they will make better ones. This makes it easier for your business to grow.

Choose Integration

With all of the benefits that an integration program can offer, it is an option you want to consider for your business. It will accelerate your company’s growth while maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. Why rely on many programs that will not work together perfectly when you can choose one system?

If you want to know more about how technology can help your business, turn to our Technology page!

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

Top 5 Benefits of KPI Reporting Software


The worlds of business and healthcare are both becoming increasingly digital. One indicator of this trend is the fact that the market around the world for software is worth more than $40 billion every single year! The right software tools can help you with KPI reporting and similar tools that will help you manage complicated ventures.

Of course, not everybody appreciates everything that KPI reporting software can do for a business or healthcare venture.

So, exactly what are KPI reports? What benefits do they provide? Read on to learn all about the most important advantages that you can enjoy with KPI reporting software!

What Are KPI Reports?

KPI is an acronym that stands for key performance indicator. Key performance indicators are metrics that refer to the most important facts about a business or similar venture.

For example, a business might decide that the most important performance indicators to pay attention to are things like total sales and total expenses. You can see why keeping track of those numbers would help a business adjust its strategy for the better.

KPI reports are a compilation of various key performance indicators. Choosing the right KPIs and tracking how the numbers corresponding to each KPI go up and down is a powerful way to get a bird’s eye view of what is really going on in a business.

1. KPI Reports Help You Track Your Business Performance

In business, as in most parts of life, the more you understand the truth about what is actually happening, the better able you are to make decisions that take you where you want to go. You can think of KPI reports as a simplified version of a map. They tell you where you are and can help you figure out what course you want to chart next.

In particular, a detailed KPI report keeps you from overlooking any unhappy facts about how a business is performing.

In some cases, people have a tendency to look away from the parts of their business that worry them the most. The end result can be that they lose track of the numbers that most indicate that they need to change something.

A KPI report is a powerful way to make sure that this is not happening. If a number is bad, people will have to face that fact and decide to do something about it.

2. KPI Reports Help You to Discover Opportunities

Many people struggle to come up with creative solutions to complicated problems. However, that is often partially because they do not have a sufficiently clear understanding of the problem. What seems like complexity can actually be reduced to simplicity when you focus on the right key facts.

In other words, once you have a sufficiently clear view of the most important facts about a situation, opportunities to improve it often become obvious.

You can spend a lot more time trying to come up with complicated solutions to complicated problems. Or you can spend your time making sure that you have as clear a map as possible of the problem you are dealing with.

3. KPI Reports Help You Understand Which Investments Pay Off

Businesses do a lot of different things. Some of those things pay for themselves and some do not. However, it is almost impossible to remember which things pay off and which don’t if you are not keeping a careful and simplified ledger of performance.

The right key performance indicators can help you identify at a glance which business decisions have led to success in the past and which have not. Once you have that data in front of you, it is easy to say that you should drop any recurring strategic moves that are not profitable on net. At the same time, it will be easy to identify profitable tactics that you may want to double down on.

4. KPI Reports Help You Base Your Decisions on Data

Some of the best business leaders in the world work on intuition. However, it can be difficult to justify intuition to other people. KPI reports can give you something clear and concrete to point people toward.

This way, you will always have a clear explanation for why you are doing what you are doing. In other words, KPI reports can both help you generate good strategies and help you sell other people on those strategies.

5. KPI Reports Help You Discover Hidden Problems

Some businesses have complicated problems that are hard to notice if you are not looking at the business in the right way. KPI reports can help subtle problems in business workings to emerge from the mist and become clear.

If something is going wrong with your business and it’s hard to figure out what that is, you might want to invest in a clearer picture. KPI reports can help you generate that picture. You can then compare the numbers in KPI reports across time to notice correlations and trends.

This kind of big picture data can help people to notice patterns that would otherwise remain invisible.

The more that you understand about what is KPI reporting and what KPI reporting tools can do for you, the more you might be interested in finding the best options out there for generating KPI reports.

The right healthcare KPI monitoring software can help you generate KPI reports that will be maximally effective for helping you make successful management decisions.

Understand the Benefits That Come Along With KPI Reporting  

We hope that some of the ideas in this brief article about the most important advantages that come along with KPI reporting have been helpful for you. Many people struggle to take their business venture to the next level. However, the right KPIs can help you create a simplified map of your business situation that can help you find the correct route to financial growth.

That makes learning a little bit more about KPIs an investment that will be worth your while. To keep up-to-date on the latest developments in business, technology, and more, take a look through our other articles!

Small Business Brief

Auto Dealership

How to Become an Independent Auto Dealer


Did you know that experts are anticipating about 16 million cars to get bought in the United States this year? 

With supply chain shortages, plant shutdowns, and a pandemic, people have put off buying a vehicle for as long as they could. 

If you are in the auto industry and want to build a successful business, you should consider becoming an auto dealer to meet the high demand.

Continue reading to learn about the process of becoming an independent auto dealer so that you can help get people back on the roads! 

Build Your Business Plan

One of the first things to do if you want to be an independent auto dealer is to build a business plan. 

Your business plan should include details about products and services, your mission, and more. If you are working with a lender or have other forms of financial support, these details should also be mentioned in the business plan.

An effective business plan can be used as a baseline for the progress of your company. It gives you a visual representation of what you hope to accomplish and how. Many people recommend creating timelines and listing goals in the business plan. 

The more thought that you put into the business plan, the more guidance you will have during the start-up. 

Create a Budget

The next part of opening a car dealership is creating a realistic budget.

Budgets should be made with everyone that is financially involved in the business. It is also beneficial to have management included so that they understand how much money can be invested into inventory and payroll.

Sit down with your financial supporter and discuss how much money you can afford to pay for the rent, employees, inventory, and fees. When you start a business, there are a lot of application fees and legal expenses that you should prepare for. 

Make sure that your budget is reasonable, realistic, and measurable. If a couple of months go by and the budget you have set isn’t working, you will need to make adjustments. 

Decide on New or Used 

There are a few options to sell vehicles as an independent dealer, and you will need to decide which you want to work with.

There are two types of vehicles that people purchase from a dealer, new and used ones. If you want to sell new cars, you should expect to have a larger investment. Some people make more money by selling used cars because they can refurbish them or buy them at a cheaper rate.

Depending on your goals, you can choose new, used, or both types of vehicles to sell. Used car dealerships are successful because they don’t take as much money to start and there is a smaller risk. 

Start Legal Applications

Starting a business involves applications, legal forms, and other types of documentation. 

You should get an EIN once you decide on a business name and start handling tax paperwork. Business application forms, rent applications, and licenses will also be necessary. Permits and licenses take a while to get, so don’t delay starting the process.

When you come across documentation that you don’t understand, contact your lawyer to see if they can provide guidance. Application fees are common, so don’t be surprised if you have to write a check when you submit the paperwork. 

Find a Business Location

You can’t sell cars if you don’t have a place to sell cars at!

Finding the best location for an auto dealer is simple because anywhere there are roads, makes a good place to settle. Busy intersections and near highways are excellent places to open your business. The more vehicles that pass your building, the more service you will get. 

When people can easily find your business they are more likely to buy from you. Take time to clean up the exterior and put an eye-catching sign in the front. 

Once you have your business location, you can finalize paperwork and update online details about your company. 

Get Your Inventory 

After you find a large property to build your dealership on, you will need to invest in inventory.

Inventory will take the most of your budget, but it is what you will be making your money on. Getting quality vehicles and a large variety will increase your chances of landing a sale. This is because you will have more appealing offers to make to people.  

To get the best inventory, you will need to get the best car shipping company for transport. There are many components to purchasing inventory that people overlook, such as shipping and container fees.  

Know the Laws

Every smart business owner learns the local and federal laws that apply to their industry.

As a dealer, you must obtain your dealer’s license for the state that you plan to sell from. You will also be responsible for getting insurance coverage for inventory loss and damage. Knowing these laws will help prevent you from getting into any legal trouble or from having to pay expenses. 

Check your local, state, and federal laws to ensure that you are providing legal services. Following these rules will make owning a business less stressful and risky. 

Do You Have What It Takes to Become an Auto Dealer?

Many people want to be an independent auto dealer because of the high demand for vehicles and the opportunity to make a profit. 

A business plan and budget will get you on the right track to making money. You should think about the type of dealership you want to be so that you can research relevant laws and regulations. Before opening your dealership, you need to invest in quality inventory that will increase sales.

Don’t forget to spend time marketing your company, especially in your local community. 

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about how to start a business and build a successful car dealership! 

Small Business Brief

Productivity

Scrum and Agile: Are They Right for You?


Did you know that the Project Management Institute estimates that tens of millions of project management roles will become available within the next decade?

This blossoming field of work is relevant to nearly all industries. This means that more and more people are being hired as project managers every day.

As a new addition to this field, you may be wondering which project management methodology is best for you and your line of work. Maybe you’ve heard the terms Scrum and Agile thrown around, but you’re not quite sure what they are or how they work?

We’ve broken down these terms for you to make them easy to understand and put in place. Keep reading to learn what Agile and Scrum are, and when you should use these two practices.

What Is Agile?

A group of software developers created Agile in the early 2000s. They were aware of the limitations of traditional Waterfall project management approaches. These professionals wanted to develop a system that was more suited to their line of work.

Their discussions resulted in the Agile Manifesto. This tool lists out the values and principles of an Agile approach to project management.

Overall, these principles focus on iteration and collaboration throughout the process. The framework allows for the scope of a project to change over time. It enables flexibility in project management without forcing teams to incur the costs associated with iteration in Waterfall.

What Is Scrum?

People often speak about Agile and Scrum as if these terms are interchangeable. However, they actually describe two related but distinct processes. Agile describes a framework and approach to project management, and Scrum is one of the ways in which teams can put this framework into practice.

In Scrum, teams divide their work into short periods of time (two to four weeks in length) called Sprints. They choose certain items from the product backlog to complete during each Sprint. At the end of the Sprint, they send the work completed so far to the client for review and adjustments as necessary.

Scrum teams are made of a scrum master, a product owner, and developers. The scrum master ensures that the team follows the Scrum framework. The product owner makes sure the delivered product aligns with the client’s expectations, and the developers make the product.

Uses for Agile and Scrum Methodology

Agile and Scrum are most useful for projects that require flexibility. In software development, for example, updates are constantly being made. Agile can accommodate changes to software without causing costly delays to release dates.

If you think this approach to project management may be right for you and your team, take time to learn more about Agile and Scrum. Provide yourself with a solid foundation to give yourself the best possible chance for success.

Start Using Scrum and Agile Today

As you can see, there are many uses in today’s professional marketplaces for Scrum and Agile. Start implementing these practices today, and you’re sure to see the immediate benefits!

Looking for more tools to take your business to the next level? Take a look at our site’s other articles on business and entrepreneurship.

Small Business Brief

Employees

What Is the Average Cost of Hiring a New Employee?


Are you looking for ways to help your company expand gracefully? Do you fear that adding a new employee is going to put too much stress on your company budget? If so, then you should start by learning about the average cost of hiring a new employee. 

Doing so can help you understand what it will cost to hire one, yes one, in-house employee. Thankfully, there is another solution; there is a way you can get your hands on the production you need.

See below for an in-depth guide on the cost of hiring a new employee, and what other options are out there that might be cheaper.

What is the Cost of Hiring a New Employee?

First, we want to congratulate you. The fact that you’re looking into adding new members is a sign of company growth, that’s something to be excited about!

That said, it’s important to do your research. How much will it actually cost you when hiring a new employee? 

Generally speaking, statistics have shown that the average in-house employee costs up to 1.4 times their annual salary. So, if you hire an in-house staff member with a $50,000 salary, for example, they would cost you up to $70,000 by year’s end.

What gives? There are several reasons that in-house employees end up costing more than their gross income, such as:

  • Travel expenses
  • Relocation costs
  • Advertising for the job posting
  • Third-party recruiting fees
  • Onboarding and training
  • Uniforms, company swag
  • Health coverage
  • 401(k) matching contributions
  • Background checks and drug tests

Hiring an in-house employee certainly has its benefits. It can help you retain top-tier talent and have them working for your brand exclusively. It will also allow you to keep all of your projects in-house, rather than having different aspects assigned to other companies/services.

If the cost to hire an in-house staff member overwhelmed you, then don’t fret. We have another option to present to you…

What is PEO?

Every small business has general tasks and departments that could benefit from the experience of a trained professional. Things like HR compliance, payroll, risk management, and business administration tasks are just a few relevant examples.

What if you could get your hands on an experienced team of knowledgeable workers at a lower price? Enter PEO.

PEO stands for “Professional Employer Organization”, a company that teams up with your brand to lease its employees to you for the different tasks your business requires.

For example, if you need someone to oversee your company’s payroll, then a PEO could lease its experts to you and help you get access to an experienced payroll team. You’ll have more peace of mind, knowing that those aspects are being taken care of by a trusted professional.

PEO is also a tremendous solution for those of you looking into global expansion. You’ll find that creating a new global workforce requires a lot more red tape than expected; using a professional employer organization can ensure you abide by those country’s regulations and laws.

If you’d like to learn more about global PEO, be sure to visit this site. There you’ll learn all about what they can offer your growing company.

How to Determine What’s Right For Your Brand

To insource or outsource, that’s the question. See below for a few questions you can ask yourself to determine whether you should hire in-house or through a PEO.

What Services Do I Need?

There comes a time when all business owners become aware of the holes in their current business model. It’s important to fill those holes with experienced and knowledgeable professionals.

Some of these holes might have to do with tasks like payroll, employee benefits, taxes, or business development, just to name a few. How can you fill multiple openings with a constrained company budget?

As you grow, PEO can grow with you. Rather than paying for one employee, you’ll get access to an entire team to help you thrive.

Am I Expanding Globally?

Every company that expands globally runs through some unforeseen hurdles. There are local regulations and laws that you’ll have to ensure that you follow.

Hiring an in-house team member might not be the wisest choice in this scenario. Not only is it cutting into your expansion budget, but you might be breaking the rules.

A global professional employer organization can help you grow your international team. They offer recruitment services to assist you in growing an unstoppable global workforce. They can help you design an onboarding process that’s ethical and gets the results you need.

What’s My Budget?

Every brave business venture should be supported and celebrated by your company. That said, you should always have one eye on your expansion budget.

While hiring an in-house employee can give you exclusivity to their services, you should consider two goals with finding new talent:

  1. Where can you find the most experience possible?
  2. How can you hire more people at a reasonable price?

PEOs give you access to their talented employees. No matter what services or tasks you need to be performed, they’ll have a team member (or several) that can help your company thrive. That way, you can focus on big projects.

Use These New Employee Hiring Tips to Your Advantage

Now that you have seen an in-depth guide on the cost of hiring a new employee, be sure to use this information to your advantage.

Take the time to browse our website for more articles on hiring a new employee, as well as many other topics you will find helpful.

Small Business Brief

Employees

New Beginnings: 7 Tips for Going Back to Work After a Long Absence


Have you been out of work for a while? A little scared to go back? 

That’s okay. 

A long break from the workforce can totally rearrange your professional identity. There are plenty of solid reasons to leave work, but most of us end up coming back to the professional world after our absence. 

Going back to work can be stressful, even anxiety-inducing, in many cases. 

It’s important to have a game plan for reentry because it’s a significant event, even if it seems like a harmless thing from an outside perspective. We’re going to take a look at a few things you can do when returning to the workforce, giving yourself a leg up on your emotions boosting workplace happiness. 

Hopefully, the ideas below can carry you through your first few weeks and keep you on the right track. Let’s get started.

1. Refresh Your Resume

If you’re switching careers at 50 after taking a long break and working in a different industry for years, you need to freshen up your resume. Even though the data might be the same, the way you format your resume says a lot. It’s easy to tell the difference between a resume from 1990 and one from 2022. 

Further, you can add significant life events to your resume. For example, the fact that you spent the last few years hiking the Appalachian Trail might work very well for you in your job search, even though that’s not a formal work experience. 

In any case, try working with a professional who can polish your resume to meet the demands of the modern hiring committee. Sydney Resumes is a great place to get professional help with your resumes and interviews. 

2. Check Your Emotional Health

You’ve been out of the workforce for a significant period of time, presumably recovering from an injury or working on yourself in different ways. The last thing you want to do is erase that progress when you return to work.

Part of understanding how to switch careers is knowing which professions benefit you emotionally and which ones suck you dry. You’ll only know for sure when you’re working a job, and you can tell what it does to you. 

So, keep tabs on how you feel as you start reentry. Are you more anxious? Depressed?

Does your job benefit your emotional life? The answers to these questions make a big difference in your quality of life. No more are the days when “working” meant “suffering.”

3. Do Some Part-Time Work to Start

If you’re not ready to dive all the way back in, consider taking a part-time job in your field. The pandemic has opened up a lot of outsourcing and remote work in almost every field, showing us that a lot of the work we do doesn’t require a full-time position. 

A few part-time remote jobs here and there might help to ease your mind back into the idea of working. Those jobs will spruce up your resume as well. 

4. Tap Into Your Old Networking Skills

Think back to your working days and ask yourself which people might have leads on good jobs. 

Maybe you don’t have to start from square one. The people you know might have insights into great opportunities that would put you in great fruitful work environments. Instead of training and going through the onboarding process in a big company, you might be able to meet up with an old friend, fill a position, and join a tight-knit team. 

5. Consider a Course

If you’re switching careers at 40 or 50, community courses or college courses are worth considering. Even a small investment into a short course shows companies that you’re engaging with the new career path. 

You’ll learn some new skills and show businesses that you’re serious about taking your career in a new direction. 

6. Don’t Jump In

One of the beautiful things about finding jobs on the internet is that you truly never know what you’ll find. 

You might see an encyclopedia of mundane, soul-sucking jobs for two days followed by three weeks of job listings that spark your soul and get you excited. The moral of the story here is that you don’t have to take the first thing that comes your way. 

Wait a while and use different job boards to conduct your search. There are numerous jobs out there that you’re qualified for and will make you happy. You might just have to adjust your idea of what you want to do!

A month or two on the internet will certainly give you a lot to work with. 

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Depending on the length of your absence, you might be a totally different person when you go back to work. You’ve learned a lot, you’ve changed, and maybe you’ve forgotten what it feels like to be on the daily grind. 

Whatever “human nature” might be, it certainly doesn’t involve sitting at a desk for 2,000 hours per year and worrying about the tidiness of your necktie. It’s understandable to be a little anxious or uncomfortable with the workplace. 

If your job isn’t making you happy and you feel like you’re not succeeding, give yourself a break. Maybe it’s not the job for you, or maybe the job isn’t for anyone. 

In that situation, there’s no shame in having problems with the particular job or type of work that you’re doing. In fact, it’s healthy to reflect on that fact and think about making some changes. 

Like we said earlier, there are millions of jobs out there on the internet. Many of them can be done from the comfort of your own home, and, statistically speaking, a number of them should line up with your values and make you happy. 

Going Back to Work Soon?

Going back to work after a long break requires some thought and planning. It’s stressful, but it’s helpful to get some more information that could be helpful. It never hurts to get a few perspectives on your new life change. 

Whatever your next step is, keep the information we discussed in mind. Stay compassionate to yourself, ease in, and learn something new!

We’re here to help. Explore our site for more ideas on finding work, managing your lifestyle, staying fit, finances, and more. 

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

Debunking the Most Common SEO Marketing Myths That Exist Today


Did you know that over 30% of businesses now use SEO techniques to promote their products and services? It’s hardly surprising, considering the sheer potency of the technique. 

You’ve probably heard a lot about SEO in recent years. Sometimes it seems like everyone is talking about this marketing phenomenon! But you’ve probably heard a lot of myths around the subject along with helpful information.

Want to learn more about SEO and get some of those myths debunked? Stick with us. We’ve gone over some of the most common SEO marketing myths and explained why they’re false.

SEO Doesn’t Work

Some folks say that SEO doesn’t work. They don’t understand how SEO techniques can help your business, or how you can stand out in the competitive online marketplace. 

There are so many studies demonstrating how effective SEO marketing is. In an increasingly digital world, search engines are one of the most important methods of advertising a business. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to understand how SEO can help your company grow.

Quality SEO companies use intensive research, marketing metrics, and other special techniques to create strong content. Of course, the best way to find out how effective SEO can be for your business is to see it in action yourself by hiring a great company.

SEO Uses Underhanded Techniques

You might have heard rumors that SEO techniques are just designed to game the system. Some talk about the way SEO firms pack articles full of keywords or use secret coding techniques to cheat their way to success. 

While it’s true some SEO companies do use these underhanded techniques, it’s not a well-regarded practice in the marketing industry. These companies offer services that could harm the reputation of your business in the long run. 

As long as you stick with a reputable SEO company, your business will benefit from a quality service. A good SEO firm will create interesting, readable content that entertains and informs visitors to your site while improving your search engine rankings. 

I Don’t Need SEO to Promote a Truly Great Product

Some folks think if they’ve got an amazing product or service to offer the world, there’s no need for SEO marketing. They might even think there’s no reason to market their products at all and the buyers will hear about the product just by word of mouth.

Unfortunately, that’s not how things work in the real world. You could have invented an app that cures baldness, makes the weather sunny, and gets you a promotion at work, but if no one knows about it, they’re not going to pay for your product or service. 

As a rule, people don’t tend to go looking for new products. Even if they do, they’re going to be bombarded by competitors who have splashed out on quality marketing. You need to come to consumers with the best marketing possible, or you’ll never grab their attention. 

I Only Need Social Media to Promote My Business

Social media is a vital marketing tool. It’s a great way to reach hundreds of thousands of potential customers, so it’s no wonder social media marketing is so popular.

But social media isn’t enough on its own. Customers might learn about your product through a social media post, but you need to expand your marketing efforts with a full website and blog to properly showcase your product.

Besides, as popular as social media is, search engines tend to still be the first port of call for those researching new products.

SEO and social media often go hand in hand. Many SEO firms offer social media optimization services, helping you choose the right keywords for your Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter posts.

This helps you to make a strong impression in the social media marketplace. 

Results Will be Instant: One of the Most Common SEO Marketing Myths

Patience is a virtue. That’s certainly the case when it comes to SEO marketing. While some might promise skyrocketing sales within days of your campaign launching, in reality, you’ll likely have to wait a little while to see results. 

It might take weeks or months for your SEO campaign to start bearing fruit. That may seem disappointing at first, but the best things in life are always worth waiting for. 

Remember, SEO marketing helps your business grow organically over time.

Explosive, viral campaigns may see your sales shoot up in the short term. But for longer-term results, it’s better to sit back and let the SEO experts do their thing, producing killer content to promote your business. It will be worth the wait. 

SEO Takes Too Much Time and Effort

Many people acknowledge that SEO, done right, can help a business grow. But they think quality SEO content takes too much time to research and produce.

Like anything worth doing in business, SEO content can’t just be created with a snap of the fingers and a magic word. It will take a little time to produce. But can a service that’s proven to be effective in promoting your business ever be considered “too much effort?”

Even if you don’t have the time or expertise to produce SEO content yourself, it might be cheaper than you think to hire a company to manage your SEO for you. Click here for SEO services.

More Tips for Growing Your Business

We hope you enjoyed learning about these common SEO marketing myths. There are so many advantages to using SEO, and having more information on the topic can help you get the best out of it.

Looking for more helpful tips to grow your business? Check out our range of business articles. We’ve got all kinds of content to help you gain an edge over your competitors. 

Small Business Brief

Social Media

3 Tips on Improving Instagram Content Plans for Small Businesses


Content is everywhere in the social media world, and there are several reasons to make it a large part of your marketing with Instagram strategy. Content for marketing can increase your credibility amongst the industry and your ideal customer.

We’re here to share some tips that will help when it comes to improving Instagram content plans and maybe increase your chances of viral success. If done right, you can use social media marketing to increase the edge you have in terms of content.

Hashtag Your Heart Out

Okay, it can be easy to use several hashtags to help you land on the explore page. However, one thing to remember is when you’re choosing hashtags for your Instagram posts, keep them as relevant as possible.

Using the right hashtags makes it easier for users to find the content you’ve posted. To ensure you’re using the right hashtags, you need to do keyword research and select the most relevant keywords for your brand.

This will make it easier to determine the keywords you should use and those that aren’t going to help your content gain the engagement you’re looking for.

Don’t Overdo It

If you’re looking to increase your Instagram likes for windows, the last thing you want to do is come off as a sleazy salesman. It’s understood that your company Instagram account will spread information about the products and services you offer, but you don’t want to take it too far.

If your brand only posts content that asks followers to purchase something, it can become irritating and cost you the followers and likes you’ve worked so hard for. Instead, mix up your posts and when you are promoting a product, do it casually instead of an in-your-face way.

Go Live

Looking for a way to engage with followers outside of regular Instagram posts? Go live!

Going live gives followers a chance to ask questions they have, and it can be a reliable way of increasing potential leads. In 2019 alone, people spent more than 1.1 billion hours watching live videos.

Going live also allows you to show people how new products work, increasing the anticipation for the product to drop on your company website. More consumers are invested in the relationships they create with the businesses they buy from.

Therefore, by taking advantage of Instagram life, you can nurture these relationships and begin new ones.

Improving Instagram Content Plans 101

It’s no secret that content isn’t going anywhere, which is why improving Instagram content plans is essential for all businesses. We recommend you mix up the type of content you post, so you’re not always trying to sell to your audience.

And take advantage of the Instagram live feature and interact with your followers. Before you go, don’t forget to check out some of the other posts in this section.

You won’t regret it and you might find some other useful tips to use.

Small Business Brief

Social Media

How to Improve Instagram Marketing Strategies: What You Need to Know


Did you know that Instagram now has over 2 billion monthly users?

There’s no getting around the fact that Instagram is a wonderful opportunity to grow your brand in a variety of ways. If you’re new to Instagram or struggling to get a following, then it’s important to use the right strategies. Without them, your growth will be very limited.

Are you wondering what you can do? Keep reading to learn all about how to improve Instagram marketing strategies so that you can boost your brand’s success.

Make Sure to Network With Others

When marketing with Instagram, you must never forget that it’s a social media platform. The term ‘social’ opens up the doors for many networking opportunities. With this in mind, you should reach out to and connect with Instagram accounts that are within your niche.

As you nurture these connections, everyone involved can benefit. For instance, commenting on other people’s content and sharing it on your Instagram Story is one way to show people that you’re a genuine connection.

Maintain High Standards of Quality

If you make content for Instagram that few people are interested in, then your job is going to be that much harder. Not only should your content have a sold-sized audience, but the quality of your posts should never waver.

You could cover one of the most intriguing topics on the planet, but most people won’t pay attention if the pictures you post are low-quality, for instance. By emphasizing quality, you’ll attract new followers who will stay for the long haul.

Encourage Engagement

Social media marketing is all about getting people to interact with your content. If no one likes it, then fewer and fewer people will see it. A popular post that gets a lot of engagement will end up in users’ feeds as they scroll through the discovery section of the app.

Aside from maintaining a high standard of quality on your regular Instagram posts, you can try increasing engagement by asking relevant questions in each of your posts. For instance, people who post about books can ask their followers what they’re reading now or what they hope to read soon.

This can allow you to have a much better chance of receiving comments, likes, and more. To get the ball rolling, it’s helpful to opt for free Instagram likes. This can cause a chain reaction because many people are only interested in what’s already popular.

Ready to Improve Instagram Marketing Strategies?

Now that you’ve learned all about how to improve Instagram marketing strategies, you can elevate your brand to a whole new level. With more exposure comes more sales and other great things that make it worth the effort.

Our site covers only the most important topics around the world. Do you ever get the feeling that you’re missing out on things? By following our site, you can rest easy knowing that all the best news is coming your way.

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

SAP and ERP: Understanding the Connection


Starting a business from the ground up is very hard. But keeping a business organized through many seasons of growth and transformation is incredibly difficult.

That’s why 50% of all new businesses fold within their first five years. It’s difficult to build different teams and departments in a company that actually work together toward a common goal, rather than just worrying about their own tasks.

But that’s why SAP ERP exists. Wondering what SAP and ERP stands for? The answer has to power to transform how you run your entire business. Keep reading to learn all about this efficient type of software, so you can make your company more effective than ever before. 

What Is ERP?

ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. It is software that small, medium and large-sized companies can use to essentially run their entire business from one platform.

SRP software can be used to handle a business’s finances and counting, budgeting, and reporting. But it can also be used across departments, such as in HR, product procurement, compliance, and supply chain management.

It streamlines how companies handle many of their daily operations. And by providing one application for all departments to use, communication and data transfer throughout the company is very fluid. 

It keeps everything in one place, so that information and files aren’t stored in multiple locations. Rather than different departments using different software and struggling to communicate across departments, one platform ensures all employees are on the same page. 

And it centralizes all of the information found within a company. So rather than isolated departments, each creating its own database of information, everything is stored centrally in the ERP software. 

ERP software is used across a wide variety of industries, from manufacturing to software development, retail to logistics, and everything in between. 

Understanding SAP and ERP

So what is SAP, then?

SAP is a German company that has created its own version of ERP software. The software goes by the same name as the company; Systems Applications and Products (SAP).

SAP ERP is one of the most popular versions of ERP software, having a long reputation in the ERP industry. Currently, the software is used by tens of thousands of organizations worldwide. 

The modules found within SAP ERP software cover almost every department and task that takes place within a company. 

SAP vs ERP

Is SAP the only ERP you should consider? While it might be the most popular, it might not be the perfect fit for your industry or business.

There are various SAP alternatives that you should research before downloading any piece of software. After all, the ERP that you choose is going to be responsible for making your business run all day, every day. 

Taking your time to make the right decision ahead of time can save you a lot of money and headaches. 

Manage Your Business the Right Way

Now that you know what SAP and ERP mean, you know that enterprise resource planning software is essential to an organization that wants to thrive.

So figure out if SAP is the right version for you, or if one of the alternative ERP solutions is a better fit, and start managing your company the right way.

Looking for more business advice like this? Visit our blog now to keep reading. 

Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

How to Choose the Proper Freight Services for Your Merchandise


Here’s a quick quiz to test your memories of 2021 world events. Who or what was “Ever Given?” Does the name ring any bells?

Well, if you rely on freight, you’ll probably remember the story of the giant ship, Ever Given, that got stuck for days after crashing in the Suez Canal. It caused havoc with supply chains and delayed shipments globally.

It’s an excellent example of how critical reliable freight services are for a 21st-century business.

Choosing a dependable freight service should be one of your top business priorities. Start here with our quick guide to selecting the proper freight service for your merchandise. 

Write Down Your Freight Needs

Before you can start your search and get quotes for forwarding and shipping, you’ll need to have a comprehensive outline of your freight requirements. Here is some of the information you should capture:

  • The types and volume of goods 
  • The value of goods
  • Number of units and frequency of transportation
  • Packaging and handling (for example, breakable or heavy objects)
  • What country you are transporting from and to
  • Type of freight (air, sea, road, rail)
  • Customs handling
  • Security
  • Insurance considerations

Think too about whether this inventory will change over time. If you are likely to expand shortly, you should outline this in your spreadsheet. That way, the quotes you receive will include potential long-term costs.

Experience and Expertise

Try to prioritize suppliers who offer on-time delivery, experience, and expertise. Consider the downsides and risks of choosing the wrong freight company: missing or damaged goods, late deliveries, and unhappy customers.

Specifically, you want to find real-life examples of freight services offered by your shortlist. Have their shipped from your originating country in the past? Do they have experience in shipping similar types of goods?

Do they have experience in customs declarations?

Are these companies up to speed with the latest customs rules? The new post-Brexit customs rules governing the EU and the UK are an excellent example of why up-to-date knowledge is critical.

Finally, look at their processes and testimonials to better indicate their customer service standards.

Get Multiple Quotes

Freight services will be a significant portion of your merchandise costs, so it makes sense to search around for the most competitive price before making a final decision.

Don’t forget that the cheapest quote isn’t as important as customer satisfaction, reliability, and experience when it comes to freight.

However, that doesn’t stop you from negotiating for a cheaper deal, particularly if you have large and regular merchandise to ship.

Be clear, too, on your plans. For example, if you intend to double your merchandise in the next two years, share that information early.

By sharing your forecasts with a potential freight provider, you might be able to lock in some discounts now based on possible future expansion plans.  

Get the Best Freight Services for Your Business

Trustworthy and capable freight services are essential for your business. They’ll be an extension of your company, and choosing the right one will help you grow your business effectively. 

For more up-to-date guides, head to our business articles section now. 

Small Business Brief

Employees

7 Reasons Your Business Needs a Talent Acquisition Agency


If you run a company that is looking for new hires, it’s always in your best interest to use a talent acquisition company.

It’s no secret that hiring top talent makes your business better. Finding that talent requires knowing exactly what you’re looking for and a diligent attitude. If you don’t throw all of your resources at finding and enticing great candidates, then they’re going to end up working for a competitor.

One of the best ways to source top-tier candidates is by using a talent acquisition agency to help you. These agencies not only have access to the best candidates, but they know how to match the right candidates to your open positions.

In this post, we’re going to give you seven undeniable reasons why your business should work with a talent acquisition agency. If you’re at a loss for how to find the right people to hire, then keep reading and learn what a professional talent agency can bring to the table.

1. Finding Talent You Wouldn’t Have Access To Otherwise

Usually, a talent acquisition agency will specialize in a few key niches, so that you’re always accessing candidates that are actually right for your open positions. You might be looking for HR professionals from one agency, finance experts from another, or executive headhunters with Bradsby Group.

Being specialists in one area, a talent acquisition agency will have a pool of candidates that you just aren’t going to find on the broader job boards. There’s also a vetting process for candidates to be considered by the talent acquisition agency.

This means you’re only getting the top candidates for a given niche. After all, a talent acquisition agency will have a reputation that they need to uphold. If they put bad candidates on their job board, they’ll lose customers.

2. The Most Efficient Hiring Practices

Any business owner knows that hiring practices can be pretty erratic. You’ve probably got a lot on your plate already, so adding recruiting, interviewing, and hiring onto that just isn’t practical. The best-case scenario is that you luck into a decent employee, the worst-case scenario is that you spend a lot of time looking and come up empty-handed.

A recruiting agency takes the time to get to know your business, the types of people you want on staff, and the company culture you’re trying to create. Then, with their expertise, highly-developed hiring practices, and technology, they set out to find candidates within their job pool that fit the profile of your ideal candidate.

It’s simply a more efficient process that allows you to sit back and wait for candidates to roll in, rather than the other way around. 

3. It Doesn’t Take Time Out Of Your Schedule

Along those same lines – hiring important candidates can take weeks, if not months, out of your schedule. During that time, you may see your business take a productivity hit due to the fact that your full attention is elsewhere.

Even if your business is equipped with an HR department or a managing director, hiring is still a secondary role. It ends up getting rushed through and you end up with a less-than-ideal candidate.

Working with a talent acquisition agency, no time will be taken out of anybody’s schedule. They’ll filter out all of the lesser candidates and bring you the cream of the crop. You go about your business and show up only when you need to.

4. An Understanding Of The Market

Talent acquisition companies, working within their niche, are privy to all of the latest trends and industry standards that prospective employees within this niche should understand. With this, they can help both the job candidates and your own hiring managers understand what an ideal candidate should look like.

When they’re vetting candidates, they can use this knowledge to choose only those most qualified. When you get a list of CVs from your talent agency, they’ll be able to guide you on what each candidate possesses and lacks.

5. Preparing You For A Brighter Future

Hiring new employees, whether you’re a brand new business or you’re going through some changes, gives you the chance for a brighter future. If you’re working with a talent acquisition agency, finding talent that can elevate your business to new heights becomes all the more possible.

A company is only as good as the people working for it. If you don’t put the necessary resources toward the hiring process, then you’re never going to acquire the type of talent that invites success. Let a talent agency do their thing and you’ll be presented with high-quality candidates every time.

6. Working Within Your Culture

A really great talent acquisition agency is going to take the time to understand the ins and outs of your business. Not only the way the actual business operates but the company culture that you’re trying to implement as well.

Company culture is an underrated aspect of the hiring process and something that young businesses are beginning to value more. You can find an ideal candidate, but if they don’t jive with the vibe in your office, it’s going to hurt company morale. 

Your talent agency should always be taking this into account. When they bring great candidates to the table, you can be sure that they’re going to be right for your company.

7. Low-Risk, High Reward

At the end of the day, one of the biggest reasons to hire a talent acquisition agency is that it’s a low-risk, high-reward maneuver. In the best of times, your talent agency will bring you lots of candidates that are perfect for the open positions that you have. Other times, they’re going to come up short and have to go back to the drawing board; it’s all a part of the process.

Outsourcing your hiring to an agency doesn’t present many risks. You can hire them to help you fill one position to start and if they don’t do their job, you can always move on.

Kick Your Talent Acquisition Up A Level

Now that you know why you should hire a talent acquisition agency, it’s time to find one that fits your niche and get some good candidates. It can be a daunting task to fill open positions, but with a quality hiring agency on your side, it’ll be a breeze.

If you enjoyed this post, come back again for more small business tips.

Small Business Brief

Cleaning Business

7 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Toilet Paper Dispenser


Your business’s bathroom plays an important role for everyone who enters your building. It’s where your employees and guests go to relieve themselves while watching funny videos on their phones. If the toilet paper dispenser breaks or runs empty, then that could lead to a very complicated and embarrassing situation. 

Businesses looking for a new commercial toilet paper dispenser have to keep in mind various factors. How big is your bathroom space and how many people do you expect to use it throughout the day? What are your budget and intended style? 

Here are seven factors you should consider before making a purchase. 

1. Toilet Paper Roll Size

The kind of toilet paper you buy at a supermarket or a drug store is very different than commercial toilet paper rolls. The standard variety is small and meant to fit onto small dispensers. Commercial toilet paper rolls are much larger and meant to last a long time before you need to replace them. 

Every toilet dispenser accepts a specific size, which includes the diameter of the paper and core. Most of these aren’t adjustable, so you’ll be stuck purchasing that size as long as you own the dispenser. 

Whatever you choose will depend on how frequently your bathroom is used. Your employees will appreciate higher quality standard toilet paper in their private bathrooms. However, it’s far more cost-effective to go for the commercial-sized ones in a public restroom.  

2. Toilet Paper Dispenser Capacity

Toilet paper dispensers come in a variety of capacities, each suitable for different environments and stall sizes. 

Many commercial dispensers can carry multiple rolls at a time in case the first roll runs out. This can help reduce the number of times you need to replace the rolls. However, these dispensers are often bulkier and take up more room in the stall.

Toilet roll holders are much smaller, but they can only hold a single standard-size roll at a time. Multi-roll dispensers are sold which help to accommodate multiple rolls. Keep in mind that smaller toilet paper rolls will run out quicker.

3. Material

Almost every dispenser on the market is made from either plastic or stainless steel. Both have their own share of benefits and drawbacks. 

Plastic is easy to clean, comes in a variety of colors, and resists scratching. Translucent ones allow you to see when refills are needed so you don’t end up in any emergency situations. 

Metal dispensers are even more durable and blend in with most decor. Even though they can get smudged, it’s just as easy to clean and polish them. The only problem is that they can easily get dinged and scratched, unlike plastic. 

4. Style

Even though your restroom will be one of the lesser-seen areas of your business location, it’s still worth dressing it up accordingly. There are many styles of toilet paper holders out there aside from the standard variety. 

Opt for an engraved holder to make the restroom look more vintage. If your interior design leans more modern, then you’ll want to get stainless-steel or aluminum holders. 

One option most people don’t know about is the recessed toilet paper dispenser. Since it’s embedded in the wall, you get a minimalistic appearance that takes up little space. 

5. Tamper-Proofing

Some people are desperate to take whatever’s not bolted down. While you can afford to buy more toilet paper to replace stolen rolls, your dispenser may not survive the experience unscathed. Just look at how vandalism became a trend in recent years on social media. 

You’ll want to purchase a durable commercial toilet paper dispenser that is also tamper-proof. Stainless-steel dispensers will stand up to vandalism better than plastic ones. They can come with protected locks that will prevent thieves from stealing your toilet paper while providing easy access for cleaners and service teams. 

A bonus to purchasing a tamper-proof dispenser is that they’ll also be more resistant to damage. They’re well worth the investment. 

6. Cost

The fancier and more durable toilet paper dispensers are going to cost more than more simple options. While it won’t cost a lot to outfit your restrooms, you need to consider whether or not they’ll be easy to replace if they get damaged.

Plastic roll dispensers are the most affordable option and can run you for as little as $20 each. Basic metal options can cost two to three times as much. 

More specialized models are often priced at over $100 each, which isn’t as tantalizing an offer for smaller businesses. However, these dispensers should come with some kind of benefit, such as a space-saving design or extra tamper-proofing.

7. Touchless Options

Bathrooms are covered in bacteria, from the soap dispensers to the door handles. In fact, toilet paper dispensers may carry more germs than the toilet seat. Regardless of how careful you may be, you should always wash your hands before leaving.

One way to minimize the transfer of bacteria is with copper toilet paper dispensers. Bacteria rapidly die on copper surfaces, likely due to the copper ions released. 

Another way to minimize your interaction with that bacteria is with touchless toilet paper dispenser options. 

Like touchless paper towel dispensers, guests can place their hands over a sensor to dispense paper. The paper is pre-measured, so you can also end up saving on your supply over time. 

Toilet Paper Supply and Demand

A toilet paper dispenser is an essential part of any restroom, but it can also reflect on your business’s style and budget. Basic plastic dispensers may give the impression that you’re putting in the bare minimum. Meanwhile, a durable, automatic option could show guests that you spare no expense on their comfort. 

Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about business and entrepreneurship topics.  

Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

10 Steps to Getting Your Commercial License in Texas


Are you a Texas professional with a job that requires you to drive a commercial vehicle? Whether you’re hauling heavy gear, hazardous materials, or any other type of equipment, it’s important to make sure you’re legally cleared to do so.

If you’re interested in getting your commercial drivers license (CDL), there are a few important steps you’ll need to follow. Today, we’re sharing exactly what to do, where to go, and who to talk to. Read on to discover the step-by-step process to get a commercial license in Texas!

1. Meet Commercial Leaner Permit Requirements 

If you are applying for a Texas CDL for the first time, then you will need to hold a Commercial Learner Permit (CLP) first. You’ll also need to obtain your CLP if you’re upgrading your existing CDL to a higher class, such as:

  • Class C to Class B or Class A
  • Class B to Class A

In addition, you’ll also need to complete a designated CLP period if you’re adding a passenger or bus endorsement to a current CDL. Note that you’ll need to have a valid and up-to-date Texas driver’s license before you can apply for a Texas CLP. 

2. Gather Your CLP Documents

To move on to the next phase of this process, you’ll need to hold an active CLP for at least 14 days. This way, you can have two weeks to understand how it feels to be behind the wheel of a Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) before you sit for your official exam.

You will need to provide proof of the following to apply for your CLP through the state of Texas:

  • Your U.S. citizenship
  • Your Texas residency
  • Your personal identification
  • Your medical status self-certification
  • Your social security number
  • A medical examiner’s certificate (as applicable)
  • Insurance information for every vehicle you own
  • Texas DMV registration information for your current vehicle

There are three different self-certifying medical forms that you can complete. These include CDL-4, CDL-5, or CDL-10. While some forms will require an accompanying medical examiner’s certificate, not all do. 

3. Apply For Your CLP

Once you have all of the right forms in place, you’re ready to submit your official CLP application. To save time at the driver’s license office, it helps to complete the application before you come in. 

Once you have filled out all of the required fields, you can make an appointment at your local driver’s license office. In addition to your application, remember to bring all of the aforementioned documents to prove your identity and driver status. 

4. Pay the CLP Application Fee

If you’re applying for a new CLP, then the application fee is $25. Likewise, a renewal permit will also cost $25. If the driver’s license office accepts your application and documents, your next step is to pay this fee.

5. Complete CLP Self-Identification Steps

Next, the driver’s license office will need to take your thumbprints to serve as further proof of your identity. Previously, all 10 fingerprints were required, but this condition changed in 2015. You’ll also get your picture taken for your official CLP. 

6. Pass CLP Tests and Exams

As with any driver’s license or permit, you’ll also need to pass a Vision Exam before you can receive your CLP. In addition, there are specific types of Knowledge Tests that you’ll need for your CLP. These include:

  • Texas Commercial Driving Rules
  • General Driver Knowledge
  • Combination (if applying for Class A license)
  • Air Brakes (only applicable for some drivers)

If you plan to add any special endorsements to your commercial license (such as a Hazardous Material Endorsement), then you will need to take Knowledge Tests for those topics, too. 

Once those written tests are complete, it’s time to take your Skills Test. Before the test, be sure to carefully review the Texas Commercial Driver License Handbook. This test will asses your ability to perform a variety of on-road maneuvers, from parallel parking to railroad crossings.

6. Complete Your Permit Period

With your valid CLP, you can practice driving the CMV on public roads. The only caveat? You can’t drive alone.

You’ll need to have a qualified CDL license operator sitting next to you. This operator must be at least 21 years old and their CDL classification should align with the type of CMV that you’re driving. 

Once you receive it, your CLP will remain valid for up to 180 days, or the date that your base driver’s license expires (whichever date comes first). If you need to renew your CLP, then you can do so one time, but the renewal must occur no more than 30 days before the license is set to expire. As long as you complete your renewal within the required timeframe, you will not be required to retake the knowledge exam to maintain your CLP. 

7. Apply For Your Commercial License in Texas

Once you’ve completed the mandatory CLP period, you are then eligible to apply for your Commercial Driver’s License. As with the CLP application, you can also download and complete this form prior to going in for your exam. 

You can find the CDL application online through the Texas Department of Public Safety. Then, you can schedule a visit to your local driver’s license office. 

As with your CLP, you’ll need to show proof of the following to the license and permit specialist:

  • Your CDL application
  • Your personal identification
  • Your social security number

As long as all of those documents are in place and deemed valid, you should be good to go. 

8. Pay the CDL Application Fee

Your next step is to pay the fee to receive your CDL license. This fee will vary depending on your age. The breakdown is as follows:

  • Age 18 to 84, new or renewal CDL license: $97
  • Age 18 to 84 new or renewal CDL license with Hazardous Material Endorsement: $61
  • Age 85 and older new or renewal CDL license: $26

These age brackets also come with their own sets of timelines for your CDL license. If you’re between the ages of 18 and 84, then your new CDL license will expire in eight years. If you receive a renewal, then that license will expire eight years after your last license expiration date. 

If you add a Hazardous Material Endorsement onto a new or renewal CDL, then that license will expire in five years. Likewise, if you are age 85 or older at the time of your new or renewed license, then that license will expire in two years, on your birthday.

As long as you completed and received your CDL in an official Texas driver’s license office and you do not have a Hazardous Material Endorsement, then you can renew your CDL online when that time comes. 

9. Complete CDL Self-Identification Steps

As you did for your CLP, you’ll also need to provide your thumbprints for your CDL license. In addition, you also will need to have your picture taken for your license. 

10. Pass CDL Tests and Exams

Finally, it’s time to put your CDL knowledge to the test! Once you’ve passed another Vision Exam, you can take the Driver’s Test. This consists of three individual parts:

  • A pre-trip vehicle inspection
  • A general Vehicle Control Test
  • A Road Test

The inspection is in place to make sure your vehicle is safe and capable of being legally operated on the road. Similar to a DOT inspection, it checks for a range of features, from a working horn to working brake lights.  

If you perform even a single dangerous or illegal maneuver during your test, then it will end immediately and you will receive an automatic failure. That’s why it’s so important to study the handbook and only schedule your test when you’re sure that you can pass it.

Remember: Even though you can technically apply for your CDL after only two weeks with your CLP, you can have it for up to 180 days! Take your time and don’t rush the process. It’s critical to stay safe on the road, and you’ll need time to prepare. 

Understanding CDL Waivers and Exemptions

Did your employer require you to obtain your CDL, even though you do not meet the physical requirements necessary to do so? There are a few conditions that can render you unable to receive this full license, including vision problem and limb-related issues.

If that is the case, then you may be able to apply for what’s known as a Texas Intrastate Vision Waiver, or a Texas Intrastate Limb Waiver. If you’re approved, then you will be able to use your CDL but only on the intrastate. Note that you’ll need to provide a valid medical examiner’s certificate if you want to go this route. 

Work Toward Your Commercial License in Texas

Having a commercial driver’s license can open new doors in your personal and professional life. This is an addition that can make you a more attractive candidate for future job offers, especially those in the transportation industry. 

If you’re ready to take the next step, then follow the process above to pursue your commercial license in Texas. If you approach this journey strategically and carefully, then you’ll be ready to hit the open road in no time!

Are you looking for more news you can use? Check back often for other informative guides designed with the curious business owner in mind. 

Small Business Brief

Office

A Complete Guide to Designing a Mobile Office Space


So you’ve decided to invest in a mobile office space (or several small mobile office spaces). Whether you’re doing a full office renovation or you’re just testing out your options to save money, this is going to be a difficult transition.

Setting up a good mobile business office isn’t too different from designing an office in a “real” building, but you’re starting from the ground up. Instead of an office space that’s pre-designed for workplace use, you’re working with a smaller space that’s completely empty.

We’re here to discuss how you can design the best business office space for your new mobile office. Read on to learn more. 

Pick the Right Ground Conditions

Most business owners try to place their mobile offices as close as possible to their “real” business offices. If you choose to do this, make sure that you’ve chosen a space that’s suitable for an office trailer.

Once you’ve looked for office trailer sales and chosen your ideal space, it’s in your best interest to contact a professional to assess your location to make sure that it’s flat and sturdy enough for your new temporary office. 

If you’re lucky enough to have a large parking lot that will still have parking space after you place your office, this is often the best choice. If not, you may need to rent a nearby plot of flat land. 

Stay Near Necessary Utilities

Mobile offices may have the ability to be set up with electricity, but this isn’t always the case. Make sure that you’re able to connect your electricity and wifi to your office before you move everything else into it. Your business relies on tech.

You also need to make sure that you have restrooms nearby. If you’re close enough to your “real” office, and the restrooms are still accessible, this is an easy option.

If not, you may have to get temporary port-a-potties for the duration of your mobile office experience. Employees must have reliable access to restroom facilities, and mobile office employees are no exception. 

Take Advantage of Natural Light

It’s likely that your mobile office won’t have much in the way of natural light. If you buy the office outright, you do have the option of adding more windows. If not, take advantage of the windows that you already have by placing the rest of the workspace items strategically.

Don’t block any windows with office furniture or computers. This will help you avoid overusing fluorescent lighting (which can hurt employees’ eyes or even give them headaches). Natural light may make employees more productive, which is especially important when they’re working in a brand new space. 

Consider Multiple Offices

If you run a business with many employees, it’s best to invest in multiple mobile office spaces unless you’re going to choose a hybrid model where you swap employees back and forth between working from home and coming into the office.

A mobile office simply cannot hold as many people as a “real” office and remain functional.

Having multiple mobile offices allows you to divide them by department. You can mix and match who stays in which office depending on the project that you’re doing. You can also give yourself a smaller office so you have a space for meetings and your own personal work. 

Keep these offices close enough to each other that it’s easy for employees to move between them when it’s necessary to do so.

Maximize Your Space

Speaking of making sure that employees have plenty of room to do their work, you may have to invest in new furniture and supplies and get creative with the furniture that you already have to make sure that you can maximize space to the best of your potential.

It won’t be convenient for employees to have large desks. Consider investing in a few standing/seated desks. Not only do these take up less room, but many employees find them more comfortable. 

Don’t use bulky office chairs. Swap to smaller ergonomic versions. You may discover that this change will make the transition back into your “real” office. 

You want to make sure that there’s plenty of room for employees to move around the office without bumping into each other.

Technology: Can You Minimize It?

You won’t be able to fit all of your tech devices in most mobile offices. It might be time to exchange hefty desktop tower computers for laptops and tablets, at least for the time being. 

This will make it easier for you to move into a mobile office and it will make sure that employees don’t feel too crowded on their new small desks. 

The Importance of Temperature Control 

Your mobile office may not feel as comfortable during hot and cold months as your “real” office. When you’re crafting your ideal mobile office design, don’t forget the importance of an air conditioner unit and space heaters.

There will likely be some level of insulation in your mobile office, but don’t rely on it to keep your employees comfortable. 

This is also another reason that swapping to laptops and tablets is best. Desktop computer towers can warm up the areas around them. 

How Will You Design Your Mobile Office Space?

Your mobile office space might be temporary, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t put some thought into its overall design. Make sure that your employees have plenty of room to work and that they have access to all of the resources and amenities that they need.

Consider having multiple office spaces if you have too many employees to fit comfortably in one mobile office trailer. Remember, you want your employees to stay productive during this temporary transition period!

For more helpful articles about business and more, visit the rest of our site.

Small Business Brief

Entrepreneurship, Restaurant

A Step by Step Guide to Opening a Restaurant


Did you know that nearly 60% of new restaurants fail within the first year of opening in the United States?

Many people dream of opening a place where they can share their family recipes and special creations.

If you want to open a successful restaurant, there are a couple of things that you need to do. 

Continue reading to discover the key steps in opening a restaurant so that you can make your goals a reality! 

Design Your Concept

One of the most important steps of opening a restaurant is to design your concept.

The concept of your restaurant is the defining characteristic that sets you apart from other restaurants. While writing your business plan, you should think about the target group you want to cater to and what unique features will draw crowds in. 

Many types of restaurants have a theme or focus on a specific type of food. Brainstorm ideas so that you know the concept of your restaurant. You should have other ideas branching off that will support the image you are hoping for. 

It can be helpful to go online and search for restaurants with similar concepts that you have. This will help you learn more about what does and doesn’t work in the industry. 

Make a Budget

If you are starting a business, you need to make yourself a budget so that you don’t dig yourself into a hole of debt.

Review your bank statements and savings account information to see how much money you can invest in your restaurant. Budgeting will help prevent you from pulling money from your family to support the business. 

Your budget will need to take a couple of items into consideration. Payroll, equipment, and rental properties will all play a role in your budget and shouldn’t go overlooked. With financial support, you might have more flexibility with your budget. 

If you notice that you are going outside of your budget, take time to evaluate where your money is going and make adjustments where you can.

Get Permits & Licensing

If you haven’t already done so, you will need to register your business name and get an employer identification number (EIN). 

Your name and EIN will be used to obtain the business license, your food-serving license, and your food handler’s permit. If you are planning to sell liquor at your restaurant, you need to get your liquor license, which will have a fee and might take time to recieve. 

The health and fire departments will also need to make an appearance before you open the doors. They will make sure that you are abiding by all safety protocols and ensuring the health of customers. 

It is also a good idea to have your serving staff go through certified training to serve the public. This course reviews things like allergies, proper food handling, and alcohol consumption guidelines. 

Find Financial Support

Whether you have a large savings account, business partner, or loan, you will need financial support.

Opening a business comes with a lot of expenses. Especially when you have to consider filling the place up with food and equipment while paying staff. You will feel a sense of relief once you get financial support because you won’t have to be as concerned about little expenses that add up.

Even with this support, you will still need to make a budget so that you stay within your financial means. Applying for a small business loan can help you get the money you need to open the doors.

Start Buying Equipment 

You can’t open a restaurant if you don’t have the equipment to cook food and furniture for people to sit in. 

A large portion of your startup costs will go towards filling your restaurant up. You will need to purchase chairs, tables, and a POS system. You will also need to buy plenty of dining dishes and glasses to serve. 

If you want excellent ice machines for your restaurant, https://icemakerdepot.com/ is a great resource. You should look into dishwashers, stovetops, and ovens as well.

Buying equipment can get overwhelming. The larger pieces of equipment can get expensive but there are also a lot of other small items you will need. 

Hire Staff

Before the doors open to the public, you will need to open them up to job candidates.

With months or weeks in advance, you should start putting out information about how people can apply. You will need servers, bartenders, and cooks. Dishwashers, bussers, and management are also essential.

Try to avoid hiring the first few people that you see unless they meet your expectations. As long as you are offering a competitive salary and benefits, quality employees will want to work for you. Take the interviewing process seriously and set a positive and hardworking tone with staff from the get-go. 

Take Time to Train 

Hiring staff is only the first part of pulling your team together.

With you and help from the management team, you will need to train staff. Training before the restaurant opens can help ensure that service runs smoothly and everyone knows what is expected of them. 

Many business owners are doing soft openings. A soft opening is where you have a few people attend a private meal so that staff and cooks can practice. 

Are You Thinking About Opening a Restaurant?

Business owners have many obstacles to overcome when opening a restaurant and only those that prepare, survive. 

The restaurant business isn’t as risky if you make a thorough plan before investing your money and making adaptations along the way. Defining your restaurant will help gain attraction from the public and make marketing a breeze.

Don’t underestimate the need for reliable and trustworthy staff. When you train your staff, success is just around the corner. 

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about starting a business and sharing your passions with your community! 

Small Business Brief

Inventory

Understanding How Blockchain Technology Actually Works in Practice


Have you ever wondered what happens after sending some crypto to a friend? Have you heard about distributed ledger technology but are unsure what it actually does?

Blockchain technology is the world’s most secure and anonymous way of sending money. It allows for instant, transparent transactions without any middlemen or fees. Sending money with blockchain is as simple as sending an email. You can send money anywhere in the world at any time of day without worrying about exchange rates or currency fluctuations.

The world has jumped on board with blockchain. With major coins like Tether having a total cap on the cryptocurrency market of nearly $78 Billion, it’s not surprising.

Keep reading for our quick guide to blockchain and how it can work for you.

What Happens When You Send Coins to a Friend?

Let’s say you want to send 0.12 BTC (bitcoins) to your friend, John. What really happens?

The first thing that has to happen is miners have to come up with a valid solution for the transaction validation and block creation process. It needs to be validated using consensus algorithms for this network of nodes to agree that your transaction belongs in the next block being created.

When you start this transaction, your balance decreases by 0.12 BTC (bitcoins). An output is created that references the recipient’s address as the new owner of these coins. This output also contains a cryptographic signature proving that you are authorized. Then the transaction goes into the pool of unconfirmed transactions, waiting to be included in the next block.

The newly created block is distributed across the network so that other nodes can validate it. This helps to confirm your transaction was done properly. Your balance will show up as 0.88 BTC after this happens. You’ve sent 0.12 BTC to your friend John. Sometimes, transferring funds cost a transaction fee, which varies based on the blockchain.

From there, your transaction is included in a block that gets attached to the previous one after validation by other nodes. John can now spend these bitcoin or wait for them to be confirmed again. If he decides to do the latter, you will have to wait some time before they get approved and processed by the miners.   

The whole process is run by the blockchain network. The network is made of miners who validate your transaction, adding them to the blockchain itself. This way, everyone can track your transaction and make sure you’re not cheating. This process makes it more secure for use in many real-world cases.

Converting Coins to Fiat Currency

However, it gets more complicated if you want to cash out your bitcoin or other types of cryptocurrencies for cash like CAD.

To convert from, for example, USDT to CAD, you need to go through an exchange service that operates as a middleman. Doing this means that you simply choose how much of your crypto you want to sell, and the cryptocurrency is transferred to your wallet.

The exchange service takes on the role of a regulator here, as it’s impossible for you to predict which currencies will be available at this specific time or what prices they offer. The price, in turn, is determined by their trading volume and overall market trends.

Don’t Be Afraid of Blockchain Technology

When you’re ready to start sending and receiving cryptocurrency, it’s good to be aware of how it all works. Unfortunately, some people believe blockchain is complicated or requires special technical knowledge to use.

That’s simply not the case – blockchain technology can work for anyone who wants to send money safely, reliably, and instantly. With around 60% of crypto wallets being mobile, it’s clear that adoption has never been higher.

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out the rest of our Finance and Money category?

Small Business Brief

Real Estate

5 Steps That Need To Be On A Moving House Checklist


For the past five years, over 40 million Americans moved annually. In other words, about 13% of the population moves each year. If you’re moving yourself, it helps to have a plan.

Otherwise, you might neglect certain steps, making the move all the more stressful.

Keep reading for the five steps you need to add to your moving house checklist. With this moving guide, you can plan an easy, efficient move. Instead of feeling stressed, you can start enjoying your new home right away.

Get ahead! Start planning with this moving of house checklist today!

1. Declutter

First, make an effort to start packing as soon as possible. Packing early will help you remain ahead of any bumps in the road. Otherwise, you might scramble to pack everything at the last minute.

While you’re packing, try to declutter. Donate or toss out any unnecessary belongings. You’ll have less to pack as a result. 

Schedule a day to have donations picked up, too. 

2. Start Packing and Labeling

As you use this moving guide, pack room by room. Start by packing the least used rooms, first. For example, you might focus on your guest room, garage, or attic before your bedroom. 

While you’re packing, take photos of everything. Photographing your belongings will allow you to file a claim if anything is broken during the move. You’ll know if anything’s missing, too. 

Create a room-by-room moving out of the house checklist for yourself ahead of time.

For example, tasks in the living room include:

  • Wrapping mirrors and glass frames in cardboard
  • Using blankets to protect electronics
  • Dismantling furniture
  • Covering furniture with protective blankets

Tasks in the kitchen can include wrapping fragile items, donating canned food, and clearing out the fridge. 

3. Hire Pros

You don’t have to work through your moving house checklist alone. There are now over 18,000 moving businesses in the US. Call a moving company weeks before your move. 

Calling ahead of time will help you compare prices. If you’re moving a business, you can call these Commercial Movers to get a quote.

4. Change Your Address

Contact USPS ahead of time to change your address. You can select a forward date for your mail as well.

Otherwise, call the bank, credit card company, and your doctor to update your address. 

5. Get Set Up

Once you’re at the end of your moving out of house checklist, you can focus on your new home. On the day of the move, call your utility companies. Make sure the cable, internet, and electricity are set up ahead of time.

Otherwise, you could find yourself unpacking in the dark!

Pack It Up: 5 Essential for Your Moving House Checklist

Moving doesn’t have to feel stressful. Instead, remain organized by using this moving house checklist. With this moving guide and a to-do list, you can remain on schedule this time.

Get moving with these five simple tips today!

On the hunt for more helpful tips and guides? You’ve come to the right place.

Check out our latest articles for more. 

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

9 Tips for Choosing the Top IT Consulting Firm


Your company’s tech security; it’s no joke.

Data from the FBI showed that the cost of cybercrime reached $2.7 billion in 2020. It’s now more important than ever to keep all of your company’s information safe if you want it to survive.

More and more companies are looking for IT consulting firms to give them the protection and skills that they need. But choosing a top IT consulting firms come with a lot of questions.

How do I find the best IT consulting firm? What should IT consulting firms offer?

We’ve created a guide with the top nine tips for how to choose an IT consultant.

1) Relevant Service Offerings

The most important element of any IT consulting firm is that they offer services that are relevant to your business. If you’re a small business you’ll have different needs than a medium-sized one.

You’ll also require different IT services based on your industry. If you own a retail business, the computers in your stores will use different software than if you run a consulting firm.

The best IT firms for you will have the tools to monitor and fix all of your equipment while keeping all of your data secure.

2) Good Communication

Your IT consultant needs to have great communication skills because you’ll be dealing with serious issues that could threaten your entire company. The consultant should respond in a timely manner and be able to explain information in a way that you understand.

When they perform a service or make a change to your security system, they should always tell you why and make it clear how they did it. You shouldn’t be in the dark at any point.

3) Location

Location is one of the most important factors for choosing your IT consultant. This will allow them to communicate at times that work for you. A team that’s halfway around the world may not be operating on your schedule.

When looking for “IT consultants near me,” remember that having an IT consultant in your area will allow them to make repairs and look at your tech much more quickly than one that’s not in your area.

4) Transparent Pricing

When you’re looking for your IT consultant, low prices shouldn’t be the “make or break” point. If you go with a consultant who has super low prices, you’re likely not getting the best quality.

That being said, you don’t want to be overpaying for services, either. The key is to ask the IT consultant to provide an outline of what makes up their pricing model and what level of service you’ll get for the price.

Only once you understand what you’re paying for should you commit to a contract.

5) Up To Date With The Industry

Consider the reason you’re going with an IT company. It’s likely because your tech isn’t advanced enough to deal with high-security issues – only 19 percent of US companies say that their operational tech is advanced.

Make sure that the IT consulting firm you hire has significant expertise in security, software, and data. You will only get value from hiring them if they provide you with more knowledge and services than your team and tools could give you.

6) Having A Long-Term Relationship

IT consultants will be viewing your company’s most sensitive information. If you continually switch consultants or have different people looking at your data, it’s much more likely that there will be a data leak.

Talk to a consulting firm before committing to their services to see if they can be around for the long run. Do they seem like an organization that you would want a long relationship with? How long do the relationships with most of their clients last?

7) Reduction In Overall Costs

How much are you spending on your IT services right now? Maybe you have a team running your department or a few employees. Or maybe you have no one at all and you are losing money

IT consultants are an investment because you have to pay for their services, but they should save you money in the long run by fixing problems and preventing issues.

Make sure that you hire an IT company that has a track record of solving problems and won’t charge you extra for problems you could solve yourself at a lesser cost.

8) Positive Testimonials

If you’re feeling unsure about hiring an IT consultant, positive reviews will be a helpful tool to use.

Past reviews of an IT company’s services can give you the peace of mind that you’re hiring the right company. Or, negative reviews will show you that it’s time to find someone new.

Reviews will also give you an idea of who’s using the company’s services. Say that you’re a small business of 150 people. If the majority of that consultant firm’s clients are other small businesses, it will be more likely to understand the needs of your business.

9) Plans For The Future

Technology is always evolving. The tools that your business uses today may not be the ones it uses in 10 years. And the way you store and protect data is always changing, too.

When you’re looking for an IT firm, you should get an idea of how they look to the future. Do their team members undergo regular training to learn about updates in the industry? How often do they update their software?

IT companies should have a plan for how they will use the tech of tomorrow, and that plan should give you a competitive advantage.

Finding The Top IT Consultant Firm

Finding the top IT consultant firm may not be easy, but it is definitely worth it. By considering all they have to offer and looking into their track record, you can identify the IT consulting firms that will be the best fit for your company.

Interested in learning more about running your business? Check out the rest of our blog posts.

Small Business Brief

Inventory

5 Crucial Reasons You Need Inventory Tracking Software


Out of stock can send shivers down inventory management workers’ spines. But it continues to be an issue, with 81% of in-store customers experiencing disappointment in a year with out-of-stock items. So, what can you do to improve your inventory tracking?

One of the best ways to improve inventory control is to invest in inventory tracking software. Inventory tracking software covers the inventory management process. It can control stock counts, orders, sales, deliveries, and other essential inventory processes. 

Read on to learn the top five reasons it is time to improve your inventory management process with tracking software. 

1. Inventory Control

There is nothing worse than losing track of inventory control, leading to disruptions in production and disappointed consumers. Inventory tracking software makes inventory tracking easy, usually with a user-friendly dashboard to oversee the entire process. It also makes its stock counts and management more flexible; for example, the software makes it easy to change order sizes. 

2. Scalable and Streamlined 

With all the information at your fingertips, you can also make decisions that benefit your business. Inventory tracking software is scalable and adapts to the many changes your inventory management process may face. Check out how software can help DSD sales here. 

3. Reduces Errors

Stock counts are not only time-consuming, but they are also prone to human error. Reduce stress on staff and disruptions to your business with automated processes. Automatic processes help speed up your inventory management process and ensure your company is as reputable as it can be. 

4. Improved Efficiency 

Who does not want more efficient inventory management processes? Inventory management software does not only reduce human error, but it improves efficiency in other ways too.

You will get inventory updates in real-time, which improves the accuracy of inventory management. Plus, you have all information you need in one place, instead of wasting time searching for information in different places. Manage the entire sales and financial process in one place. 

Plus, staff will have more time to focus on other areas of the business, instead of stock counts and other time-consuming tasks, which software can manage. They can focus on ways to improve your business and will be more satisfied, which helps improve productivity

5. Forecast and Plan

Inventory tracking software helps you identify issues before they occur to plan for outcomes more accurately. It also helps analyze inventory processes, which improves demand forecasting. More accurate forecasting helps improve customer satisfaction, improves revenues, reduces disruptions, and frees up cash flow.

Invest in Inventory Tracking Software

There are many benefits of inventory tracking software. Although there is an initial investment, your inventory management process’s long-term cost savings and improvements will make it worthwhile.

There are various software options out there. Take the time to research which one best suits your needs.

Check reviews, features, price plans, and ease of use. Some software offers free versions, which can be an excellent way to test software or suitable for start-ups and small businesses.

Did you like this article? Read on for more posts that will enhance your business!

Small Business Brief

Attorneys & Legal, Entrepreneurship

9 Legal Tips for Starting a Startup


Did you know that many people began brainstorming a new business idea throughout the pandemic? If you want to become a new business owner but don’t know where to start, we can help.

In this guide, we’ll go over tips on starting a startup. You’ll learn about different legal issues to consider, as well.

Want to learn more? Keep reading.

1. Ask Yourself Some Questions First

You should sit down with your partner or alone and determine your goals. Will you provide services or goods? Would you prefer to work independently, or do you plan to hire employees down the road?

Are there financial requirements for your business? What money do you have saved for your business, or will you need to borrow everything?

Gather this information. Legal entities won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution. Your business will have specific needs based on its niche and audience.

2. What Is a Sole Proprietor?

A lot of people will begin their journey as sole proprietors. You will need to operate under your Social Security number for tax purposes.

File an IRS SS-4. You could also apply for a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for your new business. 

The business tends to get run under your legal name. If you prefer to give the company a different name, register a Doing Business As (DBA). State the name you will provide your business.

This process will let your local or state government know the name you plan to operate.

Specific DBA registration rules will vary. You could also apply for a federally registered business trademark or a trade name.

3. What About a Limited Liability Company (LLC)?

The LLC structure has become super popular for independents because it’s simple.

There are legal protections of a corporation that will cover your assets. This structure got first designed to protect an owner from business-related liabilities.

4. Consider an S-Corporation

S-Corps are a unique entity and are separate from people who own them. This is a business structure and receives the designation from the IRS.

You will have limited legal liability. This means you’ll have a separation of personal assets from your business. You’ll also have a separate legal corporate entity and tax entity. There are similar exceptions for LLCs.

The profit from your business will get reported under a separate tax return filing form. The taxable profit will pass through to your tax return.

5. There’s Also a C-Corporation

C-Corps will make owners the shareholders. A C-Corp will have the same status as a Fortune 500 business. The business is a corporate entity that’s separate from the owners.

In the event of an individually-owned C-Corp, you’re not only the owner of your company. You are also a principal shareholder. The corporation is a separate legal entity. It’s an individual taxpayer in the eyes of the IRS.

This structure is a more complicated business arrangement. Yet, it’s one of the more sophisticated options and is an excellent option for independents.

6. Brainstorm Your Business Name

If you plan to file as a Sole Proprietor, you must register your business name. You will either register a Fictitious Business Name (FBN) or a Doing Business As (DBA).

The registration won’t provide trademark protection. It will allow you to create and use the name you prefer. The process will let your state or government know the name you plan to use.

You can use the name but not have to incorporate it. It won’t work as a legal entity and provide legal protection to the sole proprietor.

If you don’t end up registering a DBA as the Sole Proprietor, the name of your business will default to the owner’s name.

If your name is Amanda Marie, and you form a content company, the business’s legal name will be Amanda Marie.

If you plan to name your business Amanda Marie Content, you will have to register this as a DBA name. The specific registration rules will change from state to state.

7. Look at Getting an EIN

Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) if you hire employees. The EIN will identify your business for tax purposes.

You can use it to open a bank account for your business and apply for business licenses. You will also use it to file tax returns.

Use the IRS EIN Assistant. You can apply for an EIN online. You don’t need an EIN if you operate as a single-member LLC or a sole proprietorship.

An EIN will create separation between personal and business liability. Shield your social security number on documents to prevent identity theft.

8. Look Into Getting Business Licenses and Permits

An independent contractor will need to get the proper licenses and permits. Get licensed at a federal level, depending on your business’s location and industry.

Federal licenses are necessary for businesses involved in activities regulated and supervised by a federal agency. Look at working with a business formation lawyer if you need.

9. Pay Local and State Taxes

Income tax isn’t the only tax you have to cover. Make sure you understand the different tax requirements you’ll have.

Most contractors are self-employed. They have to pay self-employment tax along with income tax.

Starting a Startup

We hope this guide on starting a startup was helpful. Make sure you understand your goals and the capital needed. 

Are you in need of more marketing or business tips? Keep learning how to launch your startup this year, so it’s a success by checking out our resources on the blog.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

5 Simple Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses


Necessity has ever been the mother of invention and innovation. Nowhere is that more true than in the realm of small business, where your company could live or die based on its ability to adapt and reach out to new audiences.

The coronavirus pandemic saw some severe losses to many small businesses. However, some managed to adapt and overcome by adjusting their offerings or their advertising to reach new demographics. If you want your business to be one of the ones that survive, our list of 5 simple advertising ideas will give you some inspiration.

1. Embrace Social Media

Social media has proven a great equalizer in the realm of business marketing. All companies, large and small, incorporate some form of social media element into their advertising strategies. If you aren’t already leveraging the power of Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and their powerful algorithms to boost your views, you’re missing out on a key portion of your demographic.

2. Work With Video Marketing

People will remember a viral video or a heartfelt commercial a lot longer than they will anything else. That makes video marketing one of the best types of advertising. Whether you choose to partner with local TV stations or use streaming services like YouTube or Twitch, you can find an audience for your video marketing campaign. 

And if cost concerns you, don’t worry. The barrier to entry and general cost for quality video marketers has decreased as recording technology becomes smaller and more portable.

3. Leverage Connections With Other Local Businesses

Perhaps, instead of getting annoyed with your neighbor’s advertising outdoor signs, it’s time to consider working with them. If you already have connections with other local businesses, you can set up mutually beneficial arrangements where each of you carries advertising material or vouches for the other through word of mouth. If you don’t already have those connections, consider visiting your local chamber of commerce to start making them.

4. Everyone Loves Contests

If there’s one thing everyone loves, it’s free stuff and a chance to win it. That’s why hosting a contest is one of the best advertising ideas that a small business can have. No matter how slim the odds or wacky the competition, if you hold the carrot of “free stuff” in front of most people, they’ll bite it.

What’s even better? The contest you hold will generate serious word-of-mouth buzz, advertising a small business drawing in new clients in one fell swoop.

5. Offer Relevant Skill Tutorials

Among the advertising tips to emerge from the pandemic era, we believe this to be the most lasting. People like to learn things for free almost as much as they like free stuff. So, if you offer to teach them something relevant to your product or business, especially a relevant skill, people will come to you.

Simple, easy-to-follow tutorials make for fantastic advertising ideas.

Looking for More Advertising Ideas for Small Businesses?

Figuring out how to advertise your small business can be difficult. However, we hope the 5 advertising ideas above gave you some inspiration. And, if you need more food for business growth, check out our blog for more articles like this one!

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

8 Quick Media Training Tips That You Need to Know


Are you wanting to bring more media attention to your business? Or are you in a position such as public relations specialist that requires regular media interaction? If either of these situations is true, you need quality media training.

What is media training? It’s communication training for those who plan to or have to interact with the media.

Media training is deeply important, as it is very easy for things to go wrong with media. You could face misquotes or public misunderstanding without proper media training.

To prevent such a disaster, here are eight quick media training tips you need to know.

1. Do Research

Look into the background of the media company you’re communicating with. Look at past articles or press pieces to see if there are patterns that can help you predict what questions may be asked. And make sure they have a good track record with respect towards interviewees before you even speak to them.

2. Dress Professionally

Do not be casual when representing your company or brand to the media. You need to be professional in how you dress. You are representing your brand, and your outfit should show that you take your brand seriously.

3. Practice Your Responses

When going in, you should have done some research to determine what questions might be asked. Or you should at least know the subject of the discussion and be able to work off of that. Practice your answers to potential questions so you don’t look like a deer in the headlights in the interview.

4. Be Calm And Secure

If you’re feeling tense or anxious, your facial and body language will give you away. It is not good for your brand’s image to be frazzled or shaky. Keep yourself comfortable and don’t let them see you sweat.

5. Be Cordial

Be polite and respectful to the interviewer. You want to have a positive image, and you also want to build a strong relationship with the media. Be dignified and respectful.

6. Don’t Speak Frivolously

As long as the interview is taking place, nothing is off the record. Don’t let anything slip out that you will regret.

7. Anticipate Tough Questions

The interviewer may ask hard questions, or they may ask different questions the same way to press you for answers. Be ready to deal with that. Don’t assume the worst of this person who is doing their job, but don’t fall for common media tricks.

8. Evaluate Yourself

After the interview is done, do a serious self-evaluation. Could you have prepared more? Could you have given better answers or done something differently?

It’s never perfect, and it absolutely won’t be the first time. Continue to improve with each interaction.

More Media Training Tips

This media training guide should prove helpful, but there are several other components that go into media training. For that reason, it’s a good idea to bring in experts to train those who will interact with media.

You can receive corporate media training here at Sunshine Media Network. This team has years of experience training executives and PR reps for on-camera interviews and interactions with journalists. They are able to thoroughly prepare you or your designated media liaison for the pressure of media interaction.

Follow These Media Training Tips For Success

These media training tips will be of major use in future media interactions. Take this media training advice seriously and seek a professional and harmonious relationship with the media. It will be good for you and your brand.

Visit our Business and Marketing sections for more.

Small Business Brief

Attorneys & Legal

A Step by Step Guide on How to Start a Law Firm


Are you one of the 1.3 million lawyers who are practicing in the United States?

While legal careers are lucrative, there is a lot of competition to secure clients. If you want to maximize your profits and help the most amount of people, then starting your own law firm is your smartest move.

Do you need some help figuring out how to start a law firm that can earn a stellar reputation in your community? Keep reading for the important steps you don’t want to miss so you can look forward to a bright future.

Write Out a Law Firm Business Plan

No matter what type of industry you’re entering, no one should invest in their own business until they have a detailed plan. Your biggest hurdle will be finding the money to cover your startup costs.

Although this can be a tedious process, you’ll end up saving tons of time and frustration in the future by having a solid plan.

Scope Out Potential Business Offices

Once you’re ready to move forward, you’ll have to find an office space for lease where you can work. The goal is to find a location that’s convenient for your clients without being out of your budget.

When people have an easy time getting to your office, they’ll be more likely to hire you as their lawyer.

Create a Productive Business Space

Another top priority should be setting up a workspace that makes you feel productive so you can work smarter instead of harder. In addition to ergonomic furniture, your office should have great technology to stay you connected.

Don’t forget to make your office feel cozy for whenever your potential clients visit.

Lean on Your Network

We meet tons of people throughout our lives that it can be hard to keep up. If you’re starting a new law firm, then now is the time to connect with everyone in your network to let them know the news.

By getting over any bashfulness you may have, this step will let other people you know refer their loved ones to you when they’re seeking legal help.

Pay Attention to Your Marketing Efforts

You may be able to get lots of attention by networking, but the key to sustainable growth is developing a marketing campaign. These efforts will introduce your business to your target audience.

After people research you and see how qualified you are, they’ll be thrilled to set up an appointment.

Now You Know How to Start a Law Firm

There are plenty of wonderful reasons why becoming a lawyer is a fantastic path to take. After reading this guide on how to start a law firm, you can take your success into your own hands and start making your community a better place.

Running your own business requires adapting to the latest trends. If you want to keep up with the news on marketing, finances, business products, and more, our site has you covered. Spend some time clicking around our blog in order to achieve all of your goals.

Small Business Brief

HVAC

5 Reasons to Get Thermal Insulation for Your Steam Heating System


Did you know that the majority of homes in the United States of America use a furnace or a boiler to provide heat during the cooler months of the year? One of the most effective and energy-efficient options on the market today is the steam heating system for heating your home.

Steam heating is effective but there are things that you can do in order to make your steam pipes safer as well as more efficient when heating the rooms of your house. Investing in insulation for your steam systems is a great move because it will produce greater heat and provide other benefits.

If you’ve never considered insulating your system for steam heating then you’ve come to the perfect spot to learn about why you should invest in insulation. Keep reading this article to learn more.

1. Protection

Steam heating systems produce a lot of heat through the pipes and touching these pipes could cause severe burns to the skin. Insulating these pipes provides a much greater deal of protection to people that are in close proximity to these pipes. If the temperature of the pipes reaches heights of 140 degrees Fahrenheit or higher then you should insulate your pipes.

2. Better Quality of Steam

Insulating your steam system and steam pipes is also a great way to get better steam. You’ll have much greater control over the temperature of your home using your steam heating system when your pipes have solid insulation. You’ll also save money on energy bills since it will take less work to produce quality steam for heating your home. Check out shannonglobalenergy.com for more.

3. Avoids Premature Failure

A big thing that happens to a steam pipe over time is the build-up of carbonic acid and the corrosion that this acid causes. Getting insulation will prevent this premature failure from corrosion by keeping the temperature of the steam higher.

4. More Control

You’ll also have a much greater level of control when it comes to the temperature in your home when you invest in insulation for your steam pipes. Non-insulated pipes will release energy and heat into the air around them which takes away from the control you have over the interior temperatures in your home.

Getting insulation will mean that your system produces 75-degree temperatures when you set your thermostat at 75 degrees. Your steam heating system will need to use less energy in order to keep a steady and comfortable temperature.

5. Energy Conservation

Everyone is looking for ways to lower their energy consumption and their energy bills. You won’t find many options that are more cost-effective than getting insulation for your steam heating system. You’ll lose less heat through your pipes and require less water in order to heat your home.

Insulate Your Steam Heating System Today

Getting insulation for your steam pipes and steam heating system makes sense on so many different levels. You’ll have much more control over the level of heat your home has during winter and you’ll conserve more energy. You’ll also make your home a safer place by protecting your household from burns on hot pipes.

For more informative and helpful articles on a range of topics, make sure you check out our blog.

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

How to Plan an Amazing Corporate Event


60% of business leaders feel that in-person corporate events are the most important marketing tool to achieve business goals. The simple truth is that a virtual event is a cheap imitation of a live in-person experience. 

Moving forward into the post-pandemic business world means prioritizing in-person corporate event planning. Zoom meetings just don’t hold a candle to an in-person networking and entertainment experience.

So how can you plan your next corporate event so that it is a huge hit? By mastering a few key elements and utilizing your knack for a good time, you can do it. Here’s how to throw a party that your clients and employees will enjoy.

Hire a Caterer for Your Corporate Event

Everyone loves great food, and providing it is the best way to coax your employees and other attendees out of the woodwork. Hire a reputable caterer for your next corporate event to ensure success.

Make sure they have food options for everyone. Having vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free menu items is a great start. You also may want to think about having an open bar if you want to provide the best experience possible.

Pick the Right Venue

The venue in which you host your corporate event will be one of its defining features. Try to find somewhere classy and unique. Concert halls, outdoor venues, and unique rental properties are some great ideas.

Everyone cringes at the idea of spending time in yet another hotel meeting room illuminated by halogen lights. Don’t take the easy way out and choose a cookie-cutter venue. Pick a place where people will want to party.

Provide Entertainment at Your Corporate Event

Nobody wants to hear a bunch of long-winded speeches by business leaders when they are attending an event. You need to provide some event entertainment to captivate people’s attention and inspire a good time.

Having some party music will lighten the ambiance and inspire human connection. Check out this article for tips on how to select the best musical entertainment for your next corporate event.

Plan Far in Advance

You need to set a date far in advance so your employees and other attendees can mark it down on their calendars. The more time you give yourself for planning, the better job you can do at it.

If you have a yearly corporate event, try to keep the date consistent each year. Doing so will allow your employees to plan their schedules around your event better. Advanced planning and consistency are two things to keep in mind.

Get Ready to Party

Your next corporate event doesn’t have to be a dull business meeting. You want to make it something your attendees talk about for years to come. The success of your event will be a measure of the success of your business.

Amp up your next business shin-dig by using some of the corporate event planning tips in this guide. Your employees and clients will appreciate it. For other great information about various engaging topics, check out our blog.

Small Business Brief

Cleaning Business

9 Important Office Deep Cleaning Tips for a Healthy and Safe Work Space


With COVID on the rise in many areas of the United States, it’s more critical than ever to maintain a clean and safe work environment. Employees feel better and have increased productivity when they know they’re working in a clean workplace. 

But are there extra precautions you can take when you’re considering office deep cleaning? Whether you run a large or small company, there is plenty of deep cleaning advice needed for all offices.

If you want to make sure that your office is as clean as can be, follow these deep cleaning tips. 

1. Make a List

If you’re wondering how to conduct deep cleaning, the best place to being is by making a list. Productivity occurs best when you make a list of everything you need to accomplish. What are the places in your office that you need to prioritize when it comes to deep cleaning? 

By assigning places to clean on your checklist, you’re not left wondering if anything was missed or left behind. Sometimes you may need to add places and tasks to your checklist and that’s ok. 

2. Professional Services

If you find that you only have time to do daily cleaning tasks, like empty trash or throw away expired food, you may want to consider professional disinfecting services

While cleaning with soap and water, and wiping down surfaces go a long way in keeping spaces clean, disinfecting will eliminate more contaminants than non-commercial cleaning products. Additionally, you’ll know that you’re leaving the germ-busting in the hands of professionals who know how to properly disinfect the area. Doing so leaves you to concentrate on more important things. 

3. Enlist Employees to Engage

Leaving all the cleaning to one person is a recipe for disaster. It’s equally important for your employees to help as well, especially if they have their own spaces or workplaces. In fact, there are more bacteria on an office desk than a toilet seat. 

Create a checklist for them to follow at the end of the day, which may include throwing away trash, wiping down surfaces with sanitizing wipes, or doing a general pick-up in their space. By working together, you can ensure a safe space for that employee and others who may be a part of that space. 

4. Empty Trash

Sometimes trash bins pile up quickly, especially after an office party or other event. It’s important to take care of trash before it overflows and makes a larger mess. 

If your trash problem continues, try adding more trash bins around the office. More trash bins allow for trash to be distributed more evenly and reduce the risk of one trashcan overflowing. 

5. Bathrooms

Bathrooms are never anyone’s favorite cleaning chore, but because of the many hard surface areas of bathrooms, they should be at the top of the list for deep cleaning. 

If your office is located within a building, many times there is a janitor to tackle the bathrooms on a regular basis. However, if now, you’ll want to designate someone to clean the bathrooms daily. This would include wiping down the hard surfaces with a disinfecting cleaner and mopping the floor. 

Depending on how many people use the bathroom, this can be done once or twice a day, or on an as-needed basis. 

6. Breakroom or Kitchen

Employees enjoy congregating in the breakroom or kitchen for lunch and breaks and should be encouraged to keep food particles off work equipment and avoid spills. 

Breakrooms and kitchens can become quite messy, especially when employees leave trash or old food in the fridge. Designate or assign a rotation for them to clean the kitchen or breakroom every day to keep germs away. Make sure counters, sinks, faucets, tables, and chairs are wiped down with an all-purpose cleaner and throw away old or expired food to avoid mold.

7. Carpets

Carpets in the office are a great addition while providing warmth and sound absorption. However, they can harbor plenty of harmful bacteria, dirt, and other debris if they’re not regularly vacuumed. People with allergies or other respiratory problems may experience medical issues if these carpets are not cleaned. 

Daily vacuuming is essential. A deep carpet clean once or a month or less, depending on office traffic, will ensure that you’re attacking the bacteria and dirt that live deep in the carpet. You can invest in a carpet cleaner for small spaces, or hire a professional carpet company for larger carpeted areas. 

8. Dusting

Dust is everywhere and nearly impossible to get rid of. Daily dusting needs to occur if you want to keep your office space dust-free. 

When you dust, begin at the top of desks or workspaces and work downwards. To get more of a deep clean, you can vacuum ceiling corners as well. When the dust falls, you can wipe it away with a disinfecting wipe.

9. Sanitize Small Spaces

Larger areas like bathrooms, kitchens, and desks should be prioritized when it comes to office deep cleaning. However, smaller spaces like a door handle or railing often get overlooked. These places should be wiped down with sanitizing wipes at least once or twice a week to reduce the number of bacteria on them. 

Consider other places to wipe down like light switches, chairs, tables, or even keyboards that may contain bacteria as well.  

Deep Cleaning Tips for Your Office

Healthy office space is a happy office space, and these deep cleaning tips will help you be on your way to a (mostly) germ-free environment. With a little help and planning, you can feel confident that you’ve done your best in keeping harmful bacteria at bay. 

Do you want to learn more ways to keep your office or business innovative? Visit our business page today to learn more tips to keep your business thriving. 

Small Business Brief

Business Advice, Marketing

What Is Guest Posting and How Can It Benefit Your Business?


Ever read an article on a blog because of the catchy headline? Or found yourself reading an article online at 3 am to find an answer to a question that had been bothering you all night?

What is interesting to note is that many of the articles we read online are not even written by the hosts of the sites. Savvy online marketing done at its best will lead you to the doorstep of a particular website, company, or even product and leave you wanting more. This is guest posting. 

But what is guest posting and why should some businesses start to take it seriously? Read on to find out.

What Is Guest Posting?

Guest posting is the practice of writing content for other sites than your own. In the perfect setting, the blog that you would guest post to would be in the same industry. However, even industries that are related to yours could be led to good results.

But why go to the extra effort to provide content to another site that isn’t yours? Surely time would be better spent boosting your own content, right?

Well, there are clear reasons why any company marketing their business should give it serious consideration. 

Does Your Business Need to Guest Post?

There is no escaping the importance of becoming trusted by Google for a business. Studies show that the first 5 search results tend to get over 65% of the clicks, so your business should be doing all it can to boost your ranking. 

Guest posting can help in several ways.

First, it boosts traffic. Second, guest postings are also great for improving domain authority. 

One of the main ways that they can gauge how relevant content is through how many pages backlink to your page. Guest posting can kill two birds with one stone. Not only can you write an article that has embedded backlinks to your site, but if the site you write for also has high domain authority, then you could be onto a real winner. 

Lastly, it can gain you a reputation in your industry as a market leader.

But guest posting may not be for everyone. While every business would benefit from the boost guest posting can give, you have to have a long-term strategy in mind, as results can take time to bear fruit. If you’re looking for quick sales, guest posting may not be for you.  

How to Get Started With Guest Posting

First, you need to isolate sites that are best in line with your goals in your industry. This can take time, especially finding sites with great content, high traffic volumes, and that will also accept guest posts. 

For this reason, many take up the services of a guest posting company, which will already have connections and agreements with such sites, as well as great backlink software to maximize returns. 

The final and most important factor is cranking out great quality content. If you are consistently able to produce interesting, educational, and entertaining content, then you may even find that the tables turn and that content starts converting into more business! 

One More Tool in the Toolbox

While we should be skeptical of anything that promises guaranteed results. But one thing that you can be confident of is that, when done right, guest posting is always beneficial. When will you make a start?

We hope you enjoyed our brief breakdown of the basics of guest posting. To keep up to date in all things digital marketing, don’t miss out on the other great content on our site!

Small Business Brief

Auto Dealership, Business Advice

How to Choose the Best Corporate Car Service


Do you have an important client coming to your office to discuss business? Or maybe the CEO is in town and is looking to come down to your branch to see how things are doing? Or perhaps, you have a corporate event and you want your staff to feel appreciated?

In any event, you need to start thinking about transportation. How are you going to get your guests from point A to point B?

We recommend hiring corporate car services to add a touch of professionalism and class to your VIP’s transportation. But how do you find the best company to handle your precious cargo?

We’re here to provide a few answers. Keep reading for everything you need to know about how to hire the best corporate car service.

Find Out What Type of Vehicles They Offer

First, not all corporate car services are created equally. Some provide elegant high-end vehicles for transportation while others have limos and shuttle buses.

What do you need for your guests?

If you have a lot of people that need transportation, a shuttle bus or limousine might be appropriate. Conversely, if you have a single VIP, a high-end luxury sedan would be more fitting.

Check Availability

Of course, when looking at your options for corporate car services, you also need to verify their availability for the date, time, and location you need them. Can they be at your desired location exactly when you need them to be? If you’re having an all-day event, can the car service stick around for maximum reliability and convenience?

Ask About Insurance

One of the most important corporate car service tips is to hire a company that’s adequately insured. What happens if the driver gets into an accident? What if the passengers are injured?

Will the corporate car service cover the costs of medical bills and damaged property? What if something is lost or stolen out of the vehicle? To protect yourself and your guests, ensure the car service has the right type of insurance.

Look At Customer Reviews

To find the top corporate car services in your area, go online to find customer reviews left by other people in your community. You can generally find these on the websites of the car services. Otherwise, check their social media pages or Google their reviews.

You’re looking for a car service that has a solid reputation in the industry. Do they show up on time? Are the drivers professional, efficient, and accommodating?

Compare Their Prices With Other Car Services

Finally, the best corporate car service is the one that meets your budgetary needs. How much money do you want to spend on professional transportation?

Before settling on a company, get a quote from the top car services in the area. Then, using the information listed above, determine which corporate car service is the right fit.

Looking for the Right Corporate Car Service?

If you’re looking to make a good impression on staff or important VIPs, hiring the right corporate car service is essential. The first impression a VIP will have of your company could be their transportation experience. This could mean the difference between making a sale and losing a potential client.

For more business tips or consumer insight, stick around and read through some of our other articles. Our blog is full of content created to help professionals like you achieve more success.

Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

Top 5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a GPS Tracker


The first GPS system was released nearly 30 years ago and the $1.4 trillion business remains a top resource for people who need to get around. A GPS is more than just a smart map today. It’s possible to track where you park your vehicle or send your location to others when.

Functionality is key when choosing a GPS tracker. Keep reading to learn a few qualities your GPS should possess when you want to purchase another.

1. Affordability

Comparing tracker costs is the top factor many consider when looking at GPS devices. Unlike what most may think, the advancement in GPS technology helps drive down the cost. 

You can find several brands that offer a reasonably priced GPS system that is packed with functions without the crazy price tag. The average price for a quality GPS ranges from $25-$200.

2. Alerts and Notifications

Real-time alerts are a must for those who want to stay updated with changes on the road in relation to your vehicle. GPS tracking in real-time offers this, unlike passive tracking systems. 

For example, a notification may inform you that your vehicle is reaching a certain speed, you are at a certain area, or if there is a block of accident en route. These alerts are extremely helpful to drivers.

3. Support

A GPS tracker provider offers the proper coverage and support. Dispatching is one quality drivers will find helpful on the road. Dispatching allows a user to know where their car is at all times and get help when they need it. 

4. Map Quality

The types of trackers also range depending on the quality of the map. You should look out for maps that offer the options most helpful to you.

Check for GPS tracks that allow you to zoom in and out of your location, change the view, or incorporate things such as street lights. These characteristics are helpful for everyday drivers and work drivers.

You can click for more information to learn more about GPS trailer tracking. The accuracy of those maps is important. You want to pick a reliable mapping provider such as Google Maps.

5. Tracking System

The tracking system you purchase should be compatible with your smart devices and other devices. You also want a system that is user-friendly and easy to install. 

A good tracking system offers both real and passive tracking in the event of Wi-Fi loss. Real-time GPS systems should use a satellite modem that checks data frequently and keeps everything you see up-to-date. 

Choosing a GPS Tracker for Your On-The-Go Needs

Choosing a GPS tracker that fits your needs will ensure every trip you make on the road is a smooth one. The best GPS system offers the most functions while being affordable. 

You should look for a GPS tracker that offers notifications and alerts, a smart map system, and support. You want to get a GPS system that possesses high functionality but is also easy for anyone to use. The road is your playground with the right one. 

If you found this article helpful, you can find more interesting and insightful blogs on our website. 

Small Business Brief

Business Advice

6 Types of Organizational Change Businesses Should Adapt To


At some point, 96% of companies said that they were going through an organizational change.

There are many different types of organizational change that a company can go through, so you’ll have to find which one is perfect for your company.

Keep reading to learn about change management and the different organizational change models.

1. Organization-Wide Change

Change across an organization is normally a large transformation that will affect everyone in the company. This might be something like adding a new policy, introducing new technology, or restructuring leadership.

With this type of change, every single employee will feel this change. However, once the change is done, your company should see improvements. This can be a good indicator to understand how policies can be outdated or reflect the company’s identity. 

In order to have a change that is successful, you’ll have to have a good implementation strategy and great leadership to guide employees through the scary time. 

2. Strategic Transformational Change

For a strategic transformational change, it can be helpful to have an organizational effectiveness consultant that will help guide your company through the change. 

Big changes are likely transformational changes and will make the company feel different. Whether the transformation is good or bad will depend on what strategy you use.

If you want positive results, you’ll have to do some planning to make sure that it works. You’ll have to figure out what the goal of your plan is and then find a way to get there. 

One example of this type of change updating the mission of the company as you grow. When a company first launches, normally they’re focused on generating leads and getting clients. But once the company has a good customer base, the focus will go to upselling and maintaining the employees.

This will require a change in employees’ priorities in order to do this.

3. Adaptive Change

The adaptive changes are normally small, and they’re made in small adjustments. The organizations and managers will likely be more affected, and they’ll have to meet weekly, daily, or monthly challenges and goals.

These changes are normally meant to fine-tune a process. It might also be changing products or company culture. 

Some other examples of this change might be adding a new payment method for customers who are ordering something online. It could be creating a new intake form or a sales pitch. 

You might want to add a new page to your website or do some AB testing to figure out which option will work best. 

Some companies also want to upgrade equipment or software to different brands or versions while also seeing different changes in functionality. 

In order for this to be successful, the managers will have to monitor these goals and ensure that the small adaptions are actually necessary. They should also be beneficial in the long run.

4. In-Between Change

An in-between change is normally going to fall in between a transformational or an adaptive change. The important value is to think about the change on a spectrum. This will help you identify which change yours falls into.

For example, if your business is growing, you’ll likely encounter change that would be natural or happen over a small portion of time. This could be something like transitioning from informal to formal management. 

This happens with most startups as they turn into mature businesses. The strategy of the company might not change, but you’ll need to manage your employees differently. 

While this transition might not be drastic, it’s also not something that’s small. Employees might still notice a shift and find it scary, so leaders should always be clear and transparent about the changes that are happening. 

5. Personnel Change

Personnel change happens when a company will experience layoffs or hiring a lot of employees all at once. These will start causing a change in how you retain employees and keep them engaged. 

It could also start to affect the company culture as well.

If companies are worried that they will be laid off, then the employee morale and productivity will start to lower. However, the company still needs to move forward, so find a way to communicate this while also displaying compassion and motivation to help employees work through this hard time. 

On the other hand, while hiring is normally better for a company, it still has its challenges. This means that cultural changes and disorganization can happen in the company. 

This also means that you’ll have to provide new employees with support and training. If you don’t handle this transition very carefully, it can be inefficient, stop further growth, and make everything more chaotic. 

6. Remedial Change

Remedial changes are normal changes that happened because of something else. When you identify a problem, then you’ll have to come up with a solution to implement. 

This may not be the most ideal kind of change, but it has to happen at some point. 

For example, this could be dealing with a loss of some talent. If someone important to your business leaves, you’ll have to act quickly.

You’ll have to answer questions to current employees while also finding someone to fill that role. 

Discover More Types of Organizational Change

These are only a few types of organizational change, but there are many more that your company can experience.

We know that going through a type of organizational change and still running your business can be stressful, but we’re here to help you out.

Did you find this information useful? Explore our website to find even more great articles!

Small Business Brief

Construction

Business Equipment: How To Choose Between Different Types of Cranes


In 2021, new commercial construction projects were up more than 10% over the previous year. Business is booming, and construction companies are feeling the pressure.

If you’re planning a new build, you need to plan your business machinery ahead of time, as so much demand is putting a strain on most construction suppliers.

And since commercial buildings are getting bigger and bigger every year, larger equipment is needed to complete projects. Wondering what the different types of cranes you’re going to need to complete your project? There are dozens of variations, each with its specific use cases.

Since you’re going to need to order or rent one well in advance, it pays to start your research now. Keep reading to learn about the main types of cranes used on job sites today, to help start preparing now.

Factors To Consider When Choosing a Crane

When buying a crane, the type you need will depend on your specific application. 

Some cranes are designed for permanent installation inside a manufacturing facility or warehouse. Facilities use these to automate repetitive tasks or take care of heavy lifting within a workflow. 

Most cranes, however, are temporary and semi-portable. They’re used in the construction of new facilities and are removable once the project is complete. 

The height of your final project will determine how big of a crane you need. The terrain that your crane will need to operate will also play a role, as smaller cranes typically need paved or groomed roads, while all-terrain cranes can handle any type of rough surface. 

The load capacity will also be a huge factor. How heavy are the materials you’re going to need to lift, and how high up do they need to go?

Also, consider what features you need for the specific application. Do you need a crane with a telescoping arm, that can easily adjust its height and length? Or is a fixed-height crane sufficient?

Do you need a crane with knuckles, that can move up, down, left, and right as needed? Or will a crane that can rotate suffice? 

Many jobs will need multiple different cranes at some point or another. But either way, you’ll need to think to throw a project in its entirety to decide which type(s) of crane will prove most useful on your site. 

Different Types of Cranes

So what are the different types of rigging equipment you can buy or rent today? Here are some of the most common variations. 

Truck Cranes

These are small, simple cranes mounted to the back of a heavy-duty pickup truck. These are the types of cranes commonly seen on the side of the road, working on powerlines.

When the crane folds down onto the truck bed, these vehicles can navigate any road or highway with ease and can get into tight spots that other cranes won’t be able to reach. 

These cranes are fast and easy to deploy, making them a great option for short-term projects, or even single tasks. Renting them by the day is easy to do. 

When you extend the crane and carry a load, the truck itself will be unable to move, as it’s a lightweight vehicle. So the movement of large objects is quite limited with truck cranes. 

Crawler Cranes

Crawler cranes are the heavy-duty version of the truck crane. These are installed on tractor-type vehicles with crawler tracks, like the kind you see on military tanks.

Crawler cranes can move around with ease while carrying a load, as the weight is properly distributed, thanks to its large profile. 

But these cranes can’t operate on public roads. They’re too slow, anyway. They need to be disassembled and transported on flatbed trucks to the job site, where they are reassembled before use.

Standard cranes will need smaller cranes to help assemble the larger crane. But modern crawler cranes are designed to assemble themselves, piece by piece, so separate large equipment isn’t needed. 

Tower Cranes

Head to a big city with constant development, and you’ll see tower cranes dotting the skyline. Cities that have seen nonstop growth in recent years, such as Nashville, have dozens of tower cranes sprawled out across the city as new high rises are going in all the time. 

Tower cranes have a long, straight tower that supports the weight of the crane. Extending off the top of this tower is the crane arm, which comes in a few variations, such as the hammerhead, with straight jibs. 

Knuckle Boom Crane

Another crane variation is the knuckle boom crane. Rather than a straight or telescoping jib, they have a foldable jib. They contain “knuckles” where the arm folds, just like fingers.

They can extend to be long and straight, or adjust at the knuckles to reach varying heights. 

These are another variation of truck cranes, as they are usually mounted on the back of heavy-duty trucks since the crane can fold down into a compact package. 

Because the HIAB knuckle boom crane is mounted to a truck, it doesn’t require as many certifications from the city and is much easier to deploy at different sites on a regular basis. 

Knuckle boom cranes are used in almost every industry, so there’s a good chance you’re going to need them once at some point. 

Overhead Cranes

Overhead cranes are usually permanent cranes installed inside or outside a manufacturing facility. They’re also common in facilities that construct large equipment, like boats, planes, or trains.

From the ground, these cranes look kind of like tunnels. They have supporting legs on either side, with a main beam running across the top. This beam acts as a bridge where the crane can move back and forth.

Floating Crane

If you ever need to perform construction or repairs from the water, such as working on docks or bridges, you’ll benefit from a floating crane. They can utilize any type of crane. The main difference is that they are mounted to a flat, heavy-duty vessel.  

Choosing the Right Crane for Your Jobsite 

There are tons of different types of cranes available. They are used in tons of industries and are some of the most valuable pieces of equipment in the construction industry.

If you’re managing a job, you’ll probably need to use multiple different cranes for different purposes. In order to choose a crane, you’ll need to consider your project from start to finish, thinking about everything from load capacity to terrain type, how tall a crane needs to be, and more.

Looking for more tips on managing your upcoming projects? Head over to our blog now to find other helpful articles.

Small Business Brief

Safety & Loss Prevention, Technology & Software

Small Business Guide: How to Protect Your Data


Around 60% of small to mid-sized companies go out of business six months after a data breach. 

Hackers do not only target big multi-million dollar companies. Those businesses often have the best cyber security practices since they have a lot to lose. Hackers also target small businesses with poor data security.

But figuring out how to protect your data as a small business owner is impossible if you’re not techy, right?

Nope! Knowing how to protect your data from hackers can be simple and affordable. Read these data security tips to avoid a cyber breach and keep your (and your customers) information secure.

Hire External IT Support

You don’t need permanent, in-house cyber security staff to know how to protect your data. Hiring an external IT support team on a contract or part-time basis will help plug a few gaps in your data security plan.

For starters, they help you create data security plans for worst-case scenarios. Choose a company you can call 24/7 in case you have a cyber attack and one that will be able to give you expert software and laptop maintenance tips.

Keep All Software Updated

Many security breaches occur in businesses because people are using out-of-date tools. 

Encourage your employees to update their software and computers whenever they get a notification. It can be annoying to stop working because there you have an update, but that’s how to protect data online from hackers!

Learn Local Privacy Laws

Did you know that each state, industry, and even whole continents have their own privacy laws? Not only should you follow them for legal reasons, but they offer great cyber security tips, too.

For example, the EU created GDPR in 2018 which stands for General Data Protection Regulation. It’s the most strict privacy and security law in the world. If your business follows these guidelines, your business is likely very secure.

Educate Your Employees

But it’s no good following good security practices if your employees aren’t. Make sure every worker knows how to create a strong password and what two-factor authentication is.

All their passwords should be over eight characters with a mixture of letters, numbers, symbols, and cases. They should be unique and not include personal information. If your employees can’t remember their passwords, they can download the LastPass browser extension.

Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security on top of a password. This could be an email to their email address, a fingerprint, text, or a phone call.

Backup Everything

During some ransomware attacks, hackers can scramble your data and leave it unusable. In case this happens, you need to have backups of all your company data so you can recover anything lost.

In an ideal world, you would backup every day to a remote data center and a cloud server.

That’s How to Protect Your Data as a Small Business Owner

Learning how to protect your data from breaches is not an exciting task. But keeping your company and customers’ information safe is a legal necessity. Plus, you are far more likely to have a successful, trustworthy business that stands the test of time.

People working in small businesses need to keep up to date with the latest tech. Browse our website for all the tech reviews and news you need!

Small Business Brief

Marketing

5 Key Marketing Strategies for Small Businesses


99.9 percent of all businesses in the United States are small businesses.

This means that there’s some stiff competition out there, but also that many people were able to make running a small business work.

Do you own a small business? Do you know what goes into running a successful company?

One of the key elements to a thriving business is employing marketing strategies that get your business in front of the right eyes.

Read on to learn five key marketing strategies to employ to help ensure your success!

1. A Strong Website

A robust website is one of the best marketing tools you can create. 

People can find your website organically, it can come up in search results, you can create ads that link to it, and you can share it across social media platforms.

Your site can help teach people what your business does, and provide them with the necessary contact information to get in touch with people.

2. Social Media

Most of the top companies in the world have social media. Why? Because social media is a wonderful way to market your business and connect with potential customers without spending one single cent (unless you choose to).

Be sure to create social media accounts on relevant sites and post to them regularly, so that people can forge a personal connection with your brand and establish trust with you.

3. Outsource Marketing

A viable marketing strategy is not creating a marketing strategy on your own.

If marketing isn’t your forte, and you want a professional to help, you know it’s getting done right. The marketing ideas will help move your business forward, hiring marketing help is a good idea.

Take a look at this website to see a great example of a marketing services company, and understand why they can be an excellent option.

4. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves sharing content online that uses specific keywords to drive traffic to your site.

Using specific keywords helps a business rank higher on search engines, which can help people looking for products or services that your business sells to find your site.

To take advantage of this aspect of marketing, your website has to be optimized, and it’s often helpful to have a blog as well.

This marketing method can be pretty involved, but it can also provide beautiful results!

5. Old School Marketing

Old-school marketing tactics are still 100% viable for modern businesses.

Examples of this type of marketing include:

  • Handing out business cards
  • Putting up flyers
  • Cold calling
  • Local networking groups

While many of these methods are still current, they’re often viewed as old-school methods because they don’t rely primarily on using the internet for digital marketing.

Employ Marketing Strategies Now—Reap Benefits Later

The key to having a thriving small business is using marketing strategies that get your name out there and draw people to your company in one fell swoop.

Whether you choose to handle marketing yourself or outsource it to a team with more experience, you must market your business in some way, especially in the beginning.

Pick a strategy and start implementing it today!

Want more business tips and advice? Please take a look around our site for more relevant articles like this.

Small Business Brief

Medical & Services

3 Exciting Health and Wellness Business Opportunities for 2022


Are you hoping to turn your passion for health and wellness into a lucrative business opportunity? With the importance of health and wellness begin more highlighted than ever before, there are tons of small business opportunities and careers available to those interested in getting started in this field. 

For some of the top health and wellness business opportunities you can expect to see in the new year, keep reading. Consider some of the options below to figure out what new small business ideas are most appealing to you. 

1. Give Health and Wellness Advice 

In today’s digital world, there are tons of bloggers and influencers that build a network and online following based around health and wellness while being able to make a profit from doing so. If you feel that you are an expert in the world of health, fitness, or mental wellness, you might consider starting your own platform where your followers or subscribers can go for advice and pointers. Consider starting a blog or sharing your stories and advice on social media in order to grow a dedicated following

Once you have built your online following, you can partner with businesses in your field of interest and start making a profit off of these promotions. Not only are you able to refer your followers to awesome products and brands that work towards the overall mission of your platform, but you are also able to produce a profit. This is a great way to grow your following in a field you are passionate about in order to build a community and a career. 

2. Become a Health Coach 

If you live an overall healthy lifestyle in terms of fitness or nutrition, you may want to consider becoming a certified health or fitness coach so that you can share your advice and insights with others. This is great for anyone who wants to share their health journey with others with the goal of helping them and improving their overall well-being. Those working in this role help their clients make substantial changes that can improve their life. 

As a health coach, you can work towards helping clients achieve their personal health goals, whether they are hoping to eat better or exercise more. 

3. Sell Health and Wellness Products 

If you want to be a small business owner in the health field, you may want to consider opening a company that sells health and wellness products. This is great for those who have a specific area or niche within the health and wellness field. For example, you may consider selling natural vitamins and supplements or you may consider selling fitness supplies. 

If you are looking for additional health and wellness career opportunities, visit this site

Wellness Business and Career Opportunities in 2022

If you are passionate about health and wellbeing, consider some of these awesome wellness business opportunities to explore in the new year. 

Head to the “Business Forum” section of our site for additional information and guides for small business owners of all kinds today. 

Small Business Brief

Restaurant

The Surprising Benefits of Buying a Beer Keg for Your Restaurant


Did you know that almost 40% of Americans who drink prefer beer over other types of alcoholic beverages?

When running a restaurant, it’s important to cater to the tastebuds of your customers, including beer lovers. One of the best ways you can do that is by getting a beer keg. Running a restaurant isn’t cheap overall, so you might be on the fence about getting one.

Are you wondering why it’s worth it? Keep reading to learn all about the surprising benefits of buying a beer keg for your restaurant.

It Saves You Money

When you purchase a beer keg, you’re actually saving money in the long run. The reason for this has to do with the costs of packaging and shipping beer in bottles or cans. It’s heavier and more expensive to do it this way, and it’s the consumer who has to pay for that extra expense.

A keg is like buying the beer in bulk. Since it requires fewer materials to package, you’ll be getting a lot more beer for your buck. Any beer enthusiast or restaurant entrepreneur should celebrate this fact.

It’s Green

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you should buy a beer keg, don’t forget to think about the environment. By avoiding thousands and thousands of bottles and cans each year, your restaurant will be much greener.

Nowadays, customers are becoming more and more conscious about the ways in which business can affect the environment. By going green, you can appeal to this crowd and do your part to keep the planet as clean as possible.

While you’re at it, you should consider getting rid of straws and switching out paper napkins for washable cloth ones.

It Helps Prevent Loss of Stock

The best beer keg can withstand just about any wear and tear. A bottle or can, on the other hand, can easily break or get punctured. If that happens, it’s like watching money being flushed down the toilet.

Plus, beer kegs can be cleaned and used for many years. After you invest in one to prevent loss of stock, don’t forget to check out this article to learn how to tap a keg and let the beautiful beer flow.

Since a keg is pressurized and can keep the outside atmosphere from getting in, the beer will retain its delicious flavor for much longer than you might expect.

Are You Ready to Get a Beer Keg?

Now that you’ve learned all about the surprising benefits of buying a beer keg for your restaurant, you can make sure that the thirst of your customers is always quenched. After all, once the beer in your restaurant dries up, so will your profits.

There’s plenty more you can do to make sure that customers are piling in to eat your grub. Our blog is dedicated to the latest and greatest marketing strategies, business products, and so much more. By bookmarking us, you’ll avoid missing out on the most important information.

Small Business Brief

Energy

How to Hire Residential Solar Installers: Everything You Need to Know


Are you ready to install a residential solar system? You’ve likely figured out that going solar is a big deal. It’s also a complex home improvement project with multiple things to consider.

One of the first things you’ll do is find the right solar installation contractor.

We’ve put together a quick guide to the options available to homeowners who’re interested in going solar. You’ll want this information handy before you sign off on any solar installation contract.

Take a minute to read today’s post. You’ll feel more confident when you’re ready to hire residential solar installers.

Budget Comes First

Before officially hiring a solar installer, you must set your solar installation budget. Some homeowners get so excited about the prospect of going solar that they jump in headfirst without considering the financial commitment.

No matter how you slice it, solar is not a cheap investment. But with careful planning and realistic expectations, solar can be a worthwhile venture. 

After federal tax credits, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-size house in the U.S. ranges from $11,144 to $14,696. Some states offer incentives to homeowners who install solar panels. Incentives are state-specific and may include tax credits, rebates, and renewable energy certificates.

While you should do your due diligence, most solar installation companies can help you figure out the total cost. Then, you’re able to put together a realistic budget.

Total Cost of a Residential Solar System

While the focus of this article isn’t to break down the costs, you want to go into the project with your eyes wide open about your total costs. 

The figure listed above is for the solar panel system itself and doesn’t include the installation cost. Since prices vary, part of your conversation with each contractor you interview should cover labor and additional equipment costs.

Labor costs, operational costs, and additional equipment, such as inverters and control circuitry, make up the rest of the price.

Most solar contractors not only install solar panels. They also provide maintenance and other services related to solar systems. Extra services aren’t usually free, but they’re often worth the cost. 

You Have Options

The beauty of installing solar panels is that you have options. Experts at Raven Solar suggest finding a contractor that not only has several years of solar installation experience but can explain the list of options to you. 

What are the options?

You’ve likely already seen homes with solar panels installed on the roof. Some homes cannot accommodate solar panel installation on the roof. Rooftop installations may be the most common, but they’re not the only way to go. 

Ground mount solar is one option when the roof isn’t suitable. Community solar subscriptions are another option. Both allow you to access power from the sun without installing anything on top of your house.

Hiring the right installer means finding one that understands and can help you understand your options.

Solar Panel Designs

There are three different types of solar panels. Each one has various benefits depending on your specific situation. A good solar panel installation company should be able to go over the particulars of these three solar panel designs:

Design isn’t the only difference. These solar panel designs have different efficiency ratings, hail resistance, fire resistance, and, of course, cost.

Ready to Hire Residential Solar Installers? 

We hope this guide answers some of the first questions you’ll have about finding the right solar installation contractor. Budget, total cost, options, and solar panel designs all play a significant role when putting together a solar panel system.

If you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post, make sure to check out our archives. You’ll find more articles on topics of interest to savvy homeowners.

Small Business Brief

Manufacturing

The 3 Biggest Challenges Facing the Food Manufacturing Industry


There’s a reason why the food manufacturing industry employs over 1,643,000 individuals. Millions of Americans rely on this industry every day for food and nourishment.

However, big changes are occurring both in our society and the food manufacturing industry. This is resulting in a lot of challenges for manufacturers.

If you’re involved in this industry, then you must stay up to date on these challenges. Luckily, in this article, we’re going over three big ones that everyone should be aware of. Let’s get started!

1. Plastic Bans

The use of plastics has been widespread in the food and beverage manufacturing industry. Unfortunately, overconsumption and industrialization have caused this to have a disastrous effect on the environment.

Many people boycott products that use plastic on principle. And increasingly we’re seeing legislation, both in Europe and the United States, that seeks to completely ban the use of plastic.

While some food manufacturers see this as a challenge, it’s important to look at it as an opportunity. By not using plastics you label your brand as eco-friendly. This, in turn, can lead to higher sales.

2. Changes With the GRAS Designation

GRAS is an FDA designation that means Generally Recognized as Safe. The problem is that these designations are determined by food scientists in the industry. As such, many activists have pointed out the possible biases built into their determination.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has already put out a report on the need for change in the GRAS process. As such, we can expect reform in the coming year.

As such, we can expect a change in what types of additives can be added to processed food. This is sure to have widespread consequences for the food manufacturing industry.

3. The Rise of Meat-Free Options

There’s much greater awareness these days around the flaws built into the meat and animal product industry.

Environmental distress caused by animal land use/waste products, animal rights, and health issues associated with meat is just some of the reasons why more people are turning to vegetarianism and veganism.

As such, food manufacturers that offer predominately meat products need to be aware of this trend. This doesn’t need to be a bad thing for food manufacturers.

By offering more animal-free products they can increase sales by appealing to this segment of the population.

Enjoy Learning About Challenges in the Food Manufacturing Industry? Keep Reading

We hope this article helped you learn about some of the challenges that the food manufacturing industry is currently facing. While these challenges will cause some industry disruption, it’s important to remember that they aren’t insurmountable.

All of them can be addressed with proactive solutions that benefit both the consumers and the planet itself.

Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place. Keep exploring to find more topics that you’re sure to love.

Small Business Brief

Shipping & Transportation

The Complete Guide to Route Planning


If you are running a fleet of drivers, you don’t just want to randomly start giving out destinations and hope that everything is transported in a timely fashion. You need to plan your routes in a timely and efficient manner. Doing this manually can take up too much time and lead to many errors.

The less optimal the route is, the longer your drivers will be on the road and the more money in gas you’ll be paying. With proper route management tools, you can get your products to your customers faster and leave them more satisfied. 

In this complete guide to route planning, we will show you what route planning is and how to make the most of it. So keep on reading and we’ll walk you through everything that you will want to know about route optimization.

The Problems With Manual Route Planning

Route planning is extremely inefficient. And as your business grows, it will eventually become impossible.

One can’t manually solve problems that involve calculating hundreds of different deliveries and numbers. To cross-reference routes and schedules with drivers and vehicles is an extremely difficult and poor use of resources when done manually.

It also takes intimate knowledge and a lot of hours to manually plan routes. As your team grows, you’ll need to add more workers to determine the routes manually and training them will be difficult. 

Accuracy is another concern. Are all of the skill discrepancies, qualifications, capacities, and time windows are taken into consideration? The more complicated your schedules are, the higher the chances of human error. 

Even the most diligent planners are sure to make many mistakes. 

You also need to take flexibility into account. If you have a driver who ends up not coming to work, what are you going to do? A planning team is going to need hours to adjust for unsatisfied clients, missing deliveries, and delays. 

Benefits of Route Optimization 

Route optimization can help you avoid many of the pitfalls that we already listed. Let’s go over some specific benefits of fleet management and route optimization below. 

Increase Revenue Per Driver and Lower Costs

Every business is always trying to improve its revenues per driver while also lowering operating costs. For any company that does deliver or services on-site, low margins are hard to achieve.

A big part of managing a mobile workforce is making sure that you are running as efficiently as possible. You don’t want to waste manpower or fuel. 

Route optimization can calculate hourly wages, mileage, and many other costs. This means that it can find the best way for you to save as much money as possible while also increasing your revenue. 

You’ll also allow your drivers to reach more destinations and increase profits.  

Scale Your Delivery Team Without Extra Dispatch/Planning Resources

Your team is going to spend a lot of time organizing and reorganizing appointments, deliveries, shifts, schedules, and people. By using route optimization tools, you will be able to greatly reduce the amount of time you spend planning your deliveries.

You will now be able to directly transfer order lists in excel formats and assign them to drivers automatically based on requirements and availability.

Your company can build schedules several weeks in advance. This will lead to better planning. Some platforms let you schedule routes several months in advance. 

Not only that but the software can also take into account:

  • deadlines
  • customer availability
  • regulated driver breaks
  • lunch breaks
  • employee availability

Even better, if something changes and you need to change your fleet up, route optimization will let you do this quickly and with ease. You can replan a whole schedule with just a few clicks of a button.

Improves Customer Satisfaction

Every modern small business is at risk of going under these days. This is because just a few bad reviews could devastate any company. 

Online reviews can impact every kind of business of every size. If you want to acquire new customers, then you will need to garner many positive reviews.

Different ways to do this include Real-time tracking, ETAs, and emails and text messages sent ahead of service calls and deliveries. This will help temper expectations if there is a problem and make sure that your customers are home for the delivery.

All of this is going to lead to happier customers. 

Distributes Workloads More Effectively and Improves Employee Retention

How are you distributing service calls and deliveries currently between your company’s drivers? If you are like many other companies, then you set it all up geographically. You likely have each driver covering their own service or delivery territory.

This is a quick method to cover more ground quickly.

The problem with this method is that some drivers can end up with a lot more deliveries than others. Route optimization software can spread the work out evenly so everything gets done in a timely fashion.

The Importance of Knowing About Route Planning 

Hopefully, after reading the above article, you now understand the importance of route planning. As we can see, route planning can save your company a lot of money, time, and manpower. Now, you’ll be able to get drivers to your customers quickly and in a more organized and timely manner. 

This will all lead to happier customers and more revenue.

Are you looking for other helpful and useful articles? If you are, check out the rest of our site today for more!

Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

How to Effectively Use Cloud Storage for Business Purposes


Did you know that about 83% of U.S. businesses’ workloads already live on the cloud?

For the most part, file cabinets are no longer the primary repository for all of a small business’s paperwork. It is increasingly common for small businesses to have staff that works from home as well as international clientele, as well as the requirement for access to their files and data at any time. This is the era of cloud storage for business.

The need for speed and precision, as well as the danger of data loss, necessitates the use of cloud computing. So, you’ll want to keep on reading for our full breakdown of how to use cloud storage software or a cloud storage plan to benefit your business. 

Secure Your Cloud Storage for Business

When it comes to cloud storage security, encryption and firewalls are among the most advanced in the industry. Your files are undoubtedly more secure there than they would be if you kept them at home.

These security elements can be used effectively. But, there are still hazards that may be mitigated if your personnel is properly trained in appropriate internet security.

Having strong passwords is essential for all users. It’s perilous to use the same password for many internet accounts. Since hackers might possibly get access to an employee’s work accounts if one of their personal accounts is compromised.

Password managers are the greatest answer since they are incredibly secure. And, they allow users to use various passwords for all of their accounts without having to remember them all.

Even if a password is obtained, a hacker will be unable to access an account using two-factor authentication. It’s recommended for business users of the cloud. Admins should have the ability to make this mandatory for all users.

Synchronize Everything

A major advantage of cloud storage is that your files and folders are immediately synchronized.

Your whole team will be able to access the most recent files wherever they are. It’s all thanks to cloud data storage providers’ finest file-sharing services. This is especially important since more and more employees are working from home.

The ability to incorporate cloud folders into your operating system’s file structure is a great option. For example, the Windows File Explorer or the Mac Finder is a handy option given by many providers if you don’t like the usual browser-based cloud storage interfaces.

Cloud-stored files will show up as a folder on your computer when you’ve installed the relevant program. The syncing should be automated and painless as long as you have an internet connection.

A cold storage option may be available if you have a large number of files that aren’t constantly synchronized. Such as an archive of out-of-date data that are only sometimes examined.

Order and Organize All of Your Data

You may organize your files in a typical hard drive-style folder structure using cloud storage. Having a well-planned structure and establishing guidelines for uniform file naming is essential when you’re sharing access with a group of people.

Take care of this right away or you’ll wind up with an impossible-to-navigate mess. A well-organized folder structure is also critical to security since it makes it easier to control permissions.

To put it another way, if you set up a folder and limit access to only corporate managers, all files you place in it will be private. This is a lot simpler than having to specify permissions for each and every file individually. You’ll want to check out those strategies to delete any duplicates you might have.

Collaborate With Live Files and Documents

Your employees may have accidentally overwritten each other’s work by trying to access the same file when it was saved on a local disk. There are several advantages to using cloud data storage, including the ability to view and modify files concurrently.

A spreadsheet hosted on Google Sheets may allow your accounts team to concurrently enter information about their clients from many devices. In addition, there is no need to worry about shutting the sheet so that someone else may access it.

It’s also quite simple to keep track of the modifications. Using the edit history of the cell in question, the manager of the accounting team may find out whether a number in the sheet is incorrect and, if so, who entered it and when. Aside from Google Drive’s unique edit history feature, several other cloud collaboration platforms provide similar capabilities.

Integrate Your Apps and Platforms

Your cloud data storage provider may be coupled with any other software you use in your organization. This allows for simple interoperability across operations.

Slack, for instance, is a popular chat platform for team collaboration. Google Drive and Dropbox are among the cloud services that can be linked with it. Using this feature, you may browse through your files without having to leave the Slack app. You can also exchange cloud files inside conversations. Or, even have an automatic notification broadcast when there are changes to a folder.

For instance, Dropbox is well-integrated with Salesforce, a popular customer relationship management system. You’ll want to streamline your workflow and ensure that you have access to sales information no matter where you are. You may use Dropbox to move files directly into Salesforce.

Understanding the Uses of Cloud Storage for Businesses

If you’re new to the wide world of cloud computing, things can seem rather complex and confusing at first glance. 

However, it doesn’t have to remain that way. We hope that our guide has shed some light on the intricacies of using cloud storage for business, and how to make the best out of the many functionalities it provides. 

And, if you liked reading our article, then you’ll love checking out our additional tips and explainers. All of them (and many more) will be available in our technology section.

Small Business Brief

Employees, Financial Services

The Brief Guide That Makes Hiring a CFO Simple


Did you know the average CFO salary in 2021 was $399,062? This figure highlights the valuable contribution these professionals can make to a business. By performing financial planning exercises and helping with strategic decisions, a CFO can help take a business to the next level.

But, what qualities should you look for when hiring a CFO? After all, if you employ the wrong person, it could be a time-consuming and costly error. The good news is you can find your ideal candidate by identifying some crucial traits that set the best CFOs apart from their rivals. 

Read on to find out more about hiring a CFO.

Industry Experience

You may feel more comfortable working with a CFO who has plenty of experience in the financial industry. A seasoned professional could use their knowledge and expertise to make faster and more effective decisions than someone who is new to their job.

However, working experience is not the only factor to consider. You can also check if a candidate has invested in educational programs that could help make them a more rounded professional. Be sure to ask for more information about any training programs they have been through so you can fully understand their background and qualifications. 

Leadership Skills

A modern CFO needs to have smart management skills to inspire those around them. CFO’s make strategic company decisions, and without support from colleagues, their plans could fail. Before hiring a candidate, be sure to check if they have led teams in the past.

Working Preferences

In the current commercial world, hybrid working environments are becoming more popular. But, this may not suit all employers, so it’s essential to ask if a CFO would like to work from home on certain days of the week, or if they would prefer to be completely office-based. You can then come to an agreement that is suitable for all parties. 

Availability

Not all CFO’s will work full-time for one company, and they may have several different clients. In this scenario, you need to make sure a CFO will be available when required, as there is no point in having the best CFO in the industry if they are not present when you’re making important decisions. 

Salary

As a small business owner, you’ll be wary of spending too much money on hiring a single employee. While you may need to offer an attractive salary and benefits package, it’s also crucial not to pay more than the current market rate. Try to negotiate terms that represent fair compensation without breaking the bank.

Take Your Time When Hiring a CFO

Hiring a CFO is a major business decision, so it’s important to be patient and not rush the process. Ask about a candidate’s experience and training, and ensure they have the leadership qualities required to drive your company forwards. It’s also important to ensure they will be available when you need them the most.

When you find the right CFO, you’ll be delighted you took the time to carry out your due diligence.

Before you hire your new CFO, be sure to browse more great articles in our Business Advice section.

Small Business Brief

Marketing

Standing out for the Wrong Reasons: Why You Shouldn’t Do Your Own Small Business Marketing


You may have been looking at other small businesses marketing themselves, thinking: this isn’t that hard. Surely you can do it yourself, right? 

Not quite! This guide will explain why you shouldn’t do your own small business marketing. 

You May Not Understand It

More thought goes into marketing than we may expect when looking at it from the outside. It’s not just about having advertisements, it’s about being able to target them at the right crowd. 

How are you positioning your products to meet the pain points of your customers? How will you implement search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to make Google rank your website higher on the search page?

If you don’t have a marketing background, you may not understand the analysis that needs to go into creating a marketing strategy. This can mean that you spend a lot of money on advertising, but aren’t able to attract your target audience. 

Accessing digital marketing services will ensure that you don’t waste your time and money on a marketing strategy that does not work. You can visit the websites of digital marketing services to see how they can help you with business marketing ideas.

You Want Someone Who is an Expert

You may be able to learn the ropes around marketing, but experience and expertise will take years to acquire. This is why it’s better to rely on marketing experts. They specialize in crafting winning strategies to help businesses boost their sales.

If you want the best for your small business, you may want to hire people who have gone through the trial-and-error phase and can guarantee good results. Otherwise, you may have to spend a lot of time trying different things to see what works – and lose out on possible profits in the meantime. 

You Don’t Have Time

When it comes to running a small business, time is money! As a small business owner, you will have a thousand things on your plate. Trying to come up with your small business marketing is a task that you don’t have to do. 

By hiring digital marketing services, you can rest well in knowing that your marketing strategy is being taken care of. At the same time, you will be able to spend your time on other aspects of the small business. For instance, you can interact more with your customers or build a strong company culture among your employees. 

You Can Achieve Brand Consistency

A crucial consideration for small business marketing is achieving brand consistency. A marketing expert will have the necessary experience to understand how to create a coherent brand image. This will involve having one theme or aesthetic across all marketing strategies – which is harder than it sounds!

Instead of going with the flow and trying out all the marketing possibilities that seem beneficial, a digital marketing expert can hone in on the techniques that will create a more consistent brand personality. This will help customers understand who you are as a small business and will create a more memorable first impression. 

There Are Different Ideas to Explore

One of the best things about hiring someone else to do marketing for your business is that you will get to access plenty of different ideas. This can encourage more growth in your business, and enable you to see a new perspective on how to market your company. 

Thinking outside the box, which is what marketers specialize in, will help you stand out among your competition. This way, you will be more memorable for your customers and you can address the needs of your target audience in a way that resonates with them more. 

You Can Get an Objective Perspective

Marketers won’t only introduce out-of-the-box ideas, but they can look at your small business’s performance from an objective point of view. This is helpful because they can spot problems that you wouldn’t have been able to uncover yourself. 

You Can Measure the Results 

Are you worried that you would be spending too much by hiring or outsourcing marketing experts? This is an easy problem to solve because you can actually see whether or not they are bringing substantial profits to your company!

You can therefore try using digital marketing services for a few months and evaluate whether they improve the performance of your company. You can balance this out with how much it costs to hire them in the first place.

Digital Marketing Services Can Help Your Finances

When it really comes down to it, you may be saving money by investing in digital marketing services.

You can earn more profits by hiring someone than by attempting failed strategies (or by taking time to experiment), and you can also decide to go another way if you find that you aren’t making enough profits to warrant the investment. 

Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Do Your Own Small Business Marketing

If you are a small business owner, you may have had the temptation of doing everything yourself. You may have wanted to create your own small business marketing strategies, but you stand to benefit from hiring an expert to do this work instead. 

You can save money and time while having an expert go through the best strategies for your business. Digital marketing services can also help you with having an objective perspective, and they can help you explore different ideas that will enhance your brand consistency.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out the rest of our blog for more. 



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