Is Your Business Ready to Close Its Doors One Day?

As a small business owner, someday you’ll need to consider how you’ll handle your business for your retirement. As the following article notes, the best outcome would be for your business to provide you with some passive retirement income, but that’s not always possible.

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Here are some possibilities to consider for the day you leave your business for good….

Pass It Down

Many business owners have found one of the best options for taking care of their business after retirement, and that is to pass it down to their kids.

In this scenario, you would hand over the keys and the day-to-day management of the business to your child. You would be available as a consultant if they need advice, but you wouldn’t need to be on site anymore. They would be in charge of minding the business, with all that entails.

In the meantime, you could live out your retirement dream anywhere in the world while your business is carefully tended to by your son or daughter. This is an optimal situation, because your business could serve both as an income for your child, and as a source of supplemental retirement income for you.

As an investor in the business, you would receive dividends on profits, which would give you monthly, quarterly or yearly retirement checks.

To make this dream a reality, you would need to have an attorney draw up legal papers that make you an investor in the business, rather than an owner.

Sell It and Reap the Profits

Selling is an obvious option if you just want to be rid of your business during your retirement. There are some good benefits to this choice.

One is that you no longer have to pay rent on the property, and another is that all the mandatory expenses that go along with business ownership are no longer your responsibility, including things like business insurance and liability insurance. The daily and monthly overhead administrative tasks that go along with running a business are time consuming and costly.

If you do decide to sell your business, however, you’ll be facing a large payout in the form of capital gains tax unless you put your money into an investment vehicle within a certain amount of time from the selling date.

Before you even put your business up for sale, consult with a financial planner or real estate attorney so you can be educated about your tax options and how best to use the gains toward your retirement, instead of losing a good chunk of your profits to taxes.

However you decide to handle your business after you retire, make sure you consider all the possibilities and their ramifications ahead of time.

You worked hard for years to grow your business into something special.

Now is the time to make it all pay off for you and your family. If you handle it well, you should be able to enjoy the rewards of having been a business owner before your golden years.

About the Author: Kate Supino writes about best business practices and financial strategies.


The Cloud Making for Healthier Options

Is healthcare finally looking to the Cloud? In recent years, healthcare has been one of the slower adopters of Cloud technology, with concerns about the privacy of patient data and other sensitive information causing healthcare providers to shy away from adopting Cloud technology.

shutterstock_155442434All that could be changing. According to a report by Markets to Markets, the Cloud computing market in North America could grow to as large as $6.5 billion by 2018, as more businesses in the healthcare sector are seeing the benefits the Cloud has to offer them.

As the Cloud matures, Cloud services become not only more stable and reliable but more secure, providing a good foundation for healthcare businesses who want to start using Cloud technology.

What are some of the ways the Cloud can change the healthcare sector for the better?

More Effective Handling of Information

A great deal of work in the healthcare industry relies on fast and accurate movement of information. There are prescriptions to be filled, surgeries to be timetabled, patient records to be passed between physicians, lab results to log and medical billing to undertake.

Working in the Cloud means information can be securely stored and made available to those who need to access it from anywhere with an internet connection.

This encourages collaboration and discourages duplication of data or errors due to lost or missing data, or data that doesn’t arrive in a timely fashion.

Collaboration is Easier with the Cloud

Placing information in the Cloud means it can be shared across disciplines in real-time, making it far easier for healthcare providers to collaborate.

For example, a physiotherapist could gain access to relevant medical notes for a patient without having to submit information requests or wait for notes to arrive, speeding up the process of offering appropriate treatment.

This has benefits from lab to bedside, ensuring that important information is always available to those who need it, no matter where they are.

The Cloud also makes it possible for healthcare providers to collaborate via remote conferences and the like, cutting down on traveling time and making it easier to schedule meetings.

That means a more efficient way of working where important information can be accessed and decisions made more swiftly, cutting down on bottlenecks and delays.

Reaching More Patients at a Lower Cost

Using the Cloud can have significant benefits for physicians treating patients in remote areas.

For patients in remote areas, especially elderly or infirm patients who need transport provided for them, the costs of providing healthcare can be steep.

By using the Cloud, a certain amount of discussion and advice can be given without the need for face to face meetings, whether that is discussion with a patient or between two healthcare physicians, such as a general practitioner and a specialist.

Financial Benefits for Service Users

As the piece “How Life Changes Impact Health Insurance” points out, the advent of the Affordable Care Act means that finding appropriate health insurance is more important than ever.

Service users may find that the Cloud has a positive impact on their finances – using the Cloud means less investment in physical hardware and technology, making operations lighter and easier to run and reducing upfront costs. These savings could eventually be passed to service users in the form of reduced premiums.

As the Cloud matures, the healthcare industry stands to gain a lot by adopting it.

Faster, smoother operations mean less waste and better allocation of resources in every corner of the industry.

The Cloud can help get the healthcare industry in top shape with cost-effective solutions that benefit providers and patients alike.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as Cloud computing, business growth, healthcare insurance, and hospital management.


Make It Your Business to Teach English

If you have an uncanny grasp of the English language or you have a desire to teach, then teaching English as a second language might just be the perfect job for you.

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Luckily, there are a number of countries across the world (many of which are in Europe) that are looking for passionate ESL (English as a second language) and TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) teachers.

With language studies in mind, here are 6 countries where teaching English could lead to a full-time job:

France

When you think of teaching English as a second language, France probably doesn’t immediately come to mind. Although a large percentage of Paris’s population speaks English, France is a huge country with many other non-English speaking regions.

Thanks to the country’s Ministry of Education and the American Assistants in France program, acquiring a work visa is a breeze. And, along with the culture, sights, sounds, and wonderful people, France is also one of the highest paying countries for ESL and TEFL instructors, but certification is required.

Spain

Not only does Spain have beautiful beaches, an exciting nightlife, and tons of great food, the second largest country in Western Europe is also filled with locals eager to learn English. In fact, ESL and TEFL instructors are in such high demand that the Spanish government recruits thousands of English-speaking teachers to the country each year.

Although a work visa is hard to come by, the pay is above average and the towns and cities are lush paradises. In addition, if you have trouble finding students in the private sector, there are a number of language institutes that are always hiring certified instructors.

Russia

Don’t let the blustery winter weather and seemingly hostile political environment deter you, because Russia and other opportunities as this article shows can be a great place to look at how to invest in your career.

Not only does the country have many major cities including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but Russians are eager to learn and improve their language skills. Additionally, because language institutes are few and far between in the country, private lessons are very profitable.

Costa Rica

The Costa Rican coast has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but there are also plenty of opportunities for ESL instructors looking to make a living. Thanks to the massive tourism sector, Costa Rica has a strong economy.

This means more locals are eager to learn English and have the extra income to do so. Although the pay rate for English language instructors in Costa Rica is lower than average, the country’s low cost of living means there’s plenty of potential to save money and maintain a healthy income.

South Korea

There are a number of reputable language institutions in South Korea that are always looking for quality ESL and TEFL instructors. In addition, the pay rate for certified instructors is high, especially when it comes to private schools around Seoul and other larger cities.

In addition to all of the advantages above, if you arrange your teaching position ahead of time, many institutions include airfare and free or reduced-cost housing. Just remember that South Korea has some pretty strict work visa requirements.

United Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates includes locales such as Dubai, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf Countries. Because of the area’s dealings with the United States, citizens are eager to learn English as a second language.

The biggest draw of the United Arab Emirates is the earning potential. Many of the language institutions pay for airfare and living expenses. Because of this, there’s plenty of room for certified ESL and TEFL instructors to earn and save a substantial income.

If you’re ready to teach the English language abroad for a living, then keep in mind the ideal locations above. As many business owners worldwide will attest to, having people in their countries with English speaking abilities is good for business.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including travel and living abroad.


Some Australian Businesses Know How to Work a Budget

With the tight economy, many Australian businesses have had to rethink the budget. This may mean cuts on spending and reducing staff. Some have had a tough time making the right decisions while others have thrived in spite of the cutbacks.

iStock_000011863582XSmalmoney_lOnline Hiring

Australia is the leader in online hiring, ahead of other major areas of the world such as the U.S. and Europe. This may mean hiring employees from around the world, but it more likely indicates an increased use in contracted work.

By utilizing freelance workers, businesses reduce the expenses associated with hiring an employee. Since this is one of the costliest aspects of a budget, it can result in increased cost savings while still providing the services needed.

Sensis is one such company. The business announced in the beginning of 2014 that it would cut around 800 jobs and outsource them in contracted work. The company had already been using people from India and the Philippines with success.

As the article, “5 Ways to Spend Less than You Earn” states, you have to spend less than you earn and Sensis may be following that advice well.

Taking Advantage of the Conditions

New businesses that want to succeed in this economy must learn how to use it to their advantages. Some of the top businesses in Australia found what customers want and focus on meeting that need.

For instance, AussieCommerce Group owns numerous online sites that specialize in deals. It started in 2010 and has continued to grow in spite of economic conditions. The secret is that the founders understood what people want when they have limited income – a good deal. These companies often hold off on making new investments in the business.

Pink Frosting is a company that has learned how to be successful while offering better discounts. An online party and wedding supplies store, Pink Frosting has focused on featuring sales and special discounts to maintain the needed revenue to stay in business.

A successful company must review its goals and business plan to stay successful in a down economy. The companies that continue to do well in spite of the economic conditions are those that know when and how to make financial cuts and how to offer customers what they want and need.

Companies such as Real Institute offer something that people need and are willing to spend money on. Real Institute provides online training to help employees increase their abilities to get jobs.

Focus Online

One of the greatest similarities of many successful businesses throughout Australia is that the focus is turning more to being internet-based. It costs less to operate online than in the real world, and advertising is often easier and less expensive. Hiring online cuts costs as well.

Whether they are local companies developing an online presence or new startups operating solely online, this method of business is growing while allowing companies to cut costs.

In a tight economy, businesses must find new ways to stay successful without spending a lot of money.

Maintaining a tight budget while providing innovative and essential services seems to be the key ingredients for many of these companies.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and finance.


Is More Technology in the Workplace a Good Idea?

There’s no doubt that technology is changing the way the business world does things. For businesses, technology has many advantages, allowing employees to work more flexibly and giving businesses ever clearer insights into their customers and their own business processes.

Businessman pushing shopping cartWith the growth in technology come the whispers that it might just take over from humans, replacing many jobs with machines. Is a technological takeover a real threat to employees? And how can businesses embrace technology and help their employees to do the same?

Did Technology Kill The Telephone Operator?

Talk of machines taking over from humans has been around for some time now, but as technology becomes more and more common in the workplace it seems like a more tangible possibility.

Google’s executive chairman Eric Schmidt admitted at the 2014 World Economic Forum that there is something of a race between technology and human beings right now – a race which he says it’s important human beings win.

As more tasks become automated, employees may become more worried about their jobs. As pointed out in the piece “Five Things Employees Really Want in a Job“, security is important for employees, and the threat of being replaced by a machine does little to engender that. Luckily there is room in the modern workplace for technology and humans.

How Technology Benefits Businesses

Technology has many benefits for businesses, giving CEOs the tools to run their operations more effectively and make smarter business decisions.

From using VOIP and cloud technology to keep a team in touch across locations to using automation to carry out tasks such as scanning documents and extracting key information, technology undoubtedly makes businesses better.

Choosing to automate tasks certainly means that some tasks will no longer require a human operator, but the key is to adapt the workplace and working culture to fit with emerging technology, rather than simply replacing existing systems.

How to Utilize Technology Without Losing the Human Touch

There are many tasks that a machine simply cannot do as well as a human. Customer service, for example, requires the human touch. When it comes to building relationships with customers, businesses would do well to remember that people don’t buy from brands, they buy from people.

When it comes to reaching out to customers and making the connections that will lead to trusting relationships, nothing can replace the warmth and connection between human beings.

Even with tasks that can be automated, there is still plenty of space for humans and technology to work in concert. From overseeing processes to analyzing data and formulating future plans, technology works best alongside human beings, not instead of them.

Integrating Technology into Businesses

Business owners looking to make the best of the advantages technology offers them will get the most benefit if they plan carefully and help their employees to adapt, making them a part of the process rather than distancing them from it.

Business owners can include their whole team in discussions about new technology that they’re considering using, helping employees to see the benefits it offers them rather than seeing it as either a threat or an intimidating learning curve.

Bosses can help make integration smoother with good training and introducing technology at a steady pace instead of changing too much at once.

Technology as an integral part of business is here to stay, offering plenty of advantages to businesses of all kinds. Technology is changing the business landscape, but that doesn’t have to mean pushing human workers aside. Rather, businesses can utilize their human strengths and knowledge to make the most of technology.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including social media, SEO, technology in the workplace and job security.


Put a Premium on Marketing and Social Media

If you’re in the insurance business, then you already know how much competition there is out there. Luckily, with the right amount of marketing and a little social media thrown in the mix, you can improve your customer outreach.

When it comes to taking the competition out of the equation, here are just a few reasons why your insurance company should put a premium on marketing:

communicateYour Message is Your Beacon

Although everyone needs insurance assistance, just because your business is needed doesn’t mean customers will automatically go to you. In other words, you need a beacon in the sea of insurance businesses, which is something marketing and social media can provide.

By sending your message out among the online masses, you can let your consumer base know exactly what sets your insurance company apart from the others.

Whether it’s your loyalty or customer service, your business has something to say, so say it with the right socially fueled marketing message.

Importance of Social Media

Marketing simply isn’t marketing nowadays without the influence of social media. By taking a social media angle with your insurance business’s marketing practices, you are reaching a larger, more diverse consumer base.

This marketing diversity is what helps your business succeed in today’s competitive insurance climate. By devoting part of your marketing endeavors solely to boosting your social profile, your business will find customers and niche audiences you didn’t even know where interested in your insurance brand.

Helpful Social Marketing Tips

Using your social avenues to market your insurance business takes a bit of finesse. The “Insurance Agents: How to run your business more efficiently” article states that by building a brand online, you’ll have an easier time marketing your business on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Giving your business a unique voice and look is just one helpful tip when it comes to social marketing. You’ll also want to make your business open and available for social questions and discussions.

Keeping up with your social presence means posting regularly and responding to your followers in a timely manner.

What Not to Market

Sharing news and updates about your business and the insurance practice is a perfectly acceptable marketing approach to take. However, because your business deals with money matters, you should never make outright suggestions as to what insurance methods consumers should use.

Every customer is different, which means they need specific instruction and care. By making broad statements about what kinds of insurance the general public should purchase might get you in hot water.

Advice is fine, but when it comes to absolutes, ask that your customers and social followers consult your business directly.

Should You Hire a Marketing Manager?

The answer is maybe. If your marketing is reaching customers and giving your business results, than a marketing manager might not be necessary.

On the other hand, if you aren’t landing any new customers and your social presence is ghost-like, then hiring a marketing manager with a social media background is probably a wise move.

If you’re ready to really spread the word about your insurance business, then it’s time to prioritize your marketing.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including social media and online marketing.


What Franchise Opportunity is Best for You?

With the wave of firings and layoffs in recent years nationwide, many Americans have had to make tough choices. Do they find whatever kind of work is out there (even if the money barely supports them) or do they settle for temporary unemployment and/or a life of wondering how they will make it from month to month?

In other instances, some individuals are opting to land a franchise, be it a one-person show or even employing others. Either way, selecting the right franchise opportunity is what it all comes down to.

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Making the Right Move

In order to choose the best franchise, don’t just stick your finger in the air to see which way the wind blows.

By using professionals that analyze business trends and have a feel for what franchises work and what don’t, you stand a much better chance of finding the right business venture for years to come instead of trying various things out, something that can cost you a ton of money over time.

There are different franchise providers out there such as Franchise Expo that can get you headed down the right tracks.

So that you can select the right franchise provider the first time around, look for one that will make it simple and timely for you to obtain the necessary information, most notably, the right franchise for sale that you could ultimately own.

Your franchise provider should connect you directly with those franchise systems you have an interest in. You can scour over franchisor details, obtain information in a short amount of time, and even have a live chat with franchisors.

By selecting the right franchise provider, you can partner with industry experts that can offer you tales of successful franchisees, current news in the franchise industry, and interviews with some of the top franchise CEOs.

Making the Right Call

Even with all the assistance you receive in selecting a franchise, keep in mind that you ultimately have to make the final call. One of the biggest choices you have to make is whether to go with a small business investment that is essentially being started from the ground up or an existing franchise.

Despite a shaky stock market and other signs indicating the economic recovery is slow, other indicators point to an improving economy. If consumer spending does in fact increase, it does not necessarily mean many will invest in a business, therefore meaning various franchise opportunities await the right people.

Among the reasons you’d want to invest in a franchise opportunity in 2014 and beyond:

  • Work for yourself – This option appeals to many Americans, especially in cases where one has lost a corporate job or two. While being a franchise owner is a demanding career, knowing that one is in charge of their fate certainly attracts many business people;
  • Make the decisions – While some people are not cut out to be the decision makers, many others are. Running a franchise allows one to have the final call on a variety of aspects;
  • Support is available – Finally, walking into a franchise deal allows you to work with others who have a history in running franchises. That experience will help make the transition for you easier.

If owning a franchise tempts you, make it your business to find the right one.

About the Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as human resources and running a small business.


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