Expert’s Guide To Painless Business Relocation

Moving your business to a new office is a strange mix of daunting and exciting. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence and indeed, relocation can offer many benefits. On the other hand, it can also have a severe disruptive influence on your operations, clients, employees,and finances.

To maximize the positives and minimize the negatives, you have to plan and schedule activities ahead of time. So, embrace a systematic,proactive, and efficient approach. Get ready to organize everything from the nitty-gritty to the smallest detail. Here are some tips that should help you get on top of tasks and finish relocating with flying colors.

Formulating a game plan

Meticulous planning and preparation hold the key to a successful relocation.  Most often,businesses kick off this process several months up to a year in advance. They start by identifying all tasks and setting a time frame for them. In other words, one of the first steps is to put together a detailed checklist for the new office. Before you can do that, though, you need to take several tours.While at it, pay special attention to key aspects such as technology, furniture, utilities, connectivity, and office equipment. You must have all the essential elements of a productive work space in place and make them fall together seamlessly.

Mind the size and layout of the new space

The crucial thing is to look beyond your present needs and factor in how your business will grow and evolve in years to come. Office size and layout are the crucial aspects you need to grasp here. Modern businesses usually aim for a multi-functional space geared toward a dynamic workforce and flexible work styles. In recent years, an open floor plan is all the rage andit does have some great advantages. But, you need to do what makes the most sense for you, not what is trendy. It is also necessary to take care of some basics and designate the main areas. We are talking about the lobby,meeting/conference rooms, workstations, the front desk, private booths,chill-out zone, etc.

Doing packing the smart way

Packing is always one of the most dreaded aspects of moving. There are many ways to go about it, but one thing is certain. You must work out a system and prevent the chaos from ensuing.Double-check the inventory and confirm that you have enough storage units. Color-code your documents and label the boxes. Furthermore, take this chance to do some de-cluttering. There is really no need to bring excess belongings to your new office. That would only require additional resources and storage space. Thus,do not hesitate to purge everything that serves no clear purpose other than collecting dust.

Rally the troops

It pays off to actively involve your team members right from the get-go. To do it right, set clear roles and responsibilities and delegate as much as you can. At the same time, you should note that your equipment,furniture, and other belongings might need to be handled professionally. This especially goes for packing and transportation. Australian businesses, for instance, tend to hire local removalists in Sydney and other major cities, since expensive office equipment requires delicate handling, from packing,transporting to disassembling and assembling furniture and disconnecting and reconnecting appliances. Conduct a research and try to get the best relocation quote you can.  Make sure everything reaches the destination on time and intact.

Getting over a rough patch

One of the main overarching priorities is to mitigate the negative impact on your profit margins. Namely, you cannot afford to lose business to your competition because of the relocation. Notify all relevant parties, including your customers, stakeholders, and clients and explain how your services or communication will change during the relocation. Along the similar lines, see to it that your online information (especially on your website and social media profiles) is up to date. Do not overlook your traditional marketing tools like business cards and flyers. Spread the word out across all touch points so that no one is left in the dark.

Changing your base of operations can set you up nicely for growth. But, there is one problem: planning and executing a smooth move is no walk in the park. There are so many different things to keep a close eye on. So,come up with a solid plan that will allow you to stay in control during the whole process. You cannot go wrong following tried-and-tested steps presented above. Just do not try to do everything yourself. Summon professionals to your aid in order to avoid stress, delays, and headaches. Get back up running as soon as possible and open a brave new chapter of success.

Tracey Clayton is a working mom of three girls, passionate about traveling, marketing and everything tech related. Her motto is: “Live the life you love; love the life you live.”

How to Deduct the Business-Use of Your Car this Year

Many business owners and employees have to use a personal car for business purposes, and luckily it’s quite simple to claim these as business expenses following IRS regulations. In order to do so, it’s paramount that you keep accurate mileage and depreciation records. If you’rereading this thinking, “Oh no, I haven’t kept track of any of that this year.”You may have to wait until next year, but you have the ability to begin your record keeping soon, on January 1.

If you use your car for only business purposes, you can deduct its entire cost of operation, with some limitations discussed below. If you use your car for both business and personal purposes, you may only deduct the costs from business use.

In both cases, everything must be documented and strictly business-related. Keep reading for more on this to get started and be sure to consult with a tax advisor. Each individual business situation is unique and can be very complex, so expert advice will definitely help ensure you are following all the rules correctly.

Keep Detailed Records

The IRS is very detail-oriented, and they expect you to be the same. Keep a record of all your expenses and business miles that you want to write off with a vehicle expense log. You can pick one of these up at most office supply or stationery stores. There are also a number of apps available for mileage tracking that will do it for you.

Items to support the deductions you claim include receipts, canceled checks, and bills. For each business trip in the car,be sure to log the date, miles traveled, destination, and the purpose, such as whether it is for business, personal use, or your commute. It’s best to have a car with great MPG,because there is a standard deduction per mile. For more information on record keeping, you can check out Topic No. 305 from the IRS.

Standard Mileage Rate

The IRS allows self-employed individuals and employees to use a standard mileage rate when submitting business claims.To use the standard mileage rate for a car, you must own or lease the car and use it in within the first year of your business. It’s fairly simple to track your total mileage for the year–write down the odometer reading of the first day you start using the car for business purposes and on the day the year ends.

Business miles include anything actually driven for business, such as visiting a client, going to the bank, or meeting with an accountant or lawyer. All of this counts towards your deduction, as well as the cost of parking fees and tolls you pay for the business.

If you’re self-employed, you can deduct your car loan interest that’s related to the business use of the car. Commuting time and running personal errands is travel that is not considered business related. For the most up-to-date standard mileage rate, check out Publication 463 from the IRS.

Actual Vehicle Expenses

The other method for claiming your personal car for business use is called the actual expense method. To utilize this, you must determine the actual cost to own and operate the car for business purposes. This includes gas, oil, repairs, insurance, licenses, tires,registration fees, and lease payments from the total business miles driven.

Depreciation

Depreciation is the amount you can deduct overtime for standard wear and tear the vehicle obtains over time. If you use the standard mileage rate, you cannot deduct depreciation on the vehicle,unless you use your car for 50% or less for business reasons.

Typically, the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System is the only method that can be used if your car was placed in service after 1986, but be sure to check with a tax advisor. Depreciation can be a very complicated subject and you want to make sure you are doing it right for your business. For more information, refer to TopicNo. 704 from the IRS.

Ownership

Knowing the different types of car ownership will help you determine how to claim your car for business use the correct way. A sole proprietor or self-employed owner is one that is a single-member LLC and files a Schedule C their personal tax return. Like this,you can choose to use either the standard mileage rate or actual expense method.

An S Corporation/C Corporation requires a vehicle used for business to be owned by the corporation or by an employee. The method of claiming the deduction will depend on this ownership. If the vehicle is owned by an employee or a shareholder-employee, they can submit a request for reimbursement to their employer based on their documented business miles.

Typically, the corporation or business can then reimburse the employee based on the standard rate. It’s also generally easier for a business to allow an employee to use their own personal vehicle for work and submit an expense reimbursement request. This puts the responsibility of record-keeping on the employee, which saves time and money for the employer.

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

Chief Challenges Business of Today Must Face

Getting operations off the ground is a daunting challenge. Yet, it is just the beginning of a series of trials and tribulations: the process of navigating the market and outmaneuvering the competition. The pace of economic and technological change has never been greater. Great uncertainty and volatility loom over entrepreneurs. It is never easy to discover what customers want and do a better job at delivering that to them than the next company.  This can only come through long-term strategic planning and the ability to solve dynamic challenges on the fly.

Cash flow management

Cash is the king of the business realm and maintaining a steady flow of itis the lifeline of any business. Running dry is always a risk in a less-than-ideal lending climate we operate in, which is to say that businesses need to come up with a rock-solid financial plan. What is more, money management and bookkeeping may require them to hire professionals versed in dealing with financial tasks and obligations, including accounting, taxes and invoices. This can help businesses acquire enough capital, pile up reserves,and anticipate downturns and emergencies ahead of time.

Finding your audience 

Barriers to entering the market are as low as ever. That may be a good thing, but staying in the business long-term is a different ball game entirely.Companies are facing immense competition and consumers are enjoying a wide selection of products and services across different industries. Hence, it is extremely difficult for a new business to find and carve out a profitable niche. What gives you a real fighting chance is extensive market research. It paves the way to a highly-focused approach to catering to people’s wants and needs (your target market).

Marketing on a budget

Marketing wilderness out there is getting rather complex and incredibly crowded. A new channel or tool comes to life almost every day. The bulk of modern brands have an online presence and they are trying to make waves in social media and other booming hubs. Well, the key challenge is to pull it off without breaking the bank or spreading oneself too thin. In other words, you need to figure out which channels hold the biggest potential to arrest and retain the attention of consumers. Then, you craft optimal brand messages to build trust and cultivate loyalty.

Building the right team

People are the glue that holds companies together. To harness the full workforce potential and assemble the best possible team, you have to create a sound recruitment policy, your road map. Look into, but also beyond just skills and experience. Make sure candidates fit your business culture and relate to your vision. Find out what drives them and foster a positive and healthy work environment. Offer enough perks and benefits to attract and retain talent. Keep the engagement, productivity and motivation going.

Reducing the overheads

Expenditures tend to quickly add up and they can melt the budget in no time. The best way to prevent this disaster from shattering your entrepreneurial dreams is to keep the spending in check. So, calculate exactly how much money is coming in and out of your business. Next, identify major problem areas, where you can make savings. There is no shortage of tactics here: working from home, outsourcing instead of hiring full-time, improving power quality to trim electricity bills, buying supplies in bulk, increasing water conservation, etc.

Sow the seeds of success

If you really mean business, you have to compete on more than just price or product quality. Never succumb to the temptation to cut corners or fight on all fronts at once. Take your time planning and fleshing out strategies. Assess risks and tackle problems before they spiral out of control. Get to know your audience and adapt to rapidly-changing preferences. Keep up the pace technological advancements and market trends. You should be able to tap into a steady stream of cash and propel your whole organization forward. 

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to marketing and latest business trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

Getting Help with Your Finances

Most of us are in debt. We’ve got credit cards, loans, overdrafts, store cards, and car financing plans. Some of us even owe money to our utility providers and landlords. Even those of us that aren’t are cutting it fine. We want to save, we even open savings accounts, but find ourselves struggling to put any money in them. Many of us want to set up businesses and build home offices, but our financial situations won’t allow it.

But, just as many of us are doing nothing about it. We’re getting by paying the minimums back on our debts.We’re letting any savings that we do have just sit there, instead of finding ways to make them grow. We’re living paycheck to paycheck without taking the time to improve things.

This is often because we’re embarrassed. We don’t want to admit that we need help or that we’re in debt. We don’t want to ask for advice on how to save or make our money grow because we are ashamed to admit that we don’t know already or that we’ve been wasting our money up until this point. We are afraid of speaking to an accountant only to find that we’ve been recording our profits incorrectly and our small business accounts are in a mess. We bury our heads in the sand because we are embarrassed and afraid. But,there’s really no need to be. There’s plenty of help out there, and plenty of people that need it. You just have to make that first move. Here’s a look at some of your options.

Visit a Financial Advisor

If you’ve got debts, you might find that their repayments are crippling. That you’ve got very little disposable income each month because paying off your debts is eating it all up. It doesn’t need to be like this, but it’s so hard to see a way out when it’s your money.

A financial advisor can take a look at your situation and help you to find ways to improve it. They’ll look at your income and expenses and recommend consolidation loans or other options that could help. They can even help you to create a budget to manage your money.

Most banks offer a free financial advisor service. But, remember your bank is only likely to recommend their own products. You may have to pay to see an independent advisor, but you could be offered a wider range of options.

Get Help with Investments

Investing your money is a fantastic way to watch it grow. But, it’s complicated and confusing. If you’ve never invested,you might worry that you can’t because you don’t know enough. The good news is,you don’t even need to meet an advisor in person, read https://budgetboost.co/etrade-review/for another option that’s great for beginners and novice traders.

Hire an Accountant

If you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you might try to manage your own finances to save money. But, it can be all too easy to make costly mistakes. Hiring an accountant can actually save you money. They’ll ensure you are claiming any tax deductibles that you are able, and they’ll make sure you don’t face a hefty fine because you’ve either missed your tax return deadlines or made a mistake in your working out.Read more about deducatbles at https://www.raymondbenn.co.uk/services/businesses/detailed-list-of-tax-allowable-expenses.

Why Encouraging Diverse Representation Will Help Your Business Grow

Diversity in the workplace is a hot topic for business owners in recent years, changing from a novel idea to a necessity for success. Diversity comes in many shapes and sizes; differences in age, gender,economic background, race, and cultural differences are just some of the ways your business can focus on representing a diverse workforce.

While not always easy to achieve without dedicated time from your hiring team and management, when done successfully encouraging diversity at your business can actually help you reduce turnover, increase innovation, and help your business grow overall.

Improved Market Share

One of the most crucial parts of having a successful business is understanding your products and services and who your target audience is. Only employing staff from similar backgrounds in the name of ‘culture fit’ limits your understanding of other markets and ways your business could grow and succeed when marketing to these diverse groups.

By hiring employees that come from a wide variety of backgrounds, religions, sexual orientations, genders, age groups and spending habits, you are gaining insight into the market groups you want to learn more about. This allows you to create products and services that are sustainable. for them more effectively and it enhances your chance of capturing a wider market share.

Increase Innovation

Not surprisingly, an increase in difference of opinions, experiences, and ideas can lead to innovation in your business when a safe space is created to share such ideas. A study by NC State’s business school looked at 3,000 of the largest publicly traded companies and found that those with a diverse workforce were better at developing innovative products and services.

This is especially helpful for those companies working in global markets, which tend to evolve more quickly and compete with other businesses who also hire diverse workforces. It is important to emphasize that your staff must feel that their differences in outlooks are respected and they are encouraged to express these differences to their coworkers to maximize your potential for innovation.

Recruit and Retain Talent

Finding talented workers can be a difficult task for a business, especially as you compete with other jobs that may be able to offer better benefits or pay. One easy way to do this is by hiring diverse employees. A company that embraces diversity is automatically throwing a wider net to applicants of diverse backgrounds, letting a larger audience know they would be welcome and fit into your company culture, increasing the talent pool you will see.

A recent study from Atlassian found that 80% of respondents believed diversity and inclusion to be important in the workplace, and companies like B Corps, who openly are rated on their employee happiness and diversity are highly sought after by top MBA students. Tiffany Jana, CEO of TMI Consulting, a B Corp, stated that, “I can barely keep up with the droves of highly qualified, passionate, values-aligned millennials who want to work for TMI. I no longer search for high-potential staff; they now come tome.” As you bring in a more diverse staff and focus on employee well-being, you will see a positive impact on your reputation as a great place to work.

When it comes to retaining employees, diversity can also help. It does this by communicating to employees that your business is open-minded to different ideas and ways of doing things, which research shows greatly increases employee happiness. When workers feel a sense of autonomy in daily operations, meaning they have a say in their own goals, responsibilities, and creative process, they perform higher, have a better moral, and tend to stay with that business longer.

It also communicates to your workers that you do not practice workplace discrimination, which again increases workplace morale and trust in you as the employer, leading to longer retention rates.

Increased Profits

Another benefit of having a diverse staff is an increase in profits. If your employees are helping you improve your market share, increasing the level of innovation at your business, and you are recruiting highly talented workers and are able to retain them, it is easy to also expect an increase in profits for your business. A recent study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that diversity increases the bottom line for companies,especially when that diversity is in the board room. 

Of the 1,700 companies surveyed, those companies that reported above-average diversity on their management teams reported 19% higher revenues than those companies with below average leadership diversity, with innovation cited as the reason for increased revenues. 

Overall, improving your workplace diversity can help you attract and keep talented employees, increase creativity in your workplace which can help you better understand your markets, and increase the profitability of your business. But despite the overwhelming evidence that diverse workplaces help your business grow, many businesses still struggle to implement changes that are sustainable. Check out this list of easy steps your business can take to make sure your business is successful at encouraging diversity and reaping the benefits.

Sam Casteris is a small business owner and freelance writer operating out of Phoenix, AZ. You can find more of her work on Contently.

How to Set Up a Home Office on a Tight Budget

Working from a home office is many people’s dream. The idea of waking up and walking mere footsteps, instead of driving miles and miles, and being able to work in your pajamas, represents the height of living and working flexibly.

And while working from home offers many benefits, there are quite a few changes you’ll to which you’ll need to adapt. Specifically, you will be responsible for setting up your home office. This means not only finding the right equipment, but paying for it all, which can get expensive quickly.
But building a good home office doesn’t necessarily need to mean spending thousands on a high-end desk and premium computer equipment. You can set up a home office that can be a bastion of productivity even if you’re on a tight budget. And here’s how

Make It Separate

This is a way to save on your home office that might not be felt right away but that will still help lessen the burden on your pocketbook. Essentially, by making sure your office is completely separate from the rest of your home, and designating it as strictly an office, you will be able to claim this space on you tax returns, helping put money in your pocket at the end of each year.

However, before you get too excited, know that there are some stipulations involved with this deduction, especially after the new tax reform law that went into action in 2018. Essentially, you can only claim a home office if it’s your primary or sole place of business. So if you work for a company and they let you split between working from the office and working from home, then you might not be able to take this deduction. But if you run your own business, or work full-time as a freelancer, then you probably can.

Consider enlisting the services of tax accountant, as they can help you figure out if you qualify and also how much you can deduct. Typically, it will depend on how big the office is in comparison to the rest of your home. So if you have an 800 sq. foot home, and your office is 80 sq. feet, you should be able to claim 10 percent of your living expenses as business expenses, and these can be deducted from your taxes. However, it’s not always this black and white, so make sure to consult a professional before signing your name to any legally binding documents, i.e. your tax returns.

Find Used Equipment

A more immediate way to save when setting up your home office is to opt for second-hand or used equipment. While it might look nice to have brand new mahogany furniture, this will set you back quite a bit, and it might be best to wait for these luxuries until you’ve had the chance to save some cash.

But this also goes for computers and A/V equipment. It’s often nice for those working from home to have a separate monitor so that you can keep track of all the tabs and programs you have open, and these can usually be found second hand for rather cheap. A quick Google search for “used” or “second-hand office equipment” will reveal countless places where you can get what you need at great prices.

And if you’re in need of a new computer, ask yourself if you really need a brand new, $2,000 Macbook. For most of us, the answer is probably no, especially since you can find other options for much more cheaply. For example, shop around on manufacturer’s refurbished catalogues. These devices come with full manufacturer’s warranties, and they are often better buys than something brand new, as any issue they might have has already been detected and addressed.

Choose the Right Room

Working from a home office will require you to use more utilities than normal. For example, if you live in a colder climate, many of us are used to turning the heat way down during the day; it doesn’t make sense to heat an empty house. But when working from home, this might change. You may need to run heat or A/C all day, and you may start using more electricity. And while in the beginning this might not seem like a big deal, these expenses can add up quickly.

To work around this, spend some time to choose the right room in your house. Try to find a place that receives a good amount of natural light, as this will not only help reduce your need for lamps and lighting, but it can also help enhance your mood and productivity.

If you live in a warm climate, try to pick a room, though, that doesn’t get blasted by direct sunlight, as this will make it hotter and increase your need for A/C. But if you’re in a cold climate, this can help heat things up and reduce your need to turn on the furnace or baseboards. Rooms that face north tend to be a good happy medium as they will get light from outside but will not severely alter the room temperature of your office.

Opt for Free Services

There are countless services out there all claiming to help you manage your home business much better than you can on your own. And while this may be true, the expense of these services can add up quickly. So don’t discount free services. Google Drive can do everything and more than Microsoft Word, and it’s getting better every day. Trello can help you manage projects, Skype can work as a phone, and PayPal allows you to send and pay invoices for free.

Of course, there may come a time when it makes sense to pay for a service, such as when you want to make use of marketing automation or CRM software. But the key is to save elsewhere so that when you do need to incur these expenses it’s not as dramatic.

Set Your Home Office Up Today

While setting a home office up on a budget might make it look a little less glamorous, it will not affect its functionality. And by working to save wherever you can, you’re going to increase the margins on whatever you’re using the office for, boosting your income and turning you into a savvy remote worker.

About the Author: Kevin Conner is the founder of Broadband Search, a service dedicated to helping people find the right internet package for them. As an entrepreneur and a long-time home office worker, he’s always looking for ways to help others raise margins and boost productivity.

A Question Of Trust: Putting Our Faith In Remote Workers

When we’re trying to conserve our business’ productivity, its integrity, not to mention its finances, the modern approach that so many companies look to is the remote working setup. Naturally, it’s a big draw, not just because it’s a way to cut those financial corners, but it’s a way we can hire so many people, and actually, make the most of the limited finances we have. But, with remote working comes a lot of questions, not just in terms of the technicalities, but also, when you’re hiring remote workers or freelancers, this question of trust can arise. Are remote workers to be trusted? And how can we get around this issue?

The Handling Of Sensitive Data

The one basic way we can get around this is to have contracts. Even a freelancer contract carries a legal cache, and it’s the best way for us to cover our bases. Unfortunately, the difficulty of ensuring remote workers and freelancers handle data effectively is all about consistent communication. While there are some technological ways for you to keep on top of this, hiring a virtual server hosting company to do the monitoring, or hiring a dedicated team to monitor the computer components will ensure that you are keeping some sort of watchful eye on your remote employees.

Improving Your Communication With Them

As we can struggle with the idea of control when we have remote workers or freelancers, it’s important to differentiate between the two terms. Remote workers can be hired on a permanent contract, but freelancers are not. So, if you are concerned that the two aren’t mutually exclusive, you have to think about what you want from your employees. In addition to this, if you want freelancers to feel part of the team, you have to make them feel just that. The big anxiety that we can have when it comes to trusting remote workers is that they can leave us in the lurch when there is a deadline looming, and while we don’t want to be let down, if we don’t give them any sort of incentive to keep working for us, such as by minimal communication, then part of us shouldn’t be surprised when they do inevitably jump ship. Improving your communication isn’t about messaging them every 20 minutes or so, it’s giving them that room to breathe but showing them that you have faith in their abilities to complete the task. This is a hard thing for us to come to terms with, especially when we’re trying to keep numerous plates spinning, as well as get to know the new members of the team.

Don’t forget, it’s important that remote workers feel part of the team, even though they are working from home. Remote workers, from a stereotypical perspective, can take liberties, and not do what is asked of them, but if we are to trust remote workers, then we have to have some semblance of honesty in how we communicate. We can trust remote workers, and we should, but maybe it’s more about the fact that we have to come to terms with changing our own managerial styles.