Maintaining Certifications and Compliance—3 Areas Every Business Should Consider

Every business has to stay on top of its management. From licensure to certifications, it’s vital that every operation stays organized. Mismanagement or even a temporary lapse in attention can result in major liabilities that cost thousands of dollars down the line. In order to keep employees happy and finances in check, don’t overlook these three major compliance and certification considerations. 

Employee Insurance

Depending on the size of your business, you may be legally obligated to offer your employees some form of healthcare coverage. The Affordable Care Act employer mandate requires any organization with 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees to offer health insurance coverage. 

Failure to offer coverage to 95-percent of full-time employees will result in a fine of $2,320 per employee, excluding the first 30. Even if you’re only left with 20 employees after the subtraction, you would still face a penalty of $46,600. 

Full-time employees are considered anyone who works 30 hours per week or 130 hours each calendar month, including paid-time-off and vacation days. Teachers and other education employees are considered full-time even if they don’t work all year. 

While healthcare is expensive, it’s more than just a liability for businesses. Offering health insurance demonstrates you care about your employees, and greater benefits will boost morale and increase loyalty. 

Quality Assurance

Depending on your line of work, quality assurance may be more than just a form of risk management. There are different quality requirements across various industries including engineering and food servicing. Failure to meet these standards don’t just open the door for lawsuits but also jeopardizes your entire business’s reputation. 

QA allows business owners to consistently gain insight into their products and improve their services and delivery. Quality assurance is more than just protection; it also provides valuable insight into your company’s day-to-day operations and ensures your customers never received anything less than what they’ve paid for. 

Taxes and Finances

Even the most diligent business owner can slip up and miss some important figures come tax season. In order to ensure that your company doesn’t get audited or fined for a costly oversight, consider outsourcing your tax preparation and business financing to a professional accountant. Accountants adhere to proper standards and are able to fully commit to managing your business’s finances. Also, using software like this HCP aggregate spend reporting can also help significantly with organization and tracking.

Remember that business is all about improvement. Revisiting your foundation and making any adjustments to your current operations will ensure that your company is always capable of accommodating new changes and adapting to growth. Staying in compliance with business laws and ethical standards will help make your company a more effective, enjoyable and reliable establishment for everyone involved.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

You Don’t Need to be a Millionaire to Invest

When people think about investing they always think about films like Wolf on Wall Street, The Big Short, or Boiler Room. It’s fast-paced, it can get dirty, there are a lot of men shouting at each other in a hot room filled with computers. The deals aren’t always legit, but there are millions to be made. And, that might be true for some people. But there is a much easier way for people to invest small amounts. Yes, the returns are more modest, but it’s something you lead to learning as you go. In general, making smart investments will help you grow your wealth, and you don’t need to be a millionaire to invest either.

Who Are You

DIY – You want to learn from the ground up, you have an idea where you would and wouldn’t like to put your money. You want to know the best combination of indicators for day trading and you’re happy to put a lot of time into it.

Half and Half – You are comfortable being hands-on but want someone or something else to help you make the final calls. You want the stocks all processed for you, and you want to manage a varied portfolio. You have a little bit more money and some clear goals. A robo-investor is going to be great for you.

Think about what it is you want to get out of it. Do you want to learn the details, and handle everything, or do you want to be hands on but have a helping hand too.

Check Account Options

If you want to invest, you’ll need an investment account to do it. If you are going down the DIY route, then a brokerage account is what you’ll need. Going half and half? You can get yours through a robo-investor.

A brokerage account is like the quickest and cheapest way to start buying stocks, funds and open up the rest of investment types for you too. You will probably need to pay a transaction fee for every trade you make, which might sound expensive, but you won’t have a robo-investor creaming the top of your investment profits. But, it is all on you to make wise decisions.

Getting some help? You can sign up to something like Betterment, which has a $0 minimum and start buying. You’ll be charged a management fee, which is typical of all investors, and it varies depending on what you have invested in and how much you have made. The robo-investor will keep checking in on your goals to make sure you are getting the best service.

Even Easier?

If you aren’t ready to do any of those, but you still want to have some investments – Plum can help. Not only will it allow you to set up automatic savings each week, but you can also use those savings to make some investments. They have a range of options from sustained, small growth to the significant growth great gamble options like Technology. It keeps track of everything for you and gives you a breakdown of where your money is. You can withdraw it at any time too.

7 Proven Strategies To Successfully Manage Your Investment Property

Properties have always been considered a safe and profitable investment. In most of the cases, these assumptions are true. However, there is one common belief the real estate newcomers are usually wrong about – troubles don’t go away once you find a hot property and sign the papers. They are just beginning.

Although it doesn’t seem that way, rental investments require a great deal of careful management, and their eventual success hangs on the investor’s ability to perform it. Let’s take a look at a couple of strategies that can make this job considerably easier.

Keep the reliable tenants happy

The properties that are not necessarily considered hot and have a history of sitting vacant for months before finding reliable residents can cause their owners huge financial problems with each turnover. That is why landlords have to go out of the way to make tenants happy. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Maintain open and friendly communication.
  • Be quick to respond to tenants’ requests.
  • Make strategic upgrades to accommodate tenants’ habits.
  • Do your best to keep neighbors under control.
  • Encourage longer leases even if that implies discounted rates.

Create a financial plan

Rental properties are not that different from any other business. As a result, if you want to make them profitable you need at least a rudimental business plan. This document should cover the property’s market value (as determined by size, location and amenities), expected revenue, monthly and annual expenses, and the list of upgrades intended to increase the property’s market value. This simple plan prevents rash decisions, excessive spending and gives landlords an excellent reference point for measuring their current progress.

Take care of the maintenance

Keeping up with property maintenance is one of the most important things you should do with your investment. This issue is so complex that some countries like Australia demand that strata managers and lot owners provide professionally made initial maintenance schedule that specifies obligations of maintaining the common property assets. These documents are a great roadmap for all future property interventions, so it is a good idea to hire trained professionals to make you one.

Study the law

Knowing the legal provisions regarding the landlord-tenant relations can be of tremendous help in handling potentially troublesome situations and streamlining the management process. Some of the most important topics you need to cover are the regulations regarding the security deposit, reasons for evicting the tenants out of the property, the very process of eviction and the circumstances in which tenants are allowed to legally withhold the rent.

Manage your property like a hospitality business

This plays out in two ways. On the one hand, you should treat your property with the same level of care and attention as you would if you were running a hotel. On the other hand, running the rental property like a hospitality business sets a great frame for establishing the relationship with the tenants. Yes, you should be pleasant and do your best to make them feel comfortable. But, at the same time you should maintain a professional distance and keep your doings within legally binding terms.

Market your properties

This is another topic where you could take notes from hospitality businesses. Waiting for the tenants to come to you instead of reaching out and marketing your properties to them is a horrible mistake. And remember this – listing your investments on Airbnb and similar websites is not marketing. Instead, your venture should follow all the steps other small businesses make and devise a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes branding, and actions across several different marketing channels.

Consider hiring a property manager

Managing several properties can be an overwhelming process. In such circumstances, hiring a professional whose sole job will be to manage your investments may be the only viable option. Managerial salary will make a cut into your profit, but your business will be set on solid ground, and you will have your hands free to explore other ventures. Alternatively, you may opt for businesses providing managerial services. This option practically outsources management outside your enterprise, but you do get a top-notch service for the price of a monthly subscription.

Managing a rental property is a task that requires a lot of patience and effort. And yet, a lot of landlords approach this duty like their job consists solely of picking up the rent and hiring contractors to perform annual maintenance. Such landlords don’t have staying power. Learn from their mistakes and use the seven strategies we gave you to turn your investment into a profitable business laid out on rock solid foundations.

About the author: Mike Johnston is a lifestyle and business blogger from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and Divine Magazine. He also contributed to real estate and environmental blogs as well. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.

A Shortcut To The Skills: Areas Where Outsourcing Can Really Save You Time And Money

As a business that is constantly looking forward, we’ve all got to embrace the latest trends, albeit to an extent. Whether we’ve gone analog and we’re embracing a new era of digital transformation, or we’re looking to round off the edges, the latest trends don’t necessarily mean the best for our business. Outsourcing is one of those things that, understandably, we all look upon with some form of trepidation. Some think outsourcing rids businesses of their personality, but outsourcing, for numerous startups, can save an infinite amount of time and money. Let’s show you how.

The Ever-Changing Technological Landscape

Because technology progresses at such a rate, the race can be hard to keep up with. These days, as there are so many different IT consulting firms, such as cyberjaz.net, we can choose the right company to partner up with, so they can guide us with a steady hand through these changes. For those people who aren’t able to acquire the skills of workers in-house, outsourcing to an IT support company can make the processes easier to handle.

Content Marketing

Creating content that is easy to absorb by potential customers is a fine art, because it can come across as being a bit too commercial-esque in the wrong hands. And when we haven’t got the time to learn how best to develop our voice, we have to outsource to a content marketing company that has the strategies in place that lends themselves well to your brand. The goal is always the same- to sell products- but we have to do it in such a way that it doesn’t seem like you are relying on sales and leads. We have to generate leads but we have to start relationships with our customers.

Bookkeeping

You may think it’s easier to manage all of the tasks yourself. After all, when you are a novice startup, it’s cheaper! But because the balancing of many plates can result in a dip in productivity, outsourcing to a bookkeeping company isn’t just taking advantage of their expertise, but it’s offloading the more mundane and stressful tasks. Your business needs adequate accounts and documents to support every item of expenditure, and while there are many reasons to not use outsourced bookkeeping services, accountingdepartment.com provides a solid argument for you to use them. You can’t be too careful when it comes to your money. After all, it’s a legal requirement that you keep everything in order.

Outsourcing isn’t a bad word anymore, and it is certainly a way for us to take advantage of the resources out there when we can’t complete certain tasks ourselves. Put simply, outsourcing gives you the opportunity to look at the skills you don’t have, and give the tasks to those that do. From content marketing to bookkeeping and the complicated minefield that is technology, we’ve got so many aspects to outsource. But these things can save us so much time, not to mention money. We could spend years finding the right people to benefit our business, but we have to pay them a full wage. Outsourcing is a great shortcut to the skills.

5 Hottest Investment Trends For 2019

Making money off proper investments is one of the cornerstones of capitalism. Essentially if you make a wager that the company you give money for is going to continue being successful, and if you’re right, you earn your fair share of the profit. Both you and the company that you invest in benefit from the decision. Not everyone knows how to properly invest, or even where to invest their hard-earned money. Here are some examples of where popular investment trends are heading in 2019.

1. Cryptocurrency

An interesting take on decentralized currency, crypto has become one of the most talked about and most controversial topics on the internet and in investment. It started spreading during Bitcoins’ massive increase in value from hundreds of dollars to twenty-thousand dollars in a very short amount of time. Following this, the currency soon lost half of its value in a similarly short amount of time. The instability of crypto has not deterred many investors who see a future in any of the numerous block-chain driven coins. The potential for fast trading and avoiding government manipulation is considered a very attractive trait in this business.

Others argue that circumventing regulation online, and the possibility of insider manipulation from the original creators who might hoard large amounts of the currency might be too much of a risk for future trading.

2. Trade options

Much like a regular stock, options trading allows you to control an asset and make a price movement. The difference is, you don’t have to actually own the stock itself. They have a very low price due to expiring within several months, and in some cases several weeks, depending on the stock itself. The price is way below the actual per-share price of the underlying asset. For just a few dollars you could trade Tesla or Google, or any of the giants provided.

Notably, the most you can lose through this investment is exactly what you put into it, and nothing more. Unlike futures, there is no additional margin call. Options trade is very complex and to be able to successfully make a profit off of it, you must do your research beforehand.

3. Tiffany & Co.

Known as one of the largest and oldest jewelry companies in the world, it has more than a hundred locations internationally, many of them in Australia. It is credited as the pioneer of the practice of using the carat as a weight standard for precious gems. Business is booming, as the company has topped earnings in the last six quarters straight, proving that it’s still on top of the game.

The new CEO has pushed the company to exceed investor expectations and stay ahead of its competitors. Luxury good business is expected to grow over the next few years, which is why some companies have upgraded Tiffany stocks and pegged it as one of the leaders in the industry.

4. Hire a broker

When the market shows signs of being up significantly, it seems like it should be an easy thing to invest properly and make some money, but the average Australian investor doesn’t do so well on his own without some kind of mediator. This is why many future investors opt for a sound alternative investment in Australia or other types of mediators to help them make the right decision when trading. A good broker can provide invaluable tips and guidelines for beginners and experts alike.

Some of them charge a fee for their help, but more often than not, the fee is well worth the help they provide when it comes to good investment ideas.

5. Forex trading

With a very low price of entry, Forex looks like a very attractive investment. Forex, or foreign currency trading, is also relatively simple to understand, even for beginner investors. Most of the investments and actions are located in just a couple of currency pairs. An online broker can even open a mini-account for you with a very small deposit of a hundred dollars or even less, in some cases. Beginner investors will find this to be a convenient option.

You can control more than your actual investments through leverage. The downside of this is that this will also increase your potential losses significantly. This makes leverage very attractive for those who like to gamble, but possibly harmful.

While these are some of the more popular and sure-fire decisions you can make in investing in 2019, they only scratch the surface of what’s out there. There are hundreds of new companies being made with creative, new ideas. Likewise, well-established companies are constantly thinking of new ways of making money for their investors. Brokers are constantly monitoring hot stocks for their clients. In the end, the choice of what to back with your money is yours alone, considering it is your money.

Guest author, Lucas, is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking and traveling.

5 Big Mistakes No Successful Entrepreneur Will Make Again

It may seem like some of the biggest companies out there are being run by people who know everything about the business world. While they may know a lot about it, it doesn’t mean they don’t make mistakes. In fact, almost every entrepreneur has made at least one mistake in their career. There’s nothing wrong with making a mistake as long as you learn something from it. And if you don’t want to learn from your own mistakes but you’d rather learn from other entrepreneur’s experiences, make sure you read on.

Not using social media

There’s no need to say that social media is huge right now. Just in New Zealand, there are 3.5 million active social media users and we can expect this number to grow in the future. However, some entrepreneurs believe using social media is a waste of time and decide not to create social media presence for their business. This is definitely something you don’t want to do, especially because people now often turn to social media search when looking for a product or service. In order to make sure everyone can reach you, you need to create pages on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and use them on a daily basis to communicate with your customers directly.

Forgetting to pay themselves

Many rookie entrepreneurs get so excited about running their own business that they completely forget about paying themselves. Even if they do remember to do so, they often decide not to do it in order to leave more money for their company to work with. This can seem like an amazing idea at first but it can seriously hurt both your personal and business finances. If you don’t pay yourself, you’ll soon find yourself with no money on your bank account. Also, you won’t get a clear picture of how well your business is doing and doing your taxes will be more difficult. Those who decided not to pay themselves have learned the hard way that they deserve to receive a paycheck for all their hard work.

Not being formal enough

Running a business is a serious task and only those who take it that way will be able to succeed. That being said, you should try to be formal whenever you get the chance. Let’s say you’re responding to a negative comment from a customer. Instead of arguing with them, you should try to be as formal and polite as possible. This will show your customers that you care about what they have to say, which can be a big plus for your company. When meeting a business partner, renting a vehicle from companies such as Avis Car Rental is a good idea as it makes you look more professional and helps you bring your A-game to the meeting.

Setting unattainable goals

Running your own business sure is great and just like most entrepreneurs out there, you dream of conquering it all. While dreaming big is an important part of success, you can’t just expect your business to do exceptionally well from day one. Many entrepreneurs end up setting unattainable goals for their business right from the start which ends up affecting their operations. In order to make sure this doesn’t happen to you, you need to be extra careful when setting goals for your business. It’s important to start small and adjust your goals as your business grows. We recommend putting your goals in writing so that you could review them every once in a while and make any necessary adjustments.

Taking everyone’s advice

The business world is full of “gurus” who believe they’re the next Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Ellison. Those people will often give you advice in order to help you grow your business. Taking everything they say seriously is a good idea and it could help you take your business to the next level. However, this doesn’t mean you need to do everything they advise you to do. Instead, you need to rely on your own knowledge and instincts. Therefore, every time you need to make an important business decision, you should think about what you want to do and only then listen to what other people have to say. Many of those who’ve taken every piece of advice they’ve got ended up failing even before they got a chance to show what they can do.

Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy. Make sure you don’t make these 5 mistakes and you’ll have nothing to worry about. Even when something goes wrong, fix it as quickly as possible and try to learn something from it.

Diana Smith is a full time mom of two beautiful girls interested in latest business news and new social media trends. In her free time she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.

It’s Time To Pay More Attention To These Parts Of Your Business!

When you’re running your own business, it can often feel as though you’re spinning plates. You’re trying to keep everything together but it feels like the moment that you turn your attention to one thing, something else goes wrong. The truth is that this is just a fact of life when you’re a business owner and it’s something that you have to get used to.Sure, there are plenty of things you can do to make life easier but sadly the most common things that a lot of business owners do is to just ignore certain parts of their business that they consider to either be unimportant or that they simply take for granted. If you do that, it’s always going to cause more problems than it solves. With that in mind, here are some parts of your business that you need to stop ignoring.

Your IT solutions

IT is the backbone of pretty much all modern businesses. We live in such a heavily digital world that trying to run any business without IT solutions is just asking to get left in the dust by the competition. Of course, not everyone is going to be an IT expert and trying to deal with it all on your own can often cause more problems than it solves.That’s why it’s so important to find companies that can offer solid IT support to your business. After all, if you’re outsourcing it, you are able to focus your energy elsewhere while ensuring that it’s always being looked after.

Your accounting

Accounting is one of those things that a lot of businesses work incredibly hard to avoid as much as possible. This is often for two reasons. Firstly, accounting is difficult and complicated. And secondly, it can be incredibly boring. Most business owners would rather ignore something quite so dull and would rather focus on the more dynamic aspects of their business. However, just because it’s not that fun doesn’t mean that it’snot incredibly important. If you’re not staying on top of your books then not only could your business end up in financial difficulty, but you could end up in some pretty serious legal hot water to

Accounting is one of those things that a lot of businesses work incredibly hard to avoid as much as possible. This is often for two reasons. Firstly, accounting is difficult and complicated. And secondly, it can be incredibly boring. Most business owners would rather ignore something quite so dull and would rather focus on the more dynamic aspects of their business. However, just because it’s not that fun doesn’t mean that it’snot incredibly important. If you’re not staying on top of your books then not only could your business end up in financial difficulty, but you could end up in some pretty serious legal hot water too.

Employee support

Your employees are the lifeblood of your business and if you’re just treating them like machines who are going to do great work because you pay them every month, you’re letting them and your business down. The truth is that your employees need your care and support in order to feel motivated and happy at work. From rewarding great work to being a little more flexible with them, it’s crucial that you put the effort into making your employees feel supported and cared for as much as possible.

The truth is that you’re almost always going to be in a position where you feel like you’re playing catch up with certain aspects of your business. The key is to make sure that you’re planning and prioritising things carefully without falling into the trap of letting certain things go entirely ignored. Sure, that might sound like a serious challenge but that’s just part and parcel with running a business.