Tackling Your Business’s Waste Problem

With increasing regulations and a growing awareness amongst consumers, every business owner has to seriously consider the environmental impact their work has. In particular, waste is still a significant issue, but one that you can help to decrease dramatically. Here, we’re going to look at some of the greatest sources of waste in all businesses and what you can do to lessen your impact at least a little.


Paper isn’t being treated as the completely expendable commodity that it once was. This is thanks, in large part, to the growing reliance on IT. More and more businesses are turning to a paperless or near paperless model. By relying more on digital storage and backups, you can reduce the amount of paper your business uses dramatically. Not only does this cut on the costs of buying paper itself, it also saves in terms of printing costs and the storage space necessary to keep all that paper, too.


Many businesses use more electricity than necessary. From vampire electricity wasted by leaving devices on standby to relying on old equipment that is far from energy efficient, you could be driving your power bills sky high. An energy audit service can help you easily see where exactly you’re using the most energy and what to do about it. Investing in question like a genset can help you cut costs, too. Many utility providers are willing to offer discounts on energy, for instance, if companies are willing to use their own genset to supplement their reliance on utilities.


Water-saving faucets and toilets can drastically reduce the amount of water wasted by employees in every bathroom. However, water waste isn’t just about how much water your business uses, but how clean it is when disposed. From businesses with fleets to warehouses and construction crews, water contamination is a serious problem. Oil water separators are more than just an ethical choice, they could be an essential part of making your business compliant with environmental regulations, depending on the industry you’re in. As the business grows, make sure that you’re getting rid of waste water in the cleanest way possible.


If you’re in retail, manufacturing, or production of any kind, consider the packaging you offer. Regular product packaging is one of the most widespread sources of plastic and paper waste, but there are eco-friendly packaging options available. You can make it much easier for your customers to recycle or reuse your products. Not only will this help tackle your ecological footprint, but it’s a very visible sign of your company’s dedication to environmentally friendly operation methods. It can be as much a part of the brand, helping to win the goodwill of your consumers.

It’s reasonable to expect that businesses will be legally required to produce less waste as time goes on. Even now, consumers are becoming more mindful of who they support and producing lots of waste can be bad for your image as far as they are concerned. Keep the tips above in mind, as it’s only going to become more important.

You say Acculturation… I say Enculturation: Connecting Employees to Your Culture

Kevin W. Grossman got me thinking about Enculturation with his blog post, “Transformative Conversations And Enculturation.”

Assimilating employees into the corporate culture is an important part of the onboarding process and something that should continue to ensure all employees feel connected to the organization.

culutreWhat do we mean by enculturation though? Is that like brain washing? Well, not exactly.

Enculturation and acculturation are terms that are used in sociology and social anthropology to explain different processes of absorption of cultural traits by the people. Both processes help in explaining socialization on individuals in a society

  • Enculturation is learning one’s own culture, a process that is influenced strongly by home and family.
  • Acculturation, on the other hand, is learning aspects of a culture other than one’s own – particularly those aspects which will enable the individual to survive in that culture.

HR pro Jennifer Miller defines acculturation as the adaptation of an individual to the cultural expectations of a surrounding society. According to this definition of enculturation, influences that shape an individual’s cultural adaptation in the workplace include supervisors, peers and ethical standards of the industry.

Why is this important? Because, successful enculturation leads to competence in language, values and behavioral protocol, resulting in greater workplace harmony.

Acculturation is often used synonymously with enculturation. Regardless of which term you use, it should be part of your onboarding process because the return on investment is earlier and more rapid productivity of the new employee and improved long term employee satisfaction and retention.

Technologist Chuck Ros suggests organizations that want to reap the benefits of quickening employees to effectiveness while maximizing the new employee’s satisfaction (and longevity as a result) would be well advised to construct an acculturation system that measures, engages, and immerses. Ros distinguishes between transactional onboarding and acculturation onboarding.

Transactional Onboarding utilizes the automation of the onboarding business process to transition a new employee into their new role; automating the federal W-4, I-9, and state tax forms are examples of business rules and forms best automated through transactional onboarding. Return on investment is realized through making the process more efficient, eliminating costs in handling forms and data, eliminating latency and errors in data, and minimizing risk in the compliance-sensitive area of hiring.

Acculturation Onboarding, or simply Acculturation, as quickening the new employee to effectiveness. Acculturation is sometimes also known as socialization, and is touted by many vendors as the singular approach to onboarding, despite the fact that acculturation is appropriate to a subset of employers who might be interested in a strategic onboarding initiative. Return on investment for acculturation is realized through earlier and more rapid productivity of the new employee and improved long term employee satisfaction and retention.

So, how do you enculturate your new employees and your workforce?

Is Employee Healthcare on Your Radar?

healthcare_pricingWith the cost of healthcare rising by the second, offering your employees a healthcare plan can sometimes put an unnecessary strain on your company’s budget.

But, on the flip side of the healthcare coin, when employees are covered, it usually results in a less stressful, worry-free work environment.

If you’re on the fence about offering your employees health coverage, here are just a few benefits that might sway your decision:

Attract the Best Candidates

Although offering your employees healthcare coverage does mean more out-of-pocket expenses for your company, it also helps attract the best possible employees.

According to the Census Bureau, more than half the U.S. population had health insurance coverage provided by their employer in 2011.

This means that if your company doesn’t offer coverage, qualified employees might just look elsewhere for work.

Not only does employment-based health insurance help your company retain its top employees, it also helps attract the best candidates in the workforce when it comes time to hire.

Ensure the Wellness of the Workplace

There’s a ton of debate about the importance of employment-based healthcare, but the cost of healthcare always seems to overshadow its long-term benefits, especially in the workplace. When employees are healthy, they’re more productive, which is great for your company.

In addition, when your employees have health insurance that includes preventative coverage like regular physicals, it ensures the well-being of the entire workplace. This means your staff is less likely to take sick days or prolonged absences due to health issues.

So, when you are choosing a health insurance plan for your company, keep in mind the importance of workplace wellness.

Tax Credits

The government wants your company to provide its employees with health insurance just as much as you do, so that’s why they’re offering health insurance tax credits to qualifying businesses.

If your company has 25 or fewer full-time employees, their wages are less than $50,000 a year, and you pay at least half of their insurance premiums, you could save a lot of money on your taxes.

How much? Well, for example, say you pay $50,000 toward your employees’ health care premiums in a year. The government will actually give you a 15% tax credit, which saves you $7,500 on your taxes. And, the best part is, the more you contribute, the bigger the credit!

Few Considerations….

Before you sign your employees up for healthcare coverage, there are some things to consider that could drastically change the type of coverage you choose as well as the costs involved:

• Type of Work – The type of business you run has everything to do with your healthcare decision. If you run a business that’s considered “high risk” by the insurance company, like an industrial or manufacturing business or anything that involves heavy machinery, your company’s premiums could skyrocket.

• The Workforce – You also need to take the age and health of your current employees into consideration. If you have an older workforce or any of your employees smoke or have preexisting medical conditions, it could make the healthcare coverage process a headache.

• Part-Time vs. Full-Time – Are the majority of your employees part-time or full-time? If the answer is part-time, then it might not be worth the investment because part-time employees aren’t likely to stay with your company for an extended period of time.

By keeping in mind the benefits and considerations above, you’ll have an easier time coming to a healthcare coverage decision.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health and small business.

Swiss Taxation Issues You Should be Aware of as the Owner of an LLC

Enjoying healthy tax breaks are one of the most prominent reasons for forming an LLC, a Limited Liability Company. The tax breaks afforded to LLCs differ around the world so before you start to explore your tax break options, in fact, before you even start the process of forming a limited liability company, you should familiarise yourself with the tax breaks that are afforded to LLCs in the country in which your company is registered.


This means information that specifically affects your company in the country in which your LLC is registered and not general information, for as many businesspeople have found out, there are often unexpected surprises awaiting those that form an LLC without having a comprehensive understanding of the benefits of doing so.

Forming a Swiss LLC

Many businesspeople have found it advantageous to form a limited liability in Switzerland, and not only because of its reputation for being rather tax friendly to companies, but also because of its transparency – according to the 2012 Corruption Perception Index Switzerland ranks favourably as the sixth least corrupt country – and the fact that Switzerland has signed a wealth of double taxation treaties with regional economic powerhouses, and many up and coming economies, around the world.

Taxation in Switzerland

Like most countries, the taxation system in Switzerland is that of a classical corporate tax system, however, unlike in many other countries Swiss tax is levied on three levels: the national level (federal taxes), the cantonal level (cantonal taxes) and the communal level (communal taxes). This isn’t as complex as it might initially sound, though it’s advisable to have a consultancy firm on hand like co-handels zentrum to assist with matters concerning taxation on all levels, national, cantonal and communal.

Swiss taxes are among the lowest throughout Europe, which has, as mentioned above, made it appealing to foreign businesspeople looking to take advantage of low taxation rates – corporate taxes are 16-25% and individual rates 5-20%.  However, it’s important to note that the largest portion of tax is levied at the canton and communal (municipal) levels, and that each canton has its own tax laws which are voted upon by the population in each canton.

Furthermore, companies are taxed in the canton in which they’re based, or where it carries out its business activities, which means that any businessperson looking to form a company in Switzerland should take note of this and register their company accordingly. This is yet another reason to work with a consultancy firm with strong experience in taxation for companies of all varieties including limited liability companies.

Corporate tax services in Switzerland

If you are planning to form a limited liability company in Switzerland, or have already formed one, you are advised to consult with a consultancy firm that offers a broad range of taxation services, moreover, as many consultancy firms are able to arrange company formations and provide taxation assistance, these are the consultancy firms that will prove most advantageous to have by your side.

One of the most common tax related services that consultancy firms provide is that of double tax treaties and treaty abuse and although Switzerland has entered into double taxation treaties with over 60 countries, including most of Western Europe, the need for assistance with this aspect of Swiss taxation is common amongst foreigners who have formed limited liability companies in Switzerland.

Seeing that limited liability companies are not taxed but rather the owners of the LLC, many foreign businesspeople who form limited liability companies in Switzerland require assistance with individual taxation issues and that’s another reason to have a consultancy firm on hand to assist with issues pertaining to taxation.

Moreover, although federal tax is calculated by income, cantonal and communal tax are calculated by the individual’s residence, their assets as well as their income, which can make ascertaining how much tax should be paid difficult, so once again foreign businesspeople are advised to seek assistance from a consultancy firm to assist with any issues pertaining to Swiss taxation.

Take note of these important taxation considerations regarding limited liability company formation in Switzerland and definitely don’t overlook the importance of forming a company and dealing with taxation issues with the assistance of a consultancy firm.

Author Bio:

Zoe George is a freelance writer for CO-Handelszentrum GmbH on www.co-handelszentrum.com, a company in Switzerland that is dedicated to helping clients in dealing with concerns relating to IT, process optimisation, commercial strategy development and more.

What Positions Can I Realistically Outsource?

Companies are on a constant quest to find ways to cut expenses and improve productivity.  However, cutting the wrong expenses can be counterproductive, and in some cases, detrimental.  So, what do you cut when your bottom line is on the line?  One option is outsourcing. Savvy businesses are finding they can recruit top talent and drastically reduce costs by hiring independent contractors.  For one, employers do not have to provide independent contractors with benefits such as paid leave and healthcare. Companies also only pay for time used. For instance, let’s say your company would like to work on boosting public relations efforts, but there is not enough “newsworthy” happenings to justify hiring a full time employee.  Outsourcing to a public relations firm or freelancer gives you the flexibility to employ their services as needed, rather than paying one person a salary with benefits.  And, in some cases, outsourced workers can be paid as 1099 contractors, saving your company the time and cost of submitting payroll taxes for them. Another advantage to outsourcing is you are gaining an outsider’s perspective.  Often, when a contract employee begins working with a company, they can objectively identify obstacles and opportunities management and staff may not see.

Once you decide outsourcing is a possibility, the next step is to determine which positions or duties can realistically be contracted out.  Ultimately, this will depend on your company structure; however, there are a few key core activities you can examine first to help you get started.


Information Technology (IT)

We all know IT is a must-have for every company. The complexity of your system is driven by your core business needs.  In many cases, small businesses in particular, can outsource most, if not all, of their IT needs. Cloud providers and related services offer affordable options to help protect and secure your data, eliminating the need to maintain and store it on-site.  Depending on the infrastructure, you may need to still maintain some in-house staff, just fewer.  Outsourced IT companies are competing for business, therefore, their pricing has become more attractive.  According to an October article in CIO, “Heading into 2014, IT outsourcing service providers will be hard at work stealing business from their competitors – and having theirs stolen as well.”

Sales & Research

Sales efforts are one of the most popular tasks to outsource.  Many companies are reaping the benefits of contracting with call centers to help develop leads, manage outbound sales campaigns and conduct market research.  Call centers can work in conjunction with your inside sales staff to help drive results. One obstacle for sales staff is having to take time to develop leads and research. When a call center performs the legwork, your sales representatives are prepared with solid leads and good market research, thus increasing the likelihood of converting a prospect into a customer.

Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations

Fear of cost is one of the main reasons companies tend to handle these duties in-house.  While larger agencies can be pricey, there are a number of smaller firms and even freelancers who are willing to tailor their pricing to accommodate your budget.  Remember, most of the really good professionals in this field specialize.  Graphic designers are graphic designers.  While they can write, many are not copywriters.  And, while some copywriters may be able to work their way around InDesign, they are generally not artists. These are all very specialized skill sets, which is why outsourcing to an agency can prove beneficial.  Agencies tend to have dedicated talent in each of these areas. You get the “results’ of hiring four employees without the significant cost.


Many companies are finding they can outsource much of their human resources (HR) efforts.  While you probably want to maintain an in-house manager, a good outsourced HR provider can eliminate the need to staff a large department.  From payroll and benefits to recruiting and employment screenings, there are companies who can manage it all for you at an affordable price.

Taking time to examine your business structure and identify areas and tasks that  can be outsources is the first step.  Just like employee, be sure to research providers to find the right “fit”.  Then, don’t be afraid to give it a try.  You will likely be amazed at the money you save and wonder why you didn’t consider it sooner!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

Smart Ways to Build an ICT Training Program for Your Staff

In general, the field of ICT (Information Communications Technology) is so broad that you might not expect that a decent course could be based around it. While there may be some difficulties with forming an effective training structure, this isn’t an impossible goal however. If you’re considering creating a program to teach your employees the ICT skills that they need to survive in their jobs, read on and discover some secrets behind this complex planning process.

What Do Your Employees Need to Know?


Since this is a broad topic, you’ll need to hone it down so that you can confidently cover the subject matter without having to take too long with your staff. After all, you’ll need to train them without eating too much into their work schedule. To do this, it is important to think about the many different categories covered within ICT and which ones apply to your staff members’ responsibilities. Some of the most important here are listed for your information below:

  • Word processing & spreadsheets
  • Desktop publishing & graphic design
  • Accounting, sales & finance platforms
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)
  • Computer aided design (CAD) software

Determining which of these programs your employees use the most will then help you tailor your ICT training to their specific needs. This will ensure your employees learn precisely what they need to know for their position.

Do Your Research about IT Certification

These days, there are plenty of standards that your business will have to follow when it comes to how technology is integrated into your operations. Your clients expect that their personal information will be protected from data leaks, virus attacks, etc. after all! Because of this, it’s important to put your staff through the proper training courses so that they are eventually accredited in the correct manner.

If you’re unsure about what your staff need however, it may be confusing to pick and choose the right sort of certification. This complexity and confusion is the reason why most people seek sources like an ITIL to prepare for various ICT certifications. As the business owner, it is up to you to find out as much as possible about the types of accreditation available out there. To give you a head start, some of the most popular are listed for your convenience below:

  • ISO27001
  • ISO22301
  • ISO20000
  • UK DPA

This is just a short list of the different certification available. The exact details here will depend on your staff requirements as well as your company’s location.

Consider Your Employee Schedules

Since your workers will be spending time away from their desks in order to study the courses you’re creating, you’ll have to consider their timetables to make classes more convenient. Your ICT training should allow for uninterrupted work time as well so as to not disrupt the flow of any projects that you have going on. This balancing act will be important to master as you find the perfect time for your staff to learn without causing any delays in the workplace tasks that you’ve appointed for them. If the courses are being held within the office, you won’t need to account for travel time either, a viable alternative for the busy corporate manager who really needs his employees to stay focused as much as possible.

Create a Workplace Education Policy

Having your ICT training written into your employee handbooks will form a much more productive and ordered working environment. This is because it encourages your staff members to actually improve their skills and knowledge by:

  • Stating how often each worker is required to train
  • Specifying the suitable accreditation courses available
  • Providing adequate reimbursement for this extra study

All of this will let your employees know exactly what is expected of them with their ICT certification. In this way, they can plan their schedule as they’ll know exactly what they’re studying, what the topics are, and what the compensation will be.

By following this advice, you can then set out to create a comprehensive ICT program for your business. In this way, you can keep your employees motivated and informed, provide them with the proper accreditation, and update their skills and knowledge, all without disrupting their schedules in any way.

Author Bio:

Zoe George is a freelance writer for IT Governance Ltd, a company in the UK that offers products and services that address different IT concerns. They even have an Information Technology Infrastructure Library® or ITIL for managing IT as a service.

Would You Open an Office in India?

Starting and running a business in India is challenging. But there’s a reason more and more U.S. offices—as well as other businesses across the globe—are setting up shop in New Delhi, Bangladesh, and other Indian regions.

So, what are the benefits and drawbacks of making such a move, and which types of businesses are thriving in India’s market?

Nancy Rubin - Would You Open an Office in India

The Advantages

India has a lot to offer in terms of manufacturing, natural resources, and the importing and exporting of goods. All this leads to a healthy market and strong economy that lends itself to a thriving business sector.

Growing economy aside, here are just a few more reasons why India is such an attractive business destination:

  • Specialization – India’s workforce is extremely experienced in almost all facets of business. Because education and certification are such prized assets in the Indian market, local employee recruitment is impressive. And because India has the desire to compete in the world market, the pool of qualified candidates is incredibly diverse.
  • Dedication – When an employee is dedicated and hardworking, it makes running a business that much easier. With that in mind, a strong and reliable work ethic is part of the Indian culture. The Indian workforce is willing, trained, and prepared to go the extra mile by working overtime and around the clock to ensure any business runs smoothly.
  • Accepting – The Indian market as well as its workforce is accepting of new business ideas and open to innovation. Because India takes stock in its market, it’ll do whatever it takes to see new businesses form and grow. By adapting to the way new and unfamiliar industries are run, India is always expanding and strengthening its appeal as a worldwide business destination.

The Disadvantages

Unfortunately, there is always a little bad with the good, and India’s downfall comes in the form of complex regulatory systems and complicated business startup procedures.

Some other reasons why doing business in India might raise some red flags:

  • Tax Rates – Taxes are a way of life no matter where a business decides to take its offices, but India’s tax rates are particularly high. Foreign corporations are subject to a 40% tax rate with an additional 1% to 5% wealth tax increase.
  • Formation – In order for company formation to take place, a minimum of two shareholders and two company directors must be Indian. That’s regardless of where the company hails from.
  • Start-up Capital – Any business opening offices in India is required to pay around $3,000 in startup capital to the Indian government. And if the business wants to use India or Hindu in its name, it’s an additional $10,000.

Successful Businesses

With the good and bad taken into account, which businesses are currently thriving in India? Information technologies, web hosting/outsourcing, and online reputation management services prosper in India’s market

And with all the talk about eco-friendly products, it looks like India is listening. Their green technology industry is growing every day as well as their production of quality consumer goods for the worldwide market.

So, for new businesses looking to open their offices in other lands, look no further than India.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including personal health and business markets across the world.