What is the Best Tax Structure for LLC?

The US tax system may seem complicated and confusing. But the complexity also provides variability, which, in some cases, can allow optimizing the tax costs for the company. In this article, we will take a closer look at the tax structures for an LLC in the US and their differences to make it easier for you to choose the right one for your business.

Tax System and Business Incorporation Services in the USA

In the process of LLC incorporation, the topic of taxes in the USA is probably one of the most impressive and voluminous. This is not surprising because the US tax system has a three-tiered structure and an impressive number of regulations. Taxes must be paid at three levels:

  • Federal
  • Regional (state level)
  • Local.

During business formation, it is vital to remember that a feature of the US tax system is that federal and state duties are calculated differently. They should be thought of as large domes. The entire United States is under the federal dome. Each of the states also has its own dome. An additional dome can also be on the territory of a separate county or city. For example, the federal income tax is paid by all LLC companies regardless of state since the federal level is common to all.

The government has no right to interfere with state taxation. Each state has its own tax system, different from other states, as well as different rules, requirements for LLC companies, even the forms that are filed are sometimes different.

Local-level taxes also include real estate taxes. Such taxes apply to individuals residing in a particular area.

Offshore States for LLC Formation

LLC

When contacting the best LLC professional formation services, business owners often ask which states are offshore. An important thing to understand is that offshore or completely tax-free states are a myth.

So where does this common misconception come from? It’s all about the fact that there are a number of states in the United States, namely Alaska, Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, Nevada, and Delaware, which do not charge income tax at the state level. But even if there are no state taxes for LLC companies, there are duties at the federal or local level (remember the three-tier US tax system).

In addition, some states may have some other tax instead of income tax. For example, Delaware has this trick: they once removed the income tax at the state level, and they still don’t have it. But instead, they put in another tax (the franchise tax – $300 paid annually).

However, there are also objective advantages of business incorporation in some states that should not be ignored.

The best way would be to start choosing a state for business formation with an analysis of the activity of the company, where there will be an influx of major customers, where the office will be located.

First of all, you have to get the LLC incorporation documents to start paying taxes, and this is also a long and complicated process. You can speed it up by contacting one of the best LLC creation services online. Such LLC websites provide fast and affordable company formation services, helping businesses avoid doing a bunch of paperwork themselves. Each of these services is reliable and trustworthy, has a huge number of positive reviews, and the trust of their clients.

Limited Liability Company Formation and Taxation

A Limited Liability Company (LLC) combines the advantages of owner-level taxation (like partnerships) with the limited liability of participants (like corporations).

For an LLC, there are several taxation options to choose from:

  • A partnership (if the LLC has multiple owners)
  • A sole-partnership (if the LLC has only one owner)
  • Corporate tax structure. 

In our opinion, the simplest and most convenient form is an LLC with one owner (so-called single-member LLC, or “transparent” form). What is its convenience? Having a single owner, the company will not pay taxes. They will be paid by the individual who owns the company. The profits of an LLC company are considered to be the income of the individual, are shown on the owner’s personal tax return, and submitted on Form 1040.

If during the LLC incorporation, you have chosen the single-owner form, then the tax must be paid at the state and federal levels. The tax rate is progressive: the higher the amount of income is, the higher the tax will be. The profit received by the company is the revenue of the individual. The individual, depending on the amount of earnings, will pay tax from 10% to 37%. As a consequence, taxes are paid by those who form an LLC.

If your business has more than one owner, your company is taxed as a partnership. In that case, you have to file a Form 1065 to pay your taxes. Furthermore, each partner pays personal income tax.

An LLC company may also choose to be taxed corporately. In this case, the business is taxed as a corporation, which is 21% of the company’s profits. In addition, the owners are required to pay income duty. So, with LLC formation, business owners can choose to be taxed as Corporations, but in such cases, it is better to register a corporation immediately. However, if no activity is planned in the US, an LLC may be more beneficial than a corporation.

LLC Formation Mistakes

Once an LLC is listed in the state registry, it has to comply with both federal and state laws. 

If a company is formed by a non-resident, compliance with the laws becomes subjectively even more important, although it is indisputable that everyone should follow the law.

The most common mistakes made by business owners in formation:

  • Failure to separate personal spending and company spending
  • Failure to give notice of changes within the company to the state
  • Failure to give notice to another state about doing business in their territory
  • Failure to file returns on time
  • Failure to purchase insurance when the company’s business requires it, etc.

To avoid mistakes and make the LLC incorporation process easier, you can turn to the best LLC services such as LegalZoom. This LLC website will help you set up a company at a reasonable cost and will also support your business in the future. Moreover, reliable LLC creation services are Rocketlawyer and Mycompanyworks, which also offer cheap LLC formation and help owners save time and money. 

Conclusion

Choosing the best tax structure for LLC is an individual process for each business. It all depends on the scope of the company, the state, the personal choice of the business owner or partners. We hope that this article will help you make the right choice regarding tax structure.

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3 Keys to Improving Your Small Business

Are you an owner of a small business but having trouble getting started? Or maybe you have owned your business for a while but have found that sales and customer satisfaction have decreased. If you are one of these people, read on to learn the top tips that will help you and your business!

1. Providing Quality Customer Service Within Your Small Business

One of the most important things your company can provide is customer service quality assurance. Customers want to feel valued and taken care of. It is your duty as a business owner to give this to your customers. 

A great way to ensure quality customer service is to use a quality assurance (QA) system. This allows you to understand better how your customer feels about their experience by answering a series of questions sent to them shortly after getting off the phone with your employee.  

After receiving the feedback from the QA system, you will be able to make various adjustments and provide a better customer service experience. Making these adjustments is critical. Statistics have shown that sales can be improved if a company has better customer service.  

2. Create a Strong Team

small-business

A boss can’t do it all alone. Good employees are a vital component of owning an efficient and successful business. 

A strong team will ensure that your business functions successfully. With reliable, engaged employees, you will be able to: 

Get work done more efficiently rather than be overworked 

Create a better workplace environment 

And improve sales 

While having good employees join your team is a huge asset, creating a strong team is also on you. As a leader, you need to create a positive work environment and take steps to increase employee engagement. This won’t magically occur overnight, and even those who would be good employees won’t thrive if you’ve created a toxic environment.  

As a leader, it’s up to you to take a hard look in the mirror and consider what you can be doing to create a stronger team from those who have already been brought on board rather than turn to the job posting boards every time you suspect a weak link.  

From your strong team, your business will produce higher quality work, increasing loyal customers and sales.  

3. Have Efficient Technology

Another thing you will want is efficient technology. Having outdated and slow technology will result in your business falling behind competitors. 

Current technology has come a long way in helping businesses be more productive, and you’ll want all these benefits. Updated technology allows you to: 

Contact team members and other partners quicker than ever before 

Optimize social media usage to promote your business 

Automate tasks to save time and reduce workloads. 

You may not always realize just how much your technology is holding you back. However, running at suboptimal speeds or being unable to download the latest software means your business will remain stuck in a distant past — even if that past is just an operating system from a few years ago.  

With updated technology, you’ll eliminate the gaps that create frustrations for your clients. You’ll have access to the latest software that has made managing your online presence simple. And when you’re no longer handling every tiny step in your business’s daily tasks and allowing some automation to step in, you’ll function more efficiently than ever.  

Improving Your Small Business Is Easier Than Ever Before

Many people think that there is no hope left for their small business. However, if you provide good customer service, create a stronger team, and use technology to your advantage, you can quickly and efficiently improve your business. 

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4 Best Project Management Tools for Construction Companies

construction-companies

Most projects for construction companies are carried out on a massive scale and demand that a large number of tasks be completed with the use of the appropriate management abilities.
Thus, it’s recommended to get your workflow digitized from the get-go.

Some of the essential procedures are part of a construction project: accurate cost assessment, proposal creation, designing, approval, communication, scheduling, and time tracking for payrolls, etc.

Completing each of these steps will require a significant investment of your time and expertise.

A program for managing construction projects may give all the capabilities to speed up these operations significantly, make them easier to work with, and improve their overall efficiency. 

As a result, the procedure will take less time, which will result in increased profitability.

We know it is important for smaller construction companies to have software that’s both budget-friendly and effective, so we’ll be looking at both.
Doing your research and investing in what’s right for your current business needs and budget will save you time and money in the long run, and you can always upgrade later!

In short, good software for managing construction projects has the following 3 key features:

  • Availability on a mobile app.
  • Document management (plans, pictures, contracts, and bids).
  • Usability (so your team can navigate through it with ease).

So, what are some of the best software for construction companies?

Agendrix

construction-companies

The Agendrix construction schedule software is the most affordable, yet fully-professional and optimal option out there. It comes with everything from scheduling to integration to real-time communication for your company. Managers use it to track and organize their employees through multiple sites as if they’re all in one place.

You can create and monitor tasks, connect files and photos, and allocate resources. Use your calendar to keep tabs on schedules, timesheets, and time off. 

On top of the basics, Agendrix offers effortless communication between team members, time-punching linked to timesheets, finding geolocations, tracking overtime work, etc. All this information goes straight to your phone as a notification.
Naturally, you can test out the software for free for 14 days, and then choose between the Essential plan that is $2.75 per user monthly or the Pro plan that will cost you $4 per user on a monthly basis.

Pros:

  • Risk-free trial
  • Overtime and off-time tracking
  • Users have unrestricted real-time messaging
  • Keeps track of tasks and employees across all sites
  • Suitable for small, medium, and large businesses
  • Extremely affordable

Cons:

  • Can be a bit tricky for employee availability input
  • No master employee schedule per job position

JOBPROGRESS

Multiple features and tools are brought together in one place in JOBPROGRESS to simplify construction project management.

Staff duties, client appointments, and project progress reports may all be generated by users.

In addition to offering infinite storage for documents, images, and other material, it integrates with several different applications, including QuickBooks, Google tools, and ZenDesk. 

There is a lack of accounting connectivity with QB, and while accountancy and task management software can sync invoices, it is necessary to enter the P&L manually.

There are no free trials or plans for JOBPROGRESS, although building firms with few users may afford to utilize it. An account manager will help you set the program for your company for $500. The monthly charge for each user is $55, and there are no tiers.

Pros:

  • Reasonable monthly cost
  • Photo and document storage is unlimited
  • Automated emails and processes for mobile apps
  • Proposal, development, and budget monitoring
  • Management of tasks and work
  • Invoicing
  • Contract Builder Template

Cons:

  • There are no free trials available
  • The app’s integration capabilities are restricted

Contractor Foreman

Since it is cloud-based, you can use Contractor Foreman on any device connected to the internet and the Contractor Foreman app. 

In terms of simplicity of use, Contractor Foreman is a standout. Thanks to its straightforward design, you can quickly locate tasks, documents, customer information, bills, and punch lists.

For one month, you can have access to all of the capabilities, which will allow you to evaluate whether or not they are suitable for your business. Contractor Foreman charges a consistent amount every month for membership. However, customers can only have a restricted number of users until they reach the highest membership tier, at which point they may have an unlimited number of users.

Pros:

  • A free trial is available
  • The monthly fee is not dependent on the number of users.
  • Easy to use Unlimited endeavors
  • Capacity is limitless.
  • Billing is included.
  • Work, purchase order administration, and customized reporting
  • Change order management, RFIs
  • Management of punch lists
  • Management of bids and submissions

Cons:

  • Accounting integrations are only available in the most expensive subscriptions
  • The standard plan does not have a client portal

Houzz Professional

construction-companies

Houzz Pro is a hybrid project management application. It produces leads for small contractors or subcontractors looking for specific assignments like home upgrades.

The cloud-based solution enables you to engage with your team and customers for more transparency. You can create proposals using templates or from scratch, establish a schedule, so consumers know when to expect a final product, and provide estimates and invoices. You may track project progress in real time and adjust to-do lists.

Although there is a free trial and several of Houzz Pro’s significant capabilities are free, the premium service costs $399 per month. If you don’t require marketing or advertising capabilities, the mid-tier subscription, which usually costs $99 per month, is reduced to $49 for the first three months.

Pros:

  • A free trial is available
  • Low-cost alternatives
  • Tools for advertising
  • CRM encompasses spatial planning in both 2D and 3D
  • Controlling a project or set of tasks
  • Collaboration in real time between the client and the company
  • Invoicing and payments for bids and estimates are all made online

Cons:

  • In most cases, users are subject to limitations
  • Ratings are low
  • It may be tough to cancel a subscription

Summing it up on construction companies

Some construction management software is better suited for big general contractors with several projects, customers, and subcontractors, while others are more suited for smaller, specialized construction companies.

Contractor project management software must provide access, document control, and simplicity. Efficiency and a reduction in the amount of time required to do a job are the key benefits. 

When selecting any business software, keep these factors in mind, and you’ll always be in step with the latest and most useful tools on the market.

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A Quick Guide to Small Business Tax Exemptions

tax-exemptions

The management of finances is crucial in business. Tax is one aspect of financial management that you shouldn’t overlook. Knowing the tax exemptions you qualify for as a small business is essential for you since they may benefit your revenue.

There are several legal ways for a business to lower its tax liability. Depending on the state, these techniques could be different. So, the best way to take advantage of these tax exemptions may require you to conduct your research. However, it would be best if you worked with a competent tax expert or financial counselor who could assist you with filing your taxes from the beginning.

To help you further, below is a brief overview of small business tax exemptions.

What Small Businesses Need

tax-exemptions

Before you enjoy the benefit of tax exemption for your small business, you must first ensure that you have the following:  

  • A Sound Bookkeeping System  

Every business needs an accounting system that tracks and records all income and expenditure. When filing taxes, your accountant will require detailed accounting records. You risk breaking compliance laws if your records are inaccurate. Additionally, you must ensure that your accounts abide by all other Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulations. A bookkeeping system will assist you with this.

  • Receipts Documenting Expenses

With tax exemptions, you must keep all your expense receipts. Your accountant will thank you later for keeping these receipts because they’re vital. Additionally, note that certain expenses need more than just receipts. For example, you may need to keep track of mileage to support your deduction for auto expenses.

  • 501c3 (For non-profit organizations)

If you run a non-profit organization, you must submit a 501c3 application to the IRS to be granted tax-exempt status. As a result, the non-profit organization will qualify for a federal exemption from paying corporate taxes. Contributions made to that entity, however, are still tax-deductible. Therefore, you need to keep detailed records of your transactions.

Creating a non-profit entity is typically time-consuming due to the documentation required. Nevertheless, if you are a non-profit organization, submit a 501C3 application as soon as possible. But sending it directly to the IRS might be time-consuming. Therefore, outsourcing a company to do it for you may be a good option.

Common Small Business Tax Deductions or Tax Exemptions

Below are the expenses in your small business that can be included in tax exemptions. Read on to find out.

  • Utilities

All utilities used for your small business are entirely deductible. That holds true for your water, power, phone, garbage, and other utility bills. The cost of the initial landline, however, is not deductible if you have a home office. However, the subsequent ones will be deductible.  

  • Insurance Expense

You must have insurance if you are in business. Depending on the industry you’re in, your company can get a variety of insurance policies. As a result, most organizations will invariably obtain business insurance.

It is worth noting that the cost of the founder’s or owner’s health insurance is all entirely deductible. In addition, things like property insurance, malpractice insurance, business interruption insurance, and auto insurance are also deductible. Also, note that small enterprises may be eligible for a tax credit of up to 50% for health insurance under the qualifying small employer health reimbursement arrangement (QSEHRA). If you own a small business, see if you can also qualify for this.

  • Vehicle Expenses

If you use a car for business, remember that car expenses are deductible. You must track mileage and provide business records to support your claim that the vehicle was used for business purposes. Additionally, you must split the costs according to mileage if you use the car for both personal and business purposes.

  • Equipment Rent and Depreciation Costs

Any costs associated with renting or leasing machinery, or equipment are entirely deductible. It holds true for items like vehicles, copiers, and printers. Additionally, you can deduct the cost of depreciating your company’s machinery and equipment. However, you must spread out depreciation charges over a long period. To learn how to do this properly, you might need to consult the Internal Revenue Code section 179.

  • Business Property Rent

You may deduct the rent or lease payments if you are renting a property for a business. However, sometimes you may qualify for an exemption if you manage your business from home. Therefore, you must take eligibility tests to determine your eligibility. Mortgage interest, insurance, utilities, and depreciation are deductible house expenses. For more details, consult IRS Publication 587.

  • Software Subscription Costs

It’s often the case that, nowadays, most businesses are using some software to run their business processes. If you have any software, you can deduct the cost of buying that software.

  • Entertainment and Event Costs   

If you’re considering or planning to hold corporate events or entertain clients, remember that most of these expenses are tax-deductible. Generally, meals are only 50% deductible. However, any meals served at a work party or event are fully tax-deductible. Just keep your receipts secure and consider saving them in your bookkeeping system.

  • Travel Expenses

You may consider writing off your travel expenses if you travel frequently. The IRS states that you must travel for a period greater than a complete workday for your business costs to qualify for travel expenses. This category of deductibles includes airfare, cab fare, and hotel costs.

  • Contracting Costs

tax-exemptions

The expenses you spend on hiring contractual labor are entirely deductible, so keep that in mind. However, if you pay a contractor USD$600 or more in a tax year, you must send them a MISC-1099 form. The payment processor should also issue a 1099-K if you use alternative payment methods like credit cards.

  • Legal and Professional Fees

Businesses frequently work with lawyers and other specialists to help them with various business tasks. You should know that the fees for hiring a lawyer, accountant, or tax advisor are fully deductible.

  • Employee Salaries

Employee salaries are often fully deductible for most small enterprises. It includes commissions and bonuses as well. However, this exemption will not apply to LLC members, partners, or sole proprietors. The reason for this is that they aren’t regarded as corporate employees.   

  • Employee Gifts

Giving corporate gifts to staff is an excellent way to motivate and thank them. Consequently, some businesses have made giving gifts a part of their company culture. It’s particularly essential today because some businesses have made remote working the standard. Nevertheless, keep in mind that team member gifts can be deducted up to USD$25 per team member annually.   

Conclusion on Tax Exemptions

Tax exemptions allow small business owners to optimize their cash flow. So, it would be best to have an excellent financial advisor who can help you take advantage of all the possible exemptions you can get depending on your business location. Also, ensure a sound bookkeeping system because you’ll need receipts when filing for these exemptions.

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5 Strategies to Ensure Business Continuity

Disruptions to your business may occur at any moment such as natural disasters, fire, supply chain failure, and cybersecurity incidents. When your business is disrupted, expenses are most likely to increase in order to survive. Aside from increasing expenses, revenues can be unstable and may continue to drop, leading to reduced profits. Business insurance won’t be enough to cover all expenses at the same time, let alone replace all customers lost in the process. This is why business continuity is essential.

Business continuity is the process of advanced preparation and planning that allows a business to continue its critical functions in the case of a catastrophic mishap. Mishaps may include business crises, pandemics, natural disasters, or any occasions that disrupt business operations.

When planning for business continuity, make sure to keep the IT department involved in the process. They’re crucial in maintaining the systems you need to execute your operations continuously. If you don’t have an in-house IT department, you may consult any IT support in Providence for professional assistance.

A plan won’t succeed without a compelling set of strategies. That said, you might want to consider the following strategies below to help ensure business continuity:

1. Create A Disaster Recovery Team

business-continuity

A disaster recovery team is a group of trained individuals responsible for handling all aspects of your business continuity plan and executing it in the case of a disaster.

Since you’ll need the cooperation of multiple departments, it’s a good idea to include personnel from different areas on your team. This will help improve the process of sharing information and communication when implementing your business continuity plan.

Here are the following employees you might need to include in your disaster recovery team:

  • Disaster Recovery/Crisis Management Coordinator

Their main role is to oversee the implementation of your plan as a whole. They’ll be the ones to confirm if your business continuity plan is aligned with your business needs and make sure that all members are informed accordingly. Someone in the IT department (managerial level) is a good fit for this position.

  • Critical Business Unit Advisors

They don’t have much work to do when it comes to the execution of the plan. Their main role is to evaluate and determine what constitutes the plan. These include the budget, strategy, recovery team members, and policy considerations. The perfect fit for this role is C-level executives and department heads.

  • Business Continuity Experts

They facilitate proper communication between different departments to ensure proper collection and sharing of information. The perfect employee for this role is someone from the human resources department or a public relations manager.

  • Recovery Team

They’re the most important members in the event of a disaster. They know how your IT infrastructure works and how to protect its essential components such as servers, networks, devices, and databases. Their main role is to execute your plan and keep the integrity of your system. The perfect fit for this role is someone who holds a managerial position in your IT department.

2. Assess Potential Risks

In this vital process, you need to identify all the vulnerabilities that may cause serious problems in the future. You also need to determine the possible scenarios that’d negatively affect the critical functions of your business.

While there are disasters that may apply to any business, the most crucial risks are unique and specific for every company. For example, an office situated along a coastal area may have a higher risk of flooding than those far from it. Also, a power outage may have more severe consequences for a medical care facility than for law firms.

Your main role is to determine all the potential risks that may put your business operations in peril. Communicate with your disaster recovery or business continuity team to evaluate each risk and prevent them from occurring.

3. Prioritize the Likelihood of Those Risks and Their Impact

The possibilities of different disasters will be unique to your business, especially if you’ve already established preventative measures. For example, disrupted telecommunication lines are a high risk for call centers. If you have multiple redundant phone lines, the risk might be manageable. However, it doesn’t mean that the potential threat should be ignored.

This is why it’s important to determine the potential impact of every disaster on your business operations. How would a power outage affect your operations? What would be the cost of disrupted business operations?

Answering such questions will help you prioritize every disaster and its impact on your business. You’ll also be able to determine the most important measure that’d allow you to mitigate them and recover promptly. Invest in a power generator and ensure that you have a trustworthy emergency fuel service that can support you when disaster hits your business.

4. Create Emergency Contacts

business-continuity

No one can anticipate when the emergency will happen. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called an emergency, right? So, make sure to gather and compile all the contact information of everyone involved in executing business continuity plans.

Also, make sure that all stakeholders are informed of what’s happening by keeping communication open. This is extremely crucial in the event of a major disruption. So, prepare a complete list of contacts of specific personnel and some ways to contact them during emergencies.

In addition, you need to secure the contact information of third-party service providers, business insurance companies, media, and other essential external parties. They also have different roles to play to ensure business continuity.

5. Empower Your Employees

These days, more and more employees are working remotely from the comfort of their homes. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that each of them can fully maximize the tools and equipment available for their needs.

If your business is operating remotely, it’s important to provide them with the necessary tools that’d help your employees work effectively. Also, don’t forget to create programs that’d keep them engaged while working in the comfort of their homes. In this way, employee engagement and retention rates would increase. If they remain in your company, business continuity will be assured accordingly.

Final Words on Business Continuity

Business continuity will help your business continue its critical functions when a disaster strikes such as floods, cyberattacks, natural disasters, and others. To ensure business continuity, it’s important to establish a plan that includes essential practices and strategies.

Some of the strategies you’ll need include forming a disaster recovery team that’ll facilitate the execution of the plan, evaluating and prioritizing risks, empowering employees with the right tools, and establishing emergency contacts and communication methods.

With these strategies, you’ll never have to worry about your business continuity. But don’t forget to assess your plan from time to time for better results.

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A Small Business Guide To Business Phone Systems

business phone systems

Communication is crucial in any organization, which is why any size or scale of business should invest in a practical business phone system. These systems become an integral part of your business operation where you realize your business will run smoothly, thanks to its many features. However, since a few business phone systems are available in the market today, choosing which one would fit your business needs can be confusing. 

The key is assessing your business first, how often you need to communicate internally and externally and what would lead to more cost savings. After all, these phone systems require money—installation fees, monthly subscriptions, or phone bills. If you want to get to know their features and compare the different business phone system choices available today, use this article as your brief guide. 

business phone systems

Types Of Business Phone Systems  

Business phone systems are always more effective than traditional ones, no matter your business size. You can choose a business phone system for several reasons. Which system is best for your business depends on your needs. Choosing different phones systems from various providers can help you decide which phone system is best. Hence, before selecting the right business phone system, consider your company’s future and how it will grow. Here are the different options to consider:

  • VoIP Phone System  

Systems like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) use the company’s existing internet connection rather than copper wires like landlines. Without hefty costs, you can benefit from expensive features that were only made available to larger companies in the past. VoIP phone systems today can allow you to enjoy advanced calling features like automated call attendants, CRM integration, queues, and more. You can access voicemails on your company smartphone too. 

The business’s phone system is accessible to remote workers via VoIP systems. VoIP is a sophisticated phone system with all the features you need for easy daily communications. Compared with landline systems, these systems are easy to install and configure. A small business looking for the components of a sophisticated phone system at an affordable price won’t be disappointed when using the VoIP phone system.   

You’ll need to decide how you want to have your VoIP system hosted if you choose a VoIP system. Unlike landline systems, with physical installations in the office, you can integrate VoIP systems with other software and systems if you plan to rent or subscribe to a VoIP provider. Businesses can indeed improve productivity with VoIP.

  • PBX Phone System  

Private Branch Exchange (PBX) is another business phone network. It allows users to communicate easily using internal telephone lines and to receive and make external calls. There are promising features for this phone system, too, like call forwarding, call queuing, automated attending, and so on. In addition, you can operate a PBX phone system through VoIP or digital landlines. The difference with the VoIP phone system is that this is an on-premise device not connected to any data network.

  • Multi-Line Phone System  

Another good telephone option for your business is a multi-line phone system. Multiple people can use the same phone line simultaneously if it has multiple lines. It also allows you to handle multiple calls simultaneously. You can use it to communicate both internally with colleagues or externally with partners and clients. In multi-line telephone systems, audio data goes through between two parties simultaneously.  

Similar to a traditional one-line phone, a multi-line system transmits audio packets over telephone wires. The only difference is that it will allow you to communicate on multiple lines. This system is also an ideal telephone system choice if your employees are all displaced from the office. Using this method, you can attach a second phone or phone line.  

Additionally, suppose you only need another line. In that case, you can use a line splitter to connect to another phone or device. Plugging the splitter into the phone jack and inserting the phone cable into one of the ports is all it takes to set up your system. Unlike the other two phone system technology, this is more conventional and similar to landlines.  

business phone systems

Features Of Business Phone Systems

Communication is vital in making your business successful, and each employee has a different communication style. To help you communicate effectively, you must make tools and phone systems available to make communication seamless for different parties. While the features of business phone systems may vary depending on the type, here are the most common features and functions: 

  • Basic Features  

You should expect the following essential features from any phone system you choose: caller ID, conference calling, extension dialing, call forwarding, and call transferring. Depending on the operator, some of these basic features can help improve your operations or remain useless. However, checking the essential elements when selecting the best telephone system is vital.  

  • Voicemail  

Since customers have different schedules, it might be challenging to contact them in real time. Hence, it’s essential to leave a voicemail instead. Regarding this call feature, there are now additional features for voicemails. For example, you can send messages via email or text message and even have them transcribed. Make sure these features are helpful for your type of business.  

  • Call Routing  

A sales or service business must have this feature. The company may lose a potential sale if a customer goes to voicemail instead of speaking to a human. When an agent is busy answering an incoming call, calls can be routed to the available agents, reducing potential customer wait time. In addition, call routing ensures that all your customers will be spoken to, increasing customer satisfaction.  

  • Integration  

One of the best features of advanced phone systems is customer relationship management (CRM) integration. You can integrate CRMs with business phone systems easily to increase efficiency. Making and receiving calls will no longer require employees to switch from your CRM to the phone system app. Integrating your phone solution with your CRM can help achieve seamless information flow. Therefore, you can access all your communications from the same place. This saves time and makes the call more productive, and your employees can tend to the callers easily.  

Conclusion

With today’s technological advancements, there are tools and features for whatever a business may be seeking. Whether your business goes with a PBX system, a multi-line landline, or hosted VoIP—you can’t go wrong. First, however, you must focus on customer communication. Next, assess the importance of communication in your company and decide which kind of phone system is most beneficial for your operations. By understanding the different types of phone systems and their features, you can now better choose and decide which one to go for. 

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Guide to Business Success and How Business Succeed

business success

Guide to Business Success and How Businesses Succeed

Every entrepreneur wants to create a successful and profitable business; this is a basic and obvious statement. But what does not seem too obvious to most small business owners is how to run a successful small business. To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money, only to find that making money in a business doesn’t just happen as such. In this article, we’d look at business success – what business success is all about, how businesses succeed, and some key tips you can apply to your business to achieve business success. So, keep reading.

Business Success Definition

A successful business makes efficient and effective use of resources like human capital, money, inventory, plant, and equipment. A successful business is a living, breathing organism that contributes to everyone’s wealth and quality of life. It is crucial to remember that business success is never a certainty or a final goal. It is a journey that never ends since any one of the factors that could have an impact on a business’s success could alter at any time.

business success

Business Success Dimensions

Personal: For entrepreneurs, the process of creation – starting with an idea and producing something that lasts – provides immense gratification. Seeing your family name on the corporation gives you a sense of ownership. Successfully confronting problems and, as a result, discovering abilities and strengths you didn’t know you possessed are undoubtedly parts of personal success in business.

Financial: Successful businesses provide a significant return on investment for the shareholders who put their money into the endeavor. The company’s founders, who are typically also stockholders, can produce riches for their families and future stability while simultaneously living a more wealthy lifestyle. They define success as being able to offer a better life for their children than they had for themselves when they were younger.

Social: Business success is also measured by the benefit they provide to society. Some of the products and services they provide have explicit social purposes, such as helping the environment or offering educational opportunities for children. Others are really dedicated to philanthropic giving and becoming good corporate citizens.

Longevity: With the number of organizations that fail or start off strong only to falter in the competitive marketplace a few years later, the capacity to sustain success in the tumultuous, ever-changing business environment is another measure of corporate success.

Customer Satisfaction: Many of the goods and services we use every day were established to assist clients in solving an issue. Seeing that your goods have made a major difference in the lives of your consumers is one of the driving elements that keeps company owners working persistently to build even better solutions. Praise from delighted clients creates a sense of success that is as significant to some company owners as the financial gains they get.

Employee Satisfaction: Business owners can be able to assess whether the satisfaction of their employees is their topmost concern by assessing how hard their workers work and how dedicated each member of their team is to the goals of the business. This component of business success is measured by how many employees stay with the company for five, ten, or more years – sometimes their whole career.

How Businesses Succeed

Certain key attributes make a business successful and can be synthesized into a stepwise process of how businesses succeed.

1. Pursuing a defined mission

The purpose of a small business is critical to the operation of all areas of the organization. It assists the entrepreneurs in growing the firm with a large aim in mind. It offers employees something to strive for and provides them a feeling of purpose. It also informs clients about the company’s values and fosters personal relationships.

Your goal is more than just a flag proclaiming your support for something. Your company should operate by its goal.

2. Pursuing long-term goals

Successful businesses have both short- and long-term goals. Long-term goals are vital, whether they be investments in new technology that will not be available for several years or aiming for a particular level of growth in the next decade. Instead of bouncing from tiny success to small success, a long-term aim integrates those modest victories into a larger image.

3. Focusing on customers

The most successful businesses prioritize customer care and the customer experience. The first stage is to develop items and services that clients desire. However, concentrating on customers extends beyond your products. Customers are fed up with dealing with businesses via phone menus and automated chat bots. They are looking for a human connection. A consumer wants to know that their company is appreciated and that you will endeavor to address their difficulties. A few negative client experiences may have a significant influence on how well-liked a company is.

4. Retaining employee talent

Good managers help a successful business maintain good personnel on the payroll. Another approach is to create a purpose with strong core principles in which workers may believe. The most successful businesses identify and seek to retain their top employees. That entails more than just good compensation and a few perks.

Offering additional training opportunities and other incentives such as telecommuting days are common approaches for businesses to retain their finest employees. Another example is benefit packages that provide flexible sick and vacation day options. Finally, employees must be aware that chances for advancement, such as moving up the ladder or laterally within the business, exist. You won’t lose someone to a similar position at another firm this way.

5. Employing a great management team

Successful businesses, large and small, require effective management, from the top down to foremen and shift supervisors. Quality leaders provide communication, a natural business culture, and clear goals and objectives to their staff. Criticism is constructive, and employees feel appreciated while also knowing where they need to improve. A good leader embodies the corporate culture, follows norms and rules and serves as an example to workers. Finally, successful leaders make their staff feel appreciated.

Being a bad leader isn’t just about making poor decisions for the company. In fact, a bad leader can make good financial or marketing decisions, yet lead a team of miserable employees. From failing to empathize with an employee who struggles to communicate in an unclear or frustrating manner, bad leaders inspire employees to quit or switch departments left and right.

In picking out leaders at your business, it is important to have an expert who whispers advice and coaches you on what suitable steps you can take.

Do you need the services of a small business coach for your business? Then click here to book a free call with one of our small business coaches now.

6. Keeping detailed financial records

Financial records are an important part of how businesses succeed. Businesses must have a clear understanding of how much money they make and spend. Keeping track of money allows organizations to identify beneficial tendencies as well as potential financial hazards. Businesses that understand their finances might choose to invest, seek innovations, or pay for new equipment or suppliers. It is also how firms determine when they need to hire extra employees.

7. Continuous innovation

People will imitate you if you make a high-quality product. That’s why the most successful businesses are always inventing, whether it’s improving on existing items or creating totally new ones.

Improving a product, finding a means to give a reduced price, or inventing new ways to express gratitude to clients are all examples of effective innovations. Never give up on amazing ideas.

 

15 Keys to Business Success

 

1. Provide a Great Product or Service

While marketing is important for building excitement and increasing visitors to your brand, it can only get you so far. Once the consumers arrive, the items or services must be good enough to meet or exceed their expectations. This is how you develop a lifelong repeat consumer who will aid the business by spreading the word.

Making consumers become brand ambassadors is one of the most successful and cost-effective strategies to get a small business noticed. However, this can only happen if the service is of high quality and, most all, delivers an amazing solution to a real problem that fits a market demand. Many entrepreneurs have created mind-blowing and unique goods that fail, while others with a simple idea dominate the market – Why? Perhaps the first group became so focused on the end product that they forgot to resolve an issue, whereas the second group solved a common problem to which many potential buyers can connect.

2. Focus on Customer Service

A NewVoiceMedia research found that 51% of customers won’t do business with a company again following a negative service encounter. Additional research also shows that it usually takes numerous happy customers to make up for one unhappy one.

Make providing excellent customer service a top priority since devoted consumers are much simpler to sell to. To make sure that your small business is offering a service that is superior to that of your rivals, evaluate your existing customer service and implement the necessary modifications. You could need to spend money on employee training, change your return policy, or make simple adjustments like immediately answering consumer voicemails or emails.

3. Expand Your Marketing Efforts

You must use effective marketing to boost your sales, but doing so doesn’t have to be expensive. There are several low-cost alternatives to sell your goods and services, such as:

  •       Advertising your business on your vehicle with a vehicle wrap
  •       Cold calling (yes it can still work)
  •       Creating and using a promotion kit
  •       Developing business partnerships and doing cross-promotion with complementary businesses
  •       Giving free workshops or classes related to your products or services
  •       Involving the newspapers in your grand openings, moves, or charity events
  •       Joining professional organizations
  •       Sending out promotions with your invoices

4. Do Your Research

Business is never simply business; it must be extremely personal as well. This is not to say that entrepreneurs should throw caution to the wind and launch firms based simply on their own opinions. For example, you may believe that walking a cat on a leash is a terrific idea, but will a cat leash business be successful? Gut instincts are useful, but they are not the same as information. It is derived from data, which is derived through study. How large is the prospective consumer base, and what qualities do these people have? To effectively target customer profiles, it is vital to understand what drives and motivates them. One of the most important factors to small company success is research.

The competitive assessment is another important part of the research. To establish a brand that meets the demands of the market, you must first comprehend the playing field. Here are some questions to think about asking:

  •       Are there any companies that may be considered competitors?
  •       What can you learn from your rivals?
  •       Is there one that sticks out as a leader in the industry?
  •       If so, how did they rise to the top?
  •       What were the secrets to their small company’s success?
  •       Have they made any errors that you might have avoided?

business success

5. Update Your Business Plan

One of the key factors for business success is to regularly update your business plan.

Before establishing your business, you did create a business plan, correct? For several reasons, including determining the viability of your business idea and obtaining a loan or equity funding, a business plan is essential for startups.

It’s not too late to make one if you haven’t already. Successful, well-established companies revise their business plans every year to assess their successes (or lack thereof) and choose new objectives or paths.

The income statement, the cash flow forecast, and the balance sheet, which is all included in the business plan’s financial section, provide an overview of your company’s financial health. From there, you may decide how to increase sales, decrease losses, or reduce costs to make your company more lucrative. You require a strategy to achieve your goals if you want your company to be more successful.

6. Keep Things Organized

This point cannot be overstated. Access to information quickly and effectively will make a huge impact in the everyday operations of a small business, whether it is through a real file cabinet or an ordered digital folder structure in your computer. It is strongly advised to retain individual folders for each part of the business that are suitably labeled and structured in a way that makes sense to you and is intuitive enough for everyone in the firm to access as needed. Backups of digital information are very critical, particularly when it comes to financial data. It is critical to keep them in a secure location to avoid potentially catastrophic circumstances later on.

7. Detailed Record Keeping

Proper bookkeeping allows you to understand the financial health of your company and what may become an issue in the future. It might be the difference between becoming a success story for a small business or not. At the same time, it can help to envision future forecasts and aid in company planning. You must grasp how much money the company makes and how much it sells. While many entrepreneurs consider hiring an accountant to perform their taxes as needed, understanding your statistics entails much more. You must be able to make changes to your business every quarter to ensure that you stay on pace to meet your annual goals.

It pays to clean up your records when it comes to excellent tax record keeping. Here are three other ways that accurate records might benefit a small business owner:

Identify income sources: Using the books, you should be able to distinguish between business and non-business revenues and taxable and nontaxable income.

Maintain a record of deductible expenses: everything should be noted as it happens to prevent leaving anything out when completing tax returns.

Support items listed on tax forms: If the IRS requests extra explanation on the items reported on the tax returns, a comprehensive collection of precise and thorough documents will be crucial to speeding the inspection.

8. Keep Focus & Have Patience

Here’s another amazing small company success tip: to help you stay to a plan and avoid distractions, make a “to-do list” every night before going to bed and attack it first thing in the morning. However, it is critical to create a realistic to-do list in order to avoid setting yourself up for failure.

Maintaining focus on a specific objective is critical to achieving business success. The overarching aim must be determined, and smaller milestones must be established along the route.

That being said, it is equally critical to be resilient, not just in the face of everyday problems, but also in the face of overall company success expectations. Most successful firms do not emerge quickly; it may take years for a company to reach its full potential and become a small business success story.

9. Be Prepared to Make Tough Decisions

Every business owner must make sacrifices for the betterment of the company. However, there may come a time when the most difficult decision you must make is to set your ego aside. Pride may be fatal to a business, and not all decisions will always reflect your values and ideals. And, while a small business owner should have substantial personal and emotional stakes in the company, these should not be the driving force behind every daily decision. You should realize when you need assistance and acknowledge that there are individuals who may know more about some parts of the business than you do.

It is OK to seek assistance as a business owner. You must be willing to leave your ego at the door and listen to what others have to say, especially if it comes from your consumer or business coach. It is difficult to approach a problem with humility and an open mind, but it is the greatest way to make smart business decisions.

10. Keep Your Overhead to a Minimum

One of the keys to small company success is cash. Most business owners recognize the importance of capital liquidity as the first line of defense against any unanticipated issue. However, not all small firms can maintain a substantial enough reserve to sustain unexpected income losses or expenditure spikes.

A decent rule of thumb is to not increase the company’s overhead above what its cash reserves can support. It is far simpler to expand the firm as cash liquidity improves, rather than being forced to reduce later because the business couldn’t afford its overhead expenditures in an emergency.

11. Know the Operational Needs

You must understand everything about your company, and this knowledge should not be restricted to figures. It is critical to understand what the organization needs to function efficiently. Employees, equipment, supplies, and everything else required are all included. However, there is also the intangible factor to consider. Efficient operations and inventory management may have a significant impact on operating expenses. Researching best practices in a certain market and testing to see what works best for the firm (by trial & error) may be a time-consuming and laborious task. However, it will increase the profitability and performance of your company.

12. Build Your Online Presence

Your small business has to have an online presence since it is very quick and simple to create a professional-looking website. According to statistics from the E-commerce Wiki, 88 percent of shoppers now do their shopping research online before going to the store.

Many small businesses only need a basic website that outlines who you are, what you do, and how to get in touch with you. Your website should at the very least include:

business success

  •       A summary of what you do—your products and services
  •       Testimonials from customers
  •       Your address, including a Google Maps link
  •       Your business name
  •       Your contact information
  •       Your logo
  •       Your mission, e.g. “We make the best pizza in town…”

Social media may also be a terrific tool for marketing your company, depending on your target demographic. For the majority of businesses today, creating an online presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram isn’t really optional for some businesses these days.

13. Hire the Right People and Treat Them Well

This is one of those areas that may come under making difficult decisions, but the organization must have A+ team players. All small business success stories have one thing in common: they understand that the people they recruit are critical to their company’s success. Every employee at a small firm, more than in a huge corporation, must be trusted to perform his or her daily tasks with as little monitoring as possible. To reduce overhead costs to a minimum, the structure must be as lean as feasible. As a result, no small business can afford to squander a job by recruiting the wrong person. The converse case, however, is true. No small business can afford to lose a top-notch employee. So, create a team and treat them nicely. Listen to them and assist them in growing.

14. Always Look to Improve

To achieve business success, stay away from becoming complacent and innovation-blind. It’s time to start searching for methods to improve once things get going well and the company finds its rhythm. Perhaps it involves adding a new item, developing a special taste, automating a manual step in the process, or opening during more hours. Whatever it is, keep in mind that there is always an opportunity for development in any company. To prevent becoming stagnant, you must remain active. Innovation is crucial to your success as a small firm.

15. Build Word of Mouth for Your Business

Word of mouth is more crucial than ever, whether you run your business in a small town or a big city. Building a solid reputation is essential to the success of your business because the majority of customers use the internet to research businesses before choosing where to purchase.

How can you spread good word of mouth? By offering excellent, professional service, establishing and maintaining a solid local (and online) reputation, and obtaining recognition by supporting and sponsoring neighborhood groups and charities. This all adds up towards lasting business success.

So, there you have it. We trust you found this article helpful.

Do you need help taking action on all this information? Then book a free call with one of our small business coaches today. Click here to schedule a business breakthrough session now.

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How Location Analysis Will Transform Retail Businesses?

retail-businesses

Location based analysis in action for retail businesses

Technological changes cannot be foreseen, especially for industries like retail businesses. While once things were slow for them, online stores came into the picture and pushed the envelope on how we perceive the retail sector. With tough competition, there has never been more need for marketing methods and strategies that combine analytical data, like location analysis.

As more businesses make themselves mobile—friendly, it has become easier for companies to create a treasure trove of data where they can observe their consumers’ behavior. For example, companies can gather data about where our consumers live, where they go, what they need, and what are their likes and dislikes. The data collected can be tough to grapple with, but retail location analytics breaks down the data into insights that can be profitable to the retailers. 

What are location analytics?

retail-businesses

Location analytics is the process of collecting data and insights from the location/geographic component of business data. All the collected data is laid out in a geographical information system. The insights from the data can be beneficial for businesses as they help understand their audiences based on their geographical location. Through targeted information, they can increase their sales and customer retention capabilities.

In the context of big data and other data models, location analytics can help retailers gain more insights while foreseeing the trends in the marketplace. The demand for location—based analytics keeps increasing as businesses aim to provide their customers with the best experience. It becomes easier when you have data from their earlier preferences. 

Transformations in retail businesses

Analysis and data collection have enabled the retail industry to take a new approach toward their customers. A significant transformation in the industry has to be concerning personalization. All businesses now aim to provide a unique in—person experience to their customer at their store, online or offline.

The three radical changes that have changed the functionality of businesses are:

  1. Higher expectations play a vital role in the operation of businesses. Each retailer has to set a new bar in how they offer their products and services to the customer. As a result, the customer’s experience should be far better than what their competitors could provide. This is because customers with higher expectations will shift to another retailer if the experience is not up to the mark.
  2. Stores are now operating both online and offline. There is no stringent standard of how the retail business should work. Both online and offline stores have their share of benefits, neither of which makes them better than the other. 
  3. Personalized experiences are here to stay. The retailer knows each customer’s preferences, likes, and dislikes based on their purchase history. This enables them to offer services that appeal to their mindset. 

What challenges in retail businesses does location analytics address?

Location analytics uses the power of highly accurate location—based data to unlock previously—stored insights. It works by realizing that location can be a common denominator in the vast pool of business information. As a result, the data can help retailers address their most significant challenges and other roadblocks using the right analytical tools.

  • Improve Return on Investment (ROI)

Retailers constantly need to invest in their products, services, and customers to remain at the top of their game. In times of economic difficulties, it is crucial to make suitable investments. Location analytics can help retailers know where and how to invest by testing investment plans, thereby reducing risks after implementation.

  • Increase sales

The changing or reduced patterns in customer spending make it difficult for retailers where their sales will come from. Location analytics can help businesses understand the psychology of their customers, especially their preferred products and services. In addition, the analyzed data can help in building marketing strategies that effectively target specific customers.

  • Control costs

Retailers need to be aware of all the ways through which they can protect their profits. Cost analysis throughout the company isn’t enough, but location—based analysis can bring confidential data to light. A centralized location—based analytics system helps in:

  • Get more details of costs and expenditures at various levels of the organization. For example, you can get in—depth information about the financial status in manufacturing information, logistics data, supply chain, and other records. 
  • Data can help you flag issues before they become a costly affair. Retailers can set benchmarks to measure and control stringently going forward. 

 

  • Boost customer satisfaction

Keeping customers happy is the primary objective of any retailer. Despite the budget, the customer experience keeps customers returning to a retailer even after a competitor provides better services. In addition, data analytics can help understand existing issues in the system and determine methods to tackle them.

  • Enhance customer loyalty

On the monetary side, it is easier to keep existing customers than sourcing new ones. This is why customer loyalty is on the top agenda for retailers. For this, customer segmentation is effective and is why location—based analytics is popular today. 

Where can location-based analytics be applied to retail businesses?

retail-businesses

The five top use cases for applying location intelligence in the retail industry are:

  • Retail site selection

The advancement in location—based intelligence has helped the retail industry to develop in the previous decade. The earlier analysis could be done by physically surveilling a place for days and months and collecting the needed data. For example, counting the number of visitors during certain hours, the cars in the parking lot, and the number of carts coming in and out of the store for needed data.

With advanced location intelligence data, retailers can create dynamic map visualizations that determine the population and demographic groupings. Additionally, by adding the competitors’ locations in the mix, one can get an idea about the potential profitably of a specific site. Demographics can help in creating the best experiences for the target audience.

  • Better merchandising

Retailers can use location—based analytical data to serve the customer better in an area. For example, retailers can get an idea about the people living near their store and provide products that connect with their needs. Additionally, retailers can advertise their products in publications and media outlets catering to the same audience.

For example, if a grocery owner learns that many Indians live nearby, it is an excellent opportunity to get food items that Indians are familiar with. Advertising on media outlets and posting updates on social media can make the information pass on to the target audience at hand.

  • Targeted advertising

Location—based advertising is another opportunity for retailers to increase their revenue. A food outlet store that provides free delivery can advertise to people who have busy schedules and hardly have time to visit the store or to senior citizens and physically challenged people who cannot travel to the store. It can be presented as a push notification to their mobile phone and delivered through a third—party application installed on the mobile device.

  • Customer experience

Location analytics helps retailers to link their customer’s online experience with their brick—and—mortar stores. Connecting website visits and browsing history to the person’s physical presence at the store, retailers can understand the spending habits and needs of the person. It also helps link incomplete or fragmented data like the email address by associating it with the digital marketing activities of the customer.

  • Performance management

Retailers can use location—based data to set performance benchmarks for individual stores in specific areas. Setting targets for the fiscal year becomes easier once the last year’s performance is taken into hindsight. Furthermore, with location intelligence, retailers get a clearer view of each location’s true profit—making potential. 

Leveraging location analysis in the retail industry

The factor that restrained location analysis from being applied in the global retail industry was the computational power required to make data work in real-time. But as more companies adopt more analytical tools, it has become affordable for businesses of all shapes and sizes. As a result, accepting location intelligence is the most promising way for retailers to enhance customer engagement and increase overall sales. 

By B Naomi Grace

small business coach