Small Business Owners Face Unique Challenges

Every new business owner face challenges, but those who choose to found and operate smaller enterprises tend to face not only a greater number of problems but some which are relatively unique. At the center of the small company conundrum, there are two common dilemmas: the availability of capital and the need to build a brand name or reputation. For the vast majority of entrepreneurs, those two barriers consume most of their time, money, and effort. 

But every industry segment comes with its own set of operating hurdles. Whether you choose to start an e-commerce store, small transport fleet, tax service, salon, brokerage, IT firm, employment agency, film production company, lead generation business, or fitness training enterprise, expect to face one or more core challenges. The following are prime examples of what to expect in a number of different commercial niches. 

E-Commerce Store

E-commerce entrepreneurs face intense competition across the board because working adults choose to run stores on a part-time or full-time basis from their homes. But for founders who can come up with a unique product or service idea and promote it accordingly, the profit potential is unlimited. The workable solution for hard-working owners is to specialize, spend time building a brand image, and be patient in waiting up to a year before turning a profit. 

Transport Fleet

The main challenges for new transport companies include logistics, fuel management, and vehicle tracking. Fortunately, there are various systems and retail digital programs that can deal with most or all of those issues. There are numerous GPS benefits for small businesses that are concerned about keeping tabs on every vehicle they own 24/7. For new entrepreneurs who operate very small fleets, having fewer trucks does not mean fewer problems. 

Overseeing even a few trucks can be a time-consuming, complex task. Keep in mind that the standard definition of a small transport firm is one that uses fewer than 100 trucks at any given time. It’s imperative for owners and managers of smaller firms to learn the ins and outs of GPS tracking and find out how it can make daily operations less complicated and more profitable. 

Tax Accountancy Firms

challenges

For independent tax accountants, or those looking to start an accounting firm consisting of a dozen or so professionals, the three major obstacles to long-term success are advertising expenses, finding the right combination of software products, and building a solid reputation among retail and commercial clients. After an initial burst of spending and data setup, most taxation accountants devote about 50% of their time and effort to marketing. Other than that, the actual work of filing tax returns for customers can seem like a break in the non-stop promotional action. 

Personal Services

The personal services sector has grown significantly in the past decade. More consumers are discovering the long-term health and wellness benefits of things like regular massages, facials, hypnotherapy, whirlpool baths, and more. The general public acceptance of various alternative forms of wellness accounts for the majority of industry growth. Most metro areas are witnessing more service providers who do hair styling, manicures, therapeutic massage, tattoo services, esthetics, and hair removal. 

For owners, the pursuit of profits is focused on marketing, which means getting traffic into the store. It’s also a legal necessity for owners and employees to have the right kinds of licenses and certifications to do the work. Massage therapists must attend in-person classes for at least 1,000 hours before they can legally practice. The same is true for estheticians, hair stylists, tattoo artists, and others. 

Website Creation

Having the right set of skills and an impressive portfolio are the two barriers to entry in the website development and creation industry. Fortunately, most owners can bootstrap a small operation by selling their skills on various online platforms to bring in some initial revenue. From there, the focus should be on landing one or two ongoing commercial clients. There’s always a need for advertising, but word-of-mouth in the website creation niche can serve new owners well and help to bring in additional corporate customers year after year. 

Employment Services

Owners of employment firms and job hunting services help find and train great employees and they need not be licensed, but there are several industry certifications that have the potential to bring in more customers. The required hours of classroom time come with a high price tag in some cases, and entrepreneurs need to stay up-to-date on market trends. Again, promotion and advertising account for the majority of initial expenses and there’s a unique challenge in the fact that few customers ever come back. Once they find good paying jobs, they seldom need your help in the future. 

Sales Lead Generation

In the digital age, companies that sell goods and services can outsource their advertising and marketing chores. That’s where lead generators come into the picture. These firms earn their profits by bringing potential customers, called leads, to businesses of all kinds. To succeed as a lead-gen entrepreneur, you’ll need solid sales skills but also the ability to advertise and promote in all online channels, including search engines, blogs, podcasts, and social media platforms. 

Film Production 

Indie film production has been one of the fastest-growing segments of the entertainment industry in the past two decades. With the advent of high-tech cameral and sound equipment, just about anyone with the requisite skills can bootstrap a company and market their own documentaries, investigative videos, dramas, and more. But the niche comes with a few of its own barriers to entry, some of which are money-related. Staff salaries, marketing expenses, and rental fees for studios or specialty equipment can create stiff financial barriers. 

The initial investment to start a company is not so high, but to actually create the first filmed product can be quite costly. That’s because there’s a huge difference between owning a production business and operating one. Even a 60-minute documentary calls for investments in equipment, people, rental space, permits, and other routine costs of creation. Founders also need to have the skills to develop final products that can compete against other companies’ output. 

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Tips to enhance compliance training with an LMS

LMS

It would not be easy to overstate the importance of compliance training. This is more than a simple task. Employees need to be interested in and committed to the training for it to be successful. No matter what industry you work in, you must provide your staff with Compliance Training. An LMS makes compliance management more attainable and improves upon existing methods. As a result, companies may hire workers worldwide and provide them with the same training. In this article, we’ll look at how to make the most of a learning management system (LMS) like Cloud Academy for conducting successful compliance training.

Make Good Use of a Wide Range of Learning Tools and Multimedia:

Companies should remember that not all employees can be trained at the same pace because people have different learning curves. Any online Compliance Training curriculum needs to consider the learning demands of all participants because of the subject matter’s significance and the organization’s consequences. To what end do businesses employ such strategies? One method is to incorporate a variety of multimedia and to learn aspects into their Compliance Training strategy so that students may use it with a wide range of learning styles. Training programs benefit from the infusion of new ideas and vigor provided by learning materials such as eLearning courses, PDFs, PPTs, Videos, Infographics, etc., that feature striking visuals, audio clips, and interactive elements.

Use the Learning Management System (LMS) as your exclusive compliance resource:

Employees should keep their records of compliance training for reference purposes. However, businesses with remote workers may struggle to keep track of such a large volume of data. Training documentation, skills assessments, and certifications are all stored and easily retrievable in an LMS. Each employee’s current status, past training, and upcoming Compliance Training dates can all be viewed in one convenient location. By allowing workers to complete their compliance training whenever and wherever it is most convenient for them, mobile learning can be a significant boon to this type of program. Moreover, a responsive LMS makes it easy for workers to switch between devices without interrupting their progress in their education.

MicroLearning:

An extended list of rules and regulations presented in compliance training can be tedious and uninteresting for the trainees. The training you undergo is mirrored in an LMS through discrete units called modules that are geared toward achieving particular goals. Training delivered in bite-sized chunks of 4 to 6 minutes is more likely to be retained and used by staff members. To make the training more engaging, you can select relevant images, videos, and animations to include in the collection.

Scenarios for LMS:

LMS

Using conversational or situational scenarios can add realism to compliance training. The storyline of a branching scenario changes depending on the learner’s actions. It’s a great method for ensuring everyone has a firm grasp on the code of conduct, whether related to anti-corruption measures, workplace diversity, or cyber safety. You can construct scenarios using games, VR, or graphically rich templates in a good learning platform. Because of the scenarios, learning is more hands-on. Whether the topic at hand is the General Data Protection Regulation, a code of conduct, diversity and inclusion, etc., scenarios can be offered to the learner to elicit a reaction before the knowledge is delivered.

Emphasize social learning in training:

Those who work from home have a stronger need for social learning during the pandemic to offset their isolation. As a result, program like Compliance are increasingly relying on collaborative learning to create a setting where workers may teach and be taught by one another. As a result, several social media platforms help users learn how to operate effectively in groups. Users can make changes to the content without having to hire pricy experts to do it for them.

Make the most of Mobile Learning:

Because of the convenience of mobile learning, employees can do their Compliance Training at their own pace and in their own time. A responsive learning management system (LMS) goes above and beyond by allowing workers to transition between devices and continue their education without interrupting their progress. The ability to start a course on a desktop at work, continue it on a smartphone while waiting for a lunch meeting, and then finish it on the weekend on a laptop increases the likelihood that an employee will successfully absorb the knowledge and complete the training.

Assist Participants in Reviewing Course Material:

Remembering everything about Compliance is impossible for students on their own. Workers who have gone too long without updating their skills may need to repeat a training program. Employees may occasionally need to retake a training course after a predetermined time to maintain their complaint. Sending reminders to learners to return and recertify on time is possible with an LMS. Employees can stay informed by using automated reminders rather than manual communications from involved departments.

Conclusion on LMS

A learning management system (LMS) is your best bet for streamlined compliance training management. Aside from streamlining the process of delivering and tracking training, it also has the potential to do it in a way that is both engaging and effective.

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How Passive Income Can Stabilize Your Finances

passive-income

One of the reasons you became an entrepreneur is to make as much money as possible. Even if your primary goal wasn’t to “get rich,” there’s no doubt that you find appeal in the idea that your income as an entrepreneur is, effectively, unlimited. Having a source of passive income can prove to be very helpful.

But in practice, entrepreneurs usually struggle with income instability – especially in the first few years. What can you do to mitigate this problem and improve your overall financial stability?

The Income Instability Problem

Income volatility and instability is one of the most annoying aspects of being an entrepreneur. One month, your business might be booming, and you might be overflowing with work, forcing you to work long hours in exchange for lucrative paychecks. The next month, you might experience a veritable drought, finding it difficult to make ends meet with your sudden loss of income.

This makes it incredibly difficult to budget effectively, and if you’re not already in a good financial position, this can lead you to make some uncomfortable sacrifices. Thankfully, passive income can help you mitigate this issue significantly.

What Is Passive Income?

passive-income

Passive income is the term for any income generated that requires little to no effort on the part of the person generating it. A simplistic way to think about this is that it’s effortless, free money.

If this sounds like it’s too good to be true, that’s because it is. There are some genuine passive income sources out there, but almost all of them require an initial investment of time and/or money before they become effective strategies.

Still, if you’re willing to put in the initial effort, these passive income sources are excellent ways to mitigate the income instability problem associated with entrepreneurship. You’ll be generating income from a variety of different sources, so a drought in your business shouldn’t lead to a drop in income from these secondary sources. You’ll also be making more money in total, so you’ll have an easier time accumulating savings and wealth. All the while, you can maintain your full focus on your business, since these passive income sources don’t require any extra time or attention from you.

Ideas for Generating Passive Income

The best way to understand passive income is to understand it through examples. These are some of the best ways you can generate passive income consistently:

  • Rental properties. If you buy a rental property, you’ll be able to find tenants and collect rent from them, often exceeding your monthly expenses and allowing you to reap a consistent profit. The typical downside is that you then become responsible for ongoing property maintenance and handling emergency repair requests. However, if you get someone else to manage your property for you, you can cut your manual effort down to zero or near zero.
  • Dividend stocks. You can also consider investing in dividend paying stocks. Stocks of major companies frequently distribute profits in the form of quarterly dividends, functionally supplying you with income based on the number of shares you hold.
  • Blogs. Are you a solid writer? Do you have an area of expertise that you can share with the world? If so, you can start a blog and monetize it in any number of ways, including through ads, affiliate marketing links, and merchandise.
  • Peer lending. If you have some spare capital after making your other investments, you can consider making it available for peer lending. Your money will be put to good use by people like you and you can capitalize on a reasonable interest rate.
  • Side businesses. Of course, you can also devise new forms of passive income by starting new side businesses. Just be careful not to wear yourself out by managing too many businesses at once.

Other Valuable Tips for Improving Income Stability

If you need to increase your income stability even further, consider the following tips:

  • Diversify business revenue streams. You should consider diversifying your business revenue streams. Essentially, this means making money in your central business in multiple different ways. It could mean selling new types of products and services, offering supplemental upgrades, or pursuing in alternate form of monetization, like advertising.
  • Anticipate and plan for seasonality. Seasonal businesses are hit hardest when it comes to income volatility. If your business sees seasonal fluctuations, make it a point to anticipate and plan for this seasonality.
  • Build more stability into your business. Do whatever you can to make your business more consistent. Monthly subscription models, customer retention strategies, and consistent execution of sales and marketing can help.

There’s not much you can do about volatile income in the beginning of your business’s development. But you can mitigate the worst effects of your income volatility with the help of passive income and a handful of secondary income stability strategies.

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How Small Businesses Can Promote a Culture of Health

A culture rooted in health and wellness is one of the best gifts you can give your employees. It’s also critical for your company’s success, as a culture of health inspires productivity that results in profitability.

That said, building a workplace culture of health isn’t a task to take lightly. It requires an ongoing effort from everyone in your business as well as tangible resources your team can take advantage of to better their health and well-being.

Small businesses can promote a culture of health by implementing the following tips.   

Give Your Employees Something to Smile About

Contrary to popular belief, small things solidify your commitment to a culture of health in your business. For example, taking the time to give your employees something to smile about every day can do wonders for their health and your company.

Smiling is linked to various physical, psychological, and social benefits. For instance, it releases hormones like serotonin and dopamine, which inspires real feelings of happiness. Smiling has a miraculous effect on stress. And it invites social connection.

Small gestures that can make your employees smile include:

  • Rewards for good work 
  • Ordering lunch for the team  
  • Having a meaningful conversation  
  • Daily shout-outs and compliments  
  • Sending notes of encouragement  
  • Letting your team go early some days  
  • Greetings when they come to work and goodbyes when they leave

You could also provide your team with meaningful work to prompt smiles.

Feed Your Team Meaningful Work

When employees aren’t challenged and inspired by their work, that dissatisfaction and unhappiness can spread throughout your company quickly. On the other hand, when your workers engage in meaningful work, that positivity promotes a healthy company culture.

Allow your employees to do work they’re passionate about. Of course, mundane tasks will make a daily appearance. But each employee’s role should primarily consist of responsibilities they can take pride in.   

Offer Professional Development Opportunities

health

It isn’t just about addressing your employees’ physical, mental, and emotional health. You should also focus on ensuring your workers are thriving economically if you want to promote a culture of health.

Offering professional development opportunities is a step in that direction. Anything you can do to help your employees continually grow and move forward in their careers, you should do it. Not having a lot of room in your budget for professional development opportunities shouldn’t stop you. Instead, think creatively about how you can help your employees grow.

For example, you could allow your employees to shadow a coworker of their choosing to advance their skill set. Or you could provide resources for self-education in areas your employees are interested in excelling at.  

Encourage Your Employees to Stay Active

Staying active is an integral part of being a holistically healthy person. Exercising regularly is wonderful for your physical body, but it also betters cognitive health, promotes eye health, keeps blood flowing through your body and to your brain, and reduces stress hormones.

You can’t follow your employees home to ensure they’re partaking in some physical activity every day. But you can encourage your employees to stay active through different activities and resources at work.

For example, you could host a health week a few times a year where you bring in medical professionals to conduct health screenings, counseling sessions, nutrition education, and so forth. Enter weight loss competitions as a team. Or offer resources like discounts on gym memberships, personal training, or sessions with a nutritionist.  

Offer a Comprehensive Health Benefits Package  

Many small businesses opt out of providing benefits to their employees. But you shouldn’t. One of the most definitive ways to promote a culture of health in your company is to offer benefits that address their holistic health.

A solid health insurance plan that includes care for mental health should be just the beginning of your benefits package. Add the following benefits when your budget permits:

  • Paid medical leave  
  • Vision and dental insurance  
  • Health savings accounts  
  • Life Insurance  
  • Retirement options  
  • Childcare resources  
  • Financial planning  
  • Flexible schedules  
  • Access to a life coach  
  • Paid vacation, sick time, and holidays   
  • Short and long-term disability coverage

Making personal connections with your workers is also critical for promoting a culture of health.  

Make Personal Connections With Your Workers

Creating and promoting a culture of health is impossible without open communication. That said, getting employees to open up to each other, let alone their bosses, is challenging to say the least.

But making an effort to create personal connections with your workers can help. When you have a personal relationship with each employee, you make space for them to be honest about what they’re going through at work and in their personal life.

Your employees will let you know exactly what they need to maintain their overall physical, mental, and emotional health in your conversations with them. All you have to do is listen and implement their suggestions.  

Normalize Time Off

health

Unhealthy company cultures typically value profit over people. When it’s all about making money, it usually means long hours, huge workloads, and no time off for employees. Working around the clock is never conducive to a healthy work-life balance.

Normalizing time off is essential for a culture of health. Never give your employees a hard time when they need to take time off. Instead, encourage vacations and personal days. Also, if an employee needs to leave early or fit their schedules around personal obligations, let them.  

Lead By Example

If you truly want to promote a culture of health, it has to start from the top down. In other words, you must lead by example. Doing so will help your employees feel comfortable following in your footsteps because you practice what you preach.

So, take vacations and time off yourself. Talk openly about mental health and your personal journey with it. Participate in all health-related activities and events you put on. Dig deep into what a healthy work-life balance is for you and your employees.

When you live a healthy lifestyle and are open about prioritizing holistic health and well-being, your team will be more likely to follow your lead.  

Conclusion on Cultivating Good Health in Your Business

The key to creating a strong team is establishing a company culture rooted in health, positivity, and productivity. Commit to implementing some of what you learned above to promote a culture of health in your small business.  

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How an Applicant Tracking System can Enhance your Recruitment

recruitment

Let’s face it, recruitment is a tough job. You need to be on top of your game at all times and be ready for any scenario that comes your way.

You don’t only have to recruit and fill the vacant positions in your organization, but you need to make sure that you are hiring the right talent for the right job. This is what makes recruiting a demanding task because this process is like moving mountains. 

On the other hand, it isn’t really smart if you’re moving mountains by yourself in the era of cloud computing, AI, automation, and technology. Today, the smart is to let machines move the mountains, while you do other productive tasks. 

It is where an Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) comes into play. Before we explain what an ATS is and how can it enhance your recruitment process, you must know that 78% of employees have found the right talent easier by using recruitment technology such as an ATS. 

You also want to hire the right talent, right? So, let’s know more about ATS and how can it enhance your recruitment process:

What is an applicant tracking system?

recruitment

In the past, recruiters would use paper files to store information on applicants. However, with the advent of digital storage and cloud computing, many businesses now use applicant tracking systems (also known as ATS) to manage recruitment processes more effectively and efficiently. 

An applicant tracking system is a database that stores all details about job applicants such as their resume, cover letter, information regarding their past jobs, references, and more. 

Using an ATS, especially an applicant tracking system for small business can significantly streamline your recruitment processes—from sourcing candidates to extending job offers. It also saves you from paperwork and many repetitive tasks. 

Why should you use it?

Well, the answer is simple—you don’t have to be at disadvantage when 98.2% of fortune 500 companies are using an ATS. It gives them an edge over those who aren’t using it. So, if you’re one of those who isn’t using it, you’re at disadvantage against your competitors. 

With a vision to touch the sky, you can’t risk being at disadvantage, right? 

Now you know what an ATS is and why should you incorporate it in your recruitment process. So, let’s see how can it enhance your recruitment process:

6 Ways Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can Enhance Recruitment

1. Helps manage organizational talent pool

At times, when you’re hiring for a vacant position, you receive a lot of job applications. Many of which are so attractive that it becomes difficult for you to decide whom to hire. 

You only have to hire one or two, but the applications of the candidates you’ll have to forego could also prove a great asset to your organization.  

In such a situation, the right thing to do is to build up a talent pool where you include information of those candidates for future consideration. Or, you can also suggest them to apply for other job openings at the company. 

Doing all of this manually and keeping track of them can be hectic, but ATS has functionality that allows you to store and manage information related to the candidates who applied. This can help you manage your talent pool and access candidate information at any time. 

2. Streamlines the recruitment process

An ATS allows you to streamline the recruitment process, making it easier to advertise and fill positions, find the right candidates, and schedule interviews. 

One of the biggest advantages of using an ATS is that it allows you to post your job openings on multiple job boards such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Indeed, etc., at the same time. 

This means that you can increase your reach and attract more candidates in much lesser time—making it easier to find the right person for the job. 

Since the ATS would be integrated with these job posting platforms, you don’t need to download and organize the data provided by applicants manually or separately. ATS will automatically fetch all the job applicants’ data from job posting platforms. 

Also, many good ATS systems have partnered up with premium job posting platforms such as LinkedIn. So, you will be able to post your job openings through ATS at no extra costs of posting on LinkedIn or many other prominent job posting platforms.

3. Automates many repetitive tasks

Another great thing about ATS solutions is that they allow you to automate certain aspects of your recruitment process. Automating your recruitment process means that certain actions or steps are done without any human intervention. 

An ATS will allow you to automate the process of scheduling interviews. This can be done by setting up a calendar and scheduling follow-up interviews with the top candidates. This is a great way to streamline the process and make sure that nothing is left to chance. 

When it comes to scoping out candidates, an ATS will allow you to automatically mark candidates as accepted or rejected

An ATS also allows you to automate the process of checking candidates’ eligibility. This can be done by creating an automated process of checking candidates’ qualifications against the job requirement at specific intervals. 

Let’s say, only the candidates of age more than 18 can apply for the job. When the bot will compare the candidates’ age with job requirement, it will automatically mark out all the ineligible candidates within minutes. 

An ATS also allows you to automate the process of sending emails to candidates. This can be done by using an intergrated email automation tool. 

It will help you a great deal when informing job applicants about the status at certain stages of recruitment, informing them to upload the missing documents, rolling out interview schedules, and much more. Since a lot of communication is usually done through emails, automating them will save a lot of your time and resources. 

4. Helps you in video interviewing 

recruitment

These days, many businesses are hiring remotely and that is for obvious reasons. It saves a lot of time and resources spent by both, job applicants and employers, in the physical interviewing process. Employers have to organize a place for interviews and applicants have to travel there—it all requires both sides to spend time and money.

But why to do it when a substitute, video interviewing, is available for it? Video interviewing allows employers interview shortlisted candidates remotely, saving time and resources. 

Cherry on the top is that you can conduct video interviews right from your ATS solution. Many ATS solutions facilitate integrations with prominent video conferencing tools such as Google Teams, Zoom, etc., to let you carry out video interview process smoothly. 

5. Facilitates collaborative hiring

An applicant tracking system can make the hiring process more collaborative and bring hiring managers and recruiters together

It can help make hiring decisions faster, while also making the process more transparent. When everyone works in the same system, it becomes easier to compare candidates and see who is most suitable for the job. 

A candidate can apply for a job through the system and have their resume and other documents attached. The hiring managers can then review the application and collaboratively decide whether to invite the candidate for an interview. 

6. Boosts transparency and visibility

An applicant tracking system can boost transparency by allowing hiring managers to see the status of the job applications. Job seekers can also track their progress in the hiring process. 

All the relevant stakeholders can access records of job applications, making it easier to see if there are any issues with the hiring process. 

If there are delays in the hiring process, stakeholders can use the system to identify the cause of the problem. This can lead to greater transparency in the hiring process.

Final words on recruitment

An applicant tracking system can make many aspects of the recruitment process easier. It can help you keep track of candidates, automate repetitive tasks, make an organizational talent pool, and make the hiring process more collaborative. 

Apart from these advantages, the ATS can bridge the gap between the employer and candidates by making the hiring process more transparent. With the right system in place, employers can boost their recruitment process and chances to hire the right talent every time.

When you implement the ATS, here are some of tips you can follow to get the best results: 

  • Choose a reputable vendor—make sure to read reviews and testimonials about the vendor
  • Know exactly what you want from the ATS—this will make it easier to choose a system that meets your needs
  • Invest in a quality system—it is important to choose a system that can meet your long-term needs.
  • Train hiring managers and recruiters—it is important to train hiring managers and recruiters to use the system effectively. 
  • Factor in both cost and functionality—make sure you are selecting the best option for your organization
  • Make sure that the solution is scalable and flexible—this will help you scale up as your business grows in the future
  • Make sure that the solution is user-friendly and intuitive—it helps users make the most out of it

Author’s bio

Saifullah Napar is a content writer working in this field for the past three years. He has been writing on topics such as business technology, blockchain, fintech, and digital marketing. (LinkedIn)

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The Pros And Cons Of Real Estate Investments

real-estate-investments

Among the various investment options available, real estate stands as one of the most profitable. After all, utilizing your properties and holding on to them can return a lot of funds in the long run. However, like most investment alternatives, you cannot tell when things might take a wrong turn. You might lose a lot from your investment once that happens. The neat thing is there are steps you can take to get into the investment. You can check out websites and online articles to find out more. The following will discuss the pros and cons of real estate investments.

Some Fundamentals To Kick Things Off on Real Estate Investments

A real estate investment is when you purchase any type of property and use it to generate income in the long run. You utilize the structure for-profit and seldom as a place to stay. 

In addition, real estate investments do not have to limit to houses and apartment complexes. You can have other tangible settings, such as land, buildings, infrastructure, commercial plots, etc.

The Pros

You can enjoy a lot of advantages once you invest in the real estate scene. Check some of them below.

Better over time

You can enjoy the perks of real estate investments over time. Buyers would want to utilize infrastructures and properties that can increase their value as time goes by each day. It does not matter once the structure becomes vacant or unused for years to come. The critical thing is it remains, which is a neat plus in any investment. It is not like stocks and cryptocurrencies which can lose value and have erratic price changes.

Steady cash with real estate investments

real-estate-investments

You can have your property generate income through several means. One method is by renting it out. The amount leasers and renters pay each month becomes your profit. This aspect is what we call steady cash flow. That means you generate cash passively, allowing you to do other things, such as bonding with family and friends.

Hedge against inflation

Real estate investors do not have to worry about inflation. That is because the investment keeps up with the increasing prices. Not because the prices of basic commodities rise, the same goes for the investment property’s rental value. They can still stay the same even after prices take a climb. 

Tax shield

There is what we call depreciation expense you can claim on an investment. Once that happens, you can enjoy a reduced tax on the income you generate from your property.

Not only that, but you also do not have to pay any income tax should the property increase in value. You only have to pay this tax when you decide to sell the property.

Decision making

You have complete control over many things relevant to the investment, unlike other alternatives. You can mitigate risks, check other income options, discuss tax matters, etc. You can also utilize marketing strategies to attract potential clients.

The Cons

Money requirement

Like any investment available, you need a lot of money to start with the real estate investment. Obtaining a property involves a lot of processes that also include financial transactions. In addition, you will need more funds to handle things once you purchase the property. You will need to pay for renovations, repairs, materials, and labor to cover everything. What’s more is you have to deal with mortgage payments, tax, and insurance.

Long-term investment

It can be exciting to get into real estate investments. However, you must know it is a long-term investment. That means you will not gain any financial returns immediately. It takes a long time to notice the returns. What’s more, is that selling and renting the property also demands time. Not because you post it on a site means it will sell overnight.

Time-consuming

Real estate investments also need you to focus on them. That means you have to spend a significant amount of time to learn all there is to the process. You will survey land, neighborhoods, tenants, etc. Dealing with other issues, such as maintenance and insurance also requires time. That means you have to put less time into other things, such as running a business, bonding with family, etc.

An ideal option is to hire a property specialist who deals with all the real-estate issues on your behalf. They will clear everything from the ground up. The only downside to hiring one is you have to once again spend resources for their services.

Tenant problems

real-estate-investments

Once you finish dealing with the property-related issues, you have to face the rest. This aspect includes tenant problems. Individuals who will utilize the property might cause problems for the setting and you. Leasers and renters tend to delay payments and sometimes do not pay at all. They also tend to leave the property in an undesirable condition once they leave. 

A lot of these issues can be problematic unless you have a dedicated team who will handle them. It also depends on the tenants you will have.

Maintenance

You also have to deal with maintenance issues the property might face in the long term. You will fix leaky pipes, worn-out roofs, cracks in the walls, and other issues. Dealing with these issues requires cash and labor. It might take a considerable amount of your finances and time.

You can get a contractor to deal with any property issues on your behalf. But that aspect also requires money.

Liquidation of real estate investments

There are instances when you might experience a medical emergency and plan to sell your property to cover costs. Unfortunately, you cannot liquidate the property immediately to pay for an emergency. The best option to counter this aspect is by keeping reserve finances in your account.

The Takeaway on Real Estate Investments

Real estate investments can be a decent means to obtain cash and income in the long run. Plus, you can enjoy other perks as your property does most of the job. You can spend more time with your loved ones and do other things as well. It might take some time to accomplish all of the investment-related issues. However, the return is worth the time and resources you spend.

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7 Types of Financial Services You Can Provide

financial-services

Are you planning to start a financial services company? If so, you will need to determine which type of financial service to provide. Financial services are broadly defined as any service related to money management. This can include everything from giving loans and credit to investing and managing financial portfolios.

Financial companies are present in almost all countries and tend to be concentrated in cities and other major commercial centers. As a financial services provider, you can provide services to individuals, businesses, and other organizations.

This guide will discuss some of the best services you can offer as a financial advisor. So, let’s get started.

7 Types of Financial Services You Can Provide

Below is the list of financial services you can offer as a financial advisor:

1- Investment Planning

financial-services

The first service on our list is investment planning. Investment planning is making decisions about financial investments, such as stocks, bonds, and real estate.

There are two main types of investment plans: conservative and aggressive. Conservative plans involve investing in safe, low-risk assets such as government bonds and cash equivalents. On the other hand, aggressive plans involve taking on more risk by investing in stocks and other high-yield securities.

As a financial advisor, you can help your clients choose the right mix of investments based on their goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon. In the case of stocks and trades, a bunch of ECN forex brokers, like IC Markets, RoboForex, OctaFX, LeoPrime, etc., are quite popular.

2- Tax Planning

Tax planning is the process of organizing one’s financial affairs in a way that minimizes taxes. It involves making decisions about how to invest, save, and spend money to minimize the amount of taxes owed.

You can provide tax planning and consulting services to individuals and businesses. This can involve helping them choose the right tax-advantaged investment accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs. You can also help them take advantage of tax breaks and deductions to minimize their tax liability.

Moreover, you can also help businesses with tax compliance. This can involve preparing and filing their tax returns and helping them resolve any tax-related issues.

Click here to learn about 5 common small business problems and how to avoid them. 

3- Retirement Planning 

Retirement planning is the process of creating a strategy for how to generate enough income to cover expenses during retirement. It involves estimating how much money will be needed in retirement and then making investment and saving decisions accordingly.

There are many different factors to consider when planning retirement, such as age, life expectancy, current income and expenses, desired lifestyle in retirement, and health status. As a retirement planning expert, you can help individuals and businesses create plans tailored to their specific needs and goals.

You can help your clients navigate these factors to make the best decisions for their retirement. In addition, you can also help them choose the right retirement account, such as a 401(k), IRA, or annuity.

4- Insurance Services

Insurance is a contract between an individual and an insurance company in which the insurer agrees to pay the insured for certain losses in exchange for a premium. Insurance can protect individuals and businesses from financial losses in accidents, injuries, deaths, or property damage.

There are many different types of insurance, such as life, health, auto, and home insurance. As a financial advisor, you can help your clients choose the right type and amount of insurance for their needs. In addition, you can also help them file insurance claims and resolve any issues that may arise.

5- Estate Planning & Administration

The trend of increased life expectancy means that more and more people need to plan for their estate. Estate planning is deciding what will happen to your money and property after you die.

Estate planning involves creating a will, trusts, and powers of attorney. It can also include deciding who will manage your affairs after you die. Choosing the right estate planning strategy can help to avoid probate, minimize taxes, and maximize the value of your estate.

As an estate planning expert, you can help individuals and businesses create plans tailored to their specific needs and goals. In addition, you can also help them with the administration of their estate after they die.

6- Business Consulting

financial-services

Business consulting provides advice and assistance to businesses to help them improve their operations. Consulting services can range from strategic advice to helping with specific marketing or financial planning tasks.

Many startups and small businesses need help with various aspects of running their business. As a business consultant, you can provide the guidance and expertise they need to grow and succeed.

Moreover, you can help businesses with various issues, such as marketing, sales, customer service, human resources, and operations. Not only that, some companies are seeking financial planning and management. So, you can advise them in creating budgets, forecasting sales and expenses, and making investment decisions.

7- Financial Modeling

Financial modeling is the process of creating a detailed model of a financial situation. For example, economic models are often used to forecast future earnings, estimate the value of a company, or make investment decisions. Financial models are created using various financial statements, such as the balance sheet, income statement, and cash flow statement.

As a financial modeling expert, you can help businesses and individuals create accurate and realistic models of their financial situation. In addition, you can also help them use economic models to make informed decisions about their business or investment.

Summing Up Financial Services

As a financial advisor, you have a wide range of responsibilities. You can help individuals and businesses with various financial tasks, such as investing, retirement, insurance, estate planning, and business consulting. Financial advising is a complex and challenging field but can also be very rewarding. You can make a difference in your field with the right skills and knowledge.

Moreover, to get coaching for your small business, you can get in touch with Small Business Coach. Our team of experts can help you with various financial and business issues. Contact us today to learn more about our services!

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What is Burnout and How Can I Avoid it?

burnout

In recent years, there’s been a significant drive to increase public awareness of mental health. This has resulted in a huge number of institutions, including workplaces, taking action to improve the overall well-being of the people they are responsible for. First developed in the 1970s, the term ‘burnout’ has been used to describe work-related mental health difficulties for a number of years. However, the medical diagnosis has really gained traction over the course of the pandemic, when many people were suffering from a heightened level of stress.

But what exactly is burnout and what can we do to prevent it? It can be hard to separate burnout from the normal stresses that come with working life, making it all the more important to cultivate a deeper understanding of this problem.

What is Burnout?

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Once deemed to be simply a symptom of stress or other underlying conditions such as depression, burnout is now classed as a syndrome by the World Health Organization (WHO). It occurs as a result of sustained workplace stress that has not been dealt with effectively and can have a negative toll on a person’s mental, emotional, and physical health.

Burnout is different from ordinary workplace stress in that it occurs over a long period of time. Rather than being a proportionate response to tight deadlines, burnout causes lasting feelings of dread, hopelessness, irritability, and exhaustion. Other signs of burnout include:

  •       Isolating yourself from friends, family members, or colleagues and feeling unable to ask for help or accept support.
  •       Escapist behaviors that may include excessive daydreaming or binge-watching television. Over time, these behaviors may develop into drug or alcohol dependencies.
  •       Excessive tiredness that occurs even after having enough sleep.

While burnout is classed separately from depression and anxiety, it can lead to these more serious mental health problems if left untreated.

Burnout and Taxes

It’s been reported that 19% of small business owners find filing their tax return one of the most stressful times of year. So, if you’re self-employed or run a start-up, you need to keep on top of your finances to avoid stress building up around tax time. You can significantly reduce the amount of stress you experience when submitting your tax return by using accounting software each month. If you have employees to worry about as well, using a payroll end of year checklist well in advance of any deadlines can help you to feel more in control.

However, if you are suffering from burnout that’s related to a mental illness, HMRC may be able to provide support. In line with the Equality Act, HMRC can put individuals and business owners struggling with mental health in contact with a tax adviser in the Extra Support Team, or refer them to a group such as TaxAid.

To access this support, you will need evidence of your mental illness, which typically involves a note from a doctor or licensed psychologist. While HMRC won’t overlook any tax debt you might have completely, they will be more understanding and may provide you with more time to pay. It’s likely that they will suspend enforcement action for a period of time, especially if it’s proven to be harmful to your mental health, but tax will only be remitted if your mental illness will prevent you from ever returning to work.

How to Avoid Burnout

Now that we understand that burnout is more serious than temporary stress or lethargy, it’s important to put our energy into preventing it from occurring in the first place. Like many mental health conditions, avoiding burnout isn’t always possible, but there are many steps you can take to give yourself the best chance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Stay Organized and Set Boundaries

Stress can accumulate for many reasons, but one of the most common is poor time management and a lack of boundaries. There are times in everyone’s life when they have to work extra hours to meet a deadline, but to avoid this becoming a regular occurrence it’s important to plan your work in advance.

However, there are times when the tasks on your to-do list simply aren’t possible to squeeze into a seven-day week. In these instances, you need to set boundaries with your clients, co-workers or superiors. Agreeing to do everything that everyone is asking of you at the expense of your own mental wellbeing will eventually lead to burnout. Be firm and clear when explaining your availability and capacity for work.

Find Purpose

burnout

Burnout can occur in any job, but it’s much less likely to occur when you’re passionate about what you do. Finding a purpose in your current role, or transitioning to a job more aligned with your values, has the power to transform your response to stress for the better.

Think carefully about the reasons why you originally chose the profession you’re in and whether there is anything better suited to your needs out there. Finding a job with purpose could involve working for a charity or non-profit, a company that gives back to the community, or even starting your own business.

Unfortunately, the reality is that not everyone can afford to change jobs or switch to a sector that’s better aligned with their interests, especially if they have a family to support. However, the good news is that it’s possible to find purpose in a hobby, side hustle, or voluntary pursuit as well. Finding a purpose outside of work can do just as much for preventing burnout as changing your job itself. This is because you will still be using your time to contribute meaningfully to the world and feel more fulfilled overall.

Manage Stress in a Healthy Way

Burnout is essentially the result of sustained, poorly-managed stress, making stress management a key part of maintaining your mental health. Managing stress looks different for everyone, but some of the key strategies you could try include:

  •       Regular exercise whether that’s joining a yoga class, going to the gym, or having a walk at lunchtime.
  •       Being more mindful and present rather than spiraling into thoughts about the future. This could be through meditation or an activity like coloring or gardening.
  •       Spending time with loved ones and talking about any problems you need help with.
  •       Maintaining a sleep schedule and before-bed routine.

Take Breaks

Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to manage your stress, you need to take a break. If you’ve had a particularly difficult month at work, you could benefit from having a week off to go on holiday or reset. 

However, it’s important to build breaks into your daily routine as well. Moving away from your computer, getting some fresh air, and stretching your legs should all be a part of your working day. And, if it’s possible, try to switch off from work completely in the evenings. There should always be a portion of your day where you feel like you can let go of responsibilities and unwind, so if your job requires you to be constantly on call, you may want to reconsider the amount and the type of work you’re taking on.

Burnout and the Future of Work

Cited as one of the reasons for the recent great resignation, burnout seems to be taking a toll on the world’s workforce more than ever before. But does this mean that it’s here to stay? 

Burnout always has and likely always will be an issue that thousands of workers have to contend with, but that doesn’t mean it has to become a widespread problem. With the right education and attitude, employers and employees alike can work together to promote a better sense of well-being in the office, whether in-person or virtual.

About the Author

Aislinn Carter is a freelance writer and small business owner living in Hallandale, Florida. She has extensive experience in writing across a number of different verticals, with a specialism for business management and professional development-related content.

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The 4 Most Common Mistakes of Running a Small Business

small-business

Starting your own small business is an exciting time, and you’re likely focused on what you should do. However, as you learn the dos of being a business leader, you must also learn the don’ts to avoid if you want to find success.  

So before you make another move in your business, you need to know the most common missteps that leaders are making so you can learn from their failures rather than needing to learn from your own. Know these critical mistakes to avoid when running your small business so you can avoid the pitfalls and create a stronger future for your company.

1. Using the Wrong Platform

Before you make your first sale, you’ll need to choose the right platform for your business. Using additional support like Magento services is the best way to get the most of the online space you manage. This will help you make sure your products reach your target audience online.  

However, you need to be on the right platform. Choosing the wrong one can set you up for failure early. It’s more difficult to set up shop somewhere else after one or more mistakes, and each mistake can cost a significant amount of money in fees and lost income. Stick to well-known hosts and services, and avoid anything that seems suspicious. 

2. Skimping on Advertising for Your Small Business

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Marketing is expensive, especially over time, but advertising is necessary to reach potential clients–without it, most of them would never know your shop exists. While cutting the marketing budget boosts your profits in the short term, it inhibits your growth and can actually hurt your chances of long-term rewards. You don’t have to bust out the big bucks for a TV commercial — you just need to get your name out there. 

Effective marketing also builds trust in your brand. Increasing your brand awareness goes a long way in helping your customers pick your store over the competition and provides more reassurance that you aren’t selling a scam. Having a personable presence on social media tied to your brand helps a lot. 

3. Not Investing in Security

Strong security is vital to protect both yourself and your customers. Bad actors can access high-risk personal information, like bank card numbers, passwords, addresses, and contact information.  

In the wrong hands, a hacker could use this to steal money, steal someone’s identity, or threaten their safety. While many businesses have insurance for store losses, most personal consumers do not. It only takes one security incident for customers to lose trust in your store and decide to shop somewhere safer.  

4. Overpricing or Underpricing

It should be obvious that charging too much for products and services results in lower sales. Even a price slightly higher than the rest of your competitors can drive customers away. The convenience of the Internet means that another online store is a browser search away, so you have to work twice as hard to keep your clients. 

On the other end of the spectrum, underpricing your merchandise may seem like less of a problem. In fact, undercutting competition is a valid business strategy and a result of healthy competition.  

However, setting your prices too low can cause you to lose money, especially with the rising costs of production. Additionally, setting prices at a level too low below the market average can scare customers away since it may seem like the products are poor quality or the deal is a scam. 

Stay the Course to Success for Your Small Business

Now that you know the most common mistakes small business leaders make, you can avoid them with ease and focus on strengthening your brand and the company’s foundation. Use this to stay on track to a beautiful future in business.  

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Why You Should Offer Health Insurance

health-insurance

If you’re like most business owners, you want to offer health insurance to your employees. After all, it’s a great benefit to have and one that can help attract and retain the best talent.

There are many reasons why offering insurance is a good idea. For one thing, it helps attract and retain good employees. Employees who have access to insurance are more likely to stay with a company than those who don’t.

In 2017, a survey from LendingTree showed that about 33% of individuals turned down a job offer because the company lacked benefits. In addition, about 32% in the US emphasized that they would love to see improvements in their employer’s health plan. 

Are You Required To Provide Health Insurance?

If your company has more than fifty full-time and part-time employees, then you’re legally required to offer insurance to your employees. This is per the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, it is not mandatory for small businesses. Although it’s not a legal requirement, providing your employees with health insurance is still recommended.

This type of benefit can go a long way, especially when attracting and retaining a well-deserved workforce. Besides this, the government also imparts multiple incentives to make providing insurance to employees easier.

It’s essential to know that a health insurance advisor quotes medical insurance. Thus, it’s best to look for one and ask about getting an insurance plan for your employees. 

How Does Health Insurance for Employees Work?

The health insurance plans you offer to your employees are group insurance plans. It’s considered a single plan that can give all your employees coverage. In addition, this plan is generally paid monthly and based on your business location, the number of employees you have, and the age of your employees. 

Reasons Why You Should Provide Health Insurance

The following are several reasons why you should provide health insurance to your employees:

Easy Process

If you want to provide health insurance to your employees, a insurance broker can help you through the whole process. They’ll be responsible for doing the following tasks:

  • Help you choose an efficient plan for you and your staff, depending on the coverage preferences and the industry to which your business belongs.
  • Sets all the necessary documents you might need for enrolling in a group health plan.
  • Be the resident health insurance advisor for your employees so that you don’t have to worry about answering questions concerning everything about small business health insurance.

Lower Monthly Premiums

health-insurance

Providing health insurance to your small business employees makes sense since there’s a reduced price on getting a group health plan. Most of the time, small business insurance plans have lower monthly premiums than those offered in the individual market.

In 2018, an eHealth study revealed that the average monthly premium per individual through a small business insurance plan is about $409. On the other hand, an individual insurance plan is usually around $440. Furthermore, the study highlighted the 7% difference between the two insurance plans.

Tax Incentives

Tax benefits are the financial advantage you can gain from providing your employees with insurance. The following are some ways a group health plan can produce tax incentives for your business:

  • Offering health insurance coverage to your employees as part of their compensation package potentially means that your small business might gain an advantage from reduced payroll taxes. 
  • Most of the time, small business owners can subtract 100% of the cost of monthly insurance premiums they pay on group health plans from their federal business taxes. 
  • Generally, employees can deduct health savings account (HSA) contributions from their small business taxes.

Happy Employees

A survey conducted by Glassdoor showed that having insurance is the most critical benefit employees receive from their employer. That’s why most employees offer insurance to their employees first and then add other employee benefits over time.

According to the study from Glassdoor, the following are the top three benefits that can make an employee happy:

  • Health insurance 
  • Paid time off (PTO) and vacation 
  • 401 (k), pension plans, and other retirement plans

Boost in Productivity

As mentioned earlier, providing insurance makes employees happy. This can result in a boost in productivity. In fact, according to a study from MetLife, about 60% of employers found out that offering insurance has resulted in higher productivity levels in their companies. 

How Much Will Health Insurance Cost You?

On average, health insurance premiums per employee for single coverage plans tend to cost around $5,700 in a year. In addition, an employer tends to pay per employee a total of $14,000 per year for their family coverage plans.

Moreover, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, insurance benefits add up to about 8% of the employee’s total compensation package across the United States. 

In a Nutshell

Health insurance is an important employee benefit, and offering it can show your employees that you care about their well-being. It’s a win-win for everyone involved!

If you’re still on the fence about offering this to your employees, talk to an insurance broker or agent. They can help you understand the options and find a plan that’s right for your business. 

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