Create a Limited Liability Company (LLC) in 6 Easy Steps

There are many benefits to setting up a limited liability company (LLC). An LLC can help you protect your assets, give your business a professional reputation, and save on taxes. LLCs can have many different owners, called members, and are often the best business structure for small businesses. Unlike a corporation or partnership, LLCs are relatively easy to set up and manage. If you’re thinking of starting an LLC, the process is relatively simple. This article will walk you through the six steps you need to take to get started.

1. Choose a Business Name

The first step in forming an LLC is to choose a name for your business. When selecting a name, you’ll want to make sure it’s available and meets all the requirements. The LLC division of your Secretary of Wisconsin State office can tell you how to start an LLC in Wisconsin and what’s allowed in your state, and whether or not another business is already using the name you want. You’ll also need to ensure that your chosen name isn’t too similar to any existing businesses, which could confuse customers.

Along with the statewide search, make sure that your company name doesn’t violate any trademarks held by other businesses. You can search the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website for a list of existing trademarks in your area.

2. Draft an Operating Agreement for Your LLC

LLC

All LLCs must have an operating agreement, which is essentially a written contract between the company members that outlines each member’s responsibilities and rights within the business. The operating agreement is typically only used if multiple owners are involved, but it’s still important to have one even if you’re starting an LLC independently. Several key elements should be included in your operating agreement. These include:

  • Names and contact information for all members
  • The percentage of ownership each member holds in the business
  • The responsibilities and roles of each member, along with any other agreements between members
  • Any procedures or processes that will be followed to address disputes within the company

The exact contents of an operating agreement can vary depending on your specific business needs. However, it’s important to have one prepared before you register your company with the state, as not having a formalized operating agreement can make it difficult to resolve disputes or disagreements once your company is up and running.

3. Register Your Business with the State

Most states require you to fill out a simple form that includes basic information about your company, including its name, registered agent (a person or organization authorized by the LLC to receive legal documents), and address. With this initial registration paperwork, you may need to pay a small fee for your business to be officially recognized by the state. This ensures that your company can open bank accounts, file taxes, and legally conduct other standard business operations.

4. File Articles of Organization for Your LLC

One of the key documents required for an LLC is the Articles of Organization. This document states that you are starting a limited liability company and serves as basic information about your business, including its name, address, and members. To register your business with the state, you’ll need to file this document and any other necessary forms or paperwork. You may be asked to pay additional fees depending on your state’s requirements.

5. Obtain Any Necessary Licenses or Permits

Depending on the type of business you’re operating, and where it’s located, you may need to obtain special licenses or permits before opening up a shop. It can be good to check with your city government’s business office or website to see what licenses or permits you may need. For example, if you’re starting a restaurant, you’ll likely need to obtain a food license and any other general business licenses required in your city. If you’re planning on selling alcohol, you’ll also need to get a liquor license.

6. Open a Business Bank Account for Your LLC

One of the final steps in setting up your LLC is opening a business bank account. This account will be used for all financial transactions related to your company, and it’s important to keep personal, and business finances separate to avoid any issues down the road.

When opening a bank account, most banks will require that you show proof of your business registration and other important documents like your Articles of Organization. Once your account is set up, you can start depositing company revenue and making business purchases with the help of a checkbook or debit card associated with this bank account.

Creating an LLC is a relatively simple process that can provide your business with some important legal protections. By following the steps outlined above, you can have your LLC up and running. Just be sure to stay compliant with state requirements and file any necessary paperwork quickly to avoid penalties or fines.

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An Easy Guide To HIPAA Compliance: 6 Useful Tips

If you are a business owner who deals with sensitive health information, you need to be HIPAA compliant. This can be a daunting task, but it is not impossible.

In this blog post, we will provide 6 useful tips that will help you get started on the path to compliance. Stay safe and protect your patients by following these tips!

Understand The Basics Of HIPAA Compliance

HIPAA

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, is a set of rules that govern how protected health information is used and disclosed (PHI). HIPAA compliance is mandatory for all covered entities, including healthcare providers, health plans, and clearinghouses.

HIPAA compliance is important because it helps to ensure the privacy and security of patient health information. Protected health information is any information that can be used to identify an individual, and this includes everything from a person’s name and address to their medical records and treatment history.

By adhering to the HIPAA regulations, covered entities can help to ensure that this sensitive information is kept confidential and only used for authorized purposes. This, in turn, helps to protect the patients’ privacy and safeguard their health information.

Understand The HIPAA Privacy Rules

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued the Privacy Rule to implement the requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The Privacy Rule establishes national rules for the protection of certain types of health data. The HHS Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces the Privacy Rule for HIPAA-covered entities, which are health plans, health care clearinghouses, and certain health care providers.

The Privacy Rule applies to all forms of protected health information (PHI), whether electronic, written, or oral, PHI is any information about a person’s past, present, or future physical or mental health condition that can be used to identify an individual. This includes, but is not limited to, information such as an individual’s name, address, birth date, Social Security number, medical records, and health insurance information.

Under the Privacy Rule, covered entities must take steps to protect the confidentiality of PHI. They must also provide individuals with certain rights with respect to their PHI. For example, individuals have the right to access their PHI, request amendments to their PHI, and receive copies of this information in an electronic format.

Understand HIPAA Security Rules

To secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI, the Security Rule includes administrative, physical, and technical protections. HIPAA regulation covers entities under its regulations and anyone covered must implement these safeguards to ensure HIPAA compliance. Let’s look at each of them in more detail:

Administrative Safeguards are the policies and procedures put in place to protect ePHI and manage the risks to its security.

Physical Safeguards are physical measures taken to protect electronic equipment and facilities housing ePHI from unauthorized access, tampering, or theft.

Technical Safeguards are technology-based solutions used to protect ePHI from unauthorized access or disclosure. Technical safeguards can be further divided into three categories: 

  • Access Control: This safeguard is designed to limit access to ePHI to only those individuals who need it for their job duties. Access control measures include things like user IDs and passwords, as well as physical access controls like keycards and locks.
  • Audit Controls: This safeguard is designed to track and monitor activity surrounding ePHI. Audit controls can include things like logging systems that track who accessed what data and when, as well as encryption that renders data unreadable if it falls into the wrong hands.
  • Integrity Controls: This safeguard is designed to protect ePHI from unauthorized modification or destruction. Integrity controls can include things like data backup and disaster recovery plans, as well as security measures to prevent viruses and malware from infecting systems.

By understanding and implementing these safeguards, covered entities can ensure HIPAA compliance and protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of ePHI.

Read About The Breach Notification Rule

The Breach Notification Rule requires covered entities to provide notification following a breach of unsecured protected health information. A covered entity must provide notification to each individual whose unsecured protected health information has been breached.

The notification must include, at a minimum, a description of the incident, the types of information involved in the breach, and steps individuals can take to protect themselves from potential harm.

The covered entity must also provide notification to the Secretary of HHS. In certain circumstances, a covered entity may be required to provide delayed notification if law enforcement determines that notification would impede a criminal investigation.

If you are a covered entity and have experienced a breach of unsecured protected health information, it is important to take immediate action to mitigate the breach and comply with the Breach Notification Rule.

Read Up On The HIPAA Enforcement Rule

HIPAA

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued the HIPAA Enforcement Rule, which sets forth the fines and penalties that may be imposed on covered entities and their business associates for noncompliance with HIPAA Rules. The Enforcement Rule applies to all HIPAA-covered entities, including healthcare providers, health plans, and clearinghouses.

The Enforcement Rule provides for civil monetary penalties of up to $50,000 per violation, with a maximum of $25 million per year for each covered entity. In addition, the Secretary of HHS may impose criminal penalties of up to $250,000 and/or imprisonment for up to ten years for knowing violations of HIPAA Rules.

The HIPAA Enforcement Rule also requires covered entities to report certain violations of the HIPAA Rules to the Secretary of HHS. Covered entities that fail to comply with the requirements of the Enforcement Rule may be subject to civil or criminal penalties.

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued guidance on how it will enforce the new HIPAA rules. The guidance includes information on the types of violations that will be subject to enforcement action, the process for investigating complaints, and the penalties that may be imposed for noncompliance.

Why Stay Compliant

There are many reasons why staying compliant with HIPAA is important. First and foremost, it’s the law. Healthcare organizations that fail to comply with HIPAA can be subject to heavy fines. Additionally, HIPAA compliance helps protect patients’ health information and ensures that it is used appropriately.

There are a few key things that healthcare organizations need to do in order to stay compliant with HIPAA. First, they need to have a comprehensive security plan in place. This plan should include physical, administrative, and technical safeguards to protect patient data. Additionally, healthcare organizations need to have policies and procedures in place to ensure that employees are trained on HIPAA compliance and understand their roles and responsibilities.

There are many reasons to stay compliant with HIPAA, including avoiding heavy fines, protecting patient data, and ensuring that employees are trained on HIPAA compliance. Healthcare organizations need to have a comprehensive security plan in place to protect patient data and ensure compliance with HIPAA. By following these tips, healthcare organizations can ensure compliance with HIPAA and avoid penalties.

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An Introduction To Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) For Startups

ERP

Running an eCommerce business requires strategic planning. You can achieve that by using valid and updated information to make essential decisions. For that reason, you may want to choose the right tool to collect, analyze, store, and share data. ERP software can help tremendously in this regard.

Business owners and managers have used spreadsheets for several years to manage data. However, as technology evolves, spreadsheets have become less effective and are now being replaced with enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. You can also consider eCommerce ERP integration and boost the growth of your online business.  

This article introduces you to ERP software for your startup company. You’ll learn its benefits and how to choose one in the market. But before going further, you might want first to get a brief definition of ERP software. Read on.  

ERP Software Defined 

ERP software is a computer application you can use to manage all your business processes. These include procurement, accounting, sales, risk management, marketing, human resources, asset management, project management, and others. In simple terms, ERP is a program that automates business processes to help manage daily activities in an integrated system.  

Why You Need To Include An ERP System On Your Business Website 

Sometimes, deciding whether or not your startup or small business needs to install an ERP system can be daunting and overwhelming. This is true especially if you’ve never used any major software in the past. However, it can bring several benefits to your company.  

Some benefits of purchasing this software for your business include:  

  • Minimized Costs

ERP

Like any other business owner, your primary goal is usually to maximize your business profits. One of the best strategies to achieve that is by keeping costs at the lowest level possible.  

You can do several things to minimize your business costs. One of them is installing this software.  

Installing an ERP system can cost your business a heavy initial capital outlay.  However, it’s worth the investment in the long run.  

Manual data planning solutions like spreadsheets will require you to employ several workers to perform the work. This increases your labor costs. You can avoid that by installing an automated ERP tool. It’ll eliminate the need to work with numerous workers. A few of them will be enough to feed data to your computers.  

It’s also good to note that having different tools for specific business processes can cost you a lot of money. For instance, you must utilize the money to train your team to use every single tool. 

On the other hand, you’ll need one system only with integrated ERP. This reduces training requirements for end-users, thus minimizing costs.  

  • Enhanced Data Security

Another major benefit of installing this software in a business system is to secure your business data. This is especially important now when cybersecurity attacks are rising rapidly.  

When hackers and other online criminals invade your business networks, you can lose essential data. The good news is that this software can enhance the security of your online data. It comes with features that help control who can access and edit your company information. ERP system also provides a centralized backup location of your business’s essential data.  

  • Improved Efficiency And Productivity

Installing ERP software means automating all your key business functions. It helps avoid manual and tedious steps. For that reason, your workers will complete tasks on time and focus on other productive activities. With improved efficiency and productivity, your company will likely expand. 

  • Assured Government Rules And Regulation Compliance

You must remain compliant with government regulations for your business to operate for the foreseeable future. If you fail to do so, you might incur huge costs in fines and penalties.  

The government has laid down regulations to follow when sharing data in various sectors. However, sometimes you might be unaware of the minute details of the set regulations. That’s one of the many reasons you might want to install ERP software into your business systems.  

Most ERP systems are designed to help your business comply with industry and government regulations when managing and sharing data. This helps you avoid paying unnecessary fines or risking being forced to close down your store.  

  • Improved Customer Service

Better customer service is essential to the success of your company. It involves taking care of your clients by providing quality services.  

It might be challenging to manage your customers’ data well with several applications in your business system. That’s why it’s advisable to have an ERP software.  

ERP software provides a centralized location where you can store and retrieve customers’ information. This enables teams in various departments to collaborate when finding solutions to customer needs. It’s one of the best strategies to improve customers’ experience and satisfaction.  

How To Find A Suitable ERP Software 

ERP

As you’ve seen in the previous section, there are many benefits of having an ERP tool in your business system. However, you must find a suitable or personalized solution.  

You can install suitable software by:  

  • Finding A Scalable Solution 

Scalability is one of the many things to consider when buying an ERP tool. This is especially important if you have plans of growing your small business into a giant in the future.  

Scalability is the ability of the selected ERP software to continue accommodating your growing business. It ensures you’ll not need any other new solution to manage your business. The chosen software should be able to support your startup today and even when it expands.  

  • Comparing Price Versus Quality Of The Solution

Price and quality are two essential things to bear when buying ERP software. However, some business owners only consider the price and forget the quality. 

Finding a cheap solution can help save a few coins. However, it might fail to provide long-term benefits. Why? Some cheap automated tools are of low quality and not durable.  

At the same time, you need to note that high prices don’t always reflect the best quality. Therefore, before you opt for any ERP solution, ensure its price reflects its quality.  

  • Finding This Software From A Reputable Vendor

It’s no doubt that the functionality of the selected ERP tool will majorly depend on the service provider. A company known for the best solutions in the past will likely provide good software.  

One of the best ways to determine the reputation of any ERP software vendor is by reading online reviews. A firm with more positive reviews than negative ones might be reputable. Strive to source your ERP software from such a company.  

Takeaway on ERP Software

Purchasing ERP software is the best way to grow your business faster. It allows you to store and manage data more efficiently. Make sure you find a suitable solution from a reliable service provider.  

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6 Steps To Managing A Successful Franchise Business

franchise-business

Even after successful business expansions and launching several branches, entrepreneurs may still face obstacles. Some challenges could include lack of investment, higher capital demands, or management issues. And with that, business owners may consider expanding their business by franchising their products and services. Managing a successful franchise business can be a challenge, and we’re here to help. 

With franchising, you could receive regular income in the form of royalties. You can also quickly establish your business brand in newer markets and boost their market share. As a result, you’ll be equipped to compete with top domain players with fewer resources, which could help the success of your business.

So, if you’re looking to explore franchising, here are steps to manage a successful franchise business to get you started:

  • Conduct Franchise System Analysis

Essentially, franchise owners get to develop business ownership, which is why franchising is considered a popular option for people looking for a business to own. However, managing a franchise company requires building a brand and protecting its reputation with a clear record. Thus, it’s essential to conduct franchise system research to effectively manage your organization.

In addition, as a franchisor, you must also determine how much do franchise owners make and what responsibilities you would have. Once you research these questions, you’ll get to identify the overhead costs of operating a franchise business. These expenses would include equipment fees and costs, staffing salaries and benefits, and inventory and supply costs.

  • Identify Your Business Goals

franchise-business

As a franchisor, you need to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve at every stage of your business. It’s crucial to have a vision statement that will serve as a guide whenever your franchisees encounter challenges. And without an end goal, you won’t have a defined path for your organization, which could set it up for failure.

For instance, one of the essential franchise business goals is reducing inventory wastage and overflow. And so, if you want to attain this vision, you must monitor and adapt to the existing customer flow to prevent inventory overflow. Once you do a calibration and make well-informed decisions, you’re likely to achieve your goal of having a zero-inventory oversupply in no time.

Another goal you must consider is maintaining a stellar business reputation. This is because by having a reputable image, you can easily retain your existing customers and attract more potential franchisees. And perhaps, one way to do this is by developing an active customer support system for better client management.

  • Present Your Business to Potential Franchisees

After identifying your goals, you may now sell your franchise business model to your prospective franchisees. Ideally, a successful franchise presentation should highlight the critical aspects of the business opportunity, appealing to their business needs. With that said, you must focus on presenting your brand and how it can bring additional revenue to them.

Present a well-defined business plan with costs and timelines for every procedure, marketing, and training scheme. You could opt for graphs and visuals so your prospective franchisees can easily understand the benefits of partnering with your company. Effectively doing so may showcase your confidence in the implementation of your business plans and could motivate them to work with you.

Your presentation can also have illustrations of accurate figures showing how prospects can gravitate towards your brand over your competitors. You can consider outsourcing a professional editor specializing in franchise presentations to ensure their quality. Additionally, selecting the most appropriate venue to conduct this activity may help you gain a higher chance of getting your prospects to commit to your offer.

  • Provide Hands-On Training

If you have a vision for your franchise business, your franchisees must share the same objectives with you. That said, you should provide hands-on training to bring the whole business network to the same goals and values. Whether it’s marketing, customer service, and operations, you must impart knowledge and proper training to make your teams more cohesive and productive.

With the recent technological innovation, you may collect ideas for training activities. As you choose the best ones, you may select videos during virtual sessions so you can teach the franchisee workforce. Alternatively, you may spend at least a week helping each team grasp valuable concepts if you’re conducting on-site training.

  • Work On the Ground

franchise-business

Managing a franchise business can sometimes mean that you may have to use some time to work on the ground. As you witness, experience, and talk to your workforce, you get to learn about the obstacles your organization is facing. Moreover, you can develop the systems that you will need to drive higher growth and profitability, which could ensure the success of your organization.

As you work on the ground, you need to have regular communication with your franchisees so you can give them an insight into how you lead your team. This can encourage them to emulate your success and leadership skills. The discussions you have with your franchisees can also help you build trust between them and your company. 

With that, you can encourage them to share their concerns with you as you provide support to their branches. And as a result, you can be assured that they’ll secure the quality of your products and services, which protects the reputation of your franchise business. Alternatively, you must also have weekly meetings with your regional managers so you can monitor your franchisees across different areas.

  • Implement The Organizational Culture

As a franchise owner, one of your responsibilities is to establish a positive organizational culture from your franchisees to their staff. To start, you must hire the right people and provide them with the equipment they need to accomplish their tasks efficiently. Additionally, you should track and identify the progress of each trend so you can see to it that your team is sticking to a single vision.

You must also align everyone with your organizational goals by using the right leadership styles and principles. If your main objective is providing excellent customer service, you must communicate this goal effectively with your employees. Then, you may turn your company into a community that supports a valuable cause so you can sustain its good reputation in the marketplace.

As you implement the organizational culture, you can also influence the punctuality and service quality of your employees. When franchise workplace culture aligns with your workforce, they’re likely to feel supported and confident in their roles. As a result, their productivity may increase, contributing to an improved workflow, which can help ensure the success of your franchise business.

Key Takeaway on Your Franchise Business

As a business owner, it is crucial to find ways to expand the customer reach of your products and services. With that, you may consider creating a franchising system and looking for franchisees who will invest in your brand. Furthermore, consider following these six steps in managing a franchise business to ensure the success of your organization.

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7 Ways To Turn Your Virtual Employee Training Into A Success

employee-training

Employee training is a course that helps the workforce gain specific skills to improve their performance in the workplace. The training objectives specify performance developments, reduce human error, and positive organizational outcomes. Thus, entrepreneurs need to focus on providing effective training programs to their employees to ensure the success of the company.

With the need to transform an office environment into a remote workplace, business owners must discard traditional employee training. However, they may find difficulty in ensuring active engagement in the virtual employee training program. In turn, employees won’t deliver improved results and companies might suffer from expensive developmental costs.

In this article, you’ll learn seven ways in ensuring the effectiveness of your virtual employee training.

Break Up Employee Training Sessions into Smaller Parts

employee-training

None of your participants would be willing to sit on a video call all day long because it would reduce their productivity. With that, you should deliver your virtual training in smaller and reasonable chunks to prevent burnout. For instance, you may set a concept introduction video limit up to ninety minutes and include a valuable discussion on it.

When your employees are faced with a huge training task, this strategy enables them to manage their time. Doing so will help them prevent stress and procrastination as they receive downloads of the training modules. As they set their priorities and break the program into smaller chunks, the program will be more manageable and less intimidating.

After they all finish watching the training videos, you should conduct a virtual meeting the next day to receive updates on their progress. Then, repeat the process until you’ve shared all relevant information and monitor the effectiveness of the training program. With that, you must consider partnering with a reputable service provider that would help you conduct virtual events for work

Purchase The Necessary Tools for Your Employee Training

You can run a virtual employee training program using a classic communications platform and spreadsheet to track attendance. However, these tools won’t help you improve the efficiency of the developmental sessions. As a result, you might provide your participants with a low-quality experience, which prevents them from achieving the organizational goal.

Successful virtual training demands some investment in the right tools to ensure the effectiveness of the program. That said, you must search for a platform that will enable you to share your screen and remotely access one another’s devices. Thus, you should determine if you’ll need a conferencing platform or a virtual classroom so you can gain features that would tailor to run training.

As you ensure your connectivity with your employees, you’ll require a tool that will allow you to organize, deploy, and monitor training progress. With that, you need a learning management system (LMS), which will enable you to invite participants to remote sessions, assign learning materials, and track results. This software has a built-in tool that allows you to develop online courses from your existing presentation with better visuals, quotes, and videos.

Adopt A Buddy System

After the pre-training session, your employees are bound to send you their questions. However, you won’t have ample time to answer these queries since you must focus on developing your products. With that, you must consider partnering your employees with an individual who’s already taken the training.

Adopting a buddy system is an arrangement that is beneficial for you and your employees. Whenever a trainee doesn’t clearly understand a specific concept, they’ll be more comfortable asking their designated buddies. As a result, you’ll be able to focus on training all participants and accomplishing your managerial duties.

Set Achievable Expectations with Your Employee Training

As an entrepreneur, you’ll want to keep a happy workforce to ensure their productivity and sustain them in your organization. However, you can’t expect your new virtual trainees to transform into excellent leaders in just a single session. Similarly, expecting inexperienced salespeople to become bestsellers after a short training is unrealistic.

Ensuring the effectiveness of your virtual employee training is about setting achievable goals. For instance, you may want to develop your sales force on a new closing tactic to ensure their success in boosting their sales. Alternatively, you may want to train a customer service personnel on a new workflow to escalate consumer issues.

Incorporate Gamification To Motivate Trainees

Your remote training program has to be flexible to the preferences of your employees. As you write down your expectations, you must encourage them to determine the long-term objectives they need to follow. With that, you may use gamification rewards to boost their drive so they can stay on track with the training.

Gamification is the usage of game elements like rewards, scoring, and leaderboards. This activity helps build a more inspiring learning experience for its learners, which ensures the success of the training program. For instance, you may award badges to trainees who complete the virtual program and allow them to use it as their email signatures.

Outsource A Corporate Trainer

employee-training

Corporate trainers collaborate with managers and employees at every organizational level. These individuals play a key role in ensuring that a company’s workforce is prepared to solve complex problems. Also, they’ll help you lead virtual training sessions that will fulfill your organization’s needs.

As you look for the right virtual employee trainer, you must ensure that the individual is an expert on what they teach. You can expect this person to boost the productivity of your company by teaching new knowledge to your employees. Also, they would use both in-person and online lectures, seminars, and team exercises to update your workforce on organizational goals and processes.

Develop A Testing Checklist

Technology can make or break the virtual employee training experience. As you prepare for the sessions, the last thing you’ll want to deal with is a technological glitch. That said, you must ensure that your remote employees have all their equipment ready and require them to test it before the training.

Make sure you’re not wasting an essential training period troubleshooting audio, credential, and video issues. With that, you may consider hiring an information technology (IT) team that will help you ensure the efficiency of your devices and learning tools. This team will create a testing checklist to improve system access, internet speed, and technology features all work together.

Key Takeaway on Employee Training

As an entrepreneur, you’ll want to improve the productivity of your employees by increasing their knowledge and skills. That said, you may consider following these seven strategies so you can ensure the effectiveness of your virtual employee training program. As a result, you’ll improve the performance of your employees, which may boost the success of your business.

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Common Business Owner Mistakes that Need to be Avoided

When you hear about opening a small business, it sounds really simple. You pick a niche, invest the money into ads and watch the profits soar. Well, if it were that easy, everyone would be a business owner these days. The truth is that starting a business can be pretty difficult, especially for those trying it for the first time. There are so many steps to get you from the starting point to the launch line. Some of the hardest but most rewarding work will happen within that grey area. In this article, we investigate some common business owner mistakes.

The success stories you see online are from people who put in the hard work and effort. Granted, some of them do tend to exaggerate a bit and say things like opening a business has never been easier. In hindsight, this is true as the internet has evolved to the point anyone can go onto a platform, like Shopify, and can have a startup ready in just a few clicks. Despite the ease of access, you still have to put in the time, effort, energy and funds to make it successful. However, you also need to be on the ball with pretty much everything as mistakes can be made. Here are a few mistakes every new small business owner needs to be aware of and how they can avoid them. 

Going in Blind is One of the Most Common Business Owner Mistakes

business-owner-mistakes

The first mistake you can make with this is going into the process with little to no knowledge. Not knowing the basics of business is a recipe for disaster. Before you start, it’s important for you to get a feel of what to expect as a business owner. You can easily learn what you need for free as there are a ton of online guides and courses to explore. Alternatively, you can also consider going to college and obtaining your degree in business. You might be thinking there’s no point in doing this if you can learn what you need for free. College is an investment, but what you learn from it is far more valuable than what’s taught to you online. Your assignments will, more often than not, put you in scenarios where you must act like you’re a business owner. 

You’ll learn how to compile data, learn the importance of interacting with your target audience and understand how to perform in-depth research. A BA in business can be pretty expensive as it can cost almost $140,000 in total. Fortunately, you’re not obligated into paying this out of pocket. There are plenty of ways for you to finance your college education, but a student loan is a great option. They’re easy to acquire and they’re the fastest method of financing. Going to a private lender is a great option as they usually come with reduced interest rates. They may also allow you to customize when and how much you pay each month as well as give you the option to refinance your loan into a new one. 

Underestimating the Importance of Insurance 

Perhaps the most detrimental mistake any owner can make is not protecting what they’ve worked so hard to build. You can never be too sure of what could potentially happen. Maybe a natural disaster occurred and caused immense structural damage. Alternatively, a customer could have had an unpleasant experience or sustained an injury on the premises, which might lead to a lawsuit. Here’s a brief list of the insurance policies you need to have: 

  • General liability 
  • Worker’s compensation 
  • Professional liability 
  • Data breach 
  • Commercial property 
  • Business income 
  • Commercial umbrella 

Having these insurance policies in effect can keep you safe from any natural disasters and legal claims. Bear in mind that the most necessary policies are general liability, worker’s compensation, and commercial property insurance. Everything else is optional unless mandated by your state guidelines. 

You’re Not Familiar with Your Audience 

business-owner-mistakes

Business is more than simply coming up with new products and services to sell. It’s also about building a faithful community. This is accomplished by researching and interacting with your target audience. If you do not know this, that is one of the telltale signs you need help managing your business strategies. Since today’s society is mostly digital, the best way to connect with your audience is through social media. Social media is the biggest network for businesses to use as it helps them reach out to people locally and internationally. Not interacting with your audience is another mistake you must avoid. Business owners who refrain from engaging with their audience won’t be able to learn what they’re looking for. They also won’t know how their consumer’s experience was, so they can incorporate their feedback into future ventures. 

Thinking There’s No Competition 

One thing you’re going to learn really quick is that the business world is full of competition. No matter what your niche is, you’re always going to be competing with other companies. Underestimating or ignoring them entirely is one of the biggest mistakes anyone can make. Remember when we said you’ll be learning how to research and compile data in your BA program? Your competition is one of them. Researching how and what your competition is doing is how you’ll stay on par or even one step ahead of them. 

Investing Too Much is Among Frequent Business Owner Mistakes

Investing money into your business, whether it’s for ads, your ventures and even your employees is always going to be a priority. However, it’s important for you not to be overzealous with your finances. Investing too much is a huge risk, especially for a small business. If you’re looking for a safer way to invest, we recommend trying out crowdfunding. Crowdfunding is not only a way for you to get your hands on the extra funds you need, but also a great way to show off what you’re currently working on. To hook the crowd and maximize your profits, make sure to be as transparent as possible as you showcase. It’s how you build trust and loyalty. You also want to make your presentation as enticing as possible, so you can hopefully reign in an angel investor.

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How Using Animated Videos Can Bring In More Clients

animated-videos

There is no doubt that animated videos are a powerful marketing tool. They are engaging, interesting, and can communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time. In fact, using animated videos is one of the best ways to bring in more clients for your business. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the reasons why animated videos are so effective, and we will provide you with some tips on how to create an animation that will help promote your business.

Capture the Attention of Your Audience

Animated videos are effective because they can capture the attention of your audience and communicate complex information in an easy-to-understand format. When you use animation, you can explain things that would be difficult to understand with traditional video or text alone. If you are not sure how to create animations, there are many online resources that can help you get started. Also, you can contact a digital marketing agency and they can make animations in their animation studio as well. For example, if you are selling a new product, you can use animation to show how it works. This is a great way to engage your audience and give them the information they need to make a decision about your product.

Make a Lasting Impression with Animated Videos 

animated-videos

Another reason why animated videos are so effective is that they can make a lasting impression on your viewers. When you create an animation, you have the opportunity to really showcase your brand and what makes it unique. You can use animation to tell a story about your brand, or you can use it to show off your company’s personality. Either way, animated videos are a great way to make a lasting impression on your audience.

Stand Out from the Crowd with Your Animated Videos

There are so many businesses out there, and it can be difficult to really stand out from the crowd. However, if you use animated videos in your marketing, you will definitely be able to stand out from the competition. This is because most businesses are not using this type of video, which means that you will be ahead of the curve. Also, animated videos are eye-catching and will grab the attention of your target audience. So, if you want to stand out from the competition, animated videos are a great way to do it.

Create an Emotional Connection

Another reason why animated videos are so effective is that they can promote your brand in a positive light. When you use animation, you can create an emotional connection with your viewers that is not possible with traditional video or text. This emotional connection can lead to loyalty and repeat customers for your business.

How Can You Use Animated Videos?

Now that you know some of the reasons why animated videos are so effective, you may be wondering how you can use them to promote your business. You can make explainer videos, product launches, storytelling videos, video infographics, tutorial videos, etc. Explainer videos are a great way to introduce your company or product to potential customers. You can use them to explain what your business does, how your product works, or why your service is the best. Product launch videos are also a great way to promote a new product.

You can use them to show off the features of your product and get people excited about it. Storytelling videos are a great way to connect with your audience on an emotional level. You can use them to tell the story of your company or product, and you can even use them to create brand loyalty. Video infographics are a great way to present complex information in an easy-to-understand format. You can use them to explain trends, data, or statistics. Tutorial videos are a great way to show your audience how to use your product. You can use them to create step-by-step guides that will help people learn about your product and its features.

Animated videos are a great way to market your business, but they are only one part of the puzzle. You also need to make sure that you have a strong marketing strategy that includes other elements such as SEO, social media, and email marketing. If you want to take your business to the next level, these techniques can help you.

There is no doubt that videos are a powerful marketing tool. They are engaging, interesting, and can communicate a lot of information in a short amount of time. If you are not using animated videos in your marketing, you are definitely missing out. So, what are you waiting for? Start using animated videos today and see the results for yourself.

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How to Pay Remote Employees: 7 Important Tips

remote-employees

As more and more companies embrace remote work, the question of how to pay remote employees has become increasingly important. There are a number of factors to consider when paying remote employees, including location, tax implications, and benefits. Here are seven important tips for how to pay remote employees.

Be Aware of Currency Conversion Fees

When you pay an employee who is based in a different country, you will need to be aware of any currency conversion fees that may apply. These fees can vary depending on the bank or financial institution you use, so it’s important to compare rates before making a transfer. You may also want to consider using a service that specializes in international payments, to pay someone overseas, and to avoid high fees. This fee can eat into your profits, so it’s important to be aware of them when budgeting for employee salaries.

Another thing to keep in mind is that exchange rates can fluctuate, so the amount you pay your employees may be worth more or less depending on the current market rate. This is something to keep in mind if you have employees in multiple countries, as the value of their salary may fluctuate over time.

Consider the Location of Your Remote Employees

remote-employees

By considering the location of your employees, you can make sure that you’re paying them fairly and compliantly. When you pay them. It’s important to think about the cost of living in different locations and how that will affect your employees’ salaries. You should also take into account the tax laws in different countries. Paying remote employees can be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.

By taking the time to consider your employees’ locations, you can ensure that you’re doing it right. You need to take into account the cost of living in their location. Employees in New York City will need a higher salary than employees in a small town in the Midwest. 

Consider a Payroll Service 

Payroll services can help to ensure that employees are paid on time and correctly and can also offer other benefits such as tax withholding and compliance with labor laws. When choosing a payroll service, it is important to consider the fees charged, the countries in which the service operates, and whether the service can handle any special requirements you may have.

If you have employees in multiple countries, you may also need to consider whether the payroll service can handle payments in multiple currencies. Some payroll services also offer additional features such as time-tracking and employee self-service portals.

Consider the Tax Rate for Your Remote Employees

Check the tax rates in the country where your employee is located. You will be required to withhold taxes from their paychecks and send the money to the government. In the United States, for example, you would need to withhold Social Security and Medicare taxes, as well as federal and state income taxes. The amount of tax you withhold will depend on how much your employee earns and whether they claim any deductions or exemptions.

If your employee is located in a country with a lower tax rate than the United States, you may be able to get a tax credit for the difference. This means you would only have to pay taxes on the portion of your employee’s salary that is equal to the tax rate in their country.

You will also need to pay any required employer taxes, such as unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation. These taxes vary from country to country, so be sure to check with your accountant or tax advisor to find out what is required. In addition to federal and state taxes, you may also be required to pay local taxes. These can include city, county, and school district taxes. The amount of these taxes will depend on where your employee lives and works.

Choose a Convenient Payment Method 

There are a few things to consider when paying remote employees. The most important is to make sure the method is convenient for both the employer and the employee. Different methods can be used, each with its own pros and cons. One popular method is to use a third-party service like PayPal. This can be quick and easy for both the employer and employee. The downside is that there may be fees associated with this service.

Another option is to use direct deposit. This is often the most convenient option for employees, as they can have their paychecks deposited directly into their bank accounts. The downside to this method is that it can take a few days for the money to clear, which may not be ideal for employers who need to pay their employees on a more immediate basis.

Have a Clear Understanding of Your Company’s Policy

remote-employees

When it comes to paying remote workers, it is important to have a clear understanding of your company’s policy. This will ensure that you are in compliance with the law and that you are not overpaying or underpaying your employees. Your company’s policy on paying remote employees may vary depending on the country in which they are located.

For example, some countries may require that you withhold taxes from your employees’ paychecks, while others may not. Be sure to consult with your accountant or HR department to ensure that you are complying with all applicable laws.

Keep Accurate Records of Payments for Your Remote Employees

Paying employees can be a complex task, especially if you have employees working in different locations. It is important to keep accurate records of all payments made to ensure that everyone receives the correct amount and that taxes are properly withheld. There are a few different ways to keep track of employee payments. One option is to use an online payroll service, which can automate many of the tasks involved in paying employees. This can be a helpful option if you have a large number of employees or if you have employees in different locations.

Another option is to use spreadsheet software to track employee payments. This can be a good option if you have a small number of employees or if you want to have more control over the process. You can also use accounting software to track employee payments. This may be a good option if you are already using this software for other purposes and if you want to integrate employee payments into your accounting system.

No matter which method you use to track employee payments, it is important to keep accurate records. This will help you ensure that everyone receives the correct amount and that taxes are properly withheld. Keeping accurate records can also be helpful if you ever need to review or audit your payroll records.

Paying remote workers can be a bit tricky, but it’s definitely doable with the right tips. By following the seven tips above, you can ensure that your remote employees are getting paid on time and without any issues. So go ahead and start paying your remote employees today.

small business coach

6 Pro Tips For Effective Brand Positioning

brand-positioning

In every industry, competition has gone a notch higher. It might be because of the many manufacturers that have entered the market. And as a result, you may have to ensure you stage your brand and product in the market in a way that makes it a preferred option by your target audience. This is where a good brand positioning strategy can come in handy. Having one can boost brand awareness, impress value, and justify your pricing. 

Like in all parts globally, London has seen a spike in digital and other media brand positioning. For that reason, it could be to your advantage to work with reputable branding agencies London takes pride in. Moreover, working with professionals limits the chances of trial and error in your brand positioning efforts. 

So, if you’re a business owner desiring to carry out an effective brand positioning strategy, here are proven tips worth considering:

brand-positioning

  • Invest In Product Differentiation 

Product differentiation focuses on making your product unique and distinct from the rest of the market. With this approach, you need to brainstorm innovative ways to level up and enhance your product’s uniqueness to set you apart from your competitors. The essence of product differentiation is to try as much as possible to move a notch higher from traditional methods of competition.

  • Advertise On Social Media 

Social media is indispensable when it comes to staging a fortified brand position. To do this, thoroughly evaluate which social media platform can give good exposure to your brand. Research your target audience and their online habits and behaviors to determine which platforms they most use. The demographic of your audience can influence which social media to capitalize on.

As you strategize on social media marketing, you need to ask yourself these questions: 

  • Which social media platform do your target customers mostly use? 
  • Which social media channel is your target audience likely to use when searching for information? 
  • How often are they online? Which is the best time of the day to publish your advertising content?
  • Stand Out On Product Quality 

When it comes to quality, ensure that there isn’t any compromise. Quality is always on top of the list for people who prefer products meant for prestige. Quality products provide longevity of the product and value for it. However, it’s not just products that should emphasize quality. Even if the process of producing quality products might be costly, your customers will be willing to part with the market price of the product so long as it’s worth it. 

A high-quality product is evident through its craftsmanship, the quality of materials used, and a small batch of production. Even though some buyers might opt for cheaper products in the market, it’s good to create a signature product based on quality that will be in the interest of buyer personas.

  • Offer Convenience  

brand-positioning

For this strategy, you need to prove to your customers why your product is more convenient than your competitors. Convenience can take several forms. For instance, you can leverage location convenience. Here, you’d make sure that your product or service is as close to your target customers as possible. If you’re a soft drink manufacturer, you need to open depots in the most remote market centers where customers can buy without travelling far. In addition, you can offer transport after-sales services to your retailers to encourage them to purchase from you and not from your competitors.  

Apart from location convenience, it’ll help if you also consider having ease-of-use convenience. Avoid any complications on your product that make your customers uncomfortable while using it. For instance, if you’re a software developer, it should be easy for the end-user to interact with your software.  

In addition, develop forgiving software, whereby, if someone makes a mistake while using the application, they can undo the last process they made. For easy-to-use software, one should comfortably use it without contacting the developer. You can also attach a manual to your software that helps users navigate your software easily. This aspect of convenience is also appropriate if you’re a gadget manufacturer.  

Another aspect of convenience is using software that runs multiple platforms. For instance, if you’d like to develop an application for your business, consider the different gadgets that your customers might be using. Thus, use a developer with a platform that can develop applications for use in different operating systems. You level up your competition with such software that you can download from the various app stores.

  • Charge Fairly 

First, do market research on the pricing strategy carried out by your competitors. Then, you can set a relatively lower price for your product. Customer psychology teaches that no one would like to spend more money when there is a cheaper alternative of the same quality. However, you also need to ensure that your prices don’t affect your business by making negligible profits. 

Alternatively, if charging the same price as your competitors is the best option, you can go with that. On top of that, you can combine more than one of the brand positioning strategies discussed in this article.

  • Improve Customer Service And Experience 

An excellent shopping experience for your customer is likely to result in repeat buying. When your customer service is exceptional in the market, your customers will likely prefer you over your competitors. As a result, not only you’ll gain loyalty from them, but your product may also rank high in the options list of your target audience. After all, customer experience is one of the keys to positioning your product.

Today, there are various ways you can improve customer service and experience. For instance, if you’re operating an online shop, design your website in such a way that it’s informative, easy to navigate, and mobile user-friendly. Selecting products, putting them on a cart, and paying should be a simple process, giving your customers a hustle-free experience. Furthermore, your website should also load fast every time a customer browses your page or searches for a product.

Final Thoughts on Brand Positioning

Becoming a leader in the market needs good product positioning strategies. A well-positioned product in the market is the top choice for customers unless the stores have run out of stock for your product.

With that said, ensure that you differentiate your product well, stage a comprehensive social media marketing strategy, and ensure you manufacture products of high quality. In addition, level up your customer service and experience efforts. 

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4 Reasons Why Digital Marketing is Vital for Small Businesses

digital-marketing

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, small businesses account for more than half of all private-sector jobs in the United States. In order for these businesses to succeed, they need to invest in digital marketing strategies. In this blog post, we will discuss four reasons why digital marketing is vital for small businesses.

Digital Marketing is Affordable, Customizable, and Measurable

digital-marketing

One of the great things about digital marketing is that it is very affordable. There are a variety of platforms and strategies that can be tailored to fit any budget. This means that small businesses can get the most bang for their buck when it comes to marketing. You can hire an internet marketing agency or do it yourself. For example, with a limited budget, you can start with organic search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s visibility in search results. This is a great way to attract new visitors to your site without spending a lot of money on advertising.

Another reason why digital marketing is vital for small businesses is that it is customizable. Businesses can target their ideal customer through a variety of channels including social media, search engine optimization, and email marketing. This means that small businesses can reach their target market more effectively. For instance, if you are a business that sells products to mothers, you can use social media to target ads to mothers who are active on social media. This ensures that your message is reaching the right people. Also, it helps you to ensure that your marketing messages are relevant to your target audience.

Finally, digital marketing is measurable. Success of using digital marketing can be measured by leads and sales. This means that if a campaign is not working, you can quickly identify the problem and make changes. With analytics tools, businesses can track their marketing campaigns and see which ones are performing well and which ones need improvement. Using these tools allows businesses to adjust the problematic parts in order to ensure that their marketing campaigns are as effective as possible.  

It Helps Small Businesses Level the Playing Field

In the past, small businesses were at a disadvantage when it came to marketing because they didn’t have the same resources as larger businesses. However, digital marketing has leveled the playing field. Now, small businesses can compete with larger businesses by investing in digital marketing strategies. They can do it more effectively and efficiently by targeting their audience, measuring their results and building trust and credibility.

Some most common digital marketing strategies are SEO, SEM, SMM, and email marketing. SEO is the practice of optimizing a website for Google search with the goal of earning higher web traffic levels and improving the visibility of the site. Also, SEO can be divided into two categories: on-page and off-page. SEM is a form of online marketing that promotes websites by increasing their visibility on search engine results pages. This means that when people search for keywords related to your business, your website will appear higher in the results. SMM is the use of social media platforms to generate leads or sales. Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses email to promote commercial messages to an audience. All these strategies are effective and can be used by small businesses to reach their target market. For example, if your target group are people who like sports, you can use SMM or email marketing to inform them about upcoming sports activities and products. Or, if you want to target businesses, you can use SEM.

Digital Marketing is Essential for Customer Acquisition and Retention

digital-marketing

Acquiring new customers is essential for small businesses. Digital marketing can help businesses reach new customers in many ways such as providing engaging content.

Valuable content refers to blog posts, infographics, eBooks, and other forms of content that provide value to the reader. Responding to customer reviews is important because it shows that you are listening to your customers and taking their feedback seriously. Creating a user-friendly website is essential because it makes it easy for customers to find what they are looking for and navigate your site. For instance, if you are a business that sells products to mothers, your website should be designed with mothers in mind. This means including features such as product filters and search functionality.

In addition to acquiring new customers, digital marketing is also essential for retaining existing customers. By creating a strong online presence, small businesses can stay top of mind and build loyalty with their customer base. This means that they are more likely to continue doing business with the company. You can create this relationship by providing valuable content, responding to customer reviews, and creating a user-friendly website. 

It Helps Small Businesses Grow

Finally, digital marketing is vital for small businesses because it helps them grow. By investing in digital marketing, small businesses can increase their reach, build their brand, and drive sales. All of these strategies work together to help small businesses grow.

Digital marketing is an essential tool for small businesses that are looking to thrive in today’s economy. Also, it offers a great return on investment. Imagine that you spend $100 on SEO and SEM. This can potentially bring in new customers that would not have found your business otherwise. These customers could then make a purchase, which would lead to a return on your investment.

As you can notice, digital marketing is becoming a more and more important part of doing business. If you are not using digital marketing to promote your business, you are missing out on a lot of potential customers. By investing in digital marketing, you can reach new customers, build your brand, and drive sales.

Digital marketing is an essential tool for small businesses that are looking to thrive in today’s economy as it helps them reach their target market more effectively, compete with larger businesses, acquire new customers, and retain existing customers. It also helps small businesses grow by increasing their reach, building their brand, and driving sales. Also, digital marketing offers a great return on investment. So, if you are not using digital marketing to promote your business, now is the time to start. All of these factors make digital marketing an essential tool for small businesses that are looking to thrive in today’s economy.

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