Why Every New Entrepreneur Needs a Mentor

n the world of entrepreneurship, mentors are an underrated and underutilized resource. There are thousands of experienced professionals looking to help up-and-comers with their own new projects, but for one reason or another, new entrepreneurs are reluctant to pursue a mentor-mentee relationship. The benefits of getting a mentor are practically limitless, especially during the initial development and launch of your business, and if you’re new to being an entrepreneur, I would argue that the guidance you receive from a potential mentor is downright essential.
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6 Employee Benefits Every Business Needs to Offer

Most people think about employee benefits as a purely optional addition to a salary package. Full health, dental, and vision plans, along with 401(k) and similar retirement plans all seem like “icing on the cake”—a superficial offering designed to sweeten a job deal without offering an increased salary. While in many cases this assumption is correct, the reality is that there are several benefits that are mandatory for employers to offer in the United States. It’s important to remember that both law-required benefits and optional benefits will have both legal and tax implications for the employer offering them. Be sure you understand the full effects of your benefits choices before officially instating them. Currently, there are six types of benefits that are required by law for all businesses with full-time employees:
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Posted in Business Owners

5 Strategies to Manage Cash Flow in a New Business

Cash flow is the life of your business, and in order to ensure it stays positive, you’ll need to have an action plan. It is not a measure of profitability; in fact, you can have a profitable business on paper but still struggle with cash flow issues. Instead, cash flow is a measure of your current resources. With positive cash flow, you’ll have more cash on-hand than you have going out to other accounts. With negative cash flow, you’ll have less cash on-hand than you need, and you could end up failing to meet payment deadlines as a result. There have been records of otherwise profitable businesses experiencing negative cash flow and eventually filing for bankruptcy, so don’t underestimate the importance of cash flow. Use these strategies to protect yourself against negative cash flow:
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Posted in Business Owners

5 Cost-Effective Advertising Strategies for Small Businesses

Small businesses face a critical paradox in advertising, especially during the first few years of their development. They suffer from limited revenue, due in large part to limited visibility and limited sales, meaning their budgets are restrictive and firm. But in order to increase the visibility and sales that can lead to greater revenue, they need a bigger budget. It’s a circle of logic that doesn’t lead to any comfortable solution. In order to grow your business, you’ll need to have some kind of advertising and marketing budget, even if that budget is small at first. There are several advertising strategies that won’t cost you much money, but can still have a significant enough impact to measurably increase your sales and revenue:
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How to Build a Cost-Efficient Workforce for Your Small Business

Whether you’ve gone into business hoping to strike it rich or you just want to make enough money to keep your company alive, your priority is keeping your business profitable, and that means controlling costs. In most industries, your work force is going to be one of your biggest expenditures, but cutting back on employee-related costs could leave you with unqualified employees, or worse, a demotivated team. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to keep your work force cost efficient, so you can expend less capital without sacrificing the quality or satisfaction of your team.
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The 5 Biggest Financial Threats to Your Small Business

Running a business is about balance; you have to balance your weaknesses with greater strengths. You have to balance your team with talented candidates in many different disciplines, and you have to balance threats with opportunities, or at least proactive measures to reduce those threats. Threats to your business can come in many forms, from conceptual failures to real, physical consequences. Some of the most dangerous threats are financial threats, which can escalate your costs, stifle your revenue growth, or in some other way compromise your profitability. As you grow and develop your business, be sure to avoid these five major financial threats:
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3 Small Business Financing Options Better Than Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding, the process of raising capital for a project or business in the form of dozens (or hundreds) of small, individual donations, has exploded in popularity over the course of the past several years. As a result, it has become the capital-raising platform of choice for independent developers, creative artists, and new entrepreneurs all over the world. Crowdfunding does have a lot of benefits, so it’s no wonder why it’s such a useful tool for so many, but for entrepreneurs, there are several superior financing options.
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6 Business Tax Tips You Shouldn't Neglect

Taxes are stressful for everyone, but for business owners that stress escalates to a whole new level. Keeping meticulous track of all your expenses and revenue throughout the year culminates in a mess of paperwork and year-end decisions that may leave you vulnerable to a tax audit. Put in that perspective, taxes seem like a nightmare, but if planned for and executed thoughtfully, they can actually be advantageous for your business.
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Posted in Business Owners

The 5 Most Important Financial Decisions Entrepreneurs Face

Business owners are responsible for a number of tough decisions, from the fine tuning of an initial business plan to ultimately choosing whether or not to sell the business once it’s successful. Some of the most substantial decisions they’ll need to make over the course of their ownership are financial ones, which will dictate the cash flow and profitability of the company over time. Financial decisions should not be taken lightly, and should be made only after extensive research and careful consideration. These are five of the most important financial decisions you’ll have to face as you start your own business.
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5 Free Resources Every Business Owner Should Be Using

Entrepreneurship is demanding, and if you’re going to be successful running your business, you’re inevitably going to need help. Fortunately, the digital age has allowed countless organizations, companies, and independent developers to host their resources and guides online for any business owner to use—and you can easily take advantage of them for your own business. Every business has specific needs based on industry, demographics, and business model, but there are some resources that almost every business can—and should—be using. Take a look at these five free resources, and incorporate them into your operations if you haven’t already.
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Which Social Media Channels Is Your Target Market Using?

Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Snapchat, Ello, Instagram… While having options can be great, it can also lead some businesses to inaction; many become intimidated by the sheer number of choices. Which social platforms are worth the investment of time and effort? Which networks offer the preferred content format for your audience (i.e. video, images, audio or text)? Which ones are most likely to result in a positive ROI for your business?
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7 Secrets of Customer Service Nobody Tells You

Whether you’re an entry-level intern or a high-ranking CEO, at least part of your job comes down to customer service. You could deal with customers directly, handling complaints and questions and meeting with them occasionally as part of ongoing account management, or simply engage with them through your services at a distance. No matter what, you have to keep your customers happy.
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Is Your Business Ready to Grow? Here's How to Tell.

A growing, thriving business is a wonderful thing. It's often the product of years of hard work, and results in immense satisfaction. However, not all growth is necessarily good. In fact, too much growth too fast can spell a company's doom.
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Why Your Infographics Aren't Getting Results

In an era of social media shares and visual marketing, infographics have become a “must- have” for every business with a digital marketing strategy. The compact format of infographics makes them ideal for today’s time-crunched consumers, putting all the information they need on one attractive, easy-to-read and easy-to-share page.
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Posted in News and Business Owners

The 5 Hardest Things About Working from Home in My Slippers

What could possibly be difficult about working in the comfort of my own home each day? My commute is approximately five seconds down a hallway. I get to pick the radio station. And, snacks? They're available anytime I want, and may even include a glass of wine! Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere! Before you decide to ditch the 9-to-5 cubicle and find a work-at-home position, I envy you. I really do. Why? Your only distraction is likely social media notifications beeping on your cellphone. I might be typing in my slippers right now, but making my home double as an office is no easy job.
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Small Business Nightmare: My Career Almost Went Up in Smoke!

Every small business person dreams of the project that catapults them to the next level in their career. For me, it was an assignment for Time magazine. Yes, that Time magazine. What I never anticipated was nearly burning down the set and making a claim on my small business insurance.
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Posted in Business Owners

America's Best-Kept Secret About Business Insurance

The vast majority of successful business owners enjoy that status by working hard and making smart decisions. One of the best decisions any company can make is finding experienced, qualified people for key positions. One position that can greatly impact any business investment's chance of success is its insurance agent. Do you want an agent who works for your business, or the insurance company? To protect your investment and future, purchasing from a quality business insurance company is imperative for the long-term success of your business.
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How to Get the Most From Your Vehicle Tax Deduction

Every April, millions of Americans file taxes on their own, and many wonder if they successfully claimed all the deductions to which they are entitled. One overlooked type of deduction is the car deduction. Business owners who use vehicles as part of their day-to-day operations know that this deduction exists, but people who use cars for personal reasons typically do not. So, what vehicle tax deductions might you be entitled to? How Do You Use Your Vehicle?
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5 Common Tax Breaks for Business Owners

Many people today are enjoying the benefits of being their own boss and running their own company. According to the U.S. Census, there are currently more than 5 million companies with fewer than 20 people actively operating in this country. Whether you freelance or you have created a company that employs others, you can take advantage of a variety of tax deductions on your business income. Owners of large corporations have accountants and tax experts working for them, but many small-business owners and freelancers cannot afford that added expense. If you complete your tax returns on your own each year, make sure that you are aware of the tax deductions you can use to save. Some of the most common business deductions are listed below.
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Posted in Business Owners

10 Most Common Workers Compensation Claims

Workers compensation is a form of insurance designed to help employees recover from injuries sustained in the workplace. Every state has different laws pertaining to workers compensation programs. Benefits provided to workers may include medical expenses, death benefits, lost wages and rehabilitation services. In most states, any business with at least one paid employee (even if that employee is temporary) is required to carry workers compensation insurance. Nobody expects to be injured on the job. In fact, many employers dedicate a large portion of their budget to educating employees on safe practices, in addition to re-vamping facilities to meet safety codes. Unfortunately, accidents do happen. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 1.1 million injuries happened in the workplace in 2011, with an average recuperation time of eight days.
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Multi-Million Dollar Lawsuits: Can It Happen to You?

Chances are, you or someone you know has been sued. With over 350,000 cases filed in 2012, lawyers are seeing a huge upsurge in civil suits. From bodily harm to libel, these lawsuits can cost you and your family millions. There are things you can do to protect yourself from these legal battles. Whether your net worth is average, below average, or high, multi-million dollar lawsuits can happen to you. Cases are heard in court every day pertaining to automobile accidents, slip-and-fall claims, and even dog bite suits. While most individuals carry automobile insurance, if the accident requires lifelong care or results in a fatality, the expenses may very well extend over the insurance limits. Here are just a few examples of how a lawsuit can happen to you:
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5 Steps to Starting Your Own Business

You’ve decided to start your own business. Congratulations! When you work for yourself, you have the opportunity to do what you most enjoy and are more likely to have a high level of job satisfaction. Make sure that when you set your business up, you are doing so properly so that you are not surprised by unexpected expenses or problems in the future. By taking the following steps you can be best prepared.
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