Making the leap from a self-employed or sole business owner to a multi-person company is a huge jump. When you first start tossing around the idea in your mind, it might seem like a great idea. However, there are definitely going to be many obstacles and challenges along the way — many of which you may not have even thought about.
When going from a single to a multi-person company, you will start to notice things like hiring, insurance, time-off, in-office politics and much more start to come into play. Many of these issues would be handled through an HR department within the company.
With that being said, if you aren’t sure how to run HR for small business, we have some nice tips to follow, while also avoiding some costly errors in the process.
There are approximately 5.6 million people who work in the Human Resources (HR) department. This department is broken down into recruitment, training, benefits and compensation, and other roles.
Although you may not work for a large company, small businesses need this department just as much. Whether you work for a well-known, large company or a small business, there are certain mistakes every HR employee should avoid.
Not sure what they are or how to avoid them? We’ve got your HR for small business covered. Check out these four tips to avoid expensive HR mistakes.
1. Watch Employee Overtime
When you own or work for a small business, you do much of the work in-house – unlike larger companies and corporations that outsource certain tasks.
While doing most if not all the work in-house gives an HR employee many hats to wear and future experience, it’s also hard to keep track of everything.
One of the biggest and most expensive mistakes many small businesses and HR reps make is not managing employee overtime correctly. If your human resources employee doesn’t know how overtime works, your business will suffer.
Not only your HR team has to understand the meaning of overtime, but it needs to know how it coincides with state laws. Make sure you classify employees correctly and ensure they get paid for all their working hours. Track each employee’s hours to avoid costly mistakes.
While it seems like a lot of information for just one aspect of the job, it’s one of the most important ones to follow. The Department of Labor will perform routine investigations, and any violation of these laws can cost your company a ton of money.
The best way to avoid violating these laws is to make sure that your HR team knows the state laws and keeps track of all employee hours, including any overtime worked.
Keep in mind, these laws apply to all employees – hourly or salaried. Using payroll services can make this process easy and stress-free.
2. Employee Handbook
Do you remember going through orientation for your first job? Even though it’s not the most exciting task, it’s extremely necessary.
One of the biggest yet most common mistakes businesses of all sizes make is having an incomplete employee handbook. Some don’t have one at all.
Think of it as your company’s bible. Without it, there are no rules set in place for employees to follow. This can not only cause safety hazards but result in legal action as well.
Take the time to create an employee handbook listing the rules each employee must follow. Some of these can include an attendance policy and vacation time. These policies should be consistent and easy to understand.
3. Anti-Harassment Policies
Speaking of employee policies, make sure you include an anti-harassment policy in your employee handbook. This could help your small business avoid a sexual harassment case. Plus, it keeps your employees feeling safe and secure in the workplace.
In this policy, make clear what makes up sexual harassment and how to report a violation if one occurs. While open-door policies are nice, it’s smart to have a plan B in place. This can include a violation hotline or a third-party HR resource.
If someone does report a violation, you should follow through with the policy and take action promptly. Having this document in place could save you thousands if not millions of dollars in the courtroom.
4. Employee Feedback
Okay, you’ve started your small business, wrote an employee handbook, and hired some great employees. Now what?
Although your business may have started off small, expect it to grow, especially if you’re doing a good job. As your company grows, make sure you’re not only retaining employees but also keeping them happy.
The best way to do that is to set up a feedback process. This is extremely important not only for your company’s growth but also for each individual employee.
Be open-minded and listen to the feedback you’re employees are giving you. It will help you better understand the work environment and correct any mistakes you may have made. This can improve work productivity and overall employee happiness.
HR for Small Business: Mistakes to Avoid
HR for small business can be challenging. There are many tasks to take care of and employees to consider. At the same time, you must focus on growing your company and solving everyday problems.
These four tips will ensure you avoid expensive mistakes that could cost you big bucks and affect your company’s reputation. For more tips on business and marketing, check out our website or contact us with questions!
The Ultimate Guide To Streamlining Your Accounts Payable Process
Let’s face it: the process of improving and streamlining your accounts payable process can feel like you’re drowning in a sea of busywork. It’s also one of the most important, yet overlooked, processes within a business that can actually make you go from negative to positive in monthly ROI. This is especially true with online businesses, as many of use are using various automation, SEO, and marketing tools that have built-in recurring monthly costs… but how many of them are we actually using, yet still paying for?
This is something I occasionally talk about on the blog, as it’s a great reminder to always keep an eye on not just what your monthly expenses are, but also what they are actually being spent on. We all watch the incoming and outgoing money within our businesses and brands, but many of us will forget to actually look through our credit card and banking statements to see who is billing what. Soon enough, you could have thousands in monthly recurring bills, and not even realize that you aren’t utilizing such services.
It’s not just affiliate marketers and bloggers that have to deal with these types of issues, it’s businesses of all sizes — and it really comes down to the various payment processors, invoice tracking, and tax software being used. The truth is that an inefficient accounts payable system costs you in time , money, and anxiety. Between chasing down your tax information, waiting for invoices to be verified, and frantically paying bills at the last second, things will slip through the cracks.
You won’t just lose money. Your company’s reputation will suffer as a result. You might lose important business relationships that you’ve worked hard to build.
It’s time to make a change for the better.
Read on to learn how to improve your current accounts payable procedures.
1. Look for Patterns in Your Payments
The first thing that you need to do when you’re ready to make over your accounts payable process?
Think about how you can get out in front of upcoming payments.
The best way to do this is to look for payment and invoice patterns, and then create a matching schedule of accounts payable.
For example, do you know that your supplier sends you a bill on the first Monday of every month? If so, you know that this payment to your suppliers is a fixed cost every month. You should schedule an automatic payment, since it will likely be in the same amount each time.
Additionally, figure out who you sent the most money to, the most frequently.
This will help you to keep better track of your spending pattern, and know who to prioritize when it comes to getting payments out on time.
One more thing you might discover during this review process?
The fact that you’re not exactly spending your company’s money in the most effective way. Taking a closer look at things won’t just help you to spend less time each month on accounts payable.
There’s also a good chance that it will help to save you some serious money.
2. Define Your Invoice Payment Strategy
You know that paying invoices on time and in the correct amount is an essential way to maintain excellent relationships with freelancers and suppliers alike.
However, if you’ve noticed that your accounts payable process seems to be missing the mark when it comes to invoices?
You need to make a change — and fast.
First of all, decide when you’ll pay the invoices that are sent to you. Is the goal simply to get them paid as quickly as possible? Or, is it better to send payments at a set date?
Determine the payment method that you use. Will you write them a check, or do they prefer to get their money sent to them via systems like PayPal? And which method of payment works best for your business?
You should also make sure that you have a strong record-keeping system in place when it comes to your invoices. That way, even if something does go wrong, you’ll be able to track exactly when and how it happened.
One final piece of often-overlooked advice?
It’s simple: make sure that you have the right employees working on accounts payable.
Is now the time to create a specific accounts payable department, as opposed to assigning invoices to “whoever has time” to complete them? What short of qualifications do the people working in accounts payable have? What sort of training program have you implemented?
These are certainly all things to consider — and to speak with your team honestly about.
If you need to hire someone new, then the cost of bringing them on will likely pay for itself in the time the rest of your team members will earn back.
3. Consider a Payment Automation System
Of course, if you’re truly serious about improving your current accounts payable process, then you’re likely going to need to invest in a payment automation system.
Look for a system that allows you to make payments in a variety of currencies and payment methods. You should also decide on an option that helps you to eliminate as many rejected payments as possible.
The goal here is to find a platform that helps you through every part of the AP process — including making early payments.
Also, ensure that the payment automation system you choose helps you to keeps things secure and compliant. The right system will scan potential payees and identify potentially fraudulent or problematic companies.
Finally, make sure that you take a close look at the transaction fees of any payment automation system you use. Remember that fees are usually charged on a per-transaction basis. So, cut down on the number of individual payments if possible.
Looking to learn more about what makes a great payment automation system?
If so, be sure that you check out the Tipalti website, to learn how their platform could save up to 80% of your accounts payable team’s time.
Once you’ve implemented each of these solutions and accounts payable processes, you may finally be at zen with your personal and business finances.
Ready to Overhaul Your Accounts Payable Process?
We hope that this post has helped you to understand what it takes to truly improve your accounts payable process — and eliminate errors in the process.
Of course, tackling accounts payable is just one smart of what helps you to streamline your time at the office, and get more out of every day.
You need to ensure that you have a strong digital and print marketing strategy, that you employees feel motivated within the work environment, and much more.
Keep on coming back to our blog to score even more tips on how to take your company to even higher heights.
How to Pick the Best Business Credit Cards for Startups
You obviously know about the existence of business credit cards, and you may have even heard about the benefits they give to companies, but you’re still worried about getting one for your startup. If that’s that the case… don’t be. I’ve personally used credit cards for my business expenses for over 20 years now, and as long as you stay on top of your payments, they are perfectly fine.
Right now, you may think you’re playing it safe by avoiding the plastic, but in reality, you’re missing out on a ton of great deals that could help your business grow and become more successful.
There are a variety of credit cards that you could choose from, and each card offers their own unique trademarks that you could use to your advantage. Let’s have a look at some of the best business credit cards for startups.
The Best Business Credit Cards for Startups That You Should Use
Depending on your type of business, you can gain some serious perks to help you level up your business game. Keep reading to find out more.
Decide How Fast You’re Paying the Monthly Bill
The first thing you need to worry about is the amount of time you think you will need to take care of your monthly statements.
Some companies can pay off their fees in full every month like clockwork. Others may only be able to pay off the bare minimum in order to keep things rolling. There are cards for both types of businesses.
If you know how to make the full payment each month, you should go for a card that gives you longer grace periods and a lot of rewards so you can capitalize on all of the benefits.
Charge cards are also handy for those who always pay in full. These little guys give you the money you need, as long as you’re able to pay it off within a 30-day time frame.
If you’d rather take your time paying off the card, then get a credit card that has a low-interest rate or a 0% APR to allow you time to pay everything off without any backlash.
As for my own personal and business expenses, I’ve always been a fan of American Express, and have been a customer of theirs since 2003. You can see a few of my other preferred business credit cards for entrepreneurs and bloggers as well.
Think About Operating Costs
One of the biggest reasons (if not, the biggest) why you want a credit card is to take care of the operating costs that come with every business.
Look through the spending log and see which of your operations takes up the most of your money, and then find a card that gives you benefits directly related to those operating costs.
For example, if you spend a lot on customer service, get a card that offers bonus points on spending in this category. That way you get returns as you spend cash.
The last thing that you should be worried about when choosing a credit card is are the credit expenses.
Different cards offer different costs on their monthly and annual fees. More often than not, this is directly related to the number of benefits and perks you get from using it.
The general rule of thumb is that the more basic the card is, the less you’ll have to pay in fees, and vice versa. It’s up to you to decide if you’re going to take the thrifty approach or if your business can fork the extra cash for the bonuses.
If you want to learn more about what card would suit your company best, check out this website for a list of credit card reviews and other things that could help your small business soar.
The One Stop for All Your Startup Business Needs
Now that you know about some of the best business credit cards for startups, you can make moves to grow your business! When starting to apply for different cards online, you may find better success with lower level credit options and stay away from American Express until you have a decent credit score or business history. If all of that already looks good, then apply away!
As mentioned, I’ve been making money online and helping businesses grow their reach and exposure for well over two decades now. If you ever have any questions or are in need of services, just send me an email and I’ll be sure to give you the answers that you need.
10 Tips to Create a Business and Work Environment that Employees Love
One of the benefits of having a healthy company is a productive team that goes above and beyond the call of duty. This is especially true for online businesses and brands that can hire in-house and remotely at the same time. With better time, money, and employee management, this allows the business to grow and scale, while also keeping the internal structure secure at all times.
Having happy employees and team members is more then just about ‘working environment’, it can also lead to a more accountable staff, which often show up to meet deadlines and complete projects not only at a faster pace, but also in high-quality. This type of atmosphere can actually lead to healthier morale for other employees.
However, just having this type of work environment and in-office ethics doesn’t just happen. It’s usually seen when the leaders of a company show them how much they care. Caring for employees means more than making sure they receive a paycheck. You have to be present.
A great boss shows up to set clear expectations. They coach their employees to meet goals and offer constructive feedback. But compassionate leaders don’t stop there. They go beyond goals and expectations to ensure their employee’s happiness and health.
If you want to keep your employees committed to the company’s success, keep reading. Here are 10 thoughtful tips for practicing top-notch employee care.
1. Keep the Workplace Safe
One of the best ways to show your employees you care is by maintaining a safe work environment.
Establish safe office practices and make sure your company is up-to-date with its safety training through a platform such as SaftetySkills. These practices serve as preventatives. And, less illness and injury occur.
You reduce health and safety hazards and help your workforce boost productivity. And, you protect the company’s reputation by shielding it from grave consequences.
2. Employee Surveys
You won’t know how to care for your employees if you don’t know what they need. Employee surveys offer that opportunity.
Poll your staff about all the services and benefits you provide them. With anonymity, your team can provide honest data about the company as a whole.
Through surveys, you can also discover the needs of your employees you haven’t served.
Use the survey data to find avenues for improvement. Set up action plans. Then implement them in a way that services the entire staff.
3. Open-Door Policy
The open door policy is an age-old communication policy. Leaders-CEOs, managers, and supervisors leave their doors open to promote transparency in the office.
An open door encourages employees to communicate with the upper manager. This policy gives them an opportunity to voice their concerns.
This may not work in every office situation, but the principle itself can. Set aside specific hours where you are available to floor staff.
Or, host weekly or monthly office town hall meetings. Use this platform as a forum for employees to shed light on concerns plaguing them and the company.
4. Wellness Benefits
The mental and physical well-being of staff is important for every company. Unhealthy employees mean an unhealthy office.
A good employee wellness program comes with several benefits.
Office wellness promotes less absenteeism. Employees look and feel healthier, eliminating health risks that keep them out of the office.
Productivity spikes as a result of a great wellness agenda. When you encourage employees to eat, sleep, and focus well, they perform better in the office.
Also, when a healthy staff knows that a company cares about their overall health, they stick around.
Wellness programs improve employee retention. Good employees stay where they’re cared for.
5. Relate to Your Staff
Often senior executives believe and behave in ways that make them appear superior to their staff.
Resentment can grow in the office as a result of this. Your team should not view your position as an unobtainable one, but rather one to strive for.
Find positive ways to relate to your team to change their view of you as a leader. Host company family picnics. Company picnics create a family environment.
Professional bonding outside of the office boosts morale amongst employees. Also, seeing a boss in a family atmosphere changes an employee’s view of them.
Leaders appear more paternal than pompous.
6. Professional Support
The unspoken rule is the client is always right. That’s not always true or right, especially when it comes to backing good employees.
When a staff member has a complaint about a client, listen to the complaint then do something about it. Let your employee see you act on it. Then follow up when the action’s complete.
It’s important for employees to know they’re not just seat fillers schmoozing clients to make money for the company.
They need to know the work they put in matters. And when a client shows them otherwise, the company should have their back.
7. Stay on the Honeymoon
In the application process, recruiters break out all the stops. They court potential employees with paid vacations, sick time, and weekends off.
And then when they hire them, they give nothing else but paychecks.
You have the employees you hired for a reason. Their qualifications and skills met the job requirements, and they meet standards every year.
Don’t let the good you do for them stop at the hiring process. Stay on the honeymoon.
Offer perks and random spiffs. Reward perfect attendance. Payout unused vacation time. Allow top performers to use the company jet once a month.
Lease out a restaurant and celebrate employees when the company achieves record sales.
Keep the professional love alive. This keeps good employees from looking at other companies as well.
8. Growth Opportunities
No person with secretarial skills wants to be a receptionist their whole life. Offer multilevel training to your employees.
This benefits them and the company.
Training and development opportunities can be anything from customer service to human relations.
Offering employees other avenues to grow within the company increases job satisfaction. In turn, you decrease the employee attrition rate.
Morale increases and staff members become self-motivated when they know opportunities are available.
9. Unique Working Spaces
A cubicle should never feel like a prison, even in the most productive situation. Let your employees modernize their workspaces.
Be open to the concept of different furniture styles and color schemes. Let your staff hang art and use tasteful cubicle walls covers.
Since they can’t open the windows in most office buildings, allow for small indoor desk plants.
Employees spend 10 to 12 hour days working hard your company’s vision. Let them feel comfortable doing it.
For any entrepreneurs working from home, you will understand this all too well. Your workspace needs to be a fun and productive place to be!
Just take a look at my home office below as an example!
10. Culture is Everything
Your company’s culture is its personality. Make sure the vision, mission, and expectations aren’t driving good employees away.
Quality company culture fosters loyalty. When employees believe in the company’s purpose, they support and remain true to it.
Job satisfaction is an important part of company culture as well. When you invest in your staff, the result is happy, committed employees.
A corporate culture steeped in positivity and opportunity reflects care for employees. It can make a company one of the best places to work.
Connect with Your Team through Employee Care
Employee care is the driving force for any company who desires continued success. It is the backbone of company culture.
And, it shows that you’re a leader of leaders, not just worker bees. Show employees you care by making the success of the company a collaboration.
If you found these productivity and business tips useful, be sure to also check out our recent article on ten productivity killers that are wasting hours of time per week.
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