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HR for Small Business: 4 Tips to Avoid Expensive HR Mistakes

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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!

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Entrepreneurship

Analyzing the Many Benefits of Starting a Home Business in 2019

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There are many people these days that would love to run their own business but many have no idea where they should start. Most are put off right away but the thought of raising enough money to start a business. However, what many people fail to realize is that in today’s digital era it has become far easier and cheaper to start a business because you can start it from home.

Whether you want to provide a freelance accountancy or writing service, set up an online retail business, or even start your own drop shipping business, working from home is an ideal solution. You can enjoy many benefits when you set up your business from home and this includes keeping costs down to a minimum. In fact, more and more people have been able to start their own business these days thanks to modern technology and the online revolution, which is why has become so viable for many people.

Some of the Key Benefits You Can Look Forward To

There are many fabulous benefits that you can look forward to when you set up your own business from home. As mentioned earlier, one of the key benefits is that it is far cheaper to run a business from home than to worry about paying for business premises, business rates, bills, building maintenance and other unnecessary costs. All you have to do is set up a home office, which can be done very cheaply by investing in high quality used furniture and equipment. This immediately makes it more financially viable to set up your own business.

A second benefits is that you won’t have to worry about traveling to and from work every day, which will not only save you a lot of time and hassle but also a lot of money in gas or public transport fares. You can simply have breakfast at home and then stroll to your home office, settle down, and begin work for the day. This is a great way to enjoy working for yourself and improving your work life balance.

The sheer number and types of jobs you can do from home is yet another benefit you can look forward to. Many people these days set up as freelancers working from their own home office or set up a small business from home. You can consider all sorts of options ranging from online sales through to freelance writing, web design, accountancy services, and more. All you need to do is consider your skills and interest so you can better determine the type of home career that will suit you.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of being your own boss and working from home, setting up your home business has never been easier. Thanks to high speed internet technology and the online revolution, there are all sorts of jobs you can do when you set up a home office. What’s more, you have a far better chance of making a great income if you put in the work.  

The Financial Benefits of Starting Your Own Business from Home

You must also bear in mind the many financial benefits that come with setting up your own business from home. You can benefit from minimal upfront costs because you don’t have to worry about things such as paying for business premises and associated costs. You can also benefit from big savings when it comes to travel, as you won’t have to go back and forth from the office each day.

In addition to the many savings you can make by working from home, you also have to consider the boost in income that you can look forward to. When you work for yourself, you have the ability to boost your income dramatically by putting in the hard work and commitment necessary. This means that you can look forward to a far better quality of life for you and your loved ones as well as being able to enjoy far more financial freedom. Many people spend years working for someone else and still find themselves on a low salary at the end of it all. However, when you work for yourself you have the ability to more or less set your own income based on the amount of work you are prepared and able to put in.

Improving Your Future by Setting Up Your Own Home Business

With so many benefits to look forward to, it is very easy to see how working for yourself from home could help to improve your future. You can then look forward to not only the flexibility and freedom of being your own boss but the chance to enjoy a brighter and more exciting future doing something that you actually have an interest in.

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Entrepreneurship

5 Office Decor Must-Haves to Make Your Home Office or Workspace Pop

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When you work from home, you need to have a nice place in your house that is yours, which is also secluded from other noise and distractions. At the same time, you also want to make this an area where you can work and enjoy your atmosphere.

The same holds true for employees and professionals that have their own cubicle or workspace as well.

If you are looking to spruce things up and make your workspace more enjoyable, then you my friend, have come to the right place. Let’s jump straight to it. Below you’ll find the best recommendations to turn your office from drab to fab with four office must haves.

To kick things off, let’s take a look at what my home office looks like today! For more pictures and guidance on how I set up my home office, be sure to check out the full article here.

Now, let’s move on to five helpful decor tips that you can start using to improve your own workspace!

Office Must Haves #1: Natural Light

The modern trend is shifting toward spaces flooded with natural light. The effects of natural light both energizes and inspires your employees. It’ll increase their productivity and happiness. We’re talking large, clear windows with the curtains drawn back.

Evaluate your present sources of light. Open your curtains or shutters. Do they allow enough light to come through? If not, and if you can’t replace the windows, consider changing to full-spectrum light-bulbs.

Full-spectrum bulbs offer up the same spectrum of light as our sun. You can choose wavelengths that imitate morning, afternoon, or evening sunlight to create an awesome office space.

#2 Plants and Flowers

In addition to natural light, plants and flowers will lend your industrial office an organic quality. Don’t settle for fake flowers. Regardless of what you’ve been told, they won’t give your office an organic feel.

Stick with the real stuff. Potted plants work wonders. If you water them every few days, you’ll have them for years.

Bouquets of flowers are far better, but they can be expensive. You can always compromise. Buy fresh flowers during the summer at farmers markets. They’re much less expensive than florists.

For the rest of the year, keep a few potted flowers around. Lilies are our recommendation.

#3 Interactive Whiteboard

Whiteboards are paramount in today’s communal workplaces. They offer your staff a place to throw around ideas and think through strategies. If you leave your written work on the board between sessions, your staff will unconsciously continue developing ideas.

It’s also a simple way to keep all your business’s ideas in one place. It’s much easier and less time consuming than dozens of back-and-forth email chain letters. With whiteboards, you can take in the entire scope of your strategy in one glance.

Don’t worry, they’re not hard to find. Here are a few suggested online stores for office goodies (outside of Amazon):

Next, let’s talk about your furniture choices.

#4 Comfortable Chairs

No, we’re not talking Barcaloungers. We’re talking office chairs, seats, and stools. The only reason to furnish your office with uncomfortable chairs is that you want to push people to leave. That works fine in cafeterias and coffee shops.

For everything else, think ergonomically. When your visitors or your staff sit in a comfortable chair, their stress levels decrease. This leads to an increase in their productivity.

Comfortable chairs are also a sign of prestige. They work the same as a stylish desk or a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. They signal people that you care about more than the function of your space.

You also care about the people in it.

#5 Add Some Minimalist Art and Photos

Have you ever been to a home of office where there are pictures and photos all over the place? Sometimes it can get quite overwhelming.

There is nothing wrong with having motivational messages or pictures of your loved ones around you, but there are nice ways to set this up as well.

Try to stick with only a few art frames or photos on your desk, and make sure they have a nice frame and compliment the area around you.

It also couldn’t hurt to add some motivational posters to your walls for those days that you need an extra work ethic pick-me-up.

Motivational_Posters_Zac_Johnson_Office

What’s Next?

Now that you’ve discovered our office must haves, it’s time to start shopping. But, before you do, evaluate your present office style. Look at your color schemes and overall style. Then you can match your new goodies and your old.

Was this information helpful? Then come to pick through our library full of other helpful articles.

So long and good luck!

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Entrepreneurship

Pros & Cons of Offering Small Business Benefits Packages to Employees

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If you are planning to expand your business from a one man company, to a multi-person organization, you will likely need to start thinking about employee benefits and how you might be spreading the best packages across your employees and staff. As much as I love the concept of being a sole-entrepreneur, if you want to grow and scale your business in size, this is just another process that is required to have in place.

Wondering if you should go the extra mile for your employees?

79% of employees would choose a benefits package over a salary increase. But a small business may have as much to lose as it has to gain by offering a benefits package.

Below, we’re taking a look at the pros and cons of offering a small business benefits package to employees.

Pro: Attracting Quality Employees

The most obvious advantage of offering employee benefits lies in the quality of candidates it helps attract.

A flat salary actually has limited use to the modern worker. It may help pay for basic living costs, but it leaves many of the big stresses of life up in the air. A single look at life insurance quotes will be enough to show you what your employees are up against when they’re trying to cover everything with only a salary.

Add the medley of other life expenses, and it’s clear to see why employees are getting pickier about who they work for. By offering a benefits package, you can attract employees who are more serious and selective about their careers.

Pro: Giving Something Back

“But I already pay a salary!” we hear you cry.

Think of it this way: is a salary enough compensation for the many long hours of their life an employee spends at your company? After all, we only live once. A salary represents the minimum possible compensation for the raw labor an employee provides.

In truth, most employees provide a lot more than that.

Offering benefits can give something back to the people who spend that time bringing success to your company. It also shows them that you value them as individuals with personal lives and circumstances.

Pro: Driving Motivation and Retention

A business needs more than warm bodies to become a success. It needs employees who are engaged and motivated. Motivated employees will work hard, innovate, and even boost sales.

Extra incentives are a great tool to add that extra spark of motivation. Employees with access to benefits feel they’re there for more than the “daily grind”. Not only are they less stressed, but they’re also more positive about the company they work for.

Over time, that means more productivity and less attrition through employees moving on to better opportunities.

One of the benefits of offering company health benefits to employees should be clear: fewer sick days. Your staff might take more days off for smaller problems, but the upshot is that those smaller problems won’t progress into more serious conditions.

Pro: Creating Brand Ambassadors

Even for megacorps that have achieved the status of a household name, marketing makes up a huge percentage of their business spend. For small businesses, it can bleed them dry.

So, the value of free marketing is clear. But free promotion doesn’t begin and end with social media. Have you considered the value your employees have as brand ambassadors?

People expect employees to be a little cynical about the company they work for. It’s a real achievement to turn that cynicism into positivity. A benefits package could lead to your employees singing the praises of your company.

Positive word-of-mouth about your company then starts with your employees – and ripples out through their social circles and online presence.

This is also something Sarah Lahav, CEO of SysAid, had to think about. Founded in 2002, the company has grown their customer base to over 10,000 companies, while also serving locations in more than 140 countries around the world. This simply wouldn’t have been possible as a single-person company, but being a brand ambassador and an image for her company, Sarah continues to see daily improvements and growth within the company.

Con: The Visible Cost

The additional cost of offering benefits isn’t always welcome for a small business.

On top of that, a small business also won’t have a lot of buying power to negotiate cheaper rates. For a small business, benefits might turn out to be a luxury you can’t afford.

Benefits can also obscure your cash flow. The price of insurance can fluctuate over time. Any benefits you offer based on reimbursement are unpredictable.

It’s vital for a small business to control its cash flow. Providing benefits is often undesirable for small businesses, as it introduces uncertainty.

Con: The Hidden Cost

The full cost of offering benefits isn’t obvious at first glance. We’ve outlined the obvious costs, but what about the hidden costs of a benefits package?

Offering benefits sucks up a wealth of administration time. You might even need new hires capable of delivering the details of your benefits scheme. That heaps extra costs on top of the obvious cost of offering benefits.

As you offer more benefits, your administrative time increases. For a small company, those costs can run out of control. This isn’t an option for some small businesses that struggle to control their cash flow.

Con: Legal Pitfalls

When you enter the insurance game, you’re also entering a legal minefield.

Making a misstep along the way could leave you subject to legal action. That could be a deathblow for a business operating on thin margins.

Legal action against your company will soak up time and money. It’ll also drag your reputation through the dirt, making it harder to attract quality employees in the future. It could even damage your brand.

You could take extra care to make sure this doesn’t happen, but that’s yet another expense on top of the cost of providing benefits.

Con: Finding the Benchmark

Information is one of the most powerful weapons you can have against your competition. But it can be hard to figure out what sort of benefits package your competition has on offer.

In contrast to offering a flat salary, that makes it tough to decide where your benefits package should stop. You’ll need to put some serious work into finding out what candidates in your industry are searching for.

If you lowball your benefits package, the accompanying reduction in salary will drive candidates away. Overextend, and you risk bankrupting your business. You need to find the balance that keeps you competitive.

The Small Business Benefits Package: Yea or Nay?

The exact situation of every business is different, so we can’t tell you whether a small business benefits package is right for you. But we’ve given you enough info that you’re now equipped to decide whether it’s the way to go for your business.

Looking for more business advice? Check out our top podcast episodes.

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Hi, I’m Zac Johnson

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