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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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Entrepreneurship

6 Workplace Design Tips to Transform Your Office Space

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Being in a single space for at least nine hours a day can prove to become a little bland for your employees while working in the office. It doesn’t have to be though! Spending a little bit of time to spice up your office space for the new year can create an overall healthier work environment.

This is something home-based entrepreneurs know all too well. When first starting your side hustle or business, you will likely just be working from a desk, but over time you can customize your workspace to be a place where you actually love being in, and making it your own.

Over the years, I’ve gone through this process plenty of time — whether it be when I was just a kid running my business from a room in my parents house, to moving into our new place, rebuilding after Sandy, and all of the temporary locations in between.

Either way, if you are going to be spending a ton of time in one specific room or location, you might as well make it a fun and professional place to get work done!

To get started, take a look at these top tips to create a new workplace design for 2019.

1. Flexible and Modular Office Furniture

A big trend of 2019 is to take advantage of modular furniture that can be reorganized for group brainstorming or team meetings. Find some office tables and chairs that can be reworked into larger tables for group meetings, or can be broken up for smaller one-on-one brainstorming sessions.

You can also work with companies to build commercial fitouts to make an office space work within the dimensions of the rooms and open spaces you already have. While it might cost a little more money to get this done, it will make for a more professional look and feel over the life of your work area.

2. Focus on Activity-Based Team Projects

Make sure you have spaces for team-building activities. Try to incorporate spaces like lounges, conference rooms, and multipurpose workspaces to increase collaboration and boost productivity. There will always be a need for privacy, so be sure to try and seamlessly blend open spaces into your workplace design without leaving your employees to have to struggle to focus because their desks are right next to the busy activity areas.

3. Design for Employee Wellbeing

It has been proven time and again that our surroundings affect our wellbeing. Considering most professionals spend a good chunk of their day at the office, it is integral that these office spaces focus on human wellbeing.

Do this by ensuring your lounges and restrooms are away from individual workstations to help get your employees moving around. You can also integrate a new trend called biophilic design that combines nature into your workspaces, such as plant walls and windows.

4. Think About Visual Appeal

While functionality is great when thinking about your new workplace design, you also want to make sure the overall look is visually appealing. Millennials specifically enjoy coming to a workstation that promotes inspiration and creativity.

5. Integrate Technology

Our lives revolve around technology, and with computer systems and software playing a huge role in most workspaces, it only makes sense to try and think about creating your workplace design around the technology you will be using on a daily basis. Consider integrating wireless charging stations, interactive displays, and even tabletop touchscreens.

6. Get Your Team Involved

You know your employees best, so why not get them involved? This will allow your team to both ensure the office redesign will fit their needs as well as make them feel like their opinion is welcomed and appreciated.

Ultimately, the way you design your home office or work space is going to come down to what you want to accomplish with it. If you are going to be working in this area by yourself 95% of the time, there is no need to have additional chairs or clutter for guests who are never going to be there.

On the flip side, if you are having clients and guests in your work space quite often, you will want more of a open and free feeling.

This is where the advice and recommendations from fellow co-workers and employees can definitely bring some new ideas and direction to your working space.

What Will You Include in Your Workplace Design?

Start the new year off right with a strategic new workplace design that will offer a healthier and more productive work environment.

What trends will you incorporate into your redesign?

Don’t jump in head first. Contemplate what would work best for your team and then consider these top trends of 2019 that will create the most impact for your team. It will prove to make this year your company’s most successful year yet!

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Entrepreneurship

13 Side Hustles You Can Use to Fund a New Venture in 2019

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A buzzword floating around for a while now has been “side hustle.” Many entrepreneurs are turning to side hustles as a way to increase income without signing onto massive commitments. This approach can potentially have more flexibility than part time work, allowing entrepreneurs to gain needed income or experience, without over-stressing their routines.

For entrepreneurs looking to fund an initial venture, side hustles may be the perfect solution. As there are a wide variety of side hustles out there, we asked entrepreneurs from YEC to share the kinds of side hustle they think are worth considering, along with how to get started. Here’s what they said:

1. Do Something Automatable

To fund my initial venture, I started selling cell phones on Amazon. I was able to do this because I could ship all of my inventory to Amazon and they would handle all the shipping and returns using their Fulfilled by Amazon service. The key is that your side hustle needs to be automatable. I found suppliers, placed orders and then shipped the inventory to Amazon and I’d call it a day.

– Bryan Kesler, CPA Exam Guide

2. Try Flipping as a Side Hustle

An entrepreneur I follow is a big proponent of flipping as a side hustle. This doesn’t mean houses, it means anything you have at home that you don’t need, what you’d find at a garage sale or anything you can make a profit on. Apps like Offer Up and others make it extremely easy to list things and sell things without having to tell everyone you know what you’re doing.

Joel Mathew, Fortress Consulting

3. Do Something Related to Your Venture

You only have so many hours in the day and you want to be using as many as possible to move your life, goals and dreams forward — so don’t squander them working in a completely different direction from what you actually want! These days, you can side hustle in just about any field or industry, so pick one that is going to help get your venture off the ground and prepare you with useful skills.

Justin Faerman, Conscious Lifestyle Magazine

4. Monetize Your Expertise

Monetizing expertise is the easiest way to build a profitable side-hustle — or even a primary hustle! Everyone is an expert at something, and expertise can be monetized. Figure out what you’re best at, then figure out who needs that skillset. Whether you consult, give speeches, create sponsored content on social media or share another way, there is an audience willing to pay for what you know.

Brittany Hodak, The Superfan Company

5. Consider Which Category Works Best for You

Undertaking a side hustle can branch into two separate categories: financial reserves and learning opportunities. Paid contracting or freelancing gigs and training opportunities, combined with savings and a frugal lifestyle, help with self-funding a business. Learning opportunities are volunteering and participating in startup communities, building a network for scaling a business quickly. – Mario Peshev, DevriX

6. Rent a Room via Airbnb

Airbnb is a great side hustle for extra cash. Whether you have a room or two at your house you’d like to post on the site or invest in purchasing a house solely to rent out, you can make quite a bit of money. Type in your city or neighborhood in Airbnb and check out your competition. Which places have the most and best reviews? What can you do to differentiate?

Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

7. Drive With Uber

Uber is a great side hustle. Anyone with a car can take advantage of. By providing just a few trips before or after your work day, you’ll have more extra cash in your bank account to put into your new business venture.

– John Turner, SeedProd LLC

8. Start an Affiliate Marketing Site

Starting a business requires a huge amount of energy and dedication. Chances are, you won’t have a lot of energy left over to do something you don’t enjoy. That’s why starting an affiliate marketing site can be such a good fit. Choose a topic you are passionate about that also has sizeable niche of consumers that are interested in it.

Thomas Smale, FE International

9. Sell Things on Facebook Marketplace

Got some stuff lying around your house that you don’t want anymore? Put it up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. You could even go hunting for some great finds at charity shops or garage sales and resell them for a profit right from the comfort of your own home.

– Blair Williams, MemberPress

10. Do Anything That Gives You Free Time

One of my side hustles was working at the front desk of a hotel. I worked the slow shifts and used all my downtime to build my business on my computer. I understood every piece of spare time was valuable to me. Even mowing lawns as a teenager I would listen to Tony Robbins’ CDs. Stay away from anything too physically or mentally intensive so you have the energy to moonlight when you get home.

Matt Wilson, Under30Experiences

11. Become an Amazon Prime Seller

It’s surprisingly easy to become an Amazon Prime seller. Considering that there are 100 million Prime members, with the right Prime product, you can make some decent cash. One trick is finding a product that is selling well and no one is selling it with a Prime tag. You will then differentiate by selling the same product with a faster delivery.

Jared Atchison, WPForms

12. Start Freelancing

The ideal side hustle brings in money while providing the flexibility you need to grow your main venture. Freelancing fits the bill and you can leverage skills you already have, especially if you have technical expertise — developers are always in demand. However, make sure the side hustle is worth your time; focusing on growing your business might provide better returns in the long run.

Vik Patel, Future Hosting

13. Do Something You Actually Enjoy Doing

A side hustle offers people the unique opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed of. Many people, for example, turn to blogging because writing isn’t the most lucrative career path. Whatever you choose should be something you enjoy because it will ultimately be added work. Your side hustle should embrace the cliche of doing what you love so you never have to work a day in your life.

Reuben Yonatan, GetVoIP

Take these Expert Tips and Start Implementing them Today

Now that you’ve had a chance to read through some expert tips on how to start making some extra money on the side, it’s time to implement these changes into your own business and daily efforts.

Also, if you enjoyed this expert round up, I highly recommend you check out another one on BloggingTips.com which asks 83 online marketing experts the question “How Do I Start a Successful Blog?“. If you don’t already have a website or blog of your own, follow my guide to get started with one today.

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Entrepreneurship

9 Secret Tricks for Paying Off Your Business Debt in 2019

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Running a business but fear your debt is about to pile up? This is something that happens to many entrepreneurs and marketers when running an online business. Money always seems to go out much faster that it actually comes in.

While it is scary, don’t worry too much about it. It’s normal to have debt; other than equity, you can use debt to finance your business. Go too deep in debt, however, and you could run into the risk of bankruptcy.

If you want a successful business, you need to track the key metrics to ensure it happens. But what should you do when you get into business debt? You have a lot of options to choose from.

Are you ready to learn how to get out of business debt? Read on and learn these tricks.

1. Increase Your Profits

One of the most common ways to pay off your debt is to increase your income. Do your research and try using strategies to raise your revenue. For example, you can make promotions that make interest from your local customers.

Making promotions can make people buy more from you. But this is a balancing act since doing it too much is counterproductive. Check your margins and see if you can raise your prices for more profit.

2. Get Customers to Pay Faster

When billing customers with an invoice, you might get delays from them. You need to make your customers pay faster if you need funds as soon as possible. Make sure that your payment terms are short.

If you allow 90 months to pay, shorten it by half. Most customers will make sure to pay at the very last moment. So that means you need to think about how long you’re willing to wait for their payment.

Track down some late-paying customers. Check for outstanding invoices in your business database. Remind them about the bill and send in some collection letters if it doesn’t work.

3. Cut Costs

Having small business debt means you should spend for the bare necessities. Depending on the amount of debt, you might end up spending even less. That means you need to analyze the things you really need.

Always look for opportunities to cut out things to save your money. You can either make small, minor cuts or a single large cut. Again, you might need to do both if your debt is big enough.

4. Give Your Debt Priority

Check which debts you can pay off first to get out of debt. Check the critical ones with the ability to destroy your business in its entirety. Also, consider the ones that can have a negative effect on your business relationships.

There are some debts that can damage your reputation with your vendors. You need to think about how it affects your future relationships with them. Do this while thinking about the interest rates and possible penalties like the collateral you lose.

5. Negotiate Better Terms

Ask if you can get smaller interest rates or minimum payments. Creditors will try to keep your business afloat. After all, if your business fails, they won’t get anything out of you.

That means they’re more likely to work with you. In most cases, they’ll extend their payment plans or make the debt smaller for you to pay it. They’re better off getting some money than getting nothing at all.

Always talk to your lenders. You might get a pleasant surprise on what they can do for you.

6. Ask for Friend and Family Support

Your loved ones might have the means of helping you out of a debt. They can help you pay it off and you’ll pay them back at a later time. Family members and friends can be great lenders for you.

Often, they’re more understanding and sympathetic with your situation. Most family members might offer little to no interest rates. They’re more likely to let you pay smaller amounts over a longer period of time.

7. Try Debt Consolidation

If you want to know how to dig out of debt, try consolidating your debts. You can check The Credit Review for the best debt relief companies to help you. These might help you pay off all your debts, so you only need to pay one entity for it.

Having a single debt instead of many isn’t the main strength of debt consolidation. Your goal is to take out a loan with better terms compared to the other ones. It’s only worth it if you’re paying a lower interest rate and have longer payment terms.

8. Check Your Budget

When debt piles up, you might need to revisit your company’s budget. That means you need to make a budget that fits your company’s financial situation. Ensure that the profits are enough to cover more than your usual monthly costs like utilities.

Set a portion of the remaining profit for variable costs. Once done, devote as much money as you can to pay off your debt. It’s especially important if you have credit card debt since you need to pay more than the minimum.

9. Seek Counsel

Making negotiations with your creditors are rarely a good experience. If your creditors aren’t as cooperative, you might need the help of a counseling group. These non-profit organizations often give debt-management advice to both individuals and small businesses alike.

The helpfulness of their advice depends on how worse your debt situation is. You might have some complicated debt issues to resolve. In this case, it’s better to check with a bankruptcy attorney and ask for their advice on the matter.

Get Out of Business Debt Today!

Being in debt isn’t a pleasant experience no matter how you look at it. But in some cases, you need to get into debt to ensure that your business doesn’t go under. The part most business owners have difficulty involves paying it back.

If you want to get out of business debt, try these tips. They’re not difficult to do, but it needs management skills and consistency. The process will be difficult, but the end result of being debt-free is worth all the effort.

Would you like to start a home business instead? Read this post and learn about the benefits of starting one. It’s far cheaper to run than paying rent for your business premises.

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