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One of the most important decisions a small business owner, or any business owner for that matter makes is what bank they are going to use. Small business banking provides a wealth of financial services beyond simple deposits, check writing, and withdrawal. Many small businesses need to establish a line of credit or perhaps even take out a loan. Another one of the many services that small businesses need to setup is credit card processing, payroll services, and automatic bill pay. A small company cannot function without the proper financial setup. In order to withstand the financial needs of a successful business, the company needs to set up an account with a bank that is familiar with small business needs.
In order for a bank to attract small businesses, they need to provide aggressive attractions and a wide variety of services. The bank must offer convenience. For example, many small businesses deal with cash and coin. Therefore, they will likely make many trips to the bank to deposit and withdraw money. A bank must also offer plenty of convenient ATM locations so that the small business can have access to their account at any time of the day or night when they need it.
Many banks charge fees ranging from credit card fees to ATM charges, wire transfer fees, and many other normal fees. As a small business owner, you should not find any surprises. Therefore, do not be afraid to ask the small business bank of your choice what fees they charge so that they are not caught by surprise. Make sure and choose a bank that is upfront about their charges, one that is capable of providing you with the lowest rates, the most feasible financial options, and the best in banking service so that you can run your business smoothly and efficiently.
Small business banks must also provide excellent customer service so that when a small business owner has a problem; bankers that can guide the business owner through their problems address the problem. There are many reasons why a small business owner would experience a banking problem such as transaction issues or a forgotten PIN. That is where the small banking specialists step in and take care of your worries so that they can get you and your account straightened out.
While it is perfectly normal for a business owner to want to focus on the most essential processes that contribute to the success and growth of its small business or startup, paying attention to the legal aspects of running a business is also very important. Statutory compliance, staff employment, terms of service and supplier contracts are the areas where professional legal advice services can help secure your business and save money in the long term.
According to a recent report published by the UK Legal Services Board, called In Need of Advice? and based on a YouGov survey of over 9000 British small businesses, 38% of surveyed small businesses experienced one or more legal problems in the past year, out of which employment law issues were second most common situations business owners had to face, right after issues concerning trading. While 45% of surveyed small business owners considered that legal problems have a tangible impact on their business operations and growth, in the majority of cases they dealt with problems entirely on their own (52%), with only 16% of legal problems being solved through professional legal services.
Prepare your small business for future employment law situations
As businesses grow, its almost inevitable that small business owners will have to deal with the occasional difficult employment scenario, the most common issues revolving around employee gross misconduct, unfair dismissal and redundancy. These employment issues can have a negative impact on the overall performance of the business and can quickly escalate and generate loss if the correct legal steps are not followed. This is why seeking employment law advice from the outset helps a small business be prepared to handle any employment situation correctly .
Employment law advice directly from the experts
It is good business practice to seek employment legal advice not only when employee grievances arise or legal action is required, but from the very beginning of your business setup.
Other than offering employment law advice and support in cases of gross misconduct, redundancy and dismissals, an employment law solicitor can play a preventive role, by helping small business owners set up the correct employment contracts, prepare employee handbooks and other essential employment procedures and keep the business up to date on employment legislation.
Affordable employment legal advice
There are many ways in which small businesses that cannot afford a dedicated HR and employment service can still benefit from expert employment legal advice. While engaging a high street employment firm of solicitors on matters requiring legal action in court can prove to be an expensive exercise, small business owners can seek employment law advice with local professional associations and groups, which offer a series of online legal advice resources that any small business can easily access. Another route to take is to engage independent accounting and tax consultants that often include employment solicitors and offer employment law advice and guidance on a retainer arrangement, which is usually the most cost-effective solution for small businesses.
As a network computer technician I’ve come to the choice that I don’t think my small business clients that employ between 2-10 people should even bother with installing what we might consider a regular server nowadays. It is overkill, expensive and a major source of problems if something goes wrong. So what do I recommend instead? I would recommend a file server with local and offline backup. What made me come to this decision? A number of real world issues, actually.
Too many computer consultants come from an environment where they were taught and schooled on how to maintain servers. To me this is the old way of doing things. Unless you are hosting your email in-house there isn’t the need for the old server.
Think about this…what services do you really want to provide that are mission critical for your clients? For my clients the most important need is a way to create and access files that are backed up on a regular basis. I have seen too many small businesses shut down for days on end because they put all of their trust in a old server and a tape backup system. Why are these servers and tapes such a problem?
Think about this for a second. If a piece of hardware fails in your server, chance are that you won’t be able to replace that broken or failing part with something you can buy locally. Often times you have to call the server manufacturer and wait patiently for them to ship you a replacement part, all the while your business is at a stand still.
And tapes for backing up data? Unless you have an enormous amount of data, backing up to multiple hard drives is faster. And these hard drives will be able to access that data in other computer while you get your server fixed.
Another solution I recommend is using a service such as Dropbox to backup files. I don’t completely rely on Dropbox, though. I prefer to have a physical backup of the client’s data at the site of their business and then use Dropbox as a way to get a backup off-site. If anything catastrophic were to happen to the small business, such as a fire of a flood, it is easier to get a computer up and running, re-attach it to Dropbox and the data is back and ready to be used.
If you are like most businesses, the answer lies somewhere between ambivalence and total disdain.
All small business owners know the importance of low cost overhead. Working smart with your money has never been more important than it is in today’s economy. A very efficient way for small businesses to save huge dollars is by subscribing to a small voip phone system, also referred to as voice over internet protocol services. It is a method for making telephone calls by using the Internet. The technology became available around 1990 but with the recent advancements it has become a strong replacement for the traditional land line service.
One of the reasons that Internet VoIP is so popular is because it is very inexpensive as well as dependable. All of the equipment such as bluetooth voip headset, voip phone adapter, and headaches are hosted by the provider so all the business needs to worry about is the Internet connection and a telephone. In some cases you’ll be able to use the same telephones that you used for your land-line while others a special Voip broadband phone will be the best solution. The call quality is so good that rarely would anyone know that you were not using a land line. The provider keeps all the updates and relative maintenance up to date so having equipment or a service that becomes obsolete is not a concern.
The cost of Internet VoIP is so inexpensive because the calls are able to transmit over the Internet in place of a local telephone company’s system. By bypassing the local telephone company there is no fees that have to be paid to them. The process of dialing out and receiving calls is the same. You will need a high speed Internet connection and small voip phone system that is on at all times with a bandwidth large enough for the transmissions to always be clear.
To get started with Internet VoIP you’ll need to choose a voice over internet protocol providers and subscribe to the voip phone plans that best fits your business needs. With all the Internet VoIP options and providers now in the market place, it can be confusing for businesses to know what they need and the best provider for them.
AVAD Technologies, specialists is small business Hosted VoIP, has launched aggressive new pricing on its Hosted VoIP Phone Service. If you are thinking about switching your business to VoIP or just have some questions, please feel free to call (800) 733-4136
Click for Business voip telephone and Hosted pbx providers
New Book Release: 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications, Volume 1, Edition 1
Use this Annual Directory to Apply for Often Untapped Housing Authority Small Business Contracts and Procurement Opportunities
Untapped Small Business Contracts
Housing authorities are a fertile source of contracts for smaller enterprises. Larger city and state contracting opportunities are often more visible and accessible by business entities; but there are a plethora of contracting opportunities with local housing authorities that often go untapped by small businesses.
This directory is an easy-to-use, one-of-a-kind, resource tool for small business owners seeking to grow their companies by doing business with housing authorities across the United States.
Receive Bid Solicitations as Soon as they Become Available
By using the Housing Authority Directory, small business owners can click and apply to receive bid solicitations and procurement opportunities in their regions as soon as they become available by housing authorities. They can also seamlessly click and complete vendor packages online without having to do the research to find and sort out contracting opportunities.
What’s Included in Housing Authority Directory
The 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities & Vendor Applications, States A-F, Volume 1, Edition 1, includes the following:
— Direct links to housing authority procurement applications.
— RFP and Bid Solicitation Requests for several housing authorities, complete with bidding deadlines.
— Housing authority contact information, including street and website addresses.
— Direct links to small business vendor packages in several states.
— Procurement contacts, including point-of-contact names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax lines, and email addresses.
Get started quickly and easily today. See the 2013-2014 Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications, Volume 1, Edition 1, at , for an easy-to-use resource for registering your business and finding contracting opportunities in housing authorities.
Cassandra Black is the author of the Directory of Housing Authority Bidding / Procurement Opportunities and Vendor Applications available via Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Stone Cottage Books, the Master List of Property Preservation Companies Directory, 3rd Edition, and other small business publications.
Blogs have revolutionized the way that people do business. It seems that all the big companies are making use of blogs to promote themselves and market their products. However, corporate blogs aren’t just for big companies. Blogs can also be utilized by small businesses with great effect.
Setting up a small business blog is easy and has many benefits. They are powerful promotional tools and a great way to communicate with clients.
Here are some tips on using a small business blog:
1. Write Naturally and Honestly
Small business blogs can be more personal than large corporate blogs. It’s best to write in way that feels natural to you. Avoid writing needlessly complex posts filled with technical jargon. Doing so will endear customers and promote conversation, which is what a blog is for, after all.
As with any blog, you must always tell the truth. Blogs should address all issues, be it good or bad. This will ultimately beneficial as it helps builds trust the customers.
2. Post often and Respond to Comments
Remember to post frequently. Provide readers with plenty of content, so that they will keep coming back to your blog.
Comments are a vital part of blogs, providing useful feedback. Respond to reader comments often to build strong ties between them and your company.
3. Promote your business, Promote yourself
A small business blog is an innovative way to promote a business.
A good technique is to document your projects. This is good way to show how capable you are at your profession and to garner trust. This is especially important with small business, where reputations can make a big difference.
Blogs allow for unparalleled interaction with customers. Use this to get closer to clients, and to build bonds of trust. The information gained from readers is invaluable for improving your small business.
4. Be Informed and Informative
Read plenty of other blogs to gain useful information. Post comments and promote your own blog. Be an active part of the blogosphere.
Post links of related information on your blog, and use technology like RSS/Atom feeds to constantly provide your blog with interesting content. This is a great way to promote your business and be informed of everything concerning you industry. Besides informing your readers, it can lead to interaction and possible collaborations with other businesses, all of which will benefit a small business.
5. Search Engines
For those who wish to achieve higher search engine rankings, a blog can be an invaluable asset. The constant updating combined with the right keywords can raise search engine results dramatically.
As a small business owner, it is very important to project the best of your business and impress your callers. The auto attendant VoIP phone system can make your small business sound more professional. It has extensive advanced call handling features incorporated into it to manage all your business calls efficiently and make your business look like a Fortune 500 company.
Sphisticated Call Handling Service
Without the support of a live telephone operator, the auto attendant can perform all call handling functions reliably and efficiently. Callers are greeted with professional sounding welcome messages. These messages can be personalized to present your business in a professional manner. Calls are managed through interactive, impressive voice responses as their calls are connected to extension lines.
As an initial interface in call management, it is possible to connect calls to the required extensions using a menu of options including dial by extension, dial by name, dial by department or zero out to live operator. With these professional phone services offered by the virtual receptionist, the callers will feel like they are interacting with an established company.
Useful VoIP Auto Attendant Solutions
The auto attendant offers impressive call management features which include:
Find-me/Follow-me call forwarding If you are traveling or in some distant location, the calls to your office will be efficiently redirected to the given cell numbers, home phones or other personal numbers. Calls to a certain phone extension will be routed through the predefined list one by one, until someone attends the call.
Voicemail to Email If any calls are unattended, they will be automatically directed to the voice mail boxes of these phone systems. These voice messages will be further forwarded to your email account. The call forwarding system of the PBX system offers your workers a lot of independence as they can work from home or any other convenient location.
Music on Transfer You can upload music-on-hold facility to facilitate your callers, when the calls are being transferred to a different extension.
Features and functionalities are not just limited to these. Other functionalities include groups, conference rooms, call queues and much more. The auto attendant phone system to makes your small business sound more professional and credible.
Here are seven ways for owners of small businesses to save money on their taxes.
1. Incorporate Yourself: If you`re still a proprietor or partner of a business, it`s time to incorporate yourself. Not only will you limit your liability, but you may enjoy lower tax rates on small business income and other tax advantages as well.
2. Be Home Based: If possible, continue (or switch to) being a home based business. Not only will you keep your overhead down, but you will be able to write-off (or deduct) the business use of your home.
3. Income Split: Pay reasonable wages to your spouse and children. In this way, you can legally divert income taxed at your higher rate to your family members that are in a lower tax bracket.
4. Rearrange Your Affairs For Maximum Tax Savings: Can you make some changes to turn your hobby into a moneymaking business? Can you use that extra room in your house as a home office for your business? Can you arrange to use your car more for business purposes? Can you arrange for more of your entertainment expenses to be business related?
5. Document Your Expenses Well: Do you document your expenses well so that they would survive a tax audit? Have you kept a mileage log so that you can prove the percentage business use you claim for your vehicle? Have you kept receipts for all your entertainment expenses and listed the business purpose on the back of each receipt?
6. Be Punctual: File all returns and pay all taxes due (income, payroll, sales, et cetera) on time. This way, you avoid expensive late filing (and payment) penalties and interest.
7. Develop a Tax Planning Mindset: Some people only worry about their taxes during tax season. However, you will save a fortune in taxes, legally, if you make tax planning your year-round concern. Do you make business and personal purchases, investments, and other expenditures with tax savings in mind?
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a method of electronic communication that is rapidly increasing in popularity. Used to make phone calls, VoIP technology uses a computer’s internet connection, rather than a cellular wireless or traditional wired telephone line. This technology is used not only by personal consumers, but also by businesses small and large. Here are 5 tips for using VoIP to improve a small business:
1. Use One Company for Internet and Phone – Any modern small business has a website and is likely already paying an internet service provider (ISP) for access to the internet. Rather than negotiating prices and dealing with customer service for two services, a company can save time, effort, and money by using their internet connection as their phone service provider as well.
2. Save Money on Long-Distance and International Calls – Unlike traditional telephone companies, VoIP services work regardless of the distance of the call, so pricing is not dependent on the number of local, long-distance, or international calls. This means that international calls, which can be especially expensive, can be handled without incurring additional costs. For small businesses that do business internationally or have business partners overseas, this can mean an enormous cost savings.
3. Better Voice Quality – Because of the nature of the medium and the wires that transmit the signals, VoIP services can provide cleaner, better-sounding phone calls than traditional phone companies. While it might not seem like a big change, having crisper more professional phone calls can be the edge a small business needs to win over customers or seal a big deal. Dropped calls or poor-quality calls, on the other hand, can devastate a company’s business.
4. Simplify Things for the Technical Staff – For small businesses, the internal technical staff is usually stretched thin at all times, and should be outsourced when possible. Keeping a business up and running smoothly 24/7 is no small task. Consolidating one’s internet and phone systems can provide a significant advantage, in terms of time and sheer number of technologies to monitor, to a company’s technical support and services team. For small businesses that don’t even have a dedicated technical staff, having a single number to call for technical support, rather than multiple numbers, can simplify things considerably. Prompt service and skilled technicians are key.
5. Additional Features Included At No Extra Cost – For starters, useful calling features like conference calls, call forwarding, and caller ID are all included for free. Additional features like video calls and video conferencing are also easy to add to VoIP services.
Since most small businesses have suffered during the past several years due to declining sales generally caused by a chaotic economy, it should be helpful to explore the most practical and realistic marketing strategies available to them. Improving business development efforts is desirable during any financial and economic environment, but there are extra benefits to doing so when sales have declined for whatever reason. Because a typical small business owner does not have the luxury of choosing from many strategies available to larger companies, the marketing improvement process for small businesses is necessarily restricted to a relatively short list of business development alternatives. While the choices will vary from case to case, here are three marketing and business development strategies which will often be considered by small businesses:
* Increasing sales staff
* Business proposals
For most smaller companies, declining revenues have led to some financial challenges and the need to reduce operating expenses already. Therefore it is likely that a common limitation and goal in any marketing decision will be to keep the costs reasonable. When dealing with limited funds, small business owners should evaluate which marketing strategy is the most cost effective method. Business proposal writing usually emerges as the leading choice for small companies when cost effectiveness is taken into account.
There are several kinds of business proposals, and not all of them will be realistic options for each company. Here are the two business proposal types which are likely to be worth reviewing closely:
* Formal proposal solicitations
* Informal and unsolicited proposals
Of these two types, the second (unsolicited and informal proposals) usually deserves the most attention by small businesses. Formally solicited proposals are typically announced by a Request for Proposal (RFP) process and are subject to more public awareness and competition by other companies. Depending on competitive circumstances, it is certainly possible that responding to an RFP might be well-suited to some small business situations. In other words, look carefully before deciding to ignore the RFP possibility.
An informal or unsolicited proposal process potentially offers the most freedom for a small business. Timing is frequently a major problem for an RFP because the company or government agency issuing it determines in advance when it will publish the Request for Proposal and in turn will also determine the deadlines for responses. The timing for unsolicited and informal proposals is effectively under the complete control of the small business which is preparing a proposal. The combination of reduced competition and scheduling flexibility usually makes this a compelling approach to business development and proposals.