In February 2012 Indiana passed right to work laws becoming the 23rd state in the country to prevent union security agreements in order to cultivate a more welcoming business environment. Unsurprisingly, Indiana Economic Development Corporation’s web site thinks that the state is one of the best places to work. However, they back this up with statistics showing that Indiana is the best state for doing business in the Midwest and ranks fifth in the nation as of May 2012. This is over three months after passing the right to work law. Furthermore, the Tax Foundation’s 2012 Business Tax Climate Index showed that Indiana ranked first in the Midwest and 11th nationally for doing business within the state.
The Right to Work laws are definitely controversial. Some say that implementing a right to work law will lower wages within the state while others say that it will bring more business into the state. More →
If we are to look at the survey results of a study conducted by the Pew Research Center as to whom between men and women make better leaders, it was confronted with a paradox. Women prevailed over men with seven out of eight leadership habits that included honesty, intelligence, hard-work, decisiveness, ambition, compassion, outgoingness, and creativity. Men only came out better in the aspect of decisiveness.
Although these results were not at all surprising, the result of the main question can probably provide an answer as to why we have the kind of leaders we have today. In spite of lording it over the survey for leadership traits, women only managed to snag a mere 6% as compared to men who get 21%. If it’s any consolation, 69% see men and women as co-equals in leadership positions
So why the hesitancy on choosing a perceived better candidate for leadership? In spite of the great strides accomplished by women in career development and the political arena, female CEOs and female political leaders are still too few for comfort. If people are so sold out on the leadership abilities of women, why is it hard to translate this to an actual higher management position or office of authority?
The reasoning behind such a decision that appears to reserve the higher position in business and government for male occupancy is anchored on two main issues: that Americans are not ready to elect a women for high office and that there is a perception that women are held back by men in the area of politics. Other given reasons pointed to discrimination faced by women, family responsibilities held by women, and lack of required experiences. There are a few who see women as not being good enough leaders or tough enough for politics. Apparently stereotyping also works against women for being perceived as more emotional and more manipulative. True leadership is measured by real abilities and not by perceptions and preconceptions.
One of the foremost considerations of any blogger is to write blog entries that will catch other peopleâ€™s attentions. Any blogger wants to retain his existing readers and attract new readers as well. One of the things one could do in order to achieve this important goal is to write engaging blog entries. For some people, this is equated to being controversial â€“ writing about taboo topics.
If you were maintaining a personal blog or a topic-specific blog, then perhaps tackling these taboos would be a perfect way to get those readers to come flocking to your blog. Yet when it comes to a business blog, is it an acceptable practice to talk about taboo topics such as sex, religion, and politics?
A primary point here is the fact that what is taboo to one person may not be considered as taboo by another person. However, we have to realize that a business blog is a blog apart from other â€œless formalâ€ blogs. Business blogs exist for many specific reasons but one primary reason is to promote a business or a company. Now, unless your company sells products and/or services relating to taboo topics, then it might not be the proper venue for such discussion.
I have to point out that the business blogs I have in mind here are the likes of marketing, finance, manufacturing, and the like. Also, this is merely my opinion. If you have experiences that prove otherwise, then I welcome you to share them with us!
For some companies, training is an inherent part of their business plan. For some, unfortunately, training is nothing but an expense. Let me ask you, how do you view training? Do you think that you have to spend time, effort, and money on training your employees?
Truth be told, I lean towards the first point of view. While training may indeed cost you, I view it as an investment. The money spent on training your employees and helping them in their professional development will only reap benefits for you and your business.
Before you start training your employees, however, you have to have a plan and to be sure what it is that you want to help them with. Here are some tips that can help you in this regard.
Have the right mindset
As I mentioned earlier, you have to be convinced a hundred percent that training is an investment. Once you are sure of this, you will not be swayed and you can lay out the specifics as to what your employees need training on.
Do not be limited to formal training
While formal training is necessary, you also have to realize that a lot of training can occur outside the classroom. You can make use of on-the-job training and save yourself some money as well.
Set an example
Continue to develop yourself professionally. Just because you own the business does not mean that you cannot continue to learn. Attend seminars and workshops when possible. Your employees will then see just how important learning is to you and perhaps take on the same attitude.
It is that time of the year again; you know, the time that a lot of people dread. Whether we are talking about personal income tax or business tax, the reaction is usually the same. It is bad enough that we have to shell out money, but the process of figuring out just how much you owe the government can be taxing as well â€“ no pun intended.
So, regarding the taxes for your small business, have you thought of doing the work yourself? After all, it can save you some money if you do not have to pay someone else to do the job, right? More so, you can get a lot of tax prep software which can help you do your taxes yourself.
According to expert Gene Marks, however, tax prep software can be very helpful only up to a certain point. He says that in reality, you would be better off taking on the services of an accountant â€“ a real live one. His rationale? He points out some advantages of this kind of software:
It points out potential deductions, red-flags potential audit items and accurately crunches thorny depreciation calculations, all while incorporating a flurry of pesky tax-law tweaks.
On the other hand, software also has this problem:
Still, as with all computer programs, there’s the old problem of garbage in, garbage out. If the user types an incorrect number (or, more likely, doesn’t fully understand what’s being asked), he ends up inviting more trouble–and expense–than he avoids.
As such, he suggests using software to do your preliminary work and then hiring a good experienced accountant who can help you determine all possible exemptions while at the same time keeping within the limits of the law. This makes sense to me. What do you think?
Every business needs to evolve and develop. The stagnant business is only going to end up dying â€“ and no businessman would want that! Here are some quick tips to help you develop your business and continue to grow as a company.
Always look for new customers.
Just because you have a stable customer base, it doesnâ€™t mean that you should sit back and relax. It is true that having a stable customer base is a good thing â€“ you will always be assured of income. However, you never know how long that customer base is going to be with you. After all, stable is not forever. As such, always be on the lookout for potential customers.
Keep tabs on the changing needs and requirements of your existing customers.
A stable customer base does not mean that your customers will always have the same needs. As the saying goes, change is the only constant thing in this world. As such, you owe it to yourself and your customers to always know what is going on and how to keep up with their needs. Of course, before you spend on changing your products and services, make sure that your customers are willing to pay for these improvements as well.
Keep tabs on your competitors.
You have to know what your competitors are up to. Otherwise, you might be left behind. Knowledge is power and having knowledge of what the competition has to offer will prove to be advantageous for your business.
Cost cutting is the buzz word these days. Go to any office work place â€“ whether it be a big corporate office or a small business location. Cost cutting is what everyone is trying to do effectively. What are some of the ways by which you can considerably cut down on costs?
One, get rid of multiple telephone lines.
How many lines do you have in the office? Two or more? Why donâ€™t you evaluate your set up and see how many lines you really need. If you are running a small business, I doubt that you would need more than 2 lines. You do not need a separate phone for each person. While that would be more convenient, think of the money you can save if you have only one or two main lines and use extensions for others.
Two, limit business travel.
If you need to travel for meetings and similar activities, why not look for an alternative such as telephone and video conferencing? With the technology that is available to everyone these days, there really is no excuse to spend more than is necessary for meetings. To save even more, invest in a VOIP package that will cut your telephone costs considerably.
Three, make sure everyone turns their PCs off at the end of the day.
The habit of many employees is to leave their PCs on when the leave the office. While this is convenient â€“ no need to boot up the next day â€“ the electrical consumption does add up. Remind everyone to shut down and turn everything off or even assign people to check everyday. You will be thankful for the power savings that translate to money.
For the first several years of my working life, I found myself drawn to start ups. Perhaps it was not by choice. Perhaps it was simply because I got really good opportunities with start ups at that time. And I have to say, I really learned a lot during those years. If there is one thing that really stuck with me, however, it is that any business â€“ no matter how big or small it may be â€“ should have clear policies at the outset. Without clear policies, you might be able to get by for the first couple of years. Once you start expanding, however, you will see that having no policies spells disaster. Here are some tips that you can consider when coming up with policies for your business.
While you may be content to run your business at the pace and scale that you started out at, expansion is inevitable at some point. As such, you have to bear in mind what can happen and what you will do in case these things happen. Planning ahead is always a good thing and having a solution to an event that has not occurred yet can save you a lot of time, money, and headaches.
Know what policies you will need, even from the start.
There are some things that you cannot do without. If you have employees, then you need an employee handbook. You have to establish policies regarding compensation, leaves, performance evaluation, and so on.
Make sure there is a concrete venue by which you can communicate your policies to everyone involved.
One of the worst things is having policies without anyone in the company being aware of them. When you spring a â€œruleâ€ on your employees without the proper process, it might very well backfire on you.
You run your own business, hopefully successfully. You probably are smarter than a fifth grader. The more important question is, just how smart do you think you are? Are you the kind of leader that thinks he knows it all? Or maybe you donâ€™t really think that but if you take a step back and analyze how you work and how you behave at work, you just might see that you send across that message.
This post is meant to be a wake up call for all small business owners out there. We have to understand the importance of learning. More than that, we have to understand that learning is a lifelong process and we just canâ€™t know it all. No matter how smart we may be, no matter how much we know, no matter how much experience we may have had, there is always something new that we can learn.
How exactly can we continue learning? Itâ€™s not that hard. I believe that the first step is to keep an open mind. Recognize and acknowledge that there is always something that can be learned. With this attitude, it will be easier to find learning experiences in most everything.
In concrete terms, one way to pick up new insights is to interact with other business owners. You donâ€™t even have to do this face to face. CEO blogs, web sites, books, and forums are all good ways to exchange information and learn.
Another way is to always keep yourself updated with regard to your field. Journals, web sites, forums, and other regular publications can help with this. For sure, new developments will arise â€“ and you cannot afford not to know about these things.
You may be smarter than a fifth grader, but you have to outsmart yourself in order to go further.
I shared several tips that can help you make the most out of this period â€“ tax time. Here are some more that you can use, if not this year then the next.
Donâ€™t forget that your equipment depreciates.
You can get lower tax because of depreciation. While you might hate the fact that anything you buy (equipment-wise) depreciates in value, you can use this for your benefit. Come tax time, make sure that you take inventory of what you have in the business and calculate each pieceâ€™s depreciated value. In addition to this, do not overlook the fact that each piece of equipment or fixture depreciates in varying degrees and rates. As such, tag the depreciation value of each thing separately instead of lumping them together as one.
Employ family if you can.
While this might raise some eyebrows, here me out first. If you have family members who are fully qualified to take part of the business, then it should not be an issue, right? This also has tax benefits as you would be paying him money (which is essentially his as he is part of the family) and at the same time, shift your money to a lower tax bracket (from company to individual). More so, you can claim him as a dependent earning a wage, which can give you higher tax deductions.
Just one more day and everything should be over and done with. If you had more issues than necessary this year, do bear in mind some of the tips that we covered in this post and the last. Perhaps next year, it will be better.