Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to Create Happy and Healthy Employees

       Wellness programs are becoming an important aspect of today's work environment. Encouraging healthy habits for your employees can improve their job performance and increase their happiness on the job. Health costs are decreasing making it a great time for employers to start wellness programs in their businesses. Here are some ideas you can use to start a wellness program for your employees:
  • Tobacco-free incentives   
  • Cancer prevention screenings and education
  • Health plans with incentives for regular wellness visits
  • Free or low-cost healthy vending-machine and cafeteria choices
  • Business or departmental health challenge with enticing incentives, such as vacation getaways, additional paid leave or free groceries

Thursday, August 21, 2014

5 Steps to Start Selling to the Government

Billions of dollars’ worth of goods and services are purchased by the government each year. A big portion of these purchases come from transactions with small businesses. In fact, the government has funds set aside specifically for small businesses. Since these government funds are regulated there is a different demand and therefore requires a different go-to-market approach than does the commercial sector. The process for registration to do business with the government is a daunting task that has several requirements, but here are five steps that can get you started as a government contractor.

Step 1- Register as a Government Contractor: Fortunately, the certification process is fairly simple. First, your business must qualify to sell to the government as a “small business”. Check with the SBA to see if your business meets the size requirements for a small business. Once you qualify then you must apply for a D-U-N-S number and register your business in the System for Award Management (SAM) database. The SAM database lists all businesses in which the government can search for services and products and the companies that sell them. You must be registered in SAM before you can sell anything to the Federal Government.

Step 2- Get a Contract Vehicle: Contract vehicles are government contracts that are put in place before any individual transactions occur between the government and your business. These agreements are pre-authorization forms that lets the government purchaser know that you are an approved supplier and outlines an agreed upon pricing for your products and services. You also have the option of becoming a sub-contractor. As a sub-contractor you partner with a prime contractor who already holds a government contract vehicle. Contact the SBA for more information on becoming a government sub-contractor.

Step 3- Get Expert Advice from SBA Procurement Reps: The SBA offers numerous resources online and in the community to help you prepare to do business with the government and to guide you through the process of government contracting. Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs) provide services such as training, counseling, and business matchmaking events. Online courses are also provided for businesses who are interested in doing business with the government. Other SBA support services include small business assistance programs, opportunities and resources as well as support groups for women- and veteran-owned businesses, disadvantaged businesses, and those located in economically distressed areas. To find a local PCR refer to the following link: http://www.sba.gov/content/government-contracting-field-staff-directory

Step 4- Identify Your Target Market: The public sector is highly competitive which makes it hard for new businesses to enter. Finding a niche and identifying your target market is critical to success. The agencies and departments of the government have different goals and it is important that you research these specific goals and find the ones that could be a potential fit for your business. Fortunately, the information you need (i.e. goals, missions, budgets) to find your target group is available to the public. This is just one step into entering the market. You must also get out and network through industry events hosted by media organizations and private sector contractors. Make sure that you have reference customers lined up to provide to potential agencies. This will help support your proof of performance as a trusted supplier in the marketplace. Check out websites such as USA.gov, USAspending.gov or FedBizOpps.gov to find information on agency profiles, government spending, and current opportunities.

Step 5- Get Bidding: Once you have completed all the above mentioned steps you are ready to start researching government opportunities. Bid announcements are listed on FedBizOpps.gov. You will also find information about the bid process on the SBA.gov website.    

To read the full article click on the following link: http://www.sba.gov/blogs/selling-government-get-started-these-5-steps

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How to Handle Bad Online Reviews for Your Small Business

                                           bad online review                               
Operating a successful business involves the preservation of a good reputation. With the number of online review sites increasing, consumers have more opportunities to express their opinions and experiences. However, these reviews are not always positive. Here are some tips for what to avoid and how to successfully respond to bad online reviews.

What NOT To Do
What TO Do
Argue with the Reviewer
Take an Objective Look
Game the System
Respond with Tact
Do Nothing
Apologize and Ask for Input

For more detailed information about the DOs and DON’Ts for bad reviews refer to the following link:  http://smallbiztrends.com/2013/08/how-to-handle-bad-online-review.html?inf_contact_key=26c06981da0528f2488d9e3463e4ad5d0339de383ee4b512d063a1008b0c41a3

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

7 Techniques to Help You Save Money with Technology

You do not have to spend a lot on technology in order to receive a huge benefit. Using the right technology business owners can sell more, serve customers faster, keep labor costs in check, and become more internally efficient. Here are some tips for how you can maintain your budget and still get your hands on that all-important technology you want for your business.

  • Use Evernote to compile lists of discounts codes and special offers: A web note-taking service, like Evernote, can help you simplify your life and save you money.
  • Keep your technology an extra generation: You can save money by stretching the useful life of your devices a little longer.
  • Set up alerts for price drops: CamelCamelCamel, Unimerc, and TechBargains are some third party apps that have been created to help you keep track of price changes on Amazon and alerts for deals on technology.
  • Use a free analytics program to make your online marketing more effective: Programs like Goggle Analytics can help you track specific activity on your website and other online marketing sites. This can prevent leads and online traffic from getting away without capitalizing on it.
  • Subscribe to get daily or weekly tech deals: Sign up for newsletters and printed sale flyers from hardware companies such as Dell or HP who offer periodic sale notifications.
  • Check partner sections of your vendors’ website: Several vendors give discounts on “partner” products.
  • Hold meetings online: This can save your business money on traveling by opting for video conferences to communicate with customers and vendors.

For more information on these tips click the following link: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/7-techniques-help-you-save-money-with-technology

Friday, August 8, 2014

Protecting Your Partnership with a Buy-Sell Agreement

Have you considered what will happen if one of your business partners dies, become disabled, or wants to leave the business? It might come across as morbid, but partners should work together to protect the intrinsic value of the partnership for each individual partner and their families.

A Buy-Sell agreement is a legally binding agreement between co-owners of a business. The co-owners typically have a life insurance policy on the participating owners' lives which allows the surviving partner to pay to the decedents family for the decedents share of the partnership.

Mark J. Kohler, CPA recommends a Buy-Sell Agreement stating that this agreement can "Contain all the terms for a situation when a departing partner wants to protect his or her value in the partnership. Such agreements are additional to the business agreements of an LLC or Corporation."

For more information on buy-sell agreements and their implementation: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236180