Monday, October 28, 2013

Miranda's Cooking Creations - Cheese Enchilada Lasagna & Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole (Both Gluten Free)

So I have been in a cooking mood lately. Here are two new Gluten Free Recipes I have come up with.

 Cheese Enchilada Lasagna

  • GF Cream of Chicken Soup 8oz
  • Sour Cream 8oz
  • Chopped Green Chilies 4oz
  • Mexican Melting Cheese - one wheel
  • Mexican Crumble Cheese - one wheel, crumbled
  • White Corn Tortillas
  • Monterey Jack Shredded Cheese - 1 bag
  1. Put Soup, sour cream, green chilies and half of the melting cheese in a pot on the stove and warm it up.
  2. in 9x13 pan spread a spoonful of the mixture on the bottom of the pan.
  3. lay out corn tortillas across the pan, top with the crumbling cheese and sauce.
  4. continue layering till you reach the top of the pan.
  5. spread the monterey jack cheese on top.
  6. Bake at 350 till bubbly and Enjoy!  To add some protein to the meal, ad some shredded chicken to the sauce mix. 
Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole
  • 1lb cooked chicken- cubed
  • 1 package cubed ham
  • 1 can of GF Cream of Chicken Soup 8oz
  • 6 slices of Swiss Cheese
  • 6 slices of Havarti Cheese
  • 1 stick of butter - melted
  • GF Stuffing Mix or GF Bread Crumbs
  1. mix chicken, ham and soup in casserole dish
  2. top with cheese, alternating slices of cheese, cover entire bottom.
  3. mix stuffing and butter together and top the casserole dish.
  4. Bake at 350 for about 30-40 mins or until bubbly.
I hope you enjoy these recipes as much my co-workers, family, friends and I do. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Building Businesses: Don't Rely On Traditional Methods

The businesses of today are not anything like their counterparts from the past. They are more likely to be online business, less focused on traditional means of growth and more about the customer experience.Building businesses today takes a whole different set of rules than did building up businesses in the past. 
It is important to note the changing climate in the business world and take advantage of it. For one thing, just about anyone can start their own business today if they have the desire to. Considering the number of online businesses that exist, it is easy to see why this door is more open to many people now than it ever was in the past. 
Online businesses rely on customer service. This is because there are so many potential websites that a person could choose to go to that it only makes sense for them to choose the one that treats them right. As such, customer service is the most valuable element that an online business can have. Having a staff that can handle customers is an option. For smaller startups, it is sometimes just a matter of having the right personality and temperament that suits customers. 
The experience that the customer receives at the website is what is going to make them tell their friends about it. Easy navigation, quick service, and top flight service is what they are looking for. That is what will make them tell their friends about a website. 
Traditional means of opening up a business for the most part no longer apply. Instead, other routes are being taken to bring businesses into being. The Internet is a great place to get started. 
For answers to any other questions about getting a business started, contact us today. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

How to Investigate Potential Employees for Your Small Business

Congratulations on growing your small business so successfully that you now need the help of an employee or two. That decision will allow you to do more to meet your customers' needs. Large corporations have an array of investigative services they can use to check out potential candidates. Your company can't afford that luxury yet, but there's one thing you can look at beyond the resumes and cover letters of applicants. Investigate what they've done online.
  • Look on the candidate's social pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Tumbler, to see what he likes to do when he's not at work. You may find his posts railing against the government and photos of his drunken escapades amusing or showing a serious lack of discretion and professionalism. If he limits access to his social pages only to his friends, ask him to friend you.
  • Use Google Search to find any mention of your applicants online. If they have common names, you may have to qualify the search by adding their locations, employers, or jobs. Look under the Images, Videos and New options. If the individual is particularly active online, use Google Alerts to email you when any new activity about that person appears on the web.
  • Examine the details of his employment on LinkedIn or other job hunting sites. Do all the dates, employers, tasks match the resume sent to you? Or are their serious discrepancies, which could indicate careless at best and deception at worst?
If your investigations reveal something that concerns you, don't be afraid to question your candidate about it during the interview. He may have perfectly logical explanations for it. For more information on what to do for your small business, please contact us.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Is Workers Comp Necessary for Your Small Business?

There are small businesses sprouting up everywhere and thanks to the Internet, you can manage and grow your own business with ease and professionalism. Small side cleaning businesses, sales operations, cupcake bakers and baby-sitting operations have become full time endeavors for some; and though you can do a lot of things on your own, sometimes you do need others to work for you so that you can manage the operation.

Employees or Independent Contractors?

Though many small companies are opting to have independent contractor arrangements with workers, some still prefer to have employees instead of contractors as a personal preference. If this is your choice, workers comp must be a consideration for you.

When it comes to workers comp, various states have different requirements. For example, some states do not require you to have workers compensation insurance if you have less than three workers, while others require you to have it if you have one independent contractor who is subcontracting out jobs.

There are some trades that sometimes don't require you to get workers compensation insurance including, housekeepers, child care workers, farm workers, non-profit employees and paper boys. However, these trades are going to vary state by state.

What if You Don't Want the Hassle?
If you really don't want to hassle with workers compensation, then working only with independent contractors is the best way to go. However, if you really must have employees and subcontractors, there are things you can do if you don't want to get this type of insurance.

Basically, you have to make sure to cover yourself, especially if you have workers out doing any sort of physical jobs. In order to cover yourself effectively, you want to consult a lawyer and draw up several contracts. Your lawyer might also have additional contracts that he will recommend for you based on specific rules in your home state.

The basic contracts you will need your immediate subcontractors to sign include:
  • A contract stating that they carry adequate liability insurance on the work that they do.
  • A contract stating that they are taking care of workman's compensation, unemployment taxes, and any other taxes and benefits related matters on anyone working on the job under them
  • A contract or waiver stating that all of their subs have been paid out (This contract must be signed after the job is complete and before you make the final payout. This insures that subcontractors you have no immediate relationship with, do not have legal grounds to come after you or any private property owners of the job site for non-payment)
Contact us to learn more strategies to increase the efficiency of your business.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Hesitant About Implementing A Social Media Strategy? Now Is The Time...

Do you have a presence on social media, and is it working for you today?  This is a very important question that all businesses should now be asking themselves.  With social media being the preferred method for finding an evaluating a small business, it is vital that your image is polished and compelling.  You will only have a brief window to capture your potential customer's attention and you need to create a place that keeps them focused on you and your product or service.  Social media is no place for boring.

The idea should be to stimulate a conversation.  It can be between you and your customer or between your customer's themselves.  Social media can serve to help you monitor your reputation as well.  This will be the first place your unhappy customer will come to complain.  It is also the best place for you to showcase your business through images and video.  This is the place for you to let your personality shine through and connect with your customers in a way you could never do through a glossy brochure or sales call.

Forbes Online recently examined some of the reasons small business has been reluctant to use social media:
  • Building my brand on the web would take a lot of time that I just don’t have.
  • I’m not sure what to do with social media, so I do nothing.
  • I like real-world networking; social media is not right for me.
  • I’m in a small niche and am known to all the people who need to know me, so it would be a waste of time.
  • I don’t see how social media can help me do my job.
  • There are too many options (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Pinterest, Google+, etc.). I don’t know which are right for me.
If this conversation is one you have had with yourself, think again.  There are only a few things you need to do to get started: 

You should have a "voice" on every platform that you can handle.  Different types of customers prefer different methods of social media communication.  Did you know that  "YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18 to 34 than any cable network"?  If this is the demographic you wish to attract, you should create a channel and start making videos that help you "connect" with this customer group.  It is not necessary to create a presence on every platform, keeping it active and interesting can be a big job so only set up what you can properly maintain.

When you have everything up and running, including a professional image and interesting information, you can begin to build a following.  Remember, once you have started this process it is very important that you do not abandon it to decay.  Your "followers" will expect fresh conversation regularly and will disengage with those sites and feeds that don't hold their attention.  It will also take some time to build your social media presence and following so be patient and be consistent.

This is what social media is all about, communicating with your customers and colleagues.  Here is your opportunity to put a face and a voice to your business.  You can engage your audience through questions, create informative infographics and even share humor or industry specific news.  Keep the conversation focused on your customer and their needs and less on your sales pitch.  If you can encourage customers to post photos of themselves using your product, you can keep an ongoing interaction fresh and interesting for a very long time.

We all know that social media influences customers when it comes to their decisions to buy, or not.  Social media also makes it much easier for people to share their experiences with each other, good or bad.  Be absolutely sure that you keep all interactions as positive as possible, but not sterile.  If you address a complaint that comes up, quickly and with great customer service, you will earn more customers than if there were no complaints at all.  Make monitoring your number one job and your presence on social media will bring you a great return on your investment.

If you would like to discuss your social media strategy and make sure you are taking full advantage of all the opportunities it can afford, contact us and let's talk.