Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Don't Make these Mistakes when Hiring for Your Small Business

The success of your small business often hinges on how productive your employees are and how well they work with each other and your customers. But finding staff can be time-consuming and costly. To make sure your get the right workers, you want to avoid the following mistakes.
  • Looking for perfection. With so many people looking for work, you're sure the perfect candidate is out there. So you interview person after person and turn each one down because they don't have the exact qualifications that you need at the salary you;re offering. Unfortunately, the perfect applicant does not exist at the price you can afford. Stick to two or three must-haves for your employee and two or three deal-breakers. Once someone meets those criteria, hire him or her.
  • Using gut feelings. Using your feelings is great when planning a date or doing something nice for someone. But you can't afford to hire people just because you like them or because they look good in what they're wearing. You must base your hiring decisions on hard data. Don't just take their word that the information in their resumes is correct. Look for facts by calling the contacts they list or by searching for their achievements on the Internet.
  • Rushing. When someone announces that he or she is quitting, you immediately go into panic mode because you can't afford even one day without someone at the position. You then rush to fill the job with the first warm body you see. Slow down or you're more likely to make a mistake. Offload the most important tasks to other employees and put less important ones on hold. Then take your time to recruit, interview and recruit the right candidate.
If you avoid these missteps, you're more likely to hire someone who can contribute positively right away. For more information on improving your small business, please contact us.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Employee Management: Increasing Work Force Optimization Through Pay-per-Performance Metrics

When it comes to employee management, there are many things to consider. But the most important is motivating and keeping good employees to keep doing their jobs efficiently. 
If you want to maximize workforce optimization and improve your employee management, consider using a "pay per performance" pay plan. Research indicates that paying people according to their abilities and strengths, and rewarding them for excellent work increases their future performance, and creates a system that pays fairly and reliably. 
While some might argue that it favors those who are more skilled, isn't this how the real world operates? Think about the last time you went through a fast food establishment and had orders left out, orders messed up, and money short-changed, then ask yourself why. Is it just carelessness or is it that the workers don't care because they are all being paid the same thing? At the heart of a PPP model, is the basic truth that people should be rewarded for their hard work above those who only do the basic requirements.
To implement a "pay per performance" based system within your business, here are a few things to keep in mind:  
  • Establish a metrics system which is succinct and fair to all parties.
  • Have regular training sessions to increase motivation.
  • Establish coaching and mentoring programs.
  • Have contests for extra perks and incentives.
  • Give bonus pay for outstanding performance over time.
  • Move outstanding workers into "management" or coaching roles.

These are just a few ways you can increase motivation among your current staff, while training new employees and independent contractors to perform at the most optimal level to keep customers happy. Using "pay per performance" metrics to maximize performance involves establishing a set system of rules and expectations and then assignment a specific money amount to the performance levels. It can include giving bonus pay for extra sales, prizes and giveaways for dedicated agents, special mentoring arrangements, and others.
There are many other ways this can be carried out. The main thing is to have a base pay, then allow workers to "reach for the stars" by gradually improving their performance over time. By allowing workers a chance to "shine," and increase their income, you will see an improvement in sales and work performance because they are more motivated to achieve at higher levels. There will always be those who are happy where they are, and that's okay. But the higher achievers can rise above the others, and the results will be increased sales and benchmarks for your company, so that everyone's a winner.
We are experts at moving companies forward by recommending better options to their current marketing strategies and employee management and sharing information through out business publications and webcasts. If we can help you move forward with your vision, contact us.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Job Costing Explained

Job costing is the process of assigning costs to the development of custom products or services. This method of determining costs is utilized when the products or services which are being produced are unique, and it is therefore easier to trace direct labor and direct materials costs to these individual jobs. Job costing is the opposite of process costing, which is implemented when products or services are mass produced and are uniform, and instead of assigning costs to individual jobs they are spread out over the entire project. The information obtained from job costing can be used for various purposes, such as reporting inventory and cost of goods sold values, developing cost estimates, measuring actual costs for the purpose of comparing them to estimated costs, and developing cost estimates.
Job costing is often mentioned in reference to construction projects, but it can be used in any situation where something exclusive is being created. There are three types of expenses which must be accounted for: direct materials, direct labor and overhead. In job costing direct materials and direct labor expenses are assigned directly to the project. Overhead expenses are allocated, as it the case with process costing.
When direct costs are traced back to individual jobs, there is usually little uncertainty regarding these costs. However, not all direct costs should be traced. When direct costs are relatively small, the expenses associated with tracking these costs are often greater than the costs themselves. In these cases it is generally preferable to classify such small costs as overhead.
If you are interested in implementing a job costing system, contact us today. We will review your business model and help you set up the most appropriate accounting system for your firm.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Employee Christmas bonus and Year End Bonus, what you need to know!

Are you thinking of giving your employees a Christmas bonus, holiday bonus, or year-end bonus? What’s the best way to handle these year-end bonuses? Can they be handled ‘under the table’? Do you have to include them as wages on their W-2?

The answer to this question is quite simple. Any additional compensation to your employees over and above their standard salary or hourly rates is considered to be taxable compensation. The bonus is considered wages and must be reported as payroll on the employee’s W-2 and is subject to all applicable payroll taxes – federal and state withholding, FICA, Medicare and the related employer taxes.

On your books and records, the bonus is reported as wages on the income statement and it is fully deductible as a valid tax deduction if it is handled this way. Payments to your employees made in cash (and not reported) or recorded as other expenses are not tax deductible, and may cause unforeseen issues if the IRS or state audits your books.

Many employers like to give a flat dollar bonus amount. You can do this by choosing the amount of the bonus you want hand to your employee and “gross-up” the amount. By grossing up the flat dollar net amount, you are including the estimated taxes into the amount so that, after taxes, the amount is what you want to provide your employee.

The only way you can exclude the bonus payment from the employees’ W-2, not pay associated employer payroll taxes, and still get a tax deduction on your business tax return, is to make the bonus as a profit sharing bonus through your 401(k) profit sharing plan. Although your employees don’t get the bonus in cash or check, the bonus is completely non-taxable to the employee until they withdraw the funds from their plan, and you avoid paying the payroll taxes associated with paying the bonus in cash or check and including it on their W-2.

Employee Handbook: Your Best Defense

Although it is standard practice for large companies to provide staff with an employee handbook, this is
not always the case in many small and mid-sized companies. Some smaller companies do not have an HR presence and thus may not have the expertise or time to write policies. Other companies simply prefer to take a more flexible approach, and deal with issues as they arise, rather than setting up policies that apply to all employees. Whatever the reason, failing to have an employee handbook can cause problems for employees, managers, and even the company.
Of course the purpose of establishing policies is to provide guidance for how specific situations will be handled within the organization. Without policies, managers have to make a decision every time the issue arises and if the matter comes up only infrequently, they may have a hard time remembering how they have handled it in the past. This can prove frustrating for both managers, who have to make the decisions, and employees, who simply never know what to expect.
But the primary reason why all companies, large and small, need to have an employee handbook is that having – and following – established policies will be your best line of defense in the event of a lawsuit or EEOC investigation brought by an employee or former employee. In discrimination cases, the issue is generally whether or not a certain individual or group was treated differently because of their membership in a protected class (gender, race, religion, etc.). When managers are left to decide policy questions on an individual basis, it is inevitable that some inconsistencies may occur and it will be very difficult to prove that these discrepancies were not due to discriminatory reasons. On the other hand, when you can present an employee handbook that clearly states the company’s policy, as long as you have not deviated from these policies, you will be able to show that you did not discriminate, but rather followed your established procedures.
Despite the benefits of having an employee handbook, it can be a daunting undertaking. Even if you do have HR professionals on staff, they may not have the time or expertise to complete such a project, and outsourcing this work is often the most cost-effective option. For information on how we can assist you with this important task, please contact us.

Downloading Your Transactions Into QuickBooks Is Not Reconciling!

Believe it or not, computers can make mistakes sometimes.  We live in an age where data entry for bookkeeping is getting faster and faster via downloading or importing transactions.  When the financial institutions communicate with QuickBooks a lot of information is exchanged and errors do occur.  This is why the reconciliation step is so important.  Every so often we will review a set of books and the credit card accounts are not reconciled.  'Why would they be off, I downloaded all the transactions' is the response we get when we point out the credit card balance is completely wrong.  This is when we always have to tell the client that downloading is not reconciling.  In addition to reconciling each time you download data you should look over renaming rules too.  

Renaming Rules Errors  
When dumping data in QuickBooks via the bank import the user will get hit up with a lot of prompts and questions.  If you aren't careful and you are cutting corners your Renaming Rules can get royally screwed up by clicking Yes or OK without reading what the prompts are telling you.  Once the Renaming Rules get screwed up, you won't know the scope of the damage until you review these rules.  

When in the Bank Feeds or Online Banking screen (this label varies from QuickBooks 2013 to 2014), click on the Renaming Rules link and then start reviewing the rules that QuickBooks has generated based on your previous imports.  Recently, I caught a renaming rule that categorized all items with the term 66 in it to vendor Sinclair and gas expense.  This caused all imported transactions that have 66 in the sequence code being booked as Sinclair and being a Gas Expense.  This greatly skewed the expenses for the year and threw the financial budgets out of whack.   Monitoring Renaming Rules might be tedious, but it is well worth doing a few times a year to make sure the books aren't suffering from a Renaming Rule error.

Banking and Credit Card Institution Upgrades

Banks and credit card providers are constantly updating the software, programming, etc. and this can cause issues with the QuickBooks data import.  During a recent consultation, I noticed that Key Bank rolled out a new website several months ago and the Bank Feeds had to be re-established.   For some reason, re-establishing the Bank Feeds were ignored and the bookkeeper reverted back to manually entering data, ultimately making a big expensive mess.  Not only is this a bad bookkeeping practice, but its easily avoidable if you take 5 minutes to link the two programs back together.  

First, right click on the account within the Chart of Accounts > Edit > Bank Feed Settings, then select 'Deactivate All Online Services' and Save & Close.

Once online services are deactivated for that account, log in to the account via the web and access the download screen.  Before downloading, within QuickBooks verify starting date and balance as a quick but important checks and balances step.  Then download the specified date range.  This will prompt QuickBooks to ask permissions to import a new bank or credit card account.  You will have to select the proper account from a drop down box during this step.  This will then bring the data in to QuickBooks and re-establish the Bank Feed.

Make sure to pay attention to renaming rules questions when importing new account transactions too.  

Reconcile, Reconcile, Reconcile   

You have done a majority of the heavy lifting at this point, now it's time to click through some steps and make sure the import worked properly.  It would be great to open the reconciliation screen and click 'Select All' and drive the reconcile balance to $0.  We call this the Hail Mary in the bookkeeping world and hope it works each and every time but it doesn't.  Slow down and find out why the difference is off in order to make sure the books are 100% accurate.  Duplicated transactions can occur if someone is typing in transactions by hand during the statement period that doesn't match up exactly to the imported date and cause expenses to be over stated and net profit to be understated.  Next thing you know, your books are jacked and you have no idea why.  

These few pointers can truly make a good bookkeeping system a great bookkeeping system.  It allows for more accuracy while not sacrificing time to review and find errors within the books.  Not your cup of tea since you prefer to be focused on growing your revenue or developing different customer experiences?  Or maybe you are a bookkeeper that wasn't properly trained to be one and need some more explaining. Either way, reach out and let's talk more about streamlining.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Expanding your Business by Utilizing Web Design

While you may have a successful business offline, you may be missing out on potential customers because you do not have a website. It is quite common for people to determine the restaurant they go to or company they use for certain professional services based on their website alone. If you are able to engage customers from a website, not only will you instill confidence in people that want to do business with you in the form of buying your product or using your service, but you will reach a new customer-base.
It is beneficial to build a long-term business relationship when you get professional web design, and this is because you can utilize these services for changes on a regular basis. While some companies strictly do website design, there is also the possibility to use certain businesses for doing much more, such as social media, budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping, graphic design, and more. After having an incredible experience with getting a website running for your business, you may be interested in using these services to further improve and expand your business.
Although you may be satisfied with a website, you may still be missing out on an opportunity to gain new customers due to a lack of search engine optimization. It is helpful to use a company that provides web design for optimization in the form of onsite and offsite optimization. When you utilize these services, along with professional web design that understands heat-tracking for the best results in terms of where to place everything on homepages and every other page, you are bound to have incredible success.
In some cases, a business owner may invest into creating their own website to save money, and while this may work okay in the beginning, there are significant differences in terms of appearance and function to websites done by an amateur and websites created by professionals. If you are interested in expanding your business to take advantage of online opportunities, please contact us and we can help you with professional services for web design, marketing, and more.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Printing Special Checks in Quickbooks - The Middle Check Stock or Stub-Check-Stub

Setting QuickBooks® up to print STUB-CHECK-STUB checks (QuickBooks® voucher checks are CHECK-STUB-STUB and there is no way to change the order)

Go to File

Choose Printer setup…

Form Name: Check/paycheck

Check Style: Voucher

Click ‘align’ on right side

Vertical -353 (even though this is outside boundaries)Ignore the notification

Print sample and hold behind light with check

This is also called using Peachtree checks from Quickbooks. 


3 Effective Ways To Improve Employee Management

Although there may be an exception to the rule, most employees want to perform at a high level. They take pride in what they do and want to feel like an integral part of your team. You can help them accomplish that goal by creating a positive employee management program. Learning how to manage and retain high-quality employees will play an important role in the success of your business.
When first launching your employee management program don't get caught up in details and over think the process. As Tom Fox points out in Improving employee performance reviews,
[Supervisors]…frequently overlook the fact that effective performance management has much more to do with building productive working relationships with your employees and less to do with the process requirements.
Start your program by changing the way you interact with your employees by implementing these three strategies.
1. Value Their Ideas. Take a moment or two to listen when an employee explains an idea or expresses a concern. You may not be able to rectify the situation or act on it immediately, but by taking the time to listen -- and then following up with action if applicable -- you will build trust between you and your employee.
2. Recognize Quality Performance. Don't be the boss who only delivers bad news or consistently critiques employees. Instead make an effort to recognize great work and let the employee know how their effort is contributing to the success of the company. This approach is especially effective when an employee's accomplishment is above and beyond expectations.
3. Be open. Foster an environment of trust by being open and honest with your workers. Share your concerns, hopes or goals when appropriate and in a way that lets your employee know you are human. People perform better when they do not have to pretend to be someone they are not. When you are authentic your employees are more likely to respect and support you.
Contact us today to learn more about motivating and managing your employees.
Imagine Solutions | www.HelpMeImagine.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

5 More Things To Learn In Quickbooks

5 More things to Learn in Quickbooks
Quickbooks troubles? 
Test your knowledge of quickbooks with this quiz and see how you do. Any user knows there is always something else to learn about a powerful software. Generally, we learn new things when we need to know them. The following questions point out things we can all use.
1. Items deal with the things a company buys, sells, or resells in its business. Understanding items is important to utilize the benefits in QB fully. Name four items used in billing a customer.
2. Reports can quickly show you how much a customer has purchased. What report would you use?
3. Sales Tax Adjustments occasionally need to be made. What would you do to make such an adjustment?
4. 1099s must be sent to vendors.  Some of these vendors may also be customers. How would you offset the accounts payable against accounts receivable for these accounts?
5. Bank Reconciliations sometimes present complex situations. What would you do if this month the beginning reconciled balance does not match the beginning balance on the bank statement?
If you need some training to help you broaden your knowledge so you can better use your Quickbooks, contact us.  We are here to serve you. Imagine Solutions offers Quickbooks training, set-up and support.  www.HelpMeImagine.com
1. Service, discount, payment, sales tax, service, subtotal.
2. Sales by Customer Summary.
3. Use the Adjust button in the Pay Sales Tax screen before creating a check to pay taxes.
4. Create a bank account through which you clear both the payables and the receivables.
5. Look for manual changes made by using the Audit Trail report and the Reconciliation Discrepancy report.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Outsourcing Payroll Operations Makes Business Sense

A chief expense for any business is their payroll. They have to pay employees to do the work that they do obviously, but this is an expense that most businesses want to minimize as much as possible. The expense of just getting those checks out each week is a burden, particularly for small businesses that are trying to make some inroads and grow. 
Cost Savings Start Immediately 
There are some interesting numbers that have emerged relating to the cost savings that can be enjoyed by those who outsource their payroll. Surepayroll.com lays it out in a simple way with this,
The direct costs of processing payroll can be greatly reduced by working with a payroll provider. Our research indicates that a small business with 10 employees will typically spend $2,600 per year in direct labor costs associated with payroll.
It is beautifully simplistic and true. Savings for outsourcing payroll work can be enormous, and they can start to manifest themselves immediately. 
Direct Deposit Capabilities 
Who wants to hold a paper check anymore and be responsible for taking it to the bank to deposit themselves? Not too many people. Most have now embraced the reality of direct deposit and the ability to get the money that they have earned deposited right into their bank account directly from their employer. Once again, this is what outsourcing can provide. A direct avenue from money earned to money sitting in one's bank account. It just requires an outsourced payroll department. 
Lessen Human Error 
Another factor critical to consider when determining if outsourcing is appropriate is how much it can save in terms of human error. Payroll companies are very efficient and great at avoiding making payroll mistakes. By contrast, sleepy payroll employees may not be as great at catching and preventing these mistakes. Since payroll mistakes are very serious, it is best to play it safe and go with the professionals. 
Contact us if you would like to know more about what it means to outsource payroll operations and the benefits that can be enjoyed. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Benefits Of Outsourcing Bookkeeping Services

 Bookkeeping is an essential part of any business, but it is also a difficult process. Professionals have to be hired to do this work, and there is now mounting evidence that bringing in a qualified third party to do the work could be largely to the benefit of any business. 
Miracleassistant.com makes the point about getting a third party resource quite clear: 
When you opt for traditional full time bookkeepers, you have to put in a lot of money for this effort. However, when you chose bookkeeping services provided by virtual assistants you are able to save a lot of money and increase the efficiency of your work as well.
Suddenly, it seems quite obvious why professional bookkeeping services are necessary. Saving time and money on anything is always a positive for businesses. This can all be done at once with bookkeeping services. Though there is an outlay of money at the onset, this is paid for later with the savings that are generated by having these services to begin with. 
Another big positive for having bookkeeping services provided by outside sources is that those sources are able to make sure that your company remains within compliance with all of the tax code. The tax code is rather complicated, but remaining in compliance with it is critical. Having an outside bookkeeping service can enable you to get all of this easily. 
It is quite a burden off the shoulders of many business owners to have their own bookkeeping service hired and ready to go. It may be worth taking a look at for those who are interested in saving money and saving themselves a little stress at the same time. 
Contact us for more reasons why hiring an outside bookkeeping is a smart move. 

5 Tips On Using Pinterest For Business

If you're looking to get your business on social media, you may want to consider starting with Pinterest—a social site that allows you "pin" images to boards that others can view and share.  Using Pinterest is effective for highly visual businesses, and can help facilitate branching out to other social outlets.  Let's look at some tips to get you started.
1.  Choose The Business Account
When you first create your Pinterest profile, you'll see the option of a business account.  Choose the business option so customers will view you in a professional light and feel your brand is legitimate.  Not having a business account will make customers suspicious and wary of trusting you.  The business profile will also make certain tasks easier, like selling products and services directly from your Pinterest page.
2.  Organize Your Pins With Boards
People search for specific things, and they want content that relates to what they're searching.  So give them focused content by using themed pin boards to organize your pins.  No one likes sifting through mounds of content that rambles and doesn't pertain to them.  Keep your pin boards centered on a main idea or topic and don't stray from that.
3.  Pin Consistently
By pinning consistently, you show your followers that you're eager to please them with regular content.  But make sure that pinning often doesn't cause you to post lesser content.  When you pin something, it should be because it has valuable content—not just because you need a pin for that day.
4.  Have A Pinnable Website
Pinterest is geared towards images, so you'll need lots of visual content on your site to keep pinning.  If you're running low on images, use stock photo sites like Fotolia, iStockPhoto, and Shutterstock to find royalty-free pictures.  Having a pin-friendly website also means you'll need to make content on your site easy to share.  Use a "Pin It" widget or app to allow visitors to pin content directly from your site's pages.
5.  Host Contests
Hosting contests and competitions is a great way to get your followers active on your Pinterest page.  It's fun for them and useful to your business—you'll see an influx of likes, shares, and followers to your pages.  Find useful apps like Votigo to make running your competition easier.  Offer incentives and rewards for the contest winners to encourage more participation.  And don't forget to read up on Pinterest's terms and conditions to make sure you follow the rules.
Using Pinterest can help you increase sales, grow your followers, and find potential business partners.  It's a great way to get going with social media sites and become active in the social sphere.  Stick to your branding and focus on providing valuable content while you market.  Give your followers a reason to follow you so they will keep coming back to support your business.  If you need any help with your social media strategy, don't hesitate to contact us.  We'd be happy to help you out!

3 Tips To Improve Your Twitter Marketing

Twitter has millions of users and your target audience is probably among them.  Your Twitter profile can be an excellent platform for spreading awareness and increasing your brand's influence.  But there are both good and bad ways to use any social media site.  Let's look at some tips to help you avoid mistakes and make the most of your Twitter experience.
1.  Don't Follow The "Politeness Rule"
Maybe you've heard about the politeness rule involving Twitter.  The politeness rule basically means following someone in hopes that they will follow you back.  This rule may seem to work at first, but in reality it will only net you an untargeted group of followers.  The followers obtained from the politeness rule aren't really interested in your business and they won't be active on your posts.  You'll basically just have useless traffic.  Take the time to grow your followers organically.  This will give you a quality group of followers that is genuinely interested in your business and will help you in the long run.
2.  Stop Responding To Every Tweet
It's good to engage with people and be active in responding to posts.  But avoid responding to Tweets that don't require your input—that will just be awkward and make you seem pushy.  If a person shares your blog post, they don't expect a response from you.  It will only waste your time if you respond to every single Tweet that mentions you.  However, if a Tweet mentions you specifically and includes a personal note of thanks or gratitude, you should respond.  Use your common sense in determining which Tweets need responses from you.
3.  Provide Content As You Market
Your business is on Twitter so that you can improve your marketing, so feel free to get the word out.  But don't let that be all you do with your account.  Provide valuable content as you market your goods and services.  Give your customers and followers special deals and exclusive coupons to thank them for following you.  Share useful blog posts you've written, as well as updates on your products.  Don't be afraid to share the content of other businesses in your field as well.  Link to informative articles that relate to your industry to keep your content sharp and focused.
Be consistent in your branding efforts.  It takes time to build up a reputation as a thought leader, but if you're persistent in your efforts you can become an authority figure in your field.  Distinguish your business by consistently sharing valuable content and providing excellent service.  Twitter can help you gain loyal customers and increase sales, but you need to do it right to see results.  If you need any assistance with your social media marketing, don't hesitate to contact us.  We'd be happy to work with you!

Multiproduct Branding Versus Multibranding

Branding refers to an organization’s use of a name, phrase, design, symbol, or any combination of these elements to identify or distinguish its products. Branding is very important to businesses, in part because it can generate brand equity, which is the added value a brand name gives to a product beyond the functional benefits provided. In other words, greater brand equity can make a particular brand appear more valuable in the eyes of potential customers, even though the brand itself has not actually changed. There are different branding strategies that can be implemented:
Multiproduct Branding:
When a company utilizes a multiproduct branding strategy, one brand name is used for all products sold within a company’s product class. One benefit of this marketing strategy is that it is simple and cost effective. Advertising expenses are not as great if only one brand name needs to be promoted. Also, if buyers have positive experience with a particular product, they may be motivated to purchase other products carrying the same name. This can be taken advantage of by introducing new products under the same brand. More specifically, line extensions occur when an existing brand name is used to enter a new market segment in its product class. For example, a clothing manufacturer may sell pants in addition to shirts. Brand extensions, on the other hand, refer to the practice of using an existing brand name to market an unrelated product class. A software company selling food would be an example. This can be riskier than line extensions because customers often associate brands with a certain type of product, and consumers may be turned off when a company attempts to introduce a radically different product. While a multiproduct branding strategy can be advantageous, the meaning of the brand name can be diluted. If too many products share the same name, the brand can become less valuable.
A multibranding strategy is essentially the opposite of a multiproduct branding strategy. In this case, the different product lines sold by a company are assigned different brand names. This strategy can be beneficial when the different brands within a company are targeting different market segments. There are different ways of employing multibranding. One method is to differentiate brands based on cost. More expensive brands can target consumers looking for more luxurious products or services, while less expensive brands can be marketed to more price conscious buyers. Developing fighting brands is another multibranding strategy, which is specifically intended to take on competing brands. Such fighting brands are normally sold at a lower price, retaining the brand equity of the others brand or brands within an organization. For example, a business may wish to lower prices on products due to a negative economic climate. But by lowering prices on a brand, that brand may be perceived as less valuable. Unit sales may increase, but overall sales will decline. When the economy picks up again, the business will be left with a less valuable, less profitable brand. Fighting brands can prevent this problem. If a company is looking to sell more product at a lower price, a fighting brand can be developed, without damaging other brands within the business. Fighting brands can be terminated once they are no longer deemed useful. Generally a multibranding approach is advantageous because each brand is considered unique to consumers, and negative feeling toward one brand will not be transferred to another brand within the company. This strategy is normally more expensive to implement than a multiproduct strategy, because each brand must be promoted separately. It can also be complicated to utilize multibranding, because the different brands require individual attention.
Choosing the best branding strategy can be a difficult choice. If your business is unsure which approach to branding is best, we can help. Contact us today, and we will evaluate your company, and help you choose the best strategy.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Basics of Florida Workers Comp

The Florida Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman's Office has a pretty good rundown of the basics of workers comp in Florida.
Most businesses in Florida are required to carry workers comp. These include businesses other than construction that have four or more employees, a construction firm with one or more employee, a state or local government, and a farm with five or more employees and/or 12 or more seasonal employees who do seasonal work such as planting or harvesting.
If one is injured on the job, one should report the incident to one’s employer either within 30 days after it occurs or 30 days after a doctor certifies that one had had a job related injury. Failure to do so might result in one’s claim being denied. If the employer does not report the accident to the insurance carrier, one should do so oneself.
Workers comp in Florida derives a number of benefits.
Ones medical bills are covered, including doctor’s visits,hospitalization, physical therapy, medical tests, prescription drugs and prostheses. Mileage for travel to and from a health care provider is also covered.
One can also get a certain amount of disability benefits, either temporary or permanent. Temporary total disability will get one 66 2/3s percent of one’s wages at the time one has been injured, subject to a statewide maximum amount. Unless one is disabled for 21 days or more, as determined by a doctor, one will not get the first seven days of the benefit. Certain serious injuries will get one 80 percent of wages for up to six months. One can also get a temporary total disability payment if a doctor determines one cannot earn at least 80 percent of one’s wages but is still able to work. The limit for a temporary disability payment is 104 weeks.
One can also get an impairment payment based on how much of an impairment one has suffered based on what a doctor determines. One can also be granted a permanent disability payment if a doctor determines that one’s medical condition will not improve sufficiently to return to work.
Finally workers comp provides a number of death benefits for ones survivors up to $150,000. It pays for funeral expenses up to $7,500. It provides further compensation for surviving family members and an education payment for the surviving spouse.
For more information contact us.

Fourteen Tips On Improving Your Accounts Receivable Management

Your accounts receivable management is important, and that's why we've got fourteen reasons why your accounts receivable management may not be what it could be.  Here's a checklist of fourteen things you can do to improve your techniques and put more money in the bank.
  • Use valid sources when deciding who to extend credit to.
  • Communicate more often with your customers.
  • Verify invoice receipts.
  • Use standardized ways of collecting from customers.
  • Accept uncommon forms of payment.
  • Be on the lookout for customers that can't afford to pay or will be paying shortly.
  • Reduce your sales cycle time.
  • Monitor performance ratios to get a better idea of revenue.
  • Keep track of what is owed to you.
  • Know your customer's individual payment history.
  • Keep your collection policies updated and notify your customers of any changes.
  • Be lenient with customers that have extenuating circumstances.
  • Let people that pay on-time know that you're thankful for their prompt payment.
  • Offer incentives to customers with a good payment history.
If you follow these simple tips, you will increase the earning potential of your business.  Be sure not to waste too much of your time over-analyzing them, but use them as a guideline.  Also, be sure that you never make collection calls before an account is 60 days past due.  Not only will this most likely offend your customers, but it could also deter them from paying at all.  To talk more about this, or anything else, please contact us.  We look forward to hearing from you and helping you improve your accounts receivable management.