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. 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.

The Powerful Impact of the Employee Handbook

The Powerful Impact of the Employee Handbook cannot be underestimated. Without a comprehensive employee handbook, a company leaves itself wide open for a variety of legal issues.
What makes the employee handbook so vital to a company or organization?  
An employee handbook acts as a clear communication piece between employers and employees. It relays important information such as the history of the company, the organization’s mission and vision, compensation, benefits, dress code, human resources issues, time off, workers’ compensation, performance reviews, discipline and rewards, drug and alcohol policies, anti-discrimination policies, social media usage, safety guidelines and various other behavioral and procedural expectations. It also communicates important federal, state and local laws. It takes all of these items and precisely defines them in a well organized, easy to reference document.  From a legal standpoint, an employee manual is indispensable in that it can dramatically reduce liability by clearly communicating employee expectations and prohibited behavior. In many states, courts may consider an employee handbook to be a binding contract.   A well-written and clear handbook can protect an employer by setting forth a structure in which neither the employee or employer is surprised by the outcome when issues arise.  
What should be included in an Employee Handbook?  
As mentioned above, there are several topics that are important to address in a comprehensive employee handbook.  Depending on the size of the company, the following may be included in an employee handbook:  
Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and Conflict of Interest Statements
An NDA can help to protect your trade secrets and company information.
Anti-Discrimination Policies
Your company must comply with the equal employment opportunity laws prohibiting discrimination and harassment, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Compensation (to include the following)
Wages and hours, employment taxes, workers' compensation.
Work Schedules
Your employee handbook should include work hours and schedules, as well as how your company manages time off and attendance.
Standards of Conduct
Should include company ethics, dress code, and general rules of conduct within the company.
General Employment Information
This section will cover topics such as recruitment, internal job postings, and grounds for termination.
Safety and Security
Outline how your company creates a safe and secure workplace, including compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's laws. This section should also include your company's policies regarding inclement weather.
Computers and Technology
Outline policies for appropriate computer and software use, securing electronic information, and how you handle any personal information collected from your customers.
Employee Benefits
Make sure to detail any benefit programs and eligibility requirements.This section will also outline your plans for health benefits, 401(k), etc.
Leave Policies
It is especially important that you document leave policies that you are required to provide by law. Family medical leave, jury duty, military leave, and time off for court cases and voting should all be documented and comply with state and local laws. In addition, you should explain your policies for vacation, holiday, bereavement and sick leave.
At Imagine Solutions, we are dedicated to helping small business owners and non-profits with a variety of back office needs. We are a faith based business built on trust, confidence and reliability.  We pride ourselves on creating long term relationships with all of our customers  Please contact us to discuss your company's specific needs.