Planning for the Holidays

5 12 2011

Holidays are coming and usually that means more business (hopefully) and bonuses! Bonuses are great because they increase employee morale around the busy time of year. For a small business it can mean quite a dig into the pocket book. There are many things that go on around the holidays and it is known as the most stressful time of the year so the more you can do now can alleviate stress at the end of the year. A couple things that  a business owner needs to keep in mind:

Are your bonuses going to be a net amount and you are going to cover the taxes? Or are you going to do gross bonuses and have your employees be responsible for taxes? Plan accordingly.

Make sure that W2 information matches what you have on file for your employees. Most payroll companies will let you preview them so that there is less chance of amendments. Also be sure that your benefits correlate to the right boxes on the W2’s.

Make sure that all your payroll is ready to go an be submitted before the end of the year so you don’t have to go back and amend the 941 and state forms.   

Be sure to have a budgets, forecasts, and anything else that your business needs to operate all ready to go for the next year.

And be sure to thank your employees for a job well done! (If applicable)

 





Payroll Taxes

5 12 2011

There have been many debates in congress about extending the tax breaks for company payrolls. The tax breaks that consist of about 6.2 percent of breaks for companies was originally proposed but were revised in the senate. The workers tax is still proposed to be cut to 3.1 percent instead of the current 4.2 percent. The proposed bill would also decrease the new proposed tax on the wealthy who make over one million a year. Their added tax instead of being the proposed 3.25 percent hike would fall more in the 1.5-1.7 percent range. This bill still will face its challenged when it is sent to the republican dominated House Of Reps. If something is not passed by the beginning of next year than the current taxes will be extended and stay at a 6.2 percent break. The estimated cost of these taxes according to Rueters is about 110 billion dollars to the federal government.

Although taxes are going to need to be raised in order to get the deficient under control, we first need to get our expenses under control and have a solid plan on how to decrease spending. We cannot continue to raise taxes higher and higher to cover losses, our country need to increase jobs and GDP and cover taxes that way rather than hurting the ones already struggling working. Small business owners need to keep up to date on tax changes both on a Federal level and on the state level. Taxes are part of your company expenses and without being aware of any changes you could find yourself owing more than you had planned.





Small Business Saturday

26 11 2011

It is one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year as consumers prepare for Christmas! Peoples wallets’ are a little bit lighter this year so everyone is looking to save money. Although, as my previous blog post eludes to, I strongly believe that family time is invaluable, but without this big weekend many businesses would struggle. Small Business Saturday is a two year old tradition that is sponsored by American Express. It is a chance for small retailers to take advantage of the large spending volume of the weekend. It is next to impossible for small businesses to compete on price with the large retailers. Lets be real a local electronics shop is not going to be able to offer forty inch flat screens at two hundred bucks a pop like Best Buy can, but there are ways to attract consumers to your business.

For starters you should be promoting any and all deals via your social network.

Offer deals in areas where you are able to take a small hit. If selling large quantities of things offer a discount bigger than normal to try and turn a lot of volume.

Be sure to have great customer service so that people are likely to spread the word about the deals that you are having.

If you are not in a position to offer and cheaper prices on things, than throw in a little extra for the same price.

Be sure to participate in any small business activities around town to get your name out there!

 





Black Friday

25 11 2011

The notorious black Friday was yesterday, and businesses everywhere had to be fully staffed in order to handle the volume of people. When asking employees to come in on Black Friday, as an employer it is important to make them feel extra valued for being there. No one wants to give up family time to deal with a mob of frantic Christmas shoppers who are fighting each other for a good deal. As much fun as that sounds, most people would like to be home watching football and eating leftover turkey. I had the pleasure of going out on Thursday night in search for a good deal, but was met with crabby customers and employees heckling over a few dollars. Lines were long, people were impatient, and there were screaming children everywhere. Is that what the holidays are becoming to be about? When did Black Friday shopping start Thursday night? These poor minimum wage employees are now required to work after their Thanksgiving Feast instead of the next morning. As a society we are becoming so wrapped up in shopping and saving a few bucks that we are forgetting that the holidays are about spending time with family and enjoying what you have. I understand the need for businesses to be open on these days, but I would encourage employers to allow for flexibility on those family days and be sure that you are compensating accordingly. Boots workplace moral, and be sure to treat your customer service reps that have to sacrifice for you like rock stars. To see how citys handled Black Friday volume check out Mint.com’s http://www.mint.com/blog/trends/a-city-by-city-guide-to-americans-black-friday-spending/





Service in a Time of Crisis

18 11 2011

First I want to give a shout out to all the service men and women for being so heroic in protecting the homes of Reno. Firefighter from all over the state worked together to save over four thousand Reno homes. Everyone should take time out of their day to pray for the families who have lost everything and thank someone who serves our home. These men and women sacrifice so much and don’t always get the credit that they deserve. Thank you firefighters, EMT’s, police officers, and all the volunteers that were able to get the fire under control.

It is great to see so many organizations and businesses reach out to help out all of those in need. Free food and shelter were given out to people with out a home, hotels are discounting rates, people are opening up their homes, volunteers from all over are donating food, it is really great to see a community come together to help those in need. It is unfortunate that it takes something this tragic to bring people together.





Foster an environment for ideas

17 11 2011

As a manager you do not have all the answers. Sure you may have your college degree and years of experience, but I can guarantee that something that you are doing is wrong or could be done better. As a manager it is important that you allow your employees to speak their minds and really take into account what they are saying. If one person does not like a policy or a process then odds are that other employees feel the same way. Employees need to have a say in the decision and policy making of the managers. Now it is certainly unreasonable to to have collaborative meetings where everyone will agree on the way things should be done, but there are ways to make it better. Set up advisory boards or councils that make up a group of employees. This group should be a diverse group from different parts of the business that are willing to speak on behalf of their coworkers. This will lead to happier employees since they will feel that their voice is important.

For employees don’t complain and talk shit behind you boss’s back. No good can come from this and if you are known as one who talks behind peoples backs than opportunity will not be available. Instead of complaining in the break room over a cup off coffee, set up a meeting with coworkers or your manager and come up with a solution for the problem that you are having. If all you do is complain and never brainstorm a way that something could be done better, than nothing will get done and you will just have to live with the policies that you have. If you are an employee in a situation where your boss does not allow for suggestions, than maybe it is time to look elsewhere for a job or go over their head. As long as collaboration exists between managers and employees than everyone should be happy.





How to avoid the big bank fees!

11 11 2011

When banks announced that they were going to start charging people to access their money, the response was anything but favorable. It seems as if banks didn’t realize that if people have been accessing their money for free for years and then you start charging them, they are going to be a little pissed. Not to mention the whole occupy wallstreet thing that alone should be a hint to the financial institutions that maybe people don’t agree with your business practices. I don’t fault the banks for wanting to collect more money since the legislation was put into place to cap the amount they could charge per swipe. Those who think that banks are just going to write off billions of dollars a year in income do not know America’s financial system very well.  Luckily no one is forcing you to use your current bank so shop around and try and find one that better suites your needs.

Credit Unions, typically offer cheaper rates and services for clients and may be a good route to go.

No banks are giving out stellar rates on any saving accounts so shop for a bank that has good checking rewards, these will likely add up to more than a tradition savings account would earn.