Posts

Choosing Your First Business Premises as an Entrepreneur: 4 Top Tips

StrategyDriven Starting Your Business Article | Choosing Your First Business Premises as an Entrepreneur: 4 Top TipsMany entrepreneurs are used to working from home or working remotely, but if you’ve developed your brand and built your business substantially enough to move into the property market, you’ll want to find the perfect premises that work for you.

Finding your first physical building or office space to contain your business can be a daunting (and costly) step, but it should also be an exciting time that allows you to concentrate on moving your business forward.

Here are four tips for finding the right premises.

1. Choose to Buy or Lease

This is going to be an important first step, as it’s going to impact you financially. There are pros and cons to both options, and a lot of it is going to depend on your initial budget. As an entrepreneur, it might be that you simply don’t have an upfront deposit to buy a property, however much you would like to. Renting can be a much more flexible option for entrepreneurs, as you don’t need as much money upfront and you have the flexibility to leave the contract and find alternative premises when your business grows or changes in the future.

Of course, buying can be a great investment if you’re looking to make money from a property, and it also allows you more freedom to make any desired changes to the building.

2. Think Carefully About Your Location

For certain businesses, location is everything. If you are a physical store or if you are going to have consumers or clients visiting your property on a regular basis, being stationed in a location that is easily accessible will be a must. You should think about being close to public transport links, busy towns, and city centers.
If your business doesn’t depend on external visitors, you still need to think about commutability for your employees. If your property is quite remote and some of your employees do not drive, it is going to be difficult for them.

3. Consider Any Renovation Work

You may find the perfect property, but it may take a little extra to make it the most suitable for your budget. Renovation work can be factored in, if you have the means and budget for it.

With buying, you have more freedom for renovation, but renting may also be flexible if the landlord is happy for you to take care of the renovations yourself. Always remember to get professional guidance on large jobs, such as reroofing from Lidoran.

4. Stick to Your Requirements

Know in advance what you require from a building and stick to it. Don’t compromise on requirements, as the daily workings of your business will suffer in the long run. You need to think about:

  • General office space
  • Warehousing space, if necessary
  • Parking facilities
  • Other facilities, such as a cafeteria
  • A reception or lobby

Conclusion

Finding a property is all about preparation and budgeting in advance. Knowing what you need ahead of time will ensure that you can then price-match your requirements with what you have, and make a more informed decision regarding affordable properties and whether you buy or lease them.

Dealing with Payroll for Small Business Owners

StrategyDriven Managing Your Finances Article | Dealing with Payroll for Small Business Owners

Single touch payroll is one of those essential tasks that small businesses must undertake, but it can be a confusing and time-consuming process. The basic principle is straightforward enough – calculate the gross monthly earnings of your employees, then subtract deductions to arrive at a net figure. Inevitably it isn’t as simple as it sounds, and you need to be aware of every detail and produce 100% accurate net figures. If you don’t yet have small business accounting software, here is how you can understand it.

Deductions

Statutory payroll law states that the employer must retain this deduction and transfer the money to the relevant tax office. Statutory deductions include federal income tax, social security tax, Medicare tax (with an additional percentage for high earners) and state income tax. There will also be local taxes that come under the statutory umbrella, such as city and county taxes, plus school district, state disability and unemployment insurance.

Voluntary deductions are agreed with the employee and cover employment benefits such as health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans and stock purchase plans. It also includes any job-related expenses, for example, uniform, meals and union subscriptions.

Employer’s role in tax collection

It is essential that every employer keeps records of their payroll accounting and adheres to the law regarding tax deductions. It is the duty of the employer to deduct the correct tax amount from the employees’ wages and ensure that it is transferred to the right tax agency. To maintain comprehensive accounts of all monies dealt with, the employer must produce reconciliation reports, file payroll tax returns and include all payroll expenses in the company accounts and financial reports.

Taxes paid by the employer

In addition to the taxes an employee pays, the company must contribute to payroll taxes. These are payable in addition to an employee’s earnings and include social security, Medicare, federal unemployment taxes (FUTA) and state unemployment taxes (SUTA).

The importance of good record-keeping

Make sure your payroll accounting is kept meticulously recorded and up to date. Taxes need to be paid on time, and the mandatory forms filed when due. These forms include the annual federal unemployment tax return, the employer’s quarterly payroll tax return, the annual return of withheld federal income tax, and the wage and tax statements form. As well as federal requirements, employers also have to file reports with state and local agencies.

How do you run your payroll accounting

Large businesses can employ payroll experts or even entire teams to take care of all aspects of payroll. Small businesses often don’t have trained personnel, and with payroll being a crucial factor in running a legitimate business, the responsibility needs to be taken on by someone with the knowledge and abilities necessary to ensure that standards are being met. Small business owners often need to learn new skills, and this can often be facilitated by researching the topic on the Internet. For many needs, as long as you are careful to check that your sources of information are authoritative and reliable, then the knowledge you wish to obtain can be found quite easily. However, the skills required to run a well-managed payroll operation will not be so readily acquired using the same method. The intricacies of payroll and possible complications require professional training if you want to be confident you won’t end up in a payroll tangle further down the road.

Learning to run the payroll

The American Payroll Association runs courses on payroll, and offers virtual study options as well as having training suites in most major cities. The study can lead to Certified Payroll Professional (CPP) and Fundamental Payroll Certification (FPC) qualifications. It could be a good option if you wish to master the art of payroll for yourself or have a member of staff that is suitable for the role.

A less formal option might be to enlist the help of friends, family or anyone else who understands payroll and could help you with keeping records and doing tax returns to the required standard. It could be a good option if you only have one or two members of staff and limited resources. It cannot be stressed enough, however, that whoever you ask for help must be an expert, not just a buddy from the office next door who says he knows all about payroll! Make sure your adviser is qualified and can prove their expertise. Payroll is far too important to get right to trust it to just anyone.

Not learning to run the payroll

You may not want to spend your precious work time doing payroll, let alone learning about how to do it properly. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do it yourself, one option is to outsource. Outsourcing has become a popular choice for many discrete business functions and is a good way of getting aspects of your business taken care of professionally when you don’t have the skills or availability to do it yourself. If your business needs you to bring in sales leads and meet with clients in order to generate business, then that is what you need to devote yourself to. The business is likely to make more profits with you acting in your strongest role rather than spending time doing payroll, which could be accomplished more cost-effectively with outsourcing. Choose your outsourcing company carefully to ensure you get the highest standards of service. This option sounds expensive, but it needn’t be. It is perfectly possible to find a Cheap Payroll Service that will do a good job for you, so don’t assume it will be too costly.

Payroll matters

The thought of tackling payroll may make you groan, or induce a headache as you contemplate the lists of tax percentages, welfare contributions and complicated calculations. The key message here is that payroll is vitally important, and it won’t go away. However much you might dislike it, it has to be done. Spend some time assessing which solution is most suitable for you, your staff and your company. Decide the method you want to use to tackle your payroll, put a plan into action, and then quit worrying about it.

Helpful Tips for Running a Successful Property Development Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article | Helpful Tips for Running a Successful Property Development BusinessMany people have the desire to begin their own property development business. This shouldn’t come as a surprise due to the potential financial rewards on offer. Not only can properties be sold for stacks of cash, but they can also be rented out for a fruitful passive income.

Aside from the monetary gains available, property development also has several other advantages. It allows you to tap into your creative side, where you attempt to solve issues and devise attractive room designs. Also, you don’t require any prior qualifications or knowledge to get started, and it can be done at the same time as working a full-time job.

While the advantages are clear for all to see, the pitfalls are often disguised. If you want to avoid these and run a firm that generates a healthy profit, consider the following three tips for running a successful property development business.

Choose your location

Location is an important aspect when it comes to property development. You want to try and pick a location that isn’t in the most affluent areas, as this will typically leave you with limited room to earn a profit. Then on the opposite end of the scale, you don’t want to end up in the outskirts where nobody wants to live.

Ultimately, it is best to aim for somewhere in the middle. This is on the fringes of a popular area, where it is likely to grow to be part of said popular area in the near future. The reasons for this are simple. Firstly, the property itself will still be relatively affordable to purchase. Furthermore, you are still in an attractive place that will appeal to homebuyers.

Add value… with a helping hand

In general, you’re always in search of properties that possess untapped potential. This could be drab décor, a loft space that hasn’t been converted into a room, a garden that looks more like a jungle than a tranquil oasis, etc. By transforming these spaces and adding value in the process, you stand to gain a larger slice of profit for your trouble.

While this can be done on your own, it’s often recommended to bring in expert help. Say you’re doing up high-end homes in San Diego. Rather than trying to design the rooms in your own style, you could hire an experienced interior design firm in San Diego to do the job for you. This way, you can be safe in the knowledge the property will boast a transcending style that delivers the quality buyers seek in an upmarket home.

Avoid getting personal

In the end, you have to remember that any property you purchase and develop isn’t going to be your home. This means you have to try and remove all personal feelings from any projects you take on.

While you can add touches that you feel will benefit a property, avoid going all-in with your own tastes. The design must be one that appeals to the market on the whole, rather than just you.

How The Cloud Can Help Businesses During Covid-19

Times are unusual for everyone at the moment due to the Coronavirus across the globe. Businesses have had to take a fresh look at how they function and how they can best enable their employees to work from home to keep their business afloat.

Never have there been such testing times for the business world during the pandemic. Many have had to take swift action to keep systems in place, as well ensuring that they enable remote access to their employees.

StrategyDriven Managing Your People Article | How The Cloud Can Help Businesses During Covid-19

Covid-19 has highlighted the need for widespread adaptation, laying aside outdated, manual ways of working in favour of secure, internet-based tools, built to handle everything from your accounting and invoicing to meetings and quick chat options. All of this, and a lot more, is easy to set up in minutes, thanks to cloud computing for business.

Due to enforced social distancing and many offices having to close (or at least have reduced access). It’s been imperative that companies utilize the various online tools that are available, such as video calling.

This is where the cloud comes in as it means businesses can use the internet to store and get hold of data, instead of using their hard drives in the office, server or things like disc technology.

There are some key advantages to using the cloud for business:

It enables employees to work from home

If the cloud was already part of your business before Coronavirus, then it meant that you were one step ahead of those who didn’t. Many businesses were still very traditional in the fact that they operated from premises and were used to their employees reporting into the office. The pandemic really turned this style of workforce on its head.

Now employees have been helping to ensure businesses and their jobs are still there, by working from devices at home. Employees now need access to hardware such as laptops, mobile phones and desk phones which has created a huge demand for these items.

Security is a critical aspect of home working that is not as apparent to employees but of paramount importance to the organisation. Cyberattacks are on the rise and a big concern for businesses and other security professionals implementing work-from-home and cloud solutions.

IT efficiency

It can often be perceived that employees are not as productive at home, at least to their employers. However, this is not always the case. Many people are working to their best, perhaps more so, since working from home and it will often be facilitated by the infrastructure that the company has in place. This in turn makes it even more crucial that IT departments are working effectively to make sure that systems are running as smoothly as they can, plus, having a cloud service provider and is like having a specialist third party on-tap, as well as utilizing companies such as techsquared.com.

It gives your business resilience

In uncertain times, it’s having the tool to be able change that’s key. Due to rapid changes, that in some cases have had to happen overnight, having the ability to scale up and down has been paramount. By enabling employees to be able to perform their role from home, it really helps to make the business far more resilient and as a result, more likely to be less affected by the pandemic in the long run.

4 Ways To Lower Costs and Increase Your Business Revenue

Businesses cost money to run. As the owner, you should be looking for ways to lower costs and save money as much as possible, without affecting your staff or production rates. There are many ways to lower your costs and the earlier you are in your business, the sooner you start saving money, the more you will have to re-invest in the future. So how can you lower costs efficiently and quickly? Here are 4 methods you can look into to help reduce the money your business is spending.

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article | 4 Ways To Lower Costs and Increase Your Business RevenueLowering production costs

Have you ever considered the price of a zip tie? How many do you use when building your products? If you lowered the amount in each one, how much would this save in the long run over thousands of products? Small incremental savings like this are the key to reducing your production costs through your business’s lifetime. Lowering production costs doesn’t have to be as ruthless as lowering staff numbers but by finding ways to save small amounts that add up in the long run. Automation and time-saving techniques are easier to implement. If you need to, consider other suppliers of your products to lower your outsourcing and production costs further.

Free-licence software

Many software suites now use an expensive subscription service that adds up quickly when you start to add multiple users. However, there are other options available to you. As users became tired of paying for expensive software, well developed, managed, and most importantly free, software exploded onto the market with alternatives to almost every major software suite. As a smaller business, it is within your best interests to become accustomed to what free software is out there for you. Do keep in mind though that you must consider compatibility issues between different pieces of software. Don’t waste time forcing a square peg into a round hole, when the paid-for software will do the job.

Go digital

Newer businesses have the luxury of being able to perform almost all of their admin digitally in the modern-day, with paper or hard copies rarely being required. With widespread software or mobile apps designed to provide you with paperless, digital alternatives to paper forms and documents. Going digital means you can cut out almost all of your paper documents which removes unnecessary storage and the costs associated. Yes, at some point you are going to have to print something, but if this is rare, you also save money on expensive printer maintenance costs as you only need something small to suit your need.

Speaking to financial professionals

Speaking to tax and accounting professionals is a great way to learn about what options are available to you. You may be surprised to find out where you are overspending and what your actual liabilities are in certain areas of your business. For example, in some cases, you may be able to look into a tax segregation report to cut tax liabilities across your premises. To learn more about cost segregation click here. Financial advice can cost. But the money you can potentially save makes the initial outlay small in comparison. Good professionals are worth it so invest your money into them wisely.