Payroll Tips For Small Businesses

Processing payroll is probably not your favorite part of running your business. But doing it right is absolutely crucial if you want to stay in compliance with current tax and labor laws. Luckily, knowing a few key facts about payroll can make life a lot easier for you. Here are a few basic tips that can help take the mystery out of payroll administration:

Understand the difference between hourly and salaried workers.

The first step to understanding how to pay your employees is understanding the two basic job classifications. Hourly workers are subject to overtime laws, meaning they must be paid time and a half for any hours they work beyond the normal 40-hour workweek. Salaried workers, however, are not owed overtime. Typically, salaried workers are white-collar employees with management responsibilities or specialized professional expertise.

Know the difference between contractors and employees.

A common error among business owners is confusing contractors and employees. It’s often tempting to classify workers as contractors, since it’s easier (you don’t need to worry about their payroll tax or benefits), but misclassifying workers can land you in trouble.

A basic rule of thumb is employees work in your core business, while contractors perform tasks outside your core business. So if you run a plumbing company, the guy who goes on house calls for you three days a week should be considered an employee, even if he’s not working for you full time. Your part-time webmaster, on the other hand, can be considered a contractor, since he/she works outside your main business.

Make sure your payroll budget includes payroll taxes as well as wages.

This is another important payroll tip that many business owners overlook. If your state requires you to pay payroll taxes, be sure to account for them in your budget. This will give you a realistic idea of your obligations and help you avoid unpleasant surprises.

Stay on top of federal and state tax deposits.

Missed or late payroll tax payments can lead to costly penalties, so be sure to have the due dates marked on your calendar. If you have someone else doing your payroll, ask them to automate the payments to ensure they’re made in a timely manner.

Know your obligations for providing health insurance.

Businesses with over 50 employees must provide health insurance coverage to their full-time employees. If your business is smaller (under 25 employees) and the average salary at your business is under $50,000, you can get a tax break for covering at least 50% of the cost of your employees’ health insurance coverage.

Get help.

If you don’t have the time to keep up with increasingly complex payroll regulations, you don’t have to. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) can take payroll off your hands, giving you hours of time back each week while ensuring your business is always in compliance with current regulations. A PEO company also handles all your human resources administration, ensuring your business stays in compliance with current labor and OSHA regulations.

7 Types of People You Should Avoid When Starting Your Business

Do you know that starting a business is one of the most, if not the most challenging tasks any individual can embark upon? Why is this the case, you might ask?

First of all, consider that you are about venturing into a world of uncertainty. Now you may have carried out your feasibility studies, obtained the training and expertise needed to run a business as well as gather all the resources to hit the road running; but remember that the business world offers no guarantees.

There are no guarantees that there will be no change in fiscal and monetary policy that will effectively shut down the operations of your business.

There are no guarantees that your target market may acquire new tastes and needs, hence rendering your product/service redundant.

There are no guarantees that a competitor will not emerge down the line and cut into your market share and hence cut down your profits.

Indeed, starting a business means you will need to be a self-starter and have loads of determination and optimism to succeed. Therefore, it becomes imperative that you surround yourself with the people that have the same attitude and hunger as you do.

In the same vein, it is just as important that you avoid certain categories of people when you begin your entrepreneurial journey.

These categories of people have the capacity to derail your vision in business; they can also impair your views about life in general. These categories of people to avoid include the following:

1. Avoid People who seem to Know It All

Businesses thrive and flourish when their owners are constantly in the search for more knowledge; better ways of offering a product or service to their customers. It is what has kept businesses like Apple and Facebook relevant; posting impressive profits because they continue to research, innovate and seek knowledge. You cannot perform below this standard.

Therefore, it is important that you get rid of people who feel that they have all the knowledge and do not see the need to better themselves.

You must shun these people simply because your business needs you to constantly be on the lookout for new and better ways of solving the needs and want of your customers.

2. Avoid People who Nag and Complain a lot

Starting a business will require that you possess loads of determination and focus. Why is this the case? It is simply because there will be times when you will face challenges and setbacks that will question the very basis of why you started the business in the first place. It is during those periods that you should be thankful for the little victories that you may have garnered up until that time.

If you surround yourself with people who are never grateful for what they have accomplished, even if small but would rather throw tantrums and whine about how things can be better, you may end up assuming such a disposition to your business and life in general.

3. Avoid People Who Massage your Ego

You have begun your entrepreneurial journey and the time has come to bring on staff and advisers that will help propel your venture forward.

It is pertinent to note the person who always sings your praises, always demurs to your every whim and tells you that you can do no wrong. Run away from people who cozy up to you in this way.

What you and your business need are people who will be bold enough to push for what they believe is the way to go in your business, even if their opinion is at odds with yours.

4. Avoid People who are Overly Pessimistic

There are certain people who will always envision the worst possible outcome for any plan or project. If such people had their ways, they would not even get out of bed in the mornings.

If you surround yourself with these kinds of people, you run the risk of viewing every potential business action or project through the lens of it failing or worse.

You must realize that starting a business itself is a risk but a calculated one when you are able to plan and prepare adequately.

5. Avoid People who want to Always receive all the Credit

In starting a business, you will be deploying both human and non-human resources in meeting the demands/needs of your target market.

This will mean that you will lead and be a part of a team that will implement the objectives of your business.

It is important that you avoid recruiting people who are self-centered and are not team players.

They usually want to be in the limelight and receive praise for accomplishments whether or not it is directly from their efforts or not.

Such people have the potential to disrupt team synergy and cohesion and could engender an unproductive atmosphere in the business.

6. Avoid People who try to Cut Corners

You will do yourself and your business a world of good when you shun individuals who are in a hurry to earn a buck or seal a transaction. This should not be confused with employees who go the extra mile in making sales and getting new markets. People who cut corners, on the other hand, will try even illegal ways and means to get something done.

Their actions have the potential of not only corrupting other members of your business team, but they could also put your operations in trouble with the laws of the land.

7. Avoid People Who Sow Discord

There are people who get a thrill from fanning the embers of business place gossip and hearsay, while at the same time smearing the reputation of others, in order to advance their own causes.

6 Tips for Growing a Small Business

To succeed with growing a small business, it is essential to have great organizational and planning skills, as well as having a flexible approach to work. Before starting a new business venture, it is important to put in the time for initial planning before opening the doors. Here are a few things to consider for the greater likelihood of success in the future:

Get organized

In order to set up and grow the business it helps to be very organized. An organized person is that much better at staying on top of things and completing tasks. A simple strategy to achieve this is a to-do list. This can be updated daily to give a complete overview of what needs to be done on any given day. Also, this is a great way to avoid forgetting tasks or leaving things until the last-minute.

Maintain detailed records

Any successful business will keep and maintain detailed records. A major benefit of record keeping is the ability to constantly know the financial position of a business and make it easier to see potential growth options or challenges in the future. Also, if things do start to look bad, there is more time to start creating strategies to overcome those hurdles.

Analyze the competition

Healthy competition has the potential to breed the best possible results. To grow the successful business it is always worth checking the local competition to see if there is anything to learn that could help improve your business.

Be creative

Try to be creative in the process of setting up your business and think up ideas that could potentially make your business stand out from the rest. It is worth remembering that you won’t have the complete business knowledge when starting out, so you should always be open to new approaches and ideas to expand the business.

Stay focused

Even with a lot of time spent on the planning stage, there is no guarantee the business will start to earn money straightaway. It can take a little time and marketing to get a new business recognized, so it is essential to stay focused and continue to work on the short-term goals.

Understand future risks

In the early stages, it may be necessary to take one or two calculated risks in the process of growing the business. If the worst-case scenario of a particular risk isn’t too devastating it may be worth taking the risk in the hope of a tremendous reward in return.

Make Way For The Voice Revolution In The Events Industry

Voice activated devices and voice control are quickly becoming an integral part of our lives. We’ve become so dependent on technologies like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant that this technology is often overlooked and taken for granted. While we’ve accustomed ourselves to voice controls, is the event ecosystem ready to brace the revolution in voice? My bet is that it will soon make way and completely overhaul the attendee experience.

Voice revolution

According to eMarketer, 35.6 million Americans are expected to use a voice-activated assistant device at least once a month in 2017. This number is a 130% year on year jump. eMarketer forecasts that Amazon will dominate this space soon, but that might change with a rising number of investors thinking that things will change much rapidly. For now, it is a two-way battle between Amazon and Google, with Apple and Microsoft nowhere in the picture.

The growing acceptance of voice-controlled personal assistants among consumers will result in an increased expectation of technology in the future. As people become more acceptable and comfortable with this technology, they’ll expect it to be used in other areas as well. This rising expectation will naturally spill over to the event industry through event apps. In an already evolving event technology landscape, adopting voice controls can prove to be fruitful for those who embrace it and disastrous for those who miss the wagon.

Voice Applications in the Event Industry

Event Registration and Check-in

With the rapid advances in check-in technology in the event, the queue times has drastically reduced. The adoption of Near Field Communication and other onsite check-in solutions have quickly transformed the way attendees experience event check in. I think the future check-in option will be an automated, voice based system. The solution will recognize attendees by their voice and reduce the check in time even further.

Information Retrieval

AI-powered voice controlled apps have become quite common in homes and on smartphones. As people become more dependent on this technology, information retrieval by asking questions is likely to become the trend. For event apps, one instance would be giving registrants the ability to locate sessions by simply asking “where is the next session?”

Voice-powered vending machines

Vending machines with voice control have been there for a while. It is likely to become popular at events too, with robot vendors offering services to attendees. While many people may still prefer a human vendor, attendees who have a tight schedule may opt for robot vendors to save service time.

Vocal event feedback

Voice control devices can work both ways. It can help attendees get useful information, and at the same time, give feedback in their own voice. Mixed with real-time emotional tracking, the entire way of receiving feedback from attendees is drastically going to change in the near future.

Expected roadblocks before this becomes a reality

Even though voice control devices look promising to enhance attendee experience, there is still a long way to go. There are still issues related to security and reliability. A major security threat to the implementation of such devices is accessing data simply by mimicking the voice of others. As security enhances gradually, this problem might be overcome, but for now, dual factor authentication is likely to reign supreme.

Another issue is the reliability of voice control. Has it ever happened that you’ve said something and Siri or Cortana have misinterpreted it? I am sure this is common with people who have strong accents. This can be problematic if the voice-controlled assistant misinterprets accent during a large event. While voice control can enhance the user experience, it only takes a single misunderstood word to make information inaccessible. That’s when the search boxes and menus will come handy.

5 Useful Decision-Making Steps to Buying Your Next Business Program Sold at an Event

I recently attended a 3-day business conference in Vancouver. There were about 500 people in attendance, all business owners and entrepreneurs who where there to network, learn and be inspired.

All in all, it was a great event that resulted in my meeting new people and gaining valuable insights that I brought home with me to infuse into my business.

The conference boasted nine high-profile speakers including thought leaders like Jack Canfield, Dr. John Gray and James Malinchak. Their talks were entertaining, insightful, informative and motivating.

They certainly learned the craft of being an influential presence on the stage well.

But make no mistake, each of these speakers were there with the sole purpose of promoting their wares and influencing the audience to purchase their key strategies, programs and courses that promised business success.

And they succeeded.

The volume of people that ran to the back of the room to grab their limited-time, extraordinary low-cost offering before it was sold out was mind boggling.

As a member of that audience, I was fascinated by what I was witnessing. Perhaps it was my state of mind or the confidence I already felt in my capabilities of achieving further business success, but I was not at all tempted to be a part of the crowd to run to the back of the room and grab a purchase.

I looked around and saw men and women who were involved in a variety of different businesses and industries. Many of whom where desperate to get that SECRET FORMULA that would transform their struggles into riches.

And the speakers on the stage knew this and played right into their hands.

Throughout the 3 days, the audience was presented with lots of solutions, advanced systems and formulas on how to achieve success in their business. But the problem is, not all proposed solutions were ideal for everyone.

But what is a business owner and entrepreneur to do?

They are attending such events to help them with their business so are naturally attracted to the offers made up on the stage.

So to help avoid make irrational and emotionally-based decisions when faced with the pressure of live event and even free webinar offers, here’s 5 steps on what to think about first before jumping in with the crowd and grabbing your purchase:

1. Think things through first. Ask yourself if this opportunity is truly going to get you the return on your investment if you make the purchase. What are you willing to commit to in order to get the most out of that investment?

The key here is to understanding success is not just going to happen by signing up, but to actually do the work. Are you realistically willing to do the work? Are you going to be 100% committed to this or will you get home, set it aside, and promise to get to it when you get a chance?

None of these programs will get you the results these presenters are talking about if you’re not committed enough to follow through on every single step provided.

2. Be objectively critical. When these speakers are on the stage, they are sharing the best success stories possible – the cream of the crop. Often this reflects only a minor percentage of those who have taken the program.

Analyze. Be objective. And don’t make emotionally-based decisions that compel you run to the back of the room and purchase. This is exactly what they are counting on.

3. Decide if your business can truly benefit from what you will learn. Just because they are telling you this on stage doesn’t mean it’s a perfect fit for you, your business model and your goals.

As an example, if you have the gift of service and support, then more than likely will not do well learning to be a speaker on stage, despite that presenter saying “anyone can do this using my system and processes”.

If you have the gift of, say, music, then being a published author is probably not something you should pursue, despite being provided with a “fool-proof, iron-clad method that will get you on the Amazon best seller list”.

Ask yourself if what this presenter is offering exactly what you need to learn in order to reach your business goals or is there something better suited for you available elsewhere? Do you really need to learn all of this yourself or is hiring someone who is an expert in that area a better decision that will help reach your goals quicker without having to become an expert in that field first?

4. Recognize the emotional manipulation that’s happening. We see this all the time. Whether you’re attending conferences or online webinars, there’s always a “limited time offer” that makes it irresistible to pass up.

Don’t let these “One-time-only offers” lead you into thinking this is the only chance you’ll ever get to take advantage of what’s being offered. It simply isn’t true. It’s a sales tactic that preys on people who make emotional decisions and don’t want to be left out or miss out on an incredible opportunity.

These programs will all still be offered after the hype ends. Even if that means paying $50 more, so be it. Give yourself time to objectively work through the pros and cons and decide whether it’s worth your investment or not.

Don’t let your emotions be triggered by the slick sales speech or written sales copy on a page.

5. Do your research. This may not necessarily be the case for headliner speakers we see on the stage, but sadly, there are a lot of very smooth-talking “gurus” out there who are nothing but smoke and mirrors. They offer a lot of hype but little substance.

Do your pocketbook a favour; before investing in any kind of program or product, research the person selling it first. Do a Google search and see if any bad reviews come up. Ask people in your social media groups if they’ve had any experience with that person and what were the results.

3 Types of Printed Circuit Boards

The printed circuit board (PCB) is an electric circuit with electronic components and a common feature in a wide range of devices, such as radar systems, radios and beepers. It is constructed in several different ways to match its intended use. Here are three main types of printed circuit boards:

Single side

The single side board is the least complex option and includes a one-sided layer of substrate. This board is built with the electrical components and parts attached to one side and on the other are the copper traces. The use of copper is favored because it is a great electrical conductor. The copper layer is often protected by a special solder mask. Also, a silkscreen coating is a further feature to help mark the different components on the board. It is a useful board for the most basic electronics and will be used by the at-home hobbyists in their first electronics projects. The single side board is relatively low-cost to manufacture compared to the other types. But, this board with its simple design means it has plenty of limitations and is far from being the most used in the industry.

Double sided

The double-sided board is the standard choice for a wide range of applications. This board has metal conductive layers, components and parts mounted to both sides. Also, the board has holes to make it easy for circuits on each side to connect. The different parts are connected using tiny wires that pass through the holes on the board. The wires are soldered in place to give a strong and reliable hold. A further option to connect the two sides is through-hole technology. This method has the ability to create devices that run at faster speeds and less weight. They use small leads that are permanently soldered to the board instead of using the separate wires.

Multi layered

The multi layered board is built with two or more layers with each separated by insulation. The standard size is in the region of 4 to 10 layers, although there are boards with up to 42 layers. This is the preferred type of board for the most complex electronic configurations. The different boards are connected using wires passing through the individual holes. They are very helpful for minimizing issues with space and weight. The preferred use is likely to include handheld devices, space probe equipment, medical machinery, servers and computers.

8 Insane Benefits of 3D Printing

Technological progress has introduced 3D printing to the world. This is not just any other technology since it allows you to make fun, useful and exciting objects. You can find 3D printing around you. The technique is used in automotive industry, packaging industry, health care and aircraft. Given below are a few benefits of the technique.

Affordable

The conventional methods of prototyping cost more. With 3D printers, you can make tools and parts via additive manufacturing without spending an arm and a leg. For instance, 3D printing allows the production of cheap surgical tools, such as forceps, clamps, scalpel handles and hemostats, just to name a few.

Mitigate Risk

Keep in mind that if you are going to build a project, what you can do is 3D print a prototype first prior to buying a costly molding tool. This way you can get it redesigned or modify the current mold if needed. Making a prototype that is production ready builds your confidence so you can make large investments.

Quick production

3D printing takes a few hours. As soon as the design is ready, you can convert it into a printer readable file and get it printed. The great thing is that this process requires zero intervention. It’s fast. There will be no wait and the product can be marketed easily. Aside from this, redesigning the prototypes is a quick process.

Customization

Industries produce their products in large quantities, which mean that the products make use of the same mold. Moreover, their shape and design is similar to that of the assembly line. However, in case of 3D printing, it is possible to personalize something through the tweaking of the prototype based on your needs.

Tool-less

In the conventional industrial manufacturing, it takes less time, cost and labor to produce tools. For low volume applications in industries, the process requires fewer resources. As a result, you save time, labor and cost.

New structures and shapes

The conventional methods of manufacturing depend on cutting and molding techniques in order to produce the desired shape. Before the addition of holes to change direction, square internal cavities or unrealistic overhangs are hard to achieve; however, 3D printing modifications are easy to make. The nozzle of the 3D printers allows you to build numerous figures and shapes. The fact of the matter is that 3D printing is used to make medical implants that look like skulls, bones, jewelry and other similar things.

Diverse material

For production on a large scale, mixing of raw materials is not a good idea since it costs a lot. Aside from this, the chemical and physical properties is hard to mix in the conventional methods. The 3D printing is in-progress in this area then. The fact of the matter is that this type of printing is compatible with different types of materials, such as glass, metals, silver, gold, food, biomaterials and paper, just to name a few.

Better quality

If you bake a cake following the recipe, the result will be a lip-smacking cake. On the other hand, if you have no idea how to bake, your cake may have some air bubbles, thickness or a different texture. But with this new technique, you will have better control of the final shape of the cake.

Understanding The Process Of Making Steel

Steel is one of the most common types of metal used by millions of people worldwide. If you have always wondered how it’s made here is information to guide you though. It’s important that you know that the entire process involves three steps: the conversion of the raw steel to functional form, the formation of the steel in a continuous or semi continuous production line, and the cutting and modification of the steel to fit the needs of the customer.

Conversion of the raw steel

This is also known as the ingot production. Here molten steel is made by heating coke and iron ore in a furnace. Carbon is then removed by pumping a lot of oxygen into the liquid. The molten steel is then poured into thick walled iron molds where it cools into ingots. To form flat products such as plates and sheets, the metals are shaped between large rollers under high pressure.

Bloom making

To produce blooms, ingots are passed through a pair of grooved steel rollers that are usually stacked. Before the blooms are made into pipes, they are processed further. They are converted into billets by being put through more rolling devices that are long and narrow. This process allows sufficient cuts without stopping the manufacturing process. Once they are done, the billets are stacked and eventually become seamless pipes.

Pipe making

Billets and skelp are used to make steel pipes. As the spool of steel is unwound, it’s heated and passed through a series of grooved rollers. As it passes, the rollers cause the edges of the skelp to curl together forming an unwedded pipe. After this, the manufacturing company passes welding electrodes sealing the two ends of the pipes together.

The welded seam is then passed through a high-pressure roller that results in the formation of a tighter weld. The professionals then cut the pipes into different sizes and stacked for further processing.

Final processing

Here the pipes are put through a straightening machine. It’s also common for them to be fitted with joints connecting two or more pieces of pipes. The pipes can be joined using different types of joints, but the most common is the threading joint. Here tight grooves are cut into the end of the pipe. Once the process if over the pipes are sprayed with a light coating of protective oil.

Conclusion

This is the process of making steel pipes. To get the most from the pipes, you should buy those that are of high quality and made using the best method.

8 Tips To Prevent Pipes From Freezing

Do you have any idea as to what the Arctic Vortex is? Actually, this thing is responsible for bringing a lot of cold. In winter, if you have a frozen pipe problem, you may want to follow the tips given below to make sure that your pipes don’t freeze.

Be Prepared

It matters to get ready ahead of time. What you need to do is cut a few blocks of foam to seal the base vents. Also make sure you know the location of the water shutoff. This will help you deal with the situation in case you find a broken pipe. You may also want to have a temporary patch kit in order to seal the burst pipes. You can then wait for the right season to get it repaired. You should do you research to find out the best plumber to fix the pipes that have already been frozen.

Increase the thermostat

If your house is an old one and built over a non-insulated crawl space, you may want to increase the thermostat to raise the air temperature. This will keep all of the pipes from freezing.

Install Fiberglass

You should get some insulation of unfaced fiberglass. Moreover, you should get some disposable coveralls, work gloves, a dust mask and some knife blades. Once you have worn the gloves, you should figure out your insulation needs.

Use Foam Board

Do you want to protect a wide area? If so, you can use a barrier of foam board to retain the heat. You can also do with an unfaced or faced foam board if you want a temporary fix. You can use a sharpie or a pencil to mark the surface.

Install a Heating Cable

You should consider installing a heating cable. Before you do this, make sure you read the instruction manual. Some tapes run along the pipe and some are wrapped around it. At times, the cable needs to be cut so you need to opt for a kit to get it into the desired shape.

Use A Space Heater

You can put an electric heater close to the pipes to keep the cold away. Keep in mind that the purpose is not to keep the space comfortable. Instead, the goal is to keep the water in the pipes from freezing.

Turn The Water off

Another option is to turn the water off by closing the main valve, especially if you are not going to stay in the house. In case the pipes freeze, the spillage will be limited to the amount of water in the pipe.

Open Cabinet Doors

The pipes may be running to your exterior wall or the kitchen sink, and the pipes may be vulnerable since the wall is not usually insulated. To let the heat come in, you may want to open the doors of the cabinet along the wall. For extra protection, you can put the heater near the cabinets.

A Sneak Peek Into The Advantages Of An Industrial Oven

Industrial ovens are large and heated chambers, which are used for heating, baking, curing, annealing and many other activities. When we think or talk about the oven so the first thing depicts the mind is baking, however, it has many other applications that you need to know. They are used in multiple applications including aging, bonding, curing, sterilization, pre heating, annealing, drying, tempering, etc. And thus, available in different design and size options.

Choosing the right industrial oven is a challenging task because of the number of specification available that confuses the buyers. Therefore, before you come to any decision, it is important to get familiarize with the product, so, you know what you are buying. So, what are you waiting for? Take a look at the short and snappy description that let you know about all its advantages.

  • Airflow Efficiency: One of the most important features of an industrial oven is its airflow efficiency that affects the working of the device. Generally, it helps to determine the efficiency of the device and temperature uniformity in all the areas. They must have solid airflow to guarantee the smooth performance.
  • Temperature Rise: Managing the right temperature level is important to make sure that it works well and provide uniform heat all over the chamber. Different types of industrial ovens take different time to reach the correct temperature rise, so, your application will never get hampered and work in all conditions. It is also important because the uneven heating affects the application and damages it drastically.
  • Heating Medium: Determining the source of heat is an important factor that makes a huge difference in the working of the different industrial ovens. Make sure the device you buy work as per your required heating medium.
  • Installation And Maintenance: The installation of an industrial oven is very simple and takes only a few minutes. Also, you can upgrade the system timely for better functioning.
  • Affordable Price: Even if you are low in budget, you can take the benefit of the device as it is available at the dirt cheap price that fits into your budget. Also, the price is the major factor that affects the buying decision, thus, you should buy it.