An Experienced Entrepreneur Shares 5 Business Survival Tips for Preventing a Cash Shortage

    Posted by William Lieberman on October 8th, 2015 in Small Business Advice

    Guest post by The CEO’s Right Hand

    Cash is king.

    This sounds cliché but after living through the “dot-bomb fiasco,” 9/11 aftermath and the great recession, I know, first-hand, that “cash is king” is the single most important rule of the game for small, growing companies.

    I used to dread receiving calls from my sales team that a client was canceling or a high-profile deal fell through. I would scramble to figure out how to make the next payroll. On more than one occasion, this involved borrowing against the equity in my home.

    Throughout my career, I have weathered many financial booms and busts and, in the process, I learned how to manage the fuel that drives the business engine: cash.

    Here are the five biggest lessons I’ve learned that I always share with my clients regarding cash flow management: Continue reading this entry →

    SMBs Using Employer Payment Plans Could be Facing Large Penalties. This is What You Need to Know

    Posted by Amanda Turner on October 5th, 2015 in Affordable Care Act, Compliance, Health Care Reform

    This post is part of the TriNet ongoing series about the Affordable Care Act and its effects on small business.

    Many employers who have struggled to provide affordable health benefits to their employees have opted to provide an employer payment plan (EPP) in an effort to avoid group healthcare coverage. Unfortunately, as of January 1, 2014, an EPP is not a feasible option for businesses, as EPPs are not complaint with the market reforms mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

    What is an EPP?
    In an EPP, the employer encourages employees to purchase their own individual insurance policies, submit an invoice with the amount they paid for the premiums and the employer then reimburses the employees – or the employer pays the insurance carrier directly. So far, the reimbursements or payments have been tax-free to the employee, going back to an IRS revenue ruling from 1961. Continue reading this entry →

    The 3 Characteristics All Employers Should Look for in a Job Applicant but Almost Never do

    Posted by Catherine Spence on October 1st, 2015 in Hiring, Recruiting

    Guest post by Pomello

    Making great hires usually involves evaluating a candidate’s hard skills and soft skills.

    Hard skills, of course, usually take priority when assessing a potential employee’s ability to do the job. You have to make sure they have the training, education and experience that the position requires.

    However, soft skills are also important as they are the best measure of whether a candidate is the best long-term fit for your company. Evaluating soft skills means uncovering information about applicants’ core values and motivators, and understanding how they will fit into the existing culture in your workplace.

    At Pomello, we’ve found that the personal characteristics most companies look for when hiring include leadership, action and a focus on results. These are important personal traits to cultivate within any organization but there are also other important qualities that are typically overlooked by companies.

    Our analysis reveals that there are three highly under-rated characteristics in a typical job applicant that, if considered during the hiring process, can increase your employees’ success and, ultimately, the success of your company. Continue reading this entry →

    3 Things Business Owners Should Think About When Looking for a Small Business Loan

    Posted by Ty Kiisel on September 28th, 2015 in Small Business

    Guest post by OnDeck

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reports that the average small business owner spends roughly 33 hours looking for a small business loan. That’s a significant time away from the important work of running a business. Knowing where to look and what to ask for might even help you cut down the time it takes to find a loan for your business.

    It Starts with Loan Purpose
    What do you need the loan for? Are you going to purchase inventory, buy a new piece of equipment, add a new employee or cover a cash flow gap? Loan purpose will help you narrow down where to look—and even what to ask for. It might even point you in a different direction than where you originally thought to look.

    For example, the local bank might still be a good place to look if you and your business have a very good credit profile, your annual revenues are over a couple million and you’re looking to borrow $500,000 or more. It probably isn’t the best place to look if you’re a very small or very young business, have a less-than-perfect personal credit profile or only need $50,000.

    Fortunately, in the same way technology companies like Amazon are changing how we shop or Uber is changing the way we hail a cab, a new breed of lender is leveraging technology to change how many business owners get a loan. One of the ways they’re doing this is with loan products that are designed for specific loan purposes that offer terms more suitable than a traditional bank may provide.

    For example, the type of loan a business needs to cover a short-term cash flow bump would be very different from a loan designed to finance the construction of a new warehouse or the purchase of heavy equipment. In the same way, it wouldn’t make financial sense to purchase an automobile with a 30-year loan—there are some business financing needs that don’t make sense for a traditional five- or 10-year term loan. Continue reading this entry →

    These 3 Tips Can Help You Prevent Wage and Hour Lawsuits

    Posted by Natalie Fix on September 25th, 2015 in Best Practices, Compliance, Legal, Wage-and-Hour

    The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reports that it receives nearly 25,000 wage and hour complaints per year and the number of FLSA (Fair Labor Standards Act) cases filed in the federal court is more than five times higher than it was 20 years ago. Since 2008, the DOL has added more than 600 new wage-and-hour investigators to aggressively ensure enforcement of these laws.

    Wage and hour lawsuits are expensive to businesses because settlements can include recovery of unpaid past minimum and overtime wages; plus liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid compensation or back wages award for up to three years, and attor­ney fees and related costs.

    Common wage and hour violations
    Overtime claims account for 40 percent of wage and hour class actions. Other com­mon claims include:

    • Misclassification of a class of employ­ees as “exempt” from overtime.
    • Failure to pay overtime.
    • Failure to pay overtime and/or employee benefits to workers classified as “indepen­dent contractors.”
    • Improper calculation of overtime pay.
    • Issues with pay for meals or breaks.
    • Failing to pay for compensable time before or after the work shift.
    • A new area of concern is the use of email and mobile devices outside of working hours.

    What can business owners do to protect themselves? Decrease your chance of facing a complaint or suit by taking some proactive steps. Continue reading this entry →