A blog about making your business leaner, faster and smarter

50 Ways to Save Money for Your Business in 2014

Every new year is ripe with possibilities, both personally and professionally. When you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, there are many things you want to accomplish each and every month, and likely topping that list is cutting expenses. No matter how successful you are, there is always incentive to give yourself a little more breathing room in terms of your profit margin. In the sprit of starting over in 2014, we’re offering you this list of 50 different ways you can save money on your day to day operations without inconveniencing, overworking, or otherwise making your life harder. Cheaper Truth in Advertising Promotion is key to business success, but marketing budgets can quickly get out of hand. Including your marketing materials in non-traditional places, like shopping bags and invoices helps save on overall promotional costs. Sharing marketing costs with neighboring businesses can drive down your costs even more, while …

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Top 5 Reasons Employees Quit and What General Counsel Can Do About It

According to recent Department of Labor statistics, the average tenure of a U.S. employee is less than two years – a short 18 months! Even in a climate of business uncertainty and a relatively high unemployment rate, Alan Hall, a Forbes contributor, has found that more than 2 million Americans are voluntarily leaving their jobs every month. The cost of hiring and training a new employee can be anywhere between 25 and 200% of their annual salary, so the cost related to replacing even low-level employees can be a tremendous burden on businesses. The Coca-Cola Retailing Research Council discovered that replacing a supermarket cashier (making just $6.50 per hour) cost the average business $3,637.  Further, the Sasha Corp, an HR consulting firm based out of Cincinnati, OH, says the average cost of replacing an $8-an-hour employee varies between $5,000 and $9,000! When it’s in the best interest of the company …

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3 Tips for Hiring Employees for your Real Estate Business

One of the first questions many real estate business owners wrestle with is when to hire employees. When a real estate business owner gets started, they usually do every task that is necessary for their business themselves. After all, when you are just getting started it may take a little while to start paying yourself, much less another employee. Hire too early and you may not have the income to support that employee; hire too late and you could be turning down projects simply because your own schedule doesn’t have the capacity to handle any more work. Unfortunately, the more successful your real estate business, the more work there is to do – it’s a simple reality – and if you don’t hire people to handle some of the work, your business growth will stagnate and even falter when times get tough. There are a few important reasons for hiring …

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Blogs Every Startup Owner Should Read for Legal, Human Resources, and Accounting Info

Many startup owners know that they don’t know all the answers about running their business immediately. When you run your own business, you either have to have the answers, be able to find the answers, or hire someone with the answers. Friends, mentors, and others in your network are helpful to a certain degree but no one has it all covered. With the rising popularity of blogging and magazine-style websites, startup owners now have access to industry experts who can answer their questions – if the startup owner is reading the right blog. The following are the blogs every startup owner should read for legal, human resources, and accounting information that is on-target and useful. Top Human Resources Blogs for Startup Owners The old stereotype of the human resources department being packed with gossiping busy-bodies is a thing of the past. These days, there are many different resources to help …

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Mitigate Multi-National Business Legal Risk with these Cross-Border Compliance Tips

Companies that do business across country borders and across continents face a number of regulatory complexities that are not apparent when doing business within the U.S. Much of today’s concern among cross-border business owners is due to growing scrutiny of multi-national business practices by governments in an effort to crack down on anti-corruption measures. Two such laws that come to bear on the situation are the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act. The FCPA stipulates in broad terms that U.S. individuals and companies, their subsidiaries, personnel, and agents cannot pay or promise to pay anything of value to foreign officials – directly or indirectly – for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. It also requires companies registered with the SEC to keep accurate records of all business transactions and maintain effective accounting controls. The situations is actually quite complicated and presents a number of …

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5 Tips to Avoid Legal Trouble in the Commercial Real Estate Game

There is one reason and one reason alone that most corporate real estate gurus avoid lawyering up – litigation slows your momentum and drains profits. While legal resources are easier to find than ever, and clients have far more control over when, why and how they hire a lawyer, avoiding the legal problems that cause you to seek legal protection is your first and best defense. Some of the legal problems corporate real estate investors and managers face include: Poor legal forms (usually an attempt to save money that backfires) Disputes with homeowner’s associations Disagreements over failure to disclose statements Illegal solicitation of money – a mistake made by many novice investors Independent contractor liability While no one can expect to reduce their risk of getting into legal trouble to zero, everyone can take steps to reduce their risk as much as possible. In any situation where your money is …

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7 Simple Social Media Tactics Lawyers Can Leverage Today

If you are trying to drive traffic to your law firm’s website there are many different things you can be doing. And while you cannot and should not focus all your energies on one single tactic or traffic source, you absolutely should not neglect social media. After all, Americans spend an average of 37 minutes on social media sites every day! But it is also essential that the time you spend promoting your site and its content on social media is spent wisely. These social media tips can help your law firm site see measurable results quickly. Create Infographics and Make Them Shareable If you spend any time on social media, you have likely seen a viral infographic. These images take large amounts of data and turn them into easy to digest graphics. People love to share infographics. But more importantly, people love to pin graphics. If you include infographics …

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10 Common Myths about Corporate Ethics that can Kill your Startup

To start up a business, small business owners usually place significant focus on getting the product right and many make the assumption that the company culture – including an ethics policy – will sort itself out in time. In reality, building an ethical business is about a lot more than being compliant and meeting legal requirements. Some experts believe that building an ethical business gives a business a market advantage. In one 11-year study of over 200 firms like Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Nissan, First Chicago and others, detailed in Corporate Culture and Performance two authors – John Kotter and James Heskett – found that those company cultures characterized by arrogance, inward focus, and bureaucracy had an innate inability to adapt to change. Fundamental to reversing unhealthy cultures is effective leadership motivated to serve their customers, employees and stockholders. In the end, companies that improved their corporate culture increased net income by …

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7 Ways Small Business Owners Can Negotiate Better

Negotiation techniques are life skills that are quite useful but rarely broached in an academic setting. Rather, most people experience negotiation trial-by-fire when we decide to purchase a car or a home. But small business owners have more use for negotiation skills than practically anyone. Indeed, starting a small business can sometimes seem like an endless series of negotiations – from leasing an office or storefront to dealing with vendors and suppliers and even securing server space for your website – everyday is a new negotiation and even one unsuccessful deal can turn into a major obstacle to long-term success. Not everyone can have the natural tendency to haggle that some do, but the following negotiation tips and techniques can help even the most confrontation-averse to negotiate painlessly and effectively. Clarify Your Objectives You should always know exactly what you want to get out of a negotiation, even before you …

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General Counsel Guide to the Legal Implications of Big Data

By now, most lawyers have been exposed to the term ‘Big Data’ but they may not understand exactly what it refers to or how it will impact their clients. To understand the legal implications of Big Data, it’s important to understand the meaning of the term. The term Big Data refers to collections of data that are so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using standard database management tools or traditional processing applications. It describes large volumes of complex and variable data that require advanced techniques and technologies to capture, store, distribute, manage and analyze the information. The following are some interesting statistics from Wikibon about Big Data: Walmart handles more than 1 million customer transactions every hour, which is imported into databases estimated to contain more than 2.5 petabytes of data. (Source) 94% of Hadoop users perform analytics on large volumes of data not possible before; …

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