Posts tagged with "small business"

Cloud vs On-premise: What Does Your Company Need

If you’re looking for a new, efficient document management system, you’re probably noticing that many of your options are either cloud solutions or on-premise solutions.

In this article, we’ll talk about the differences between these two options. That’ll help you figure out which option is best for you.

Cloud Vs On-Premise: What Are My Needs

When considering your company’s needs, think about these five factors:

  • Functionality
  • Cost
  • User interface
  • How to share files
  • Integrations with other software

Let’s talk about each of these factors in more detail.

  1. Functionality

Cloud-based solutions earn their ‘online’ monikers due to the fact they can function in-browser on the internet, and this is important for several reasons.

Virtually any information device can gain access to the Internet these days, whereas, with on-premises DMS, access to organizational storage and collaboration features remain tied to the software’s point of installation/origin. Cloud vs. on-premise document management cannot be distinguished from each other without analyzing the functional limitations of on-premise solutions.

However, the cloud can transcend issues with desktop compatibility sometimes found in niche operating systems (niche meaning not within Windows).

Essentially, cloud-based, online DMS is, beyond any serious criticism, more functional than its on-premises counterpart, particularly because of its accessibility via mobile applications and consumer-grade laptops (such as Mac), which are becoming increasingly popular in the enterprise.

  1. Cost

Many know the up-front price differences between on-premises and cloud-based DMS, but few understand the differences in long term value. And, as always, value and price must be viewed hand-in-hand.

This is one of the most complex differences between cloud vs. on-premise document management solution.

Price is the most complex facet of these two technologies’ differences. On one hand, there are simple, bottom-line methods of measuring the expenses of each, and on the other hand, there are ‘benefits’ that are much more difficult to initially calculate as hard ROI.

Initially, the cloud costs less across the board from simple calculations, but both on-premises and cloud-based DMS will generate ROI for organizations because each technology helps organizations go paperless.

However, it should be noted that in general, organizations will have to spend more on electricity costs with an on-premises solution, and on-premises solutions are a better fit for rural offices as these areas have fewer Internet speed/access options.

  1. User Interface

On-premises solutions are typically easier for DMS newcomers to understand. But the cloud, as a web technology, offers a certain degree of customizability that can render the solution more intuitive to its user.

Despite the intuitiveness of the cloud, on-premises is a technology that’s been around for a while and can be likened to the intuitiveness of software comprising the Windows interface.

Despite these differences, both modes of DMS usage provide the software integration needed to make processes more intuitive with an existing tech infrastructure.

  1. How To Share Files

On-premises solutions are great if you only need to share documents across the office. On-premise software solutions usually rely on an office intranet to share documents from employee to employee.

The problem is, businesses oftentimes need to share documents with people outside of the building. There are different secure options for sending messages, but a cloud-based DMS will have that built-in already.

So consider who will need access to documents when making the decision.

  1. Integration

On-premises offers more control over how security is implemented, measured, and contained, whereas the cloud, although not as customizable, is arguably more configurable – meaning external components are more easily integrated into the system.

Cloud vs. on-premise document management provides insight on how much customizability is offered for on-premise over cloud-based alternatives.

An organization with a lot of programming demands may want to consider this option. As with any new technology, there are always going to be somewhat limited integration capabilities with preexisting organizational structures.

However, the right document management software, whether on-premises or in the cloud, can offer software integration to mitigate the impact of customizing challenges.

Cloud Migration Challenges and How To Overcome Them

Firstly, one has to understand that migrating to the Cloud cannot be achieved with the push of a button. It would be wise for a firm or individual planning to make their move to the Cloud to seek assistance from a team that specializes in Cloud migration from on-premise to the Cloud.

Also, do not try to migrate everything all at once or try to pull off an “all or nothing” migration. When moving to the Cloud it is better to take a sub-set approach by uploading a bit at a time.

When all data has been migrated to the Cloud, the next step would be to train staff members in using the Cloud to its full potential. It should be understood that moving to the Cloud will give rise to new processes and procedures that will differ from what was used previously in on-premise systems. In other words, one has to ensure that their firm is “Cloud-ready.”

Last but not least is planning, planning, planning. Be sure to plan what data needs to be moved across to the Cloud. This is especially true with firms that have decades of data, some of which have become “stale.” Moving stale data creates stale data in the Cloud; however, migration can be used as an opportunity to clean up obsolete databases and files.

Is Rubex by eFileCabinet Secure?

We previously mentioned how Cloud security is generally more robust than on-premise, and eFileCabinet is no different. We take security seriously and offer security measures that are above and beyond that which can be achieved by local systems.

When using Rubex by eFileCabinet, all files are heavily encrypted to ensure that data remains safe and confidential. Also, Rubex files reside on SAS 70 Type II secure servers with a variety of physical barriers and intrusion detection systems to prevent unauthorized access.

Furthermore, all files are backed up regularly at multiple geographic locations to ensure that lost data can easily be recovered in the event of a fire, theft, natural disaster, hard drive failure, etc.

Going a step further, data that resides on our online systems is protected using SSL: Secure Socket Layer encryption as an added layer of security. Rubex spares no effort in keeping sensitive information safe and secure. Find out how you can keep your files secure today by filling out the contact form provided for a free 15-minute demo.

Andreas Rivera is a technology writer with experience in both reviewing and marketing tech services and products. His areas of expertise include writing about B2B, SaaS companies and how they best address the pain points of businesses. Since early 2019, he has been the Marketing Content Writer for eFileCabinet and has become well versed in how document management software helps businesses reinvent their manual processes and spur growth. Contact him at arivera@efilecabinet.com

Vaughn Lowery, Alejandra Villagra, illustration, 360 MAGAZINE

10 of our Favorite Business Credit Card Options in 2020

A good business credit card is an invaluable tool for a business owner. But with so many options on the market, you might find yourself completely overwhelmed in deciding which card could possibly serve all your specific needs. After all, every year brings a new potential crop of products out there vying for your business.

That’s why we’re here to present a detailed rundown of the 2020 best business credit cards. Before you make any decisions regarding which is the best fit for your company, be sure to consult with your executive team as well as the banks in question. With that disclaimer out of the way, here are 10 of the best business credit cards out there.

American Express Blue Business Cash Card

Cardholders of this American Express product will earn 2 percent cash back on up to $50,000 of all eligible purchases per calendar year. The Blue Business Cash Card also carries “Expanded Buying Power,” allowing you to strategically go over your credit limit.

That amount actually adjusts with your card use, transaction history and financial records. Plus, you receive 0.0 percent APR on purchases and balance transfers for 12 months and no annual fee.

American Express Blue Business Plus Credit Card

This second American Express card has some of the same basic features as the above. However, it also provides double the membership rewards points for eligible business purchases. Likewise, it still has Expanded Buying Power, providing much greater opportunity to rack up points.

Bank of America Business Advantage Cash Rewards Mastercard

With this Bank of America card — the only one to make our list — you’ll get $300 in statement credit when you spend at least $3,000 during your first 90 days.

You can also earn 3 percent cash back in a category of your choice, as well as 2 percent cash back on dining and unlimited 1 percent cash back on other purchases. Moreover, you’ll face no annual fee, and perhaps best of all, your cash rewards never expire.

Capital One Spark Cash for Business

When you sign up for the Spark Cash for Business card, you earn a $500 cash bonus as long as you spend $5,000 in your first three months. Plus, you’ll receive $1,500 when you spend $50,000 within your account’s first six months.

As for cash back incentives, cardholders get unlimited 2 percent cash back on every purchase without any restrictions whatsoever. You also won’t have to deal with foreign transaction fees or an annual fee for the first year.

Capital One Spark Miles for Business

If you’re the type of professional who does a lot of traveling, then this Capital One card might be for you. If you spend $5,000 in your first three months, you’ll receive 50,000 bonus miles. Or if you spend $50,000 in six months, you’ll get a staggering 150,000 bonus miles.

You’ll also receive unlimited double miles per dollar for unlimited, unrestricted purchases or five times the miles on any hotel and rental car bookings. And, yes, there’s no annual fee in the first year.

Capital One Spark Cash Select for Business

The last Capital One card to make our list has a lot to offer. First, cardholders get an unlimited 1.5 percent cash back incentive on unrestricted business purchases.

You’ll also get a one-time $200 cash bonus if you spend $3,000 in the first three months of your account’s life. Moreover, you receive 0 percent intro APR for 12 months, no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.

Chase Ink Business Unlimited Credit Card

For the detail-oriented business owner, Chase has several notable business credit cards on the market. This one offers $500 bonus cash back after a $3,000 expense in the first three months.

But it also features unlimited 1.5 percent cash back on every business purchase you make. If you need something a little more robust, stay tuned. But the Business Unlimited card has all the basics covered.

Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card

With the Business Cash card, Chase account holders get the same $500 bonus cash back as the Business Unlimited card. But they also have access to 5 percent cash back on the first $25,000 spent at office supply stores and on telecommunications services.

Moreover, you earn 2 percent cash back on the first $25,000 in expenses on gas stations and restaurants each year. For the business owner with a higher budget, this card is the perfect option.

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

Cardholders with this Chase card earn 80,000 in bonus points once they spend $5,000 on any purchases in the first three months of their account.

The Business Preferred card also offers 3 points for every dollar of the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business purchases. For all other purchases, there is an even point match for every dollar spent.

Discover It Business Card

New customers with this credit card receive an unlimited cash back match for every dollar spent in the account’s first year.

In addition, you earn 1.5 percent cash back on every dollar you put toward any purchases. Plus, there’s no annual fee, accessible customer service and a free credit score just for being a customer.

Choosing the Best Business Credit Card for You

So there you have it: our 2020 best business credit cards. Choosing the best one for you is going to depend on your unique business needs, from your overall budget to how often you travel and whether or not you’ll be making foreign transactions. For comparison’s sake, take a look at Incfile’s Top Credit Cards of 2019. With so much to consider, selecting a business credit card is not an easy decision. Hopefully, this glimpse at what’s out on the market has inspired you to find the perfect one for your business needs. Make 2020 the best year yet for your business!

This article was originally published on the Incfile Blog.

Dustin Ray leads business development and growth initiatives at Incfile, a national incorporation service company specializing in business formation and small business services. Founded in 2004, Incfile makes it possible to start a business with a $0 formation + state fee and has assisted in the formation of more than 250,000 corporations and LLCs.

Four Seasons, FS NY Downtown, Tribeca, Four Seasons Downtown, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, 360, 5 star, five-star, amenities, WTC, One World Trade Center, world trade center

New Year Resolutions for Your Small Business 

It’s that time of year again. The start of a new quarter and a new fiscal year for most companies. There is no time like now to sit down and assess what went right in 2019 and how you can improve in 2020.

Here are some common New Year’s resolutions that business owners like you can make in the coming year.

Operations

As 2020 gets underway, you should also take a closer look at your operations. Efficiency is a cost saver. Something as simple as entering receipts may be better left to your accountant or a bookkeeper. Similarly, look at what you could delegate to workers with less responsibilities. For example, you might want to leave responding to social media for your receptionist while you focus on money-making activities.

Cut Costs

Likewise, look at other ways to reduce your costs. This could involve paying down debt, an overstaffing correction, choosing a different supplier, offering your customers a discount when they pick up their orders instead of choosing free delivery or transferring certain actions to other people. Pay attention to how long each task takes and how much you are paying your staff to complete those actions. You may find that it is actually cheaper to outsource certain activities.

Marketing

Thanks to technology, the way companies market their products and services is changing. Even if your business is largely local, having a strong social media presence will help you capture and keep the attention of your customers. You may even attract new business. Look at what worked about your social media strategy in 2019 and what didn’t, as well as popular trends, such as shopping via Instagram.

Customer Service

If providing top-notch customer service has not been at the forefront of your business strategy, 2020 is the year to change that. Modern consumers expect to receive support 24 hours a day. They expect access to someone who can help at all times. Chatbots can help you provide answers or escalate issues when the office is closed, but don’t leave those tools to your website alone. Social media chatbots are just as necessary.

Focus on Retention

According to the Harvard Business Review, it costs as much as 25 times as much to attract a new customer as it does to wow existing clients into coming back. In fact, simply improving your rate of customer retention by 5 percent could increase your profitability by up to 95 percent. Start by tracking your customer churn rate so you can see how well you are doing, but remember that figure has a lag time of six to eight months.

Security

New year, new security issues. Take the time to make sure that your company, its computer systems, its customer information and its data systems are protected. Best practices are a good start. Back up your data regularly and change passwords frequently. You might also want to use data encryption, install security software or install a firewall — but these are really just scratching the surface. Adding a digital IP business security solution with features like 4K Ultra HD Resolution, Color Night Vision, PTZ dome cameras and vandal-proof cameras will help you keep eyes on your company and your property so you can prevent theft.

Small Business Resolutions for 2020

Make 2020 your company’s most successful year yet. Take the time to look at your operations and identify ways to cut costs. You may be able to increase your margins by reducing your expenses. Take a look at your marketing efforts as well. Make sure that you reach your customers where they are. Customer service and retention are important, too. Finally, take time to prevent security issues with best practices, the right software and security camera solutions. Your business will thank you.

Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE

5 Ways To Be The Company Everyone Wants To Work For

If you are looking for ways by which you can steer your company in the direction such that everyone wants to become a part of it, here are some of the different ways which you can use. 

Transparency

One of the key virtues of a workplace that tend to make it stand out from the others has to be the transparency level. Employees should be given the sense of feeling that no matter whether they are doing good or bad, things are always in the open. This factor in itself is known to foster the right sense of trust and thereby cements a better working relationship.

Incentives and Benefits

When employees put in their heart and soul to ensure their firm does well, it becomes your earnest duty to give something back to them. This is why as a firm; one should have the best reward sales goals in place and a good incentive program. Make sure to reward the employees for their good work and chip in with bonuses and gifts as and when applicable. This is also a great way to motivate them to walk the extra mile and do a little extra to ensure that your firm stays at the pedestal.

Equality 

All employees deserve to be treated equally. It is vital that a workplace steers clear of biasness, be it economic, gender, or any other type. The bottom-line remains the fact that when an employee doesn’t feel haunted by any sort of inferiority complex; they would be willing to give in their 100 percent and stick to the firm as well. 

For any company to prosper, it is important to offer the employees adequate training to treat everyone the same; regardless of their gender, religion, age, marital status, finances, or anything else. It should just be the work that should be the talking point of discussion. 

Inspiring Leadership 

A leader speaks volumes about the team they command. If your company has some of the most exemplary leaders who know how to keep the team inspired, the morale of the employees is sure to see a massive lift. 

This is why whether you work on the hiring process to seek the best of leaders or you offer training to help your employees hone the best of leadership skills, the idea is to ensure that your workplace reeks of the best of leaders who can inspire their team to stay motivated and put in their best foot forward. 

Healthy Camaraderie 

While we do understand that things tend to get competitive at the workplace, the focus should always be on engaging the right spirit of friendliness and camaraderie in a firm. When the employees look to have each other’s back rather than find ways to pull them down all the time, things are much more likely to take a turn for the good.

You can host events or have some sessions which would boost the kind of mutual respect and admiration which employees have for each other. Have things like free team lunches, group outings, camps, picnics, and more. Each of these activities is sure to have some bearing on improving the relations between the employees.

Conclusion

These are the best ways by which you can make your company one of the top-rated places wherein everyone wishes to work. It is the right dedication and the best of efforts that set one company apart from the rest. 

A company is known by the employees it has. No firm can prosper if the employees are not dedicated and willing to be a part of it. A strong and well-motivated workforce remains the key ingredient to success. So, keep these important points in mind and implement as much as you can. The changes should be there for you to see. 

Remember, success comes to those who are willing to toil hard for it.

How to Start a Successful Online Dating Business 

It’s extremely difficult to find a reliable partner in our fast-moving world, and statistical data confirm this fact. According to the recent census, almost more 43 percent of adult American population are singles. The reasons behind these threatening figures vary, but most singles admit that they find themselves unable to fit relationships into their hectic life. It takes much time to meet someone, get to know him/her, court, and adapt your life so that you can meet the needs of a new partner. That’s when online dating comes in handy. Though presently a good many people still don’t consider online dating as serious and conducive to forming long-term relationships, more and more lonely hearts desperate for love take advantage of online dating services.

 According to Camsoda dependable review, an online dating industry’s revenue is forecast to reach almost 20 million dollars by the end of 2020, which is suggestive of users’ skyrocketing interest to online dating. Needless to say, the industry in question can be a perfect source of income to those who know how to make the most of it. If you’re determined to set up an online dating business, you need to be knowledgeable about the subtleties of this industry and ready to face up to difficulties and pitfalls that are just bound to arise as you move on. In our todays article, we’re going to tell you how to maximize your business potential and create a profitable online dating site that will set up millions of lonely people. 

Research the Market. Find Your Niche 

You must know that the very conception of online dating has been redefined since the advent of dating applications. Such apps as Tinder, Hinge, League, and Bumble are convenient, easily accessible, and versatile and currently making massive inroads into the online dating market. The developers promise that their apps will help your find a perfect match and build valuable relationship. No wonder, more people now tend to rely on freemium apps for finding their significant others. As for the more traditional monthly paid subscription dating sites, there’s a noticeable decrease in their popularity. That having been said, you don’t need to give up the idea of building your online dating business right away. If you’re a total stranger to web development and it’s beyond you to create your own unique dating app, there’s still a chance to succeed in setting up your online dating website.   

First of all, you need you need to know the market you’re about to enter. Therefore, it’s critical that you do extensive research into it. Get to know your rivals, familiarize yourself with the range of services they provide to find out what makes people choose exactly them. Once you identify your target audience and research your niche market, you’ll need to come up with some unique ideas and marketing strategies that will help you set your services apart from other competitors and attract users. Consider creating an online dating site for specific tastes or fetishes. Remember Uniform Singles that successfully brings together people who wear uniform at work (e.g. military or police officers, doctors, firefighters). You can also locate a gap in the market you’re aiming at and come up with something unique and non-trivial. Thus, you’ll be able to occupy the niche that has been hitherto vacant. 

Make Your Users Like You 

No matter what your site’s users prefer, they are always looking for one and the same. All singles dream of finding a person who would keep them company if not creating a lasting connection with someone. So, make sure to create a welcoming, user-friendly environment for your visitors. In other words, make them like your website. There are lots of those people who are still hesitant about using online dating services or have previous bad experiences. The onus is on you to show them that online dating can be easy, fun, and just as real as real life dating. Allow your visitors to express themselves. Let them share their thoughts, opinions, and desires. Don’t impose strict limits and don’t scare off new users with charging them too much for your services. Remember that currently only about 16 percent of people are willing to pay for online dating services. With that in mind, you’ll need to invent a strategy that will help you attract clients without and at the same time won’t rob them. You can offer free trial subscription for, say, the first month. It’s also a good idea to roll out discounts and limited time bonuses for both new users and loyal clients. Finally, you can opt for a freemium model. But if you grant all users a free membership, you’ll need to think about some other ways in which you can attract income. Most online dating business owners that don’t charge annual or monthly subscription fees, rely heavily on advertising revenue, which can be a good option for you, as well. You can also consider affiliate partnership as a source of additional income.  

Understand the Importance of Software 

It’s a rare website that can thrive with an amateur-looking interface, lack of technical support, and poor moderation. Therefore, you should be prepared for forking out on all those things to ensure proper operation of your website. Hire an experienced web builder who knows how to code, understands design and it able to implement such essential functions as instant messages, navigation, spam detection, image and on-page optimization, e-commerce, link building, etc. Thus, you’ll be able to earn your users’ trust and make them want to come back. 

Promote Your Business

Furthermore, don’t forget about marketing your online business. It’s a good idea to start a blog you’ll be updating with unique content relevant to services you’re providing. Thus, you’ll be able to advertise your website in an unobtrusive and subtle manner. If you want to give your product instant reach to billions of active users start promoting it on social media. Don’t just provide links to your product. Interest your potential visitors with an appealing intro text and ask your current users share their reviews and impressions about your services with others on social media. Thus, you’ll be able to interest and reach out to a wider audience and attract more people willing to find their love online. 

Virgin Pulse, Health, 360 Magazine,

Tech Companies To Watch Out For In The Next Year

By now we should all be familiar with the pace of technology, one of the last great frontiers for the entrepreneur. Even though it doesn’t occur to us in the moment, new innovations continue to shape our world from year to year.

Compare the year 2020 to the turn of the century. In the first two decades of the 21st century, we’ve gotten used to social media, 3D printing, blockchains, eBooks, CRISPR gene editing, online streaming video and the wide-scale adoption of mobile phones. Likewise, we started the new millennium not knowing the names of Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, Uber, AirBnB or Twitter.

What do the coming years bring? Our best economic and technological forecasters have picked a few rising stars in tech innovation who just might sculpt the next horizon in industry.

StartApp

We’ve all heard of marketing companies collecting data on mobile users to use as research on user behavior, but StartApp simply has more data than anybody else. Tapping a billion active mobile users every month across 350K apps, StartApp anonymously logs this user data and then packages it for sale to companies to help them make better decisions about development, user interface design, and marketing. Having grown from $200K to $37 million in revenue, StartApp is poised to be the Amazon of customer service information.

Nauto

While we were all anticipating the advent of driverless cars, still a hazy future promise, it occurred to our AI scientists that the experience of driving just isn’t documented enough to teach it to a robot. Nauto is one company helping to fix that, by building an autonomous driving data platform. Using cameras both exterior and interior, Nauto systems track both the road conditions and obstacles and the driver’s reactions, showing us what we respond to and how fast. It’s also aimed at reducing driver distraction and fatigue. With over $1 million in investor funding raised so far, the company aims first to enable better driver-assistance technology, before aiming at removing the need for a driver completely.

Evisort

Evisort is simple to explain: It’s “Google for contracts.” Except, rather than just automating text search, it’s an expert system trained for the legal profession, allowing it to parse out key dates, names, provisions, limitations, dollar amounts and legal clauses. This turns out to be a huge part of the day for anybody working in the legal profession, where the average lawyer might handle dozens of contracts numbering 30 pages or more per week. Human contract review is costly, time-consuming, and prone to errors, so an automated AI for contract management is something every legal worker wants. Evisort has raised over $5 million in investor funding and been praised in both Forbes and Harvard Law Review.

CloudBeds

The hospitality industry has been late to the party of industries changed by technology, but its turn has come. CloudBeds is a smart business management software for hotels, with an end-to-end platform that handles the unique challenges of property management and booking together with business management. The result is that hotels run better and make more money. Hotels, being a future-proof industry that online commerce can’t replace, are going to be around for a long time, and CloudBeds raising $20 million in investor funding shows that they’re going to be offering something every hotel wants.

SnapChat

The most senior member on this list, SnapChat has been in business for most of the 2010s, but it’s the social network platform with the brightest future. Just as Facebook took the crown from MySpace, everyone’s been counting the days until Facebook finds itself left behind by the next generation of web users. But which social network will it be? With a user base approaching 210 million people across 22 languages, SnapChat is a social network geared for the mobile platform and more favored by younger generations.

Conclusions…

Much of the technology in recent years is driven by the advent of large data and deep learning methods in artificial intelligence. There are many more industries that can be innovated to the same degree that the above list has been – aspiring entrepreneurs take note!

cindy birne pr, Kristin S. Kaufman, author, 360 MAGAZINE

Author Explores Life Through the “SEATS” We Sit in Throughout the Journey


“A compassionate read that allows us all to take a deeper look at our own lives.”
––Robyn Openshaw, bestselling author of VIBE

Our lives are enriched by the many seats that have been saved for us—both literally and figuratively. In this final book of the Is This Seat Taken? trilogy, IS THIS SEAT TAKEN? No, I Saved It For You––Inspiring Life Lessons from Everyday Experiences by Kristin S. Kaufman, you are invited to experience incredibly vulnerable stories where unmistakable wisdom is revealed through the “seats” in which people have been seated, from an empty bar stool at a high school reunion to the heart-wrenching transitions of those we love the most.

We are all part of an integrated, collective adventure. Kaufman’s creative use of the term ‘seat’ as a metaphor for our life journey shows us that Each of the thousands of people who randomly cross our life paths help to create our unique journey. When we remain present to the seemingly incidental encounters and experiences in our lives, these moments can become opportunities for life-changing lessons.


Whatever seat you find yourself in, it is a precious gift of life. Everyday interactions, sometimes joyous and sometimes heartbreakingly painful, can all provide inspiring lessons if we know where and how to look. So please have a seat, here in the seat saved for you, and be open to what may be revealed to you.


About the Author
Kristin S. Kaufman is a successful portfolio entrepreneur. In 2007, she founded Alignment, Inc., to serve individuals and corporations as they seek alignment within themselves and their organizations. Alignment, Inc., is a unique services company through which Kaufman has brought her expertise to tens of thousands of people, working with organizations to create sustainable success individually and collectively. Through her partnership with Rodan & Fields, she extends her reach by providing coaching and assistance to entrepreneurs and independent business owners as they build their own financial independence.

With over 25 years of corporate experience, Kaufman has held leadership positions at three publicly traded companies. She was awarded the distinction of Professional Certified Coach from the International Coaching Federation, and achieved the designation of Certified Leadership Coach through Georgetown University’s esteemed program. A popular keynote speaker to audiences ranging from 500 to 50,000, she brings her passion, wisdom, wit and Southern charm to each event.

Kaufman is a prolific writer. Her first book, Is This Seat Taken? Random Encounters That Change Your Life, was released in 2011 to national acclaim, and was followed by a sequel, Is This Seat Taken? It’s Never Too Late to Find the Right Seat released in 2015. She is an active civic and community volunteer, and currently serves in numerous non-profit board positions. Kaufman lives in Dallas, Texas, with her beloved rescued white Schnauzer, Lulu.

Available on Amazon.com and bookstores


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Lexus ES, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, NYC, rooftop

Important Financial Steps Before Starting Your Own Business

If you had a dollar for every time another business failed due to missteps in their business finances, you’d probably be able to fund your entire operation without worrying.

You don’t want to be one of those business owners with a company that slowly (or sometimes quickly) sinks because they lack a firm grip on their finances. And if you intertwine your business and personal finances, even more trouble can arise.

Here are some important financial steps you should consider and map out before starting your own business.

Before you plan your startup business make sure you have a very well set financial planning strategy. Accounting software such as Hosted QuickBooks Cloud can be useful for managing your finance audits and payrolls. Learn more about other useful business tools such as Office 365 and Office 365 migration guidelines with Apps4Rent.

Choose Your Business Entity Type

Choosing your business entity type sets the stage for all of your financial decisions moving forward. This is step number one, and it’s a big deal. You need to decide whether you want to form a Limited Liability Company (LLC), S Corporation (S Corp), C Corporation (C Corp), or Nonprofit.

This will determine the type of financial protection you may have, as well as taxation details and associated filing fees. Keep in mind that you can choose an initial structure and then reevaluate at a later time if the needs of your business change.

Decide How You Want to Manage Your Finances

As an entrepreneur, you may already be a wizard with finances and might want to manage your accounting on your own, which is totally your prerogative. But if you’re not a numbers wizard, then recognize that you should employ a financial expert or hire a financial consultant and/or accountant.

When you decide whether to manage it yourself or hire an expert, you will then decide on an accounting system that works for your business. After that, decide whether your business should use cash or accrual accounting.

Open Business Banking Accounts

You should open both a business checking account and a business savings account; having an entirely separate business banking system is important. You should also consider opening a business credit card. This will help you manage all of your business-related expenses, which you can use as deductions when filing for your taxes.

Don’t Forget to Pay Yourself

Last but not least, you need to establish guidelines on how you pay yourself as a small business owner. You are doing the hard work as the brain and heart of the organization, so you deserve a slice of the pie — and not a small one. You need to pay yourself enough so you’re not eating cereal every night for dinner, but not too much that your business checking account doesn’t have enough to cover that client coffee date. It’s a fine balance.

This article was originally published on the Incfile Blog

Lisa Crocco is a marketer for an international food manufacturer by day and a freelance writer/marketer for startups & small businesses by night. She’s She’s written for outlets like USAToday College, Career Contessa, Cloudpeeps, and Fairygodboss. 

Majority of Recent Graduates Plan to Start a Business: AICPA Survey

The entrepreneurial spirit in America is alive and well. As they prepare to enter the workforce, seven in ten (70 percent) young adult job seekers say the freedom of being their own boss is worth more than the benefit of job security working for someone else. Additionally, more than half (53 percent) said they are likely to start their own business in the future.

This, according to research conducted by MAVY Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) among millennials who graduated from college in the last 24 months or will graduate in the next 12 months and are currently looking for employment referred to as “young adult job seekers.” “It’s not surprising that the generation currently entering the labor market is looking beyond the traditional approach of rising through the ranks in a well-defined career path,” said Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission. “Developments in technology and the internet have made it easier than ever to start a business. However, they have not necessarily made it easier to succeed.” Small Business Startups Don’t Need to Go It Alone Ambitious young entrepreneurs are not alone. Each month, approximately 540,000 people become new business owners. Contrary to the commonly-held belief that most businesses fail to gain any traction, according to the Small Business Administration (SBA), roughly 80 percent survive the first year. However, the success rate of small businesses begins to fall sharply as time goes on. Only about half survive past the five-year mark, and beyond that, only about one in three get to the 10-year mark.

“I don’t know of anyone who sets out to start a business that closes in three years. But the reality is, the first few years are almost always the hardest. That means every financial decision needs to be well thought out, with a clear eye to the future.” said Teresa Mason, CPA member of the AICPA PCPS Executive Committee. “Working with a CPA helps small business owners ensure their business plan is structured to be as tax-efficient as possible. CPAs also partner with business owners to help them work out their cash flow consideration and opportunities for growth.”

For those looking to start a business, the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission share these tips to help to set yourself up for success:

1. Start with a Solid Financial Foundation

“The stronger of a financial foundation you build early in your career, the more options you’ll have in the future. Paying off your student loan debt, getting a head start on saving for retirement and having an emergency fund affords entrepreneurs a degree of flexibility that they wouldn’t otherwise have.” – Gregory Anton, CPA, CGMA, chairman of the AICPA’s National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

2. Ask Yourself the Tough Questions

“Being your own boss means looking only to yourself for the income you’ll need to meet your obligations and save for your goals. This means asking yourself some tough questions. Do you have enough set aside to cover your expenses during a potentially slow start-up period that new businesses often face? Do you have a ‘Plan B’ in the event that your expectations aren’t realized within a reasonable time frame? Address these scenarios proactively and have a plan in place.” – Neal Stern, CPA member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

3. Prepare for All the Costs Involved

“Before going out on your own professionally, it is important to compare your current budget with your forecasted budget. Know what you are currently getting versus what you may or may not have available if you start your own business. For example, if your current employer provides healthcare, retirement benefits and pays for out of pocket expenses you will now need to factor those expenses into what it is going to cost you to be on your own. These expenses can quickly add up which is why talking to a CPA about the costs involved in running your own business is critical.” – Michael Eisenberg, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA National CPA Financial Literacy Commission.

4. Keep Finances Organized & Build an Emergency Fund

“Maintain a bill-paying checking account where all your fixed monthly bills with a due date and a consistent amount are paid. Make sure that account always has at least 2 months’ worth of bill payment money in it, ideally 3+, and set up as many as you can for auto-pay on their due date. This not only helps eliminate late fees, but it’s an easier way to quickly see how much is ‘leftover’ to reinvest in your business. It can be tempting when you get a big check to take care of that month’s bills then spend the rest on wants, but until you can consistently keep 3+ months of expenses in that account, you have to resist the wants. This will give your business the chance it needs.” – Kelley Long, CPA/PFS member of the AICPA Consumer Financial Education Advocates.

5. Take Advantage of Free Tools & Resources

For those who want help turning their idea into a successful business, the AICPA’s #CPApowered website provides free tools designed to help small businesses grow. Experienced CPAs share insight on a range of topics such as the risks involved in starting a business and how to acquire financing. And to help those who don’t know where to begin, there is even a small business checklist.The AICPA’s 360 Degrees of Financial Literacy website also features free resources including information about how to plan for a career change as well as a wide-variety of calculators on topics like loan repayment and setting a monthly budget.

US Businesses Allowing Remote Working

The rise of cloud computing and teleconferencing represent both the biggest opportunity for growth as well as the most significant organizational challenge to companies around the world, according to new research from Condeco’s new research paper, The Modern Workplace 2019: People, places & technology, involving 750 corporate leaders. The full report can be downloaded here. Among the countries in the survey, remote working is particularly prevalent in Australia (45 per cent) with the US tied for being the country with the second most amount of companies allowing remote work (43 percent) and least widespread is Germany (35 per cent). However, US businesses were least likely to offer flextime (49 percent), while those in Singapore were most likely (66 percent). In addition, 43 percent of US business forecast that they will allow more remote working in the next year while only 9 percent have indicated that they will offer less remote working, a clear indicator that remote working is a major trend in America. 54 percent of US companies have said that they offer remote working to increase employee retention, which showcases employees increasing demands to work from home.

While recognizing digital transformation as crucial to their future success, 60 percent of those who participated express concern over the speed with which new technologies are reshaping their businesses. They are increasingly preoccupied with issues related to cloud computing, the internet of things, and big data.These technology challenges are contributing significantly to the changing nature of the corporate environment, the report finds. Cloud computing in particular has made it possible for increasing numbers of employees to work remotely and flexibly meaning that the central company workspace is rapidly becoming an administrative hub, rather than a traditional central focus where everyone gathers during set hours. The demands of regulation and compliance are also adding to the burden felt by businesses as they face the future. Condeco’s report is based on an in-depth survey of business leaders in six countries, including the United States, backed by qualitative interviews. Respondents overall say the biggest challenges facing their organizations in the next 12 months are digital transformation (37 percent) and the adoption of new technology (35 percent).

Across all countries surveyed, access to talent supply (26 per cent) and regulation and compliance (24 per cent) are considered greater organizational challenges than business uncertainty (22 per cent). Welcome to the flexible working revolution. Almost half of global businesses surveyed (41 percent) say they already offer some degree of remote working, while three-fifths (60 percent) provide flextime opportunities, allowing employees to choose when to start and end their workday. “The research clearly shows that businesses are in the process of transforming their workplaces digitally, which enables them to transform the way that they are used physically,” said Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco.”Today’s technology allows for space to be used more flexibly and for employees to work remotely. This benefits businesses by maximizing office space, reducing costs and by keeping employees engaged and productive.”

The end of meeting-room culture? When employees do go into the office, it is most often for meetings with colleagues and customers. Yet the researchers discovered that finding, booking and using meeting rooms is a consistent point of organizational tension, even as more people are working remotely. Fewer than a quarter of those surveyed (23 percent) say that their employees have access to meeting rooms whenever they need them; however, the US leads the world with 31 percent, compared to just 9 percent in Singapore. Only a third of respondents (31 percent) currently use specialist meeting-room scheduling software to help make efficient use of their available space. Some of those surveyed believed that there was an opportunity to use artificial intelligence to book and use meeting rooms more effectively.

“AI can release individuals from routine, repetitive tasks at work and free them up for more value-adding and enriching activities. That’s why it is likely to play an important role in meeting room booking software,” said Peter Otto, Chief Product Officer at Condeco. Businesses are only just beginning to realize the extent to which the need for co-workers to meet in person is a thing of the past, as new conferencing systems enable teams to maintain real-time collaboration and conversation across vast distances and multiple time zones.“Ultimately new technology will enable businesses to allocate their resources and time more effectively,” said Otto.“There is also a role it can play in gathering data, but companies need to be aware of the ethical and privacy aspects of using it in this way and be prepared to be fully transparent in communicating what they are doing to their employees.”

US leaders prepare for the future While a fifth of business leaders worldwide (22 per cent) said that uncertainty was a concern for them, less than one fifth of American business leaders (16 percent) echoed this. The most-common concern for US respondents is technology adoption (45 percent) and talent supply (30 percent), suggesting that businesses are expecting these to be major issues over the next year. Only 11 percent of US business cited access to capital as their top organizational concern.