Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Prepare your Business for Tax Season

With tax season bearing down on us once again, it can be one of the most stressful periods of the year. This is especially true if you are running your own business. There are many things you can do in order to help relieve this stress. They range from very basic steps to calculating more complex deductions. No matter your situation, there is almost always something you can do to help ease the burden.

Here we have compiled a few of the most important guidelines you need to follow when it comes to preparing your own business for tax season.

Be as Organized as Possible

This may seem like the most basic of steps, and it should be. However, for so many people, this is often the most difficult. There is often a misconception that business leaders and entrepreneurs are highly organized. Quite frequently, the opposite can be true. Entrepreneurs are often self-starters with an abundance of ideas but in many cases, their minds are running wild with new concepts. This means they can in fact be highly disorganized.

Needless to say, you need to effectively combat this issue. Ensure that you keep every invoice, receipt and otherwise useless piece of record you can find throughout the year. The things which you may not think are important can all add up to a much smaller headache for your accountant and even a substantially bigger rebate on your tax return at the years end.

Know Your Deductibles

Another key area where people lose out on potential returns is simply by overlooking things which they feel may not be necessary. Include everything. The tax code is highly complex and you just never know what may increase your end of year tax return. Anything from business trip expenses to converting your spare bedroom into a home office can save you big bucks on your annual filing.

Hire a Professional

In the long run, this could turn out to be the most profitable piece of advice. There is another common misconception that hiring a tax accountant has to be a high cost expense reserved for the benefit of a few. This, again is simply not correct.

In today’s hyper-competitive job market, there is an abundance of highly talented accountants literally at your fingertips. Besides the fact that larger companies such as H&R Block offer some fantastic assistance and great pricing on corporate and individual returns, you also have handy and convenient online services such as Turbo Tax. All of this is not to discount using the local friend of a friend who happens to be highly proficient at filing. These are all valid options and very much available.

Conclusion

We can see, there are a number of affordable and convenient options available to us for filing both individual and business returns. In this field, it literally pays to be organized, thorough and even spend a little money to ensure you are doing everything by the book.

Knowing When It’s Time to Change Your Business Direction

Regardless of how long we have spent in business or how much success we have had. There always comes a time and a place for change. This change could be focused on the natural evolution and life-cycle of one part of the business or a wholesale change in direction.

Whichever type of change you wish to instigate, it will never be easy. Naturally, you will battle against some external resistance. This could come from employees, or even the market itself. The toughest battle you will face however, is with yourself. This is why you must be strong and know when the time is right. Here are a few indictors which may push you in the right direction.

 

Loss of Passion

This may be the number one, red hot indictor that a change is required. The daily drive and determination has turned from an insatiable hunger for success to a laborious drag to raise yourself for the morning commute.

Of course, in this case, time is necessary. We all have temporary blips. If though, you find yourself at the levels of a certain McAfee founder, it may be time for a re-assessment of your business direction and goals.

Do not think that your loss of passion goes unnoticed to the company’s bottom line. This is certainly not the case. The entire organizational culture inevitably suffers in a top-down fashion. Therefore, a change of direction can only be beneficial to all.

Changing Market

This is more reflective of what should be the natural evolution of a company or product. You simply have to move with the times. It pays to be proactive, even if some of your proactive moves end in failure or largescale rejection.

There are examples on both sides of the spectrum of when companies realized and initiated positive product evolution, such cases as Apple and Dre Beats, to name but a few. Sadly, there have also been many who have missed the proverbial boat. Nokia is one which springs to mind.

Of course there is a chance that your move has been ill-conceived, such as the infamous USFL challenger to the NFL. However, the effort alone is worthy of some note.

Financial Difficulty

Of course, there are a variety of reasons why you may be in financial strife. There is no doubting however that this is one of the tell-tale signs that something you are doing just isn’t working. This is not to be confused with short-term cash flow or management issues, something which almost all businesses have experienced.

Generally, your gut-instinct is correct. Deep down, if you feel that something is going astray and in need of a change, it is often well past the due time and you should get to work on a new direction quickly.

Four Ways Your Company Can Cut Down On The Cost Of Business Trips

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Do you run your own company? Are you looking for ways to cut down on business travel costs? Grab a seat as we bring you helpful tips on how to cut down on your company’s travel cost.

With the increase of economic downturn that is affecting businesses globally, there is a dire need to cut down on operational costs. So if your company is looking to cut down on the cost of running its day to day business, you should look towards the area of business travel.

Business travel gulps in a lot of money, and your company may not realize how much you spend on business travels until the annual financial statements are ready. Business travels are important for meeting new clients and sealing off fresh business deals. However, if your company does not properly manage the cost of business travels, you might just be doing more harm than good.

Here are four helpful tips which will help your company save money on business trips:

 

The Use Of Technology

With the level of technological advancement going on in the world today, some business travels are no longer relevant. Modern technology like video calls and web conference will save your company the stress and cost of traveling thousands of miles to attend a business meeting or conference.

The Use Of Just One Credit Card

Your company should dedicate one credit card for all its business trips. Using this strategy will help you keep a good record of how much spent on travels. Your company will also accumulate frequent flyer miles from different airlines, hotels and other services. Your company will enjoy benefits like awards, upgrades on the class of travel by your favorite airlines, free flight tickets, and free hotel accommodations. These will help your company save in the long run.

Develop An Effective Company Travel Policy

Lack of a company policy on travel can lead to unnecessary travel abroad, including excessive spending on air travel and hotel accommodation. A company should have strict policies on when travel can be undertaken and by whom and staff members should be made aware of these policies. Also, there should be accountability for any business travel done including the reason for travel, class of travel, hotels lodged, and the number of days spent on business travel.

Hire A Travel Management Agency

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Your company will save more money when you enlist the services of a travel management company. A travel management agency will handle all your travel and hotel bookings and will help you cut down on the cost of travels as they are aware of your travel policies.

It’s important you hire a travel management company that is willing to key into your aim of cutting down on travel costs. You can compare the rates of the available travel management companies; this will ensure you get the best available rate in the market.

 

The following tips will help your company cut down on travel costs while achieving its business goals. Business travels are important for the growth and development of a company, but quickly become a mundane liability when poorly managed.

Accepting Cryptocurrency as Payment in Your Business

These days, the rise and rise of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is all the market is talking about. In the past month, the world has become even more alerted to the enigma that is cryptocurrency. Suddenly you friends, neighbors and mailmen are all getting involved. The communal participation is great and probably one of the fundamental values upon which the currencies were founded. That though raises the question, should you be accepting cryptocurrency as payment in your business and if so, how do you go about it?

The Intentions of Cryptocurrency

Although it has become convoluted and confusing over the recent times, with vast numbers of new currencies, hard forks and ICOs coming into the market. The core value of Bitcoin upon its original emergence into the marketplace was to provide a transparent currency which could be traded and created without interference from outside sources, including government regulation. This would allow for a society to operate with total financial autonomy in the marketplace. This core value lends to the notion that businesses should adopt cryptocurrency as forms of payment for goods and services. Over time, this would see a rise in accessibility and ease of use for daily transactions. Many have followed this path, though the majority remain uncertain.

Why Hasn’t Business Adoption Been More Widespread

 

The main reason for this, may well be that people do not understand how to implement the systems. In actual fact, it is really simple. You can purchase Bitcoin from any of the now global exchanges, such as Coinbase. From here, you can create a secure virtual wallet with the likes of Jaxx or MyEtherWallet. This acts as a type of safe storage facility for your currency balance. From there, sending and receiving payments is as simple as exchanging wallet addresses with your payee or even QR codes.

Benefits of Accepting Cryptocurrency

There are some major benefits, including the very low transaction costs compared to banks. Transfers are also anonymous and trustworthy. Secondly, these days, values are soaring. This can only be of benefit to the businesses which are accepting the currencies as payment. The caveat here of course is that values can also fall. This will invariably lead to many price changes on your services and items in the cryptocurrency format.

Lastly, with the widespread boom in the industry, especially in the last few months, all of the currencies are gaining huge brand recognition. This can make your business or service stand out from the crowd among your competitors and position you as a progressive competitor within the market.

Conclusion

Like any new advancements is technology, there is bound to be fear and resistance. However, quite often, the early adopters can be rewarded handsomely, at least in reputation terms for their brave harnessing of new ideas. Given the huge increase of late in the number of cryptocurrency holders, it feels like the time is arriving where it may bear fruit to accept this form of payment for your products and services.

The Benefits of Bringing Investors into Your Business

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We may wish or like to imagine that we can go it alone or try to do everything ourselves, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Sometimes we need a helping hand. This may not always be in a financial sense, though on many occasions that is the case. Bringing outside investment into you company- your baby, may be a difficult time. However this need not be the case.

There are a multitude of benefits when it comes to welcoming a new investor into the fold. Some of these benefits we shall try to outline in an effort to make you feel more comfortable with giving away at least a small part of your business.

Knowledge is Power

As we mentioned, on many occasions the motivation for attracting an outside investor may be to introduce capital in order to grow the business. This need not always be the case, quite the opposite in fact. Anyone with experience of pitching their business be it to a friend, venture capitalist or even on TV shows such as Shark Tank also knows the value of knowledge and connections that a certain investor can bring to the table. This could be in terms of product/market knowledge, access to areas of the market which are otherwise restricted, proven sales channels or connections in the industry to help advance a business. All of these things can be even more valuable than a case investment in many instances.

Many Hands Make Light Work

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It may be cliché to say in some cases, however most of these expressions turn out to be true. An extra investor who is willing to pitch in on the workload can be of tremendous value to a company. This could free up time for you to focus on any number of business aspects from new product development to marketing. Understanding that many new and innovative businesses actually fail by trying to do too many things at once and losing focus is key. Those extra set of eyes looking over your work, while we don’t often enjoy it, can offer a unique insight in solving problems we previously struggled to overcome.

It’s everywhere

Quite simply, investment is essential and also the driving force behind most huge corporations. Anything from Berkshire Hathaway on one end of the spectrum, building a portfolio inclusive of huge MNCs and other blue chip stocks to your local mom and pop store who take on their nephew’s investment to ease into an early retirement. If you plan to grow and expand your business or run it for a long enough time to scale generations then you will experience outside investment of some sort.

Some people, especially those who lack confidence or trust in others may be apprehensive regarding outside investment but the fact is that this is a key point of doing business and a perfectly healthy and often time’s beneficial route for a business to take when raising capital.

Knowing When to Change Your Business Marketing Strategy

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We all like to think that our ideas and business strategies are the best. Better thank those of our competitors. In many cases we may be correct, we certainly hope to be. Many of us however face a very difficult set of decisions when things are not going as originally planned. When is it time to make some strategic changes?

In this piece we hope to identify the reasons behind many such incidences and things which you can do to remedy these situations without losing huge revenue and ultimately hope to see a turnaround in fortunes for the business.

You’re not Always Right

This is the first and harshest lesson which many of us have to learn as entrepreneurs. It will inevitably come along in some shape or form. How we handle this moment can go a long way toward defining our business future. For many it is a baptism of fire which hopefully they can ride out. Some fine examples of this may be companies who have rebranded and reshaped their offerings over time. In this type of situation, think Google or YouTube. These are both iconic and world renowned brands today, however both struggled with any sense of identity and even profitability in the early years.

Change or Perish

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When you are faced with a challenge there are often many options which boil down to a simple two. Change or don’t change. In almost all cases, the reason for a decile has some driving factor. There is some intrinsic problem with the business. This is almost always only solvable by implementing a wholesale change. Those who refuse to move with the times or as the market signals guide them, face almost certain destruction. There are so many cases of this, we can look at the likes of Nokia as being a prime example of a company not modernizing fast enough to keep up with the changing market.

Don’t Overanalyze

If you notice a downturn in business, of course you will naturally be concerned. However, before you go selling up house and home to fix things, take a moment to consider the bigger picture. Falling revenue is never something we like to see, but remember, many businesses are cyclical. This means that they will naturally have busier periods than others. For retail, that may mean doing huge swathes of business over the Christmas period whilst in the fitness industry it may be quite the opposite, with the key market uptake in the winter months of January as those New Year’s resolutions kick in.

Conclusion

As we can see, it is important to think carefully before making any wholesale changes and to understand the natural cycle of the business. Your reduced revenue may be very well typical of every business in that industry. On the other hand it is also vital that you pull the trigger and execute when the time is right to avoid bigger problems. The key attribute you should possess is instinctive decision making.

Starting a Property Management Agency

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There is never any surefire answer as to whether it is the correct time to get in to property investment. Many may choose to take that leap of faith, but for others, it just represents too great a risk. There are of course other alternatives for those who do not want to take a punt on property ownership, but still desire to be involved in the industry as a whole. One of those options is starting a property management agency. Here we will look at a few key things you must consider when you are opening your own agency. With these attributes in your back pocket, you will be well equipped for success in the property market.

Your Target Market

It is essential that you identify your target market and try your best to stick to that boundary. This will give you not only focus and a sense of purpose as you pursue your specific objectives, it will also help to establish your reputation within a particular market segment. There are many to choose from, be it managing student rental properties or delving into the more high-end, exclusive market. Each will have their own benefits and drawbacks. You need to find which suits you best and focus your energy primarily in that direction to avoid the distraction of having too many choices.

Think Outside the Box

These days, besides the traditional take on property management or letting agency, there are a number of other options. Management of Airbnb portfolios or other types of short term rental accommodations can also be a fantastic alternative. Market yourself overseas so attract out of country investors, you can even take on a multi-lingual staff and go global with the correct marketing approach for your business. Management of overseas properties for domestically based owners is just one more opportunity.

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Make it Convenient

It is essential these days that you make your business model convenient and easily accessible to your clients. They have streamlined the management process by hiring your company. In return, they want an equally streamlined process to check how their properties are being managed. By integrating a fantastic web based monitoring service and integrated system for viewing revenue streams and other variables, you will be the darling of your clients and the envy of your competitors. Cut out the unnecessary redundancies to deliver a fast efficient service that your clients can trust and recommend. Your business will soon excel.

Conclusion

Now is the time to sharpen your property knowledge and get involved in the industry, with prices on the rise worldwide, get yourself a piece of the action. Develop a respected property management agency with a personal focus that is fast and effective. This is your opportunity to shine and start a worthwhile business by following our few simple steps above. Technology and hard work provides you with the best available platform to meet your client’s needs. Get started today.

Why You Should Learn a Second Language

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Learning a second language will always be a very challenging endeavor. It is however, one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life. As well as enriching your personal knowledge and communication skills, it greatly enhances your employability and let’s face it, in today’s ultra-competitive society, you can always use some more employable skills. It is even scientifically proven to enhance your brain function. These are only a few of the reasons we will outline as to why you need to hit the books and learn a second language.

Challenge Yourself

Everybody goes through slumps. Even the most highly motivated individuals in the world experience lack of motivation from time to time. When you feel like this, you need some motivation to get you back on track. This could be any one of a number of things, hobbies, hitting the gym or socializing with friends. One other fantastic way to resurrect your mind is by studying something. The motivation provided by setting a challenge should not be underestimated. Learning a new language will give you encouragement as you see yourself becoming more proficient and your desire to learn increases.

Gaining Knowledge

Knowledge is power, or so they say. There has never been anything negative about increasing your own knowledge. Nowadays it is more accessible than ever through the like of duolingo and memerize to begin studying a new language. The chance is too good to overlook. When studying a new language, you also learn so much about the culture and people of that country. You find that, in the same way as travel, your horizons become wider and your appreciation of others generally increases. This is a magnificent feeling to experience and one which you will never regret.

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Enhancing Your Employability

There is no doubt that increased employability is required these days. Jobs competitiveness is at an all-time high. It was once the case that just a bachelor’s degree could be your ticket to a secure and prosperous future. Nowadays, we view that as just a starting point and practical, job related skills are growing in importance. For these reasons, you can truly set yourself apart from the fields in terms of both skill and diversity by learning a second language. In many ways, it is your key to unlocking your own brighter future. Languages such as Mandarin or more niche languages such as Japanese or Korean are in growing demand globally.

Final Thoughts

There is no doubt many virtues to be had from studying a second language. Regardless of your motivation, there is nothing negative to be garnered from doing so. It is truly time well spent which will both enhance and enrich your life in a variety of ways. With it being so widely accessible, there really is no excuse for waiting. Go forth, discover the world and enhance yourself and your career today.

 

Best Ways to Effectively Monetize Your Blog or Site

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There are many factors to consider when starting your new blog or website. Your mind may be filled with ideas and your to-do list is growing by the hour. One thing though will usually take precedence and should be considered with care, even before setting out on your writing journey. How to make money from your blog. We understand, this may not be a key motivation for everyone, but it is a goal for many. Here then are a few ideas on how you can monetize your site well.

 

Placed Advertising

This involves placing small advertisements or banner ads at specified locations within you site. Probably the biggest player in this market is AdSense. They will pay you a small amount per each click on the placed ads. Depending upon the traffic to your site, this can amount to quite a lot and you can also combine well with Google Analytics to review your sites traffic and gain useful insight. This is a good starting point for first timers. There are many amazing success stories with users of AdSense.

Affiliate Programs

Affiliate programs are offered by most of the major corporations. Depending on the nature of your site, your options are wide and varied. One of the most popular affiliate programs, which can suit a variety of sites is the Amazon Affiliate Program. Often these programs are based on a commission which you earn from a purchase made by clicking on the placed advertisement within your site. These can pay much better than basic placed advertising options, providing you have decent traffic and can convert this into sales.

Paid Reviews

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You could opt for this path and get companies to pay you for reviews of their products. Such offers can be found through popular services such as Pay per Post or Sponsored Reviews. Terms and conditions of each offer will vary depending on the client company and products involved, but it can certainly be an enjoyable way of monetizing your blog, especially if you have specialized knowledge of passion for a certain area.

 

Write an E-Book

In today’s increasingly digital world, you need not be a budding Shakesphere to get your work in print. The same can be said of the digital format. Anybody can write an e-book and self-publish it on their own blog. Your writing skill will ultimately be judged by the success of your site and visitor feedback, but, it can be a very rewarding option. You can also cross promote some of your own products through your book to increase revenue. The price of the book is also up to you of course.

 

Wrap Up

These are just a few of the many options available to you when choosing how to monetize your blog. You should be careful not to chase maximum profit, but to pursue an option which is realistic and provide value to both yourself and your audience. This will help in creating a long term trust.

Using Social Media to Grow Your Private Tutoring Business

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Social media can be your most valuable asset in present society when it comes to growing your business. Private tutoring is no different. With a readily accessible market for all subject at your fingertips, it makes perfect sense to try and exploit it. Here we will discuss some of the key ways in which you can use social media platforms to grow your tutoring business and provide yourself with a long term, sustainable career.

Set up Your Pages and Get Posting

You will gain no followers by sitting idle. Take the initiative to establish a creative logo, design and name for your Facebook and YouTube pages. This can be your first step in helping to expand your tutoring business. By posting helpful information and combining with videos, you can quickly develop into a good learning resource for many followers who you can then convert into paid customers.

Email Marketing Campaign

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Encourage your followers to supply their email addresses and contact information. You can then use this as a supplementary method to promote any of your material or upcoming discounts and special events. You may wish to hire the services of a professional agency to conduct your email marketing campaign.

Personalize Your Communications

Make your followers feel like valued team or family members by responding to their questions both quickly and personally. In the long run, this will be of great assistance as it helps to establish brand loyalty.

Online Classes and Courses

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Now that you have built your steady following, it is time to convert them into paying customers. There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this. It could be through branding and selling of your own textbooks or materials, but, most commonly, it will be through signing up for your own courses or personalized online lessons. These can follow the model of Cousera where students follow a specific learning course for a duration of time or Buddyschool where the student signs up for 1-1 or group video classes.

Whichever method you choose, you have to ensure to provide continued value to your students in order to retain them. Also, this should not be a reason for you to stop your original activities of posting free materials and information on your social media pages. It is simply the next step for students in this multi-level process.

Testimonials

Don’t forget that once you get to the level of running your own site and classes, a social media manager and integrated booking system will work wonders for your business and free your time to focus on expanding your business. Testimonials form a key part of this continued growth. Encourage your students to leave positive feedback which you can then use to encourage future students.

Conclusion

Social media presents a golden opportunity for you to grow and maintain your tutoring business. With the right combination of teaching skill, marketing strategy and hard work, you can quickly develop a multi-level, self-sustaining income for your future.