The SurePayroll Small Business Scorecard has announced an increase in the average pay of small business employees by 0.2 percent in July. Marketwatch reports that this increase is the first increase in 2014, spurred by a profitable first half of the year for small businesses. An increase in employee pay can have beneficial effects throughout both local and national economies, with more cash going into circulation as consumers are paid more. Ideally, higher paying small business jobs can stimulate a local economy, which in turn leads to growth on the part of the original small business. Should you give your employees a raise? Small businesses that have seen their sales increase leading to a more robust cash flow may choose to re-invest some of that liquid capital into their employee retention efforts. In particular, employees who demonstrate the potential to grow into leadership roles should have efforts made to retain them. An increase in salary is one of the most effective ways of keeping an

The Affordable Care Act’s aim is a lofty one; to enable Americans of all levels of income to gain access to quality healthcare that they can afford. This simple idea is not exactly easy to implement in a country where there are already many forms of coverage out there, many differing opinions on public healthcare and a different approach to implementing the program espoused on a state to state basis, essentially creating 50 separate arenas that must be coordinated in order to provide the coverage that is the aim of the program. Outside of the administrative element of the program is the human element, represented by small business owners who have as varied opinions and experiences with the ACA as their businesses themselves. Small businesses are largely exempt from the most immediate effects of the law. The majority of businesses have been given grace periods within which to comply to the requirements of the new laws, and many of the businesses that are over the size

  The view of Hurricane Irene from space fails to evoke the true meaning of the storm. A flat white disk when safely orbiting above New York state, Irene was a rain lashed, wind whipped reality that small business owners had to deal with, whether they were prepared or not. Hurricanes are becoming a common feature, and thus something that small business owners need to take serious precautions to anticipate, lest they have their business damaged or destroyed without a plan in place for recovery, leaving them waiting on disaster loans to rebuild. Hurricane preparedness does not have to interfere with regular business operations, but business owners and staff should be prepared for the possibility that a hurricane will effect their business and know what their plan of action is if a disaster should occur. Know your zone. In most cities where Hurricanes are a common occurrence, there will be information available regarding evacuation zones. These are typically areas with lower elevation that are more prone

As the Fourth of July weekend draws near, independence is a theme which demands recognition, in particular among small business owners. An independent group by nature, business owners responding to a Manta survey listed independence as the number one draw of being a small business owner an impressive 52% of the time, highlighting the power of self direction for bringing people into the fold of independent entrepreneurship. Self direction is also a powerful small business equalizer. Business owners may realize the personal benefits of small business ownership, but the independent nature of a small business also brings a significant edge when reacting to changing market conditions and innovative technology. Since a larger corporate competitor to a small business will have multiple levels of managerial authority as well as a human resources department that has sway over certain aspects of how change can occur, the turnaround time from the formation of an idea to its approval and realization can be much larger than in a small business,

Facebook is on the road in an attempt to stir up enthusiasm among small business owners for their paid ads and promoted posts. Offering training sessions for entrepreneurs looking to gain an edge on the massive and well established social platform, the series is a gambit by the company that is hoping to increase their sales of paid advertising among the crucial small business market. However, while the outreach is nice, many business owners have reported that without a paid boost, their content is only being served to a fraction of their hard won followers. Is Facebook trying to force businesses to promote? The logical question that business owners are asking is, is Facebook trying to force businesses to buy ads by chipping away at the audience they are able to create for free? According to Facebook, the drop in reach for non-promoted ads is simply a logical extension of the fact that more content is being shared. In fact, Facebook’s director of small business, Dan

The FCC has been making headlines as they attempt to parse out the debate surrounding “net neutrality”. What this is is essentially the concept that all information on the internet should be given the same level of priority, that no legal content should be blocked and that no internet service providers should act in a “commercially unreasonable manner” by favoring traffic from affiliates. However, a storm of controversy has arisen surrounding the possibility that internet service providers could still create tiered levels of bandwidth, segregating the internet into “fast lanes” for corporate entities that can afford them and lumping in other sites into slower channels. It’s not difficult to imagine this setup favoring the already wealthy, but conversely, the impact on small business could be equally devastating. The crux of the debate: speed and bandwidth. While the rules that FCC head Tom Wheeler proposes make very clear that any legal content on the internet cannot be blocked, there is a difference between not allowing content to

Navigating the financial landscape that comes with running a small business is often difficult, and it’s made even more tough by the presence of certain potholes and mirages. One common scam that small business owners should be aware of is the grant scam. How does a grant scam work? This type of scam is kept alive by a simple misdirection. Business owners will either stumble across or otherwise be made aware of a grant that their business is able to apply for, which, should they receive it, will give them what essentially amounts to free money. This should be the first logical red flag, but many business owners are willing to take the existence of grant programs at face value as fact. Once the business owners are sold on their grant applications, the next phase of the scam kicks in. You will be sold (or attempt to be sold) an expensive audit of your business plan, additional help filing your request, a one time fee, or

Guerrilla tactics are those used by a smaller or otherwise disadvantaged force to overtake and overcome a superior one. When applied to the practice of marketing, guerrilla tactics usually means a smaller firm, but sometimes a corporation or larger business using a lower cost but original or otherwise fresh technique to create disproportionate buzz for the total dollars spent. Due to its low cost nature, guerrilla marketing can be put to work for almost any business, and in fact, small businesses have some serious advantages when engaging in creative marketing techniques because of their small size and less stratified leadership. Identify a goal that can be reached with the help of guerrilla techniques. Small business owners don’t have to be promoting a specific sale or product when engaging in guerrilla marketing, but in order to focus their efforts and try and quantify their results, they can create some goals that they want their guerrilla campaigns to hit, such as shares or traffic to a page on

One of the greatest advantages small business owners have is their ability to quickly adapt to changing industry standards and marketing techniques, picking and choosing what works and what doesn’t much more effectively than a larger brand which usually has more inertia when it comes to making strategic decisions. An arena that small business owners are competing in very successfully is social media. Given the strong relationships that many small businesses are able to build with their customers and the either free or cheap costs of running a social media profile, even bad credit business owners are able to loan attention to the powerful source of business it represents. One of the newer offers in the social media marketing  landscape is Snapchat. Snapchat is a unique messenger service, sending messages in the form of pictures or videos that delete themselves after a preset viewing period of a few seconds. Snapchat is popular among millennials in particular, but also sees use in other age groups. What makes Snapchat

Many small business owners want to expand the techniques they use to market to their clients and build loyalty, but don’t have a huge budget to play with, or a lot of time to tinker with fine tuning something. Enter the newsletter, a simple concept that has stood the test of time thanks to its effectiveness and ability to increase engagement with a brand’s key customers. Small business owners in any industry can benefit from the creation of newsletters, and some businesses may wish to have more than one mailing list in order to run the gamut from enthusiastic clients to industry partners. Putting together a mailing list is a lot more simple nowadays thanks to CRM tools like Mailchimp and ConstantContact. You have the option of building a template for your newsletter that is simple to copy and edit to change out content on a weekly, bi-weekly or monthly basis. Take the time to build a nice looking template. If you can’t, consider purchasing

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