Background information checks are a critical tool that many small business owners can use to evaluate and exercise due diligence before they engage in a business relationship - with customers, clients and even potential employees. One of the key background checks employed in the United States is the consumer report (also referred to as a consumer credit report), which contains information about an individual’s personal and credit characteristics, character, general reputation, and lifestyle. Why Use Consumer Reports? Whether you are an...
Whether you are looking to hire employees for the first time or are already an established employer, you must face the reality that your business is now a collective effort and only as good, or successful, as the team that staffs it. Employee benefit programs are the cornerstone of the American work place. If you can’t offer your employees the basics, you may as well hang up your recruitment and retention hat and continue as a one-man band. Yet, knowing where to start compiling a comprehensive benefits program for your small business can...
The CAN-SPAM Act is possibly one of the simplest forms of government regulation with which businesses of all sizes can achieve quick compliance. While we all know that SPAM laws are deliberately broken each day - you only have to look at the volume of SPAM in your Inbox (currently increasing at an average of 1.2% per day according to a Google report) - it is actually the act of non-deliberate spamming that is putting many a small business at risk of non-compliance and hefty fines.The CAN-SPAM Act - More than Just Preventing Junk Mail The CAN-...
Intellectual property protection is a critical part of a small business owner’s current and future growth strategy. According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s stopfakes.gov Web site, companies that protect their intellectual property drive more economic growth in the U.S. than any other single sector. The unfortunate flip side of this fact is that small businesses are more vulnerable than any other sector to piracy, counterfeiting, and the theft of their intellectual property. Small business owners oftentimes simply don...
From a customer perspective, it’s easy to imagine how extensive the laws and regulations are for governing restaurant operations - and you would hope so, since you are trusting this establishment with your nourishment and, subsequently, your health. Now just imagine what life is like behind the scenes! For busy restaurant owners, the legal and regulatory requirements associated with running their business is a big part of their daily lives. From labor laws to food safety laws and new regulations such as no smoking laws, understanding and...
Whether you are a start-up or an established business, understanding your obligations with regard to complying with state and local government laws and regulations is an essential part of your small business toolkit. Many small business owners aren’t aware of the necessary permits and licenses needed to operate legally. Of course, business laws vary from state-to-state, and when you throw county laws into the mix, it can be hard to know where to find the information you need. Luckily, e-government initiatives have made it very easy to...
Seems like a straight-up question and answer, right? Not really. The government has strict sizing rules and regulations that define what a small business is. Understanding these can help empower small business owners to take advantage of a wide variety of government programs, SBA loans, and contracting opportunities that are reserved exclusively for them. Am I a Small Business? If you are interested in government contracting opportunities, are looking for SBA-guaranteed funding, or believe your business qualifies for other government programs...
As a small business owner you can pretty much guarantee that for whichever stage of business operation you are going through - hiring your first employee, filing your first W2, or applying for a loan - there is going to be a barrage of forms requiring your attention. Speaking from experience, this is an intimidating and frustrating chore for home-based business owners, microbusinesses and smaller businesses who often don’t have the luxury of passing off the responsibility of day-to-day administration to the appropriate HR, accounting,...
From Bill Hewlett and David Packard, Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin, even Ben and Jerry - some of the biggest success stories in recent business history have hinged on collaborative business partnerships. Asides from aspiring to blaze a trail in the mode of these history makers, business partnerships offer small business owners many benefits in areas such as taxation, shared risk, access to funds, etc. So whether you are looking to partner with your best friend, former boss, or even your spouse, here are some of the options and...
As most entrepreneurs soon find out, the cost of starting or expanding your small business can quickly escalate as you seek to equip your workforce, office, or other place of business with the tools needed to operate and grow. While you may seek to roll these costs into a business loan and/or recover them at tax time through depreciation, neither of these actually reduces the upfront cost of procuring business assets or equipment in the first place. An alternative, frequently used by non-profits but often overlooked by for-profit small...
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