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Hiring Staff for the First Time 

Many small businesses start out as solo enterprises. Even more so now that so many of us are shunning traditional employment to work for ourselves from home. In the early days, this is fine. Business is slow, and while we’re busy, we can tackle most tasks ourselves. We certainly can’t afford to employ a team and manage by outsourcing tasks that we don’t have the time or the skills to take on ourselves.

But, at some point, hopefully, your business will grow. Suddenly, you don’t have the time to take on all of the work yourself. You need people with the right skills to take on specific jobs. You need the kind of consistency that outsourcing will never bring, and hopefully, you can afford to start paying wages.

If you’ve never hired staff before, it can be tough. It’s tempting to hire people that you already know. It’s easy, it’s often cheaper than recruiting and paying professionals, and you know them already. But, it’s usually not the right way to go. Just because you have a personal relationship, doesn’t mean that they will be the right fit for your business or even that you will work well together. Most of the time, it’s better to go out into the big bad world of recruitment. Here are some tips to help you when it comes to hiring staff for the first time.

Take Your Time

Finding great candidates is crucial. Don’t rush out and hire the first person that applies. Take your time to advertise the position online and in your local area. Interview as many people as you need to until you are confident that you’ve found the right team. Take your time, you’ve managed without them up until now, and there’s no need to rush. Taking time now could mean that you retain staff, and save a lot of time on future recruitment and training.

Get the Legalities Right

It’s not as simple as going out and hiring staff, even if they are the right ones and you have taken your time. You need to make sure you stay within the law. This means updating your insurance policies, to cover your team. You also need to make sure you are paying them at least minimum wage, which is a little more complicated if you don’t choose to pay them by the hour. To be able to pay them, you’ll also need to register as an employer.

As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that anyone that you employ has the legal right to work. Which might mean checking passports, and if they have one, checking their visas for any working restrictions. Once you know that your staff can work, and you are registered to pay them, get them to sign a contract of employment.

Hold Professional Interviews

If you’re not used to interviewing potential candidates, you might find that you fall into the trap of just chatting. You’ll come out of the interview without any more knowledge than you’d have got from their CV, no idea if they are right for the job or if they can do the hours that you need. But, you’ll have had a nice chat. It’s a waste of time.

Go into interviews with a list of questions to ask and things to find out. It’s also important that you spend some time in the interview telling the candidate more about your company and the role that they would be filling. Failing to do this can mean that they take the job without really knowing what they are getting in to. They might not stick around when they find out.

Carry Out Risk Assessments

Even if your staff work sat behind a desk, or in your home office, you need to carry out a risk assessment, to protect their health and safety and yourself legally. Look for any risks in the office or workplace, this can include sitting looking at a computer for a long time, or carrying heavy deliveries. Take the time to assess these risks and find ways to reduce them. Perform these risk assessments with any new members of staff, and prepare separate assessments for pregnant employees or those with any other additional needs.

Learn More About Pay

Paying your staff week to week is easy enough, as long as you are paying them fairly and on time. But, as an employer, it’s worth learning more about things like sick pay, pension contributions, holiday pay and maternity/paternity pay. Even if you don’t need them yet, it’s good to be prepared.



3 Helpful Tips For Starting and Running a Successful Franchise

Running a successful business requires hard work, extensive research, and financial backing. Running a successful franchise requires even more, but the rewards can be that much more significant.

With over $800 billion in annual sales, 50% of all consumer purchases are made through a franchise, a number that will likely increase to as much as 70% in years to come.

A franchise is a more structured form of business, where the organization's owner creates a proven replicable business model and works alongside a franchisee -- one who takes the franchise -- for royalty fees (profit shares from business that the franchisee pays) in lieu of support and systems that enable profit gains. Businesses simply involve any form of profit exchange for products or services. In other words, all franchises are businesses whereas all businesses are not and cannot be franchised.

If you're thinking about starting your very own franchise, you need to remember a few important things:

  1. You need working capital -- Whether you're just starting out with a small business or are hoping to build one of the largest franchises in the entire world, without cash flow, failure is your only option. You have to have enough money to not only invest, but handle essential financial tasks like payroll, quality assurance, advertising, and more.
  2. You need a strong brand -- Without a strong brand and image, you can't have a successful franchise. You need to do everything in your power to not only build a strong company brand, but preserve it, as well. Strengthening your company's advertising department is a great way to way to improve your brand. Well-placed signage, for instance, can expose local consumers to your brand about 50 to 60 times per month. Conversely, focusing on inhaling your digital marketing strategy will enable your brand to reach a much larger national and even international audience.
  3. You need a great team -- You can have all the money in the world, but if you don't have a team of hardworking individuals who share your vision, you'll be overwhelmed in no time. Good help is difficult to find but its imperative to an organization's success. Make sure you aren't hiring employees who don't want to be there just for the paycheck. Once you do find quality team members, treat them with respect at all times, keep them informed, and provide the kind of challenges that keep them engaged and hard at work.

Starting a business is one thing, but starting a franchise is a major step toward financial security and a rewarding career path -- good luck!


Why YOU Should Consider Hiring a Sleep Consultant

What is a Sleep Consultant?

A sleep consultant is educated in infant and child sleep, and a mentor/support system to families who are struggling to help their child achieve restorative sleep or who are confused about what healthy habits or age-appropriate schedules and routines should be put into place. A sleep consultant ideally would take an in depth look at the child's history and current sleep personality and tendencies and how the family has been coping. It is also important for a consultant to listen to what the family hopes to achieve, what goals they are striving for, and whether their expectations are realistic. Encouraging families to support their children through the sleep learning process is vital to developing new habits and reinforcing sleep expectations. Teaching independent sleep is one of the greatest gifts you can give your child, and yourself!

Is Sleep Learning Harsh on Babies and Toddlers?

It doesn't have to be. According to certified sleep consultant, Kim Sopman, it’s natural for babies to wake briefly during the night as they cycle in and out of light and deep sleep. "The challenge arises when a baby is waking frequently, and sleep is being constantly disrupted. Eliminating the wake ups that don’t require a feeding, for example, are important for babies and children, so they are able to achieve restful, restorative sleep. How parents tackle this challenge is the deciding factor of whether the sleep learning process feels harsh or not - there are many sleep foundations and methods to consider BEFORE implementing sleep learning.” she said.

Rest Easy Sleep Consulting is dedicated to uncovering the root of your family’s unique sleep challenges. By offering sensitive sleep solutions, they are committed to protecting the parent-child attachment relationship.

Her Story

Sopman is the mother of two fun-loving toddlers who fought sleep from the day they were born. In an attempt to get her family some rest, she invested in a sleep consultant that was recommended by a friend, admittedly without doing any research. And, now, she admits she learned a lot from their experience. “Our journey towards restful sleep made me realize that I was passionate about infant and baby sleep, and more specifically, dispelling the myth that letting a baby Cry It Out is the only way to teach a child to sleep independently,” she said.

Since then, she has attended countless classes and obtained five certifications. After obtaining her first certification in 2016, she opened her business. Now, Rest Easy Sleep Consulting has expanded. “I am thrilled to have three wonderful women who are also moms joining me on this journey to help families. Laura Tutty, Gillian Minsky, and our Health Advisor, Lindy Chute (who is a registered nurse), come with experience, passion and a willingness to go above and beyond to ensure families are reaching their sleep goals in a supportive and respectful fashion,” she added.

Why Experience is Key

Sopman acknowledges that there is a lot of information out there, but her goal was to go above just providing information. “Our practice focuses on sleep education and gentle learning rather than 'sleep training.' We consider ourselves mentors to families struggling with sleep deprivation, committed to helping them become the expert in their child's sleep needs,” she said. Continuing her education is key for Sopman and she prides herself on continuously studying and attending courses. In addition to having five certifications, she has worked with more than 200 families across Canada, the US and New Zealand. She is the owner and founder of Rest Easy Sleep Consulting™. She is an Advanced Certified Sensitive Sleep Consultant, a Certified HUG Teacher, Certified Newborn Sleep Consultant, and a member of the International Association of Child Sleep Consultants. In addition, she completed her Infant Mental Health Community Training through the Infant Mental Health Promotion (IMHP) and the Hospital of Sick Children, Toronto.

Still Not Sure?

Rest Easy Sleep Consulting offers a 30-minute complimentary consultation, so families can learn more about them and they can gain insight on the challenges families are facing. It is important to research and be familiar with the consultant you are choosing to work with - they are not made equal! Rest Easy’s mission is to ensure the family and consultant become a team. You will see amazing results because they want to communicate frequently to ensure the family is confident and gains the education necessary to carry on once our time together is complete. Contact them tonight!




Making Your Home Biz Stand Out: The Things You Won't Have Thought About

The beginning of the year sees so many people having fresh ideas about what they want to do, and for some, that can mean taking that leap of faith and starting their own business from home. It can give you great flexibility, help you when it comes to doing something that you feel passionate about and engaged with, and can even potentially make you more money in the long term. But, there's a catch. Many others have the same idea, so how do you stand out here? Here are some tips and pointers to help you do just that.

You are the key ingredient

One of the things that we can forget is the fact that no other business has you. You are a key ingredient to your success, you are unique, you have different ideas, different processes, we are all different. This is the fundamental key ingredient to helping your home business stand out, because no other business has you. Take some time to understand what your strengths are, and also be aware of your weaknesses. This is when you can focus your energy on where you can make the difference. In the areas that are your weakness, then consider outsourcing, which brings me to the next suggestion.

Outsourcing and valuing your time

As an entrepreneur, it can be so tempting to tackle every task that you are faced with your business, especially when working from home or just starting out. But just as you would analyse your strengths, you also need to value your time. Outsourcing can be a huge help to free up your time of tasks that you can have done better elsewhere, and enable your to focus on the areas you can change for the better. Things like IT Support and Services or accounts are some of the areas that may do better being outsourced. This helps you to then focus your energy on your strong points and move your business forward.

Time management and knowing when you work smarter

It can be very easy to be distracted when working from home, and feel that there are just not enough hours in the day to get things done. But, at the same time, you need to be able to get the tasks done. This is when time management could really work in your favour. It will enable you to clump tasks together, or time yourself to get certain things done. There are many hacks online that you can explore and try out to find which ones will work for you.

Using your local community to your advantage

Finally, you may want to think about your local community and how this could be used to your advantage. The chances are, you may be the only person doing what you do in your area, would you have a potential customer base on your doorstep? If so, get involved with local events, and advertise through sponsorship. Have pop-up shops or host events in your area. These things can help you expand your business.

Let’s hope these tips help your homes business to stand out.


Reporting to the IRS When Running Your Own Business

When you start up a small business, you’re likely to have one thing at the forefront of your mind and one main goal to come from everything your small business does - profit. Profit is what will keep your business afloat. Profit is what will provide you with a good quality of life and a secure income. Profit really does make your business’ world go round! But where there’s profit, there’s inevitably taxes. Taxes are a compulsory contribution to the revenue of the state that you live in and there are relatively few countries in the world that do not charge income tax. In fact, these countries could be counted on one hand - Bermuda, Monaco, the Bahamas, Andorra, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). So, unless you’re operating within one of these countries, you’re going to have to pay tax and deal with the tax paying process as you go along. For now, let’s focus on the USA. When paying taxes in the USA, you will have to answer to the IRS. So, let’s take a moment to get to know the IRS and understand how to report to them properly when you run your own small business!

What Is the IRS?

IRS stands for “Internal Revenue Service”. This is a U.S. Government agency that is responsible for collecting taxes from anyone who owes taxes and enforcing tax laws. It was established in 1862 by President Lincoln, so it really has been around for a long time! Nowadays, it operates under the authority of the United States Department of the Treasury. If you’ve heard people refer to “the tax man”, they’re referring to the IRS.

Understanding the Scale of the IRS

The IRS deals with every American’s tax return. It is estimated that in 2016, the IRS processed over two hundred and forty four million tax returns, ranging from individual returns to corporate returns. They also collected over $3.3 trillion in revenue, compared to just $426 billion in tax refunds. So, you may think that you can slide under the radar and not declare your earnings to the IRS safely. Who’s going to notice one person in amongst all of the others? It would be like finding a needle in a haystack. However, when it comes down to it, the IRS are aware that this attitude can exist and they do employ over 80,000 workers and they are dedicated to ensuring that everyone files their tax return and everyone pays their dues. So, you stand little chance of getting away with tax avoidance.

What Do You Need to File?

What you need to file to the IRS will depend largely on what exactly your company is doing. You will have to file different forms pertaining to a whole host of different factors. So, only you can find out exactly what you need to submit. But to help you along the way, here are just a few common forms that business owners find themselves filing at the end of each fiscal year.

  • 940 - if you have had to let staff go and you have paid unemployment compensation to your workers, you will need to file a 940 to report your annual Federal Unemployment Tax Act taxes. This tax should not be taken from your employees’ wages. Instead, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) and unemployment tax systems will provides funds towards this compensation instead.

  • 941 - if you withhold income taxes, social security tax, or Medicare tax from your employees’ paychecks, you will have to file a 941 form. You can also use this form to pay your employers’ portion of social security or medicare taxes.

  • 1040 - the 1040 file is an income tax file. It is perhaps the most commonly filed tax form in the US, as it is used by all taxpayers to file their annual income return. You may need to submit “schedules” if your return is complicated. These will generally need to be submitted alongside your 1040. If you are self-employed, you will also have to submit a schedule SE alongside your 1040.

  • 1099 - if you pay an independent contractor to perform a job or offer services for your company, then you have to report their pay to the IRS. To do this, you file a 1099. Independent contractors usually agree to pay their own tax contributions, meaning that you don’t have to worry about deducting taxes from their pay packet and sending the money over to the IRS yourself. However, reporting what they have been paid to the IRS can help the IRS to keep a track of what work they have carried out and consequently what tax they owe from the money you have paid them.

When Do You Need to File?

Whatever forms you need to file, there are going to be deadlines attached to them. You need to ensure that your forms are submitted and received before the deadline. Here are some current key dates to note down.

  • April 15th, 2019 - this is when you need to submit your IRS income tax return. It is also the deadline for the majority of state returns. It’s worth double checking your own state’s specific return date to be sure.

  • April 15th to October 15th, 2019 - this is the period in which tax returns will be processed and you will be reissued any overpaid tax via a tax refund. You can make use of the IRS website’s “Where is my refund?” feature to keep a track of your individual return.

Anything to do with tax is extremely complicated. But paying taxes is going to be an inevitability as long as you are generating profit, so you are better off familiarising yourself with the process sooner rather than later. Hopefully, the above information has helped you to get to grips with the basics for now. If you find that you are really struggling with reporting to the IRS effectively and efficiently, remember that you can always make use of the services of a professional accountant!

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