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5 Tips To Grow Your Business

Posted By Stephanie Schwartz, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Updated: Monday, July 31, 2017

You don’t have to be a startup venture to capitalize on tips for taking your business to the next level – more mature companies can benefit too. These five tips can help you grow regardless of the size of your company or the industry you’re in.

 

1. Don’t try to do everything

As an entrepreneur, you’re probably used to wearing a lot of different hats – bookkeeper, marketing guru, sales agent – but that doesn't mean you can (or should) do everything yourself. If you want your business to grow, you need to accept that you can’t do everything all the time. Hire capable people or outsource work to good partners to free up time to focus on the tasks you do best.

 

2. Spend more time on selling

The one area that contributes most to business success is sales. If you’re a new company, some business experts estimate that 80% of your time should be spent on reaching out to people who can buy what you’re selling. If you’re an established company, that number goes down to 30%, but the point is, the time you spend selling is time spent opening doors and connecting with customers who write the checks.

 

3. Analyze your competition

Don’t be afraid of your competition. Instead, think of your competitors as opportunities to learn. Take a good look at what they’re doing and think about the things they do that you could implement to make more money for your own business.

 

4. Consider diversifying

Tweak your product or service so that it appeals to a new group of consumers. Alternatively, add a new product or service to your mix. By diversifying, you can create multiple income streams that can often fill seasonal lows and, of course, increase sales and profit margins. Common ways businesses diversify include importing or exporting their own or other people’s products, selling complementary services or starting consulting services.

 

5. Hire the right people

It’s essential to put together a team that feels responsible for the growth of your company. It’s equally important to pay them what they’re worth and to offer them the health and retirement benefits they deserve. Can’t offer a 401K? Look into options such as Guaranteed Retirement Income from Nationwide®. It’s a type of annuity that lets your employees lock in retirement income for the rest of their lives with a minimum contribution of just $10 a month. There’s no cost to you and nothing to manage – Nationwide does all the work.

Growing your own business is hard work and success is not guaranteed, but these tips can help get you started on the path to becoming a growing enterprise. Good luck!


 

Guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of Nationwide Life Insurance Company.

Fixed annuities are contracts purchased from a life insurance company. They are designed for long-term retirement goals. Withdrawals are subject to income tax and withdrawals before age 59 ½ may be subject to a 10% tax penalty. Annuities are issued by Nationwide Life Insurance Company, Columbus OH.

Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, Nationwide is on your side, Guaranteed Retirement Income from Nationwide, and other marks displayed in this message are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and/or its affiliates, unless otherwise disclosed. © 2017 Nationwide.

AAM-0432AO (06/17)

Tags:  Employee Benefits  Income  Retirement 

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Provide Constructive Criticism for Employee Growth

Posted By Adrienne Barker, Professional Global Etiquette, Friday, August 11, 2017

http://www.professionalglobaletiquette.com/2017/08/creative-constructive-criticism/

 

Below is an excerpt from my workshop: Creative Constructive Criticism program. For more information see the information at the end of this article. Here are a few tips to consider when providing feedback to your employees.

One aspect of delivering constructive criticism is in knowing the right time and opportunity to address it. Some instances can be dealt with on the employee’s next annual review, while others should be addressed immediately. If feedback is too soon, it could make the employee doubt their abilities and affect their job performance. If delivered too late, then the employee may ignore it altogether and dismiss any help at all. Identifying critical situations can contribute to deciding when feedback needs to be done.

 

Repeated Events or Behavior

 

An employee that displays repeated negative behaviors or patterns should be addressed to either stop or further prevent it in the future. Before discussing the problem, the employee should be monitored to ensure the event or behavior is reoccurring, not a one-time incident. Once it has been identified, the employee should be addressed in private. Privately, a resolution can be found to end the behavior and prevent it from happening further without embarrassing the employee in front of other co-workers.

Examples:

·       An employee is consistently tardy to meetings, although they contribute throughout the session. An employee turns in their reports in the incorrect format, but they are always on time. An employee works hard during the day but takes long breaks and lunches.

 

Breaches in Company Policy

 

Situations such as tardiness, improper dress, and poor performance are examples of a violation of company policy. Problems such as these should not wait until the employee’s next review but should be addressed right away. If not properly handled, the employee’s behaviors can start to affect others in the office and disrupt the work flow. Employees should be reminded of the company policy, including guidelines to follow and possible consequences for misconduct.

Examples:

·       Excessive tardiness or absences

·       Consistent violation of dress code policies

·       Disruptive behavior to other employees

·       Continued unsatisfactory job performance

 

When Informal Feedback Has Not Worked

 

Informal feedback includes actions such as a helpful reminder, a discussion in passing or even an email or memo. Many managers will try one of these methods (or another) to address a problem with an employee and keep the constructive criticism to a minimum. However, when informal methods do not work, and the behavior continues the manager needs to find then a form of formal feedback to speak with the employee. Formal feedback, as the name suggests, usually involves a more planned or structured approach, such as a meeting or review. These actions typically allow more direct contact with the employee and can better address the problem, as well as a solution.

An example of formal feedback:

·       Private meetings or discussions

·       Personal follow-up after a particular incident

·       Employee review or appraisal

 

Immediately After the Occurrence

 

One of the best times to deliver feedback is immediately after the incident happens. This way, the behavior or problem can be addressed right away. If a problem is ignored and allowed to continue, it can not only affect the employee but coworkers as well. The longer the behavior goes on or, the more time that passes after an incident, the value, and effect of the feedback decreases. Formal or informal feedback can be used, as long as it resolves the problem.

Tips:

·       Speak with the employee privately.

·       Address the problem – don’t criticize the employee.

·       Find a solution and how it can be implemented.

Constructive criticism can be a helpful tool when used with the intent of helping or improving a situation in the workplace. However, it can be one of the most challenging things not only to receive but also to give. It can often involve various emotions and feelings, which can make matters delicate. However, when management learns effective ways to handle and deliver constructive criticism, employees can not only learn from their mistakes but even benefit from them.

 

Workshop Objectives

 

To efficiently deliver constructive criticism, you must understand what it is, how it is used, and its purpose. The following aims of this workshop are designed to help you do just that.

By the end of this seminar, participants will be able to:

·       Understand when feedback should take place

·       Learn how to prepare and plan to deliver constructive criticism

·       Determine the appropriate atmosphere in which it should take place

·       Identify the proper steps to be taken during the session

·       Know how emotions and certain actions can negatively impact the effects of the session

·       Recognize the importance of setting goals and the method used to set them

·       Uncover the best techniques for following up with the employee after the session

Feel free to connect with me to discuss how we can train your management team!

Feel free to connect with me at 520-365-7755 to review any situations you may currently be experiencing. I offer consultations via phone, email or skype

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Tags:  business  criticism  growth  professional development 

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10 Books to Motivate & Inspire You

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association (ASBA), Monday, August 7, 2017

As your day-to-day life grows busier, do you often find yourself feeling overwhelmed and uninspired? It can be challenging to stay motivated amidst the constant hustle and bustle of the business world, which is why it’s important to set aside some time to reflect and recharge. What better way to slow down and reboot than by reading a good book? Today we’re sharing ten books that will help inspire and motivate you to keep the thrive alive as you work towards achieving your dreams.

1.) Creativity Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull, highlights the importance of creativity in business and leadership in Creativity Inc. This book is all about breaking the status quo and is perfect for anyone who strives for originality.

2.) How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, and Karen Dillon

This book is chock-full of inspiration and wisdom for those looking to forge a path to achieving a fulfilling life.


3.) The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

"The first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon.” Relive the ascent of the company that forever changed the way we shop and read in this spellbinding novel.

4.) Change Starts Within You by Cortney McDermott

Change Starts Within You teaches us to look inside ourselves to create a brighter tomorrow.”

5.) Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins

Discover your true purpose and regain control of your life as you learn about the fundamental lessons of self-mastery in this thought-provoking bestseller.

6.) How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Carnegie’s time-tested advice has helped numerous people achieve success in both their personal and professional lives. A must-read for anyone looking to achieve their maximum potential.

7.)  The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani

What if everything you thought about how the world works (i.e., love, education, work, etc.) is wrong? This book challenges you to think outside the box in order to redefine the meaning of personal success.

8.) Hustle by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler

A New York Times bestseller, Hustle, will teach you how to “break free from the drudgery” of your daily life and devise a path to success through a three-part structure.

9.) Grit by Angela Duckworth

Pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth emphasizes that the key to “outstanding achievement” is not talent but rather a blend of passion and persistence in this compelling novel. 

10.) Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

A riveting story that chronicles the entrepreneurial journey of Nike founder, Phil Knight.


If you’re looking for more inspiration, join ASBA on Thursday, October 12 for THRIVE! Small BIZCON. This action-packed conference will inspire you while providing you with the tools necessary for creating and maintaining a thriving business. Early bird tickets are available for a short-time! Visit www.asba.com/Thrive for more information. 

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Dont be that Bot - it can hurt your Business

Posted By Adrienne Barker, Professional Global Etiquette, Thursday, August 3, 2017

Dont Be A Lifeless Algorithm

Have you ever wondered how many people on your friend list or followers page aren’t… well… real people? It’s true – with the introduction of bots into social media platforms, it’s become challenging to discern the fake from the real. Bots are pieces of an algorithm designed to behave like real users on a social network; their services can vary from liking all your Facebook posts to gaining you fake followers and much more. Some bots can even chat with you online without you ever realizing – thus the rule to never accept requests from strangers.
So, with all these fake people wandering around the web, how do you prove yourself as a real human? Read on to find out.

Always set the profile picture with a photo of you: The very first thing a person will notice when they see your profile will be your profile picture. A nice smiling picture of you will be far more appealing and believable for them compared to your pet/fictional hero/favorite model. Do keep the settings private according to your comfort zone, but remember that when it comes to displaying pictures, honesty is the best policy.

Timing and posts: Timing is the key when it comes to spotting the bot and the human. Spam bots tweet at all hours of the day and corporate accounts stick to office hours, that is, 8 am to 8 pm, Monday to Friday. A regular human, on the other hand, will post whenever they feel like from 7 am to midnight; if you regulate the timing of tweets, spotting the real person is as simple as pie.

Comment, share, follow, and stay active: People suspect accounts that look as if they’ve been recently opened or have nothing much on them. The more activity there is, the better it looks from the outside.

Have a genuine friend list: If you accept random friend requests from a bunch of strangers (who may, in fact, be bots), guess what the person viewing your account will think. Yep, that’s right – you shall be classified as a lifeless algorithm yourself. Bot accounts can generate up to a thousand friends in the blink of an eye. Therefore, if your account activity, its lifetime, and the people on your friend lists aren’t genuine, it won’t take long for people to figure out what’s going on.

I should have mentioned earlier – this article has an enormous amount of potential to reduce your trust on people that come up on social media. But, you already knew that, didn’t you? Be wary of bots; they may not seem like much, but if one was built to be malicious then you’re in some trouble.

To conclude, keep your account looking real and active, and no one will ever again have the nerve to call you a lifeless piece of algorithm!

Tags:  algorithm  bot  social media 

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Retirement Savings Options For Small Businesses

Posted By Stephanie Schwartz, Nationwide Mutual Insurance, Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Updated: Thursday, July 6, 2017

If you’re thinking about extending retirement benefits to your employees, you should know what’s available. An effective retirement account provides flexibility – that’s why it’s important to offer a variety of options that work for both “hands on” and “hands off” investors.

Consider these solutions for small business employees and individuals like you:

For employees

  • Defined contribution – These kinds of accounts are the most common today.  Examples include the 401(a), 401(k), 403(b), 457, SIMPLE or SEP. They’re called “defined contribution plans” because employees are limited to the amount they can contribute to the plan in a given year. As the sponsoring company, you may decide to match employee contributions, though certain circumstances apply.
  • Defined benefit – Otherwise known as pension plans, these accounts provide employees with a lifetime monthly income stream when they retire.  Contributions to the plan are typically made by the sponsoring company and are not taxed.  Taxes are due on the income received in retirement.
  • Guaranteed Retirement Income from NationwideSM – This is a type of annuity that lets employees lock in monthly retirement income for the rest of their lives with a minimum contribution of just $10 a month. There’s no cost or risk to the employer, and there’s nothing for the employer to manage– Nationwide does all the work.

 

For individuals

  • IRA/Roth IRA – Depending on household income and eligibility for employer sponsored plans, individuals can make contributions to these accounts on either a pre-tax or post-tax basis.

 

  • Direct investments – Many of the investment vehicles offered inside of retirement plans are available for purchase outside of those plans as well. Stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities can all be purchased directly from the companies that offer them without the tax advantages retirement plans provide.  Typically, these options have a large minimum investment amount.

 

  • Guaranteed Retirement Income from NationwideSM - Individuals, not companies, contribute to this new way to pay for retirement.  It’s a type of annuity that provides monthly guaranteed income for life, with a minimum contribution of just $10 a month. There’s no risk, because it’s not tied to the stock market, and there are no fees to sign up or for ongoing administration.

 

Now that you know about all the investment vehicles available to you and your employees, are you ready to take the next step? Get started by checking out Nationwide’s  Find an Investment Professional tool, or talk to friends for their recommendations. To learn more about Guaranteed Retirement Income from Nationwide and to set up an account today, visit Nationwide or call 1-888-891-0272.

Tags:  Employee Benefits  Retirement 

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Serial ADA Plaintiff Theresa Brooke Returns to Arizona

Posted By Dawn Anderson, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, Friday, July 7, 2017

 By: Lindsay Leavitt Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.

Serial plaintiff Theresa Brooke is back in Arizona filing more ADA accessibility lawsuits.  Arizona hotel owners will remember that it was Theresa Brooke who, in 2015, opened the floodgates of accessibility lawsuits—she personally sued more than 100 hotels for failing to install wheelchair accessible pool lifts. For the past eighteen months she and her counsel, Peter K. Strojnik, have been touring California filing hundreds of “pool lift” lawsuits. She ran into problems, however, when California courts questioned her standing to file her lawsuits because she never actually visited the hotels (and therefore did not personally encounter the barriers to accessibility).

With her latest set of ADA lawsuits, Theresa Brooke attempts to get around the standing requirements by alleging that the websites of the defendant hotels (all based in the Denver area) do not allow her to reserve wheelchair accessible rooms online. This is a novel argument—and, if successful, could theoretically allow Theresa Brooke to sue hotels all across the country without personally visiting any of them. Theresa Brooke’s lawsuits are also unique because website accessibility lawsuits are typically brought by a person with visual or hearing impairments. Theresa Brooke has neither.

Theresa Brooke’s first-of-its-kind lawsuits raise a number of legal issues. For example, does the U.S. District Court of Arizona have specific personal jurisdiction over these Denver-area hotels? Courts have generally declined to assert personal jurisdiction solely on the basis of web advertising and instead look to see whether the defendants has more active contacts with a forum.

Regarding the substance of her allegations, whether websites are places of “public accommodation” for ADA purposes is a hot topic right now and courts within the Ninth Circuit have issued rulings on both sides of the argument.  Theresa Brooke’s lawsuits, however, raise a more narrow issue—she is able to access the hotel websites, but allegedly cannot reserve a wheelchair accessible room on the website. As someone who has defended more than 300 ADA lawsuits over the past 24 months—including more than two dozen filed by Theresa Brooke—this is a unique issue and one that I haven’t seen addressed by any court. That being said, the usual ADA defenses of standing, mootness, etc., will still apply to these cases and could be successful.

Accordingly, the first step a business defendant should do after receiving a lawsuit from Ms. Brook is to contact a capable and experienced ADA defense attorney.  

_______________________________________________________________________________

Mr. Leavitt represents and advises small and mid-size businesses in employment, landlord/tenant, and general litigation matters. He often serves as a de facto general counsel to business owners, providing practical advice on a variety of legal issues. Mr. Leavitt's appreciation for small businesses is due, in part, to his own family's entrepreneurialism. His father, brother and wife are all small business owners, providing him with first-hand knowledge of the issues small businesses face, enabling him to better provide clients with real-world and cost-effective solutions. Mr. Leavitt also serves as Chair of the firm’s Food, Beverage, and Hospitality industry group.

Mr. Leavitt can be reached at  602.262.5825 or lleavitt@jsslaw.com.

 

 

Tags:  ADA  Arizona  arizona small business  small business 

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New Proposed Rules for Arizona Sick Leave Requirements

Posted By Dawn Anderson, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC, Thursday, July 6, 2017


By: Otto S. Shill, III, Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.


Late last week, the Arizona Industrial Commission (the “Commission”) issued a Notice of Supplemental Proposed Rulemaking, adding proposed regulations that clarify several issues under Arizona’s new paid sick leave requirements. Below are summaries of the most significant proposed rules:


Paid Time Off (PTO) policies do not need to distinguish between sick leave and other leave. 

The new proposed regulations provide that when an employee has used available equivalent PTO for either sick leave or other reasons, “the employer may count the usage towards the amount of earned paid sick time taken by the employee to date in the year.” This proposal would lessen employers’ administrative burdens by allowing them to count the first PTO time used as sick leave. Thus, an employer who provides PTO at least equal to the required sick leave reduces the likelihood of having to deal with the carryover of unused sick leave. 


Employers may have an agreed hourly rate for purposes of paying sick leave. 

For employees who are paid on a commission, piece-rate, or fee-for-service basis, employers may pay for an employee’s sick leave benefit at an hourly rate agreed upon between the employer and the employee as the minimum compensation the employee will receive if the employee’s compensation would not otherwise reach that level. The agreed upon rate must at least equal the hourly rate required by minimum wage rules. The proposed regulations provide several other alternatives for determining the rate of pay based on actual compensation paid.


Employers may provide new employees a pro-rated amount of sick leave in their year of hire. 

Employers may limit the amount of sick leave available to new employees by providing them with an estimate of the amount of sick leave they can earn at the rate of 1 hour for every 30 hours worked during their initial partial year of employment if the leave is immediately available to the employee on the employee’s 90th day of employment. This means that an employer using the calendar year as the measurement year for sick leave purposes, who hires a new employee after January 1, may provide that employee with less than the maximum 24 or 40 hours of sick leave by estimating the amount the employee could actually accrue during the remainder of the year, and by making that leave available on the 90th day of employment.


Employers who provide the maximum required sick leave on day 1 can avoid carryover requirements.  

The proposed regulations allow employers who front-load sick leave by making the maximum 24 or 40 hours of sick leave available to the employee on the first day of the employer’s measurement year, to avoid tracking the accrual of sick leave and does not need to allow any sick leave to be carried to a subsequent year.


Planning Pointers. 

In many ways, the supplemental proposed regulations make planning harder for employers. At first blush, they appear to give employers the ability to avoid administrative burdens. However, the proposals, like the Commission’s FAQs, are not entirely consistent with the statute governing sick leave, and could therefore be challenged and found to be unenforceable. For example, under the new proposed rules, carryover requirements are waived if paid time off of any kind that is at least equal to the maximum required sick leave is granted to employees on the first day of the employer’s measurement year. However the statute provides that unused sick leave “shall be carried over.” Also, no mention is made of the fact that some employers may have notice conditions tied to paid time off that do not comply with the requirements for the notice rules relating to sick leave under the statute.


Thus, employers seeking to comply with the new law have two risks in following the positions announced by the Commission. First, the Commission may change its rules. The comment period on these proposed regulations ends on August 8, so we won’t know until after that what the final rules will be. Second, both proposed regulations and final regulations constitute the interpretation of Arizona’s executive branch of government, and a court might not uphold them. ARS § 23-376 authorizes the Commission to “coordinate implementation and enforcement of the statute and to create guidelines or regulations for that purpose.” Nothing in that statue appears to give the Commission authority to promulgate legislative regulations, which would typically have the full force of law. Rather the language suggests that the regulations would be interpretive or procedural regulations. There is a real possibility that some positions of the Commission given in its guidance on these matters could exceed its authority and that courts could invalidate those positions, particularly if they are inconsistent with the statutory language.


Employers must consider these risks carefully in reaching conclusions about how to draft and implement their policies. The most conservative approach would be to maintain policies that correlate directly to the statutory language. If an employer wishes to be somewhat more aggressive, it could adopt the positions allowed by Commission guidance, anticipating that having followed those guidelines would offer some measure of protection against retroactive enforcement should the guidance be invalidated or changed in the future. In any event, employers should consult with their counsel regarding their legal risks and responsibilities as they adapt their policies to comply with Arizona’s new sick leave statutes.

____________________________________________________________________


For more than 30 years, Mr. Shill has helped businesses and business owners comply with government regulations, navigate government investigations, and build wealth through business transactions and long-term planning. He has significant experience in federal and state tax compliance and tax controversies; compensation, benefits, and employment regulation; and government contracting compliance and disputes.

 

Mr. Shill regularly represents clients before federal and state government agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the National Labor Relations Board, Arizona Attorney General's office, Arizona Industrial Commission, Arizona Department of Revenue and other Arizona regulatory boards. Mr. Shill also drafts and lobbies for the passage of legislation to address client issues.


Mr. Shill can be reached at 602.262.5956 or oshill@jsslaw.com.

Tags:  Sick Leave 

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Think Twice Before Posting a Negative Review

Posted By Adrienne Barker, Professional Global Etiquette, Tuesday, July 4, 2017
The Impact of Negative Reviews
It is widely known that negative reviews can harm a business: but how many people realize the true extent of their actions on the company? With the greater accessibility of online platforms, many customers find it simple to vent their rage over a slight mishap at the restaurant in the form of a negative online review. However, little do they know that their heated words are the cause of a failing business and a perilous situation for many employees. 

A negative review can cripple a company in two significant ways:

•    Customers are warded off by the unappealing comments.
•    Business sales rapidly decline

According to recent statistics, 88% of customers are known to believe online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation – this illustrates exactly how important a review is to business. Moreover, 92% of customers tend to read online reviews, which is 4% more than in 2014. Therefore, your one negative star rating will be read by countless others who may very well reject the business, in favor of another. Is it worth creating so much loss for people over a five-minute delay in service? It is immoral not to consider other available options instead of instantly expressing our dissatisfaction in the worst possible way. 

For example, when you feel as if the service provided is not up to the mark, how about requesting to speak to the manager – take for instance the head chef in a restaurant – and express your queries on the spot. A confrontation helps resolve the problem much quicker and far more cleanly than an online review: the necessary steps are undertaken instantly. Another viable option is to call the manager and book a private appointment with him/her to discuss the problem. You may even be given a gift coupon or a refund as compensation.  

We’ve been taught in life to give everyone a second chance – so why not give the company the benefit of the doubt? Maybe a new employee came in and jumbled up your order; maybe they were just having an off day. If the deed was not that significant then consider going one last time again: who knows, your new experience may be radically different from your previous one. This method is much fairer than ruining business for one botched event.

Negative reviews are not the only option to express our dissatisfaction with a company. Keeping in mind the seriousness of a negative online review, how harshly it can impact a business and the much friendlier options available to a client instead, we should carefully consider our actions before inflicting undue harm upon others. 
 

Tags:  business  customer service  negative  reviews 

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What You Need to Know About Overtime!

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Monday, June 26, 2017
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT OVERTIME

 

If your employees work more than 40 hours per 7-day workweek they may be entitled to overtime pay. New overtime rules were set to take effect late in 2016. These regulations would have expanded the number of employees eligible to receive overtime pay but they are currently tied up in federal court. It is vital that you observe the current regulations to avoid potential fines or litigation. If you have questions about state or federal overtime rules, contact your LegalShield provider law firm.

  • Current Rules - Federal overtime regulations are part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The FLSA entitles employees working more than 40 hours in a workweek to one and one-half times their regular pay rate. If your business has, “an annual gross volume of sales made or business done of $500,000 or more” you are required to pay overtime. All schools, hospitals, medical facilities and public agencies are required to pay overtime. Click here to determine whether FLSA applies to your business.
     
  • State Regulations - Many states set additional rules for overtime pay. California, for example, requires overtime for those who work more than 8 hours in a day and double pay for those who work more than 12 hours in a day. Other states set specific thresholds for businesses that must comply with overtime rules. Arkansas requires employers with more than 4 employees to pay overtime. Click here to view a map highlighting current state overtime laws. It is important to understand both the federal and states regulations where you do business.
     
  • Exempt Employees – There are exemptions for some executive, administrative, computer professionals and other professional service employees.

From the Department of Labor:

A. Currently, to qualify for exemption, a white-collar employee generally must:

  1. be salaried, meaning that they are paid a predetermined and fixed salary that is not subject to reduction because of variations in the quality or quantity of work performed (the "salary basis test");
  2. be paid at least a specific salary threshold, which is $455 per week (the equivalent of $23,660 annually for a full-year employee) in existing regulations (the "salary level test"); and
  3. primarily perform executive, administrative, or professional duties, as provided in the Department's regulations (the "duties test").

Certain employees are not subject to either the salary basis or salary level tests (for example, doctors, teachers, and lawyers).

  • New Rules from 2016 – Overtime exemption thresholds were set to nearly double in December of 2016; however, the new rule is currently tied up in court. There is a great deal of speculation about the fate of the new rule with many expecting a change in direction from the new administration. The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would allow certain employers to offer comp time instead of overtime pay. The bill still must pass the Senate but it is yet another sign that changes are coming. It is important for all businesses to follow these changes carefully.  If you have any questions, contact your LegalShield provider law firm or Kenyatta Turner at 602-367-1069 or kenyattaturner@legalshieldassociate.com.

Tags:  Accounting  business owners  business resources  business risk  business services  employees  Employers  Hiring  HR  human resources  labor  legal  legal services  management  small biz  small business  small business owner  startup  tax  wage hour lawsuits  women-owned business 

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New LegalShield Law Index Brings Leading Indicators Of Actionable, Hard Data To Reveal Economic Trends

Posted By Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Monthly Index Covers Over 70% of the GDP to Predict Economic Health

 

ADA, Okla.June 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time, the LegalShield Law Index—launched today—provides a forward-looking snapshot of the economic and financial status of U.S. households and small businesses. The Index is made up of five indices, including the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index, LegalShield Housing Activity Index, LegalShield Bankruptcy Index, LegalShield Foreclosure Index, and the LegalShield Real Estate Index. Each index relies on LegalShield's unique and proprietary database of actual member demand for and usage of legal services to predict the health of the U.S. economy.

Experience the interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends

 "The LegalShield Law Index is generated from actual consumer and business demand for various legal services provided by our closed panel of dedicated law firms covering all 50 states," said James Rosseau, LegalShield's Chief Commercial Officer. "Each index is a leading economic indicator and is released in a more timely manner than traditional economic indices. Our index predicts economic activity that represent more than 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of the United States. The LegalShield Law Index provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the mid- to near-term," continued Rosseau.

The key predictive takeaways from the first public release of data, through May 2017, are as follows:

  • Consumer confidence may continue to ease in the months ahead, but will likely remain strong by historical standards.
  • Housing starts, which have risen at a stubbornly slow pace since 2012 and remain well below pre-recession levels, should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.
  • Bankruptcy filings should remain subdued in the near term. However, elevated levels of household debt are worth keeping an eye on, as they could lead to upward pressure on bankruptcy filings in the future.
  • Foreclosures should remain subdued in the short term, but may begin to rise in the second half of the year.
  • Existing home sales should continue to improve slowly in the months ahead.

The LegalShield Law Index is made up of five indices that are generated from LegalShield's proprietary data, which tracks the demand for different types of legal services for the various areas of law over the past 15-plus years. Each time a LegalShield partner law firm receives a request from a LegalShield member, the request is logged as an "intake" within one of roughly 70 unique areas of law (e.g., real estate, criminal, bankruptcy), depending on the nature of the legal need.

"We are excited to share our forward-looking data about the U.S. economy, based on the actual legal needs of our members and the work of our provider law firms—data that covers more than one-and-a-half decades of activity. When our members contact their LegalShield provider law firm, we record the area of law," explained Rosseau. "In aggregate, our index foreshadows economic activity based on actual legal events in the lives of individuals, families and small businesses."

The flagship LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index tends to lead the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index by one to three months. LegalShield's May data suggest that the recent run-up in consumer confidence may have overshot economic realities, and that consumer confidence levels may consequently pull back in the months ahead.

"While there are reasons to be optimistic about the U.S. economy, since December there has been a divergence of 'soft data' based on consumer and business confidence surveys, and 'hard data' based on actual market events, such as demand for legal services," Jeff Bell, LegalShield CEO, said. "Historically, when the LegalShield Consumer Financial Stress Index drifts away from the Consumer Confidence Index, it is typically consumer confidence that falls back into line with our index, not the other way around. We saw this in 2006 and 2007, when our index provided an early warning signal of the drop-off in confidence at the outset of the Great Recession."

LegalShield will be releasing the Index monthly, on the sixth business day of each month. Today the company is releasing May data, along with an assessment of what the data suggest about the health and direction of the U.S. economy. For access to the economic assessment, please visit https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8115751-legalshield-law-indices-predictive-economic-trends/.

The five separate measures that comprise the LegalShield Law Index together provide a leading indicator of the economic and financial status of American households and small businesses. The indices closely track a handful of key economic indicators, such as the Consumer Confidence Index (developed by the Conference Board), Housing Starts (reported by the U.S. Census Bureau), and Foreclosure Starts (reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association). Each LegalShield index has undergone a battery of statistical tests overseen by a PhD economist to validate its relationship to an existing economic indicator that sheds light on the health and direction of the U.S. economy.

LegalShield's suite of law indices provides actionable intelligence about the direction of the U.S. economy in the near term. Each index is based on data collected through LegalShield's provider law firms across all 50 states, thereby offering insights that are not accessible to the general public.

The Index is based on data collected on a near real-time basis, and will be refreshed and released monthly along with forecast statements on each index. The Index is based on intakes among more than 1.6 million memberships (including individuals and small businesses), providing a window into the legal needs of families and businesses across the country at any given point in time.

About LegalShield 
LegalShield is one of the North America's leading providers of legal safeguards for individuals, families and small businesses. The company also offers one of the industry's most affordable and comprehensive identity theft plans, IDShield. LegalShield plans provide protection to more than 4.2 million individuals, and IDShield provides identity monitoring and restoration services to more than one million individuals across North America. In addition, LegalShield and IDShield serve more than 141,000 businesses.

For as little as $20 per month, LegalShield members get access to attorneys with an average of 19 years of experience in areas such as family matters, estate planning, financial and business issues, consumer protection, tax, real estate, benefits disputes and auto/driving issues. Unlike other legal plans or do-it-yourself websites, LegalShield has dedicated law firms in 50 states and four provinces in Canada that members can call for help without having to worry about high hourly rates.

For more information, visit http://www.LegalShield.com/hub/KenyattaTurner or contact Kenyatta Turner, LegalShield Independent Associate, 602-367-1069

Tags:  business  business decision-making  business development  Business growth  business plan  business resources  business services  business worries  economic development  economy  finance  ID Theft  Identity Fraud  Legal  legal services  real estate  setting goals  small business  small business marketing  small business strategy  women owned small business  women-owned business 

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