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How to Determine What You Should Charge Customers

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Image credit: Shena Tschofen | FlickrHow much should I ask for? Especially in the early days of your business, that’s the most stressful question. Demand too much and you might drive potential customers away. Ask too little and you’ll dig yourself into a hole with razor-thin margins. Here are five questions to ask to get a better sense of how much you should be charging.

1. What’s the going rate?

You may end up wanting to charge significantly more, or less, than others in your field. But in order to make that decision, you should at least be aware of what’s going on out there. Start with online research to see if packages and fees are listed on competitors’ websites. You can also reach out to friends and colleagues who may have employed similar vendors in the past; they’ll likely be willing to share their experiences and how much they paid. And sometimes the best information comes from the horse’s mouth: many people in your field will be warm and collaborative if you ask for their help. Often, they’ll freely reveal what they charge and how they structure their pricing.

2. Who’s your audience?

Let’s face it: Unless you’re catering to celebrities and CEOs (which is great work if you can get it), it’s unlikely you can get many people to pay you $1,000 per hour for health coaching. Think through how much your target audience can afford to pay and how critical they’re likely to view your service as being. (They’re more likely to pay top dollar for a divorce attorney than they are for a knitting instructor.)

3. What value are you providing?

It’s not easy at first but try to quantify the value that your work is providing to your customer. If you’re helping them improve their sales processes and that nets them an extra million dollars per year in revenue, a $100,000 contract seems downright modest. You can also measure cost savings (perhaps you’re helping them retain high-level employees who would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace), and the number of people impacted (which is why you can charge far more for an hour-long speech than you can for an hour of coaching). Alan Weiss provides additional information about how to identify the real value of your work in his book Value-Based Fees.

4. How do you compare to others in your field?

You shouldn’t let your credentials control your pricing, but it’s worth keeping in mind. If you’re just starting out and have far less experience than others in your field, you may want to charge at the lower end of the spectrum, so you have a better chance of winning clients and gaining the real-world practice you need. On the other hand, if your credentials are impeccable -- this could include premier university degrees, experience working for blue-chip companies, a reputation as a thought leader in your field or a powerful network and connections -- you may want to charge significantly higher rates to signal your premium status to the marketplace.

5. How can you create predictable revenue streams?

Here, the question centers around “how” to charge rather than “how much.” In general, it’s best to avoid using hourly rates (another of Weiss’ mantras). There are many reasons but a notable one is that you may have invested significant time and resources in winning a client, only to do business with them for an hour -- and then they’re gone forever. Instead, alter your business model where possible to employ monthly retainers, project-based contracts or, at a bare minimum, require clients to pre-purchase blocks of time with you, so you can reap the ROI of winning their business.

Setting your rates can be a fraught activity. But by employing these tips, you’ll be able to speak up and do business with more confidence. 

 

Originally published at Entrepreneur.com. Written by Dorie Clark. Image credit: Shena Tschofen | Flickr

Tags:  entrepreneur  pricing  revenue  small biz  small business  startup  tips 

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Thinking About Being an Entrepreneur? Five Things to Consider.

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, September 9, 2014

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I often get questions as to whether being an entrepreneur is the right pathway for someone. To be honest, if you’re asking that question, it might not be right—but, it might. What I am speaking about is a long-term entrepreneur. The kind who wants to build an enduring product and service. Not someone who starts something, and leaves.

So when people say to me “I think I want to be an entrepreneur,” here are the top five things I would consider as a first time, potential entrepreneur. First, let’s talk about, quite simply, “the feel” of being an entrepreneur.

1. Entrepreneurs have a burn inside until it’s reality.

It burns. It’s not something you can ignore. When I was starting UniversalGiving®, I had big white boards in my room with black capital letters on them that said “YOU WILL NOT GIVE UP.” That was my greeting every morning. Doesn’t matter how many tough things happen, you’re going to make this happen. Blocks will come. You will overcome.

That might seem very bold to you, but why was I doing it? As much as I wanted it, as much as I had the drive—I was still afraid. There is a difference between fear and overcoming it, and fear and questioning if you should start something. There was no question. But those signs were my encouragement. No one will ever encourage you more than you. You need to have a great, “best friend” relationship with yourself so that you are honest about your capabilities, what you can do, and what you WILL COMMIT TO DO REGARDLESS. That’s the deal. If this scares you, that’s ok. Why not be a part of an entrepreneurial team? You get many benefits and the excitement of creating, without the full weight of leadership.

2. Make the world better or faster.

Your idea in some way inspires you to make the world better. It’s usually from your personal experience or observation. You want to use the product—and you want others to use it too. That doesn’t mean your product is necessarily about philanthropy; it could be making a task easier or quicker, such as Evernote or Wayz. These simple apps make your day more enjoyable. You feel like you have more power over your life.

 

3. You have to want to build.

A lot of people have ideas. And after you launch, many will tell you they “had the same idea.” But you built it. Now, you need to build to a different level—so that your idea and company stick around. Find people who want to operate in a stable role. You need good, solid managers who champion your product and help you build it across sales, marketing, product development, client service. They ensure that all the nuts and bolts are in place, and with excellence. That’s a good manager, and they’re rare (we’ll cover the importance of managers in another article).

4. Build your advisor teams immediately.

This cannot be about you. You need to surround yourself with many other supporters, as soon as you can. This is a Board of Directors and Board of Advisors. But some are informal confidantes and supporters. All of them help push your idea and service forward—it’s not just your paid staff.

 

5. All of the above makes you happy.

Think the above sounds aggressive or stressful? That’s where entrepreneurs can not only tolerate it but are also inspired by it. Yes, we’re crazy. And that’s ok. And we need other people at our organization who are not inspired by craziness, and can provide stability.

 

 

Source: http://unreasonable.is/article/thinking-about-being-an-entrepreneur-five-things-to-consider/

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Tags:  entrepreneur  small business  startup 

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What Generation Z Entrepreneurs Are Like

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, September 9, 2014

 

If you think Generation Y is the most entrepreneurial generation, think again. The newest generation of workers, Gen Z, shows great promise as the next wave of entrepreneurs. Born between 1994 and 2010, Gen Z is about 21 million strong in America alone, with the oldest being juniors in college and the youngest about five years old.

In a new study by my company and the third-largest staffing organization in the United States, Randstad US, we found more Gen Z’s (17%) than Gen Y’s (11%) want to start their own business and employ others. Another study that I did with Internships.com in February 2014 shows 72% of Gen Z’s want to start their own business someday. Only 64% of Gen Y said the same in the study. In addition, 61% of high school students and 43% of college students said they would rather be an entrepreneur than an employee when they graduate college.

Gen Z’s are interested in entrepreneurship for a few reasons. First, they have the advantage of easier access to more information, people and resources than any prior generation. In fact, all future generations have a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur because they will have the advantage of “easier access” earlier in life. For example, unlike earlier generations at their age, Gen Z’s can watch a TED talk, read several industry blogs and connect with other like-minded people in their community or throughout the world, and in the process they are often inspired to take action. Gen Z’s also have the advantage of being young enough that if they fail a few times, they can easily get back up and try again–they still have their whole lives ahead of them.

Gen Z’s also have access to new and innovative programs supporting entrepreneurship, such as the Thiel Fellowship, which grants money to teenagers who decide to skip college. Gen Z’s actively find mentors online and often turn to their parents for help building their networks at an earlier age than prior generations did. Gen Z’s are still heavily influenced by their parents, but they also are connected to hundreds of other Gen Z’s around the world. This access can create opportunities for them to work with people in other countries from their own home.

Corporations may have trouble recruiting this generation if they don’t exhibit the entrepreneurial culture that Gen Z is seeking. As with Gen Y, culture is king, and based on my research, Gen Z’s want their ideas to be heard. According to Randstad, those organizations that understand and address Gen Z’s preferences and tendency toward entrepreneurship will have great advantage in hiring the newest workforce. Jim Link, Chief Human Resource Officer of Randstad North America, explains: “Businesses have many opportunities in their recruiting and retention efforts to address this younger generation’s expressed desire for entrepreneurship.

Companies can fairly easily tap into Gen Z’s underlying motivations, such as wanting to be heard and to directly contribute. For example, companies can create opportunities for younger workers to be visible to leadership or offer them responsibilities that stretch their skills and knowledge to complement their entry-level duties.”

Not all Gen Z’s are aiming for CEO, but a few successful Gen Z entrepreneurs highlight the potential of the incoming workforce:

Moziah Bridges is the founder of Mo’s Bows, a company that was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank. Bridges learned how to sew from his grandmother at 11 years old and eventually created his own bows, selling them on Etsy. Eventually his products were distributed in several boutiques, earning him over $30,000 in revenue.

Nick D’Aloisio, a 17 year old, sold his mobile news application, Summly to Yahoo for $30 million last year. He’s finishing up high school, while working at Yahoo’s London office, because the company won’t let him work from home.

Mark Bao has founded 10 tech startups before age 20. He sold ThreeWords.me, which had millions of page views, to “dotcom mogul” Kevin Ham. Bao also was the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of a venture-backed company, Onswipe.

All three of these Gen Z entrepreneurs have built successful companies. Of course, they have older generations helping them succeed, but they are the ones coming up with the ideas and following their dreams. It’s quite likely that Gen Z will influence older generations to start businesses as we become a more entrepreneurial society.

 

Source: forbes.com
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Tags:  entrepreneur  small business 

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8 Predictions for Apple’s September 9 event

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Unless you live in an isolation tank, it's no secret that Apple is hosting a big media event on September 9 in Cupertino where we will likely see an impressive list of announcements from the likes of Tim Cook, Phil Schiller, and Craig Federighi. Apple isn't saying what they have in store, so I came up with some of my ideas and I turned to the TMO staff to see what they're expecting, too.

Apple's September media event will have lots of big announcements 

Apple's September media event will have lots of big announcements

The rumor mill has been working overtime churning out reports and photos, so we have some idea what may be on Apple's reveal list, but the company is known for its secrecy and surprises. Throwing together leaks, rumors, speculation, and Apple's track record, here's what we're expecting to see on September 9.

iPhone 6

The timing along with the plethora of leaks and rumors makes the iPhone 6 practically a sure thing. It also looks like the new model will ship with two screen sizes: 4.7-inches and 5.5-inches. It'll also likely come with a synthetic sapphire glass display surface made at Apple's own plant, sport a more powerful Apple-designed processor, include a better camera, along with better microphones and built-in speakers.

Just as it has with previous iPhone launches, reports that Apple will include Near Field Communication (NFC) for sure this time are making the rounds. If so, that would probably be part of a system for making payments using our iPhones as digital wallets.

NFC doesn't seem likely since Apple has stayed away from it so far. What's more likely is that Apple has developed its own digital wallet and mobile payment system that relies on WiFi, Bluetooth and apps -- much like it has done with the Apple Store app.

iWatch

We haven't seen hide nor hair of the rumored iWatch, yet it seems all but certain it'll be part of Apple's big announcement. The iWatch is said to be a smartwatch device we'll wear on our wrists that also collects health and fitness-related data such as how far we walk each day, heart rate, and sleep patterns.

The general consensus is that the iWatch will be worn on our wrist, although the TMO staff has questioned whether or not Apple will limit their products in that way. I've even gone so far as to speculate that Apple is working on smart sensors that track biometric data based on where they're placed on your body.

HealthKit

Apple introduced HealthKit as a feature in iOS 8 that lets third-party developers tie into a unified system for storing data collected from fitness trackers and other health monitoring devices. Users control what -- if any -- data they share with healthcare and insurance providers, and they can view the data from the Health, which is also included with iOS 8.

We'll likely see new HealthKit partnership announcements, and a mention of products that support both HealthKit and the Health app. So far, we know that the Mayo Clinic, Kaiser Permanente, and Nike are on board, and reports claim Apple is negotiating with Mount Sinai, Johns Hopkins, UnitedHealth Group, and Humana.

HomeKit

Another iOS 8 feature Apple touted at WWDC was HomeKit, which lets users control smart home-connected devices from their iPhone. The idea is that instead of using multiple apps to control your programmable LED lights, outlets and thermostat, you use a single app that manages settings in groups and integrates with Siri voice control, too.

Apple's Craig Federighi offered up an example where you tell Siri it's time for bed, and the lights in your house automatically dim, the front door locks, and the thermostat lowers temperature in your home.

Apple has already said companies such as Honeywell, Schlage, Philips, netatmo, Cree, and iHome and several others are on board. We'll probably see more names added to that list, and we'll get to see many of those products demonstrated either during the presentation or immediately after when Apple gives media attendees hands-on time with its new gear.

 

Apple TV

If Apple has lined up more content partners, and plans on adding home automation management features to Apple TV, then we may see an update here, too. There will already be plenty for Apple to show off at its media event, so unless there are some compelling changes to its diminutive set top box, it probably won't make an appearance.

iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite

With a new iPhone announcement, there's going to be an official launch date for iOS 8 revealed, too. What's likely -- considering previous iOS updates -- is that iOS 8 will be available a couple days ahead of the new iPhone's ship date.

Assuming Apple announced the iPhone 6 on Tuesday, September 9, with pre-orders starting on Friday, September 12, we'll most likely see the new models shipping a week later on Friday, September 19. An iOS 8 release a couple days ahead of the iPhone's ship date puts us at Wednesday, September 17.

Since Apple won't want to ship the new iPhone without iOS 8 pre-installed, it's a safe bet we'll see the update ahead of the smartphone ship date.

OS X Yosemite's launch date will very likely be announced, but it's less clear if that will precede or follow the iPhone 6's launch date. There are several features in iOS and and OS X Yosemite that work together, so either will feels somewhat hobbled if one is missing. If Apple doesn't give us OS X Yosemite at the same time as iOS 8, we may have to wait a few weeks before getting to take advantage of features like using our Macs to answer phone calls from our iPhones.

Be ready for some surprise announcements at Apple's media event 

Be ready for some surprise announcements at Apple's media event


CarPlay

 Apple's CarPlay isn't brand new, but that doesn't mean we can't get some new announcements related to the in-car system for controlling our iPhones. Several car makers are already supporting CarPlay, and earlier this year we heard that Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Honda, and more would be on board before the end of the year.

If Apple plans to make our iPhones a sort of nexus for managing our health and fitness, as well as our smart homes, then pushing the device as a part of our in-car systems could fit into the September media event schedule, too. Keep in mind that Apple is building a huge structure outside of the Flint Center where the media event will be held. That structure is plenty big enough to hold a pre-fab demo smart home, plus house several cars.

Apple also made a point to include CarPlay-compatible cars in its demonstrations at WWDC this last sprint, too, so it isn't like the company is sidelining its in-car plans.

iPad Air 2

Skipping a fall upgrade for the iPad Air would be a big shocker, and that may come along with the introduction of the iPhone 6. That said, Apple will be showing off so much there may not be time to talk about iPad updates, too.

New iPads, along with a new Apple TV, fall into the wildcard category and might not get a mention on September 9. TMO's John Martellaro thinks a 12-inch iPad makes sense for Apple and will very likely join the 7.9-inch iPad mini and 9.7-inch iPad Air at some point. Unless that's the big news for the iPad, it probably won't be part of Apple's announcements.

One More Thing

 Packing so much into a single media event means we could be looking at a two hour window that'll be fast and furious with announcements, and there won't be time to fit in everything Apple could possibly talk about. That said, Apple is known for surprise announcements, so we may very well see something no one anticipated.

What announcements are you expecting from Apple's September media event? Let us know, and be sure to follow our on-location live coverage on the 9th, too.

 

 

Source: macobserver.com

Tags:  entrepreneur  Mobile Payment Solutions  SEO  Small Business  Technology 

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3 Ways to Transform Yourself Into the Entrepreneur You Want to Be

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Just because that lightbulb went off in your head and you’ve started a business does not mean that you're 100 percent satisfied with who you are as an entrepreneur.

Indeed the life of entrepreneurs can be full of trial and error. If they try something and it doesn’t work, they often move on to the next project.

When it comes to personality traits, entrepreneurs tend to be passionate, resilient and assertive. But even so, starting out they might sense they're missing something and need reinforcement in critical areas to help them become the best they could be.

If that sounds like your experience, here are three ways to transform yourself into the entrepreneur that you’ve always wanted to be:

1. Define what success means to you.

Success means something different for every entrepreneur. For some, it means having a certain amount of money in a bank account. For others, it's all about being able to pay the bills by working at a job that makes them happy.

Entrepreneurs are the types of individuals who recognize when it's time take advantage of an opportunity. They become passionate about an idea. Yet, an idea and passion can only take you so far.

As you start putting the pieces together, sit back and ask yourself what you want the end game to be? How are you going to make this great idea a reality?

Understand your skills and limitations -- and find people to do the tasks you’re not familiar with. Set realistic goals and achieve them. Know what you want to do. If your goal is to take a startup public, write a timeline for doing so.

When you define what success means to you and start noticing its early signs, you’ll be motivated to keep working toward the goals you’ve established.

I'm careful to write down all my ideas and goals. 

"You really have to focus on removing the distractions," my good friend Brent Csutoras always tells me. "If you're an entrepreneur and have a desire to succeed, then your positive driving factors are already in place. It is the distractions, the bad habits, the doubts that cause you to falter, quit or fail."

Many people describe the process of envisioning success and believing in it, so that when they make decisions (in any aspect of their life), they're guided toward their success. Look at yourself deeply and identify the excuses that you cling to, the bad habits that derail you and then really focus on removing them from your life. Define success in your own eyes.

2. Ask for help.

Of course life would be easier if you were already familiar with the industry that you’re attempting to break into, the products, services, customers and even the business model. But what if you’re daring to enter a field or market for which you have no training or experience?

There’s no shame in asking for help or posing many questions. It’s not a sign of weakness either. In fact, Richard Branson has said the Virgin Group became successful because in its early years managers kept asking questions. Figure out who you can turn to for advice and answers.

One of the easiest places to look is at home. Branson asked his mother for advice. She told him to take advantage of every opportunity. You might not have to venture too far from your circle of personal contacts. Is there a friend, family member or spouse who can help you solve a problem?

Seek out advice from people who  have already gone through this journey. If you’re aware of someone in your industry who has already launched a successful business, his or her knowledge and experience can be priceless. Indeed, the founder of Laker Airways was thconvinced Branson to become the face of Virgin.

Seek out experienced business professionals who can assist you with matters ranging from legal to investing concerns. Consult Angel List to find mentors. Search for people who advise many companies.



3. Surround yourself with allies.

By now you’ve come to realize that you can’t do everything on your own. That’s why you have to surround yourself with a great team. These are the people who will fill in the gaps in specific knowledge areas. For example, you may be able to develop an app but have no idea ow to market it. That’s when you would need to bring in someone with marketing experience.

More important, however, your team will keep you going when you need to catch a second breath. Because there will be long hours and many obstacles to clear, you’re going to need team members who are passionate and enthusiastic about your idea and business. The boost in morale also isn’t just good for team members. It can carry over to how staffers create a great customer experience.

You'll need individuals who can not only help you with your weak areas but also who can complement your strengths. These will be the people to pick you up when you’re down or celebrate with you when you’ve achieved a goal. And they will be the ones who will help the business grow and help you become the entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be

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Source: Entrepreneur.com

Tags:  entrepreneur  small business  starting a business  startup 

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What Successful Leaders Do in Challenging Times

Posted By Arizona Small Business Association, Monday, August 18, 2014
Given the same set of circumstances, some people create team success and others fail. Great leaders know how to turn tough times into big wins. Here's how they do it.

If there is one thing consistent about business it's the inconsistent dynamics of business. Great leaders can navigate turbulent business climates just as well as they can sail a calm sea of activity. Often they use those frenetic circumstances to capitalize and strip away competition. Sure, some of the successes that come from chaos are pure luck, but once you dig in to the stories you find out there were intentional key decisions that launched the team to exponential success.

Success or failure during times of peril depends on your ability to get your team moving with strength and confidence. Following are 8 examples where strength, focus and resolve will help you avoid the temptations that lead to failure in difficult times.

1. Temptation: To spread your sense of urgency and panic.

When a state of panic sets in, reactive leaders will ramp up the energy and stress. Some problems do need to be solved IMMEDIATELY. But if the boss is frantic and emotional, everyone else will be too, and efficiency will diminish.

What great leaders do instead: Learn to break the news calmly, while making the seriousness of the situation clear. Take a breath and carefully assess the situation so you can work with the team to clearly set the appropriate priorities. Then you can be effective and efficient internally as you deal with the outer chaos.

2. Temptation: To lay blame.

When something goes awry, people naturally start to ask, "Who did this? Whose fault is it?" It is good to know the root of the problem, but this often descends into counterproductive finger pointing. While everyone is focused on avoiding the burden of guilt, the situation may be going from bad to worse. A leader who allows or participates in the blame game ends up with a diminished team full of distrust.

What great leaders do instead: Help the team focus on moving forward. Ask "What do we need to do to recover quickly?" and then get the team working together to make those things happen. A team will be more successful by creating heroes who inspire others to step up.

3. Temptation: To let your emotions drive your response.

It may feel better to yell or bawl someone out when you're angry or tense...at least it provides a momentary sense of release. But it does more harm than good in the long run. Your people become resentful or fearful and less likely to give you their best efforts, or bring you news that might trigger a tantrum.

What great leaders do instead: When your emotions flare, give yourself a moment to let your rational brain step in. Excuse yourself for a moment if you have to, or just take a few deep breaths. Find productive ways to channel the negative energy into positive results.

4. Temptation: To make assumptions.

In moments of small vexation or serious crisis, people often scramble to identify a cause, sometimes allowing existing assumptions to drive conclusions rather than facts. Do you actually know the reason the reports are not in the box? Are you sure the marketing people missed the deadline? Is IT really being lazy? If you have existing concerns or criticisms, it is especially easy to jump to conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

What great leaders do instead: Ask more questions that frame the big picture. Calm, value neutral questions allow you and others to diagnose what's truly going on. Sometimes they know what caused a breakdown, sometimes they don't, especially when there are a lot of moving parts in a lot of departments.Often a small issue that seems to be a choke point is only symptomatic of systemic issues that are largely hidden. Careful analysis with the team may surface core issues that can lead to exponential efficiencies.

5. Temptation: Topubliclyspeak critically of an imperfect employee.

Sometimes we all need to let of steam or grumble a bit when someone frustrates or lets us down. Doing that in front of the rest of the team spreads dissatisfaction and mistrust.

What great leaders do instead: If you really need to kvetch, do so privately, in a journal or with someone unrelated to the office. When you're feeling calmer, approach the employee directly and politely but firmly share the truth about how they have fallen short.

6. Temptation: To withhold information.

If the truth is scary, it can be hard to share it with everyone for fear that panic will ensue and everyone will desert the ship. But if you leave them in the dark, your people are likely to fill in the blanks with even scarier conjecture. Most people will paint a more desperate picture when uncertain about their own future.

What great leaders do instead: Give your people as much good information as the situation allows. Promise to keep them updated, and keep them focused on the work they CAN do, rather than worrying about what they CAN'T. That way you can lead them to success instead of managing their fears.

7. Temptation: To softball criticism.

Employees are people with thoughts and feelings, and it can be painful to watch them wilt under criticism. So rather than address their failings directly, it sometimes seems easier to drop oblique hints or bury suggestions under insincere praise.

What great leaders do instead: Tackle the hard stuff first, directly and without hesitation. If they don't know they are creating a problem, they won't know they have to fix it. You can follow up with encouragement and praise to soften the blow without muddling the message.

8. Temptation: To draw comparisons between employees.

"Try to be more like Tim." "Adriana never leaves a customer on hold for more than five minutes." We love our star players, and we want others to emulate them. Your employees probably know exactly what makes their co-workers shine. That does not mean everyone wants to be continually compared to the office favorites.


What great leaders do instead:
Evaluate each employee on their own strengths and weaknesses, using a clear rubric that is fair and equal for all. Base your comparisons on an ideal, not any one person, as your standard. Then take the time to work with each team member to perform at their personal best. Sure you are busy, but showing the person they are a priority will motivate them beyond their fears and concerns.


BY   @awesomeroar 
Source: inc.com

Tags:  entrepreneur  leadership  management 

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What to Do Before Hiring Your First Employee

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Friday, August 8, 2014

When your business takes off and you have more work than you can do, consider hiring your first employee.

Here are eight steps from SCORE and the Small Business Administration on what to do to comply with federal and Arizona regulations.


1. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as an Employer Tax ID or Form SS-4, from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.

2. Set up records for withholding taxes. For federal income tax withholding, employees sign a withholding exemption certificate, Form W-4 and employers submit Form W-4 to the IRS; employers annually report wages paid and taxes withheld on Form W-2 to the federal government in a federal wage and tax statement (plus send Copy A of the W-2 forms to the Social Security Administration as well as to your employee (go to SSA.gov for dates and details).

For Arizona state taxes, employers withhold Arizona income tax from the payment of wages for compensation for services performed in Arizona, and new employees complete Arizona Form A-4 available on AZDOR.gov.

3. Federal law requires employers to verify an employee’s eligibility to work in the U.S. and complete Form I-9 (employment eligibility verification) attesting to the confirmation. Employers can use the information on Form I-9 to electronically verify the employment eligibility of a new hired employee by registering on E-Verify (www.uscis.gov/e-verify).

4. Report newly hired employees to the Arizona New Hire Reporting Center (az-newhire.com).

5. Obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage through a commercial carrier, on a self-insured basis or through the Industrial Commission of Arizona.

6. Arizona law requires small businesses to display posters in a place where employees will see them easily. Required posters (English/Spanish) can be downloaded free from the Industrial Commission website. The U.S. Department of Labor provides a Web page on workplace poster requirements for small businesses.

7. Develop a job description for each employee that outlines the major duties and specific job expectations along with skills and qualifications required.

8. Write an employee handbook for your business: workplace rules and policies you want your employees to follow.

Originally published at Arizona Daily Star. Written by Diane Diamond. Photo credit flazingo_photos via photopin cc.

Tags:  entrepreneur  hiring  hr  new company  small biz  Small Business  startup 

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SBA Takes Part in Millennial Trains Project to Reach Entrepreneurs Across the Country

Posted By Rhette Baughman, Arizona Small Business Association, Friday, August 8, 2014

The U.S. Small Business Administration has teamed up with The Millennial Trains Project, traveling from Portland, Ore. to New York City, August 7-17 to take part in a coast-to-coast mobile business incubator to help inform, educate and explore opportunities in entrepreneurship.

The Millennial Trains Project promotes diverse groups of entrepreneurial, creative and civic-minded millennials to explore America’s new frontiers through on-train seminars, workshops and mentor sessions. The SBA will provide information sessions and mentorships to small business owners and entrepreneurs both on the train and at the stops along the way. Stops include the following cities: Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., Whitefish, Mont., St. Paul, Minn., Milwaukee, Wis., Chicago, Ill., and New York City.

This innovative project will help to engage America’s future entrepreneurs and small business leaders. Participants will be provided with SBA resources and information related to business growth, development and financial literacy, and will engage with SBA officials and resource partners offering training expertise and business speed talks.

This unique social journey will allow entrepreneurial-minded participants to collaborate and brainstorm with other individuals from around the country. There is a diversity of projects that will be of interest to the small business community and to the public in general.

SBA will connect participants with local mentors to help further build their businesses, and will feature local area resources and success stories. SBA’s participation in the Millennial Trains Project will help expand its entrepreneurial ecosystem that provides training, resources and management assistance to one million entrepreneurs and small businesses each year.

To learn more about the Millennial Trains Project and participants, visit www.millennialtrain.co.

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Contact: Cecelia Taylor (202) 401-3059
Internet Addresshttp://www.sba.gov/news
Follow SBA on TwitterFacebook & Blogs
Release Date: August 08, 2014
Release Number: 14-44

Tags:  diversity  education  entrepreneur  Millennial  SBA  Small Biz  Small Business 

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How to Become a Happier Small Business Owner, With Laura Schaefer

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



For small business owners, it can be really easy for them to get trapped into the idea that they can multi-task, do more and sleep less, which Laura Schaefer, Writer and Co-Founder of Wordchum.com, says can lead to burn-out.  In talking with dozens of entrepreneurs, a common thread she identified was the need to focus and not say yes to everything.

Schaefer suggests playing to your strengths as an entrepreneur, instead of trying to do everything at one time.  She also suggests that instead of having active accounts on multiple social media outlets, it's best to focus on just one.  In considering what your time is worth, the idea of streamlining things should be approached, such as outsourcing your accounting needs or even cleaning needs.  

The idea of really getting to know people before they are hired is something that Schaefer agrees with, to make sure they share the same goals and passion and conversely, it's a great opportunity to spot any red flags.  

Laura Schaefer is the Co-Founder of Wordchum.com, which is a website where you can upload any type of document and have someone revise it for you, in checking the flow and grammar are correct.  To read more of her article about ways to become a happier small business owner, click here.   She spoke with Arizona Business News during his interview.  Arizona Business News, sponsored by ASBAis a featured network of Sequence Media Group.

Tags:  entrepreneur  small business 

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Women are Leading Business Startups, AZ Small Business Month, ASBA News Update

Posted By Gabriel Salcido, Arizona Small Business Association, Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Updated: Thursday, July 31, 2014



Arizona Small Business month is going strong, spearheaded by two major business conferences. AZ Small Biz Con and InfusionSoft's ICON14.  During these events, more than 5,000 business were provided tools, resources, connections and education to help them succeed in this new economy.  Kristen Wilson, COO of ASBA, says they saw 2,000 people come through the event, with an additional 1,000 people coming through the Infusionsoft conference.  Each of those events offered critical resources for small businesses for marketing, making connections and celebrating entrepreneurship in Arizona.  
 

Small business confidence in the economy has soared to its highest reading since October 2007, rising from 93.4 in March to 95.2 in April, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. This optimism comes despite an economy still growing slower than in past recoveries. The monthly Small Business Optimism Index reflected a growing confidence among businesses and analysts since the end of a winter that chilled shopping, hiring and other financial growth.

Debate about raising the minimum wage continues, and the impact to small businesses and the economy is a sticking point in the argument. Small Business Majority asked a random sample of small business owners what they think about raising the wage and found 57 percent support a proposal that would increase the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hour. The vast majority of small employers already pay their workers more than minimum wage and more than half agree increasing the minimum wage would not only help the economy, it would make low-income consumers more likely to spend money, driving up demand for goods and services at other small businesses.

If you go to work for a newer business, there's a good chance you'll be working for a woman. Between 1997 and 2014, the number of women-owned businesses in the U.S. rose by 68 percent, twice the growth rate for men and nearly one and a-half times the rate for all companies, according to an American Express analysis of Census Bureau figures.

"Women are seeing that they can be entreupeuners as part of a normal career trajectory," says Susan Duffy, Executive Director of the Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership at Babson College.  

This news update was provided by Arizona Business News, a featured network of Sequence Media Group.  Arizona Business News is brought to you by the ASBA, Arizona Small Business Association.

Tags:  entrepreneur  small business 

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