Tag: Blog

23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016 – Salesforce Blog #online #business

#business quotes

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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016

If there’s one thing we know about small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on growth. When we surveyed entrepreneurs and small-business leaders earlier this year, the majority told us they expected to grow significantly in the coming year. (Click here to see the full results of our research .)

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to give small businesses a little inspiration. Here are 23 of our favorite quotes to help you jumpstart business growth in 2016.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.

— Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

― Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

— Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”

― Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.

— Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.”

― William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin, writer

No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

— T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.

— Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

— Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.

— Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.

— Thomas Watson, Sr. former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.”

— Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.”

— Vaughn Aust. EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders. hire individuals who will lead by example.

— Jody Kohner. VP of Employee Marketing Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant, co-founder, General Motors


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5 Fantastic Small Business Payroll Services Compared – Capterra Blog #minority #business #grants


#small business payroll

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5 Fantastic Small Business Payroll Services Compared

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If you didn’t have to hire, manage, and pay employees, life would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, that plan ends up with you sitting alone in a dark room, trying to do everything for your business while slowly losing your mind. Luckily, you can pay someone else to take care of this stuff. Payroll services will take the burden off you, give your employees a regular paycheck, and some can even manage your payroll taxes.

For many companies, hiring someone to manage HR operations like paying employees and managing benefits is cost prohibitive. Payroll services cost substantially less than hiring a new employee and can take a lot of work off your plate.

Here are five small business payroll services to compare.

Intuit Payroll

Inuit’s full-service payroll option covers basically everything. All you do is enter the hours to pay your employees for, and Intuit does the rest. In this case, “the rest” includes direct deposits, tax preparation, and even tax filing. The company also offers smaller options, which still manage payments, but which require you to do more work on the tax end.

Intuit also supports a wide range of secondary payroll features. You can add in health insurance contributions, 401(k) deductions, IRA payments, and other retirement plans. Pay period deductions can be modified with catchup payments for your older employees, as well.

Intuit’s options range from $25 per month to $99 per month, depending on how much handholding you’d like. All the options cost an additional $2 per month, per employee.

OnPay

OnPay is one of the newer payroll service providers on the scene, but reviewers and users have been happy with its offering. Like Intuit, OnPay can manage payments, payroll taxes, and can pay your employees by direct deposit or print-on-demand checks.

OnPay is geared toward the smaller end of the small-business spectrum. It lacks support for retirement and some other more advanced deductions.

OnPay costs $39.95 per month, and for that price you get ten employees. Beyond ten, you’ll pay $1 more per month, per employee. Direct deposit functionality costs an additional $8 per month.

Paychex Flex

Paychex is one of the biggest payroll processors around. The company claims that it “pays 1 in 15 US private sector workers.” Paychex Flex is the company’s online, payroll service option.

Paychex offers a lot of optional features. You can have checks issued, use direct deposit, or even use prepaid debit cards to pay your employees. The service can also administer retirement plans, do your taxes, and garnish wages when the IRS comes after your vice-president of sales.

Most reviewers have suggested that Paychex is best suited to companies with under 50 employees and it excels at managing complex payment systems, like if your business spans state lines. Paychex doesn’t advertising its pricing model.

Wagepoint

A relative newcomer, Wagepoint is a simple, clean option for small business payrolls. The company offers automatic deductions for 401(k) contributions, health insurance, and union dues, along with a whole host of other options.

Wagepoint has been adding new features along the way, so the service of 2016 may look very different from the service of 2015. I met the folks who run the show at a conference in New York earlier in 2015, and I was very impressed.

The CEO told me that in the first days of the company’s operation, they experienced a glitch which resulted in some employees being mispaid at one client company. To make things right, Wagepoint paid the employees of the affected company out of its own pocket. That’s how you respond to a customer issue.

Wagepoint costs $15 per pay period, plus $2 per employee, and is running smooth and glitch free, these days.

ZenPayroll

ZenPayroll lets your employees enter their own information when they join the business, saving you the manual data entry. The one last hurdle – removed. ZenPayroll also allows your employees to donate to charities and they’ll get neat little explanations of their pay breakdown on each paystub. It’s cool.

In addition to the self-onboarding process, employees get a login once they’re added in the system. They’ll have access to their own paystubs from any internet device, they can manage charitable contributions, and they can update their tax withholdings.

It also offers the usual stuff – direct deposit, taxes, etc.

ZenPayroll is $25 per month, plus $4 per month, per employee.

Final thoughts

Like most business software, payroll services aren’t black and white, good and bad. Depending on the size of your business, your payment frequency, and the number of benefits you offer, you’re going to have very specific best options.

If you need more, check out Capterra’s full payroll software directory. We can point you in the right direction, and get you spending more time on growing your business.

Image by Abby Kahler

Looking for Payroll software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best Payroll software solutions.


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10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up – Tommy Car

#car wash business

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10 Steps For Starting a Car Wash From The Ground Up

As a 40 year veteran car wash equipment manufacturer and site developer, we’ve seen it all. We know what a daunting and potentially confusing process starting a new car wash can be. What comes first? Prospecting site locations? Securing financing? Assessing your market? How soon should you begin marketing? How long will the process take?

While we certainly can’t cover everything you need to know to start a car wash in a single post, we can take a few words to cover what we feel are the 10 most important steps to launching your own car wash business.

1) Location is Everything Go Scouting

Car washes aren’t automatically successful. Great care must be taken when selecting the location on which you want to build. Our Site Model Pages have in-depth descriptions of location criteria to consider (including population, competition, street types, car counts, and more) and our site development services can help you select and approve the best locations available in your area.

Start by driving around your target area, paying close attention to the relative traffic, types of local businesses, and anything that looks for sale. Get a feel for your potential market. You should also visit a commercial real estate MLS like Loopnet.com or many others. Be sure to take your time and never rush into a purchase.

2) Review the Competition

Try to get a feel for the local car washes in the area. How many customers do they have and how aggressively are they marketing? What will they do when you open your wash? Can they afford a multi-million dollar renovation to bring their wash in line with yours? Are they debt free and can they cut prices to outcompete you (with your interest payments) in the short term? Are their customers frequent users and very loyal—or are they waiting for something better?

Entrenched local competition can be dangerous, even for Totally Tommy buildings, and selecting a location with some elbow room between you and competitors is important. But don’t worry too much about single stall automatic car washes or local fundraisers—you’ll be working in a completely different weight class.

3) Do the Paperwork

Find out what local city or county department handles business licenses and request an application, as well as information on local utility usage codes, insurance requirements, tax rates, and other requirements for opening a business. You will also need a Taxpayer Identification Number and you should use the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s trademark search tool to check your brand then register to claim it.

Each area and city has different rules, so make sure you take the time to understand everything and keep your business in line. If you can, also get information on local sanitary sewers (for your waste water), utility prices, water usage limits, and other regulations.

4) Planning and Approval Process

Set up a meeting with the city planner. Show them a rendering of your concept and try to get verbal approval of the design—or a list of probable issues to address. If you have approval you can set up a formal meeting to present your plans and have them voted on at a city council meeting. With luck, your Totally Tommy building with its modern style, efficient design, and great investment potential will blow them away! Try to be friendly, optimistic, and down to earth. If the city gets on board with your project it can make the whole process move along more smoothly.

5) Research Car Washes

Tour as many successful car washes as possible to see what makes them tick—especially if you haven’t been in the business very long. Check out automatic car washes, partially automatic, express, detailing, and other washes to see how they differ from one another. Operations, promotions, pricing, services, demographics… Try to learn as much as you can and develop as deep a background as you can with operations, staffing policies, equipment repair, and customer management (aka, complaints ).

To help out, our team has training available to teach you everything you need to know BEFORE you’re trying to run your wash on hot days with long lines.

6) Operations Decisions

Will you run your car wash independently or will you have a franchise, LLC, or S-corp? There are many models, each with pros and cons. Franchises offer support at the cost of a residual. Solo operations offer total freedom but deprive you of much-needed backup and brand awareness. How much personal involvement are you looking for? If you plan on hiring a manager instead of handling things yourself, make sure he or she has the necessary qualifications and is heavily invested in your future success.

7) Make a Business Plan!

Your car wash business plan (click for outline) should focus on both long term and short term operations. Use a professional service and remember that the more detailed, thorough, and researched your plan is, the better it will look to investors or your bank. Include costs (up front and overhead costs), planning for building to long-term revenue management, and marketing strategies (launch and long-term). Professional proforma companies are ready to help and our team is also standing by with years of experience to back up our advice.

8) Get Financing

This is likely the most challenging step, and your success here will largely depend on how well you’ve researched and prepared your business plan ahead of time. A solid revenue model can help convince investors to put up the capital for your new car wash business, so be prepared to demonstrate that you need enough funding for a truly high quality car wash facility and equipment with great return potential. You will also need a convincing resume with business and/or car wash experience, and a solid marketing plan.

9) Build the Right Wash

Car washes thrive when they capture the attention of the local market and are designed to make turning in, purchasing a wash, and moving through the tunnel as quick and easy as possible. The Totally Tommy building is the best way to do just this, drawing huge numbers of passing customers with a great looking building, perfected layouts, and a full and fast service menu. Proven in scenarios around the country, every component of this facility design has been carefully thought out to create a single, cohesive investment that pays off. From our towers to our pay system, deceleration lanes, glass walls, stainless steel equipment, and clear roof, everything is designed to project sophistication, professionalism, and value. So why waste money reinventing the wheel, and why risk building a second-best wash when a Totally Tommy wash is waiting for you?

10) Market your New Business

Customers don’t know what they don’t know, so don’t just expect them to line up without any effort on your part. Make sure to let the community know about your wash ahead of the grand opening with onsite advertising as well as print, radio, local web, and possibly TV advertisements. You’ll begin to build a curious customer base who will drop buy and tell their friends and family afterwards. $15,000 or $1 / car for initial marketing including billboards, mailings to 5 mile radius, promotional washes, and radio commercials is a good place to start at your launch and $.10 / car is a standard ballpark long-term rate for the future. One or two day Social media campaigns (incentivize customers with free washes for best results) can also be highly successful. Be prepared to collect feedback and adapt your marketing program for the greatest possible effectiveness moving forwards.

Launching any business, and especially a brick and mortar car wash filled with high-end technology, is a complex and daunting prospect. But don’t worry. The team at Tommy Car Wash Systems has hundreds of washes behind us with thousands of installations and developments. We know the steps you’ll need to take to get your wash planed, approved, built, and operational, and we’ll help you turn a fantastic business opportunity into an even better reality.

Tommy Car Wash Systems

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How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It #cincinnati #business #courier


#work from home ideas

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How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It

This post includes affiliate links.

If you want to work from home and make money blogging, then you need to have the right tools, resources, and information to guide your way.

With an overwhelming amount of information on the web it’s often confusing figuring it all out. Listed below are some of the resources that I use, recommend, or that I’ve found helpful on my blogging journey.

These tools will not only help get you started but they’ll make the process easier so you can start making money faster.

First, grab my FREE Blogging e-book. it will teach you how to write great content, get tons of traffic to your blog and most importantly, how to make money from it!

To start the process you ll need to choose a blogging platform; or in technical terms a content management system (CMS). There are many different CMS platforms to choose between, but I highly recommend WordPress. It s ideal for beginners as it s easy to use and modify, it has tons of functionality, and it s free to use all you need to do is purchase your hosting and domain name.

WordPress is what I use for this site.

A lot of people ask me about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. I’ve heard it’s easy to use. But I also know a lot of people who started out on Blogger, but then had to make the switch to WordPress later on. Do yourself a favor and use WordPress from the beginning, you ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Once you decided on a blogging platform you ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. When choosing a hosting company you’ll want to make sure that you get one that’s reliable, affordable, and that has excellent customer service. Right now I m using a virtual private server (VPS) through, Liquid Web. They have a wide variety of hosting plans, which makes it easy to upgrade your service as your site grows. If I weren t using them, I would probably use Bluehost or Synthesis. as they were created with WordPress users in mind. Over the years, I ve had to switch hosting companies three times which is no fun.

Need help installing WordPress to your host? Here s an EASY way to be up and running in 30 minutes or less!

When I first launched my blog, I had a graphic designer create a custom design for me. And while I loved my design it was very expensive! If I were just starting out again, I would use Bluehost with their 1-2-3 easy upload and a template from StudioPress (which is what I m using now). Not only are these templates affordable (like $99), but they look great and they re super easy to modify. To help make your site stand out, I do suggest getting a custom logo designed. If you re launching your blog on a shoestring budget, try Fiverr where freelancers only charge $5 for their services. I haven t used Fiverr for logo design, but I have used them for other sorts of images, and I ve been happy with the results.

To get traffic to your blog you’ll want to utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google Plus. Seem overwhelming? To help manage all of these social media platforms, I use HootSuite. I’ve tried other applications, but this one has the most functionality, and it is the easiest to use. You can schedule updates and manage all of your accounts in one place, and best of all it s FREE!

The one network that you can’t manage from HootSuite is Pinterest. For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster to manage my pins. It s only $5 a month and so worth it! You can schedule pins and re-loop your pins so that they receive maximum exposure.

For tips on how to maximize your Pinterest efforts, check out these resources:

To create pin-friendly images for your blog posts, I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. I started out using PicMonkey, which is easy to use, and it gives you professional looking images in a flash. But now I mostly use Canva. It has premade templates and font combos which help me create professional looking images quicker. Each platform is free for basic usage with permeium features costing just a bit more.

For stock images I use StockFresh and DepositPhotos not only do they have high-quality photos, but they re affordable.

Part of getting traffic is writing awesome content. To make sure your content is excellent you ll need to edit your posts for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Now you can do this manually, but I ve found that even when I go back and proofread two or three times I often miss typos. Of course, you can hire an editor to proof your content, but that can get expensive. A more affordable option is to use an editing software or program. I ve tried a few different platforms out and by far my favorite is, Grammarly. It s easy to use and catches errors that word processing programs miss. It also tightens up your copy so you re using an active voice.

From the first day, you launch your blog you need to make sure that you’re building an email list. SEO rules and social media platforms are constantly changing. But with an email list, it is something that you own, and that can always be used to reach your audience. Personally, I use Constant Contact I love them! They have lots of professional looking templates to choose from, it’s super easy to use, and they have added features like auto-responders. They even offer a FREE 60 trial so you can test them out without any obligation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The majority of my traffic comes from Google, and this is because certain keyword phrases on my site have ranked well with the search engines. Search engine traffic is free, and you’ll want to take advantage of it. I used to recommend Holly Klaassen’s e-book, 50 SEO Secrets for Mom Entrepreneurs, but she s no longer selling it.

So to get familiarized with SEO here are some useful articles on the basics.

I have read a ton of blogging books over the years, and these are the ones that have SERIOUSLY helped me on my journey!

There are so many ways to earn money from your blog, from direct ad sales and ad networks, to affiliate marketing and digital earning so make sure to check out these must-read articles.

As a career blogger, you ll need to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. The first year I started out, I made the mistake of keeping all of these transactions in a spreadsheet which made tax time a nightmare. Since then I ve been using GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly, Outright) which has simplified the whole process because it automatically updates your transactions from your PayPal and checking account. The online platform is super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for all monetized bloggers.

Hope you found this roadmap helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey!

This post includes referral and affiliate links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. See our disclosure policy for further information.


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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016 – Salesforce Blog #own #your

#business quotes

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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016

If there’s one thing we know about small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on growth. When we surveyed entrepreneurs and small-business leaders earlier this year, the majority told us they expected to grow significantly in the coming year. (Click here to see the full results of our research .)

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to give small businesses a little inspiration. Here are 23 of our favorite quotes to help you jumpstart business growth in 2016.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.

— Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

― Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

— Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”

― Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.

— Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.”

― William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin, writer

No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

— T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.

— Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

— Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.

— Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.

— Thomas Watson, Sr. former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.”

— Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.”

— Vaughn Aust. EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders. hire individuals who will lead by example.

— Jody Kohner. VP of Employee Marketing Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant, co-founder, General Motors


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5 Fantastic Small Business Payroll Services Compared – Capterra Blog #home #business #ideas


#small business payroll

#

5 Fantastic Small Business Payroll Services Compared

Share This Article

If you didn’t have to hire, manage, and pay employees, life would be a lot easier. Unfortunately, that plan ends up with you sitting alone in a dark room, trying to do everything for your business while slowly losing your mind. Luckily, you can pay someone else to take care of this stuff. Payroll services will take the burden off you, give your employees a regular paycheck, and some can even manage your payroll taxes.

For many companies, hiring someone to manage HR operations like paying employees and managing benefits is cost prohibitive. Payroll services cost substantially less than hiring a new employee and can take a lot of work off your plate.

Here are five small business payroll services to compare.

Intuit Payroll

Inuit’s full-service payroll option covers basically everything. All you do is enter the hours to pay your employees for, and Intuit does the rest. In this case, “the rest” includes direct deposits, tax preparation, and even tax filing. The company also offers smaller options, which still manage payments, but which require you to do more work on the tax end.

Intuit also supports a wide range of secondary payroll features. You can add in health insurance contributions, 401(k) deductions, IRA payments, and other retirement plans. Pay period deductions can be modified with catchup payments for your older employees, as well.

Intuit’s options range from $25 per month to $99 per month, depending on how much handholding you’d like. All the options cost an additional $2 per month, per employee.

OnPay

OnPay is one of the newer payroll service providers on the scene, but reviewers and users have been happy with its offering. Like Intuit, OnPay can manage payments, payroll taxes, and can pay your employees by direct deposit or print-on-demand checks.

OnPay is geared toward the smaller end of the small-business spectrum. It lacks support for retirement and some other more advanced deductions.

OnPay costs $39.95 per month, and for that price you get ten employees. Beyond ten, you’ll pay $1 more per month, per employee. Direct deposit functionality costs an additional $8 per month.

Paychex Flex

Paychex is one of the biggest payroll processors around. The company claims that it “pays 1 in 15 US private sector workers.” Paychex Flex is the company’s online, payroll service option.

Paychex offers a lot of optional features. You can have checks issued, use direct deposit, or even use prepaid debit cards to pay your employees. The service can also administer retirement plans, do your taxes, and garnish wages when the IRS comes after your vice-president of sales.

Most reviewers have suggested that Paychex is best suited to companies with under 50 employees and it excels at managing complex payment systems, like if your business spans state lines. Paychex doesn’t advertising its pricing model.

Wagepoint

A relative newcomer, Wagepoint is a simple, clean option for small business payrolls. The company offers automatic deductions for 401(k) contributions, health insurance, and union dues, along with a whole host of other options.

Wagepoint has been adding new features along the way, so the service of 2016 may look very different from the service of 2015. I met the folks who run the show at a conference in New York earlier in 2015, and I was very impressed.

The CEO told me that in the first days of the company’s operation, they experienced a glitch which resulted in some employees being mispaid at one client company. To make things right, Wagepoint paid the employees of the affected company out of its own pocket. That’s how you respond to a customer issue.

Wagepoint costs $15 per pay period, plus $2 per employee, and is running smooth and glitch free, these days.

ZenPayroll

ZenPayroll lets your employees enter their own information when they join the business, saving you the manual data entry. The one last hurdle – removed. ZenPayroll also allows your employees to donate to charities and they’ll get neat little explanations of their pay breakdown on each paystub. It’s cool.

In addition to the self-onboarding process, employees get a login once they’re added in the system. They’ll have access to their own paystubs from any internet device, they can manage charitable contributions, and they can update their tax withholdings.

It also offers the usual stuff – direct deposit, taxes, etc.

ZenPayroll is $25 per month, plus $4 per month, per employee.

Final thoughts

Like most business software, payroll services aren’t black and white, good and bad. Depending on the size of your business, your payment frequency, and the number of benefits you offer, you’re going to have very specific best options.

If you need more, check out Capterra’s full payroll software directory. We can point you in the right direction, and get you spending more time on growing your business.

Image by Abby Kahler

Looking for Payroll software? Check out Capterra’s list of the best Payroll software solutions.


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How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It #find #a #business


#work from home ideas

#

How to Start a Blog and Make Money From It

This post includes affiliate links.

If you want to work from home and make money blogging, then you need to have the right tools, resources, and information to guide your way.

With an overwhelming amount of information on the web it’s often confusing figuring it all out. Listed below are some of the resources that I use, recommend, or that I’ve found helpful on my blogging journey.

These tools will not only help get you started but they’ll make the process easier so you can start making money faster.

First, grab my FREE Blogging e-book. it will teach you how to write great content, get tons of traffic to your blog and most importantly, how to make money from it!

To start the process you ll need to choose a blogging platform; or in technical terms a content management system (CMS). There are many different CMS platforms to choose between, but I highly recommend WordPress. It s ideal for beginners as it s easy to use and modify, it has tons of functionality, and it s free to use all you need to do is purchase your hosting and domain name.

WordPress is what I use for this site.

A lot of people ask me about Blogger, Google’s blogging platform. I’ve heard it’s easy to use. But I also know a lot of people who started out on Blogger, but then had to make the switch to WordPress later on. Do yourself a favor and use WordPress from the beginning, you ll save yourself a lot of headaches down the road.

Once you decided on a blogging platform you ll need to purchase a domain name and hosting. When choosing a hosting company you’ll want to make sure that you get one that’s reliable, affordable, and that has excellent customer service. Right now I m using a virtual private server (VPS) through, Liquid Web. They have a wide variety of hosting plans, which makes it easy to upgrade your service as your site grows. If I weren t using them, I would probably use Bluehost or Synthesis. as they were created with WordPress users in mind. Over the years, I ve had to switch hosting companies three times which is no fun.

Need help installing WordPress to your host? Here s an EASY way to be up and running in 30 minutes or less!

When I first launched my blog, I had a graphic designer create a custom design for me. And while I loved my design it was very expensive! If I were just starting out again, I would use Bluehost with their 1-2-3 easy upload and a template from StudioPress (which is what I m using now). Not only are these templates affordable (like $99), but they look great and they re super easy to modify. To help make your site stand out, I do suggest getting a custom logo designed. If you re launching your blog on a shoestring budget, try Fiverr where freelancers only charge $5 for their services. I haven t used Fiverr for logo design, but I have used them for other sorts of images, and I ve been happy with the results.

To get traffic to your blog you’ll want to utilize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Instagram, and Google Plus. Seem overwhelming? To help manage all of these social media platforms, I use HootSuite. I’ve tried other applications, but this one has the most functionality, and it is the easiest to use. You can schedule updates and manage all of your accounts in one place, and best of all it s FREE!

The one network that you can’t manage from HootSuite is Pinterest. For Pinterest, I use BoardBooster to manage my pins. It s only $5 a month and so worth it! You can schedule pins and re-loop your pins so that they receive maximum exposure.

For tips on how to maximize your Pinterest efforts, check out these resources:

To create pin-friendly images for your blog posts, I recommend PicMonkey or Canva. I started out using PicMonkey, which is easy to use, and it gives you professional looking images in a flash. But now I mostly use Canva. It has premade templates and font combos which help me create professional looking images quicker. Each platform is free for basic usage with permeium features costing just a bit more.

For stock images I use StockFresh and DepositPhotos not only do they have high-quality photos, but they re affordable.

Part of getting traffic is writing awesome content. To make sure your content is excellent you ll need to edit your posts for punctuation, grammar, and spelling. Now you can do this manually, but I ve found that even when I go back and proofread two or three times I often miss typos. Of course, you can hire an editor to proof your content, but that can get expensive. A more affordable option is to use an editing software or program. I ve tried a few different platforms out and by far my favorite is, Grammarly. It s easy to use and catches errors that word processing programs miss. It also tightens up your copy so you re using an active voice.

From the first day, you launch your blog you need to make sure that you’re building an email list. SEO rules and social media platforms are constantly changing. But with an email list, it is something that you own, and that can always be used to reach your audience. Personally, I use Constant Contact I love them! They have lots of professional looking templates to choose from, it’s super easy to use, and they have added features like auto-responders. They even offer a FREE 60 trial so you can test them out without any obligation.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO):

The majority of my traffic comes from Google, and this is because certain keyword phrases on my site have ranked well with the search engines. Search engine traffic is free, and you’ll want to take advantage of it. I used to recommend Holly Klaassen’s e-book, 50 SEO Secrets for Mom Entrepreneurs, but she s no longer selling it.

So to get familiarized with SEO here are some useful articles on the basics.

I have read a ton of blogging books over the years, and these are the ones that have SERIOUSLY helped me on my journey!

There are so many ways to earn money from your blog, from direct ad sales and ad networks, to affiliate marketing and digital earning so make sure to check out these must-read articles.

As a career blogger, you ll need to keep meticulous records of your income and expenses. The first year I started out, I made the mistake of keeping all of these transactions in a spreadsheet which made tax time a nightmare. Since then I ve been using GoDaddy Bookkeeping (formerly, Outright) which has simplified the whole process because it automatically updates your transactions from your PayPal and checking account. The online platform is super easy to use, and I highly recommend it for all monetized bloggers.

Hope you found this roadmap helpful. Good luck on your blogging journey!

This post includes referral and affiliate links. Please be aware that we only promote advertising from companies that we feel we can legitimately recommend to our readers. See our disclosure policy for further information.


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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016 – Salesforce Blog #atm #business


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23 Inspiring Quotes for Growing Your Business in 2016

If there’s one thing we know about small businesses, it’s that they’re focused on growth. When we surveyed entrepreneurs and small-business leaders earlier this year, the majority told us they expected to grow significantly in the coming year. (Click here to see the full results of our research .)

So, as 2015 draws to a close, we wanted to give small businesses a little inspiration. Here are 23 of our favorite quotes to help you jumpstart business growth in 2016.

Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Play by the rules, but be ferocious.

— Phil Knight, founder, Nike

“The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

— Mark Zuckerberg, founder, Facebook

“Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strength.”

― Sigmund Freud, neurologist

“Motivation is the catalyzing ingredient for every successful innovation.”

— Clayton Christensen, economist and Harvard professor

“Every problem is a gift — without problems we would not grow.”

― Anthony Robbins, motivational speaker and writer

“Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.

— John F. Kennedy, 35th president of the United States of America

Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.

— Napoleon Hill, author

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.”

― Andy Rooney, journalist

“Mistakes are the growing pains of wisdom.”

― William George Jordan, writer/editor

“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.”

― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, writer/statesman

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

― Anaïs Nin, writer

No company can afford not to move forward. It may be at the top of the heap today but at the bottom of the heap tomorrow, if it doesn’t.

— James Cash Penney, founder, JC Penney

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

— T.S. Eliot, author

“The only way you are going to have success is to have lots of failures first.

— Sergey Brin, co-founder, Google

If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.

— Dhirubhai Ambani, founder, Reliance Industries

I do not know the word ‘quit.’ Either I never did, or I have abolished it.

— Susan Butcher, sled dog racer

To be successful, you have to have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.

— Thomas Watson, Sr. former CEO, IBM

“It’s very easy to be different but very difficult to be better.”

— Jonathan Ive, Chief Design Officer, Apple

“Almost everything worthwhile carries with it some sort of risk, whether it’s starting a new business, whether it’s leaving home, whether it’s getting married, or whether it’s flying in space.”

— Chris Hadfield, astronaut

“Happy employees lead to happy customers, which leads to more profits.”

— Vaughn Aust. EVP of Integrated Solutions, MarketStar

Employees want to feel inspired by their leaders. hire individuals who will lead by example.

— Jody Kohner. VP of Employee Marketing Engagement, Salesforce

“Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget everything except what you’re going to do now and do it.”

— William Durant, co-founder, General Motors


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Running a Drop Shipping Business – The eCommerceFuel Blog #free #business #templates


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Running a Drop Shipping Business

The following Q A answers many common questions associated with starting and running a drop shipping business. For a real-world example, you ll want to read this post which details the fulfillment process in one of my own businesses. TrollingMotors.net.

Jump to questions/answers:

What do I need – and much does it cost – to start a drop shipping business?

To properly set up a drop shipping business in the U.S. you ll need:

  • To incorporate a business with your state (Approximately $150 to $300)
  • Request an EIN number from the IRS (free)
  • Request a sales-tax ID from your state (if your state charges sales tax, usually free)
  • Find and establish a relationship / open an account with a drop shipper (free)
  • (Recommended) Create your own eCommerce website (Approx. $10 to $50 per month)

The costs will vary based on your circumstances, but in most cases you should be able to get a drop shipping business up-and-running for less than $400. For more information on finding suppliers, please see the section on finding drop shipping companies.

Do drop shippers provide customer service and/or talk with my customers?

No. As the retailer, you re 100% responsible for dealing with customers. You ll need to build and market your website, handle customers support issues, solve problems and deal with any issues that arise. You ll act as the intermediary between your supplier and your customer.

How do I submit orders to suppliers?

Each drop shipping wholesaler will be different. Most suppliers (but not all) will accept orders via email. Many will accept them over the phone, and those with more advanced websites will accept them online. A few sophisticated suppliers will even allow you to submit your orders in bulk via a specially formatted XML or CSV file.

What is the turnaround time for fulfilling a drop shipped order?

This will vary based on the quality of the supplier, and their location. Most decent suppliers should be able to process, pack and ship out an order the same-day if it s received by noon their local time.

How do I get tracking information for orders?

This will also vary by drop shipper. A quality drop shipping wholesaler will provide tracking information via email in plain text or in a specially formatted .CSV or .XML file. Tracking information should be received immediately after the shipment is processed or by the end of the day the order was shipped. Once you receive a tracking number, it s your responsibility to pass it along to your customer usually through your shopping cart interface.

One mark of a poor drop shipper is delays in sending you order verification and tracking information and/or making you log-in to their website to retrieve tracking numbers.

How do I pay my supplier?

Starting out, a drop shipper requires you to have a credit card on file to pay for orders. When getting a business credit card, make sure you get a Visa or Mastercard as many suppliers won t accept Discover or American Express.

Once you ve built up a relationship and track record, you may be given the option of Net 15 or Net 30 terms. This means that the supplier will extend you credit, and simply keep track of what you owe. Then, you ll need to pay them by check within 15 or 30 days.

I have established, multi-year relationships with numerous drop shipping suppliers and still prefer to pay by credit card over Net terms. Why? It s more convenient, I don t have to write and mail a check, and I can rack up some serious reward points using the right rewards credit cards. In fact, I was able to accumulate enough rewards to pay for a trip around the world .

Who pays for the shipping costs on orders?

While a drop shipper will usually use their own UPS/FedEx/USPS account to pay for shipping, they ll pass along the cost to you when billing you for the order. It s up to you how much to charge your end customer for shipping.

Do orders appear like they came directly from my company?

Yes! This is one of the great things about the drop shipping model. Most drop shippers will put your company s name and logo on packing slips and invoices, as well as your return address. So it appears like the package was shipped directly from you.

How do returns from customers work?

Most drop shipping companies will have restrictions on what can and can t be returned. So you ll need to make sure you clearly communicate (both before the purchase AND before accepting the return from the customer) that it meets these criteria.

Most suppliers will issue you a RA (Return Authorization) number. This unique number will identify the return in their system. Once received, simply pass along this RA number along with the address of the warehouse to your customer.

Once the supplier receives the return, they should send you a notification along with a credit invoice showing that they ve credited you for the item. Then, you in turn refund the customer who purchased from your store.

Who pays for return shipping on returns?

This will vary from retailer to retailer, but here are the policies I have in place and highly recommend:

For Defective Items: If a customer received a defective item, I feel it s my business responsibility to pay all the associated costs to get them a working product! Some store owners will argue:

We didn t make the product! It s not our fault! A defective item is the risk a customer takes for purchasing.”

but I think that s a poor way to do business, and provides a very bad experience for your customer.

I recommend paying for the return shipping costs incurred by the customer to send back the item, as well as the costs involved with shipping out a new replacement. In the event the product is very low-value (costs $20 or less), I ll often ship the customer a free replacement without requiring them to return the old product. This is often easier, faster and cheaper than paying to have a customer return a cheap defective product.

On the bright side, if a product is genuinely defective, most drop shipping wholesalers will pay for the shipping cost of sending out a new item, which means you ll only need to cover the cost of shipping from the customer to the warehouse.

For Non-Defective Items: If the customer decides to return an item due to incorrect selection – or because they simply changed their mind – they will usually be responsible for paying for return shipping fees. However, if the product was incorrectly advertised or presented on the website, the business should cover return fees if this was the cause of the problem or incompatibility.

Do drop shippers ship internationally?

This varies widely by drop shipper, so you ll need to check. I would say approximately half of the drop shippers I work with will ship internationally.

International shipments can quickly get expensive, and getting accurate quotes regarding shipping fees, customs and duties for hundreds of countries is complex. It also takes a drop shipper significantly more time to process an international order as there is more paperwork involved. Some will charge an additional fee while others simply won t bother.

Also, issues with returns and fraud get a bit more complicated with international shipments. If an international customer receives a defective product, getting them a replacement will be significantly more expensive. And the likelihood of fraud and abuse increase with international shipments.

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Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants – Small Business Blog #business

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Everything You Need to Know about Minority Business Grants

Minorities are choosing entrepreneurship in leaps and bounds. The pool of minority-owned business includes members of the African American, Hispanic, Asian, and Native American ethnic groups. According to the SBA, this number rose to 14.6 percent in 2012 in part because of the growing Hispanic population in the U.S.

As with their non-minority counterparts, proper access to funding is crucial for the creation, growth, and sustainability of their businesses. Although minority business ownership is growing, there continues to be great disparities in their access to business funding. In their effort to even the playing field, minority business owners continue to search for various funding resources.

Grants for Minority Business

Federal Grants

As part of their quest for funding, the first choice for minority business owners is to seek out grants. The belief that there are federal grants available for the start up and growth phases for small businesses is a myth. The federal government does not provide grants to businesses for start up, expansion, to cover operational expenses, or to pay off debts. However there are federal grants available in the areas of research in the fields of medicine, scientific research, education, and technology development. Here are a few such grants.

  1. Small Business Innovation Research(SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) – This grant is for the purpose of funding small business projects that are research related. Research areas include the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). See a full list of program descriptions and research topics allowed on their site.
  2. The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grant (RBEG) Program – The purpose of this grant is to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The amount of the award ranges from $10,000 to $50,000.

You can search additional federal grants at grants.gov .

Corporate Grants

We have included a list of some grants available to black and minority owned businesses.

  1. FedEx Small Business Grant Contest The FedEx Small Business Grant awards 10 different grants to small business owners in the following amounts: (1) grand prize grant of $25,000, (1) grant of $10,000, and (8) grants of $5,000. Deadline is January 12, 2015. To enter, the applicants must share their business story including their motivation and plans for growth. Winners will be announced April 21, 2015.
  2. The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) Growth Grant Program This grant allows business owners to apply for financing for a particular business need. Each grant is worth up to $5,000. To apply visit nase.org, create an account, become a member, and click on the link apply today. Grants are awarded on a quarterly basis.
  3. MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series – This grant supports urban entrepreneurs by awarding up to $150,000 in business grants to five entrepreneurs annually.
  4. Huggies MomInspired Grant Program – Grant proposals are accepted from businesses that nurture the relationship between mother and child either through a product or service. The amount of the award is $15,000 plus additional business resources for further development.

Organizations that Provide Minority Business Grants

The Role of the SBA

While the SBA has the authority to provide grants to certain non-profit and educational organizations, it is not permitted to provide grants to small businesses, including minority owned businesses. However, minority business owners can take advantage of the SBA (8) a Business Development Program. The program assists qualifying minority-owned businesses develop and growth through one on one counseling, training workshops, management, and technical assistance.

The 8(a) program has been designed for some minority groups that are considered socially and economically disadvantaged. Those groups include: African American, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, and Subcontinent Asian Americans. A business must be at least 51% owned by a minority of the group listed. Other groups can apply for this program if they can prove that they have been discriminated against or are at an economic disadvantage. Those groups include: Alaska Native Corporations, Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiian Organizations, and Community Development Corporations.

To learn more about this program contact the local SBA office in your area.

The Minority Business Development Agency

Another great resource for minority business owners is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). MBDA maintains a national network of 44 business centers whose purpose is to assist minority businesses with access to capital, contracts, and new markets. The specialists that work at the business centers can assist with the grant application.

Minority Business Grants: The Process

Applying for a grant is not a quick process. First the application can be more than a few pages and it is normally a detailed application. Most grants have an opening date, which is the date when the grant became available for application. The deadline date is the final date you must submit your grant by. Keep in mind that the decision may take a few months.

Additional Grant Preparation Tips

  • Create a business plan – Writing a business plan is an important step. The business plan will act as the roadmap for your business. Be sure to provide specific information in the plan about your minority business and how it will improve the economy and your community.
  • Read through grant information thoroughly Once you have decided which grant you will apply for, make sure that you read through all of the information. This will ensure that you have all of your ducks in a row. Most grant synopsis’ are detailed and require a lot of specific information.
  • Keep track of the application deadline – Obviously it is important that you do not miss the deadline. So be sure to apply for the grant before the deadline. A good idea would be to create a project checklist which includes dates and milestones. It’s a good idea to submit the grant before the deadline approaches.
  • Gather all of your documents – Make sure you gather all of the documents required for the grant. Prepare a checklist, check, and double check. You do not want to have any missing documents that may cause the grant to be denied.

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