6 Ways to Organize Your Small Business Strategies and Policies

 

Place organization at the top of your small business’s priority list. It results in less confusion among employees and more productivity. Strategies and policies should reflect your business’s mission. These six effective tips will help you organize your small business strategies and policies. 

 

organize

Dress Code

Businesses use dress codes to make sure everyone is safe and dressed appropriately. Employers set reasonable standards of dress and appearance that suits their industry, as long as there is no discrimination. 

Relate the dress code to work conditions instead of management levels. For example, your construction business should require hard hats and work boots for anyone working on site. Employees working in an office space can dress business casual unless they go to a work site. 

 

Discipline

What actions result in discipline? Who enforces it? Set up a system and stay dedicated to it. This way employees know what kinds of repercussions result from what they did. This cuts down the number of employees taking advantage of your small business. 

 

Termination

Determine who has the authority to terminate another employee. Decide what qualifies an employee’s termination. Set up a process for pre and post-termination. This can include a plan of action for improvement or a face-to-face meeting. 

 

Evaluation

Does your business adhere to annual performance reviews? Or do you allow employees to gain meaningful metrics and evaluate themselves? Evaluations are not always enjoyable for employees or employers, but they are necessary. 

Employee evaluations are beneficial to your business. They clarify employee roles and statuses. There is the opportunity to praise your employees and give constructive feedback. Reviewing performance helps determine promotions, raises, and rewards. 

As a small business owner, evaluate yourself too! If self-evaluation is not giving you the review that you need, ask some of your employees for their honest opinion.

 

Employee Handbook

Locate all of your business strategies and policies in one place, which is considered the employee handbook. It should include the legal obligations of your business. Add in an overall look at the company culture and expectations of your employees. 

Keep the handbook short enough for new employees to read. Write clear and easy to understand language. Make sure all new employees receive a copy of the employee handbook or know where it is readily available. 

Employee handbooks reduce the number of questions that employees have about the business. It is even more useful as your small business grows, so it is best to set one up as soon as possible. 

 

Set Clear Limits

Think about what you aim to achieve in your workplace. Provide your workers with a safe and encouraging place to develop their abilities. Have a positive organizational culture that sets clear limits.

 

If you have questions about organizing your small business’s policies and strategies, call us at 410-764-3731 or book an appointment with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

 

Is It Time To Delegate Tasks as a Small Business Owner?

 

You might think as a small business owner that you need to do everything yourself. This could put your business in a bad situation where you are running behind due dates and feeling overworked. Along with taking the load of work off of one person, the decision to delegate tasks grows your business

 

delegate tasks

Signs That It Is Time To Delegate

Hire someone that you trust to complete tasks just as good as you do (or maybe even better!) These five signs will help you determine if it is time to delegate tasks. 

 

Decision Fatigue

As a small business owner, you only want what is in the best interest of your company. Making too many decisions in short periods decreases your ability to make those good decisions. Small tasks and decisions that could be made by someone else can reduce this fatigue.

 

Routine Tasks Take Up Too Much Time

Running a business should not be taken up with simple daily tasks. Your time is too valuable for this mundane work. Have someone else accomplish these tasks.

 

Late on Due Dates

Are you constantly missing deadlines you set? Struggling to keep up with your workload means you are failing to prioritize what is important and delegating what is not. 

 

Staff Is Under-worked and Underdeveloped

Your staff’s knowledge should develop as they work for your business. By giving them meaningful work, they will feel more engaged. Improve their skills by giving them more work.

 

Struggle With Responsibility In Others

You might feel nervous about handing over your work to an employee or outside agency. Lack of trust in others when deciding to hand over tasks wastes your precious time as a small business owner. 

 

Make Yourself a Better Delegator

Once you determine when it is time to delegate tasks, continue to grow your delegation skills. Create a habit of considering delegation. Always ask yourself if there is someone else that can complete the tasks. 

Continuously train your staff. This not only builds their skills but also makes it easier for you to trust them. Ask them for feedback after the tasks are completed to help you with delegating in the future. 

Ranking tasks are beneficial when you need to determine what should be delegated. Instead of trying to do everything simultaneously, you can set a timeline and pass along what is not worth doing.

Delegate Your Bookkeeping Tasks

Delegating increases productivity and is essential in your small business’s growth. It is an important skill as a business owner. 

PL Consulting works with small businesses that need to delegate their bookkeeping tasks. We are not your everyday bookkeeping firm. We believe in customizing your experience with specialized and professional services, while also offering support for future planning and productivity. 

 

If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

 

 

Why Donating to Charities is Good For Your Small Business

 

Donating to charities is an act of kindness and goodwill. Charitable gifts come in many forms. There are many benefits when donating to charities as a small business. It supports your business values. Connects your business to the community. There are also opportunities for tax deductions. A small donation can make a big difference to nonprofits. 

 

donating to charities

It Fits Your Business Values

Every business has core values and standards that they believe in. These values and standards entice customers to buy from your business.

Donating to charities is one way to promote social responsibility as a small business. No matter what your business values are, there is a charity that fits with what your business stands for.

Connects Your Business to the Community

Share your objectives and mission with everyone in your community. Doing so helps develop a cohesive business model. Spread awareness about donating to local charities. This encourages others in the community to donate.

Set up a canned food drive. Offer a donation to charity for every sale made. Ask customers if they would like to add on a donation to their purchase, while your business matches every amount.

Sometimes when charitable donations are made, your business can receive free PR. This could be in the newspaper, local news station, or an online article. Link these to your website and share it on social media. This promotes unity in your community. People support businesses that care about their community.

Receive Tax Deductions

Charitable contributions to a nonprofit might qualify your small business for tax deductions. Make sure the nonprofit is a 501(c) (3). Check to make sure with this IRS search tool

 

Deduct these charitable gifts on your taxes this year: 

  • Cash
  • Gifts of property or equipment
  • Travel expenses accrued when helping a charitable organization

 

There are many rules and regulations for charitable tax deductions. Some donations are not tax-deductible, including: 

  • Political donations
  • Gifts to individuals
  • Gifts to for-profit schools

 

Although deductions are one of the many benefits of donating to charities, this should not be your main driving force. Donate to charities that you and your business have a connection to. If your customers mainly live in your city, choose a local charity that gives back to the community. 

Get Expert Advice and Help

It is always best to check with a tax advisor familiar with charitable donations. A financial expert will help you decide what charity is best for you to support. 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. Each one of your ideas is unique to your business, and we understand that. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

 

We are here to answer questions you have about donating to charities as a small business owner. If you would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

How to Measure Success in a Small Business

 

 

Running a small business means trying out new strategies to accomplish your goals. Goals should always be measurable whether it is quantitative or qualitative. You should constantly evaluate how your business is doing and thinking of ways to improve it. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to measure the success of your small business.

How to Measure Success in a Small Business

Check Customer Satisfaction

Receiving honest and quality feedback on customer satisfaction is not always the easiest task. Feedback is not typically given unless customers are extremely satisfied or dissatisfied. Checking your customer satisfaction determines what your business is doing right, and what your business can do to improve. This is typically a qualitative result that needs to be analyzed.

 

The other reason that feedback from customers is given is that there is an incentive for them. Types of incentives include a free item, a percentage off, or the opportunity to win something through a drawing. Some ways to check on customer satisfaction is through survey links on receipts, a physical comment box in-store, social media polls, feedback through outside websites/vendors, emails, social media reviews, and in-person comments. 

 

Review Sales and Financial Statements

Focus on how much revenue your business is generating. What are your profits and losses during certain periods? Make sure you are paying close attention to three financial statements: income, balance sheet, and cash flow. Measure sales by repeat business, growth, and overall goals. 

 

Measure Customers

The amount of new and repeat customers is another form of calculating your business’s success. If your number of clients has stayed the same for too long, there may be something that you want to change with your marketing efforts. Measure repeat customers with loyalty programs. There are great customer retention metrics that you can use here

 

Assess Your Expectations

As a business owner, it is important to be happy with how your business is running. Focus on what you want the numbers to be and how you feel with your business. Your happiness is a big part of your business’s success.

 

Create a Successful Business

With these tips, you can start measuring the success of the business strategies that you are implementing by measuring sales, financial statements, customers, and the satisfaction of yourself and customers. Each business favors different measuring tactics depending on their goals and business model. 

 

PL Consulting has many years of experience in business planning, budgeting, profitability enhancement, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you have about measuring the success of your small business. We are available via phone at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

 

Restarting Your Business After a Pandemic

It is a learning process for everyone to restart their business during and after the pandemic. Tough decisions have been made over savings, payments, employee safety, and how to better serve your customers. This blog post will help you organize your thoughts and plan your actions. Put your business in a position to withstand any future downturns.

after a pandemic

Business Relationships

Evaluate your business’s relationships with its customers. Keep strong relationships with customers that continue to purchase from your business. Research what current and future customers need from your business and find ways that you can help fill those needs. These can change over time because of finances or preferences.

Supply chains were severely impacted by COVID-19. Keep strong relationships with vendors you continued working with, and other vendors that you had to stop working with either temporarily or permanently. Consider what makes your business operate at its best. 

Focus on the community that keeps your business going. Explain and show them exactly how your business is continuing to take precautions to prevent the spread of germs. This transparency should be used in the future. Give back to the community in ways that help them, while fitting your business’s mission. Last, show your appreciation to the surrounding community, vendors, mentors, and workers.

Consider New Techniques and Technology

You might have already changed the way your business operates. Continue brainstorming more efficient techniques or technology that your business can implement during and after the pandemic. Touchless technology or a new process on cash collections are ideas to consider. This will keep your business fresh and up-to-date.

Create an Emergency Plan

The best way to get your business through a tough time is by having a plan set up. If your business did not have to use an emergency plan during the current pandemic, it is a great idea to have one in case of another emergency. Set up a list of tasks that your business needs to better position it. 

Consider adding these to your “task list.”

  • Operational costs that must be covered
  • Where the business can save money
  • How to deliver your business/service to customers
  • Prioritize employees
  • Staying transparent

PL Consulting Is There For You

During the pandemic, changes and tough decisions were made quickly. You and your business must be open and prepared to change with the world around you. 

PL Consulting has assisted many businesses during tough times in applying for the CARES Act, bookkeeping services, and taxes to name a few things. We can help your business get on the right track and stay prepared for any future downturns. 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. We understand that each one of your ideas is unique to your business. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

The Best Ways to Grow Your Construction Business

 

 

Starting a construction business takes hard work and a lot of effort. Your next step is to grow the business into new markets. Make sure you have the time, money, and manpower to grow. Here is how you can take your construction business to the next level.

 

Best Ways to Grow Your Construction Business

Invest in Your Business

You need to spend money to make money. Spending your time working on building your business will result in growth. Focus on your finances and where your money is going. Continue to review your budget constantly so you can invest in what is best for your business.

 

Get the Word Out

One way to get the word out about your business is by using social media. This is essentially a free tool that you can use to talk about the business projects that you offer or have accomplished already. You can use paid advertising to get a broader audience to see promotions you have going on. 

 

Provide Great Customer Service

One of the most effective forms of marketing is word-of-mouth. Studies show that a satisfied customer will tell 2-3 people about their great experience. A dissatisfied customer will tell 8-10 people. Keep your current customers happy because they will continue using your services. New referrals and more work will come from them.

 

Utilize Your Strengths

Find the strengths that your business has over your competitors. Use that strength as an advantage for your company. One way to focus on that strength is to find your business’s niche market. Show that market how you specialize in their needs. 

 

Quality Over Quantity

Focus on the quality of your construction work. If speeding up the process results in a lack of quality in products or craft, reconsider doing so. Quality brings better results and happier customers. Set a standard of quality and stick with it so you have consistency among your projects.

 

Build Your Team

As your business takes on more projects, you will need to expand your team. Hire trustworthy employees that bring new skills to the table. Keep your loyal employees happy by offering them incentives and promotions. 

 

PL Consulting Can Help You Grow

Although summer is a busy season for construction work, you can start implementing these tactics to grow your business right now. Over your slower season, start building a plan of action and focus on getting the word out about your business. 

 

PL Consulting can help you with business planning, budgeting, and other bookkeeping services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We are still available via phone and email for anything you may need. You can reach us at 410-764-3731 or on the website here.

 

6 Tips For Managing a Small Business’s Finances

 

Managing every aspect of a small business is time-consuming and requires tons of research. You may have to go through the trial-and-error process, but you will eventually find a way that works for your business. One major part of running a business is keeping track of finances. Small mistakes can cost the business time and money. These are some of our professional tips for managing your business’s finances.

 

Overestimate Your Expenses

Many of us have recently seen that each month is unpredictable. Identify trends to the best of your ability, even though there is uncertainty. Thus, overestimating your expenses is helpful. Planning to spend extra money will not hurt your company because the unused money can be put right back into next year’s budget.

 

Find a Trusted Mentor

Build a relationship with someone that fits your financing needs. This person should be knowledgeable and experienced. A mentor is important because the internet does not always have all the answers to your questions. If you are having trouble finding a mentor, ask your surrounding network if they know someone that is reliable. 

 

Revise Your Budget

Consistently revise your budget throughout the year. Again, everything is unpredictable and you need to adjust your budget to trends that are occurring. As your business grows, pay attention to your priorities. This helps you make smart financial decisions and allow your business to thrive.

 

Incorporate Time

Time gets overlooked sometimes when planning finances. Include the time and money that is incurred by your employees when they are on the clock. Consider big projects that need to be done, holidays and sales, or other times that your business is usually busy. 

 

Set Goals

Setting small goals will help enforce the right behavior that you need to help with financing. These small goals might not be noticeable at first, but in the long run they will make a major difference in your business. These goals can gradually be increased as you accomplish them.

 

Hire a Bookkeeper

Consider hiring a bookkeeper to take over the mundane financing tasks. A trustworthy bookkeeper will keep things running on the back end of your business. This will open up your availability so you can focus on what you love doing as a business owner. 

 

How PL Consulting Can Help You

Business financing is not always an easy task. PL Consulting hopes that these tips make it easier to understand and manage. 

 

We offer a diverse range of bookkeeping and budgeting services. We are here as your business’s go-to resource when you have questions. We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. 

 

If you have questions about managing a successful small business, call us at 410.764.3731 or book an appointment through https://calendly.com/michaelplc.

How to Make a Business Idea Happen

 

 

Running your own business comes with many working parts. Coming up with ideas is just one small part of a business. After your initial idea, you need to do extensive research and create a plan of action. Here are some of our best tips for taking your initial idea and making it into a reality.

 

make your business ideas happen

 

Ideation Process

Ideas sometimes come to you unexpectedly. They can also come from brainstorming sessions, customer reviews, employee feedback, or another form of inspiration. Brainstorming sessions can be done in groups or on your own by using different brainstorming techniques. Encourage your customers and employees to give their honest opinion about your business, which will help with future plans. 

 

Research

Research is the next step in your process. This is going to help you determine whether you can make your idea happen. Call vendors that you will need to accomplish your idea to get pricing details. Look up other businesses that implemented a similar idea to have a benchmark. Develop primary research like surveys and interviews if you can. The research will narrow down which ideas you want to go ahead with if you have many to choose from. It will help you understand everything surrounding your ideas like customer interest, pricing, and implementation.

 

Target Market Evaluation

Analyze your research and make sure that your idea will solve a problem for your target market. If there is not a pain point that your ideas solve or your market will pay for, reevaluate your target market. Consider targeting a smaller group of people for your initial launch of the product or service to reduce your risk and budget.

 

Plan of Action

Use your research to plan your steps of action. Determine how much money you will need to budget for and how you will accomplish that. You might need to go to an outside lender to get your funding. Create a timeframe of when each step will be complete and stick to it as close as possible. Make sure that all of your goals for the idea are measurable and attainable. Identify who is responsible for each action step. 

 

Make Your Idea Happen

Getting your idea to the final stages is exciting. You will need to get information and research from outside sources to make your idea happen. PL Consulting can help you through the process with budgeting, accounts payable/receivable, and other bookkeeping services. 

 

We customize our services to each of our clients and their business plans. We understand that each one of your ideas is unique to your business. Our one-on-one interactions are a valuable resource for both your team and ours. 

 

If you have questions or would like to set up an appointment, call us at 410-764-3731 or book a time with us at https://calendly.com/michaelplc

 

 

How to Take Action in Uncertain Times

 

Show customers that you are resilient during uncertain times. Keep your business thriving instead of shying away from running your business altogether. Although it may seem challenging, there is always an opportunity waiting to happen. Follow these steps to get your business on the right track during this unprecedented time. 

Host Virtual Workshops

 

While most people are staying home, they are looking for virtual events to attend. These events can be free or paid. Host a workshop that teaches something that resonates with them and the current situation that we are in. 

 

Provide a call-to-action at the end of the workshop. An idea for this could be to link a landing page on your website that provides them with further information on the topic. You could also give out a coupon code for those that attended the workshop as an incentive to purchase from your business. This can land you new customers and keep your current customers satisfied.

 

Reach Out to Customers 

 

Call, email, text, or send a letter to current and past customers. See how your customers are doing and offer them support. It is okay to continue to sell your product or service, as long as you are not pushy with those that are not ready to buy. You may need to tailor your messaging to fit with what is happening right now. Be sure to share it promptly so that it fits with their current mindset.

 

Build Your Relationship With Vendors

 

Build relationships with vendors in your industry. Keep in mind that relationships take time to establish. Introduce your business, ask how they are doing, and let them know you are here for them if they need anything. These connections can lead to future partnerships or collaborations. Collaborations can be on products, virtual workshops, or campaigns to give back to the community. 

 

Focus On the Positive

 

Instead of looking at what your business does not have, find what it does have. Use your available resources to create an innovative campaign, socially safe service, or useful product. Show your community that you are a leader by controlling the situation to the best of your ability.

 

Create New Opportunities

 

Utilize these uncertain times to create opportunities for your business. Take an inventory of what your business currently offers. This can be tangible or intangible. Does this offering benefit your business and its customers? You may need to add, change, or remove parts of your inventory to increase your business’s value. Try incorporating customer engagement in these new opportunities. This increases the business to consumer interactions.

 

Take Action

 

PL Consulting has taken action in these uncertain times. We can help you navigate the future of your business. Serving the Baltimore area for several years, we are dedicated to providing customized services to fit each one of our client’s unique needs. 

Please contact us at (410)-764-3731 or at https://www.plcfo.com/contact/ for questions or to book an appointment.

 

Employers Can Defer Employment Tax Deposits Until Payment Protection Program Loan is Forgiven

 

April 2020 – The IRS has issued frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the payroll tax deferral opportunity provided by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law 116-136). Under that provision, employers of all sizes (including tax exempt/non-profit employers) can defer the deposit and payment of the employer’s share of Social Security taxes. Self-employed individuals can also defer payment of some self-employment taxes.


Background

 

To help employers conserve cash while retaining their workforce, Section 2302 of the CARES Act allows all employers to defer depositing the employer’s share of Social Security taxes for payments due from March 27 (CARES Act enactment date) through December 31, 2020. Generally, employers are required to deposit timely 6.2% of employee wages up to $137,700 (which is the 2020 Social Security wage base), along with 1.45% of Medicare (or “hospital insurance”) taxes (with no wage base cap). But Section 2302 of the CARES act allows employers to defer depositing the 6.2% of wages, interest-free and penalty-free. Payment of half of the amount deferred is due on December 31, 2021, and the remainder is due on December 31, 2022.

Insight

 

  • Employers’ 1.45% Medicare tax cannot be deferred under the CARES Act and must be deposited unless it is being used to offset payroll tax credits allowed under the CARES Act or the Family First Coronavirus Response Act.
  •  There is no application form or approval procedure to use the payroll tax deposit deferral. Rather, employers simply do not remit the amount that would otherwise be due. IRS will update the Form 941 for the second quarter of 2020 to track the deferred deposits.
  • While not addressed by the IRS in the recent FAQs, it appears that an employer who paid their social security tax liabilities due on or after March 27 could take advantage of the full deferral amount allowed by recovering the previously paid, but not required, amounts from other 2020 federal tax deposits. Employers using third party payroll-providers should discuss system capabilities and procedures for taking advantage of the allowed deferral and the possibility of recovering any previously paid amounts that were eligible for deferral.

Coordination With PPP Loan Forgiveness

 

There was some confusion over whether employers who obtain a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Small Business Administration (SBA) loan could use the payroll tax deferral, since Section 2302 of the CARES Act states that employers who obtain forgiveness of a PPP loan may not defer deposit of payroll taxes. The FAQs clarify that employers who obtain PPP loans may defer deposit of payroll taxes until such time that the employer receives a decision from its lender that all or any portion of their PPP loan is forgiven.

 

Once loan forgiveness has occurred, the employer must resume timely payroll tax deposits. The FAQs confirm that the amount that was deferred through the date that the loan was forgiven will continue to be deferred. Accordingly, half of the deferred amount will be due on December 31, 2021, and the other half will be due on December 31, 2022.

 

Insight

 

To maximize the payroll tax deferral opportunity, employers with PPP loans may wish to consider delaying their request for PPP loan forgiveness until December 31, 2020. PPP loans are for two years, at 1% interest and do not require any payments during the first six months. Employers can request PPP loan forgiveness for qualified payroll costs and certain other expenses incurred during an eight-week period beginning on the date they receive the loan proceeds (lenders must disburse proceeds within 10 days after the loan is approved). Lenders generally have up to 60 days to consider the loan forgiveness.  There does not appear to be any time limit for when an employer could submit its request for loan forgiveness, and many will wait until after June 30, 2020, to take advantage of provisions that maximize loan forgiveness.

 

For example, if an employer submits a request for loan forgiveness on July 15, 2020, the lender could forgive the loan anytime through September 15, 2020. Assume the loan is forgiven on August 15, the employer could no longer defer payroll taxes from August 15 through December 31, 2020. But if the employer does not request loan forgiveness until December 15 (and assuming the lender does not forgive the loan until early 2021), the employer could continue deferring payroll taxes through December 31, 2020.