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7 Creative Ways to Save on Operating Costs

7 Creative Ways to Save on Operating Costs. Internet Marketing, Reduce Inventory Levels, Hire Interns, Software License Management

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7 Creative Ways to Save on Operating Costs

It doesn’t matter if you’re looking to increase profits or save money because profits are down, cutting costs has been an essential point of focus over the last year.

Many small businesses have been making efforts to get creative in maximizing profits or simply continuing operation given the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re looking for other ways to save on operating costs, we’ve compiled a list of seven creative ways to save on operating costs.

1. Internet Marketing

Ways to Save on Operating Costs

While there are aspects of internet marketing that cost money (it can add up quickly), you can still market your business online at very little to no cost at all. Yes, maintaining a website does cost money, but driving leads to your website can be free.

Discover wherewith to practice search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve your search engine results’ visibility. You will find that it does require website maintenance and content marketing to take a proper and lasting approach to SEO.

Utilize social media to drive leads from potential customers. It does take time to manage a social media account, but the report itself and the content created are free. You can build a following using creative social media posts that catch the eye of your customer base.

Once you have built your consumer base, you can start email marketing with free services like Sendinblue, Benchmark, OmniSend, and others. Be aware that some email marketing services like MailChimp and MailerLite are free until you reach a certain subscriber threshold or quantity of emails sent.

2. Reduce Inventory Levels

Don’t spend money on warehousing a large inventory. The product that sits on the shelves is a product that is costing you money. While it’s nice to have stock readily available for quick fulfilment, there’s a good chance you won’t use all that you have on hand.

Any product that doesn’t get purchased is taking up space for a product that does move and eating cash flow because it’s practically gone to waste. Limit the number of items you keep on your shelves to lower your operating costs to save money now and in the future.

3. Hire Interns

Interns are a great way to find cheap or free labour. Your business can quickly bring in a fresh set of eyes to see how you do business, get the latest information on business operations and marketing techniques, and provide a pool of potential entry-level hires.

It’s essential to have a plan for your internship program to ensure that you’re providing a benefit to them and future interns. Utilize the extra hands to increase productivity and ensure that you can give feedback on their work.

4. Software License Management

Whether you have a large team of 100 to 500 employees or just five people in a small room, it can be challenging to keep track of software licenses. Whether you’re using the Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, or anything else, a software licensing management system can help you monitor your licensing to ensure continued and seamless productivity.

A lapse in software licensing can lead to a break in production, which will cost you and your employees money. You can have your IT team run your software license management system or outsource it to a third party if you don’t have an in-house IT team.

5. Cut Down on Travel

Even when it’s necessary, travel is expensive. With costs like flights, rental cars, and a per diem, it all adds up quickly. However, technology makes it easier to avoid costly business trips.

Video conference calls can be done at very little to no cost now, making it easy to create a virtual meeting with business partners and clients alike. Use the money you save from cutting travel to invest in your business and your employees. It’s cheaper to run highly productive equipment than to pay for monthly or quarterly business trips.

6. Let Employees Work Remotely

With an office comes loads of overhead. Things like utility bills, maintenance costs, equipment, rent, or mortgage can add up and cut into your profits. Employees who work from home can help you save on all these costs.

While working remotely isn’t for everyone, you can help your employees thrive in their homework environment and provide high productivity levels by giving the appropriate tools and training. Furthermore, the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has proven that remote work is more practical than many employers initially thought.

7. Conserve Energy

If you need to maintain an office space, make an effort to save energy. From turning off lights in unused rooms to getting a smart thermostat, you can cut costs here and there to save money.

A more energy-efficient business is a frugal business. Even if it means more upfront costs from buying things like solar panels or a smart office system, you can save money in the long run by cutting your energy bill.

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Business

13 Tips for Getting on Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

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13 Tips for Getting Top of Your Taxes

It’s tax season! Whether you have only a personal return to worry about or that plus a business return, there are a few helpful tips to keep in mind while getting your tax forms completed.

Here are some of those pointers to keep in mind.

1. Decide whether you need help.

For many people, completing one’s taxes may seem pretty straightforward. For others, it may look like a daunting process. If an individual has an incorporated business, such as an S corporation or partnership, and multiple qualified deductions on their return, then a professional’s help is probably best.

2. Don’t forget to fund your retirement fund.

There are multiple financial vehicles available to save for retirement, whether it is a Traditional IRA, SEP-IRA, or Keogh Plan, to name a few. In most instances, money contributed towards retirement is a legitimate way to reduce one’s taxable income on paper.

3. Stay organized.

If you have deductions to keep track of, or if your income is cash, you should stay on top of it. This is possible to do manually, and if your situation is more complicated, you can sign up for programs to help you automate it.

4. Keep in mind the tax deadline.

Tax season typically begins on January 15th, with the IRS beginning to accept personal returns through April 15th. Business returns, particularly with S corporation and partnership returns, are due on March 15th. It’s important to file on time to avoid late penalties and fees.

5. Decide whether you want to itemize or take the standard deduction.

An individual is eligible to take a $12,400 standard deduction off their taxes. However, itemizing expenses, which entail taking deductions for qualified personal expenses, such as mortgage interest and charitable deductions, may yield greater tax savings.

Keep in mind the tax deadline

6. Consider the home office deduction.

Those who have a dedicated office area in their home for work might be worth considering the operating expense of that area for a tax deduction.

7. Remember to include any dependents on your tax return.

If one has any children or adult dependents, it’s important to remember to note this on one’s tax return. Doing so allows for certain tax credits to reduce one’s taxable income.

8. Consider setting up a taxpayer account and filing online.

If one uses self-help tax software, such as TurboTax or TaxAct, tax filing, payment, or refunds are automated online. If one is employing a professional to complete their return, then electronic filing may be set up by that professional on one’s behalf. Otherwise, one can create an account online directly with the IRS for quicker and more efficient filing.

9. Make sure you are filing all the appropriate forms.

If one uses self-help software to file a personal return, all the necessary documents should be included as part of the paid package. If one is filing directly with the IRS, with no middle party to help facilitate the process, it’s important to be careful to point the proper forms and double-check that all necessary documents are filed. For business returns and more complicated personal returns, it’s best to consult a professional to ensure that all the appropriate paperwork is filed.

10. Consider hiring your children (and paying them).

If one has a business, no matter how formal or informal it is, hiring a family is advantageous for both you and them. Any salaries paid to the family are tax-deductible. Retirement contributions and health benefits are also tax-deductible expenses for the family that is the employer.

11. Keep healthy.

If you are self-employed, the entirety of your health insurance is tax-deductible, as is even your dental insurance. If you are employed and purchase health insurance with a high deductible, opening a health savings account or a flexible savings account and using it can help you offset some of the monies spent on taxes.

12. Buy supplies for work.

If you are employed and purchase supplies relevant to your work, this may be deductible. If you are self-employed and make large purchases pertinent to your work, the cost may be deductible in full.

13. Make timely payments, if needs be.

Though many individuals may expect a tax refund from the IRS, some may wish to pay additional monies with their tax filing. Whether it be via an unincorporated status as a 1099 contractor, an LLC, or a corporation, those who are self–employed are expected to make quarterly payments throughout the year by the IRS. Suppose you are wondering when LLC Taxes are due in 2020. In that case, the IRS enables one to register on their website for quarterly estimated tax payments: January 15th, April 15th, June 17th, and September 16th.

Conclusion

Taxes are an unpleasant obligation for all of us who live in the United States. Even those of us who live outside of the United States and are citizens of the United States, staying abreast of tax filing with the IRS is an indisputable legal obligation. To make this obligation run smoother, there are a few pointers to consider. Though it’s not exhaustive, the above list is pretty thorough and a good start.

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Business

4 Ways Employees Compromise Security (And How You Can Solve Them)

Employee carelessness could lead to a data breach that can destroy your business. Read on to discover how workers can undermine your company’s security.

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cybersecurity is essential to the global supply chain

Employees, in a perfect world, would have great cybersecurity habits. They will make sure never to place their company’s data or network at risk.

This isn’t a perfect world, though. Although office workers can be trustworthy and loyal, the lack of IT policies and occasional carelessness could cause a harmful data breach that can ruin your business reputation and shutter your company.

How can employees compromise your enterprise data security?

Here are four ways they can put your sensitive private and customer data at risk:

1. Insider Malice

No business manager or owner likes to think that their trusted business partners or the people on their team have it out for them. Sadly, a few bad apples can sometimes get past human resources or talent acquisition. The worst part is that malicious insider attacks are incredibly difficult to detect.

You can prevent or mitigate insider malice by getting to know the mind of your attacker. Put yourself in the shoes of a dissatisfied worker looking to take down their employer. You probably wouldn’t launch an attack while you’re using the company computer and still on the corporate payroll.

You would, however, be likely to launch a cyberattack a few days before or after your last day. If you still have your company e-mail and VPN login (and they still work), you could get into your ex-company’s servers from the comfort of your home.

Small Size Businesses Here is What You Need to Know About Cyber Security

As a business owner, you should take measures to prevent disgruntled and malicious employees from compromising your company’s IT and network infrastructure. Start by limiting privileged access to sensitive data, such as intellectual property, personally identifiable information and customer details. Then, immediately revoke the access rights of employees who resign or leave your company without notice.

Also, try getting cloud software that can back up and protect your data. You could, for instance, purchase and download an Office 365 e-mail backup solution to make sure that your e-mail data stays protected and is easily recoverable in the event of a cyberattack or a security threat.

2. The Use of Weak or Lazy Passwords

According to a report from PCMag, the top three common passwords for 2020 are picture1, 123456789 and 123456. These passwords are so laughably insecure that you’re practically rolling out the red carpet for hackers and other cybercriminals.

When you have employees adhering to poor password practices, you need to create and implement a strong password policy to prevent an enterprise data security disaster. Make sure your workers receive a notification to change their passwords every quarter. What’s more, the new password must adhere to the following requirements:

  • It shouldn’t match the previous passwords.
  • It must contain at least nine characters (the longer, the better).
  • It needs to include a combination of symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters and numbers.

Changing and memorizing a long, complex password can be highly inconvenient for some employees. One trick to creating this kind of password is to learn a sentence only you can identify.

Take this sentence as an example: “My best friend munches a batch of French fries.” Turn that into an acronym, and you’ve got: MbfmabofFf. You could turn the letter “o” into a zero, then add the birth date of your best friend (or whatever special number you feel like adding). Finally, start or end the password with a symbol.

3. Web Surfing

Office workers often use the company’s internet to surf the web during lunch breaks or downtime. If your tech staff doesn’t protect and configure your systems properly, employees may come across websites with malware, which can cause machines and other devices to become infected.

As a business owner or manager, you can restrict access to specific sites that your company or tech team determines as dangerous or inappropriate. Although this tactic works well for known and distinctive destinations, it may be time-consuming and complex to administer.

If you insist on this strategy, make sure to supplement it by securing systems with anti-spyware and anti-virus software. What’s more, train your employees on the value of staying careful on the web.

Small Size Businesses Cyber Security

4. Malicious E-mail and Phishing

Fraudulent e-mails can destroy your company’s IT and network security, as well as compromise your data. They may contain harmful attachments, codes or links that give cybercriminals access to devices and data.
You can stop these malicious e-mails from harming your business by educating your workers about recognizing suspicious e-mails.

A few of the red flags they should look for include the following:

  • Offers and promotions that are “too good to be true.”
  • Unwarranted technical or customer support
  • Popular companies with deceptive URLs and misspelt names, such as amaz0n3 (dot) com.
  • Unsolicited or suspicious downloads or attachments.

You hired your employees to help grow your business – not destroy it with poor cybersecurity practices. Implement strict IT policies and use the right tools that can protect your organization from criminals.

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