Tag Archives: small business tips

The Holiday Office Party: 5 Do’s and Don’ts for SMBs this Season

The office holiday party is a long-held tradition, and it has been the scene for many a faux pas. The office holiday party may be the time to loosen ties and lift spirits, but it’s not the time to throw caution–businesslike behavior–to the wind. In fact, SMBs must be careful to steer clear of common mistakes that could come back to haunt them long after the snow is melted and the punchbowl stored.

Holiday Office Party

Rocket Lawyer offered some advice on keeping holidays happy and complaint-free:

  1. Get a gift from Uncle Sam. Expenses for your holiday party should be tax-deductible, as long the party isn’t overly lavish or wholly unrelated to work activities. Keep receipts. The IRS wants to see the business that’s supposed to come with your holiday celebrations.
  2. Make sure you’re driving the sleigh. When you’re planning your party, make sure you have written contracts with all of your holiday vendors–from the DJ to the caterer–with each clearly stating payment and cancellation policies.
  3. Don’t get caught underneath the mistletoe. Nearly 45%of Americans have seen someone share inappropriate personal details about themselves with a co-worker or supervisor at a work event, according to a 2012 study from Caron Treatment Centers. Especially at events that alcohol is served, make sure you have a game plan in place when it comes to dealing with behavior that could potentially lead to a sexual harassment claim.
  4. Check your list twice. Typically, event spaces will require you to release them from liability at a holiday party. Think about what kinds of situations insurance might have to cover, and, if needed, purchase a short-term policy to cover the event.
  5. Keep an eye on the eggnog. Fifty-seven percent of workers have witnessed a fellow party-goer drive under the influence, and 64% have called in sick due to a hangover the day after an event, according to the Caron survey. If alcohol is served at a company event, you may be liable for accidents that happen because someone has consumed too much. It’s wise to offer cabs and coordinate designated drivers in advance of the party to protect everyone’s safety. It’s always a good idea to serve food, and then to limit the amount of the time the bar is open.

A happy holiday business function comes down to details and a lot of common sense.

 

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Poll: Small-Business Owners Talk Worst Headaches (and Solutions)

Small Business Headaches and SolutionsWhat do the majority of small-business owners say are key points of stress in their world, in late 2012? The answer is, of course, related to how they manage money.

Nearly three-quarters of business owners polled in a recent Xero survey, 73% of them, said that managing revenue, expenses, and collecting overdue payments top the list of financial stressors.

“As a small-business owner, I am constantly in five places at once,” says Caitlin MacGregor, cofounder of Cream.hr, a hiring consultancy. What she seeks, in the way of solutions, MacGregor says, is a way of seeing big pictures and understanding the finances of the whole small business, moment to moment.

And so the trend, owners say, is increasingly the move to mobile.

Mobile Tools and Small Biz Finance

It’s not news that people use their smartphones and their tablets to check personal finances from almost anywhere, at any time.

Xero’s poll shows that almost half (46%) the mobile-device consumers it surveyed are looking at their bank accounts on vacation, and 18% of them will check their balance at the bar, or at the restaurant table.

Small Business Headaches and Solutions

Meanwhile, 67% of the small-business owners and operators polled say that they use mobile apps to help run their shops. And 58% of those polled describe the effect of these apps and devices: mobile makes small business operations more efficient.

How? Small-business owners are adopting the mobile finance mechanisms available to them to solve those key stressors that 73% of them describe. (Xero has a horse in this race — that’s part of why they’re so interested in these numbers. The company builds online accounting software that does the kind of things these owners are talking about, when it comes to finances and mobile apps.)
Here’s what more than 500 say about their implementation of mobile finances, in 2012.

— 33% said they check bank balances, making managing revenue the kind of minute-by-minute scenario that owners such as MacGregor say they desire.

— The expense-report problem. Some 23% of the polled owners said they use a mobile device to capture receipts. In other words, they’re submitting expense reports and the required documentation right from their phones.

— 18% are utilizing mobile tech to invoice their clients. This means, given the right apps, that they’re creating invoice documents for their customers on the spot, e-mailing it to them, and then following up on overdue statements, all from a mobile platform.

 

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