Sep 18 2013

Workers’ Comp Agency Recommends 4.4% Rate Increase

Published by under Business

workers comp
The agency that helps set workers’ comp rates is recommending they increase 4.4% at the start of next year. The Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau in early August recommended that the average benchmark pure premium rates for all of the state’s class codes in-crease to $2.62 per $100 of payroll for policies incepting on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

A good portion of the rate increase is due to increased claims filings, as well as rises in medical costs and permanent disability benefits that partly took effect this year and take full effect in 2014.

This year, benefit increases added an-other $620 million in system costs, the Rating Bureau has estimated. In 2014, the increases will add another $590 million in costs for all workers’ comp payers in the state.

That said, cost increases are expected to be offset by savings from reforms contained in SB 863, which was signed into law in 2012 and took effect at the start of this year. Continue Reading »

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Jul 20 2012

10 Things You Should Do When Opening A New Business

Published by under Business

Article by Chris Davodi of 1 Stop Service Business Resources.

Grand Opening, Opening a new business tips

Amongst the million businesses that open up every year, some make it past their first year and churn profits while others fail in not being able to generate a profit. Perhaps it might be things that are out of your control like the state of the market or even the economy, in general.

While there is a possibility that you might not succeed due to these factors, you can probably increase your chances by making a checklist of tasks that you should complete when you open a new business.

Here are some vital tasks that can help you succeed, or help you survive when things get rough:

#1: In determining whether the business will suit your life’s goals or not, you can proceed to create a business and marketing plan while also using the break-even analysis to determine whether or not the business will succeed before jumping headlong.

#2: Finding a legal structure for your business is paramount, and this means understanding which ownership structure will suit your business, and perhaps, a lawyer will be able to help you streamline your efforts.

#3: Get a good name for your business and make sure you have the paperwork in place.

#4: It is important to find an appropriate business location so that it will stand more chances for success in its first year.

#5: Obtaining Insurance, filing for permits and licenses while also setting tax reporting and accounting are also important tasks.


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Apr 15 2015

Recognizing a Secure Ecommerce

Published by under Business Services

Written by Secure Net Shop

Online stores have gained much attention by consumers and merchants. The idea of being able to buy anything within a few clicks has an undeniable appeal. However, buyers do expect their experience to be hassle free and secure. This is an aspect that serious merchants take very dearly.

With the amount of websites out there, how does one determine which is secure and which is not. If being sensible about putting one’s credit card anywhere online is a good reflex, there are some other, easier to follow rules about security.

Most of the time, shopping cart ecommerce websites use very advanced encryption algorithms to encode and send the customers’ information to the shop’s database. Credit card numbers are thus completely encrypted and cannot be read by the naked eye, even by the personnel working on the website. Naturally, this makes it almost impossible to have any loss of crucial information.

Buyers should be very wary of a few things that pertain to a site’s security. To start, it must be made sure that the website URL starts with “https://”. The address bar of the browser will contain that information. Some sites only display “http://” (note the lack of the “s”), adding the “s” only when an order is to be made. Other sites show the secure URL on all pages, at all times. Another icon of security is the padlock sign, present on the browser’s address bar. An open padlock means the website is not secure, a closed one means it is.

SecureNetShop offers secured ecommerce shopping cart software solutions for ideal for businesses seeking to set up an internet shopping cart.

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Apr 11 2015

Benefits of Exterior Wood Doors

Published by under Home Improvement

Written by ETO Doors

Exterior wood doors look good in just about any office or commercial setting. However, these doors offer much more than just aesthetics. The advantages of using solid wood doors are listed below.

Durability and maintenance

Wooden front doors offer incredible durability and do not require much maintenance. Even though these doors tend to be relatively more expensive, the cost is easily recovered due to the durability that they procure and low maintenance. The doors would only require a fresh coating of varnish twice a year and some polishing once a week in order to look glossy and fresh. These doors effectively resist the weather elements such as the rain, wind and snow.

Energy Efficiency

Exterior wood doors, especially when they are properly framed, offer great insulation inside the house. This enables to cut down costs on either heating or cooling. Solid wood doors also provide insulation against the dispersion of sound. This makes it ideal for office settings such as in dental cabinets, legal offices or any office requiring confidentiality.

Cost Effective

Due to the low maintenance and durability of wooden doors, they require less expenses when it comes to maintaining them. These doors last long and therefore would not need to be changed and replaced often, representing significant savings. The energy efficiency of these doors also represent savings in utility bills. They effectively help to lower energy costs and to decrease expenditure in noise insulation.

ETO Doors offers a large selection of wood doors ideal for office environments and commercial settings.

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Apr 09 2015

How to Make a Strong Value Proposition

Published by under Business

A strong value proposition is the reason why someone will click on your page to read more. Writing a strong proposition isn’t easy, mostly because it’s very easy to mistake a value proposition with so many other hooks. It’s not a slogan, it doesn’t help to position your brand. It makes a clear statement about what you offer and how the customer can benefit. It’s one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal, especially if it becomes one of the first things a customer sees. Here are some tips to write a strong value proposition.

Stop Writing for Bots

The first thing you need to know about a strong value proposition is that it has to appeal to humans who can make decisions. That means it’s best to write something clear, concise and full of benefits. You’re not aiming for a statement full of buzzwords, unless that’s what your market will respond to. So it has to use language your audience can relate to. This is also not something that just comes to you inside your office; it’s something you have to see for yourself. Check social media and blog comment sections to see how your audience is talking about your market, and the products you sell.

The Anatomy of a Value Proposition

A good value proposition has a few key components, the first being the headline. The headline should be no more than one sentence, and it should be the punchiest sentence on the page. Below it is your sub-headline. You see these frequently italicized or in a smaller font, and their job is following up with whatever your headline didn’t say. Sub headers are frequently longer than headlines, so use two or three lines and give yourself room to expand on who you are and what you do.

Bullet points are another component frequently utilized, especially in long-form landing pages. They help to sum up the key benefits while a background visual adds depth.

Final Tips

Now that you understand how to build a value proposition, the final step is to write one with clarity. Your statement should be easy to understand, like an elevator pitch. It shouldn’t focus on where you stand in comparison to others and it doesn’t help establish your brand’s authority.

It’s a sales pitch distilled into something that can be read and understood within 5 seconds. If you need to explain it, you’ve already failed. With time and practice, you’ll write incredible value propositions, but everyone starts somewhere.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is the CEO of engage:BDR, a Los Angeles based digital advertising company. Ted Dhanik understands direct marketing, and has worked with digital advertising since the early 2000s. For more information on Ted Dhanik, check out the website for engage:BDR.

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Mar 27 2015

One of the Greatest Adventure Tales of All Time

Published by under Business

By Phineas Upham

Alexander Henry the Elder, quite the name, was a merchant during the early part of the 19th century. He prospered from international trade during a time when globalization was not even a word in the English dialect. He got his start supplying the British army with armaments, but made his true wealth from his vast fur trading empire. In the process, Henry travelled to Canada and lived one of the greatest adventure stories ever told.

In 1761, Alexander was approached by John Baptiste Ludec. He was an investor who advised Henry to expand his fur trade beyond Lake Huron and into Canadian territory.

Almost the moment he set foot inside the Canadian border, he was attacked by the Ojibwe tribes who were native to those lands. They were supporters of the French forces, but that would not deter Alexander Henry from his mission of expansion. He not only won over the Ojibwe tribes, he turned them into lucrative business partners with his silver tongue.

The natives called him “a middle-sized man, easy yet dignified,” and he was well-liked even by those who claimed to be his enemies. It’s likely that Alexander was just a cool guy to be around. He held frequent social gatherings, entertaining merchants and locals alike, and it’s said that he had frequent visitors to his home.

Henry married a native woman, which was a kind of loose tradition among fur traders, and had several children by her. He died in 1824, but not before seeing his son rise to become director of the Commercial Bank of the Midland District at Cobourg.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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Mar 17 2015

Cost-Effective Shipping Tips

Whether for personal or business reasons, it’s easy to overspend when shipping packages. Because there are so many methods of shipment now, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and end up choosing the most convenient option as opposed to the most affordable. By taking the time to consider packaging products, deadlines, and shipping company costs, you can make the most cost-effective decision for your shipping needs.

First, timeliness is very important. If there are deadlines to be met, make sure you send your products in plenty of time for them to arrive on the dictated dates. Fees can add up significantly when you have to pay for expedited shipping and surpass the standard delivery time. One way to avoid a delay is to keep a full stock of all your packaging needs. Having plenty of supplies on hand like boxes, tape, and protective products such as polyurethane foam sheets will keep the packaging process running smoothly.

Another idea to help see your package delivered on time is to keep track of shipping companies’ timelines. For example, if you have a record of each company’s delivery option expectations and respective costs, you can quickly weigh price versus time efficiency in a tight situation.

Whether you’re sending a single package, many identical packages, or various size boxes, comparing prices for different shipping companies is beneficial. It’s important to be aware that both weight and size affect the cost of a shipment. You may be able to save money by sending more products at once in a larger shipment as opposed to sending numerous smaller packages. Shipping companies can help you decipher which is the most cost-effective option for you.

Another way to ensure you’re not overpaying is to invest in a postage meter. These machines weigh packages, provide exact postage charges, and print shipping labels. By purchasing a postage meter, you remove the issue of ever needing to guess postage amounts. Accidentally choosing inadequate postage can risk a delay in shipment, and therefore bring about extra charges.

Finally, choosing the right packaging ensures your products arrive safely. When a package is ruined in transit, money is wasted on the broken product and all shipping fees and postage must be paid to re-send the same package. Protective products like high density foam sheets provide a layer of shielding against hostile shipping conditions. Because replacing damaged goods can become expensive very quickly, putting money toward defensive materials will save money in the long run. Using these quality shipping materials in addition to keeping track of deadlines and comparing costs will help you choose the most cost-efficient shipping.
Carlo Badalamenti offers tips on industrial packaging, soundproofing and other uses for foam sheets. To order high-density foam sheets, visit Foam Factory, Inc.

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Mar 10 2015

Reaping Business Benefits Through Employee Time Tracking

Published by under Business Services,Technology

Written by Allied Time

Tracking the time and attendance of employees is an important aspect in managing human capital. The system in place would be able to offer a fast and noticeable return on investments from savings in time and cost. An effective time and attendance tracking system is able to help streamline payroll processes, simplify tasks assignments and manage vacations and absences.

More Efficient and Accurate Payroll Preparation

A time-tracking system allows considerable time gain when it comes to payroll preparation since the process is automated. Thus the time collection process, payroll policies and calculations of overtimes are instantly done and sent to the responsible payroll office for checking.

Easier Tracking of Paid Time Off

Along with tracking additional hours worked overtime, some systems also allow companies to calculate the number of paid time off that an employee is entitled to based on company policies. Employees are also able to view their sick leave and other vacations entitlements through an online portal. Time offs can also be requested directly through some systems.

More Effective Human Resource Management

Effective time machine solutions provide valuable tools and reports that can aid in the calculation of HR costs in order to make better decisions. Some ad-hoc reports are also possible through some of these systems.

Workforce Tracking on The Go

An accurate payroll tracking would start right from the moment that the employee clocks in. In order to cater for diverse work locations, many clocking systems provide features such as touch screens, biometric face recognition and even time clock online services.

Allied Time provide time tracking solutions for businesses. Their time clock systems are innovative and have features such as biometric recognition.

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Mar 10 2015

Shopping Cart Solutions for Businesses

Published by under Business Services

Written by SecureNetShop

The choice for a shopping cart solution for an ecommerce site is not a trivial one. Most system providers propose clients with a variety of different features in addition to the basic services. Before going for a service, an important consideration is whether the additional features would be truly beneficial to your business. A user-friendly system is generally at the top of the priority list of most businesses since they aim to improve the customer experience.

Website Builder

Ideally, an ecommerce shopping cart service should come along with a website builder feature to help you in creating a site. This service can also be helpful in improving and designing your site to make it more user friendly and professional. The website would also need to reflect your brand image. Customers would identify your brand based on the impression that they have on your website. Factors that might turn them off are broken designs or typos. Choosing a provider who is experienced in building such user-friendly and professional sites is advisable.

Payment Solutions

The last and most crucial step in the online shopping pipeline is the payment. This critical phase requires utmost security. In order to complete the checkout process successfully, the customer would also need to be able to choose a preferred means of payment. Thus, a provider offering multiple payment solutions would be beneficial.

SecureNetShop provides user-friendly ecommerce cart software solutions for the setting up of online shops. They provide quality and inexpensive shopping cart ecommerce software ideal for companies seeking cost-effective services.

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Mar 09 2015

The Bumpy History of Fresh and Easy

Published by under Business

By Phineas Upham

Fresh & Easy began in 2006 with an announcement that Tesco was planning on moving operations into the United States. Their plan was to open a chain of “small-format” grocery stores all across the Western United States (focusing specifically on Nevada and California).

Most Fresh & Easy markets are relatively small, measuring around 1,400 square feet in size or about one-third the size of the average American supermarket.

The company sells its own branded goods, but it also takes the European approach to vegetables and sells the packaged as opposed to loose. It also has fresh baked goods, and buys and sells its own meat from a frozen case. Stores were designed to run with the fewest possible employees, so most things normally served in a supermarket are done self-service. Coffee is a good example.

The initial launch wasn’t going over so well. Within its first three years of operation, the chain had to shut down 13 stores because of shrinking populations in the areas where it had chosen to set up. Losses would be reported throughout most of the company’s lifespan. The Strategic Review reported 2012 would likely be a loss year, and the Los Angeles times concluded the following year that the company was facing $1 billion in cumulative losses. It anticipated that the company might see a turnaround by 2014, but there was no way to be certain.

Fresh & Easy was eventually sold to Yucaipa Companies LLC in 2013, a sign that Tesco was no longer willing to hang onto the liabilities associated with the brand. Fresh & Easy stores still exist throughout the West coast, and the chain shows little sign of closure.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.

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Feb 27 2015

Three Simple Tests that Help Digital Campaigns Grow

Published by under Business Services

If you try to segment traffic and bid competitively, you’ll find some success in digital advertising. You’ll also hit a ceiling. It may take some campaigns longer than others, but you’ll soon find yourself bringing home roughly the same conversion rates day after day.

After a while, your campaigns get stale and those amazing conversion rates begin to dwindle. The key to moving past that threshold is to grow campaigns through thoughtful testing. Here are three ideas to test for, and some thoughts on how to gather meaningful data.

Test to See if Date and Time Alter Conversions

It’s easy to overlook how dates and times can affect your sales. Most people will stop a campaign when it’s time to log off for the day, but that might exclude the time their audience spends browsing online after their jobs are finished. What about early in the morning, when other time zones ahead of yours are more likely to be browsing before work?

Try letting your campaigns run and reviewing your analytics once the day is closed. This gives you valuable data on when your conversions are most likely to trigger, thereby giving you the opportunity to eliminate needless spending.

Test for Location Targeting

Certain campaigns will perform best when they target by location. Mortgage leads are a good example, where the value of a customer from some states may be higher than others. Affiliate campaigns may also have restrictions on location, which might make leads from outside those locations non-payable. It’s best to target specific areas you can get paid for and increase bids to get good traffic.

You may also find that a majority of your business comes from a particular part of the country. In situations where location impacts your conversion rate, you can run a test to confirm whether cutting other locations will actually improve your overall conversion rate. You may find that focusing on just a few states will bring a higher return than trying to net conversions from all over the US.

Test Mobile Campaigns

Not every campaign will work well with mobile, but it can be worth the cost of testing if you suspect your campaign may be. Mobile users are impulsive, so they don’t like offers that require careful consideration. These users are looking for something immediately and would prefer to stay home or receive the product instantly and at a discount.

Try running a new campaign designed for mobile, with a smaller ad that has a more succinct call to action. You may find a reason to scale outside of the desktop.

Bio: Ted Dhanik is a digital advertising expert who has experience in the industry dating back to the early 2000s. Ted Dhanik is the co-founder of engage:BDR. Ted Dhanik is also an active mentor in Start Engine, and writes for AdAge and Venture Beat.

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Feb 18 2015

Spruce Up the Interior Design of Your Office with These Tips

Published by under Business

Part of the reason to upgrade your office is a need to meet with clients in a space that is more formal than your own. You also need a place to put employees, and the equipment and documents your business will accumulate over time.

The modern office can also be a selling point for potential clients, and part of the culture for your employees. Use these tips to present an attractive workspace.

Modern Doors

You can completely change the look of your office by simply replacing the doors for your executive and office rooms. A wood door, made of mahogany or stained a deep red or brown will look attractive and official. Simple door latches complement the modern look and give the conference room a face lift. Modern doors also provide better insulation, which is best for offices that have a separate set of controls for air conditioning in areas that have doors.

Adjustable Desks

There is evidence to suggest that sitting at a desk can be extremely detrimental to our health on a daily basis. Workers who fail to exercise at all have it even worse. One solution that some have found effective, and stylish, is to add an adjustable desk to the office. With locks on both sides, these desks are able to life high enough to accommodate someone standing or sitting.

Window Separators

Window walls offer a glimpse into some of the nicer areas of the office. They can be fitted with blinds to give some privacy if needed, but they act as an excellent way to separate a conference room from the rest of the office.

Bio: ETO Doors uses sustainable woods in the construction of its custom doors. You can read ETO Doors reviews from real customers, or you can visit ETO Doors online for its full selection of doors and accessories.

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