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Dueños de pequeñas empresas ayudan a sus empleados a obtener un seguro médico

Escrito por Joni Foster, Directora de programas

Eres dueño de una pequeña empresa y no puedes pagar por un seguro médico para tus empleados (ni siquiera para ti mismo). ¿Qué harías? Puedes ayudar a tus empleados a encontrar el plan adecuado en el Mercado de Seguros Médicos (Obamacare).

En caso que hayas revisado las tarifas y los planes este año, te sentirás feliz o incluso sorprendido, al saber lo económicos que son los planes de seguro médico. El Plan de Rescate Estadounidense aprobado a principios de 2021 agregó subsidios impresionantes al Affordable Care Act (Ley de Atención Médica Accesible – ObamaCare), lo que ha hecho que el costo de la atención médica sea notablemente bajo en este momento.

Lo que puedes hacer como empleador, es ayudar a tus empleados a encontrar un agente de seguros de salud que los guíe hacia el plan correcto. Usar a un agente es gratis, y es fácil encontrar uno en el directorio en línea: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-assistance/. Tú, como empleador, puedes entrevistar a varios agentes y seleccionar uno para recomendar a tus empleados. Sería de mucha ayuda poder proveer una breve descripción de cómo obtener un seguro médico, y el nombre e información de contacto de un agente que ya has examinado. El agente también puede ayudarte como dueño de la empresa a encontrar un seguro asequible.

Recuerde, Atención Médica Accesible no depende de la cantidad de horas que alguien trabaja cada semana. Se basa en los ingresos de la persona; por lo que los empleados a tiempo parcial también son elegibles para esta opción.

Un dueño de negocios que ayuda a sus empleados a obtener un buen seguro médico, incluso si no lo paga, demuestra responsabilidad y preocupación por ellos, su salud y su seguridad. Un buen empleado recompensa a un buen dueño también.

Las inscripciones en ACA van desde el 1 de noviembre hasta el 15 de enero de 2022, para los planes de Seguro Médico que empiezan el 1 de enero de 2022.

Y lo mejor es que no tienes que buscar el mejor plan por tu cuenta. De hecho, es mejor hablar con un agente de seguros: según estadísticas, el 38% de las personas que se inscribieron por si solas en un plan, están satisfechas; mientras que de las personas que usaron un agente, 85% están satisfechas con su plan.

Small biz owners help employees get health insurance

By Joni Foster, Program Director with EGBI

You’re a small business owner and you can’t afford to provide health insurance to your employees (or even for yourself). What do you do? You help your employees find the right plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace (Obamacare).

If you haven’t checked rates and plans this year, you will be happy, shocked even, at how inexpensive health insurance plans are. The American Rescue Plan passed at the beginning of 2021 added incredible subsidies to the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) making the cost of health care remarkably low right now.

What you as an employer can do is help your employees find a health insurance agent to guide them to the right plan. It’s free to use an agent and easy to find one using this online directory: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-assistance/. You, as the employer, might interview a couple of agents and then select one to recommend to all your employees. A simple half page write-up about getting health insurance with a name of a vetted agent and contact information is very helpful. The agent can also help you as the business owner to find affordable insurance!

Remember, affordable health care isn’t based on the number of hours someone works each week. It’s based on how much income the person earns; so, part time employees are eligible for this option also.

Helping your employees get access to good health insurance, even if you don’t pay for it, will mean something to your employees. It means that you care about them and their health.

Open enrollment begins November 1 until January 15, 2022, for health insurance coverage that begins January 1, 2022.

And you don’t have to figure out the best plan by yourself. In fact, you are better off talking to an insurance agent: according to someone’s statistics, 38% of people who enrolled themselves in a plan are happy with it verses people who used an agent, 85% are happy with their plan.

Quarterly taxes

Quarterly estimated Tax payments

By Trinae Rose, Director of Business Development for AccountAbility for Business

In the US, we are on a pay as you go tax system. If you have a W2, income tax is withheld from each paycheck based on the W4. If you have income from other sources, such as self employment, 1099’s, stock sales or dividends, or rental properties you may be required to pay estimated tax payments throughout the year. This is intended to make it easier for taxpayers to pay their taxes throughout the year instead of one lump sum at the end of the year. Or, you could say that it ensures the IRS receives payments by making the payment smaller and dividing it in to quarterly payments instead of requiring payment for the whole sum after the tax return is prepared. The quarterly estimated payments are based on the AGI and your tax rate as well as the capital gains tax rate or self employment rate from the previous year.

Individuals, including sole proprietors, partners, and S corporation shareholders, generally have to make estimated tax payments if they expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when their return is filed.

The penalty for not paying your quarterly estimated payment varies from quarter to quarter. The IRS will calculate your penalty for you. The penalty rate is the federal short term rate + 3%. In 2020, the Q2 rate for underpayment was 5% but then it dropped to 3% in Q3. When you pay your quarterly estimated payments also matters when determining your penalty. You could pay the entire amount, but still be penalized if it is not paid by the due date.

For Texas residents impacted by the winter storm, the Q1 and Q2 payments are due on June 15th in 2021. Q3 payment is due September 15th and Q4 payment is due January 15th of 2022. Typically, Q1 payment is due April 15th.

https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/estimated-taxes

5 Performance Indicators for your Small Business Website

By: Aditya Patwardhan

 Your website is the foundation of the online presence for your business.  Is it working correctly?  Answering that question isn’t that simple. To achieve your marketing goals, businesses should monitor specific indicators of performance. There are some indicators that almost all businesses will want to measure when reviewing their website’s analytics. Below is an explanation of  5 indicators that you should look at as you analyze your business’s online presence.

  1. Bounce Rate

Bounce rate is the percentage of sessions on your website where the user exits without any interactions. The extent to which bounce rate matters depends on the type of website your business has. For example, if your website is only one webpage, a high bounce rate is more acceptable than when your website has multiple pages which should all be visited during one session. For example, according to Hotjar, the average e-commerce website’s bounce rate is between 20 and 45 percent, with a bounce rate under 20% being “exceptional.” On the other hand, the average bounce rate for a small business landing page is between 60 and 90 percent. Still, if the bounce rate is above the average range, it shows that users aren’t engaged by the webpage and is something you definitely would want to look into. Google Analytics provides multiple reports which contain bounce rate as a metric. This can help you isolate problematic areas of your website that need to be looked at and fixed. 

  • Pages per Session

The number of pages users look at during a session is an indicator of how engaged they were when they were on your website. The more pages viewers look at in a session, the more likely they are to use your services or buy your product. An issue with only looking at the bounce rate is that it shows whether users engaged with your website, but not how much their engagement level was. Of course, the number of pages on your website affects how important this should be to your business. 

  • Audience information

As a business, it is important to know what the demographic of people viewing your website. That can help you better communicate to them and turn make a sell. Knowing this group will allow your business to have the information needed to do a better job of targeting your ideal customer. For example, if your ideal clients are men 50 and above, and you are not attracting this demographic then changes must be made. You may need more relatable images and content on your web site for this group.

  • Sources, Mediums and Campaigns

A good way to better understand your business is to see where users came from to your website. The term source is the website where a user was before your website. This could be direct search, search engines like Google, or other sites if users clicked on links to go to your website. The medium means the type of search that happened or the way that a user came to your website. Examples include organic search (unpaid,) cost per click (paid search) and many others. Campaigns are specific marketing operations to bring people to your website. You can look in Google Analytics to see which campaigns are doing better than others. All of these help you understand where your audience is coming from and informs your business strategy.  For example, if you have a lot of followers on social media but very few of them visit your site to take an action, you may need to modify your efforts.

  • Conversion Types

A conversion is when someone transacts with your business, helping achieve your greater business goal. There are many ways in which one could give credit for conversions. One way is to give credit only to the page where users completed the transaction. But it can also be useful to know how people got to that page. An assisted conversion is where a user goes to the final page to complete a transaction from another page of your website. In Google Analytics, you can look at the paths that users take from first landing on your website to buying something. That way you can see what sites contribute most to users buying from your business. For example, for an e-commerce business, the final step of a conversion is the shopping cart page on their website, but a user might have visited their site twice through direct search before making the purchase. Each of these times contributed to the purchase, meaning that direct search would get credit for an assisted conversion.

       Conclusion

One of the most important things you need for your business to succeed is knowledge about who your clients are and what strategies are the most successful at retaining them and attracting new clients. By looking at these indicators, you can analyze what parts of your business operations are succeeding and which need to be changed, and ultimately maximize your profits.

Why Your Business Needs A Facebook or Instagram Business Profile

By: Aditya Patwardhan

With communications nowadays happening a lot on the Internet, the importance of social media cannot be understated. Social media is a tool that allows businesses to increase their visibility, redirecting traffic toward them, and maintain strong connections in the online world. If businesses are strategic about their content, posting to social media can be a massive edge over the competition. Here are some reasons why it is crucial to get a Facebook Business page and an Instagram business account. I will first cover Facebook Business Pages and then cover Instagram business accounts. (Note that many of the advantages of Facebook Business pages are also advantages of Instagram Business accounts.)

Advantages of a Facebook Business Pages 

Facebook Business pages can help your business by building your company’s online identity. A Facebook Business page helps viewers find out about your company and understand the products and services it offers. A well-designed page also shows the company’s culture and values. This kind of authenticity helps retain current customers and can appeal to potential customers. Well-run pages frequently post content and interact with or mention their audience, keeping members of their audience engaged and interacting with your business.

Another benefit of using a Facebook Business page is having access to specialized tools not included with a personal profile. An example of this is Insights. Insights collects data about your viewers, such as demographics, and their interactions with the page. This lets the business owner analyze trends among their viewers. If used effectively, this is a significant improvement over using a personal account.

Finally, Facebook Business pages can help spread awareness of your business and increase traffic to your business’s other pages. For example, you can post about important events your company is involved in organizing and post links to find out more. Then, viewers who click the link are redirected to learn more on another page, increasing viewership and also keeping users interactive.

Advantages of a Instagram Business Pages

Similar to the benefits of using a Facebook Business page over a personal account, there are benefits to using a Business Account on Instagram. One advantage is the ability to pre schedule posts, or write many posts ahead of time to be published at predetermined times. This is more efficient, since you can write many posts in a single sitting. Furthermore, pre scheduling posts is an effective way to increase viewership, by scheduling posts for when your company’s audience is the most active online.

Instagram as a platform also offers advantages that Facebook doesn’t. According to this article, Instagram has a younger user base, with most users being under 30. Using Instagram can therefore help your business cater to a wider demographic and attract more clients. Also, Facebook and Instagram are best suited for different types of posts. Facebook is best for posts with lots of text, while posts with lots of photos tend to do well on Instagram.

Using a Facebook and Instagram Business account will allow you to run targeted ads based on the user’s specific interest and habits.  Overall, in today’s age, social media is an important investment for any company’s marketing strategy. Knowing different platforms and their features can help your business succeed in forming a larger, more connected network of clients.

How To Link Facebook Business Profile To Instagram Business Account

By: Aditya Patwardhan

Now more than ever, it is crucial for businesses to invest in their social media presence. Social media helps businesses increase visibility, gain new clients, and engage their audience. If you want to learn more about the benefits of platforms like Facebook or Instagram for your business, read HERE. This begs the question, how can businesses make the most out of social media? One technique is called pre scheduling. This is where social media posts are scheduled to automatically get posted at a certain time. Pre scheduling can help businesses update social media with less effort and maximize viewership by strategizing their content and the times their posts are published. Facebook already offers pre scheduling for businesses, but what about other social media sites? Today, you will learn how to pre schedule posts on your Instagram business account by connecting it to your Facebook business page. Note that this will only work if the Instagram account being linked is a professional business account, not a personal one.

Here are the instructions to link your Instagram business account to your Facebook business profile:

  1. Go to your Facebook business profile. On the left side, you should see a sidebar titled “Manage Page.” Click on Settings.
  2. Under settings, click on Instagram.
  3. Click on the option to Connect Account and continue to your Instagram account or sign in. You will want to make sure it is the correct Instagram account before selecting this option.
  4. Now that the accounts are connected, if you go back to Settings > Instagram, you should see a page titled “Connected Instagram Account” listing account details.

Now, go to your page on business.facebook.com, and click on the “Publishing Tools” tab. Click on “Scheduled Posts” on the left-hand sidebar. When you click “Create Post,” you should see both Facebook and Instagram as options under “Placements”. Note that if you pre schedule a post for only Instagram (and not Facebook,) it may not show up under pre scheduled posts, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been pre scheduled. Be cautious to pre schedule posts for Instagram only once, otherwise you will end up with duplicate posts.

Can’t find workers? You’re not alone

By Joni Foster, Program Director with EGBI

“Why are American workers becoming harder to find?”, an article this week in The Economist found that total job vacancies nationwide are at the highest level for at least 2 decades. There are plenty of unfulfilled positions, causing a labor shortage, even though employers are offering higher pay. 

The online zine, The Hill, noted that “as of March this year (2021) the U.S. was still 8.4 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, a year after the economy lost more than 21 million jobs amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unemployment rate has since dropped to 6 percent, but it does not reflect millions of Americans who left the labor force because of the pandemic. While there are still millions of unemployed people still looking for work, restaurants, bars, fast food, retailers are having trouble hiring to meet the surging demand.”

The Economist article explored three reasons. First, over-generous stimulus checks and bonus unemployment; yet studies don’t back this one up during this pandemic. Stimulus checks were a huge help when there really weren’t jobs available during the height of the pandemic. 

The second reason was the fear factor, the fear of Covid, to work in jobs that are public facing. Hopefully, vaccines should be bringing this reason to a close over the next few months. 

Lastly, the extraordinary reallocation of resources accelerated by the pandemic, meaning the huge shift in where the jobs are both in locations and sectors. McKinsey & Company published a report on Feb 18, 2021 on the future of work after Covid 19 that started with a startling quote: The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, e-commerce, and automation, with up to 25 percent more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations.

McKinsey & Company also studied the effect of Covid on women in the workforce, particularly women with children under 10 years old. In an article published March 8, 2021, a study last year found nearly 23 percent of women workers were considering leaving the workforce in 2020. Many women left the workforce to help their children through the school year will likely/hopefully be ready to get back to work in the fall assuming vaccines put the pandemic behind us.

Economists believe that this hiring issue will work itself out in the next several months. In the meantime, a caution to  employers to about offering higher salaries if they can’t sustain that salary into the future. To offer a high salary now just to reduce it later will bring big morale and productivity problems later. 

It might mean, too, that business might start looking at new ways to staff their operations. McKinsey concludes that businesses can start with a granular analysis of what work can be done remotely by focusing on the tasks involved rather than whole jobs. For businesses with jobs with high physical proximity, these are likely to experience the most disruption post-covid. 

Sources:

https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2021/04/29/why-are-american-workers-becoming-harder-to-find
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/550737-summers-pans-biden-focus-on-job-creation-amid-labor-shortage
https://thehill.com/policy/finance/547819-businesses-encounter-hiring-challenges-as-demand-surges
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/seven-charts-that-show-covid-19s-impact-on-womens-employment#
https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/the-future-of-work-after-covid-19

Plan de Negocios para tu Guardería

Escrito por Leonardo Pozzobon, coordinador de programas

Qué es y qué no es un plan de negocios

Un plan de negocios NO es la solución mágica definitiva para los problemas de tu negocio; eso depende únicamente de la ejecución adecuada. Sin embargo, un plan de negocios SI es una guía bastante útil para mostrarte el camino hacia la rentabilidad, listando los desafíos y recursos necesarios para alcanzar la rentabilidad. En la vida real, es muy probable que eventualmente consigas obstáculos que no habías previsto, o que consideraste cosas inicialmente que vas a descartar luego, pero no debes dejar que esto te desanime; recuerda “Un plan es inútil, pero la planificación lo es todo”. Eventualmente puede que encuentres una mejor oportunidad o un mejor mercado que te haga cambiar de opinión sobre algo, pero con este proceso sabrás dónde te encuentras inicialmente y hacia dónde quieres ir.

Qué incluye un plan de negocios

Dicho esto, vamos a pensar en lo que se incluye en un plan de negocios. Pero primero, un negocio sólo será un negocio si y sólo si ha identificado un problema o una necesidad que puedes resolver o atender, si puede proporcionar la solución adecuada y encontrar al cliente ideal que tendrá este problema, siempre y cuando esté dispuesto y en capacidad de pagarte a cambio de tu solución. La forma de encontrar un problema y resolverlo dependerá del tipo de negocio y el producto o servicio, al igual que las regulaciones que necesitas comprender y aplicar; pero encontrar el cliente y el precio ideal es solo una parte de los planes de Marketing y Finanzas. Lógicamente, debes atender estos temas en tu “camino hacia el éxito”, o plan de negocios:

  • Problema / Solución (qué harás y cómo)
  • Plan de Marketing (quién es tu cliente y cómo lo encuentras)
  • Plan de Finanzas (cómo estás ganando dinero)
  • Operaciones (cómo estás dando o produciendo tu solución)

Construyendo mi plan de negocios

Imaginemos el ejemplo de un negocio de cuidado infantil, que brinda un servicio casi invaluable a las familias trabajadoras: cuidar de manera segura a los jóvenes mientras los padres trabajan para llevar comida a la mesa. Lo que hace 200 años pudo haber sido un papel para la familia extendida, en este mundo industrializado, los adultos jóvenes se mudan lejos del hogar y de la familia. Ahora, en el mundo post-pandemia y la gran mudanza a lugares más económicos, es aún más importante comprender las partes de un buen plan de negocios para aprovechar las nuevas oportunidades.

Empiece por analizar las necesidades y deseos de tu cliente. Lo más cómodo para un padre es dejar a sus hijos cuando van y vienen del trabajo, por lo que tu mejor opción es estar cerca de zonas residenciales u oficinas, y encontrar la mejor manera de conectarse con estos segmentos de clientes. Conectarse con tu cliente ideal es el siguiente paso en tu estrategia de marketing, y no debes dejar de invertir en los elementos más básicos de una estrategia estándar: mantener una imagen limpia y segura, ser visible y fácil de encontrar desde la calle y tener una presencia online actualizada. Cuando decides dar el paso para contactar directamente a grupos de padres, recuerda que estos se forman espontáneamente alrededor de alguna plataforma o sistema, y estos varían de una ciudad a otra. Un vecindario puede comunicarse usando Facebook, mientras a seis cuadras de distancia otro vecindario puede usar Nextdoor, y  un tercero puede usar simplemente una simple cartelera como en los viejos tiempos. Lo último es que recuerdes ser coherente con los recursos que tendrás disponibles para ejecutar tu estrategia de Marketing, e investigar bien antes de salir a gastar dinero.

Pasando al tema del dinero, recuerda que una empresa no se arruina si pierde más dinero del que gana, sino cuando se queda sin efectivo. ¿Qué significa esto? Significa que necesitas tener ahorros suficientes para cubrir tu primera semana, mes o año; el tiempo necesario que le tomará al negocio aumentar sus ventas y generar ganancias para el dueño. ¿Qué significa eso para ti? Empieza haciendo un presupuesto de todo, pero primero que nada, toma nota de todo lo que necesitas gastar para abrir, todo lo que necesitas gastar mensualmente para que el negocio siga abierto, y lo que debes gastar en tu producto o servicio. O en la jerga de CPA: tus costos iniciales, tus costos fijos, y tus Costos de Bienes Vendidos (COGS). Todo, como siempre, dependerá tanto de tus decisiones de inversión como de los recursos que tengas disponibles. Existe una gran diferencia en la inversión inicial y los costos mensuales entre las opciones:

  • Compra de un inmueble
  • Arrendamiento de un lugar

El dinero que tengas disponible puede limitar un lado de lo que puedes hacer (el número de niños que puedes atender limita la otra parte). Entonces, primero descubre qué recursos tienes disponibles, cómo es tu gran visión de un centro de cuidado infantil, y luego investiga los costos e inversiones necesarios para alcanzar tu visión. Eso se convertirá en el punto de partida de tu plan financiero.

Hasta ahora, todo sobre lo que he hablado es gastar, gastar, gastar; veamos el ingreso. Brindar la solución a un problema, ya sea vendiendo un producto físico o vendiendo su tiempo y conocimiento, siempre traerá ciertos costos asociados con cada unidad de producto o servicio que venda. Ese costo es lo que llamamos Costo de Bienes Vendidos. Esto definirán, en primer lugar, la cantidad más baja que puedes cobrar, y te da una guía sobre qué precio definir. Finalmente, la cantidad de clientes a los que podrás atender define tus Ventas, resta tus COGS y tendrás tu Ganancia Bruta estimada. Este monto es lo que usarás para cubrir tus gastos fijos, pagos de préstamos, nómina y la ganancia del dueño. Aquí está la gran importancia de hacer una estimación buena y realista de todos sus gastos, fijos y variables. Si cometes el error de sobreestimar la cantidad de niños a los que puedes atender, no cubrirás tus costos; subestima tus gastos de alquiler, servicios públicos o nómina, y es posible que no le quede ganancia al negocio. Un pequeño error puede significar que tu negocio ya no es sostenible.

Esta es una descripción muy breve de todo lo que debes tener en cuenta al hacer tu plan de negocios para un Centro de Cuidado Infantil. Si quieres profundizar en cualquiera de estos temas, no dude en comunicarte con EGBI para una sesión de coaching.

Business Plan for Your Childcare Business

By Leonardo Pozzobon, Program Coordinator with EGBI

A business plan is NOT the be-all-end-all magic solution to your business problems; that will lie only in your adequate execution. A business plan is, however, a guide to show the path to profitability, listing your challenges and needs to get there. You may eventually reach roadblocks that you hadn’t anticipated, you may consider things initially that you then discard, and you shouldn’t let this discourage you; remember “Plans are useless, but Planning is everything”. You may eventually find a better opportunity or a better market that makes you change your mind on something, but you will know where you stand initially and where to go.

That being said, let’s think about what goes into a Business Plan. But first, a Business is only a business if you have identified a Problem or Need that you want to solve or address, if you can provide the right Solution for it, and find the right Customer who will have this problem, as long as he or she is willing and able to Pay you in exchange for your solution. The way to find and solve any given problem is unique to that industry, as are the regulations you need to navigate; finding the ideal customer and ideal price is just part of the Marketing and Financial plans. Thus, logically these should be addressed on your “road to success”, or Business Plan:

  • Problem / Solution (what you’ll do and how)
  • Marketing Plan (who’s your client and how will you find them)
  • Finance Plan (how are you making money)
  • Operations (how are you making more of your solution)

I want to look at the example of a Childcare Business, which provides a near priceless service to working families: Caring safely for the young while parents work to bring food to the table. What 200 years ago might’ve been a role for the extended family, in this industrialized world young adults move far from home and family. Now in the post pandemic move to more affordable places, it’s even more important to understand the parts of a good business plan to take advantage of new opportunities. 

No photo description available.

Start by looking at the needs and wants of your customer. Parents will most often want to drop off their children when going to and from work, so your best bet is to be close to home or work, and to find how to best connect with these customer segments. Connecting with your ideal customer is the next step on your marketing strategy, and you should not neglect investing in the most basic items of a standard strategy: maintaining a clean and safe image, being visible and easy to find from the street, and having an updated online presence. When directly doing outreach to parent groups, remember these form spontaneously around whatever platform or system that gets traction, and these vary from town to town. A neighborhood can communicate using Facebook, six blocks away another neighborhood can use Nextdoor, and yet a third one can just use an old school bulletin board. It’s okay to bootstrap your marketing strategy, just as well as it is to have money to spend, just make sure that you spend your money wisely, and research before.

Moving on to the money topic, remember that a business doesn’t go bankrupt if it’s losing more money than what it makes, it goes bankrupt when it runs out of Cash. What does this mean? It means you want to build a war chest large enough to cover your first week, or month, or year, however long it takes you to start making a profit and paying yourself. What does that mean, again? Do a budget, find out what your spending categories are, find out everything you need to spend to open, to stay open, and to serve your customers. Or in CPA lingo: your Start-up Costs, your Fixed Costs, and your Cost Of Goods Sold (COGS). Everything, as usual, will depend on both your investment decisions and the resources available to you; there’s a huge difference in initial investment and monthly costs between purchasing real estate and leasing a place, and your available funding caps one side of what you can and cannot do (your Total Addressable Market caps the other side). So first decide what you have available to invest, what your grand vision of a childcare center looks like for you, and then research all the costs and investments needed to reach your vision with your available resources. That will then become the starting point of your Financial plan.

So up until now, all I’ve talked about is spending, spending, spending, let’s get to making money. Providing the solution to a problem, be it selling a physical product or selling your time and knowledge, will always bring certain costs associated with each unit of product or service that you sell; that is what we call Cost Of Goods Sold. These will define, first, the lowest amount you can charge, and give you some guidance on what price to set for your services. Finally, the # of clients you serve will determine your income, subtract your COGS and you’ll have your estimated Gross Profit. This is what you’ll use to cover your fixed expenses, loan payments, payroll and your final income. So you see how important it is to do a good, realistic estimation on all your expenses, fixed and variable. Overestimate the # of children you can serve, and you won’t cover your costs; underestimate your rent, utilities, or payroll expenses, and you may not have any money left to pay yourself. One underestimation may mean your business is no longer sustainable. 

This is a very short description of everything you need to consider when making your Business Plan for a childcare business. If you would like to go deeper on any of these topics, feel free to reach out to Economic Growth Business Incubator (EGBI) for a coaching session.

Texas Winter storms and your Insurance

By Alejandra de la Torre, Alejandra de la Torre Agent State Farm Insurance

As the ice thaws, Texans are getting a better understanding of the damages caused by last week’s winter storms. The most common damages suffered were as a result of burst pipes, falling trees and power failures. As home and business owners begin to tackle the cleanup and repairs, they are looking for answers. Some of the questions we are getting in my office are can I be reimbursed for food spoilage? Is tree removal covered? Can I get my hotel stay reimbursed? The answer to these questions can be found in your insurance policy. As this can be a complicated document, it is important to consult your insurance agent to determine what your policy does and does not cover. When deciding whether or not to file a claim, there
are some important things to consider:
– Make sure you check what your deductible is. Many coverage’s are subject to your deductible.
– If you stayed at hotels do to power outage or no water. Many insurance will not cover you hotel stay. If you or your family had to evacuate your home due to storm damage, your policy might cover your cost.
– If you do have a claim keep in mind plumbers and restoration are two to four weeks out. Get your name on as many waiting list as possible. Also insurance companies are dealing with many claims, don’t wait until they call you to get your contractors or plumber.
– Take pictures of everything, before, during and after getting work done…if you think you are taking too many picture take more! Keep every receipt, and itemized list of the damages.
– Keep your family safe and try to mitigate the damage.


In some situations the damage may not be covered by insurance. In these instances, there may still be help available from the federal government. If you have loss that your insurance doesn’t cover consider filing a claim with FEMA. FEMA can’t duplicate benefits for losses covered by insurance however, if insurance does not cover all of your damage, you may be eligible for federal assistance. The fastest way to apply is online at www.disasterassistance.gov.

If you don’t have internet access you can register by calling 800-621-3362 or TTY: 800- 462-7585. The phone lines operate from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. CDT each day.
Here are some Q&A from Texas Department of Insurance
https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/storms/winter-storm-faq.html

***Photo provided by Bhavika Sharma***