Top 3 Bookkeeping Must Do’s before Year end

By Amy Cobb, Business Owner at AmyCobb.Co

  1. RECONCILE your Bank Accounts: verify that all your accounting records match your bank accounts.
  2. COLLECT your Past Due Invoices: collect all the money that customers owe your business.
  3. ORGANIZE your business receipts: 
    1. Sort receipts by type of expense, 
    2. Organize receipts chronologically, and 
    3. Save receipts digitally on your computer or device

You don’t want to do all these tasks after year end. Please be proactive about your approach and it will save you or your accountant stress, time and money.

The Benefits of Forming a Limited Liability Company

By Rachel Luna, Attorney and Owner of Luna Law, PLLC

At some point, most small business owners consider creating a separate entity to run their business. Since its inception, the limited liability company (LLC) [1] has increasingly become the entity of choice for most small businesses in Texas. If you are considering whether to create an LLC for your business, you may be wondering what benefits you really get from creating a separate entity and whether it’s worth the additional paperwork and cost involved.

Read on for some guidance to these questions.

The process and costs to form and operate an LLC are relatively minimal

To form an LLC in Texas, you must file a Certificate of Formation with the Texas Secretary of State and pay a filing fee of $300. Critical decisions that must be made as part of this process include:

  1. Determining the name of the LLC, which generally cannot be the same as or similar to the name of any existing company doing business in Texas;
  2. Deciding whether the LLC will be governed by its owner(s); and
  3. Identifying the LLC’s registered agent.

One of the most appealing features of an LLC is the flexibility allowed in its governance. To maximize and tailor this flexibility, it is a good idea to create a company agreement (often called an operating agreement in other jurisdictions). A company agreement governs the internal affairs of the LLC, including the duties and obligations among the company, the owner(s), any managers, and any officers of the LLC. A final recommended step in an LLC’s formation is the documentation of the initial decisions of the organization, either through resolution or written consent. Such decisions include issues such as approval of the formation of the company and confirmation of the organization’s banking authority.

Ongoing formality requirements are fairly minimal, however, to help ensure personal liability protection the business should operate under and through the LLC and not its owner(s). For example, bank accounts, contracts, insurance, and similar matters of the business should be transitioned to the name of the LLC.

The benefits and flexibility of an LLC are substantial

Owners and managers generally are not responsible for the debts, obligations, and liabilities of the company, except as provided in the company agreement. Additionally, through the company agreement, owners can establish charging order protection against the creditors of any other owners. Through charging order protection, any creditor that has seized ownership interests in the company could be limited to allocations and distributions of the company and would have no rights to make operational decisions on behalf of the company.

By default, an LLC with only one owner is taxed as a sole proprietorship, and an LLC with more than one owner is taxed as a partnership. However, in either case, the LLC has the option of electing C-Corp or S-Corp status. [2] Likewise LLC owners have great flexibility in determining how and when allocations and distributions are made, ownership interest transfers are allowed, and additional ownership interests are created.

Forming (or converting to) an LLC is often the best small business entity choice

Each entity structure has pros and cons when compared with the other options; however, for most small businesses, the advantages of an LLC will likely outweigh the negatives and make it the best choice. Below are some highlights of this comparison based on Texas law.

Sole Proprietorships

Sole proprietorships are how many small businesses with a single owner get started. There is no need to take any formal action to start a sole proprietorship. If you are running a business on your own and you have not taken any steps to formalize its structure, you are likely a sole proprietor.

  • Advantages over an LLC. No need to file any documentation with the Secretary of State; no formal governance requirements.
  • Disadvantages when compared with an LLC. No personal liability protection; no taxing flexibility (i.e. can only be taxed as a sole proprietorship); no ability to co-own the business with anyone else.

General Partnerships

Like sole proprietorships, many small businesses get started as a general partnership, because there is no need to take any formal action to start a general partnership. If you are running a business with anyone else and you have not taken any steps to formalize its structure, you are likely operating as a general partnership.

  • Advantages over an LLC. No need to file any documentation with the Secretary of State; no formal governance requirements.
  • Disadvantages when compared with an LLC. No personal liability protection unless additional documentation is filed with the Secretary of State; no ability for the business to have only one owner.

Limited Partnerships

Limited partnerships are businesses with two classes of partners: (1) partners that own and operate the company (general partners); and (2) partners who invest money into the business but are not involved with the operations of the company (limited partners).

  • Advantages over an LLC. May be more attractive to investors who do not want to be involved in the operations of the business or be exposed to the liabilities of the company.
  • Disadvantages when compared with an LLC. No personal liability protection for general partners unless additional documentation is filed with the Secretary of State; no ability for the business to have only one owner.

Corporations

With a long and rich history, corporations are a readily recognized form of business structure that are attractive to investors for a myriad of reasons, including strong personal liability protection for owners.

  • Advantages over an LLC. May be more attractive to investors.
  • Disadvantages when compared with an LLC. Has more extensive and structured governance and record-keeping requirements; no charging order protection.

Moving forward

Deciding whether to form an LLC should be an individualized decision based on the totality of your circumstances. However, the rich benefits afforded by operating through an LLC balanced against the minimal upkeep requirements likely justifies discussion and consideration of the issue by most business owners with their tax professional and attorney.

[1] In addition to general LLCs, Texas law allows for the formation of professional limited liability companies (PLLCs) as well as series limited liability companies (SLLCs). Stay tuned for additional information on these entity forms in a future installment of The General Counsel Blog.

[2] You should work with your accountant to review any additional tax filings, payment obligations, or other tax consequences that might arise through the formation of an LLC as part of the process of determining whether creating an LLC makes sense for you.

This update is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Every legal situation is different and must be independently analyzed by an attorney. Please consult with an attorney for specific guidance.

Contactor or employee

Fundamentals For Small Business Employers – Independent Contractors vs. Employees

By Rachel Luna, Attorney and Owner of Luna Law, PLLC

A common belief among business owners is that any person hired to perform services on behalf of the organization can be classified as an independent contractor so long as the worker agrees or has signed a written contract. However, this is a misconception, and inadvertently misclassifying an employee as an independent contractor leaves businesses open to substantial liability. Read on for some guidance to help avoid common pitfalls concerning this issue.1

What is the difference between an independent contractor and an employee?

Employees and independent contractors both provide services in exchange for compensation; however, they differ in many ways, including:

  • Independent contractors usually work for a business for only a specified duration and/or until a project is completed, retain control over the method and manner of their work, maintain economic independence, offer their services to and perform work for multiple businesses, and provide services that are distinct from the business.
  • Employees are customarily employed for an ongoing duration, subject to substantial oversight by the business, economically dependent on the business, work full-time and/or exclusively for one business, and provide services that are an integral part of the business.

Additionally, independent contractors, often business owners in their own right, are not safeguarded to the same extent as employees. For example, in Texas, independent contractors generally are not protected:

  • With regard to their pay by the Texas Payday Act and/or minimum wage laws.
  • If they are injured on the job by the Texas Workers Compensation Act.
  • If they need medical leave as afforded by the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • If they lose their job by the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act.
  • If they are subject to discrimination by federal and/or state employment anti-discrimination laws.

A consequence of the lack of legal protection afforded independent contractors, is that businesses often save money when retaining independent contractors, because, for example, they do not have to pay unemployment taxes or procure workers compensation insurance for such workers. Likewise, independent contractors typically do not receive paid time off or other employee benefits.

Why does it matter if an employee is misclassified as an independent contractor?

Misclassification issues often arise during routine agency audits as well as when a worker files a claim for workers compensation, unpaid wages, unemployment, and/or discrimination. When issues arise, a business often has the burden of establishing that the worker meets the requirements to be classified as an independent contractor and faces significant liability for unpaid wages and benefits, back taxes, interest, fines, liquidated damages, attorneys’ fees, and other costs if the business has incorrectly classified any employees as independent contractors (or otherwise improperly paid any employees, because the scope of such audit often expands beyond the issues of the initial claim).

How do I determine if my worker is properly classified as an independent contractor?

In determining whether someone has been properly classified as an independent contractor or whether they are really an employee, the law looks to the relationship between the business and the worker. Generally, in Texas, a worker:

  • Is your employee if you have the right to control the progress, details, and methods of operation of the worker.
  • May be classified as an independent contractor if you control only the end results of the worker.

Please note that because various governmental agencies at the state and national level use different factors in determining whether someone is an independent contractor, there is no single test or checklist available to ensure you make the correct determination for all purposes (for example, the Texas Workforce Commission considers different issues when determining whether a worker is really an employee for unemployment purposes than the IRS uses when making the same determination for tax obligation purposes). However, the Independent Contractor Common Factors Checklist linked below summarizes some of the more common factors considered by agencies reviewing this issue.

Independent contractor common factors checklist

What steps can I take to protect my company from potential misclassification liability?

There are many steps you can take, in coordination with your human resources professional and/or your attorney, to help protect your company from potential misclassification problems, including:

  • Pre-hire/self-audit evaluation. Review relevant circumstances, such as those listed in the Independent Contractor Factors Checklist, to determine whether a worker can be classified as an independent contractor. Be sure to review such factors whenever you are considering retaining someone as an independent contractor and/or you are auditing your current workforce. Performing this review can help you tailor the position as well as determine if a position needs modification and/or reclassification.
  • Training. Train your team on classification issues to ensure hiring managers and any personnel that interact with contractors understand the distinction between such personnel and employees so that they treat the worker as required to ensure compliance with applicable laws.
  • Agreements. Draft agreements with independent contractors in a manner that documents their distinction from employees when such personnel are hired by your organization.
  • Record retention. Consistently retain key documents in your vendor files for each of your independent contractors, including:
    • The contracts and a record of dates of engagement.
    • Payment records and copies of 1099s.
    • The independent contractor’s Employer Identification Number, contact information, insurance information, and any other documentation of their independent business (such as business cards, letterhead, invoices).

Implementing processes to ensure employees have not been misclassified as independent contractors involves effort, however, taking proactive steps now is recommended as the work can save you and your organization from being required to endure a substantially more difficult and expensive assessment in the future.

[1] Please note that this post does not consider or review: (1) COVID relief for independent contractors; (2) issues specific to transportation network companies and other industries expressly regulated on this issue; and/or (3) workers specifically classified by regulatory agencies, such as those considered by the IRS to be statutory employees or statutory non-employees.

This update is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Every legal situation is different and must be independently analyzed by an attorney. Please consult with an attorney for specific guidance.

The Devil’s in the Details — The Significance of Your Contract’s Fine Print

By Rachel Luna, Attorney and Owner of Luna Law, PLLC

Many people enter contracts on behalf of their business without paying too much attention to much of the language in the agreement they are signing. A typical contract review focuses on particulars related to the deal—for example, the price, the date for performance, and the services, products, or materials purchased. Often, the general terms and conditions (“GTCs”) of the agreement are quickly examined or overlooked completely.

A limited evaluation of the GTCs normally does not end up being a problem, because each party performs their end of the agreement, and the contract ends successfully. However, if things go awry, the GTCs can significantly impact the outcome of any related dispute. To keep yourself from navigating troubled waters only after things have soured, it’s a good idea to understand some fundamentals of GTCs.

To assist in this endeavor, the information below includes an explanation of some common provisions found in GTCs, some of the issues to consider in deciding whether to include or amend such provisions, and draft language that can be used as a starting or comparison point when preparing or revising such clauses. When evaluating GTCs, it is important to keep in mind that whether and to what extent these clauses are enforceable depends on the law governing the agreement, and to work with your attorney to tailor GTCs.

Attorneys’ Fees

An attorneys’ fees provision can upend the bargaining position of parties in a dispute. This scenario intensifies when the amount in controversy decreases because attorneys’ fees can equal or exceed the claimed loss. When negotiating this clause, a major consideration is its ultimate implications; for example, if you are more likely to be sued because of a contract breach, you may want to exclude the clause or make it as limited as possible.

Sample language: If any party institutes any legal suit, action, or proceeding against the other party to enforce the covenants contained in this Agreement or obtain any other remedy in respect of any breach of this Agreement, the prevailing party in the suit, action, or proceeding shall be entitled to receive, in addition to all other damages to which it may be entitled, the costs incurred by such party in conducting the suit, action, or proceeding, including reasonable attorneys’ fees and expenses and court costs.

Governing Law

A governing law provision allows parties to select which state law controls how a contract will be interpreted, which limits controversies and decreases costs that might otherwise be expended in determining which law applies. When determining which state law to specify, you should think about the location of the parties and the transaction. It is often advantageous to choose the state of your location because your attorney is likely more familiar with the laws. Other pertinent issues include which state has the most developed or favorable relevant laws.

Sample language: This Agreement and all related documents and all matters arising out of or relating to this Agreement, whether sounding in contract, tort, or statute, are governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of Texas, without giving effect to the conflict of laws provisions thereof to the extent such principles or rules would require or permit the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than those of the State of Texas.

Submission to Jurisdiction

While related to and often combined with a governing law provision, rather than specifying which state’s law applies, a submission to jurisdiction clause allows parties to choose where a claim can be brought. In determining which jurisdiction to specify, be sure to keep in mind that it is usually more convenient and cheaper to choose a nearby location as the relevant jurisdiction.

Sample language: Any legal suit, action, or proceeding arising out of or relating to this Agreement or the transactions contemplated hereby shall be instituted in any United States federal court or state court located in the State of Texas in the City of Austin and County of Travis, and each party irrevocably submits to the exclusive jurisdiction of such courts in any such suit, action, or proceeding. The parties irrevocably and unconditionally waive any objection to the laying of venue of any suit, action, or proceeding in such courts and irrevocably waive and agree not to plead or claim in any such court that any such suit, action, or proceeding brought in any such court has been brought in an inconvenient forum.

Waiver of Jury Trial

The unknowns of a jury can significantly affect the cost of litigation and settlement. To decrease the likelihood that a case will be decided by a jury of people who may not fully understand the complexities of your case, you may want to include alternative dispute resolution language, such as mandatory arbitration or a jury trial waiver. You may need to format any such clause in a prominent manner to prevent a party from later claiming they were unaware of the waiver language and to increase the likelihood that the provision will be enforced.

Sample language: EACH PARTY ACKNOWLEDGES AND AGREES THAT ANY CONTROVERSY THAT MAY ARISE UNDER THIS AGREEMENT IS LIKELY TO INVOLVE COMPLICATED AND DIFFICULT ISSUES AND, THEREFORE, EACH PARTY IRREVOCABLY AND UNCONDITIONALLY WAIVES ANY RIGHT IT MAY HAVE TO A TRIAL BY JURY IN RESPECT OF ANY LEGAL ACTION ARISING OUT OF OR RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT OR THE TRANSACTIONS CONTEMPLATED HEREBY. EACH PARTY TO THIS AGREEMENT CERTIFIES AND ACKNOWLEDGES THAT (A) NO REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY OTHER PARTY HAS REPRESENTED, EXPRESSLY OR OTHERWISE, THAT SUCH OTHER PARTY WOULD NOT SEEK TO ENFORCE THE FOREGOING WAIVER IN THE EVENT OF A LEGAL ACTION, (B) SUCH PARTY HAS CONSIDERED THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS WAIVER, (C) SUCH PARTY MAKES THIS WAIVER VOLUNTARILY, AND (D) SUCH PARTY HAS DECIDED TO ENTER INTO THIS AGREEMENT BY, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE MUTUAL WAIVERS AND CERTIFICATIONS IN THIS SECTION.

Force Majeure

One of the many impacts of COVID-19 included an immediate and ongoing evaluation and revision of force majeure (literally, “greater force” in French) clauses, provisions that specify what happens when performance of a contract is no longer possible for unforeseeable reasons. When drafting and negotiating the language of a force majeure clause, think about whether the clause should apply to all parties, whether payments should be excluded (i.e., whether payment is required regardless of a calamity), and whether termination should be required or allowed after a certain amount of time of nonperformance.

Sample language: No party shall be liable or responsible to the other party, nor be deemed to have defaulted under or breached this Agreement, for any failure or delay in fulfilling or performing any term of this Agreement (except for any obligations to make payments to the other party hereunder), when and to the extent such failure or delay is caused by or results from acts beyond the affected party’s control, including, without limitation: (a) acts of God; (b) flood, fire, earthquake, or explosion; (c) war, invasion, hostilities (whether war is declared or not), terrorist threats or acts, riot, or other civil unrest; (d) government order or law; (e) actions, embargoes, or blockades in effect on or after the date of this Agreement; (f) action by any governmental authority; (g) national or regional emergency; (h) strikes, labor stoppages or slowdowns, or other industrial disturbances; (i) epidemics, pandemics, or quarantines; (j) failure of a power grid or the internet; or (k) shortage of adequate power or transportation facilities (each a “Force Majeure Event”). The party suffering a Force Majeure Event shall give notice (within ten days of the Force Majeure Event) to the other party, stating the period of time the occurrence is expected to continue and shall use diligent efforts to end the failure or delay and ensure the effects of such Force Majeure Event are minimized.

Entire Agreement

Parties often spend a great deal of time negotiating a deal before executing a contract that memorializes the agreement. To ensure that the parties have a true meeting of the minds related to the specifics of the transaction, contracts often stipulate that language that is not within the contract is not part of the agreement through an entire agreement clause. When including or reviewing an entire agreement provision, you should be mindful of any ancillary agreements and amend the entire agreement provision as appropriate.

Sample language: This Agreement constitutes the sole and entire agreement of the parties to this Agreement with respect to the subject matter contained herein, and supersedes all prior and contemporaneous understandings, agreements, representations, and warranties, both written and oral, with respect to such subject matter.

Severability

Specific clauses within any contract may be interpreted differently by certain courts and jurisdictions and may even be found unenforceable due to nuances in the jurisdiction or changes in the law. In such circumstances a severability clause can save the contract by removing or modifying any objectionable language. When preparing a severability clause, an important issue to determine is what you would like to happen if any clause is found to be invalid—do you want it modified or removed?

Sample language: If any term or provision of this Agreement is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable in any jurisdiction, such invalidity, illegality, or unenforceability shall not affect any other term or provision of this Agreement or invalidate or render unenforceable such term or provision in any other jurisdiction. Upon such determination that any term or other provision is invalid, illegal, or unenforceable, the court may modify this Agreement so as to effect the original intent of the parties as closely as possible in a mutually acceptable manner in order that the transactions contemplated hereby be consummated as originally contemplated to the greatest extent possible.

Next Steps

While the information in this document highlights some common GTCs and some related considerations, there are many others, and it is important for business owners to be acquainted with them and to understand how they could impact their company. Taking preventative action now can give you immediate peace of mind as well as save you from considerable difficulty and expense in the future.

Practical next steps include reviewing these terms on your standard contract templates and determining whether it makes sense to prepare standard amendment language if you often sign agreements based on the standard agreements of other parties. Also, if at any point you do not understand the purpose or importance of a certain clause within any contract’s GTCs, be sure to seek appropriate guidance and support from your attorney.

This update is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Every legal situation is different and must be independently analyzed by an attorney. Please consult with an attorney for specific guidance.

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

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.