Keeping Your Small Business Open Through the Winter

Winter can be a difficult time for businesses, particularly small businesses. Extra costs, lower foot traffic and other complications can really damage your bottom line. Here are a few things to plan for if you’re trying to stay open through the cold season.

Make Your Business Accessible

You need to be accessible, both to your customers and your employees. That might mean looking into a sidewalk clearing service or deicing parking lots Washington or your area. Keep informed about snowplow routes and stay aware of whose responsibility the sidewalks are. There’s simply no point being open if your customers and employees can’t get to you, so be realistic about whether the cost of being open that day outweighs the benefits.

Prepare for Extra Costs

Winter is expensive. Clearing the parking lots and sidewalks costs money, keeping the building heated costs money and there is always the chance of other unexpected expenses like burst pipes from freezing temperatures and broken gutters caused by ice dams. Your rainy day fund may in fact be a winter weather fund.

Bring People In

Extra costs aside, business often slows in the in certain seasons. Unless you are in the business of snow removal, January and February can be extremely slow months for many small businesses, particularly in the retail sector. You may have to get creative to bring people in with sales and special offers. Whatever you can do to get customers and clients in the door will help.

Small businesses do not have the resources and advantages that larger corporations enjoy, and that makes them vulnerable. But with the right preparations and enough forethought, your small business can easily weather winter storms and seasonal fluctuations alike. Just remember to be accessible, prepared for the extra expense, and have a plan to bring people in.

Running a business comes with many responsibilities, such as overseeing sales and production, managing employees and budgeting. One of your most critical tasks is keeping track of your finances. Follow these tips to make sure that you can complete your taxes and other financial processes smoothly and correctly.

Get Professional Help

If you do not have an in-house accountant and you have space in your budget, you should hire one immediately. Accountants can look through your records and projections and help you find a way out of debt if necessary. You also could contract independent QuickBooks training professionals to help you better understand your finances.

Don’t Throw Away Your Records

It’s tempting to recycle your tax returns and business records once tax season is over. However, you should never get rid of these forms. If they are taking up too much space, scan and store them in a secure online location, and then recycle the physical copies. You never know when you will be audited or when you will need to review your data from a few years ago. Have a filing system in place so that when you need to find a document, you can do so easily.

Log All Transactions

Every time that you pay someone or receive money, record the transaction. If the money is exchanged electronically, your bank will automatically generate a statement. You should still keep a separate list of all transactions so that you know where all of your money came from. This practice allows you to doublecheck all bank statements, so if something seems suspicious about your finances, you have an independent list with which to verify the statement.

Don’t let your financial records become messy and confusing. With the help of trained professionals, understand your finances and find a record-keeping method that fits your managerial style.

Cleaning the Playroom

Take a long look around your kids’ playroom. Now take another look. If you’re seeing things like fingerprints all over the walls, stains on upholstery and other nasty surprises, it’s probably time to get busy giving it a deep clean. Roll up your sleeves and get those janitorial cleaning rags ready; it’s going to be a long day.

Clean Toys

First things first: Get the things that they play with the most often washed and sanitized. Toss all soft things like blankets and stuffed animals into the washing machine, but use your dishwasher to disinfect the hard toys. Include your kids in this part; young kids love to help, so fill up a small basin with warm, soapy water and have them give their toys a bath and scrub-down. Don’t forget to spritz all hand-washed toys with a bleach solution and let them air dry to ensure they’re sanitized.

Wipe Down Walls

It’s no picnic to clean walls, but an easy way is to simply mop them. Attach a microfiber cloth to your flat-headed mop and, along with a bucket of hot, soapy water, start cleaning. You’ll be amazed at how bright and clear the walls look without the fingerprints, smudges and dust that collects on them without your noticing.

Sanitize Things That Are Touched Often

Clorox wipes are an amazing thing. Using a couple, go through the room and wipe down anything that lots of hands touch including:

  • Light switches
  • Doorknobs
  • Remotes and gaming controllers

Kids are awesome and magical, but they are also walking and breathing Petri dishes. Make the place that they spend the most time one that’s clean and fresh to prevent the spread of illness and disease — and to also reclaim a part of your home that you’re tired of seeing look like a wreck!

How to Find a Local Deliver Service

Most businesses need to move things from one place to another, whether that is a load of baked goods to a store, cases of wine to a restaurant or a truckload of furniture for staging a location. How do you find delivery companies that handle local loads for trucks?

  • First, you need to decide what you need to move because that will help narrow the search. Some companies limit their services to certain things. Be upfront about special circumstances such as heavy or bulky objects.
  • Next, decide when your order needs to be there. Is this a same-day job or can you schedule it out for a few days or a week?
  • Cost is the next factor to consider. Of course, rush jobs are always more expensive, so the longer lead time you have, the better. Get estimates from several companies so you can make a comparison. Price is important, but it isn’t the most crucial thing to consider.
  • Security is another concern when contracting with a delivery company. You don’t necessarily want to hire the cheapest company if they are going to lose your load. This is where customer reviews can be very helpful.
  • You want your goods delivered on time, so reliability is another consideration. Your professional reputation is on the line, so you want to pick a company that gets your items there when they need to be and in good condition. Read the reviews on the company website and on Angie’s List to check this out. A bit of research can save you a lot of headaches.
  • Do they provide tracking services? That should be easy to do in this age of the smartphone.

By doing a bit of research and asking the right questions, you can find a local delivery company to move your goods. Whatever you need to move, there is a company that can do that.

Three Steps to Your Liquor License

A business establishment that wants to sell and serve alcoholic drinks must obtain a liquor license. The laws and subsequent steps that dictate this vital document may vary from state to state. For example, in order to obtain a alcohol license Dallas TX, one must go through the permitting process, which, when followed carefully and thoroughly, may reduce the time to obtain a liquor license in Dallas from six months to 60 days. Be sure to check the rules specific to your region.

On or Off?

The first step is to know what type of liquor license you will need. An on-license refers to a business such as a bar or brewery, in which alcohol will be both served and consumed within its walls. An off-license is for a liquor store, where customers purchase their drinks in bottled form and take them elsewhere to drink.

Getting Specific

Assuming you are pursuing an on-license, you now must decide if your situation requires more specific approvals, depending on the specific type of establishment you intend to open. If opening a restaurant, you will need a restaurant license, which may impose limits on how much of your profit may come from the sale of alcoholic beverages. If you do not intend to offer hard liquor, a beer and wine license could be for you. A tavern license is for businesses whose primary earnings depend on the sale of alcohol.

Money, Money, Money

License fees vary depending on the state you are opening a business in but normally range from $300 to $14,000. Be prepared to pay these fees as soon as your application is approved.

Need to Know

Along with your own personal information, you will need to provide proof-of-business items, such as a certificate of incorporation; partnership agreements; food menu; and health, building, and zoning permits.

Being prepared with all of the necessary information and funds can help your liquor license application process move as smoothly as possible. This should give you the best chance to open your business on time and as planned.

Silicon Wafer Shipments Register a Decline

While the semiconductor market remained strong across the world in 2019, shipments didn’t match the record levels of the previous year. In fact, silicon wafer suppliers reported high inventories of eight-inch wafers early in the fourth quarter as shipments and orders continued to slow.

The Reason Behind The Decline

Analysts attribute the decline to on-again, off-again threats of tariffs by the United States and China – which spends more on importing semiconductor chips than on foreign oil — as well as product manufacturers looking to prop up their balance sheets by relying on existing inventories where possible. The eight-inch wafers are commonly used in automotive electronics and household consumer products, making production and sales data a barometer for general economic conditions.

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, a global industry organization, reported in November 2019 that third-quarter shipments slipped 1.7 percent from the previous period to 2.932 billion square inches. That was almost 10 percent lower than the third quarter of 2018 and consistent with projections cited by a trade publication in Taiwan. The dip was mitigated to some extent by an uptick by silicon wafer suppliers in shipments of 12-inch wafers, more commonly used for handsets and memory chips.

What This Means Looking Forward

Reduced recent consumption could drive down costs In Western nations if production isn’t scaled back, a possibility because the market is so fractured and competitive. That could be good news for consumers in the market for anything from memory sticks to big-ticket home appliances.

The wildcard by most accounts will be China, which has multiple silicon wafer suppliers scheduled to come online in 2020 in that country’s never-ending bid to catch up to the United States in manufacturing. The challenge the Chinese face is that their research and development program has struggled to gain ground on the rest of the world, where chip computing power doubles every other year and has meant having to import more than 80 percent of the necessary semiconductors.

No one really knows what the future holds for China and the semiconductor market, but it is safe to say that the world will be watching, especially those who love tech gadgets, to see what happens in 2020. 

3 Environmental Remediation Services for Your Property

The presence of toxic waste in your property is dangerous. It can destroy the area, endanger the health of anyone nearby and raise public and legal concerns around you and the territory. It is important to hire environmental remediation professionals who can safely and expertly remove these materials. Depending on the situation, they can use different services to complete the project efficiently. 

Sediment and Debris Removal

The build-up of dirt, clay, sand and other debris at the bottom of a water body, also known as sediment, can have serious consequences. This type of pollution can disrupt the sea life, contaminate a population’s drinking water and reduce water depth, among other drawbacks. A remediation contractor can use high-end equipment and environmentally conscious techniques to restore the water body’s state, either though dredging or hydro raking. 

Capping

When soil in your property becomes contaminated, the poison can spread throughout the rest of the area via the wind or through groundwater. In a technique known as capping, remediation services boston ma install a layer on top of the toxic area, preventing it from contacting wildlife, water or other spread agents. There are many cap options at your disposal. 

  • Soil with vegetation 
  • Asphalt or concrete
  • Drainage (sand and gravel)
  • Clay
  • Geomembrane

The cap material, size and thickness depend on multiple factors, including the size of the area, the rainfall rate and others. Sometimes, you might end up needing multiple layers made of different materials. 

Wetland Restoration

If your business or property has wetlands, you know it is important to protect and restore them when they have gone through pollution or erosion. While the unique combination of wildlife, vegetation and thousand-year soils found in wetlands cannot be completely returned, restoration specialists can use fisheries, flood control and erosion prevention to revive most of the habitat. 

As a property owner, you need to protect your investment from any dangers, including hazardous waste. Consider researching these methods and others to restore your territory for years to come.   

Three Things To Do Before You Start Major Construction

Whether you are building a home from the ground up or adding a major expansion on your current home, think about what you need to do to prepare. Consider the supplies you need, the time it will take and the people you will need to hire. 

Gather Your Materials

For major building projects, you will need more than a regular set of tools. You will want to prepare any saws, drills or hammers you might need, but you will also have to prepare for larger pieces of equipment. You might have to get a forklift, a heavy-duty drill or even a crane. Larger tools will require a little more work to get, so you will want to count on machinery movers southern California to help you get those tools to your home. 

Make Sure You Have the Right Permits

Major construction often requires particular kinds of permits. Building permits require you to fill out an application and submit a site plan for the project so that the city you live in is aware of the kind of construction going on. You will also need to schedule an appointment for plan approval and make sure you have inspections lined up during construction to ensure your project is on the right course and not breaking any of the permitting requirements. You will also want to have a timeline at this point in the process for how long you think the project should take. 

Hire the Right People

Unless you are taking on the construction by yourself (which is not advised), take some time to figure out who you want to hire for each job. Get an electrician you trust to run the wiring and a reliable contractor to get the walls up. If you hire the right people, projects will go more smoothly. Major construction is much less daunting when you have the right people take you through the process. 

4 Tips for a Smooth Relocation

When you started your business, you probably didn’t give a lot of thought to what you would need to do to relocate. If your business is grown or you want to move it to another town, however, it’s helpful to understand how to make that process go well.

1. Make a Checklist

Relocation involves a lot of little tasks, and some have to be completed before others. For example, before you pack up your computers, you need to back up your data so that you don’t lose any information in the move. Putting every step of the process in writing helps you manage your move better.

2. Hire Professionals

Moving is a lot of work, and you don’t have to do it all yourself. You may need to hire multiple teams to get the best service. There are movers who specialize in specific tasks, including everything from industrial equipment relocation to electronic packing and moving.

3. Purchase Insurance

As with any undertaking, you want to make sure that you are properly protected during your move. Another benefit of hiring a professional moving company is that they are required to have workers compensation insurance for their employees so that you are covered if the movers are injured on the job. If, however, your team is doing some of the work themselves, you want to verify that your policy covers anything that could happen.

4. Update Marketing

You want your customers to know how to find you in your new location. Give them a heads up as early as possible. Once your move is complete, update your website, ads, business cards and external listings to reflect your new contact information.

Moving your business to a new location is necessary when you’ve outgrown the old one. These tips can help you make the transition go more smoothly.

Building a Happy Workplace

A happy workplace can make your daily life infinitely better. If you’re an employer, you owe it to yourself and your employees to try and make your workplace as happy as possible. When you’re building a workplace, you should build with the happiness and comfort of yourself and your employees in mind.

Design and Furnishing

The design of your workplace will do a lot to determine how your employees move through the space. Are there private corners for them to work in and open spaces for them to interact in? The layout can play a huge role in a workspace. You also want your furnishings to be comfortable and good quality. Look for the best place to buy office furniture in your area.

Amenities and Benefits

Look into amenities and benefits for your employees. In a downtown area, having a guaranteed parking spot can be a huge boon for employees. Some offices have gym spaces and showers or offer memberships to a health club. As an employer, you have the ability to get group rates that you can then offer to your employees. These kinds of little perks can go a long way towards building goodwill and happiness in your workforce.

Maintenance

Maintenance goes beyond keeping up the memberships and benefits. It’s more than maintenance staff who can respond quickly to requests for repairs. It goes beyond keeping the office clean and the furniture in good repair. It goes beyond keeping the communal kitchen stocked. Maintenance, when it comes to happiness in the workplace, means regularly checking in with your employees to see what they need and what they want.

Ultimately, communication is key to building a happy workplace. Clear and open communication between you and your employees is the best way to ensure that your workplace is a happy one from start to finish.