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Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business

Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business
Here’s to New Beginnings: Your Essential Guide to Starting a Small Business   When you have a great business idea and strive to achieve financial independence, you might be thinking about launching a small business. Every huge corporation started with a small business, so why not? While you can definitely achieve success in the business world, keeping your small business successful for at least 2 to 5 years is a huge work. This game is worth the candle, though. So, if you’re trying to start a small business, here’s your handy guide to help you out:   Start your journey with research Perhaps, you’ve already come up with a unique – or any – business idea, but is it going to bring you success? Does your business idea have many competitors? Before you take any step, do your own research. Consider running your idea through a simple validation process that will help you to figure out the future of that idea. First of all, your business idea should offer something – be it a service or a product – that the modern market needs these days.   There are many ways to find out if a business idea will be successful, such as focus groups, deep research, and in most cases, trial and error. But before you go through trial and error ask yourself:   Does the market need your product/service? Who are the people who will want to use your product/service? What are the companies that offer similar or the same product/service? Will you be able to compete with them? It’s important to ask confidently without any fear or disappointment.   Create a business plan Any business idea requires a powerful business plan, which will become your guide during the process of establishment and business growth. There are many types of business plans, so choose the one that will suit your idea.   If you’re looking for financial support from a financial institution or an investor, creating a basic business plan is essential. This business plan is usually thorough and long, and contains a set of sections that banks and investors check out when they’re validating a business idea. In case, you’re not looking for any financial support and you’re going to invest in your startup yourself, it may be enough to create a simple and short business plan just to give you the initial steps you should take. You can also come up with a working business plan on a piece of paper and change it as you start working on it.   Consider your finances Generally, a startup doesn’t need too many investments, yet you’ll need some money to cover a number of expenses during the first months or even a year before your business will earn a profit. Calculate the one-time startup expenses like property leases, permits and licenses, legal fees, equipment, branding, insurance, inventory, market research, opening events, trademarking, etc. Then, calculate how much money you will need to keep your startup running for a year (your own paycheck, employee paychecks, utilities, rent, advertising, marketing, travel expenses, supplies, etc.)   As soon as you find out an approximate amount of money, think about the ways to find them. You can either save money or borrow from family or friends. Many new entrepreneurs also apply for an SBA loan. Filling out an SBA personal financial statement may be tricky, but here’s a guide to help you out.   Select a business structure Whether it is a limited liability company (LLC), a partnership, a sole proprietorship, or even a corporation, your next step is to select a business structure. Your business structure will affect a lot...
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How do I Become an Independent Contractor

How do I Become an Independent Contractor
Rolling Up Your Sleeves: 8 Steps to Registering as an Independent Contractor Are you ready to be your own boss?  There are many advantages to becoming an independent contractor, some of which we’ll cover today. But it’s also a big responsibility – one that you and you alone must handle. Here are some general steps you can take to make your dreams of striking out on your own as an independent contractor a reality.   Learn what an independent contractor is.  First, learn more about what being an independent contractor means. To be an independent contractor, you must have multiple clients (companies) annually. You own your business at least in part, work with your own materials, tools, and expertise, and each job you take on is considered ‘temporary’, as you will leave when your task is complete.  Pick your business name.  Now, pick a name for your business. Make it something other than just your first and last name, as you can get some good marketing in with a clever or memorable name.  Get licensed.  Next, head down to your local city or county clerk’s office and figure out whether or not you’ll require a license to operate where you live. This is especially important if you work in any type of labor/contractor field. Often, you are required to be licensed in your trade as well.  Get insured.  Whatever you do, don’t skip this step! Your career as an independent contractor could be over as soon as it begins if you get entangled in a lawsuit with a client. Check out various professional liability insurance companies to find a policy that suits your industry and individual needs.  Take care of the accounting end of things.  Decide whether or not you’ll hire an accountant. In many cases, this isn’t necessary; many independent contractors get by fine on their own with accounting software.  Make estimated tax payments.  This can be a little tricky, but do your best to come up with a ballpark figure on what you’ll make in a year. Now, you must make four estimated tax payments throughout the year. Trust us, you do not want to end up owing all at once, or end up attracting the attention of the IRS in any way.  Stay motivated.  We all lose steam, and we all find ourselves stuck in a rut from time to time. But as an independent contractor, you need to maintain the will to work and consistently formulate ways to draw in new clients. Create a routine and schedule for yourself, even when work is thin.  Enjoy the benefits.  While it can have its tough moments, being an independent contractor is incredibly freeing. You make your own hours, you dictate what you’ll be paid, and most of all, it’s your chance to do what you love for a living. Appreciate it!   Finding the right work-life balance can be difficult, but when you’re an independent contractor, you make the rules. Start off on the right foot by taking care of licensing, insurance, and accounting, and from there, the sky’s the limit....
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Practical Tips for Event Planning Profs

Practical Tips for Event Planning Profs
Practical Tips for Event Planning Professionals How to make an event outstanding! It is always a treat to watch grand events coming live. Be it a Soccer League, Oscar awards Ceremony or more of its kind. Watching it in person or on TV creates a feeling of awe in our heart, don’t they? Have you ever for a second thought how these grandeur events were coming alive or about the people who make these things happen? Honestly, “NO” would be the answer. Behind all of these and more, event management professionals work untiringly to create the best experience possible for the guests, the celebrities, the sponsors & stakeholders, and the spectators. I stumbled across this very interesting article from ALIVE – aliveeventsagency.com an Australian based event management company. It highlights how often risk assessment is overlooked and not put under high priority quotient. Read on… Playing It Safe: Why Venue Security is a Top Priority for Event Planners Event management requires a set of professionals working together with complete understanding to co-ordinate a particular event in style and splendor. All the people involved in the team have one notion in common –that is to make the event a grand success. The event manager is like the captain of the crew and he should outline all the requirements of the client to his team with clarity. It is always the responsibility of event managers to perform over and above the expectations of the client to create a goodwill that will go a long way. Event Management has Become Inevitable: Event managers have become part and parcel of any industry – parties, entertainment, finance, government, retail, fashion, sports, and music. Did you know the anchors of some live shows that we dote are all products of event managers? It is a high tension environment and the glitz and glamour we witness is purely the result of the hard work they render in the back stage. Team, Team, Team… Though four or five people may form the core team, you need to do so many outsourcing jobs to complete the task. Say, you are a wedding planner, right from photography, video, food and cocktail to floral decoration, music and guests welcoming- so many things come under your forte. Imagine how many people you might need to successfully make that event happen! It is better to establish contacts with a trusted set of individuals who will never let you down even in a crisis situation. That you will find out from your experience. Creativity is the key Event Management is all about surpassing the expectations of all parties involved in the events. There are three ways to accomplish this: Arrangement of the events (design) The events have to be unique Should suit the taste of the client and his interests. Client’s Co-operation is more important All said and done, the clients have to be clear in what they want – budget, ambience, kind  of events etc.,( In South Indian weddings, the girl’s side has a major financial stake in arranging the events, but the boy’s side has a better say over the matters. So it is better to know the taste and preference of the boy’ side before deciding on events. ) An event manager can never create what he imagines without the support of his team. At the same time he has to be at his best – negotiations between clients, suppliers and company, flexibility, quick thinking, lots of initiative and exceptional decision...
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Best HR Apps For Your Business

Best HR Apps For Your Business
Best HR Apps For Your Business Development We all know how stressful a HR manager’s job could be. It is his department’s responsibility under his guidance to handle employee relations, payroll management, hiring and layoffs, rewards and remunerations, change and culture management. He can be compared to a mom who is always there to settle scores between son and father. Though the job is definitely tiring in nature, time has come for HR managers to heave a sigh of relief thanks to innovative HR apps that significantly reduces their workload.   Apps for Rescue There are now apps that can completely take care of payroll management, network communication, project management, monitoring workforce leave, recruiting and performance management. Think about it, how much of time will be saved if there is some technology that helps you in tracking the sales force performance metrics (especially in IT companies where there are hundreds of thousands of employees), attendance, payroll, etc., Today’s technological scenario is something to be awed at and not to be taken granted for. Small organizations should push themselves one step higher to leverage the functionality of innovative technology for their business development. Download “55 ALL TIME POPULAR HR QUOTES” … Big Data – The Big Boss Data sits at the centre commanding all other entities to obey the rules laid by it. Even giants like Google can no more rely on their intuitions for decision making but rather go for numbers and information. HR is no exception when it comes to adapting new technology. Why can’t companies dare to use new software services – afterall nothing is lost! When you are in a situation to scale up your operations on one end and manage the tight competition on the other, yet you would not opt for a change!  That does not make sense in any plausible manner. Think Fast Act Faster Let me introduce you to some of the interesting and enterprising HR apps (free as well as paid versions) that will give some room for HR managers to go for a long pending vacation with their family! It is better to automate your HR functions and please, please think over and above MS Office. Orange HRM: OrangeHRM offers you flexibility and freedom to select from free and paid versions of OrangeHRM backed with specialized expertise. Their  HR modules cover core areas like payroll management, employee data management and many more. There’s the free option and paid enterprise version. And it’s all open source so if you have developers you can customize it to your heart’s content. App from Hay Group: Allows your managers to create job descriptions from a library of roles or generic templates defined by their experts, or you can completely start from scratch. Suggests the skills and behaviours needed for a role and gives feedback on job design so your managers know they’re on track. Expense on Demand: Expense On Demand will reduce the time needed to process expense claims by at least 50%. Claims are approved electronically and arrive in Finance department  fully coded, validated and approved ready to be paid. Bamboo HR: BambooHR combines  all of your employee information from all of your locations into a single view. You can then access, control, sort, analyze, and take action on the data instantly—from your office, the road or home. Kim Rohrer Head of People Operations / Disqus says “BambooHR frees up more time for me to follow my passion in helping people do their jobs better” Greenhouse: Make recruiting your competitive advantage through this app that optimizes your entire recruiting process. Find better candidates, conduct more focused interviews, and make data-driven hiring decisions. I’m listing a set...
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The Startup Guide for Entrepreneurs

The Startup Guide for Entrepreneurs
  Part 2 of this series is coming through….   Here’s another humble attempt to showcase India’s ‘Most preferred #Startups to work for’, startups that promise a great deal of work, value and learning to the professionals and freshers out there. 1. Ola – Founded in Jan 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola is not only India’s most popular mobile app for personal transportation, but also one of the most talked about ‘startups’ from India. Ola has also emerged as the top preferred startup to work for in our survey. The Billion Dollar Unicorn has surely caught the imagination of the young employable population. 2. Zoomcar – At No. 2 is another startup that is solving the problem of urban transportation. This self-drive car rental company raised $11 million from Sequoia Capital, Empire Angels and NGP, a week back. 3. FreeCharge – FreeCharge occupies the third position on the leaderboard. Earlier this year, FreeCharge was acquired by Snapdeal in one of the biggest M&A in the Indian internet ecosystem. 4. Freshdesk – It is encouraging to see a B2B startup occupying the fourth position on this list. Freshdesk is steadily appearing to be one of the best product startups built out of India. Perhaps a testimony to this was its latest $50 Million Series E funding from Tiger Global, Google Capital and Accel. 5. Housing – Unscathed by the myriad controversies surrounding it, Housing still manages to make it to the fifth spot on the ‘Preferred startups to work for’ list. The startup that is known for a ‘fun’ work culture has big bets placed on it by Softbank.  2015 has been a dream run for Indian startups so far.  The entrepreneurial spirit is at all time high with over $3.5 billion invested across 380 disclosed deals in the first of half of 2015. For the first time, Delhi-NCR has overtaken Bengaluru in terms of the number of deals. Of the total amount which has been raised by the startups, majority is being deployed for hiring talent, building technology and scaling up/expansion. Stress on customer acquisition is getting overshadowed by the pressure to hire brighter and smarter talent in a startup. Curated from These are India’s 15 most preferred startups to work for...
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