Practical Procedures To Protect Your Profits

People start businesses for many reasons, including to have flexibility and engage with their community. However, a business ultimately has to turn a profit to make these goals a reality in the long term. The following information can help you keep your cash flowing toward its rightful location: your bank account. 

Safeguard your intellectual property.

Intellectual property consists of products and ideas that you generate. Your business name and logo are considered intellectual property. It’s crucial to trademark these and other proprietary services and products to protect yourself from copycats capitalizing off of your good name and pulling profits in a different direction. An intellectual property lawyer (such as the experts at Trademark-Lawyers.org) can keep you safeguarded under the law and will ensure that you have a legal standing to enforce your intellectual property rights. Costs vary when hiring an intellectual property lawyer, but many offer payment plans and flat rates for certain services.

Establish your business entity before you get too big.

The ultimate goal in any business is growth. To perpetuate sustainable growth, establish your business structure early. While some single-person entities can operate as a sole proprietorship, forming a corporation will give you some cash benefits. To understand the difference between a C Corp vs LLC startup, you must first understand that a corporation, according to ZenBusiness, is a legal entity that will remove some liability from you, a stockholder. Corporate debts aren’t considered part of your personal debts. There are three primary types of corporations, including S Corp., C Corp., and nonprofit. An S Corp. avoids double taxation, while a C Corp. offers the highest level of legal protections. A nonprofit Corp. is exclusive to charitable organizations and, unlike other types of business, does not require taxes to be paid. 

Eliminate profit-eating products.

If you’ve ever been to a restaurant with a lengthy menu, you’ve likely wondered how they can afford to maintain stock of every single ingredient needed. Apply the same thought process to your business. You do not have to have dozens of options, and a few quality products or services can sustain you, especially when business is down. To determine what products should stay, calculate your profits. Keep only those that offer the highest profit margin. Do keep in mind, however, that this does not necessarily apply to loss leaders, which Accounting Tools explains are products that you sell near cost to encourage your customers to spend money on higher profit pieces.

Spend money on good employees.

It might sound counterproductive, but to safeguard your profits and the best way, plan to pay your employees competitively or better. This will attract the best talent and, considering that money is a huge motivator, is just one of many ways you can encourage employee longevity. Remember that the employee acquisition and training process is an exponential expense, and it can take six months or better to break even on a single new hire. LinkedIn also points out that paying a low wage can damage your brand’s credibility while a generous paycheck will excite top performers. If you are not quite sure which roles you need to fill, consider hiring a freelancer in each area of your business first. This way, you can decide which position is most valuable. And, if your freelancer shows promise, they may be willing to take on a permanent, full-time job.

Everything you do when you run a business affects your bottom line. The above tips, including maintaining your intellectual property rights, forming your business entity, ditching those products that don’t turn a profit, and spending money on the right staff, are all excellent ways to ensure that your cash continues to flow in the right direction.

Wise Laws Trademark Lawyers and Legal Team is your affordable trademark attorney.

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How to Avoid Going Broke When the Baby Comes

How to Avoid Going Broke When the Baby Comes

Becoming a parent means spending less money on yourself and more money on others. A baby or toddler could mean hiring a nanny, a cost that could be an entire full-time salary. Even without full-time child care, raising a family can get expensive if you don’t plan for it. Below are common expenses for parents, followed by some tips on how to earn extra income.

Food

Feeding a baby is cheap if you’re breastfeeding, but every year after that, there’s an extra mouth to feed. Now you’ll have to start thinking about adding a few hundred dollars to the monthly grocery bill and an extra $5-20 per person every time the family goes out to eat. You can save money and make better nutritious choices by packing their lunches for school and not ordering sodas at restaurants.

Shelter

An expansion in the family means an expansion in the home. You might be able to get away with a one-bedroom apartment for the first year of your child’s life, but as they get older, they’ll need their own space. As your family gets bigger with more children, you’ll need even more space. Prepare to spend an extra 15 percent for a bigger place.

Life Insurance

You’ll need to factor life insurance into your budget now that you’re going to have a family. As unpleasant as the topic may be, budgeting for life insurance is one of the most important things you can do for your family. They’ll be given a monetary payout upon your death, which can be very helpful for any debts you may leave behind. A term life policy, which comes with a fixed term length, may be the best option for you. Depending on your health and age, you may qualify for affordable term length coverage options. It’s best to obtain a quote from an insurance provider to learn what specific options are available to you.

Healthcare

Many adults get sick and simply wait for it to pass, but sick kids usually need medical attention. They’re exposed to more germs at daycare and their immune systems aren’t as strong as ours during their developing years. There’s also the possibility of a common illness developing into something more serious if it’s not treated properly. Your insurance premium will go up when you add dependents to your healthcare plan, and your deductibles and copays will add more costs to your family medical bills. One way to offset some of this is to open a flexible spending account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA). 

Education

Education can be free, but college isn’t. Sometimes lower education isn’t free if the public schools in your area aren’t the best. College tuition keeps increasing, and tuition will be the same as a full-time income by the time your children are in college. Start saving for their college fund early by setting aside a little each month and putting cash gifts into the fund.

Clothing and Other Supplies

Under the umbrella of clothing comes diapers, shoes, backpacks, sports uniforms, swimsuits, etc. Imagine how much you spend on clothes each year. Now add another person to that budget and imagine having to buy even more for them because they continue to grow. The next time a friend or relative asks if your kids need anything, ask for clothing. They don’t need toys, but they always need to be clothed.

Extracurricular Activities

There’s no doubt that a child costs more for day-to-day living, but let’s not forget about the extras. Sports, clubs, scouts, birthday parties and theme park visits cost money. When you go on an annual family vacation, you’re now paying double for flights and eating out.

How can you save?

You can try to increase your income by asking for a raise or getting a temporary second job. Alternatively, if possible, you can make investments or buy a second home to use for rental income. In fact, by taking advantage of conventional mortgages, which are perfect for second homes and investment properties, you can pay for your mortgage and set aside some money while collecting rent. It helps, however, to put down at least 20 percent of your down payment, which will help you get lower interest rates and eliminates mortgage insurance payments.

Many parents, however, are opting to have stay-at-home jobs. Remote work can include freelance writing, designing, website building, and social media. It can also include starting a blog and building a following. Find something you’re an expert at and write about it. It could be fitness, cooking, sewing, politics, science, fiction, beauty, crafting, or even simply being a parent.

As you plan for the baby’s arrival, have a financial plan in place. Set up your childrearing fund while you set up the nursery so you’re prepared for the extra costs. Staying on top of your finances can improve your all-around health, and your overall happiness will benefit. After all, having a family should be the happiest times of your life, not the most financially stressful.

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How to Resolve a Major Data Loss and Get Your Business Back on Track

Data loss is never fun for small business owners. However, you can take the sting out of this stressful situation by making the right moves to get your systems back on track. Here are the urgent measures every business owner needs to take when tackling a major data loss.

Make Data Recovery a Priority

Just like any other emergency, triage is important when it comes to retrieving and protecting your company’s data. After all, data is the lifeline of your business, so ensure you have a plan in place to retrieve everything you lost. Using a data recovery specialist who can quickly and efficiently address malware damage, accidental file deletion, or any hardware issues should be the first move you make after you notice a problem. Professionals like Secured Data Recovery can immediately diagnosis what went wrong, help you recover as much data as possible, and address any issues that may seem hopeless. You can also get helpful tips to prevent future data fails and emergency protection should something happen again in the future.

Take Steps to Prevent Future Data Deletions

Experiencing a major data loss or breach can be a bitter lesson for any business owner to work through. Once you’ve seen what a headache server issues can be, you will want to take steps to protect your server. This includes keeping a watchful eye on your server logs for unusual or suspicious events. Whether it’s a cyber attack or a loss of data, early intervention is always crucial for optimal recovery. Understanding logs will also allow you to streamline any maintenance and focus on critical issues, rather than spending time blindly guessing.

Don’t Lose Your Business to Cyber Criminals

If you run a small business and think cybercrime is not a threat to your bottom line, you may want to think again. Even the smallest business with little online presence can be highly susceptible to cyber criminals and their endless quest to gain information from your business, customers, and even personal accounts. Within minutes, you could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, or your entire business. So, be aware of the threat cyber attacks pose to your success and take whatever steps you need to prevent becoming a victim.

Invest in Comprehensive Virus Protection

Viruses and malware are hiding in every corner of the internet. From your email inbox to social media, cybercriminals are always on the lookout for vulnerable businesses to infect. So, protect your data and your business by purchasing an antivirus package that makes sense for your tech needs. You’ll likely need to renew your license each year (although some companies offer multi-year plans), but this is one cost you cannot afford to skip. Even if your business sustains itself on Mac products, you could still lose revenue to a virus, cyber attack, or data breach.

Backup All of Your Business Data to Several Sources

Data is important to the success of any small business, so it makes sense for you to be diligent about backing up yours. Having multiple backups will make it more likely that your information can be recovered after a breach or loss. Using servers and external storage can be your first move, but most businesses are turning to cloud services to help protect their information. The best cloud services for small businesses automatically save information in a virtual location, allowing you to access it even if your hardware is damaged. If you have a small amount of data, many of these services are even free.

Protect Your Servers From Electrical Sabotage

Cybercriminals and viruses are not the only threat to your data security. One lightning strike or power surge can wreak havoc on your small business, destroying hardware along with creating major information losses. Make sure your servers and equipment are all protected from potential electrical issues. Find an electrician to evaluate your wiring if you suspect a problem and to install proper outlets that will keep your business protected.

Don’t let data loss destroy your business. Take the proper steps to recover what was lost, and keep yourself protected in the future. Your entire business may well depend on it!

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Planning for the Future: Saving and Investing for Your Children

Fear of the unknown and a deep concern for the well-being of one’s children can make estate planning and providing for their future a nerve-wracking experience. No matter how you dispose of your estate and how carefully you make arrangements, it’s hard not to second-guess yourself and wonder if you’ve done the right thing. People often don’t know where to begin or how to invest prudently. For many people, their ability to distribute available wealth is rooted in the value of their home. It’s important to know your home’s value when planning for your future. Financial advisors teach that it’s best to begin with the basics, to make sure you have a will that names an executor for your estate and guardians for your children if they’re minors when you pass.

A will details exactly how your estate will be divided among your heirs and should leave no ambiguity or confusion as to your intentions. Many people hire an attorney to draw up a will for them, though there are plenty of resources available online to help you do it right.

You may need a life estate deed if your children are of adult age. Such a document provides for the legal transfer of your property to others when you die. It may be worth hiring an attorney for drawing up a legal transfer because it’s essential that it be written clearly, leaving no uncertainty as to your desires.

Life insurance

A life insurance policy provides your family with a financial safety net should you die unexpectedly. It helps your loved ones pay for the expense of a funeral and continue to live as they have. One of the most valuable services a life insurance policy provides is to relieve your loved ones of difficult decisions and financial burdens arising from your death, funeral or loss of income. You should also consider getting policies for each of your dependents so you are protected financially in the event that one of them should pass away unexpectedly.

Savings and investments

Setting up savings account for your dependents is a great way to provide for their futures and to teach them the value of saving money. Banks and other financial institutions often offer low minimum balances, reduced fees, and joint account ownership. One of the best ways to save for your children’s future is to set up an education savings account or a 529 College Savings Plan, which offer sizable tax savings. Withdrawals can be made up to $10,000 tax free for tuition expenses. Some states offer tax deductions for contributions to a 529 college savings plan.

There are safeguards in place that protect your investment. For example, as the fund owner you maintain control; the beneficiary cannot access the money for any other purpose. It’s also a convenient way to grow an education fund because most plans will allow you to tie it to a bank account, so that contributions are made automatically. And there are no contributions or income limits, which means anyone can open a 529 fund.

Trusts

If you’re concerned about saving for the future only to have the money frittered away irresponsibly, a trust can help ensure that any money that goes to a beneficiary is allotted in installments over a period of time. As such, a trust offers certain advantages over a will, which designates money outright to your heirs. Trusts act as protection against bankruptcies and against the intentions of unscrupulous people trying to access money that doesn’t belong to them.

Having accurate information about your assets and financial picture is always necessary for making financial plans. Sensible and well-informed estate planning is essential for designating how financial resources will be allotted after you’re gone.

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