Too Many Benefits?

As a business is there such thing as too many benefits for your employees? Coming from a benefits company of course we would say no there isn’t. From an employee perspective, the answer would lean more towards yes there is to many benefits.

Reasons

The reason why employees think that there are too many benefits is that they are confusing. The average employee doesn’t know when to use an accident plan vs a short-term disability. Or why they would want to pay for group life insurance when they could get it on their own.

Lack of teaching employees the benefits is not the businesses fault. The human resources as amazing as they maybe they aren’t licensed in almost all the situations for benefits. It should be the company offering the benefits that takes the time to explain what they are, how they work, and what to do if they have a question. Adding benefits should not be another nightmare for the owner it should be an opportunity to attract higher skilled employees and retain the best employees.

For benefit companies, we want to provide the most to reach to every employee so that they don’t feel left out. Therefore, there is never too many benefits. Benefit companies love to provide the basics, but are itching for opportunities to connect the local community to the business. Discount programs is one that is rarely utilized but can be very helpful to the employees. Partnering with other businesses to provide your employees to reduce their bills, improve themselves, or treat to something special is meaning full and should not be overlooked.

Focus

As you run your business it is important to focus on building, sales, and margins. But in the long run your employees are your best customers. Take care of them and they will be showing everyone they know the business you are trying to grow. There can be too many benefits, and there can be not enough benefits for your company it is a matter of choosing what is best for you and being able to choose a company that is willing to walk you through that process. Look around and you will find one.

As a side note there are benefit companies that specialize in specific parts of the benefits package. So, don’t be closed to them, because they may be the best connection to all your other resources.

Employees

If you have noticed that your employer has either too many or too few benefits for your taste the simplest way is to bring it up to them.  They may be juggling many things and are not thinking about it at that time.  Maybe take some ideas with you on how you could or would change them.

Having worked for a number of employers they all take the opportunity to listen, and have even gone further when I have brought ideas and wanted to be the one to do the work for it.  Try it out and see what you think.  The worst that would happen is that they say they don’t have time now to think about it.  Even in that case when the time does come you will be the first person to be though of.

Benefits Managers

It is fascinating just how much the world changes.  Day in and day out things change.  We may not see them as big or very relevant at that point. But they find a way into your life.  Looking back a little more than 7 years and our phones were just getting apps we could check email on wifi.  Now just see what you can do with your phones now.

Learn New Or Keep Old

As small business owners there is constant struggle for maintaining your benefits.  Do you keep your old ones because of the fear of having to start over?  Do you learn about new ones to keep up to date with the latest and greatest?  These seem to be very different ideas from each other.

Learning new things can be difficult, time consuming, and even distracting for you.  But it means that you are all the more involved in what is going on in your business.  Believe me the employees will notice when you are involved.

Keeping the old benefits will take much less time off your hands.  It will be more familiar for your employees as the open enrollment period comes about.

A Possible Alternative

For you there is an opportunity for an alternative solution.  This would be to meet in the middle.  This alternative would allow you to stay on top new and exciting opportunities/improvements to your benefits.  It would also allow you to see opportunities for developing what is familiar to you and your employees.  Many times carriers will update their policies and programs that go with the policies.  Unless asked about then the new improvements and additions will not be added or even talked about much of the time.

How To Get To Middle Ground

At this point you may be asking well how do I get to this middle ground.  How do you stay on top of the new yet keep ahold of the old. The simplest solution is to get a benefits manager.

What do you need to know about benefits managers?

First, is that a good benefits manager should be willing and able to do all the work for you.  You should not need to hire a new human resources person in order to add a benefit to your employees.  They should meet with the employees and help them understand all of their options.  As part of this the benefits manager should be a fiduciary to the employer and employee.

Second,  they should have a plan to keep you in the loop about your benefits.  You as an employer should expect at least three touches through out the year outside of daily account activity.  What to talk about with your benefits advisor is a whole nother topic that you will be able to learn about.

Third, they should always be willing to research and learn about something that you have heard about or have seen in your travels and business building.  Whether you hear it at a conference or in an email it is always good to open start a conversation with them.

Last, benefits advisors at this time should not ask for any additional compensation.  The advisors work directly with the carriers and businesses involved with your benefits.  This means they will be paid by other means opposed to your business.  As a side note a great majority have your best interests in mind.

Finding the middle ground can be difficult but find yourself an amazing benefit manager and you will not regret your decision.

My Learning About Benefits

Many years ago I was offered a job that included what I was told a generous benefit package.  Benefits is a broad word meant to let people know that they have opportunities to receive more for their work than just the pay that they receive.  For me at that time it just meant that there was a bunch of options to choose from.  These options would take away money that I was earning.  I was young, healthy, and naive as to what they really were to me.  As years have gone by and as I have studied benefits for years now I know that there are perfect options for businesses.

What I didn’t know

I didn’t know the terminology of the different parts of benefit packages.  From the basic health insurance to the complexity of choosing mutual funds for my retirement plan.

I didn’t know how the benefits could be used and how they could benefit me.  Again, all I saw was that these benefits would take money from my paycheck.

I didn’t know the resources I had that I could use to learn more about the benefits.  Most every company has places you can go or ways that you can get more information on the benefits.

What did I learn

Over the years I have come to learn the terminology for benefits.  It was mostly through trial and error that I have learned what i have.  I would also include some google mixed into my learning. I know now what a supplemental plan is for.  In learning I know that there can be easy choices for choosing insurances or for retirement.

I know much better how the benefit packages can help me and how to use them.

And I also know how to find resources and people to talk to about benefits that can guide me to use the benefits to their maximum potential.

I also know now that businesses don’t just put benefits in place to just say that they have them.  Rather that they want to cultivate and keep their employees.

What I do now

Now days I work with businesses to set up their benefit packages for their employees.  I also work with individuals to understand their financial situation. Helping individuals take advantage of every benefit offered.  Within the agreed amounts and keeping values in place.

I also take time to answer questions and teach about what I have learned. Within these articles you will begin to learn more about benefits and how you can use them.  Maybe even suggest a few to your own company.

In the end I have loved taking something that I knew very little about and changed it into a strength.  Through learning, research, and diligence I have become better.  Start your learning now by reading more articles.

 

5 Ways to Stay Motivated in Your Work at Home Business

Whether you're just starting out with your work at home business or you've had a home business for many years, you'll need to stay motivated if you're going to see continual success. Everyone goes through a home business slump occasionally, but it's those who stay motivated who will reach their goals. Here are five simple ways you can stay motivated in your work at home business.

1. Work from a List

Create a daily, weekly and even monthly list of things to do in your business. This sounds so simple, but yet a "to do" list is a powerful tool in helping you accomplish home business tasks. Prioritize your list each day so you can do those things that are most important first. If you have tasks that you absolutely dread, then put those tasks at the very top of the list if possible. This will give you a free mind for the remainder of the day to concentrate on the tasks you enjoy. A list can consist of many things, from promotion steps to phone calls to make, and even a stack of papers that must be organized on your desk. Most successful business people create a list and then check off items as they are completed. This gives a sense of accomplishment throughout the day as you complete tasks.

2. Search for New Opportunities during Slow Business Times

Having a slow time in your work at home business? Don't despair. And, whatever you do, don't go apply for a job at the local fast food chain - just yet! Stay motivated by seeking out other home business opportunities that may tie into your current business. Perhaps you offer a product or service that sells very slowly during the spring months. You could seek out related products or services that would be popular during those months to offset the other in profits. This will give you a chance to make money and enjoy multiple streams of income year round!

3. Take an Online Training Course for Better Education

Educate yourself through online training courses related to your field so you can learn how to maximize your skills and profits. There are many training courses available online today in the fields of web design, graphic design, online marketing, real estate, travel, office skills, medical, insurance, and finance. With online training, you choose only those courses that will benefit you and your work at home business. You can usually take the courses at your own leisure from home, and will pay far less than you would for a college course.

4. Expand Marketing Avenues

Don't settle for less. Use the wisdom and experience of others who have been in business a while to expand your marketing avenues. You might consider reading after top marketers to get Internet marketing ideas. Also, there are many ways to promote your work at home business off-line. To stay motivated, always test your efforts to see what results they bring. This is far more exciting than paying for ads and never knowing if they work or not!

5. Network with Others

Another way to stay motivated during a business slump is to network with others. Find others in related fields who can offer advice and encouragement about your business. A work at home business can be lonely at times because you never leave the house! Finding others online and off-line who do the same thing will give you an outlet for those lonely days. Use these tips to stay motivated in your work at home business. You deserve success, so don't give up!

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Business Entity Options

When forming your new business structure, you must consider the best possible alternative of the available business structures. While a sole proprietorship is the easiest type to create, there is no separate identity. Personal liability belongs to the owner. Should there be a lawsuit, accident or you incur debts that you can’t repay, your personal assets are at risk. The type of entity you choose should be based on careful consideration. Each state has specific rules for the structure of each type of entity. You should investigate the type of entity, the rules and laws pertaining to each in your state and at a federal level. Doing this will help you to gain enough knowledge to get started in the process.  Know enough to make an educated decision, but leave the details to the professionals that you will be working with.

More Than One Choice

The choices are – sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability partnership, corporation, C corporation, S corporation, and LLCs. Sole proprietorship provides the least protection while corporations and LLCs offer limited personal liability for debts or judgments against the company. When creating your entity, you should use an attorney to create written documentation of the entity’s organization and structure. Your attorney, accountant or CPA can advise you of the legal and all tax consequences of your choice. Doing a little research prior to contacting a professional will reduce the time spent with an expensive professional. Do your due diligence to protect yourself and your family.

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3 Changes to Merchant Services To Watch For

In many industries changes happen at a steady pace. More recently the merchant services industry has had several big changes. One part is due to law changes. Another part is from technology advancing. Because of these changes businesses will be able to see 3 opportunities for themselves.

3 Opportunities

First, is that businesses can see more competitive rates. For example, the merchant services company I work with guarantees the lowest rates or they give you $1000. For big businesses, even 1/10th of a percent will mean thousands of dollars in savings that they can use in a variety of ways. Second, they will see that the transition and the ability to make changes are very easily made. This is done because merchant service businesses are eliminating the middleman.  And they are going directly to the card carriers. Small businesses have opportunities to change from one plan to the next easily. Companies love this flexibility as their company develops. Third, they should begin to see, specialization software based on the industry they are in. Sole-proprietors’ have an opportunity to customize processing software to their needs.  Your industry, whether a photographer, graphic designer, online seller, cosmetologist, esthetician etc. will benefit greatly from these changes. As you can see this information is very game changing for small business owners, sole proprietors, and also big businesses. Keep these in mind as you think about your merchant services. If anything sticks out that you have a question on please reach out to your current carrier or reach out to my team and we would be happy to answer them.

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