Five Ways To Make Your Business Work Harder for You and Your Family

When a family vacation is something you’re considering, think about coordinating it around a work trip. Do you need to go to conventions, trade shows, seminars or other training for work? If you drive to go to those business activities, your gas mileage is tax-deductible regardless of how many individuals you have in the car with you. Does this conference or training trip require you to stay in a hotel? Your hotel expenses for that night can also be deductible regardless of whether you have your family with you in the room.

Scheduling family vacations around business travel can help make it more manageable. This allows you to enjoy time with your family or friends while also working on your business. Consult with your spouse or family to coordinate the two.

Manage taxable income and year-end purchases to lower tax bracket

Operating and owning a business requires seeing the big picture and planning for the future. Your business will likely need new or updated equipment, computers, other technologies etc. to operate smoothly and efficiently. Be able to forecast these needs.

Here is where you coordinate your tax situation with these needs. If you know you are in need of new equipment, computers, etc. in the near future, look at your taxes. If you are looking at a higher tax bracket for the year you may want to make these necessary equipment purchases sooner than expected. Or you may want to wait until next year. This requires consulting with your business advisor to determine the best option.

Use Retirement Plans

Consider reducing your current income by using a Retirement Plan. Not only will this help you once again for tax purposes, but it’s also helping you and your families future. So many small business owners neglect to put retirement needs on their priority list. Often we hear “my business is my retirement plan.” Putting all of your eggs into one basket can be extremely risky and even dangerous for your future.

You may want to consider adjusting your salary in order to account for contributing to a retirement plan. There are many ways to rearrange things to make it possible to contribute. The tax savings alone can help justify the redirecting of your income into a retirement plan. Be sure to look at all of the different options and scenarios as this will provide further clarity.

Resilient Businesses Move Their People To The Cloud

Every year, as the Atlantic hurricane season approaches many businesses have a nagging realization that they are at risk due to a catastrophic “Black Swan ” event. Black Swan events are a constant source of risk in states like Florida where many communities are subject to disruption due to coastal storms. This risk is particularly acute for businesses that depend on the storage of on-line data if there is a chance their critical data could become lost or corrupted. But the threat from Black Swan events isn’t limited to Florida, nor is it limited to large scale disruptive events like hurricanes.The black swan theory or theory of black swan events describes a disruptive event that comes as a surprise, has a major effect, and is often inappropriately rationalized after the fact with the benefit of hindsight. The term is based on an ancient saying which presumed black swans did not exist, but the saying was rewritten after black swans were discovered in the wild. Consider the following scenario…

“We tend to think of disasters in terms of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina, or other mega events. Sometimes, however, less notable events occur that can have a catastrophic effect on a business. In February 1981, an electrical fire in the basement of the State Office Building in Binghamton, New York, spread throughout the basement of the building setting fire to a transformer containing over a thousand gallons of toxin-laden oil. Originally thought to be PCBs, the toxins were soon determined to contain dioxin and dibenzofuran, two of the most dangerous chemicals ever created. The fire was smoky and quickly filled the 18-story building with smoke. As the transformer burned, the soot entered the buildings ventilation shafts and quickly spread toxic soot throughout the building. The building was so badly contaminated that it took 13 years and over $47 million to clean before the building could be reentered or used. Because of the nature of the fire, the building and its contents, including all paper records, computers, and personal effects of the people who worked there, were not recoverable. This type of event would be irrecoverable for many businesses.” – Operations Due Diligence, Published by McGraw Hill

What affect would a catastrophic hurricane that affected an entire region or a localized disruptive event like a fire have on the operation of your business? Could you survive that kind of interruption or loss? As the dependence on on-line data has grown in virtually every type of business, so has the risk that loss of their data could disrupt the operation of the business and even result in its complete failure. In response to these threats, there has been an evolution in the approaches used to mitigate these risks as the volume of on-line data has continued to grow. Originally, the concept of Disaster Recovery (DR) emerged as a mitigation strategy that focused on the recovery of critical data after a disruptive event by giving the business the ability to restore disrupted IT operations.

How to Think Differently in Business

To hit gold in business, you have to think gold. What is your business all about? How do you intend to maximize profits? Here are tips on how to think different in business:

Think back to the future

Don’t wait till the harsh business storm hits your business; rather, always think of what to do better or next. For example, what are the things you need to put in place to ensure business growth? What stage is your business on the business chart, that is, in areas of development, growth or decline? Is your business vision realistic? What is your current profit margin? What is your intended profit margin? How do you intend to speed up your productivity? Evaluating your business, keeps you prepared for the future.

Believe your ideas are valuable

Always think your glass is half full. Think about possibilities not only about likely constraints. As a business owner, you have to nurture a positive mental attitude; believe things will work out fine. If there are possible risks, device means to avoid or manage them. Risks are unforeseen, but you can plan ahead to avoid or mitigate them. Being positive in business enables you take a chance on yourself, be bold to take calculated risks, and believe you are adding value, even when the numbers say otherwise. That is a way of thinking differently in business.

Dig beyond your current offerings

Do not just view things on the surface. Think intensively and carry out research on other ways your business can benefit your target market. Reflect on the true realities of where your business stands at the moment. What are your business challenges? Classify them and analyse them to see how you can make a difference. Outline your business SWOT analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Go beyond the surface; be realistic.

Your competitors are watching

Understand your business environment; be familiar with your competitors’ strategies – if you are not, you can bet that your competitors are doing their homework. What resources do they have that surpasses yours? How can you leverage to collaborate and partner to get the necessary resources? What’s the best way to build more goodwill? Do a survey on your business, and be cautious of the events happening in your business environment.

Tips for Planning Your Business Startup

Starting a business can be a very daunting adventure if a proper plan is not put in place. Most entrepreneurs start up their businesses without putting adequate plans in place to succeed. No wonder one out of every five businesses crumbles within 5 years! If one thing should be taken very seriously, it should be your business plan. This is your “blueprint for success.”

Every business begins from a thought. A thought or idea can only become reality when expected actions are taken. When an idea is conceived, the logical corollary is that such ideas need to be written out, in black and white and on paper; or else the idea will fade off when the enthusiasm that the thought initially brought subsides. Hence, having a written business plan is pertinent if your business is to stand the test of time.

Now, what is a Business Plan?

One definition, according to entrepreneur.com, is that a business plan is a “written description of the future of your business; a document that indicates what you intend to do and how you intend to do it.” If you notice a paragraph on the back of an envelope describing your business strategy, you have already started a written plan, or at least the first draft of a plan. The business plan itself consists of a narrative and several financial worksheets.

The very act of planning helps you to think things through in a systematic and thorough way. Study and research your market niche if you are not sure of the facts, and look at your ideas critically. It may take some time now, but helps to avert costly and disastrous mistakes in future.

In this article, I want to provide a very brief look at the steps involved in planning a business:

  1. Identify Your Passion: Knowing what you love doing, even without making money, is the stepping stone in starting any business. Most people enter into a business they know nothing about, and stop after only few months. Some get tired of their businesses simply because they are not happy with the activities involved in running the business anymore. According to Sabrina Parsons, (CEO of Palo Alto Software) “Know yourself, and work in a job that caters to your strengths. This knowledge will make you happier.”

The reason why many businesses fail in their first five years is because the entrepreneurs do not find fulfillment in running their business anymore. Hence, they tend to move on in search for happiness.

Which are the Best Contract Management Software

A contract management software or contract lifecycle management gives legal administration teams a collection of tools to handle their contract management more effectively. The range of data, libraries, and computer programs supports contract management.

Creating, managing, and negotiating contracts is a crucial part of a business, despite its size. However, every step is complex and time-consuming. Contract management software fastens the process while reducing financial risks. Visit ContractSafe.com for more information.

The contract management sector has been booming recently, making it hard for businesses to pick the best management software. Below we evaluate the best contract management software to enable your business to get the best contract solutions.

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  1. PandaDoc

PandaDoc is a fan-favorite contract management software that offers an all-in-one, affordable solution. PandaDoc has a strong document and contract management platform that helps businesses to oversee their contract’s entire lifecycle. This feature-rich software differs from the rest and is popular in most big companies.

Its most robust tools include;

  • E-signature
  • Payment processing
  • Contract and content library
  • Contract duplication
  • Real-time notifications.

This software has easy-to-use custom templates, and users can set custom processes, rules, and workflows. PandaDoc is a safe solution that provides organizations with an audit record while securing crucial data in cloud storage facilities.

It features annual or month-to-month plans and is the best overall software.

  1. Concord

Concord software is ideal for large businesses and has enterprise-grade and onboarding support features. This software lets businesses share unlimited documents at once and has a fourteen-day free trial. It also has a simple design that helps businesses to follow the lifecycle changes and be on top of compliance.

This software was founded in 2013 and is the best option for a large business. Users can easily set it up and maximize on full onboarding. Concord has lots of flexibility with custom reports, user groups, and insights. Its top features include;

  • Deadline reminders
  • Live editing
  • Template storage
  • Redline, chat, and comment
  • Autofill smart cards
  • E-signature function.

Users enjoy the strict versioning requirement that provides new logs when they enter a field. This package provides transparent and clear pricing that depends on your number of users.

  1. DocuSign

DocuSign is perfect for small enterprises and provides them with access to the best contract management solutions. This software has a flexible workflow configuration and provides a thirty-day free plan. This software started in 2004 as an e-company, which is common due to its easy configuration.

This software’s plans are ideal for small organizations, but their solutions also function in heavy workflows. It is also browser-based, and users can use it to align contracts with its mobile app. Its main features include;

  • Payment collection
  • Reusable templates
  • Content repository
  • Recipient reminders
  • Real-time notifications.

DocuSign’s users can also customize their contracts with color themes and personalized logos while maximizing on smart forms.

  1. Agiloft

Agiloft is the best customization software that offers a code-free commercial lifestyle and contract management. It has an unconditional guarantee and open-ended free trial that will take your business to the next level. It is the oldest software on this list and was opened in 1990.

It has stayed updated with the necessary updates, giving all-sized organizations access to the best contract solutions. Agiloft has custom and enterprise features that make it the best contract management software.

Its top features are;

  • Free training
  • Clause library
  • Contract authoring
  • Content repository
  • Contract print templates.

Agiloft has code-free configurations that enable businesses to accumulate workflows, reports, and routing processes. It integrates quickly with Microsoft and Google to upload files using your business’s software. It also offers a free file audit that safeguards your data while providing compliance.

 

  1. Outlaw

Outlaw is the best reporting software that tracks important data points for visibility. This software has unlimited storage, contracts, and live chat support. Outlaw was started in 2016 and is a perfect solution, thanks to its many features.

It is suited for most enterprises, and users do not have to worry about space due to its unlimited contracts, e-signatures, and cloud storage. Its best features include;

  • Full-text search
  • Cloud-based reselling
  • Dynamic contract fields
  • Secure payment
  • E-signature capabilities.

Outlaw is common for its AI analytics that helps businesses to run several reports. It also has a pay-per-seat flexible plan that saves companies a 30% annual billing.

  1. Contractworks

Contractworks software is perfect for automation and offers automated services using AI-enabled techniques. It supports unlimited users and has a 24-hour support team. It was founded in 2012 and offers easy-to-set intuitive software.

It is mainly used due to its ease of use, and its most common features include;

  • Milestone alerts
  • Contract repository
  • Automated reminders
  • Built-in e-signature
  • Automatic smart contracts.

Final Thoughts

Contract management software is crucial in every business setup due to its benefits. This software is available in different types, including; Outlaw, Concord, and Agiloft. The above article has discussed all you should know about this software, and more information is available online.

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