Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2 Simple Steps for Businesses to Protect their Brands

When many people think about trademarks, they think of those belonging to large businesses. Trademarks like Nike, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Mercedes-Benz are owned by corporations that spend tens of millions just on their brands. But all businesses can and should take proactive steps to protect their brands and avoid the more expensive, nearly inevitable, alternative.

At the most basic level, a trademark refers to any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination used to identify and distinguish your goods from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of your goods. Because their purpose is to tell consumers where a product or service comes from, trademarks are extremely valuable even to smaller businesses. They represent the hard work you put into building a good reputation.

Still, in view of the huge sums of money that large businesses spend on their branding, you may feel that an investment into your brand trademark is not realistic. Or you may feel that with so much on your plate you don’t have time to start. Let’s take a deep breath. While you could spend millions like McDonald’s, Nike, or Disney, that kind of investment is probably not necessary at your stage. Moreover, with the right plan in place, effectively protecting your brand doesn’t have to consume your time. The following three simple tips are affordable to implement, will improve the strength and security of your brand, and will help you avoid large, unnecessary, legal expenses in the future.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

4 Reasons Why Small Business Owners Need to Keep Meticulous Records

In the rush to get orders completed, client projects started, and inventory put away, some small businesses end up neglecting record keeping processes. Though it feels easier to fudge a few things now, meticulous records matter in many aspects of running your business, from keeping track of employees to filing your business taxes. They can not only help you find important documents down the road, but also save you from legal troubles down the road. Here are four reasons a small business should keep meticulous records.

Tax Season is Easier

Businesses take a lot of tax deductions. Sometimes those deductions depend on your keeping track of your receipts and business expenses. The IRS won’t accept bank statements and bookkeeping, no matter how detailed, as adequate records to prove you actually incurred those business expenses. They want receipts.

Keeping track of receipts may seem annoying and messy, but it’s an essential part of your business’s record keeping. To make it easier on yourself, scan your receipts with a Neat scanner or take pictures of them with your phone. Digital files will keep your paper clutter down, and they’re much easier to archive and reproduce when tax season comes and you’re trying to figure out your total deductions. By the way, you’re allowed to write notes and clarification on those receipts, too. Write down which client you took to which restaurant for what kind of meeting, so you can jog your memory when you look at the receipt a year later.

Tracking Employee Attendance is Simpler

Every office has some form of time sheet to keep track of employee attendance. Paper time sheets or punch cards are extremely inefficient ways of keeping track of employee hours. They can get lost, altered, or damaged, which leaves you left guessing.