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7 Things Employers Need to Know About ACA Open Enrollment 2019

Open enrollment for small businesses deals with the insurance that you sponsor for your employees. It’s a period (Nov 1 to Dec 15) where they can change or elect their policies and the coverage that covers their dependence. For small businesses, open enrollment is critical because it helps them to put together their budgets and incentivize prospects and existing employees with health care. ACA Open Enrollment 2019 Marcie O’Dwyer, VP of Strategic Relationships at SyncStream Solutions, filled us in on what small business needs to know. She told us recently via email how this particular open enrollment period serves several purposes. Why It Matters “Open enrollment gives small businesses the opportunity to showcase the health plans they’re offering to valued employees and their families,” she writes.  “It can also be relevant as an educational opportunity to discuss employee wellness from a holistic approach. Lastly, open enrollment allows newly qualified employees to enroll in the company’s health plan and insured employees to make changes to plan elections.” When It Starts and Ends The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is where the idea got started. The Open Enrollment period this year is about participating in and picking coverage from the Federal Marketplace. Open Enrollment started Nov. 1 and runs until Dec. 15 for individuals and companies  looking for their coverages for policies starting in January 2019. O’Dwyer explains how these dates are set for small businesses and why the effective date is so important. “The open enrollment period for an employer-sponsored health plan is determined by the effective date of the insurance contract, which is determined between the insurance carrier and the employer. Open enrollment is typically 30 days prior to and 30 days after the established effective date.” Why the ACA Is Still Important O’Dwyer also explains that even though there still some uncertainty around the Affordable Care Act (ACA), that law will remain in effect for this open enrollment and the rest of 2019. She stresses that although there’s been some talk about the present administration repealing the ACA, it still falls to employers to continue the open enrollment process and…

How to Transition from IT Employee to Small Business Contractor

Running a freelance IT business is completely different than working as an IT professional for another company. Of course, they both require similar professional skills. But working as a contractor requires you to cover additional business tasks. Tips on Becoming an IT Contractor If you’ve been working as an IT employee and are thinking about making the leap to IT contractor, here are some important tips to consider. Change Your Mindset When you’re an IT employee, you are only responsible for doing the work you’re told to do. When you’re a contractor, you’re in charge of all aspects of client management and growing your freelance business. So you need to approach your work with a completely different outlook. Adopting a growth mindset is an essential part of making the leap from employee to contractor, according to Dan Goldstein, director of marketing for GMS Live Expert, a 24/7 Outsourced Help Desk and NOC for MSPs. This allows you to create successful systems and grow your client base instead of just getting bogged down by the day-to-day tasks. Save Money Your income is also likely to be a bit different as you make the transition. Instead of a steady paycheck, you may have to deal with some inconsistent months. So it can help to build up a safety net while you’re still working a full-time job to cover any initial expenses and keep you above water during slow months. Invest in Your Own Equipment When you work at a company, they probably provide you with all of the hardware and software you need to work effectively. But when you’re a contractor, you need your own equipment. Make a list of the items you need based on the services you plan on offering and make those investments before you officially get started. Re-Prioritize Tasks When you’re working as a freelancer, it’s not just about doing client work. You also need to handle marketing, communication, record keeping, and tons of other areas. Goldstein says, “One of the key considerations when first transitioning to becoming a business owner is accepting that priorities no longer run…

The History of Women Entrepreneurs (INFOGRAPHIC)

As inconceivable as it may sound, women entrepreneurs needed a man to co-sign their business loan up until October 25, 1988; that is a mere 30 years ago. The absurdity of this practice is highlighted in a case where a divorced woman who didn’t have her husband present had to have her 17-year-old son co-sign her small business loan. This information comes from a new infographic by CNote, which points out the challenges women entrepreneurs faced in the past and continue to face to this day. With women businesses adding $1.7 trillion in revenue to the US economy and employing around 9 million people, removing any remaining obstacles will increase the contributions women make to the economy even more. Data From the Infographic The infographic says even though women have more access to credit today, they still face a considerable challenge when it comes to getting the capital they need. Even today small businesses owned by women only get 4.4% of the total dollar amount of all small business loans. CNote says this comes out to $1 out of every $23 loaned out. The number goes slightly higher for conventional small business loans, but women still only get just 16% of that total. And when a woman-owned business with a strong credit rating is looking to secure a loan, she’s less likely to get it compared to a male owned business with similar credit ratings. The numbers are even more dismal for women entrepreneurs looking for venture capital. In this environment, women only get $1 for every $50 invested, which comes out to around 2% of all venture capital funding. Overall women-led companies only make up 4.9% of venture capital deals. Despite these hurdles, women still persevere. Between 2017 and 2018, there were 1,821 net new women-owned businesses added per day. October 25, 1988 On October 25, 1988, Ronald Reagan signed into law H.R. 5050 or The Women’s Business Ownership Act, as it was known. Reagan ushered in a new era of equality for women entrepreneurs by eliminating the archaic rules governing the ecosystem in which women had to operate…

Spotlight: Flaunt Boots & Accessories Makes Medical Boots Fashionable

Medical boots aren’t exactly known for being fashionable. But if you’ve had a medical issue that requires you to wear one, Flaunt Boots & Accessories offers a huge variety of fashionable covers and accessories to help you change up your look. What started as a project to help a friend has since turned into a business that has gotten the attention of some pretty high profile celebrities. Read more about the company’s journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight. What the Business Does Sells medical boot covers and surgical shoe covers. Owner Dana Hennelly told Small Business Trends, “Our concept is to have our covers look like another shoe/boot you would already have in your closet.” Business Niche Variety. Hennelly explains, “Our competitors have one design in 66 different colors. We have several different designs in seasonal colors.” How the Business Got Started As a way to help a friend. Hennelly says, “A good friend of mine showed up at my Superbowl party wearing a gray AirCast medical walking boot after tearing her ligaments in your ankle. The next day she sent an SOS text to me asking for my help in covering her boot because she was leaving that week to LA to attend The Oscars. She bought a ridiculously expensive dress with a slit up the side which exposed the ugly boot. She begged her doctor to give her a black medical boot instead. Had he, I wouldn’t have started my company. Why did she call me? She and I had spent years volunteering at our kids elementary school and she knew I am pretty creative. As a kid, my step-mother opened a fabric store and all us kids had to work there and help out. I learned to sew. I’m still using that same machine! Back to the story, Angela and I met at a fabric store to find a solution for her. After a sleepless night of creating her vision, I sent her on her way two days later with two different boot covers and several accessories to change the look over the next 10 weeks…

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Free Shipping, Smooth Shopping Experience Led to Spikes in Spending Cyber Monday

The power of discounts was on display yet again this year during the holiday shopping weekend as more people scrambled to snag online shopping deals for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. 2018 Early Holiday Shopping Results A whopping $6 billion in online sales was recorded  on Cyber Monday 2018, which emerged as the day with the highest digital spend ever, according to a report by measurement and analytics company Comscore (NASDAQ:SCOR). Thanksgiving emerged as the ‘Most Mobile’ shopping day of the three key days, with a total digital commerce spend reaching 40% this year. “After a nice Thanksgiving dinner, it seems many consumers were content to settle in, hop on their mobile devices, and get a jump on the deals and promotions online,” explains Ian Essling, Director of Survey Innovation, Comscore, in a blog post announcing their analysis of the three holiday shopping days. Meanwhile, total digital commerce, which includes both desktop and mobile spending, grew 36% on Black Friday and 38% on Thanksgiving, according to the Reston, Virginia-based analytics company. Cyber Monday, which continues to reign supreme as biggest spending day, picked up 28% compared to 2017. Altogether, Comscore notes that online spending skyrocketed with over $14 billion dollars spent online on the three key days of Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. Factors Leading to Spikes in Digital Commerce Dollars Some of the major factors that Comscore identifies as encouraging people to shop online and bringing a nice spike in digital commerce dollars for businesses include: 1. Free Shipping 81% of transactions and a whopping 90% of desktop dollars were spent on transactions that included free shipping this year, underscoring that free shipping has become an automatic for consumers. 2. Early Promotions A variety of promotions, deals, and ‘deal weeks’ are thought to have prompted increased consumers spending activity earlier in the shopping season, leading to earlier shift in ecommerce dollars for retailers. Consumers are looking for deals and making holiday purchases earlier every year. 3. Smooth Shopping Experiences More mobile devices and more smartphones with larger screens have spurred mobile growth. Retailers with optimized ecommerce stores…

Is Your Small Business Ready for a Possible Trade War with China

Chinese manufacturers are feeling the pinch of President Donald Trump’s tariffs as U.S. retailers continue to slash orders and cut down on price. US Retailers Prepare for Trade War with China Major U.S. retailers are bracing themselves as the country prepares for more levies to be slapped on Chinese goods. Home Depot and Walmart, for example, have pushed some planned purchases forward in anticipation of the looming tariffs. Amazon has cut back orders, Dollar Tree has negotiated price concessions and Target claims it has contingency plans in place to stay price competitive, according to The Wall Street Journal. The cutbacks come after Trump — fulfilling a campaign promise to end “unfair” trade practices — enacted sweeping tariffs against Chinese imports. The White House set a 10 percent levy on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, which went into effect on Sept. 24. There’s more to come. The administration plans to increase these tariffs to 25 percent in January. Despite pleas from Beijing, Trump says that it’s “highly unlikely” he will postpone the increase. The tariffs have undoubtedly affected business in China. Sunshine Leisure, a producer of campaign chairs, and Homegard International, a producer of home furniture, both reported to The Wall Street Journal dramatic drops in orders. Dozens of other Chinese manufacturers have also reported lower sales. While the president has maintained he will move forward with tariff increases, there is some speculation that the two governments could reach an understanding. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be discussing trade on Friday for the G20 Summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. However, some economists believe Trump should hit Beijing even harder. “I don’t think China is under enough stress,” said Maryland University economics professor Peter Morici during a “Fox & Friends” interview Wednesday. “My feeling is that we need to not only put on the 25 percent tariff but we need to do some of the other things. For example ban Huawei and ZTE’s exports for 5G into the United States. It’s a national security threat.” Republished by permission. Original here. Photo via Shutterstock This article, “Is Your Small Business Ready for a Possible Trade War with China” was…

Tips for Developing Business Software More Efficiently

No matter the sort of business you run or the industry that you find yourself in, there is a good chance you use a variety of different types of software.… Read more » The post Tips for Developing Business Software More Efficiently appeared first on Noobpreneur.com.

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