Q&A on Roth 401(k)s

401K

Planning for your own retirement sometimes gets pushed to the back burner when you’re busy running a business. Take a few minutes to learn more about a valuable retirement planning option you can set up for yourself and your employees – a Roth 401(k).

What is a Roth 401(k) plan?

A Roth 401(k) plan is simply a traditional 401(k) plan that permits contributions to a designated Roth account within the plan. Roth 401(k) contributions are made on an after-tax basis, just like Roth IRA contributions. This means there’s no up-front tax benefit, but if certain conditions are met both your contributions and any accumulated investment earnings on those contributions are free of federal income tax when distributed from the plan.

Click here to read more.

Article brought to you by Altra Financial Advisors.

Workplace Injuries

Workplace Injuries

When an employee is injured on the job, the resulting medical costs can dig deep into your business’s bottom line. Rieva Lesonsky recently wrote an article on Small Business Trends regarding workplace injuries, including the most common workplace accidents and injuries and how to prevent them from happening.

The top five causes of accidents included: Material handling, slips, trips and falls, being struck by or colliding with an object, and cumulative trauma.

The top five types of injures included: Strains/sprains, cuts or punctures, contusions, inflammation, and fractures.

Accidents can happen with any type of job. Whether you’re using a ladder to stock shelves, moving, lifting, or carrying an item, or using a hammer to hang up a bulletin board there is potential for an accident to occur.

To lessen the risk of workplace accidents:

  • Prevent slips and falls by keeping common areas clear of obstacles and well lit. Use rubber mats or slip resistant flooring when appropriate and wipe up spills promptly.
  • Exercise caution when using ladders.
  • Provide safety equipment.
  • Educate employees about ergonomics.
  • Keep up-to-date on new hazards and educate employees about how to avoid them.
  • Create a culture of safety.

Workplace accidents and injuries will happen. For this reason, it is important to keep a well-stocked first aid kit on site, keep an accident report log, and have adequate insurance.

To read the full article click here.

Posted in HR

Small Business Connect – Session 3

SBC Highlights

Altra hosted the final session of a three-part Small Business Connect Event series on Business Finance Basics for business owners. Edward Jaekel from JRM CPAs joined us again to speak on the topic of business cash flow. Cash flow is one of the most critical components of success for your business. A business can be profitable on paper, but struggle because the timing of cash coming in doesn’t match the need for cash going out. This session gave attendees the tools needed to create cash flow projections, allowing business owners to make solid decisions about growth as well as taking care of existing bills. Click on the video link above to see highlights from Session 3. If you were unable to attend but are interested in watching the full presentation click here. For more information contact Altra Business Lending at 855-490-4518.

 

Small Business Connect

Small Business Connect

You’re invited to part three of our free three-part educational series for business owners.

Session Three – Cash Flow
Cash flow is one of the most critical components of success for your business. A business can be profitable on paper, but struggle because the timing of cash coming in doesn’t match the need for cash going out. This session will give you the tools you need to create cash flow projections that allow you to make solid decisions about growth as well as taking care of existing bills.

Click here to sign up today for a Small Business Connect Event in your area.

 

Protect Your Business Data in the Cloud

Cloud Storage

More companies are using the cloud for storage, software and even infrastructure services. Cloud services may be effective, but they can leave business, employee and customer data vulnerable.

It’s imperative that businesses develop basic security protocols to safely and securely deploy cloud-computing solutions.

What you can do to make sure your data is secure:

  1. Identify where risks exist. A business must first identify the primary function it’s trying to move to the cloud or where it already may be leveraging cloud-based resources.
  2. Dedicate time and resources to conduct due diligence. Make sure safeguards are used around sensitive data.
  3. Get specific in your service contract. Determine how your provider will respond to requests from law enforcement, regulators and third parties.
  4. Ask where your provider’s servers are located. Some regions may treat data access differently than others.

Click here to read the full article written by Eduard Goodman, Chief Privacy Officer for IDT911.

Coaching Millennial Workers

Coaching Millennial Workers

Millennials can be great employees, but employers may need to prepare themselves to finish the parenting that’s not occurring in many homes. There is a great article written by Susan Cramm that talks about this very topic.

In a 2007 research study Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen and undergraduate advisor at Stanford University, cites, only 16 percent of adults 18 to 25 years old felt they had reached adulthood based on self-selected criteria including: accepting consequences for actions, establishing an adult relationship with parents, being financially independent, and determining values and beliefs.

Leaders can connect and inspire young workers by tapping into their strengths and improving their weaknesses.

  • Connect their work to a higher purpose.
  • Learn how to develop tactical plans.
  • Experience good suffering.
  • Develop empathy and build relationships.
  • Increase self-awareness and learn from others.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in HR

Are You Ready to Hire Your First Employee?

Help Wanted

At some point, every business faces a challenging decision: Is this the time to hire my first employee? Learn when you should – and shouldn’t – hire in this article written by Neil Patel. Below are some guidelines he discusses that may help you answer this tough question.

  • Know the points at which you shouldn’t hire. These include:
    – You’re desperate.
    – You don’t know exactly what you want the new hire to do.
    – You take the first person who comes along.
  • Hire a cofounder, at least mentally. Your first employee will hopefully be one of your longest-lasting and most knowledgeable. When hiring, look for someone with co-founder potential. These characteristics may include: complementary skills, similar vision and values, teach-ability, passion, emotional intelligence, flexibility, and honesty.
  • Hire when the tasks to be done will generate money. Your new hire should at least do one of these two things: 1) make money for the business, or 2) save money for the business.
  • Hire when the tasks to be completed fall under a particular skill set. Before you look for an employee, know what kind of employee you’re looking for. The clearer the set of responsibilities you lay out, the more accurately you’ll be in hiring someone to fill these responsibilities.
  • Kick the tires by hiring a contractor. If you’re still undecided over whether or not it’s time to hire, test it. Instead of hiring a full-time employee, hire a contractor. If that works out well, you can either transition this person into an official hire or look for a full-time employee.

Click here to read the full article.

Posted in HR

How to Build a Strong Relationship with Your Customers

Building Customer Relationships

Looking to build a strong relationship with your customers? Fox Business posted a great article on this very topic. Here are some highlights.

Building a strong rapport with your customers is imperative to the success of any business. A solid relationship with your customer base will help ensure that your business continues to flourish. Here are five steps toward establishing better customer relations for your business.

  1. Make every customer interaction count – Your relationship with a customer is only as good as your last interaction. Just one negative experience may be all it takes to send a client running for a competitor. Always be courteous and try to give each interaction a personal touch.
  2. Establish connections – Establishing connections with your customers is an important step towards improving customer relations. Providing information on products, events and deals via email, social media or websites will help keep customers connected to your business.
  3. Listen to your customer – When it comes to your customers, be as inquisitive as possible, and always listen to what they have to say. If there’s something they want done or changed, it’s important that you address their concerns in a timely and interested manner.
  4. Reward loyalty – One of the best ways to improve and strengthen your relationship with customers is to make them feel appreciated.
  5. Employee training – Many customers’ opinions will be formed by their interactions with your personnel. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your staff is well-trained, knowledgeable and experienced in customer service.

Click here to read the full article from Fox Business.

Small Business Connect – Session 2 Highlights

Watch Session 2 Highlights

Altra hosted the second of a three-part Small Business Connect Event series on Business Finance Basics for business owners. Edward Jaekel from JRM CPAs joined us again to speak on the topic of profit and loss statements. He briefed attendees on setting up a financial statement, analyzing the income statement, and common income statement mistakes. Click on the video link above to see highlights from Session 2. If you were unable to attend but are interested in watching the full presentation click here. For more information contact Altra Business Lending at 855-490-4518.

EMV Chip Card

EMV Chip Card

Because of the rapid increase in credit card fraud, card issuers in the U.S. are now migrating to the more secure EMV chip card payment technology.

Card Present fraud in the U.S. is expected to significantly decrease as more merchants and customers have EMV capability. In participating countries, EMV technology has reduced Card Present fraud by as much as 84%.

Switching to EMV can reduce the risk of fraud for your business and your customers. EMV chip cards are more difficult to counterfeit because they use a microchip to store account information. Upgrade your EMV equipment sooner, rather than later. Card fraudsters prefer easy targets and are expected to concentrate their efforts on merchants who have not upgraded to EMV.

Businesses will need to provide training to their employees on how chip cards work. Consumers will need to change their behavior from swiping to inserting their card into the reader and leaving it until the transaction is completed. Watch How to Use Your Visa Chip Card here. In addition, the way consumers tip will change with EMV technology. Tips will need to be added before the card is processed. For more information, visit altra.org or contact Altra’s Business Lending staff.