Why Partnerships Are Your Secret Weapon to Building Referrals

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Why Partnerships Are Your Secret Weapon to Building Referrals written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

Generating referrals is the key to securing your business’s long-term success, and it can feel like a pretty massive undertaking. One way to lighten the load and help you to create a more sustainable stream of referrals is to build partnerships.

Why go it alone when you could instead join forces with other business owners and make the referral process easier for both of you?

Types of Partnerships

When you’re thinking about establishing partnerships for your business, there are a few different types of relationships to consider.

  • Strategic partners. These are businesses or individuals who provide a good or service that is directly tied to your business’s product offering. If you’re a graphic designer, you want to have a trustworthy copywriter who you can suggest to your clients.
  • Content partners. A network of publishers, bloggers, and those in need of content for their own sites can help you to spread your business’s name, mission, and unique point of view to a whole new audience of people.
  • Co-marketing partners. These are business owners whose business models have some sort of synergy with your own company. If you’re a plumber, this person might be an electrician or contractor. If you own a wine shop, this might be the owner of the cheese store down the street. As a fellow business owner who’s not in direct competition with you, but does business with a subset of the population who might also have an interest in and need for your business’s offerings, these relationships offer easy cross-promotion opportunities.

Bonus points if you can create partnerships that are unexpected like the ones I outline here; unique partnerships can generate even more marketing buzz!

There are a variety of reasons to consider each type of partnership, and there’s a different value-add that comes from each one. That’s why it’s important to focus on building up a comprehensive network of partners, with different partners from each type of group.

Become a Trustworthy Guide for Your Customers

No matter what business you’re in, there are a lot of other businesses out there that do what you do. While a key part of standing out from the crowd is making sure you have a clearly defined value proposition, another thing that will keep customers coming back again and again is that they see you as more than just a provider of a good or service—they see you as a trustworthy partner and advisor.

One way to become a trusted partner is to tap into your network of fellow business owners who you yourself know and trust. When you’re able to suggest other service providers to your customers, it makes you seem like someone who’s in the know and who truly has your customers’ best interests at heart.

Let’s say, for example, that you own a rare used bookstore. A customer comes in and buys a first edition of a work by their favorite author, but then they want to be sure they’re going to be able to care for their new, beloved purchase. You should be able to provide them with a list of trusted partners—a bookbinder who can help restore the original leather cover, a vendor of special boxes for book storage, or an appraiser who can help set the sale price for another rare book in their collection.

These partners need to be people that you know and trust; you’ll do more harm than good if you suggest another business who does not do right by your customer. But if you do have a strong network of other worthy businesses who can provide a service that’s of real value to your existing customers, then you establish yourself as a trusted source of knowledge in your industry, and the next time your customer is looking for advice or to do business, they’ll be coming back to you.

Move Up the Hourglass

There is a lot of work that goes into winning over new business, particularly if you’re starting from scratch. For someone to decide to go with your company, there are four steps in the marketing hourglass before a new customer even makes their first purchase. And there is a tremendous amount of effort and money that can go into those first four steps.

For someone to come to know and like your business, there are marketing and advertising dollars to be spent. To establish trust, you need testimonials. For the trial phase, you need to create products or services that you’re willing to give away for free in hopes that it converts your prospect into an actual customer.

Establishing partnerships, however, allows you to leap over the heavy lifting associated with these steps. You don’t need to spend excessive amounts of money on advertising and marketing to prospects when you have a solid partnership network who will refer their customers to your business.

A prospect who has been referred to you by a business owner they already know, like, and trust, will have an inherent level of trust in your business. This allows you to jump ahead and move right to the try and buy portion of the hourglass.

Double Your Network Overnight

As the old saying goes, two heads are better than one, and that’s particularly true when building up referrals. You’ve worked hard to create repeat customers, and new customer acquisition is a costly endeavor. You know that other small business owners have put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into creating their own roster of return clients. Why not come together with a fellow entrepreneur to double your network overnight?

When you establish a strategic or co-marketing partnership, suddenly you have access to another business owner’s entire rolodex. There’s no competitiveness there, because you offer products that are related but different, and so you’re willing and able to share your existing network with this other business owner.

Additionally, you can consider creating new marketing campaigns that are a joint effort. While you double your reach, you can also halve your costs by splitting advertising fees with your new partner. Running joint promotions for your business can allow you to catch the eye of your established customer base, their established customer base, plus those who are new prospects for both of you.

Referrals are the lifeblood of any business. Why go it alone on this important road to generating referrals when you could join forces with another like-minded business owner? Together, you can help each other to create a sustainable referral engine that will continue to benefit you both in the long term.

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4 Accounting Software Features You’re Not Taking Advantage Of

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If you use accounting software every day to handle your books, on top of managing the day to day operations, you might not be leveraging all the features that will ensure your business is optimizing cash flow. Any accounting software has an accounts receivable (AR) module that can improve collecting payments from clients. Common pain points of the entire AR process can be avoided by simply using your current accounting software to it’s fullest capacity.

Many small businesses struggle with collections, that combined with a lack accurate accounting records, and you’ve got a mess on your hands. There are four accounts receivable functions you likely already have in your software and once activated they can make big difference to the bottom-line.

Recurring Billing Support

Recurring payments are common. If you are in a situation where you can set up recurring payments for clients via ACH debits or some other electronic method, you should do it. It helps promote higher collection rates while minimizing the time spent on future collection efforts. If you’re providing good enough services/products to your clients, you’ll want to ensure their payments are coming in on time, so you can spend more time focusing on running the business rather than dealing with collections issues.

Billing/Collection Email Integration

If billing your customers isn’t as simple as you’d like, then you’ll need to establish some level of a billing and collections process. If a customer’s due date is arriving, you’ll want to send a reminder email. If they’ve paid on time, they will likely desire an invoice. If they have not paid, you’ll have to begin the dreaded collections process of sending past-due notices.

Leverage your AR software to create and send emails. It will go a long way toward improving your collections process. This eliminates the need to copy data from the program and paste/attach it into an email. The ability to have this communication at your fingertips as soon as you need it will let you breeze through any reminder emails or Invoice-paid emails that you provide to a client as a courtesy. Your AR module may even take care of auto-populating certain fields for you or re-using email templates, which eliminates the time spent drafting any emails.

Flexible Interest & Late Fee Application

No business owner wants to deal with clients not paying them for their services on time, just as no business wants to be late providing services for clients. Dealing with chronic late payments can be a bad situation and sever relationships if it’s not handled delicately. It can also affect your performance and mess up cash flow. However, it’s a reality when customers don’t pay time.

Most accounting software will allow you to set up interest terms, which specify how much the customer will be charged in late fees if payment is not paid promptly. Usually, these are spelled out in any contracts you may have a client sign, but it’s important to have these terms spelled out clearly in all invoices as well, which will help temper the expectations to a customer if they become delinquent. If a payment has not been recorded past a scheduled due date, your software likely has the ability to automatically calculate any late fee and add it to a newly created invoice.

Early Payment Discounts

If you can punish a client for late payment, why not reward them for paying early? Allowing early payment customer discounts for Net 10 or Net 15 payments can be a great way to improve client relations, cash flow and also could be a selling point in attempting to establish the value of your services with a new customer. For a job well done, customers should be happy to pay you on time. But with an added incentive to pay ahead of time, they’ll be thrilled to do so if you’ve been providing quality service or products.

Talk to your accountant or bookkeeper to help you set up these features in your accounting software, if you don’t feel comfortable handling it. It could go a long way to helping improve your cash flow and invoice management.

About the Author:

Russ Davidson is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Software Connect, a company providing free software recommendations. Since 1996, they’ve helped thousands of companies find the best solution for their needs.

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Brand Health: 6 Important Questions You Should Ask About Your Small Business Brand

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If your small business brand isn’t healthy, neither is your business.

That’s because the health of your brand impacts both consumer awareness of your business and your bottom line.

A strong brand is not a luxury to be enjoyed only by companies like Nike or Coca-Cola. It is a key factor in the success and prosperity of all businesses and nonprofits, regardless of their revenues. Your brand health is guaranteed to have a significant impact on the consumer awareness of your brand AND your bottom line. It directly affects your ability to sell, to fundraise, to hire the best employees, and to grow. A healthy brand is the hallmark of a company or nonprofit that is prepared to prosper.

What is brand health?

Brand health is a measure of how well your brand supports your business, how consistent your brand is, and how well your brand connects with your audience.

Brand health can be measured in numerous ways, including brand reputation, brand awareness, brand equity, brand positioning, and brand delivery.

This isn’t an issue you can afford to ignore. You need to know if your brand is thriving or ailing – before it’s too late.

So, here are 6 important questions you should ask to make sure your business brand is on the right track.

1. Does your brand support your business strategy?

Every healthy business should have an overall, forward-looking strategy.

For your brand to be healthy, it must align with and support that strategy.

If your strategy is to sell commonly expensive services at discounted rates, your brand should reflect a focus on price. It would not be in your best interest to cultivate a brand that appears affluent or expensive.

If your business strategy is grounded in creativity and custom work, a brand emphasizing traditional corporate culture would not work well.

A misaligned brand will create cognitive dissonance for your customers and undermine your efforts to succeed.

A brand that undermines your business strategy is not a healthy brand.

Get Your Brand in Shape: Cultivate a brand that supports your business strategy. If you don’t know your business strategy, start there. Know what you want and determine how you plan to get there. Now, make sure the public face your business shares aligns with your goals.

2. Is your brand consistent?

A brand identity starts with the name of the business and the business logo. But a brand is more than the name and logo. It encompasses your brand’s overall visual identity, messaging and execution.

An inconsistent brand is a confusing and unreliable brand. These are traits that drive customers away, not attract them.

Inconsistency is a sign of ill-health in any brand.

If your brand constantly changes, it’s hard for customers or clients to wrap their minds around what it’s about. And, it’s even harder to gain trust, confidence and customer loyalty.

Here are some additional questions to help you evaluate your brand for consistency…

3. Is your brand visually consistent?

Image courtesy of Blaze Pizza.

Your brand should look the same on every platform.

The colors, visual styles, and fonts on your website should look like your business cards, which should look like your social media accounts, which should look like your business logo, which should look like your… you get the idea.

Visual consistency helps build recognition of your brand.

When Nike debuted their famous “Swoosh” logo, it wasn’t famous – yet. But, they placed it on every ad campaign, every shoe, and every piece of Nike-branded merchandise. Today that logo is shorthand for Nike, “Just do it.” and athleticism in general.

Consistent branding delivered the ultimate prize – instant brand recognition.

A visually consistent brand also allows customers to identify that they’ve found what they’re looking for – your business.

The internet is full of websites; some reputable, some not. Creating a consistent visual brand that clients and customers can easily recognize and using that visual brand everywhere reassures them that they’ve found you.

Whether I walk past a Blaze Pizza, open an email from Blaze Pizza, or visit Blaze Pizza’s website, I immediately know it’s them. Their orange and tan color scheme, unique font and logo are easy to recognize in all of their decor, marketing, and store collateral.

They’ve created a distinctive and consistent visual brand.

Get Your Brand in Shape: Use your logo consistently on all of your branded material. Define a brand style guide that guides how your brand will visually appear on all platforms to create a consistent visual brand identity.

4. Is your brand message consistent?

Your brand needs a cohesive message. And, ideally, that message should come from your business’s core values and strategies.

If your brand tries to be too many things at once, the message becomes scattered and the brand grows diluted.

It’s hard to be known for something (which is really the goal of branding) when you fail to present a consistent message about what your business should be known for.

Or worse, if your brand messaging contradicts itself, you will lose consumer trust and, ultimately, their business.

People don’t like to be lied to. And, consumers are naturally suspicious of businesses as a general rule. After all, businesses want their money.

Contradicting messages serve as proof that your business is not to be trusted.

Inconsistent messaging is a sign of an unhealthy brand.

Get Your Brand in Shape: Develop cohesive brand messages that align with your business’s core brand identity. Make sure that all communication, marketing, and sales endeavors support these messages.

5. Does your brand behave consistently?

Image courtesy of Chipotle.

Your brand promises must be consistent with the reality of your customers’ brand experience.

If you feature speedy delivery as a central brand message but fail to make good on that promise, people will notice. And, your brand will suffer.

As we explained:

A fabulous logo, expertly deployed and a consistent style guide mean nothing if your business does not follow through on its brand promises in the real world. Remember that your brand should always be true to the reality of your business. Walking the walk is just as important, if not more so, than talking the talk.

Mexican fast-food giant Chipotle has made serving non-GMO foods a key element of their brand promise. However, they’ve repeatedly been spotted serving GMO foods.

Execute a quick Google search for “chipotle admits to using GMOs” and you’ll find a list of critical articles and lawsuits levied against the fast-food mega-chain. They’ve hit on a compelling branding position, but they’re failing to deliver it reliably.

Failure to deliver on a brand promise is a sign of an unhealthy brand.

Get Your Brand in Shape: Create a brand promise that you can truly live by. Use your business’s existing core strategy and values as your guide. When consumers see your business delivering on your claims, you will earn their confidence, their trust, and their business.

6. Does your brand resonate with your intended audience?

A brand is both the public face and the core identity of your business.

No matter how well your brand supports your business strategies, or how consistent it is, if it fails to connect with your audience, then your brand is not doing its job.

But, measuring your brand’s public reception is a bit trickier than examining it for consistency or internal strategy alignment. You’re going to need some brand health metrics to track.

Marketing intelligence experts at Datorama recommend tracking your branded impressions, internet search volume, and the performance of branded keywords.

You may also want to consider measuring social media engagement and keeping an eye on your online reviews. Your customer service team may also be able to offer some useful insight.

Get Your Brand in Shape: Assess how well your brand is resonating with your audience. Track the metrics mentioned above. Hold some focus groups to get direct feedback. Then tweak your brand as necessary to create the connection you need with your customers.

 

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Have Your Eye On A C-Suite Office? Turn Your Eyes Toward A Mentor First.

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by Paul MacCartney, Chief Learning Officer at MentorcliQ

The career path to a C-Suite position is never straight.  It is full of twists and turns, speed bumps and detours. So, it will take more than a few attempts to get there. Ask anyone who has done so.

In the past, ambitious professionals have had to rely on strength, fortitude, and independence to make career headway, often feeling they are on their own when it comes to achieving success. Moreover, many needlessly forged their climb up the corporate ladder alone, making that upward climb all the more challenging.

Fortunately, all this is changing with a new focus on mentorship programs in the workplace. By teaming experienced executives with promising emerging talent, businesses are ensuring a steady supply of trained personnel – ready to take the reins when the appropriate time for succession comes. It’s also saving companies both time and money. Mentoring is a cost effective practice that counters employee turnover and disengagement.

If you have your eye on a C-Suite office, don’t blaze the trail alone. Seek out the guidance and counsel that will make your journey smarter and faster, by seeking out an influential mentor.

How Does Having A Mentor Help My Career?

Seeking counsel, guidance, and advice from an experienced professional in your industry will save you innumerable hours of thrashing out solutions on your own. A strong mentor/mentee relationship will bolster not only your professional development but also your personal growth. Aside from ongoing career advice, mentors provide a useful sounding board. They create a safe place to air new ideas or flesh-out potential big decisions that could define you as a leader in your company. The mentor is on hand to guide you along a your path, based on the broader knowledge they have of your business culture and your industry sector as a whole.

Where Can I Find a Mentor?

Finding a mentor used to be straight forward. In many crafts, you began your career serving as an intern or apprentice under a talent who had mastered the profession. As the work landscape became more dynamic, finding and maintaining a relationship with a mentor became more difficult, often occurring through happenstance rather than strategically. Fortunately, this is changing, as more companies are introducing formal mentoring programs into their business plans. If your current employer doesn’t have such a program, consider asking them to initiate one. Company mentor programs can help you find promising mentors who you might not know existed within your company. Otherwise, look to outside professional trade groups to find like-minded, engaged leaders who might take you on as a protege.

What’s the Mentor / Mentee Relationship Like?

This is probably the trickiest part to define. Ultimately, the relationship must be a two-way street, with each party benefiting from the interaction. The mentor improves coaching skills and the new perspectives of the mentee, The mentee gains insight into the mentor’s institutional knowledge and years of experience.  None of this will work for long if the chemistry between the two parties is off, or one side is benefiting more than the other.

Should My Mentor Be The Same Gender?

Your mentor’s gender may not be an important factor unless you feel it would be for personal reasons. What matters is that the relationship is productive and you’re growing. Approach the relationship as a tremendous opportunity to learn more than the nuts and bolts of your business; study how your mentor interacts with colleagues, bosses, vendors, and competitors. Study their presentation, negotiating, email, and phone skills. Watch how they conduct themselves in different business situations and decide how you might employ similar strategies in your role.

The road to a senior position doesn’t have to be a journey undertaken alone. Take advantage of mentor opportunities, whether they come to you organically or as part of a more formal company-sponsored mentoring program. Don’t be afraid to form a network of mentors. Leverage all of those relationships as your skills grow. And last but not least, once you gain that senior position, consider becoming a mentor yourself., Lend a helping hand to the next generation of business leaders coming up the path.

 

Paul MacCartney has been in the learning and talent development field for over 30 years. He began his career as a pilot and instructor for the United States Air Force. He later held management and professorial roles with the Human Factors Laboratory at The Ohio State University. More recently he was the President of MindLeaders, an online learning and talent company serving millions of learners. He’s currently the Chief Learning Officer at MentorcliQ. 

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How To Avoid Outsourcing Nightmares

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by Tesma Gwee, Senior Marketing Manager at ZomWork

Like many of us, you’re probably managing several projects at once (some of them could be your scope of work) and still saying ‘yes’ to your boss or client. (I can really empathise.) It’s part and parcel of every job.

Let’s be realistic, you need a strategy to handle this else you will eventually burn yourself out!

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Prioritise work and identify projects that can be outsourced where you could leverage the expertise of external talents. Thus, allowing you to deliver work faster and effectively.

However, it may also come with a bunch of challenges that will become your nightmares, further adding on to your never-ending task list.

Here are some outsourcing issues and tips on how to navigate past these and shine at work:

1. Loss or lack of control.

This control could refer to many things, for instance, quality and quantity control over how your project is being done. Now, you are not a control freak if you want to be in control because your project is your ‘baby’ after all. So, don’t feel bad!

But you have to learn to let go a little. Try to think of why you outsourced in the first place: lack of skillset, limited labour pool, budget, time constraint, etc. Prior to contracting your work to freelancers, do your due diligence by reviewing their portfolios and asking for their previous work. From this, you can set some ground rules and realistic expectations.

Then, the only thing you need to do next is to let the experts work their magic on your project by letting them take ownership in getting the job done.

2. Disclosure of confidential information.

Here’s a jaw-dropping fact: For most of the past 86 years, The Coca-Cola Company’s secret formula was locked away in a vault. Yep, you heard that right. Companies are working hard to differentiate themselves, so it makes perfect sense if they work doubly hard to keep their secrets safe.

Want to prevent your trade secrets from spilling? Draw a crystalline contract between you and the individual or company that you hire, and continuously educate them about the disclosure of confidential information and the consequences if it is violated.

For projects that contain private and sensitive information, get the talent to sign a non-disclosure agreement before divulging any details.

3. Poor communication.

Don’t get lost in translation or rather, transnational borders! Even if your hired talent is not in the same country and timezone as you are, there are multiple digital tools that you can leverage on for communication. If not, just go with hiring a local talent to potentially reduce the communication problems that might surface.

You know what they say: communication is the holy grail of outsourcing. Establish clear communication channels and be proactive in scheduling regular catch-ups.

For the extra cautious, there are also online project management tools to help you keep track of the project progress such as Gantt, Trello, Wrike, Bitrix24, etc.

4. Mysterious Disappearance.

Remember when your crush ghosted you? Or you must have at least heard about someone being ghosted. Being ghosted professionally by a freelancer, just like being ghosted in any other scenario…is definitely not a very nice situation to be in.

But remember, you’re already one step ahead when you use an online freelancing platform to outsource. These platforms have the experience and can intervene should unforeseen issues as these arise.

Just take a deep breath. Keep cool. Send 1-2 follow-up emails to the talent and raise the issue to the online platform to seek help.

The bottom line solution to all these challenges?

Establish crystal clear communication and trust between all parties involved. That in itself is not an easy task, but with regular progress updates and open discussions, you should be:

  • Running a smooth project
  • Breathing a sigh of relief
  • Basking in the success of your project

Tesma Gwee is the Senior Marketing Manager at ZomWork, the online freelancing platform which helps businesses connect with the right talent in areas such as design, IT, marketing, copywriting, video production and more. An experienced B2B digital marketer, Tesma Gwee has over 10 years of digital experience in global Fortune500 like Salesforce and startup companies, and worked across multi disciplines of digital marketing.

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3 Common Payroll Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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When you’re a small business owner, it can seem like there are a million different things vying for your attention. And if you have employees, payroll is one of them.

As a business owner, I know how difficult it can be to know all the payroll and employment laws. There are so many that it’s easy to forget some of them. That’s probably why small business owners make payroll mistakes.

Here are three of the most common payroll mistakes that small business owners make when running payroll.

1. Not paying overtime wages

You must pay extra wages to nonexempt employees who work overtime. The federal Fair Labor Standards Act says nonexempt employees must receive one and a half times their regular rate of pay when they work more than 40 hours in a workweek.

Some states have stricter overtime laws. Depending on where you’re based, you might have to give overtime pay after an employee works eight or 12 hours in a workday, or you might have to pay double their regular rate of pay.

There are some employers who try to get out of paying overtime wages. They will misclassify their workers as exempt from overtime pay. And then some will illegally use comp time by letting employees take time off to make up for any overtime worked; other employers will seek out loopholes.

Don’t avoid overtime pay. Unless your employees meet all of the requirements for exempt employees, you must compensate them for overtime work. If you don’t give overtime wages to your nonexempt employees, your workers can sue you, or the government might investigate your business. You also might owe back wages, back taxes, interest, and penalties. It’s better to pay overtime wages correctly now instead of paying even more later.

2. Not withholding and paying taxes

I didn’t withhold payroll taxes for my first few employees. I didn’t have the knowledge to do it, nor did I have a system set up to do it for me. I would write checks, hand them out to my employees, and that was it. I was essentially paying my employees under the table.

That quickly changed when the father of one of my workers wanted to see his son’s pay stub. Well, there wasn’t a pay stub to show. I didn’t need to give employees a log of their pay and deductions because I wasn’t withholding payroll taxes.

When you pay employees, you must withhold, file, and remit taxes—it’s serious if you don’t. If you don’t pay payroll taxes, you may face IRS payroll tax penalties, criminal penalties, and imprisonment. The IRS can shut your business down.

Other Articles From AllBusiness.com:

  • The Complete 35-Step Guide for Entrepreneurs Starting a Business
  • 25 Frequently Asked Questions on Starting a Business
  • 50 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask Entrepreneurs
  • 17 Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs Starting A Business

Since my early days as an employer, I have learned a lot about running payroll. I fixed my early mistakes and found a way to run payroll legally. My early days even inspired me to found Patriot Software, which provides payroll software for small businesses.

Even though payroll taxes can be difficult to understand, entrepreneurs must find a way to handle them and avoid common payroll problems. The consequences are too great to ignore the taxes.

3. Not running payroll on time

Your employees rely on the regular paychecks that you give them. They have bills and other expenses; some of them may even be on a tight budget.

There may be a time when you need to run payroll late because you don’t have enough money to run payroll. Or maybe you just forgot to run it. Whatever you do, avoid running payroll late. Running a late payroll can make employees mistrust you. And a late paycheck could put some employees into financial trouble.

Not running payroll on time can have consequences for your business, too. Many states have pay frequency requirements that dictate how often you must pay your employees. Running payroll late might put your business in legal trouble.

How to avoid payroll mistakes

Unless you are a trained payroll professional, I don’t recommend doing payroll by hand. Get help to avoid payroll mistakes. Use a professional or cloud payroll software. Find a system that will handle most things for you.

However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to brush up on payroll and employment law basics. Even if you let someone else handle the payroll calculations and taxes, it’s good to know the basics of how payroll works.

RELATED: Pay Attention to These 9 Essential Startup Tax Issues

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Will Virginia Be For Bettors In 2019? One State Legislator Will Try To Make It Happen

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The push to legalize sports betting is sweeping through state capitols as legislatures gear up for next year. Now it has made its way to Virginia where a state lawmaker plans on introducing a sports betting bill next year.

“I think there is an appetite for this,” Delegate Marcus Simon told FOX 5 DC. “I think there is certainly a revenue opportunity in Virginia.”

Simon plans on introducing a Virginia sports betting bill in January when the 2019 legislative session begins.

Gauging the Virginia sports betting market

“We already see a lot of our residents’ dollars go across the river to MGM – we lose out on a lot of opportunities to capture some of that revenue,” Simon said.

MGM National Harbor which is on the banks of the Potomac River, is a short drive from Washington, D.C. Lawmakers there are also considering a sports betting bill of their own.

Not only does DC have the support of all its councilmembers but Mayor Muriel Bowser is also on board. Sports wagering in the Nation’s Capital might be a reality in 2019.

In Virginia, however, Governor Ralph Northam has remained neutral on the issue.

“Governor Northam believes any future proposal to expand sports gaming here in Virginia should be considered with the input of the General Assembly and the communities that will be impacted,” said Ofirah Yheskel, a spokesperson for the governor.

Sportsbook game plan without casinos

Much like DC, Virginia has no casinos. Simon believes sportsbooks could factor in to racetracks and off-track betting locations (OTB). How remains unknown at this point.

Currently VA has no racetracks in operations. But according to the Richmond Times Dispatch, Colonial Downs is aiming for a March 2019 re-opening. That facility would utilize historical horse racing, a form of gambling based on wagering on past races. The state legislature approved such gaming earlier this year.

A similar idea is being floated around by DC Councilmember Jack Evans, who envisions sportsbooks at sports arenas, bars and hotels.

“I think you can probably find a way to combine sportsbooks with the existing horse racing and off-track betting that exist,” Simon said. “And there is probably a way to facilitate online sports gaming as well.”

2019 the year of sports betting bills?

If lawmakers do introduce Virginia sports betting legislation next year, it will be part of a caravan of other states looking to do that same.

Simon says his bill would legalize sports betting as of July 2019. Ever since the US Supreme Court ruled PASPA to be unconstitutional, states have been looking to capitalize on sports betting outside of Nevada.

Neighboring Maryland failed to put a sports betting referendum on the November ballot, but lawmakers are hopeful voters could decide on the issue in 2020.

The post Will Virginia Be For Bettors In 2019? One State Legislator Will Try To Make It Happen appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Record-Smashing September Shows Nevada Sports Betting Still Reigns Supreme In US Market

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Reports of the death of Nevada sports betting in the new legal US market appear to be greatly exaggerated.

Sportsbooks in the Silver State took a record-breaking $571 million in wagers in September. That appears to be the largest total in Nevada history, tracing back to the start of record-keeping in 1984. Nevada sports betting hit its previous high of $565 million in October 2017.

Revenue of more than $56 million also looks to be a new record for Nevada sportsbooks. The state set the old mark of more than $53 million in September 2012.

New Jersey? Where’s that?

When New Jersey’s top gaming regulator David Rebuck teased “stunning” September revenue numbers, talk of the Garden State eventually surpassing Nevada in revenue again heated up. New Jersey sports betting totaled $184 million in handle for the month, a strong number for its first full month of football.

Nevada sports betting posting its best month in history delays that discussion for a while. Nevada’s record September and New Jersey’s excellent start show that one market does not need to poach bettors from another to succeed. A growing universe of players can expand revenue without cannibalizing it from competing markets.

Concern still exists in Nevada though. New Jersey’s much larger population and location near the mecca of New York City will drive expansion in revenue. That’s why a handful of casinos this month asked Nevada regulators to consider fully remote registration and verification of bettors on mobile apps — just like New Jersey.

Football again drives Nevada sports betting

Just how dominant is football betting in the United States? Two out of every three bets at Nevada sportsbooks in September were placed on gridiron action.

Total football handle of nearly $389 million set a new Nevada record for the month of September. At a good hold of 11.4 percent, Nevada sportsbooks collected more than $44 million in revenue on just the NFL and college football.

Parlays certainly factor into the football total as well, even though Nevada sports betting regulators break out that revenue separately. And what a boffo month for the books on parlays it was.

While just bettors put up more than $11 million in parlays, books held an incredible 60.67 percent — not a typo — on them. That equates to revenue of more than $6.8 million. Plenty of months in Nevada sports betting past approached a 50 percent win, but this September proved even more lucrative.

Bettors also wagered more than $131 million on baseball in September. They did much better on the diamond as well, as books held only 3.24 percent.

Here’s the total breakdown in handle for Nevada sports betting last month:

Nevada sports betting

The post Record-Smashing September Shows Nevada Sports Betting Still Reigns Supreme In US Market appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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Caesars Announces New Sponsorship Deals With Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils

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The not-so-novel concept of sports teams partnering with gambling companies is catching on like gangbusters in the US.

According to a tweet from ESPN reporter David Purdum, casino giant Caesars Entertainment has partnered with two franchises in the east — the Philadelphia 76ers (NBA) and the New Jersey Devils (NHL).

Coverage from the Philadelphia Business Journal includes that eye-catching mention of a lounge. Just last week, William Hill announced it would operate a branded space inside the arena as the Devils’ first partner tied to sports betting.

With two sports lounges now set to open at Prudential Center, space is getting a little tight around the concourse.

Caesars enters the sports sponsorship game

While new sports betting companies like DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook are just settling into the New Jersey market, the established giants are going after big-ticket marketing deals.

These partnerships with the 76ers and Devils involve substantial cross-promotion, both on-site and across social media platforms. Caesars will advertise “the non-sportsbook elements” of its casino empire inside Prudential Center and Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers play their home games.

Here’s more from SportsPro:

The agreement will see the Caesars Casino and Sports betting app made available inside the new Caesars Club, a 5,000-square-foot premium restaurant and bar that will be located on the main concourse of the Devils’ Prudential Center home. The facility will provide VIP hospitality to premium seat members for all of the ice hockey franchise’s home games, as well as for concerts staged at the venue.

In addition, Caesars will have its branding appear on Prudential Center’s 80 digital boards, outer LED board, club level tickets, premium wristbands and concourse pillars. The company will also have a presence at 76ers games through advertising placements.

Sports and gambling getting to know each other

These deals are the second (and third) in recent weeks for the Caesars family. A Friday ago, Horseshoe Baltimore announced itself as an official casino partner for the hometown Baltimore Ravens of the NFL.

In addition, six other sports/gambling deals have materialized over the last few months:

  • NBA + MGM
  • NHL + MGM
  • Dallas Cowboys + WinStar World
  • Vegas Golden Knights + William Hill
  • New Jersey Devils + William Hill
  • New York Jets + 888

The US Supreme Court decision on sports betting was, of course, the primary catalyst. Sponsorship rules were relaxed in some places, and hungry gambling companies now have a direct marketing channel within professional sports — something that was mostly off-limits until this year.

A logical, if unexpected choice

Although this concept is mostly new in the US, the two franchises involved do have some experience working with gambling companies. Both have had a relationship with partypoker in the past, and as mentioned, the Devils recently aligned with William Hill.

The 76ers hold a special place in the heart of DraftKings dating back to the days when it was purely a daily fantasy sports company. In 2014, the Philly franchise became the company’s very first NBA partner, starting a roster that grew into double digits. Shortly thereafter, DraftKings also signed a deal with the Wells Fargo Center that included an on-site fantasy sports lounge.

Both of those deals have apparently expired, however, and Caesars has scooped up the available branding space. It seems to make a good bit of sense. The company owns property in both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, one of which has sports gambling while the other is on the cusp. PA sports betting should launch in a matter of weeks or months.

This new arrangement at Prudential Center is reminiscent of those DFS deals in a lot of ways, with sports betting beginning to replace the physical footprint DFS established. Although neither lounge will serve as an actual sportsbook, NJ sports betting is available statewide on mobile devices — including inside the arena.

The same holds true for the PA market once it gets up and running.

The post Caesars Announces New Sponsorship Deals With Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils appeared first on Legal Sports Report.

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The Five People Rule and How to Use It for Success

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When I was managing a large number of salespeople I would often tell them the way to increase sales revolved around the understanding of a technique I called, the five people rule. Very briefly, it states that if you line up five people shoulder to shoulder and asked all five their opinion of you, one will hate you, one will love you, and three will be indifferent.

The person that hates you may have any number of reasons for doing so. Perhaps they don’t like the way you look, the way you dress, or the way you talk. Maybe it’s the way you assert yourself publicly. Perhaps you’ve wronged them at some point or wronged a member of their family or their organization. Maybe their mother didn’t like your mother. Perhaps you did absolutely nothing! And this person simply doesn’t like you!

The person that loves you may do so for number of reasons. Perhaps the both of you are two suits, or two dresses, cut from the same cloth. (Your behaviors mirror each other!) You just get along famously with each other and like being in each other’s company. Perhaps you’ve done them a favor in the past; or got them or a member of their family a job. Perhaps, in this case, you made no overt attempts to be liked by this person, but they do like you anyway; it’s just you!

“If people like you, they’ll listen to you but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar

In either case it really doesn’t matter. The fact of the matter is as we go about in our lives some people will naturally like us, and some people will naturally dislike us. The real goal here is to look at the three people that are indifferent to you. Because if you can get just one of them on the “love you” side, then you have doubled the proportion of people who like you versus dislike you.

Obviously, in sales this is very important, since people buy from people that they know, like, and trust. But, in everyday life this is important also not just because we can increase your circle of influence but it’s always nice to have people like you instead of disliking you.

So, the question becomes how can we gain enough of an understanding of our own behavior to tip the scales in our favor of other people’s opinions of us?

Here are a few ideas that I shared with salespeople and clients over the years, and I hope you can use them also in general interpersonal communication skills:

  1. Analyze why the individual that doesn’t like you feels that way – There’s a very good possibility that you don’t like them either. Throw those feelings into the mix, and answer the question, “Based on this information what can I change about my behavior?” Please note, it’s not about the other person changing, it’s about you changing! The goal here is that if you change perhaps you can get the other person to change.
  2. Analyze why the individual that likes you feels that wayHow do you act and behave that endears you to this person? Is it possible to duplicate those behaviors with a different person?
  3. Of the three individuals that are indifferent, which person do you think you would have an easier time behaving in such a way that they start to like you?That’s the one you want to attract to you first. Since you feel that they are the most favorable to you, it’s like picking a piece of low hanging fruit! Based upon the knowledge you got from answering questions one and two you should be able to alter your behavior in such a way that would allow that one individual to come over to your way of thinking.
  4. Forgive the individual that doesn’t like youIt really doesn’t matter why they don’t like you, just forgive them. There are no justified resentments! By forgiving that individual you remove all of the psyche rust that is keeping you from having other people like you (and you liking them). When you begin to understand that every word that comes from someone’s mouth is truly a prayer about themselves, regardless of who the subject is, the person that doesn’t like you is really showing an outward manifestation of their internal reflection. It’s not you! Forgive them.
  5. If by chance, you behave in such a way that wronged that person who was holding something against you, forgive yourselfIt is impossible to forgive someone else until you have allowed yourself the same privilege and honor. The past cannot be retraced. And the past does not necessarily have to be trajectory toward the future. If you can make it up to them, do so. If not forgive them and you and move on.
  6. Have a mindset of always expecting the best in any interpersonal situationLike everyone; and expect everyone to like you. That will begin to set up imperceptible behaviors, all fueled by your self-conscious mind that will attract others to you in a likable manner.

Think about other strategies you can incorporate to make the five people rule work for you. Share them! We want to hear what you have to say. Write your comments below.

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