How To Come Up With New Small Business Products

You are planning to have your own business, but you are not clear what niche to get into or more importantly what products you are going to offer. If you want the best small business products you need do some market research and a little bit more effort.

You should think about product research and market research. While these may sound like big words to the first time entrepreneur, these are essential in your overall business and marketing plans. If you want to produce the best products then you need to merge those two researches. This is very useful if you do not know a thing about the market you want to get into as well as learning what goods you can best product for that market.

Here are some tips that you may want to follow to ensure your small business success.

Find out what the market needs. There are many ways to do this and if you want a hands off kind of thing then you can just hire a market research company. They would interview people for you and gather other data. On your part you can visit some specialized forums so you can have an idea on what the people there are always talking about. You can also read popular blogs that tackle the topic or market you want to enter. If there are comments there, read those comments as well.

Should you produce the goods yourself or just distribute the small business products manufactured by another company? I ask this because there are big differences between these two particularly with the expenses you will shell out. If you decide to create your own product, some of the expenses you will incur are employee salary, business permits, raw materials, packaging, and others. If you do not want to go through all of these then you can just sell other people’s products.

But before you start selling your products you have to make sure that it actually works. This is where product testing comes in. If you want to be considered as a responsible businessman that produces only quality products, you need to ensure the quality of your goods. This is also a great thing because then you will have less worries about customers asking for refunds due to being dissatisfied with your products.

Let us say you already have an inventory of great products, but what’s next? No matter how innovative or high quality your product can be, if you do not know how to market it well then chances are it will not really sell. You already know who your market is, your next important task is to create a marketing plan so you can best present your new products to that market. This also involves your sales plan and advertising plan.

So there you have it. These are just some of the things that you should consider when you want to come up with your own small business products. Aim for originality because it is usually a lot easier to sell an innovative product.

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Liposuction Financing Option – How To Get Them

If you are less confident and comfortable about how you look, maybe over the years after your marriage and your first baby, you have appeared 10 years older than your age and have gained weight or fat deposits on your abdomen or some parts of your body then liposuction is the best solution to your problem. This way you will no longer have to wait for several months before diet and workout can actually put you back in shape. The problem is; what if you cannot afford to pay the liposuction procedure upfront? Is there financing options for liposuction?

Yes, liposuction financing options are available for you. There are several ways you can finance your liposuction procedure. You can choose from taking out secured loans, paying through your credit card, getting financing packages from surgeons and securing an elective surgery loan from some financial institutions extending funds for liposuction or liposuction financing online.

If you go for the first option, then you will need to visit your bank for an unsecured loan. With this you will need a good credit to be able to get the loan. This is a good option because with an unsecured loan from bank, you are getting a long – term loan with low interest rates. Your monthly payment will be more affordable because of the length of time that you are going to pay for the loan. The second option is good as well but obviously if you do not have a credit card, there are no way you can pay for the procedure. The third route will be better if you can find a surgeon who offers the financing package for the procedure and will only require you to pay on a monthly basis. With the last option, if the surgeon does not offer the package, he will most likely refer you to some financial institutions offering elective surgery loan. If he doesn’t, then you might as well check some financing companies online offering such financing for lipo procedure. The application will surely be easy and quick online and you can have your liposuction surgery in no time.

Federal Employment Screening Laws

Nowadays, there are lots of companies that conduct employment screening as part of their hiring process. Some companies even hire private investigation agencies to conduct background check of the applicant to verify the information stated in his or her job application. However, these private agencies have to follow certain rules and regulations while conducting the background searches. These regulations are often stated in various federal employment screening laws.

Federal employment screening laws are designed to protect the welfare of the applicants to some extent when the employer or the private agency hired conducts background investigation. That is why, companies should be aware of these laws as well as the different employment screening companies that provide pre-employment screening services.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA is one of the federal employment screening laws administered by the Employment Standards Administration. Under ADA, no employer, employment or recruitment agency, or any labor organization shall discriminate a qualified applicant with disability. When screening the disabled applicant during job interview, questions pertaining to his or her disability should not be asked especially if it has nothing to do with his or her job application. However, information like academic records, personal references, credit cards, and social security number can be accessed during the background check.

Employee Polygraph Protection Act

Aside from ADA, companies and private agencies should also follow the regulations under the EPPA or Employee Polygraph Protection Act. This act prohibits most employers from using lie-detector tests during the pre-employment screening process. They should not request or require any applicant to undergo a lie-detector test. But, when hiring employees in security service firms, EPPA permits polygraph tests for security reasons.

The ADA and the EPPA are just two of the existing federal employment screening laws that companies and private agencies should comply with. Rules and regulations stated in these laws should be strictly followed.

Employment Disputes – How a Solicitor Can Help You

If you’re employing other people, there’s always a possibility that you may end up being involved in an employment dispute. In this article, we take a look at how a solicitor can help you to resolve employment disputes, should they arise.

The chances of being involved in an employment dispute can be minimised by ensuring that you follow the correct procedures when advertising vacancies, recruiting staff, drawing up terms and conditions of employment and making staff redundant. However, you may find that a member of staff is unhappy with an aspect of your employment and decides to take this further. Alternatively, you may be unsatisfied with an employee’s performance and decide to take action, in which case a dispute may arise.

Grievance and Disciplinary Proceedings

Most issues arising between an employer and employees should initially be dealt with through the employer’s internal grievance or disciplinary procedures. Therefore, it’s important that you provide details of these procedures in your company’s staff handbook and that all staff can access a copy of these easily. It’s also vital that your grievance and disciplinary procedures comply with current employment law, so it’s worth asking your employment solicitor to help you to draw them up and review them regularly.

If an employee decides to raise a grievance or you decide that you need to take disciplinary action in respect of an employee’s performance or behaviour, consult your employment solicitor as soon as possible. Your solicitor will be able to discuss the specific case with you and advise you about how best to proceed. By doing this, you can rest assured that you are complying with relevant employment law throughout the process.

Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration

Issues between an employer and employee are often able to be resolved during an internal grievance or disciplinary procedure. However, sometimes further discussions are necessary. There are three main processes available – mediation, conciliation and arbitration.

Mediation involves the employer and employee discussing the situation with an independent party, known as a mediator. The mediator can often help the employer and employee to come to an agreement without needing to take the dispute to an employment tribunal. Conciliation is a very similar process, also involving a mediator. However, conciliation usually takes place when an employee is considering taking his or her employer to an employment tribunal or has already made a claim to an employment tribunal.

The third process, arbitration, is similar but the independent party involved, the arbitrator, listens to both sides of the dispute and makes a firm decision about the case.

Many firms of solicitors provide assistance with mediation, conciliation and arbitration processes and these can be quicker and cheaper solutions to employment disputes than going to an employment tribunal.

Employment Tribunals

If you are unable to settle a dispute with your employees, your employee may decide to make a claim and take you to an employment tribunal. At an employment tribunal, the case will be heard by a panel which will usually include a qualified employment judge and the panel will make a decision and decide whether compensation should be awarded. Employment tribunals hear cases relating to a number of different types of employment issues, including unfair dismissal, discrimination and breach of contract. Decisions made by an employment tribunal are legally binding.

If an employee decides to take their case to an employment tribunal, you should consult your employment solicitor as soon as possible. Your employment solicitor will be able to discuss the process with you, help you to prepare your case and represent you at the tribunal.

This article is intended as a general guide only and provides an overview of some of the legal issues that may need to be considered. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. We recommend that you seek professional advice before taking action. No liability can be accepted by us for any action taken or not taken as a result of this information.

Are You Really Self Employed?

Benefits of self employment
There are benefits to the employer. The ease of sacking and the financial benefits of no employer’s national insurance, no pension contributions, no sickness and holiday pay etc.

The main advantage to the worker is the reduction in national insurance and the ability to claim expenses such as, wages to family members, use of home, travel costs etc.

This is from the different wording of the act. Allowable expenses for the self employed need to be “wholly and exclusively for the purposes of earning the profits of the trade”.

For employees they must be “incurred wholly, exclusively and necessarily in the performance of the duties of the employment”.

There is also the cash flow advantage. The self-employed do not suffer deduction of tax at source. As with all planning it is necessary to commit all the figures to paper to completely understand the financial implications and result.

The statutory position
Neither employee nor employer is defined in the Taxes Acts.

Common law differentiates on the basis that an employee has a contract of employment whereas a self employed person works to a contract for service.

The difference can be explained by the example of your house being painted. Who does the work? Is it the person who quoted or someone on his behalf?

The person who quoted is clearly self-employed but is his worker an employee? Is he under the control of the man who quoted or has he sub contracted his services?

To resolve this question you must review many aspects of how that person carries out his duties. You cannot just run through the check list on the HMR&C web site but you must paint a picture from the information gathered from that review. Then review the picture and make a decision.

The indicia
Opportunity to profit
An employee is paid a set sum under his contract whereas a self-employed person can profit from his actions. He may also lose money; an employee cannot.

Employees are remunerated for the hours they work whereas a self-employed person is usually paid for the job or task he has performed so the profit is in his own hands. He can adjust overheads and time; also he can take on help to complete the contract.

Employees cannot and cannot influence their return and they take no risk.

Mutuality of obligations
The length of a contract is not conclusive one way or the other. Employees often enter short term employment contracts.

What is important is that the self-employed can decline work and in effect select the work they want to do. Employees would be sacked if they declined work. Make sure the contract is per job or for a fixed term.

This assumed importance in the case (Sp C 599 Parade Park Hotel) which is useful in determining the meaning of mutual obligations.

It means that so long as the contractor is not obliged to offer a new contract and as long as you can decline work, then mutuality of obligation does not exist.

This was confirmed in the case of Bridges and others v Industrial Rubber plc where the contractual absence of a promise to provide work and the counter promise to do it was inconsistent with a contract of employment regardless of the other conditions of the working relationship.

Make it clear in the contract that the sub contractor is responsible for his own tax and national insurance and receives no benefits e g. no sick pay; no holiday pay and no pension contributions are paid on his behalf. It would be wise for the sub-contractor to register for VAT.

A self-employed worker usually provides the tools necessary to do the job.

Employees such as tradesmen usually supply the necessary hand tools. Larger items of equipment would be provided by the employer, the self-employed sub-contractor would provide them himself even if leased.

Work standard
For any engager the standard of work performed is important. An employer will require the employee to correct any unsatisfactory work but it is done in the employer’s time.

A self-employed person must perform the contract to an acceptable standard according to the terms of the contract. Any unsatisfactory work is put right in his own time and at his own expense.

It is important as to how workers are viewed by the neutral. An explanation of this item is outlined by the following example taken from the HMR&C web site.

“Someone taken on to manage a client’s staff will normally be seen as an integral part of the client’s organisation and this may be seen as a strong indicator of employment.”

One “employer”
Most people explain that if you work for only one engager or contractor you cannot be self-employed.

I agree that the more firms worked for the more likely a person is to be self-employed. Only one engager is not conclusive of employment.

You could have three concurrent employments. A good example of one engager not preventing self-employment would be lorry drivers. If you look at the driver’s door of a lorry you will see an indication of what I mean.

It is clear that if you supply the major equipment you are more likely to be self-employed.

Nothing can be deduced from part time work as both an employee and a self-employed person can work part time. A person can work for more than one engager.

He can have more than one employment; more than one engager but within the self-employed status. An employee under a contract of employment can also be self-employed at the same time.

If a subcontractor does not want to meet the cost of materials get the contractor to allow the sub-contractor to use his suppliers’ accounts and enjoy the same discounts. He will, of course, meet the cost from the recharge in the contract price.

Employment contract
If a contract requires a worker to provide personal services and requires the person who engages that person to remunerate him for those services that is likely to be a contract of service and thus an “employment” contract.

Such a contract will go on to specify all the other conditions and requirements of the engager i.e. working hours, holidays, sickness, discipline, grievances etc. So avoid reference to specific days or hours to be worked.

A clause that specifies that a worker can send a substitute in his place or engage other workers to help him fulfill his obligations under the contract is very important in considering the overall balance of the factors and must be in every self-employed contract.

This is one of the strongest single indicia of self-employment. Dr Avery Jones in the case Talentcore Ltd v Commissioners for HMR&C found that the substitution issue was more important than the control factor.

Again I must stress that the actions of the parties must mirror the contract so it would be wise to ensure that substitution takes place during the life of the contract or that help is engaged. The point is that under a contract of employment it is the worker that is employed and it is his labour that is pledged. The labour of someone else must mean a contract for rather than of service.

HMR&C acknowledges that it is the right of substitution that is important. The fact that the substitution has not occurred during a contract is not necessarily relevant. However, a contractual right will be ignored if in reality the worker must undertake the work personally. Dragonfly Consultancy Limited v HMRC (2008)

Most employees are paid by the hour, week, month or are on an annual salary.

The self-employed are usually paid by the job.

I find no difficulty in turning a day rate to payment per job. Take a bricklayer; he knows from the plans how long the job will take. Let us say four days and assume his rate two hundred pounds per day. He simply quotes eight hundred pounds for the contract.

Like all the indicia no one item is crucial. It is the balance between them all. HMR&C place considerable reliance on the method of payment but as I have said it is only one item.

Make sure, for example, that he hires the necessary scaffolding!!

Financial risk
There is virtually no financial risk to an employee. The self-employed risk their money. HMR&C indicate that “The risk of making a loss is a very strong indicator of self-employment and can be decisive on its own”.

Make sure you take out all the necessary insurances to include public liability and professional indemnity.

If you undertake work at home make sure with your broker that your home insurance covers any risk.

An employee is usually subject to a large degree of control although not always exercised in practice. He is also told how to do the job, although an expert such as a brain surgeon would be free of that control.

Also an employee’s hours of work, the place where he carries out the contracted work and other practical items are controlled by the employer.

In the case of Market Investigations Ltd. v The Minister of Social Security the Judge said “The most that can be said is that control will no doubt always have to be considered, although it can no longer be regarded as the sole determining factor”

The self employed are free of this control. See J and C Littlewood (T/a J L Window and Door Services) and Anor v R & C Commrs. January 2009 for the importance of this subject.

The more people that know you are self-employed the better your case will be on any challenge.