Monthly Archives: April 2015

Important – But Often Overlooked – Business Start Up Tips

New business startups are challenging and adventurous, with a multitude of factors to consider. If you plan to grow your business or sell it someday, it is important that you run it right from the beginning and operate within the confines of the law. The basics steps involved in starting a new business are not difficult to find. For example, an article on Forbes tells you how to go about it in 8 key steps. The Small Business Administration also provides step-by-step instructions. However, certain new business tips, although equally important, are frequently overlooked.

Commonly Overlooked Tips for Business Start Ups

Get the insurance coverage your business needs. According to an article on Forbes, a small business owner may need any combination of 13 different types of insurance. A business owner’s policy (BOP) combines coverage your business needs in one package and typically saves you money. A BOP may include property insurance, auto insurance, liability insurance, crime insurance, and business interruption insurance. Depending on the type of business you have, you may also need errors and omissions professional liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, directors and officers insurance, data breach insurance, or other types of coverage.

Set up your general ledger properly. You can buy off-the-shelf software for this purpose, but according to an article on Entrepreneur, you should carefully consider your initial financial setup in order to fully understand your company financials and for future proof of the value you have built in your business. It may be in your best interests to hire an accountant to set up your books initially.

Keep careful records of your expenses. As covered in the Entrepreneur article, it is important to understand the extent of the items you are allowed to expense in your business. Keep all your receipts and meticulous records. This will help you with audits and due diligence of future potential buyers or investors, and enable you to reduce your taxable income without hurting the value of your company.

Keep business and personal expenses separate. A range of expenses meet generally acceptable accounting principle (GAAP) standards and it is perfectly legitimate to use business funds to pay for them. Using business funds for personal use, on the other hand, can get you in trouble with the IRS and expose you to liability, as covered in the Entrepreneur article. If you paid for personal expenses with business funds, it would be difficult to separate them out if your company was being valued in the future. The best policy is to keep personal expenses out of the business from the start.

Report all company revenue. If you are doing business in cash, it may be easy to skim money off the business, but that would be unadvisable. It could get you in trouble with the IRS and reduce the value of your company in the long run. It would be difficult to establish the value and growth of your business if you were not reporting the correct numbers.

What to Do When You Have a Defective Product in Your Home

Defective products enter homes every day. According to Andrade Law Offices, even companies who pride themselves on the highest of quality are not immune to releasing a product that could potentially cause a personal injury or kill someone. As careful as many consumers try to be, they are also not guaranteed a safe product. Defective products, sad to say, are a fact of life. Does this mean that we, as consumers, need to be OK with that? Of course not, but we can prevent the possibility of an incident in our own home by being a little more proactive and aware.

What is a Defective Product?

A defective product is simply something that doesn’t work the way it was intended to and can potentially result in the injury or death of an individual. Generally, there are three types of product defects: design, manufacturing, and marketing.

  • Design Defect exists before the product is manufactured. For example, a piece of machinery could be missing an essential safeguard that was overlooked during the design process. If someone is injured while using this product, it could be blamed on a design defect.
  • Manufacturing Defect occurs during the construction or production of the item. In many incidents relating to a manufacturing defect, only a small amount of the product (such as a batch) are deemed defective. Manufacturing defects are common and can include anything from automotive recalls, food products, and various products throughout the home.
  • Marketing Defect is the failure to warn consumers of danger or having improper instructions. Most often, marketing defects are fixed shortly after the report of a design defect.

In some cases of a defective product, the product can be taken off of the market because it contains all three defects.

Defective Products: Dangerous for All Ages

Visit Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on a weekly basis and you will most likely see new recalls directly related to a design, manufacturing, or marketing flaw. CPSC’s mission is to alert consumers before anyone is injured or killed. In the case of many recalls, the defect was discovered before an incident occurred or reported. Any product can be defective, whether they are toys for a child or a simple over the counter medication. Here are just a few examples of defective products that really left a lasting impression on consumers of all ages:

  • Bouncy Moon Houses: These inflatable amusement houses that have gained popularity in backyards and kid-centered events for years. Between 2003-2013, there were an estimated 113,272 ER treated injuries and 12 deaths associated with the inflatable homes.
  • Tylenol: This common, over-the-counter pain reliever was forced to recall millions of product in 1982, when 7 people died after ingesting Extra-Strength Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. In a “Top 10 Recalls” list released by Time, the tragic incident forced Tylenol to change packaging, resulting in a much safer product.
  • Firestone Tires: In 2000, 6.5 million Firestone brand times were recalled after 175 deaths and more than 700 injuries, a defect related to manufacturing.

What if I have a Defective Product?

The best way to avoid purchasing a defective product is by paying attention to daily and weekly reports released by the CPSC. While they cannot guarantee “catching” every defect, their list is extensive and lifesaving.

If you suspect or know a product is defective, collect as much information as you can about the product (serial numbers, barcodes, descriptive information) and report it to saferproducts.gov Don’t become a statistic, help prevent defective products from entering homes.

What Are Your Options if You’ve Become Disabled?

Immediate Steps for Possible Benefits

If you have long been in the workforce, but have recently become disabled, it’s clear that your world has suddenly changed in a big way. Among other pressing concerns, you may be worried about how you are going to get by financially. If you are unable to work, the first step you can take down this path is to find out what benefits you may qualify for—there are systems in place for people in your situation.

If you became disabled on the job, you may qualify for workers’ compensation (which varies by state). Some states also offer public disability insurance, which will assist you if you have been paying into their program. Finally, those who have been paying into Social Security, and who are unable to work for 12 (consecutive) months due to a disability, should qualify for benefits from that program.

For help filing a claim, you can speak with a Flint Social Security Disability lawyer. The process can be quite complicated, so it’s worth getting legal advice: social security decides whether or not you are disabled regardless of what your doctor says. It can take up to five months to receive a decision, and sometimes claims are initially denied (though you may appeal). On the plus side, it may surprise you to learn that you can enroll in Medicare after two years of receiving Social Security disability benefits, even if you are not yet of retirement age.

Looking Ahead and Returning to Work

There is no shame in applying for benefits while you are unable to work, but of course it’s natural to be hopeful about returning to work one day. According to the Employment and Disability Institute at Cornell University, about a third of disabled Americans aged 21-64 are in fact employed. Moreover, it is illegal for employers (barring some small employers) from discriminating against those with disabilities. You may be able to return to your old job in exactly the same capacity as before, or your work life may look completely different after becoming disabled.

If you are looking for a completely new job, you may want to try GettingHired, which is an online resource for finding employment that suits your skills and needs as a disabled person. Some federal agencies actually have incentives to hire workers with disabilities, and the application process for these agencies is thus often streamlined. You may also consider working from home and/or becoming self-employment, especially if your disability involves fatigue or difficulty moving around.

As goes for all job-seekers, volunteering can be a good way to explore a field that interests you, and help get your foot in the door. Volunteer positions are also usually more flexible than paid positions, which may make them an attractive stepping-stone on your way to another job. Regardless of what you choose, remember that you have many abilities in addition to your disability, and that there is help available to you from many avenues.

Sources: