Top Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Business Insurance

More than just helping to cover costs that are associated with property damage and liability claims, business insurance will protect your business, your employees and even your customers. But with the number of coverage options offered by insurance companies and each of them telling you how theirs is the best deal you can get, you can easily get misled.

However, even if finding the right business insurance can seem tough, it’s really not that complicated. When shopping around for the right policy, you simply need to beat the following 15 points in mind (These are pitfalls you want to avoid when you are trying to buy the ideal business insurance for your business):

Mistake Nº 1: Buying the Least Expensive Policy

Watching your bottom line must not lead to you seeking out the cheapest options out there. If you buy a policy based on price rather than value, you run higher chances of landing in hot water when it comes time to file a claim.

Mistake Nº 2: Getting the Business Description Wrong

If you are requesting a quote online, you’ll probably have to fill in a form. Online forms typically have drop-down boxes with generic business descriptions. Getting this wrong will also mean getting an a quote for a policy that doesn’t cover all the activities of your business.

Mistake Nº 3: Not Getting Enough Property Insurance

You should be aware that getting an insurance without the adequate limits means that there’s a possibility that the disbursement you get won’t cover the totality of the replacement cost or the repair cost. This is simply because the insurance company will only cover the amount you insure and won’t cover the loss in full if the replacement and repair cost exceed that limit.

Mistake Nº 4: Not Including Business Interruption Coverage

If you want soundproof cyber protection for your business, you must not fail to purchase a cyber policy that includes business interruption coverage. You might have to pay a additional premium for that, but it will be worth it as business interruption for a small business can be disastrous.

Mistake Nº 5: Not Having Sufficient Disaster Insurance

As mentioned above, not getting the right insurance will only put you at greater risks. While you may want to limit your expenses, you should ensure yourself against threats that can damage your business the most.

Mistake Nº 6: Choosing Low Deductibles by Default

This one is just as bad as the first mistake mentioned above. The reason why you must avoid automatically purchasing damage insurance with low deductibles is that you may be buying more insurance than you need.

Mistake Nº 7: Not Adjusting Your Coverage

As your business changes over time, so will your needs. And it is inconceivable that business owners don’t do the same for their coverage. Remember to reevaluate your insurance needs several months before the renewal of the policies.

Mistake Nº 8: Not Reading the Policy Carefully

If you don’t read the policy well, you will not be aware of the numerous warranties and conditions precedent mentioned in it. This, of course, means that there’s greater possibility of your business not complying with those. And non-compliance usually leads to a claim being turned the worst case scenario, the entire policy can be invalidated.

Mistake Nº 9: Failure to Thinking About Health Insurance Options

You don’t have to wait for the renewal period to discuss health policies for your employees. Discuss your needs with your insurer and let them advise you on what’s best for your business and employees.

Mistake Nº 10: Not Willing to Change Insurer

Even if you have a great relationship with your current insurance company, it doesn’t mean you have to stick with them year in year out. Shop around and see if there are other insurers who can offer you better policies.

Mistake Nº 11: Not Purchasing A Policy that Covers for Online Sales

If you want to break into e-commerce to expand sales globally, think of getting a product liability insurance before. It will help protect you against expensive lawsuits over defective products.

Mistake Nº 12: Not Going to Right Broker or Agent

Considering that the broker will get commissions on the premium you purchase, it is important to find one that works for you and who is willing to meet your specific needs.

Mistake Nº 13: Not Listing All Entities or Locations

Since the majority of policy cover only entities that appear in the declarations, failing to accurately list all entities or location on the policy means that these entities will not qualify as named insureds.

Mistake Nº 14: Not Investing in Cybersecurity Insurance

That’s something you don’t want to overlook as more and more small businesses fall victim to data breaches and cyber hacks every single year. In the event of a breach, a cybersecurity insurance will protect the costs of your data and will also help cover the legal and technical costs of rebuilding.

Tips for Wine Investment

If you buy a beverage which people all over the world are trying to buy and drink, just buy it when it’s a little bit young and keep it until it is ready. The aim is to buy wine that gets older and tastes better as you keep it, but precisely at the same time, bottles are being consumed, so there is less of it available. Hence, the price tends to go up.

Below are a few tips to guide any novice into wine investment.

Storing your wine investment

There are abundant warehouses where storage conditions are perfect, i.e., the temperature doesn’t change all year round, and it is dry so that the labels don’t fall off, but in fact, wine is a lot more robust than most people imagine. Therefore, if you are buying because one day you might drink the wine, actually leaving it under your bed in your flat isn’t the end of the world. However, if you are investing in wine, one of the best things is to be able to prove where it has been stored. For this reason, certificates from warehousing are a very good idea.

How will you know when the wines are ready for drinking?

If you are seeking the exact time when to drink the wine you bought, in fact, there isn’t one. Some people like wine when it is tougher and more tannic. Others prefer their wines smooth and soft after many years of storage when the sediment has fallen, and the bitterness is gone. Within most wine productions, the global critics will tell you their opinion of a window which might be as much as 15 or 20 years during which that wine can be consumed. What we tend to do in investment is to wait until the wine is scarce so that people can pay more for it. That is probably the best time to start drinking it if you don’t mind spending such an amount of money.

Buying wine directly from the chateaux

It is not possible for most of the top chateaux to turn up at their doors and buy a crate or two because traditionally, they sell all their wines through courtiers who sell allocations to negotiants. The first stage when wine becomes available is referred to en primeur, and that’s when the negotiant offers a price to the market, and that is the first time one is allowed to buy it. The chateaux release a percentage of their stock. When they release a small amount, the demand is high. At the en primeur stage, the price rises just because there is a shortage of supply, and a lot of people wish to buy it. Buying in en primeur means after you bought the wine, nobody will drink for about eight or nine years, so the price quite often stagnates, and therefore for investment, it is better to avoid buying at that first stage. It is preferable to buy a wine which is about 4 to 8 years old, knowing that when it’s 12 years, it’s going to be incredibly drinkable.

The 2009 vintage wine hype

The hype around 2009 vintage is partly deserved because the fruit was fantastic and the wines were of very high quality. The problem is that for the first time, most of the Bordeaux Chateaux decided that instead of letting the market and the merchants take the profit, they would increase the prices dramatically themselves, and they added to that by releasing small volumes of the stock that they produced.

How do you sell wine?

There are many different options for an individual to sell wine. You can go to an auction, but the latter charges not only the seller’s commission but a very substantial buyer’s premium. Another option is to find a merchant who has a big distribution list around the world, and therefore they will pay you a price, add their margin, and sell it. The ultimate way is to find a friend who is looking for that wine and is prepared to pay the price the merchant is selling for. If you have one of the very best wines in the world, you will quickly sell it in a very short time. If you start with relatively inexpensive wines, very often, they are still sitting around other people’s cellars, and it is more difficult to sell such wine. The secret is to pay as much as you possibly can, and that might prevent you from drinking the stock before it gets ready to be sold.

The hype around a certain French wine among the Chinese

All markets rely on supply and demand. The demand for a certain French wine is spectacular largely because of the fact that when you translate the brand (French name) into Chinese characters, it has a warm and cozy feeling. As a result, the Chinese much appreciate this wine and consume most of it.

If you wish to build a wine investment, get acquainted with vintage variation reports, and specialize yourself in a particular wine region and select a few prosperous producers.

Tips for a Successful Coffee Shop

There is no one secret to a successful coffee shop; in fact, most secrets in business boil down to either hard work and extensive experience. Below are a few tips to help you launch your coffee shop and make sure it is profitable in the long run.


This matters so much. Let’s say your store is on a busy street that leads to a freeway on-ramp. Great! But which side of the street? Believe it or not, something like that could make or break you. With coffee, speed is incredibly important, and it’s not just the speed of drink making that matters. If your customers have to spend a long time finding you or looking for parking, they may never even try your product.

When dealing with car traffic, you want to be on the same side of the street that traffic tends to be flowing in the morning hours. If you can get off-street parking, that will help a lot. This is mostly a concern in medium density areas.

Dealing with foot traffic is a bit more complex. If you were looking at a particular corner with lots of foot traffic as a potential location, it would definitely be worth it to spend a couple of days (maybe one weekday and one weekend) near there counting passers-by. If there’s a diner or cafe nearby, hang out there by a window for a while, and count how many people come in. Also, take note of how many people will cross the street then enter the store. This is more of a concern in high-density areas.

Check with your city, county and state planning departments to ensure no major road or construction projects coming up that will obstruct your shop throughout the day for several months, permanently divert your potential traffic to a route that doesn’t pass you, other new coffee shops already in the works.

All the other concerns of starting a food service establishment also apply, of course.

A consistently high-quality product

“Consistently” is definitely a keyword there. You want employees who have integrity about the product they are serving. You want clear guidelines about how espresso shots should pour, and what is acceptable to serve. Milk steaming must be done properly as well. This doesn’t mean micro-managing your workers, but it does mean having exacting standards. Above all, your coffee should taste good.

Almost as important, your coffee should look good. This means cups should be clean, and drinks should be attractive. For example, some customers like to float their espresso shots on top of Americanos so that the drink is creamy on the surface when served. It looks better than just a cup of black. You might or might not require latte art. Just remember that what latte art ultimately communicates is that the milk has been properly frothed. Sometimes coffee is just coffee, and sometimes it’s a treat. When it’s a treat, do small things to dress it up.

Good service in a welcoming environment

There is much advice on what makes good service. To make it simple, your employees should be friendly, attentive to the customers’ concerns, and serve your product efficiently. Everything else boils down to these three fundamentals.

Your store needs to be clean and attractive. What constitutes “attractive” will vary widely by your location and clientele, but clean will not. Even if your store is by a college campus and your store is a bit dark, with hand-me-down sofas and furniture, you still need to keep things clean. Plan a daily and weekly chore list and enforce it.

A simple but flexible menu

Have default recipes, so your baristas don’t need to ask the customer a million questions to get their order. For example, make all your drinks with a double shot, but be willing to serve a single. This kind of thing will speed up the ordering process, and make things friendlier to people who aren’t in coffee shops every day.

Milk variety and alternatives are important. Some high-end coffee shops get snooty about this, and that really has no place in your business. Yes, people can be ridiculous about ordering incredibly sweet enormous drinks, but this is about accommodating people with special dietary needs. Offer soy milk at the very least, and strongly consider adding rice or almond milk (or both.)

WIFI access

Although more and more places have WIFI these days, I think a lot of business owners fail to understand what WIFI can give them. WIFI encourages people to stay, giving the impression that you are successful. If you have WIFI and people aren’t staying, it should be a signal to the business owner that he is failing at one or all four of the first points.

Last but not least, only you can decide if a coffee shop is the best investment or business venture for you. Starting any business requires much planning and research. Reach out to other business owners, seek advice from any acquaintances you may have in marketing and accounting.

Budget Wedding Tips – Top 10 Tips for Selecting Your Caterer

Unfortunately, there are plenty of pitfalls when it comes to choosing a caterer. Some are issues related to the quality of the caterer, others are simple misunderstandings. Through proper planning and attention to detail, most negative issues can be avoided.

The following ten tips will go a long way in helping you secure a top-quality caterer and ensuring they provide you with exactly what you are looking for in terms of food quality and quality of their service.

1. Set up appointments with at least 3 different caterers

As you are setting up appointments, be sure to make note of how quickly your phone call or email is returned. You should expect to be contacted back within the same business day. If it takes more than a full business day, don’t bother scheduling an appointment. What if you call them in the days leading up to your wedding with an important question or information and they don’t get back with you right away? No thanks. Before you set up your three meetings, be sure that you and your spouse to be discuss your catering likes and dislikes.

2. Get photos from each caterer of previous work they’ve done

Don’t be fooled into thinking they don’t have any photos. They will. When they provide them to you, look for things like the presentation of food. Is it creative? Is it colorful? Are the hors d’oeuvres arranged nicely with garnishes and flowers, or are they just piled up on a tray?

3. Ask for sample menus

Menus will likely show a range of sit-down options as well as hors d’oeuvres. If prices aren’t listed, be sure to ask for them as you’ll need to know what choices fit into your budget. It’s true that most caterers will be happy to customize menus for each reception, they certainly should be willing to give you basic cost parameters for certain items.

4. Be honest and up front about your budget

Hopefully, you’ve mapped out your budget before you meet with caterers. But if you haven’t, give each caterer a range per guest that you are comfortable with. Caterers can vary wildly. What one will provide for $30 a person can be significantly different than what another may offer. Be sure that you are specific with your menu likes and dislikes and if there will be any dietary restrictions.

5. Ask for a proposal with several menu options

You’ll also want to be sure the proposal clearly outlines costs for liquor, any rentals you’ll require and labor costs. If you don’t understand any part of the proposal a caterer gives you, get back in touch with them to clarify the part you don’t understand. And don’t make any assumptions that the proposal will include things like china, linens, glassware. You’ll have to confirm details like this with each caterer to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. Steer clear from caterers that tell you they will send you a proposal and then fail to deliver one.

6. Be sure to confirm any minimums

Some caterers will require to you guarantee a certain minimum amount of food, generally noted as a set number of meals or total dollars. This means you could end up having to pay for 150 meals, even though only 100 people show up. Some caterers will negotiate this number with you, if one of the three caterers you speak with has a minimum that you won’t possibly meet, go a different route. See if the wedding cake will count as part of the $$ minimum required. In some cases, that’ll put things over the top, or at least into comfortable reach. Be sure to ask about the opposite situation – what happens when more guest show up than are expected. Most caterers will make 5-10% more food than is ordered but check to be sure.

7. Pick the proposal you like the most and visit one of their weddings

Ask them if you can visit a wedding of theirs before you finalize things. Visit during the set up and observe how organized the operation is and how the staff is dressed.

8. Arrange for a taste test

You will likely be spending several thousands of dollars on food. Arranging a taste test is something that any solid caterer should be willing to do. You may find that the best way to do this would be to combine it with a visit to a wedding as discussed in #7. When you are at the tasting, take some photos of the food. Hold on to these pictures until your wedding in case the catering manager changes before your big day. If this happens, show the staff the photos so they know what you expect.

9. Get everything in writing

Once you have decided on a caterer, get every – and I mean every – detail in writing. All details regarding food, labor, liquor, non-alcoholic beverages and rentals needs to be clearly spelled out in a written contract. Be sure that you clearly understand any price escalation clauses that may be in place and be sure to get any price guarantees offered in writing as well. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to also request a drawing of the actual layout of the room so that you’ll know where the tables, dance floor, buffet table, etc. will go.

10. Read the contract before signing

Before you sign the contract, take it home and go over it with your spouse to be with a fine-tooth comb and magnifying glass if necessary. Be sure you are aware of the refund policy, cancellation policy / fees. Just because a caterer has a standard contract, this doesn’t mean that things aren’t negotiable. If you aren’t comfortable with a clause, have it changed and get it initialed by the caterer.

11. Choose the best of caterers

Based in Suffolk County and serving all of Long Island, Sarah Brown Catering is one of premium caterers who is renowned for the exceptional services and high-quality food.

Tips for the Best Wedding Designs for 2020

It is hard to believe that 2020 is just around the corner and as we say goodbye to 2019, there are many couples who awaits their D-Day and some who are planning their late 2020 or early 2021 wedding. We know that your wedding day is one of the most important moments in your life, and on that day, you would feel stressed as there is many months of anticipation and planning that lead up to the wedding. From finding the right dress and the perfect photographer to the best wedding planner, you have a lot to look after on your wedding day.

Wedding room decorated loft style with a table and other accessories candles , peonies , bulbs , bricks , window

In 2020, there will be a whole new trend of incredible wedding themes as couples and wedding planners continue to get more and more creative each year. There are some who are putting the unique twists on old favorites and elevating current themes to fit the modern look. It is sure that 2020 is going to be a year where all wedding planners will explore their creative side more in order to create the wedding of the decade.

If you are planning your wedding soon, here are some tips for the best wedding designs that you can use next year.

Sustainability – Not exactly considered as a trend, more couples are making an effort to lessen the impact of their celebrations on the planet. Couples with the environment on top of their mind are opting for completely sustainable weddings, from the food to the flowers. Wedding planners are doing their best to reduce their carbon footprint. From the design and fabrication of tents to the setting up of working kitchens where they don’t exist, wedding planners are doing their bits to make each event a sustainable one. In 2020, many trends of the yesteryear will be changing and almost everyone are seeking to shift the way things used to be. Their motto is to make wedding designs a more sustainable one. Floral designers are also taking some charge to change the way things were, by cutting down or completely eliminating the use of flower foam also known as oasis from their design. They are also recycling floral wherever it is possible and composting the products used via eco-friendly breakdown services.

Being different – The surge of spirituality and all the things mystical are making waves in weddings, crystals galore, tarot card, and palm readings, and more are the newbies of wedding trends. There are wellness-focused showers and bachelorette events to table-spaces dotted with raw crystal specimens and after-party activations where guests can have their fortunes being told by some revered astrologer or tarot card reader. Even though, some people would refrain from indulging in these things there are some who would love to learn more about astrology. It is also a trend that most ceremonies are becoming more communal and inclusive. In 2020, you can expect more of this feel-good energy in weddings of all creeds and faiths, be it the décor, the entertainment, and the ceremony.

Consciously including various food options – In 2020, you will have to pay attention to everyone’s dietary requirements. It is better to serve wedding dishes that cater to everyone’s dietary preferences and restrictions. Have stall that serve different food for vegans, vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Think marvelous and inimitable cocktails and mocktails served to your guests with a delectable appetizers. Look out for the wedding planner who will invest in providing unparalleled services. Areas such as food and drink are becoming more unique and personal, from custom signature cocktails created by the bridge and groom, to unique canapes and desserts that reflect the couple. With the change in dining and drinking trends we expect to see this reflected too, less wine and champagne, and more gin bars and cocktails.

Go for large floral – Providing a visual that uplifts and can even transform a venue is floral displays. According to the latest trend report from Brides magazine highlights, there are more focus on floral trends to adopt on your D-day in 2020. Go local by sourcing flowers from the nearest independent florist is a great way to put your personal touch to this day. Go for bold statement colors as those with different textures and shapes can make everything look hype on your wedding day. If possible, do ask your florist about how they can layer up displays with an explosion of colors and scents.

Opt for beautiful lighting – One of the top wedding trends in 2020 is going to be great lighting that will make your wedding venue glisten in the moonlight, and sizzle at sunset. Lights can set the tone and mood for your evening, when the sun sets and the lights come on. You can add lights both indoors and outdoors. Have a wedding planner who will think outside of the ‘lightbox’ and look at things differently by integrating lights in a unique way. Choose from expose bulbs or mini lampshades or vintage chandeliers to candles on a beach. Remember, there’s a lot of different ways that you can bring a touch of sparkle to the event. Also opt for neon signage and lights that still continue to be popular.

Hire the best wedding service professionals – Xclusive Designs provides unique event design and wedding décor services to all clients in Etobicoke, ON. From full-service decoration to luxury wedding design and décor, their goal is to ensure that your special day runs smoothly and your décor is perfect. Your satisfaction is their guarantee.

Why Choose a Loan Broker Instead of Going Directly to a Bank

You have a desire to renovate your home or escape to faraway countries, the acquisition of a new car or significant unexpected expenses: the personal loan is here to provide an answer to all your projects according to your repayment possibilities.

Take the time to think about it: credit commits you, so it must be repaid.

When rates start rising, many borrowers wonder whether it is in their best interest to approach a broker or their bank to get the best possible terms.

On the one hand, a loan broker is an independent banking and payment services intermediary who goes around the banks with his client’s file under his arm to find the best rate.

On the other hand, banks, with ambitious business objectives, know their customers and frequently agree to negotiate their financial terms to keep their “potential” customers.

Banks’ Strengths in Lending

The first reaction of someone looking for a personal loan or a mortgage is to go to his bank.

Note: this is a good reflex! It is better to ask him to make an offer, even if it means asking a broker to find a lower price and then measure the gain that could be obtained.

The request for such an offer can concern:

The personal loan: this credit can be affected or not affected. The borrower is then free to use the sum lent as he wishes.

Example: it is intended for those who wish to renew specific equipment (cars, household appliances, computers, sofas, etc.), finance a trip or a family event (wedding, christening, etc.).

Home loans: fixed or variable-rate, this type of loan commits the borrower over a long period.

Good to know: rates tend to rise.

Why Choose a Bank?

The main advantage of taking out a personal loan or a mortgage with your bank is the simplicity of the process. The bank knows its client and the history of his or her financial situation, which allows it to process the file in a relatively short time and without having to provide a lot of supporting documents.

Moreover, unlike brokers, who generally have pre-negotiated agreements with some banks, a banker has a wider margin for negotiation.

Banks have credit production targets that vary from one network to another. If a borrower is determined to compete on his own, it is in his interest to follow the commercial offers periodically promoted by the banks.

Good to know: before granting credit, financiers systematically consult the personal credit repayment incident file.

Why Do People Prefer to Choose a Broker?

Brokers’ Assets in Terms of Loans

Whether it’s a consumer loan or a real estate loan, brokers do not lack in assets: they are, in a way, the “heads hunters” of financing.

They are in charge of making the rounds of the banks to negotiate the best conditions.

A personal loan broker is a financial intermediary who is commissioned by an individual (borrower).

His main goal is to find the most advantageous interest rate at the most attractive conditions for his client by comparing the offers of financial organizations.

Thanks to the volume of loans they bring to the banks (more than 30% of total credit production), these intermediaries negotiate directly with the banks’ credit department. In addition to the application fees paid by the applicant borrower, they pay themselves by deducting a percentage of the amount borrowed.

They have the technical know-how and network to negotiate loan conditions more keenly than an individual could do alone with his or her banker.

Moreover, using a broker saves time since it is the broker who will compare the bank’s offers.

In conclusion, the broker will, therefore, put the different financial institutions in competition with each other to find the best credit corresponding to your needs, according to your repayment capacity.

Note: This competition does not only concern credit underwriting, but also the renegotiation of loans in service, the grouping of consumer loans, etc.

Where appropriate, the offers sent by a broker may be useful for negotiating (or renegotiating) a loan with your bank, which in some cases can be aligned.

Personal Loan Broker: For What Types of Project?

A broker or a brokerage firm can be called upon for several types of project:

development work: personal loan work;

the purchase of a vehicle: personal car loan;

leisure activities (holidays, purchase of a home cinema): personal credit for leisure activities;

treasury (marriage, financing of studies, unforeseen expenses).

Concerning the Purchase of Personal Loan:

If you are in the region of Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, it is advantageous and prudent to go through a broker specialized in credit redemption. Liberation Loans has been in business since 2006, and they will find a tailor-made solution for your financial needs.

Its essential objective is to rigorously study the best offer for grouping the various credits to avoid the filing of an over-indebtedness file. Hence, you can also get a personal loan repurchase.

12 Steps in Achieving Your Dream Next Year

Did you make a New Year Resolution? Are you making steady progress, or are you in a rut? Maybe it’s time to take a hard look at what you’ve achieved. Remember January 1, when you made a promise to yourself and said I Resolve To _______. Maybe you decided it was time to earn a college degree, or learn a new language, start a business, run a marathon, contribute time and effort to a favorite cause, pay off debt, or get fit; the possibilities are endless.

Many people are not very successful in pursuing their dreams or with New Year’s Resolutions, while other people seem to achieve whatever they choose to continue quickly. The question for each of us is, “How can I make it happen for me?”

1. Recognize & Celebrate Your Successes Of This Past Year

Take your time, sit back & reflect on the last 12 months on what are your achievements & write them down. Include items like “I watched less television” or “I was less bothered by …” etc. Then once you have your list, take some time to show your pleasure & pride with your successes. You deserve it. We often take our successes for granted & yet this is a key step in having confidence to take on new challenges. Pick an activity or a way to celebrate that is right for you.

2. Identify Your Dreams For This Upcoming Year

Create 3-6 specific & short statements that identify what you want. Then reflect & write down 2-4 sentences on what it will be like when you have achieved each of these goals. Be as descriptive as you can. Put this information somewhere you can pull out readily throughout your day.

3. Identify Your Key Steps You Will Take In The Next 3 Months That Will Move You Towards Your Dreams

You may prefer more broad strategic statements, or you may prefer particular tasks – either way, is fine – select the approach that is right for you. Check that the steps you have chosen are doable during this time frame.

4. Commit To Yourself Daily That These Key Steps Are Your Priorities For Change During This Time

Other opportunities will come your way & you will need to choose if you will be distracted or not. You may want to review the material you prepared for item #2 on basis to remind yourself why these key steps are so important for you.

5. Secure The Support That You Need To Be Successful

We can be a lot more successful if we share our desires with someone we trust. This could be your friend, family member or a personal development coach. You may want more than one person’s support. You may also need some tools to help you out like a daily reminder in your day timer or calendar.

6. Action Your Key Steps

This is the most important step of all. Take that first step – it’s amazing how much enthusiasm & confidence you have for other items once you have a win or two.

7. Track Your Progress On A Regular Basis

This may be on a daily, weekly or monthly basis – you choose what’s right for you. The key here is to keep track of you wins & look at your next ones to take. This aids in momentum.

Woman Silhouette at sunset on hill

8. Release Fear

This step is not a one time vent as it is something that you might have done over and over. You might have noticed that you are stuck and you are still in the same place. You may have come face to face with fear that comes in different form. It can take the form of your responsibilities and make you work towards them instead of your dreams.

9. Keep Your Cool – Remember That Life Still Goes On

At times, you may get overwhelmed with all you want to get done & that you may simply not have sufficient time in your day for everything. Be kind to yourself. I hear “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. You may also need to reduce or eliminate something temporarily or permanently that takes a lot of your time but is less important than your key steps. You may need to reduce the number of key steps you take at this time.

10. Celebrate Your Successes

It is really important that you celebrate your successes. It may be through writing yourself a congratulations letter with full details of what the accomplishments were & how you feel about it. Or it could be taking a nice, quiet bath where you pamper yourself. Choose to celebrate in a way that you will appreciate.

11. Repeat

If you have chosen some big goals / dreams, you may not have them fully realized in the first 3 months, so you will need to repeat steps 3-9.

12. Believe

Keep believing in yourself. Always think that the Universe is friendly and it’s always working towards it. Have some fun. Consider becoming a ‘Resolutionista’ – someone who makes and keeps New Year Resolutions and enjoys doing it – someone who revels in the journey! What do you have to lose? You have less to lose by ‘trying’, than if you ‘do nothing at all’! Stop procrastinating.

Self Publishing Tips for Independent Authors

Self-publishing is like venturing into entrepreneurship. The writer is the CEO, and his book is the product. The writer collaborates with designers, editors, typesetters, and marketers for giving the perfect shape for his or her book. Unlike a publishing house, a self-publisher is in charge of his book, wherein the way the book appears and feels is directly proportional to the writer’s vision. Besides, the author works on promoting his book in the market and taking his book to the masses as well. He, also, reaps comparatively a higher margin of royalty when compared to a traditionally published author. As an independent author, you should, however, take into account the many aspects and work that needs to be done before and after your book is self-published.

Professional editing

When it comes to quality, self-published books tend to lag the most. Self-publishers often neglect editing and proofreading. Releasing a manuscript for sale without proofreading and editing it is a mistake. There are a lot of self-publishing writers who do not go through the steps to ensure that their product is the absolute best it can be when it is released for publication. If you want someone to give you their hard-earned money in exchange for your story, you better make sure they are getting their money’s worth. Hire an editor as it will make a difference in how well your book sells. Consider it an investment.

Design and layout

The cover is one of the essential elements of your book. A good cover will encourage people to click on your book description on shopping websites. An unattractive cover one will turn people away, of whom many will be your potential readers. Cover design is a specific type of design, and few designers excel at it. Good cover designers are worth their weight in gold because the cover design is one of the more challenging types of design. Big publishing houses have excellent cover designers. If you can afford it, hire a cover designer.

Like the cover design, the book layout is a specialized skill that is deceptively difficult to do well. The common mistake 98% of self-published authors make are margins that are too small. When you self-publish a book, your costs go up when the page count goes up, so that encourages self-published authors to make low margins and use small type to cram as many words on the page as they can. Small margins make the book hard to hold; small type makes it hard to read. Fortunately, there are lots of professionally designed templates floating around. Once more, hire a designer if you can afford it. Your book will look so much better.

Proper print formatting

Professional books are printed on offset printing presses. These are high-quality presses that produce outstanding printed pieces. Letters are crisp and clean, and the illustrations are pleasant. The science of ink on paper has a long history behind it, and the modern printing press is a cutting edge technology. Self-published books are printed using print on demand: a book is not printed until it is ordered. The outcome is a low-quality printing. Printing on demand brings a lot of limitations. Photos and illustrations don’t look as good for various technical reasons.


Many authors fail to create a brand identity and become just another dusty name on the shelf. If we look at publishing as a business, we must approach it with a business mind. All successful companies and individuals have some form or brand identity. You need to craft one for yourself.


Visibility is the toughest thing for any author, regardless of whether or not they are trade- or self-published. The best way to build visibility is to start locally: talk to your local newspaper about doing a general interest story about a local author and the new book you are releasing. Take a long, deep breath, walk into a local, independent bookstore, and ask if they would be interested in selling your book.

Promote as much as you can without spamming

Join groups of readers who discuss books. Sign up to sites where readers meet and discuss books. The mistake that many authors make is in trying to hard-sell books to everyone they meet. Annoying people will turn them away from discovering your book. It is best to introduce yourself as an author when visiting reader’s groups and sites.

The quality of self-published books is quite varied, depending on what services an author has engaged in the design and production of the work. Many publishing services have arisen to meet the demand of writers who wish to see their work distributed. The internet contains all the information authors need to know to put together a quality product however, they have to do delve in and carefully analyze before jumping in.

The Comprehensive Guide to Planning a Corporate Event

If you want to build lasting relationships for your business, you’ll have to know how to produce professional events. Regardless of the size of the event, business events are crucial to business networking. To help you plan the best corporate event, we’ve broken the planning process into several manageable stages:

1.Determine the purpose of the event

When planning a corporate event, you need to start by deciding why you want to host an event and what you expect from it. Once you have defined what you hope to accomplish, you can then move to the next step.

2.Set the date

Remember that during the end-of-year season, venues tend to fill up quickly . So, the first thing you need to do is choose a date. While you want to avoid busy days like Fridays and Saturdays, remember to keep your guests in mind. You can send an email with a link to a poll. That way you are sure to pick a date that’s convenient for most guests.

3.Decide on the budget

You can’t start the real planning process of your event without first knowing how much money you have to work with. You need to know early on how much you can afford to spend.

4.Create a checklist

Make a list thing you’ll have to do. Lists will not only break down the planning process into manageable tasks, but they will also help you to keep track of how much you have already achieved and how much more is left to do.

You can create a spreadsheet and use individual tabs for each event category to better organize your lists. Or you can choose to use the Eisenhower Matrix (Not Urgent but Important, Urgent but Not Important, Urgent and Important and Neither Urgent Nor Important).

5.Create an events team

Now would be a good time to create an events team if your company doesn’t have one. You cannot expect to stay on top of every activity pertaining to the party planning. Having people with different skills from across the company will not only alleviate your workload, but it will also ensure that a specific task is being handled by the best people.

6.Prepare your guest list

Define your target audience. Will you invite the company’s executives, managers, business partners, longtime clients, or a combination of a few of these or other groups? Defining your audience makes catering the program to their needs and interests simpler.

7.Choose a theme and format

Now that you know your audience, you can start working on the theme and topic of the party. The theme will also determine whether you need to establish a dress code.

8.Select an appropriate location

The next thing on your list should be finding a venue that allows you to bring your vision to life. Do not just book a venue that you know is an up-and-coming hot spot. Even if location matters, you want to find a venue that fits all the specs you need for success.

9.Look at the food you’ll be serving

Once you’ve decided on the venue, you can start to think about food. You’ll have to choose between using in-house catering (which will work out much cheaper) or hiring external caterers. Also, consider the following: Do you want to have a set menu? Or will there be a buffet? Or would you rather have the guests choose beforehand?

10.Organize drinks

You do not want to skimp on drinks. But at the same time, you need to find ways to keep control over your budget. Hence, pre-ordering drinks are generally better than paying for what is consumed on the night. You can go one step further and ensure that drinks are distributed fairly by giving drink vouchers to your guest, have a set of bottles for each table or have a waiting staff serving drinks, topping up when needed.

11.Speeches and Awards

Decide if you want to have speeches and an award ceremony in the event. These will have to be planned in advance. Just remember to keep them short so you don’t disrupt the party for too long.

12.Music and entertainment

When choosing entertainment, pick one that suits both your theme and your venue. When it comes to music, you can choose to hire a DJ or live band or put together a playlist.

13.Go the extra mile

Think of your guests and try to find something extra that you can add to the event. From a free cloakroom to special drinks on arrival, these little additional details will make your party more special, and, hence, memorable.

14.Plan the logistics

Regardless of the size of your party, ensure that all equipment needed will be available on the D-day and that they are all working properly. Ensure that awards and prizes are stored safely. Also, decide whether you need to organize transport to and from your event.

15.Promote your event

The last and final detail: ensure that people know about your event. If they don’t, no one will show up. You can send invitations by post, send emails or create posters. Be creative!

Making Sense of Business Tax Preparation

Contrary to popular beliefs, it doesn’t take much to be a run business. If you want to run a real business, you simply have to follow all the regulations in your state and country, ensure you keep business and personal records separate, and show you are trying to make a profit. Filing Tax Return is just as much a part of this process and must not be overlooked.

Since filing tax returns might be intimidating to a novice, we’ve put together a list of 4 things we believe is important to know to be able to prepare one appropriately.

Who Has to File a Business Tax Return?

A simple answer would be that even the smallest of companies have to file a business tax return . As a rule of thumb, remember that as long as the company has an income, it will have to file an income tax return. Even if the company makes a loss or was inactive, it still has to file a tax report. Failing to do so may even result in the company incurring fines and penalties from the IRS.

When preparing the report, you can take allowable deductions to decrease your taxable income. You might be unaware of this, but even a loss can actually help you, as a business loss can be deducted from your total income on your tax return. Hence, to make sure you take full advantage of business tax benefits, it would be a good idea to hire a tax advisory to walk you through the whole process.

So, Where Do I Start?

Start with determining your net business income. To do that you will need to put together an income statement. This income statement is often known as the “Profit and Loss Statement” or a “P & L”. This statement is prepared before you prepare your business tax return and lists all sources of business income. Then to calculate your net income, show all the expenses. The expenses are important as subtracting the expenses from the income will give you your net income.

You can then include barter income and cost of goods sold on your business tax return. The cost of goods should only be on the tax return of a company that makes or sells products. This calculation is used to show the change in the value of goods over time.

What Are the Business Expenses that Are Deductible and How to Identify Them?

Not all expenses are deductible. But this is mostly because the IRS does not consider them to be legitimate business expenses. Political contributions, membership at a social or sports club, fines and penalties, and commuting costs are all expenses that cannot be deducted.

Excluding the exceptions mentioned in the paragraph above, almost all business expenditures are tax-deductible. The only requirements for deducting expenses include:

  1. The company will have to prove that they are a legitimate business and that they are attempting to make a profit.
  2. Being able to prove that the expenses were necessary for the good running of the business.
  3. Keeping excellent records. If this is not done properly, you will not be able to deduct some of these expenses. Records are the key to deducting business expenses. And the most common error made by business owners is not keeping records for business mileage, for meals and entertainment expenses.

With All the Tax Software on the Market, Shouldn’t Business Tax Return Preparation Be a Breeze?

Well, yes and no. While it is true that tax software can considerably simplify the process, you need to bear in mind that not all tax software is appropriate for your specific needs. While there is tax software that is centered around personal tax returns, others include Schedule C and are designed for sole proprietorships and single-member LLCs. There even others that versions focused on guiding you through the process of preparing partnership and corporation tax returns.

Essentially, what we are saying is that tax software will only be helpful if you find a version that has the form you want. You will, therefore, have to meticulously check the details for each brand of software and version.

Why Is Hiring A Tax Accountant Worthwhile?

As you may have noticed, filing your taxes requires you have an in-depth knowledge of accounting and the tax system. And as your business grows, the accounting part will get even more complex. If you feel unsure about your ability to file your business tax properly and in a timely manner, it would be a good idea to find a company that can do that for you.

If you outsource to a third-party bookkeeping service , you will shift the following responsibility to their experienced team of bookkeepers:

  1. Properly categorize expenses
  2. Handle payroll duties
  3. Prepare financial statements and reports
  4. Prepare tax documents and forms Streamline accounting processes to fit your business structure

Hence, leaving you more time to focus on your business.