With Every Ending there is a NEW Beginning?

What is it they say? “With every beginning, there comes an end” or “with every ending new-beginningcomes a new beginning.” Just like I mentioned in a previous post “everything happens for a reason” or “it is what it is” I have to say that this so called all good things must come to an end also has to be true? Or is it? How do we know when things are coming to end then? What are the signs? Does this also apply to our relationships, education, career, etc.? Or is this saying just the cycle of life and products? Over the last week and if not the entire year, I have been asking myself this and many similar questions. Why? Well over the last year, I have started to pay greater attention to detail and the shelf life of many things including that of my relationships, career objectives, milk, groceries, vehicle, etc. Why if this saying isn’t true, do most things we purchase and consume have an expiatory date? It seems that YES, most things (if not all) have a beginning and an end? Or all good things must come to an end?

So how do we determine what exactly the beginning and/or end is? The obvious is we are born and then we die… YES? How about relationships or your career? If you are young or old you have probably noticed that, most relationships and your job, regardless of how you meet or the job you’re in all have trends. These trends usually go something like this… awesome beginning (honeymoon), an okay middle (comfort zone), and really bad endings (the dreaded unknown). In my life and regardless of whether in a relationship or career these trends seem to always go the same way but unlike the cycle of life (ending in death), I am still alive, kicking, and in the end have come out the other side as better person. I am a better father, a better man with the woman I love, and I am a better man in the job I am in. Does this then mean that we all should embrace change, new beginnings, and endings to things? Or is it just me? Do we need to give more chances to others, our partners, and career paths fostering and/or focusing more on the middle stage(s)?

uptown-girls

Let’s face it, the beginning of anything is downright scary just like my kid changing schools this year. On the flipside, the end is just as scary if not more! Starting something new or letting go of something you care about is extremely hard whether it is a relationship or your career. However, what I have learned over the years (especially raising my son, in relationships, and jobs) is that both beginnings and endings are a necessity of life, just as we are born and we die. In order for us to remain active, happy, and healthy, we must allow ourselves the opportunity for new beginnings in our relationships and jobs, just like we must allow ourselves the opportunity for endings, so we can create more beginnings. This my friends is what we must do because if nothing ever came to an end, nothing could ever begin. Without scary endings and new beginnings, I wouldn’t be the same person I am now just like I know you are. In fact, I couldn’t be happier at how things have turned out in my life with my son, my relationship, and career. Although I can’t say for sure how long I will be in this NEW middle part of my life (hopefully until I die), I can honestly say… For every ending, there is an even greater beginning. Don’t be afraid of endings and surely don’t let yourself be afraid of new beginnings.

Thoughts? If you have any, please feel free to leave your comments here, reach out to me online or in person, and/or through any of my other online mediums. Until next time my friends keep smiling, embrace those you’re with, do away with things stressing you out, and for heaven’s sake create some new beginnings already.

Advertisements

Social Media Selling! Say What?

Image via Flickr: Cambodia4kids.org
‘Social’ is the art of connecting, interacting, and engaging in a since. I like most others appreciate this broad definition of SOCIAL or in this discussion ‘Social Communication’…
So, with that being said, let’s talk about a less fashionable “S-word”: SALES.
As mentioned previously in many of my other posts, the new era of communication, engagement, sharing quality content, combined with the new social media approach makes ‘SALES’, along with its partner ‘SELLING’, a word(s) many people and organizations have started to discuss removing from the dictionary. Well maybe not that extreme but check out this article which seems a little contradictory since the author points out that social media can help with customer service, engagement and marketing (i.e. are these not part of the sales process anyway, so why not selling through these in the social space?)
Needless to say, whatever your viewpoint is of sales or selling online (i.e. through social media) almost every business (big or small) have/has to use these social medians now a days to make money, while promoting, networking, and marketing… I think others would refer to these along the lines of brand recognition, huh? Furthermore, believe it or not there are quite a few ways that you can insert yourself or business in this space in order to boost your reputation and/or revenue, while not disrespecting the developing social world, which I think is what most people are really talking about here. Yes?
In fact, I have identified a couple of techniques for you and or your team to use, so you can take advantage of engagement, networking, and referrals in the new social world.
1. Evaluation

The art of knowing everything you can about a particular product, service, and/or target market is just that… an art without proper evaluation of your network or your potential prospects. With all the online resources available to you/your business, you now have the ability to target just about anyone or any company anywhere for your ideal sale pitches… well this is assuming that you or your organizational leaders have used these tools before and you have them available to create detailed social accounts for your growth plans. If not try developing/development in this/these simple steps:

Create some saved searches based around keywords relevant to your business (Google is a good place to start, after all who doesn’t ask the Google Gods for just about everything?):
  • Your product/service offerings
  • Your company and competitors name(s)
  • Your and other related industry sector(s)

Basically, what I am saying here is that you need to search and develop ideas or anything that reflects on you and/or your business acumen, which offers you the best ability to engage with people who are showing an interest in creating offers you may be considering promoting yourself. Let us also not forget about some other key components in selling.
  • Listen and/or listening! Perhaps this is the most important part of any sales pitch but one in which many people ignore because most salespeople are tempted to jump straight to the sale in fear of rejection or needing a sale now. Whether you are in person or online remember not to take over a conversation or hijack a comment stream just for a sale, as this more times than not turn’s people off especially if you are complaining about your brand or another person or company. Instead feed people (prospects) information backed up by quantitative research in order to engage, add value, and educate people or companies in order to grow relationships that will lead to long-term partnerships and ultimately more sales and referrals- (this was a big part of my dissertation, so please email me if you would like more information on this).
  • After you have identified people and other businesses of interest, try assigning some sort of “lead/prospect rating” in order to categorize the who, what, and when of first contact in your networking strategy.

Lastly, keep records of your data, findings, and future plans for all new or potential sales leads, in your CRM system. If you don’t have a CRM it is about time you put away all the Excel spreadsheets and bought a program such as ACT or subscribed to another system such as Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc if you want to really take on SALES in the new Social CRM world.
“Going viral is not an outcome; it’s a happening. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. Just remember, fans are vanity and sales are sanity.” Lori Taylor (@lorirtaylor) 

2. Engagement

Now once you have identified, rated, and perhaps even already engaged a person or business of interest about your product or service stop a minute and think about a few other things:
  • Depending on what social sites you are part of Facebook, Twitter, FourSqaure, EmpireAvenue, Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, etc you need to start or continue to reach out and join other people or companies conversations who are talking about you, your product, service, or other similar products or services in order to showcase to others why they need you or why you or your company can add value to their life or future business plans.
  • Have you ever heard of the old saying… plan the work and work the plan? Well, this holds true online also as after you have planned your networks of engagement, you need to work your leads in order to nurture future sales. If possible let others start and drive the conversation (i.e. a great site(s) for this are LinkedIn or Quora), while you listen (remember this was spoken about earlier?) for the right opportunity/opportunities to add value to that conversation. Remember IT’s NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!  

Lastly, do not forget that in this new age of communicating and engaging that the customer is not 100% of the time correct but do remember that if you engage properly, while showcasing your skills that you can gain more control even over the most pesky customers. Perhaps you may also want to check out this article out about the shifting customer landscape, as it illustrates and highlights some things (tools) customers use now a days as they communicate (good or bad) online.
“Engage, Enlighten, Encourage and especially…just be yourself! Social media is a community effort, everyone is an asset.”Susan Cooper (@buzzedition) 

3. Now Get Social and Sell

After you have joined other networks and conversations, as well as engaging with others, it is now your chance to get social and start your own conversations. Remember that social media is a two way dialogue that starts with the construction of networks and builds into relationships that you and even your entire team can use to build target messages, which
  • Invite their own comments on particular topics thus building other(s) interest, potentially creating new customers especially if those who engage share with others in their network(s)
  • Take the time to share company news, highlights, and goals regularly whether they are about you, an industry, or other relevant sector
Image via Flickr: Fredrick Md Publicity

Don’t forget to develop a personal face or avatar that is the face of you or your business!

“People want to do business with you because you help them get what they want. They don’t do business with you to help you get what you want.” Don Crowther (@don_crowther) 

Now Go Get’em

If you use some if not all of these tips in developing your network, you, and your sales team will be light years ahead of others that still have not decided to take a social ‘online’ approach to selling. If you have or are considering a CRM system? Stop that nonsense already and get your CRM in check and take your socialCRM and sale efforts to a new level by combing them into one approach. If I can help you or your business please drop me a line or if you have any comments, please feel free to comment below. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and until next time KEEP SMILING!
David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.


Some Helpful Mobile/Computer APPs to Stay Organized in 2013

[Image: Entrepreneur Blog Post] 
Can you believe that we are closing in on the end of another month of 2013? As such, I guess it’s time to look ahead to another successful month of learning, sharing, and taking advantage of all the latest technology (i.e. mobile applications/devices, social media, CRM, etc), huh? Speaking of have any of you discovered how easy apps (especially via our cell phones) have allowed us to do most of this learning and sharing, while allowing us to stay organized, track other things such as our finances, schedule appointments, prospect, buy, sell, etc? The best part about all this (so they say or as I have experienced) is that it frees up time for us to do other things, save money, and reduce stress… or do they?
It is no secret that mobile devices/computers are changing every day with the introduction of better, faster, and more accessible applications. Now enter marketing (YES, even mobile marketing), which believe it or not is also continuing to change just as fast, which in turn is slowly becoming a must have for any business or person that has access to a cell phone or internet connection and is looking to sell, purchase, or even just browse online (do people really still just browse?) Needless to say and according to eDigitalResearch these people (YES maybe even YOU) or roughly 54% of all cell phone users are now using their smart phones to access websites, while an additional 38% of these users actually BUYing with their respected phone. Crazy huh? In other words, that is… over half of smart phone users use their phones to browse, while another 4 out of 10 actually purchase via their phone, wow are you surprised? If not you shouldn’t be since most people don’t actually think about how often they actually use their devices for such purchasing activities, instead only think about how enjoyable it is to have such convenience now-a-days. However, this is a HUGE opportunity for almost any small business with a small budget to create a big impact if you truly want to grow your business, while providing consumers with a fast, effective, and transparent way of shopping online (i.e. this also goes for all you B2B sales professionals as well).  
Nonetheless I have talked about many of the social media sites and CRM programs in previous posts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Empire Avenue, FourSqaure, Sugar, Salesforce, Zoho, etc). So, in this post I wanted to provide you with 3 additional applications (must haves this year) that I believe will not only help you but also marketers looking to expand business the opportunity to do so while staying organized. Yes, I did just say “organized,” as organization is a vital part of not only your personal success but also you businesses success. Agree?
1. On that note, the 1st application that you must have this year is EverNote, which allows you to capture anything, find things fast, while accessing your information from just about anywhere. Sounds good huh? What’s more is that you can do this for yourself or business from one spot, while saving links and reminders so you can access them anytime from anywhere on almost any device! What are you waiting for and if you’re not sold here is a screen shot with more since seeing is believing!
 [Image: EverNote Blog Post] 
               [Image: IFTTT Blog Post]
2. Next up is something that I have been using both personally and professionally for the last year plus and that is the online application that automates almost any task (mostly social media related) by a simple process (perhaps you may have heard this in school before)… If This Then That, hence IFTTT? Basically this application, which you can organize online “IFTTT” connects all your personal and/or business networks together and allows you to automate what tasks you want to relay or not. Example, I often use this application for tasks such as a check-in on FourSquare (one that I took a picture), which I want to rely to my Twitter followers. Make since? One thing with this wonderful app is that you do not want to over complicate things with too many if this, then that scenarios; otherwise, this may cause more headaches then enjoyment for you. However, if you strategically plan (personal or professional) connection scenarios then you will find that this app is well worth your investment time especially if you integrate all your networks and use it with others such as HootSuite or use the EverNote app as previously discussed.
[Image: WIRED Website] 
3. Lastly, if you have been a reader here for some time you may have heard me mention the many different location based services on social media platforms such as Instagram, FourSqaure, and Facebook? However, as for staying organized or especially marketing purposes new apps are becoming even more important to your long-term success online (especially small businesses). Since location based services allow you or your customers to share, I believe that they also have a place in staying organized (especially in the B2B or B2C world), as most of these programs rely on GPS data and user interaction. Since you are or maybe checking into places personally or on even on business purposes, while looking to target others with the “right message at the right time,” then ByteLight might just be the app that you are looking for to spend less while becoming more specific… organized, YES? ByteLight actually uses GPS (i.e. location based services) through a unique light bulb setting, which sends waves of unique patters only visible on a cell phone to actually determine where a consumer is in a particular store. If you are a business or part of a business that is looking for a unique way to stay organized, while targeting certain customers who reach certain parts of your store or other establishment, then you have to check out the site and/or watch the videoto see if this is something that might keep safe and/or more organized.
Obviously (and again if you have been here before) you know that these three applications are only the tip of the iceberg in my arsenal but awesome to say the least, hence why I had to share, Nonetheless, I highly recommend that you get involved NOW with these as I continue to put other lists together for you this New Year (e.g. don’t fall behind!) Additionally, I would also love to hear from others how you or your business is staying organized and/or what predictions you are excited about using next? Once again, thanks for stopping by and until next time… Keep SMILING! 

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven] and a Contractor at [FedEx]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via his About.Me Page or any of his other social platforms.

My Top 5 Must Have(s) for LinkedIn Success!

May 15th, 2012 will mark my five-year anniversary on the social media site LinkedIn, which is the professional social networking medium that allows you to connect with friends, co-workers, and other professionals that at one time would have been impossible, Yes- I am talking about those days before we had computers. Nonetheless and since there are still many people out there that do not have a LinkedIn profile, I thought I would create a post on our Seven Times Seven blog to relay some of the do’s and do not’s of this giant social media platform. Here are the TOP 5 rules of the road!
(1) LinkedIn is Your Online Resume… so treat it as such –– Whether you use LinkedIn for business or pleasure, make sure to update your profile with regularity just like you would your Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest accounts, as this is the first place most people head to in order to check out your credentials. The difference between LinkedIn and other social media sites is that this site is a true representation yourself, views, and of some of the important things you have accomplished, so treat it as such, or just like you would your resume… DO NOT misrepresent yourself or your company! 
(2) Join Interesting (Business or Personal) Groups –– It amazes me how few people know about LinkedIn groups, as they have been around for as long as I can remember. In order to network with other same minded individuals, make sure you join some local, regional, and global groups in order to connect, share, and converse with others about important things happening in yours or another industry. Most importantly with any group or these groups in particular is to participate! Whatever you do… DO NOT join groups just to join groups, join groups to show others you are willing to help them, not just looking for handouts.
(3) Follow Interesting Organizations –– Just like the group format, make sure you are following and interacting with companies. Almost every organization out there has created a company profile on LinkedIn, so make sure you find the ones that you can help, connect with others that work there (you can connect with people through group affiliations), and remember to be found, you have to make yourself found, which following companies will do for you! Just like with the groups, DO NOT just follow companies to follow companies instead follow those you are truly interested in!
(4) Personalize & Tailor your Message(s) –– It often surprises me at how simple this is but how many people fail at this. Instead of reaching out and connecting to others with the generic LinkedIn message to those that belong to the same groups, work at old or like companies, and/or have some of the same interests as you; instead, make sure that you tailor your message to them and give a brief reason for connecting… DO NOT just connect with people and companies to connect with them… do you see a pattern here?
(5) Inform, Revise, and Update –– The most important part of LinkedIn is to inform people of what you think is important. Whether you use this site for business or personal reasons make sure to inform your contacts of important industry trends, news, or things happening in your career or life. Revise these accordingly to those you are trying to reach and most importantly, make sure to update your profile (articles, books, presentation you given, etc) that way more people will want to connect with you and listen to things you are talking about. Whatever you do, DO NOT just set-up your profile and leave it idle, as this like most other social media sites is a social site, hence why you need to interact with others, not just set it and forget it.
Obviously, these five rules of the LinkedIn road are just a few things that you should consider if you have not already and are serious about sharing, connecting, and being a person others turn to for honest advice. Just like with other social media sites, LinkedIn is a vehicle that allows you to connect with people and companies, while engaging them, heck it evens allows you to collect pertinent real-world research (i.e. surveys), as I am doing on the behalf of my Doctoral work. We (I) don’t use LinkedIn for prospecting but many people and companies do, so if you chose to prospect here, just make sure to respect others time, as you would in person or any other site… leave the junk mail at home, as nobody likes to be pestered! Lastly, if you have other accounts connected to your LinkedIn profile, make sure that the information you are relying is information suited for your audience, as this will go a long way in other views of you. I think if you take a little time to understand how this medium works that it can do wonders for you and others you will meet here, as it has for me. I warmly welcome all LinkedIn requests, so if you are alike minded individual and would like to talk or interact, drop me a line and let’s connect. Otherwise, I hope this post helps you achieve some of your personal and business goals. Now get out there and connect, engage, and enjoy your time with others. Until next week, play nice and don’t forget to keep smiling, as it really does look good on YOU!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.



Three Things to Jump Start your Social Media & Networking Campaigns

In this new age of networking (online and in-person) what is the one question you ask yourself and others most often? Think about it? If you are like many of us, you may think the one thing that annoys you most is “pushy people,” or more importantly pushy salespeople. Yes? Have you been to a local Chamber of Commerce or other Networking event and found yourself in the middle of (10) people all trying to sell you something before they even know your name?
Well, just like with many of our other posts we continue to report to our readers and followers some fantastic ways to get your message across without having to call, email, or text another person to death! Social Media sites such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, EmpireAvenue, FourSquare, Quora, Redditt, Digg, Pinterest, Tumblr, Scoop-it, StumbleUpon, Etc all allow us to pull other works, ideas, and statements thus increasing you or your brands exposure, which hopefully results in sales if your message was received well. Ah, yes does this sound familiar… being social huh? Anyway, you get the idea and many of you may or may not have heard of the push and pull concept before. However, we are sure, if you are anything like us, that someone in a prior job or even in your family may have introduced you to this concept or was/has tried to sell you or have you sell something extra so they can benefit. The good’ol push and pull strategy, only in this post, we are trying to emphasize to everyone the pull strategy (in content not distribution) versus the annoying push strategies (again in content not distribution) that most of us hate!
So, as more people and companies look for additional ways to attract more friends, followers, likes, etc, let’s think about how we can use networking events or social media sites to help each other versus hinder one another, a brand, or company. Great, so how you ask? This week we would like our readers to think about three simple things (REASON, CONNECTING, and FORMING ALLIES), so you can use these social networking clubs or sites to help another person or company pull their message across multiple platforms versus pushing a sale on them.
1. REASON
First, think about some of the REASONS you or your company might use the push and pull strategy(s). If you are still not familiar with these concepts, please see Push & Pull Promotional Strategy for a very simple explanation but remember we are talking about information and ideas in this post, so please also remember that. Now that you are familiar with the two strategies… what are the reasons you may want to use the pull strategy with networking or social media? Again, isn’t networking and social media about being social versus talking about yourself or selling something? Don’t friends and sales come from your ability to be social in these and other operating platforms? Besides who wants to always hear about you or something you may be selling right? Simply put, the reason you should be on any social media network or at a local networking event is to provide information, so you can give someone else another REASON to stay in contact, like, follow, or buy something from you at a later date. This is being the true industry expert and a main reason to pull people together not push them away!

2. CONNECT
While many of us find that connecting with others often involves a phone call after a phone call, follow up email after email, and annoying direct messages (more like pushing), whereas connecting should really be about connecting to others with REASON for them to help pull your message or product along just like in the distribution channel processes. Does that make since? Since we are focusing on social media and networking in this post, moving forward in your campaigns start to think about ways that you can CONNECT (tweet, retweet, like, pin, +1, etc) with others to help them spread their message(s). Simply, connecting one person to another, basically means that you are trying to bridge a gap between someone in your network (business or personal) and someone else, so everyone sees the value in the engagement or new acquaintance. Thus, both parties should see more exposure, friends, followers, and/or sales. Sounds easy enough right? So why do people continue to look to connect to others for self or company gain instead of first trying to get a message across? Start today by helping to break this mold and pull more messages through your networking efforts or social media sites and see if you can actually connect (pull) even more people into the conversation. Heck, curate something; re-pin, or retweet and see how that/these help expand your networks and/or connections.

3. FORM ALLIES
Lastly and with any networking or social media strategy as we have been discussing let’s not forget about one of the most important parts in trying to pull your/someone else’s message across any channel. Regardless of what network you are using, remember to equally share and help one another; otherwise, one party may feel as if the other party is not doing as much as they can to help the other. Consider this your marriage and form strategic alliances with allies that will help amplify your personal or business message. All too often this seems so easy but all too often it fails (just like marriage), as we forget to reinforce the value we bring to a local or online network “sharing.” If more people and companies would stop competing for friends and business and start forming allies, more friends and sales will surely follow. People and companies value partners and regardless if you are competing in the same industry or among the same friends just remember to create value that keeps people coming back for more. When value is created, more alliances are formed, and more pulling of messages will come.
Surely, by identifying a reason, connection, and ally you and/or your company will take the next step in building stronger relationships that ultimately results in more sales. As many of you know, Seven Times Seven is a consulting agency and thanks again to our clients, friends, and followers, we were able to once again provide our readers with another piece of important information that you can also pass along to your friends, followers, partners, or acquaintances; thus, increasing ours and your own value. Until next week, we look forward to also sharing your information and connecting more with you online and/or in-person. In the meantime, please drop us a line or contact David Dandaneau with additional thoughts or questions that we can help answer next week in our tip and surely don’t forget to KEEP SMILING!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.


Who is the NCCI & What is the Importance of Proper Workers Compensation Classification? Let’s Find Out!

Each and every day we continue to educate business owners online and in the area who may be still struggling to understand the value with the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) model and/or the pricing strategies available to them if they chose a PEO arrangement. Nonetheless, this week in our daily tip we are revisiting a work published by David Dandaneau last year that may help to educate you further about some of the basic terminology and industry standards, which may ultimately help you and/or your business reduce costs, while freeing up extra time.
First of all, who is the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI)? Well, the NCCI is based out of Boca Raton, FL and is considered one of the country’s largest database managers of workers compensation insurance information. In fact, the NCCI helps to analyze industry trends and risks associated with them in order to help others prepare workers compensation insurance rates, while providing a combination of services, which help to maintain a healthier overall workers compensation system (NCCI Holdings, 2011).
Contrary to many people’s beliefs, the NCCI is not a rating bureau; instead, the organization is often referred to as an advisory committee because its board of directors is comprised of insurance executives and/or companies. At times it may seem a little biased to many people and businesses who use these same individuals or companies for their coverage needs, as these individuals or companies that they are dealing with are in business to make a profit. Nevertheless, having a board made up of top-notch executives and companies who compete in the industry make it a little easier to help determine a fair classification system for the approximately 700 different workers compensation classification codes, which cover almost any employee or workplace exposure or does it?
One of the most elementary parts of pricing workers compensation insurance for a client is by properly classifying a company’s workplace exposures into one of these several hundred codes previously mentioned. Indeed, each code developed by the NCCI carries with it an individual rate that is based on that codes exposure within a particular workplace. For example, the classification codes for a clerical or sales worker usually carry with them significantly lower rates versus classification codes that may be associated with a roofer or carpenter, as the workplace exposure of these different types of jobs are extremely different (mostly inside positions versus outside positions). However, when the exposure is not so obvious, classifying a specific exposure can be very complicated and something a business owner wants to be absolutely sure of since a misclassification can cost a business a lot of money they didn’t necessarily expect to pay if something does go wrong or they end up getting audited.
Today employers can also use multiple classification codes on a policy or a company can classify their workforce under one as a group but it is important to document or provide records that show what exact tasks workers complete or how they split their time between different comp codes if using multiple codes. What the costs (annual premiums) are for a policy most of the time are based on an employer’s annual payroll, which can be in the form of a standalone policy or a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) arrangement (PEOs offer pay-as-you go policies, which again is a huge benefit of this model). Therefore, for a decision maker of a company or the business owner, it becomes even more important to understand these different codes and make sure your employees who perform work for you are correctly classified for the actual work they perform. As a result, you could save a lot in the annual premiums and rates you receive in return.
Perhaps the one important part about all this is that the details the NCCI provides insurance carriers (i.e. SCOPES Manual)  in regards to the many workers compensation is NOT available anywhere unless you purchase the proprietary material or subscribe to the NCCI online database. However, as a Consulting Agency we welcome anyone to contact us directly if you would like your policy reviewed free of charge with us or through one of the many PEOs and insurance companies we have built relationships with over time. Having this/these expert opinions on whether your employees are classified correctly or not could even save you and/or your company more money, while minimizing costs or any additional fees for a misclassification.
As always and as we continue to encounter issues and questions online and in-person, you can expect more analysis and opinions about this and other common issues found in advancing technologies and/or within the workplace, which at times can make it hard for you to focus on your core business. Of course, we encourage our fans, readers, and followers to share and ask questions if you have any about this post or our other works, since we subscribe highly to the philosophy that everyone can achieve more by working together and each week this is what we try to do. Until next time, keep smiling, as it really does look good on you!

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.



References

NCCI Holdings, Inc (2012). National Council on Compensation Insurance

What are the benefits of outsourcing HR or Payroll Services? Is a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) the Answer?

In July, 2011 while visiting online questions through a HOT new social media medium (Quora) a user asked the question “What are the benefits of outsourcing HR and payroll services?” Since this and what the differences are between a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) in combination with human resources, versus a payroll provider are common questions in our consulting practice, we wanted to supply our answer and re-address to our readers our views this week in our weekly tip.

As we stated last week there are many reasons a person or company chooses to outsource anything and depending on a person’s credibility, experience, or industry knowledge they should be able to help you to decide on a provider that actually meets your needs… not theirs! In regards to payroll, and Human Resources (HR) in combination with PEOs there are quite a few things that you need to know about each and/or evaluate in order to make a sound business decision that will ultimately end up helping you save time, energy, and money. David Dandaneau wrote on Quora “PEOs provide organizations with payroll services, access to workers compensation policies, help in managing their human resources, risk management (i.e. employee manuals and other services), which at times may be difficult for these same organizations to manage on their own. As a result of this more efficient way of managing workplace processes and workplace safety, companies can further reduce administration costs while remaining focused on their core business strategy. PEOs also help companies gain more control over their costs of worker compensation coverage since most of the time workers’ comp rates are based on actual hours worked, so a company is exactly even every week and the worry of tax penalty goes away because the PEO pays all the state and federal taxes under their FEIN.”
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, almost all PEOs help small and large organizations alike with their hiring practices (HR) by attracting and retaining good employees, while reducing their employee turnover and unemployment compensation claims, which is extremely critical in today’s working environment. Because most employee leasing companies also represent a number of different employers these companies regardless of location, usually have access to a larger pool of workers. In turn, having access to a larger pool of workers can often help lower the costs associated with certain employee benefits such as health, dental, or supplemental insurance, and even 401(k) retirement plans, which many companies cannot afford individually but now can because of the buying power of an employee leasing company.
On the other hand, if you are looking for reasons why you would outsource your payroll much like in a PEO arrangement there are several reasons. The first is you avoid paying an IRS penalties since most payroll companies provide a “tax guarantee” that ensures customers pay no penalties and according to a recent IRS report about 40% of all small businesses pay average yearly penalties of $800 or more per year because they filed late and/or supplied incorrect filing information. Secondly, and just like in a PEO arrangement the direct cost of processing your payroll goes away. In another recent study conducted by the University of Texas-Arlington they showed this expense can be as large as 8.5% of the total yearly gross payroll, which obviously frees up your time and money to invest in other money generating activities, while avoiding any unnecessary headaches associated with keeping up with technological advances. Thirdly, you are able to offer direct deposit, which most of the time can be extremely difficult if you do not use a payroll company. Finally, you are able to leverage the experience of the outside payroll processor as many organizations that employee payroll processors make sure they are Certified Payroll Processors (CPP), which means you can take advantage of a benefit (they keep abreast of all changing regulations, withholding rates, and government forms) that was once only available to large organizations. All these benefits at a fraction of the cost it would cost you to do it yourself clearly outweigh the headaches of having to worry if or in many cases… when things do go wrong.
The most important thing to remember between a PEO (i.e. also providers of HR services) and a Payroll Processor is in a PEO arrangement all tax and workers comp claims are filed under the PEO’s Federal ID Number (FEIN) versus a Payroll Processor who files tax information or workers compensation claims under your company FEIN.”
We hope that supplying our readers with this information will help you, your friends, and/or referral partners make sound personal and/or business decisions since we are arming you with important information to do so. As we continue to serve our clients on a variety of consulting segments, we will continue to provide more information on these subjects, along with our other consulting segments. In the meantime, if you would like more information on Employee Leasing Companies (also their HR programs) or Payroll Processors, you can respond here, to us through all our social media outlets, or call us personally at 813-474-2705 to discuss how you continue to remain focused on growing your personal or businesses bottom line, so you have a competitive advantage over your friends and competition. Otherwise, keep smiling, and thanks for taking the time to stop by and read our post. Hyper Smash

David Dandaneau is a Consultant at [SevenTimesSeven]. He specializes in helping business owners “manage their business and not their processes!” For more connect with him via Twitter @ddandaneau or any of the other social platforms you may find him on.