How To Set Your Startup Company Apart

In today’s competitive business world, there are startups launching every day. Although thousands of new companies appear in the industry each year, many do not last past the one-year mark and even fewer beyond the five-year mark. It isn’t enough to simply have a single product or innovative idea to launch a successful startup. The way new companies do business has become a significant aspect of success, so if you plan to launch a startup, here are three critical criteria you must implement to be successful.

Approach Business in an Innovative Way

Few startup ideas are truly unique. While some new companies develop and release new products, many others simply compete for clients in necessary industries. Startups in industries such as finance, security, construction and telecommunication have little room for new products or services, but startups must have something new to offer the industry to be successful.

An alternative to this is implementing a new way of conducting business in the industry. This method can be seen in the SE2 business, as this innovative company started by approaching the life-insurance industry in a new way. SE2 has flourished because of this, paving the way for other startups to do the same.

Cultivate a Giving Culture

In today’s society, people are passionate about doing business with companies that are committed to giving back both on global and community levels. Your startup must have a unique brand to thrive, but implementing a giving culture is an excellent way to enrich your company and improve your reputation. This can be accomplished by partnering with a charity and donating a portion of your company’s profits each year. You can also use your business platform to raise awareness for different charities.

While your company is first and foremost a business, cultivating a positive company culture is a wonderful way to encourage customer loyalty and establish your unique brand within your community. Clients may be more likely to use your services if their purchases will help make a difference within the community.

Hire Passionate Employees

Passionate employees are the backbone of any business. While your startup may launch with you as the single employee, you will eventually have to hire additional people who share your vision. It isn’t enough to simply hire people with experience in the industry. While they may be efficient workers, if they are not passionate about your company, they will have a negative impact on business growth.

While the people you hire need to be high-quality employees with excellent work ethics and great morals, they also need to share your passion for the business. This will make them more committed to your company so they are invested in helping the business grow. Passion will also fuel them to put in the long hours required by a startup and inspire better customer service. If your employees are passionate about their jobs, they will generate company growth and enrich your business.

Even if you have a fantastic idea for a startup, there are many components that need to fall into place before you can launch the company. In addition to the traditional business strategies of marketing and developing a brand, you also need to determine what makes your company unique. For many startups, this means approaching business in a new and innovative way. You also need to develop a positive company culture that draws customers to your business. Using your company to give back to the community is a wonderful way to establish this type of culture. Finally, passionate employees are essential for company growth. If your startup meets these three criteria, it is more likely to thrive in the competitive business world.

Three Main Reasons Why SMEs are Shifting to Cloud Computing

Some IT experts believe that by 2020, 83% of enterprise workloads will have moved to the cloud. Cloud computing is an exciting take on solving the computing problems that many organizations face. Basically, hardware and software tools are hosted online, where users can access and use them at a fee (usually subscription-based). Entrepreneurs and small business owners have realized the potential of cloud computing in a data-driven market and are taking advantage of its many benefits, which include:

Managed Services

Start-ups and SMEs usually struggle with meting their IT demands due to under-staffed or inadequately skilled IT personnel. Cloud Computing solves this problem by providing cloud users with cloud-based managed IT services. With a managed IT service, organizations don’t have to worry about maintenance, upkeep, and upgrading of their IT systems.

The main advantage of using a managed service instead of an in-house IT department is the low cost of operation. An outsourcing service provider works on a contract basis, so no time and money is spent on training and onboarding.


There’s is an ever-increasing need to secure valuable business data considering the rising cases of cybercrimes and data breaches. Cloud storage provides a robust, secure platform for storing data and controlling its access. Many businesses see cloud storage is a convenient, inexpensive, and vastly reliable way of storing information compared to on-prem servers and public networks.

Depending on the provider and service package, clouds can offer several levels of data security, including multi-factor authentication, data encryption, and data encapsulation. Data availability and integrity are also essential elements of data security. To that effect, cloud storage also offers backup and disaster recovery functions to restore lost data and ensure data availability at all times.

Affordable Access to Cutting-edge Tech

Cloud services are broadly categorized into Platform as a Service (PaaS), Software as a Service (SaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). This means that you can use the cloud to host ERPs, access IT infrastructure, or use hosted software applications. Computing resources, particularly business tools such as management software and data analytics applications, don’t come cheap. However, with the SaaS software model, businesses can access and use the latest and most powerful software tools easily and affordably.

Cloud computing levels the playing field for both large corporations and small businesses in terms of access to powerful, cutting-edge technologies. The cloud allows small organizations to use tech that they would otherwise not afford to purchase and maintain. In a generalized view, this could be the primary reason why SMEs prefer cloud services to in-house IT systems.

Instances When Your Business Needs an Accountant

You need to make sure that all your financial records are accurate once you decide to venture into business. Unfortunately, it might cost you later on in your business when you try to handle your finances without the assistance of a professional. You need accountants at all stages of your business to put your finances in order. It also makes the growth process more manageable than before. But, you do not have to employ an accountant full-time if you are working on a low budget. Alternatively, a few hours of an accountant’s time will be enough. The time it takes you to complete some tasks such as taxes is shorter when you hire an accountant as opposed to doing it yourself. Here are moments during the life of your business that you will require an accountant to assist you.

Government Paperwork

You need an accountant to help you deal with government paperwork because it can be a daunting task. Many small business owners opt to hire an accountant Calgary when the first tax filing is due because to save on time and avoid errors. An accountant can also assist your business in interacting with the government in preparing annual account statements, complete and file legal and compliance documents and maintain the status updated in the government’s register.

Getting Audited

Every business needs to hire an accountant when it is getting audited. You need a professional to make sure that all your records are accurate. Your financial history is exposed after an audited and you don’t want to get into trouble. An accountant can reconcile books of accounts, check for missing information and run reports to reduce your chances of tripping IRS audit triggers.

Buying a Business

You should always hire an accountant when buying a business that is already in operation. The professional will go through the company’s accounts in detail while looking out for red flags. Accountants check whether the business has outstanding debts and the nature of its assets and advise you accordingly.

Starting a Business

An accountant will assist you to see the best financial options for you as you start your business. You need an accountant at the start of your business to help you choose a basic business structure that suits your objectives. The business structure you select for your venture determines how you deposit and file taxes. An accountant assists you to adhere to the government regulations for your business structure.

You should concentrate on operating your business. Leave the financial details to an experienced accountant for a sustainable business. Your accountant will focus on increasing profits and reducing the tax burden.

Superhost Secrets – 5 Tips From Airbnb Superhosts To Help You Make Your Listing Shine

Managing your own Airbnb listing can be extremely rewarding. If you’re just starting out and  haven’t had much experience with hosting or renting out your property or room, it can feel overwhelming. To help you get started on the right foot, here are some of the top tips from super hosts on how to make your listing stand out. 

1. Allow Flexible Options For Check-In

Everybody desires a quick and effortless check-in at their time of arrival. However, tired guests can arrive at any hour of the day, making key handover awkward when your schedules don’t align. Worse yet, a long and tedious wait for check-in starts your guests’ experience off on the wrong foot and can lead to negative reviews later! Skip the hassle by upgrading to an Airbnb integrated Bluetooth door lock for your property’s door. These nifty items all you to access the technology from your phone, wherever you are. Create unique PIN codes for every guest’s stay, which can be automatically sent to their phone. In case of emergency, you can lock and unlock doors remotely via your phone, and even access a log of every entry and exit. The same technology can also be used to give access to cleaners and any other contractors that need to enter the property, all without ever needing to leave your home! 

2. Use High-Quality Photos 

You could have the coziest, most modern apartment in an excellent location but if your photos are taken in dim lighting, while rooms are cluttered or taken from unflattering angles, it can significantly affect your listing’s popularity. Keep your Airbnb photos clear and showing all the important features of your property. If you have a stunning balcony view, beautiful paint job, luxurious bathroom or spa, include this in your photos. Phone photography is not a total no-go, just make sure all images are in focus and high definition as possible!

3. Leave No Gaps In Your Profile

When it comes to Airbnb or any other web-based service, transparency is everything. You want potential guests to feel like they are staying somewhere safe and secure with a host they can trust. This means that, in addition to filling out your entire property description with good photos, you need to have a complete personal profile on yourself as a host. No need to get too personal though; simplicity is key. Just be sure to include your name, languages spoken and, if it sounds natural to you, something about your travel history.   

It critical that you never leave your profile photo space blank. Your guests should know that you’re a real person and be able to put the proverbial face to your name. This helps to establish a more personal connection and put them more at ease. Your profile photo should be a simple, smiling face shot.  

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Request Reviews 

A major mistake many people make in their early days of hosting is not following up with their guests after their stay. This is perhaps the most underrated measure you can take to increase your number of reviews and boost your image as an attentive host. Aim to message every single guest at least a day after their check out. This can be a simple ‘thank you for choosing us’ email with a reminder for a review. Sometimes, this little nudge is all it takes for a beautiful review and high rating! 


By following all of the above steps, you’ll not only increase your bookings, but will likely superhost status in no time! 

Should You Ever Refuse to Cooperate in a Criminal Tax Investigation?

No one wants to end up on the IRSs naughty list. But if you should find yourself under the microscopic lens of the IRS, you definitely want to have tax attorneys offering complete solutions to your tax problems on your side. An experienced attorney can help you navigate the tax system and help you decide if you can or should refuse to cooperate in a criminal tax investigation.

What is a Criminal Tax Investigation?

A criminal tax investigation is conducted by the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to look into potential criminal violations of the Internal Revenue Code and other financial crimes. When a person or a business purposely decides that they are not going to abide by the taxation laws, there is the risk of facing a civil audit or criminal investigation. Both an audit and criminal investigation can end with prosecution, fines or jail time.

Why Are You Being Investigated by the IRS?

The American taxing system relies on voluntary compliance. This means that citizens bear the burden of self-assessments regarding their amount of owed taxes. All income, legally or illegally obtained, is taxable. Persons and businesses that are attempting to circumvent the tax laws and codes raise questions as to further unlawful activity. Some of the more common reasons you may get investigated include:

Can You Refuse to Cooperate in a Criminal Tax Investigation?

You can refuse to cooperate with an IRS investigation. When you or your business is under investigation, you will have multiple chances to choose to cooperate or not with the IRS special agent. The decision to cooperate or not should be taken lightly. Each can have serious consequences. Quite often the decision to cooperate can be synonymous with making a confession.

There are also levels of cooperation. You can fully cooperate, giving the special agent assigned to your case anything and everything they request of you. This is often done when there is not enough evidence against you or if there truly is no wrongdoing or misconduct. There is also selective cooperation, where you agree to cooperate to a certain degree; or only in certain aspects of the criminal investigation. If your attorney deems your case is not defensible, you may fully or selectively cooperate with the hope that you will receive a more lenient punishment or penalty in return.

Then there is the absolute refusal to cooperate. There are circumstances where it is best not to cooperate. This may be your choice is there is little to no advantage to your cooperation. It is important to be realistic and objective when deciding whether or not to cooperate. And the decision should almost always be decided after consulting with an experienced attorney.

Your cooperation with a special agent is not likely to make the investigation go away or keep you out of trouble, but it may change the way the investigation is conducted or the harshness of any assessed penalties or sentences. Choose wisely and carefully.

Profitability Factor for New Products and Services

Entrepreneurs should develop a profitable plan for providing a new product or service, such as for earning income from a reliable group of customers. The customers should have a preference for the product or service or should have a practical purpose for using the product or service. Many customers would probably enjoy the luxury of eating a new gourmet pizza and would probably also benefit from using a new soap.

Specific Level of Income for Potential Customers

The level of income for the customers can be used to evaluate the level of potential profits that could be earned from the product or service. Some business owners decide to earn profits by focusing on the middle-income customers in a city. The property managers at Dallas Luxury Realty only offer services for managing rental property that is for middle-income tenants and only want to participate in a small business market for the Dallas property management companies.

Customers for a New Product or Service

Several factors can influence the decision for providing a new product or service for some customers. A small business owner could decide to make some homemade soft soaps, such as with liquid Castile soap and some grapefruit-scented or clove-scented oil, but there may not be several customers who would want to buy the soft soaps. The business owner would probably earn a low level of profits from a small group of customers for the uniquely-scented soft soaps.

Decisions about Providing a New Product or Service

Small business owners should evaluate the preferences of the local customers and should also evaluate any problems from a lack of products or services in an area, such as services from personal shoppers for busy customers. The decision about offering a new product or service should also be based on the skills of the small business owner. Some entrepreneurs are required to rely on a partner, such as a chef, who has the skills for providing the product or service, such as for preparing gourmet foods for events.

Decisions about New Small Businesses for Entrepreneurs

An entrepreneur could develop a practical business concept into a new product or service for some small business owners, such as developing a new tool caddy or organizing a professional network for plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians. The plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians would be exposed to more business opportunities as members in a new professional organization. With an innovative concept for a new product or service, an entrepreneur could expand a small business operation with franchise contracts for offering the products or services in several cities.

Brilliant Branding – 5 Ways to Turbo-Charge Your Company’s Marketing Profile

In many ways, a successful business is only as good as the marketing measures it undertakes. After all, marketing your products and services to your target customers is essential for getting your brand name out there and attracting new business. If you are feeling a little bit lost on how to market your company without annoying potential, rest assured, you’re not alone. Here are five foolproof ways to boost your marketing profile in ways that don’t come across as intrusive to your target audience. 

1. Be Bold, Get A Banner 

Visual marketing is still an excellent way to make an impact on onlookers and potential customers. Posters and signage are a great way to start, but if you really want to make an impact, putting up some bold fabric banners is a much better way to make a statement. This is especially ideal if you are in a shared office space, at a crowded convention, or just want to brighten up your store or office!

2. Beautiful Branding  

It’s important that any banner or other marketing collateral you put up on display is visually appealing and in line with your professional image. Now that digital marketing and social media have become so widespread in the business world, you cannot afford to skimp on your brand design; consumers will notice. From a gorgeous website, to bold signage and eye-catching branded promotional merchandise, it’s critical to develop an engaging brand and splash it out there wherever you can.

3. Social Media Competitions

There are many ways you can use social media to your advantage in marketing your business and increasing engagement with your existing clientele and prospective customers online. One of the best and easiest ways to grow your presence (and in turn, your leads) is by running social media competitions. 

Depending on your business, these can be in the form of a product or service giveaways or discount codes in exchange for following your business on social media. Including a step that involves tagging a friend or sharing is a great way to spread the word and expand your network by referral.

4. Strategic Partnerships 

Consumers have access to a broader range of services than ever in this new digital era, meaning competition is fierce, and only growing fiercer. Rather than resenting your competitors, teaming up with another name in your industry can actually benefit your business on the marketing front. Partnering with another brand or company can mean a number of different things, but ultimately serves the purpose of growth based on shared goals. You can promote your partner and vice versa by collaborating on products, social media campaigns, referrals, and plenty more. 

5. Consistency: Online and Offline

Whether you choose to rebrand your business with new fabric banners, invest heavily in digital marketing, or implement a mix of both online and offline marketing solutions, consistency is key to achieving results. You want the voice and aesthetic of your marketing to become so synonymous with your brand that you don’t need to reiterate the details again and again in your promotional materials. Consistency is vital to creating a memorable and trustworthy image of your brand in the mind of every customer.

No matter your industry, building up your marketing profile will take time. So, get a headstart today with any of these five tried-and-tested techniques. Over time, you’ll be able to watch your brand name and sales leads grow like never before. 

The Four Elements of a User-Friendly Website

A website is the most important marketing resource a business has. It is the main source of information for the company’s services and products, sometimes even serving as the place where transactions take place. Therefore, it is crucial for these service providers to create and maintain an excellent user experience to attract and retain visitors. The following elements are important in securing a reliable visitor flow.


One of the most attractive features a website can have is simplicity and minimalism. While it is important for companies to create informational content, they should also organize it in a way that visitors can consume easily. Placing only the most useful information with concise language and using images and empty space makes each page appealing. For instance, marketing executive Eyal Gutentag likes the  simple design incorporated in ZipRecruiter’s page that highlighted mostly the site’s features in a few sentences, accompanied by pictures.

Loading Speed

An important and often overlooked element in a user-friendly website is loading speed. Visitors vastly prefer sites where loading screens are very short to non-existent. In fact, according to a study by Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay in loading time can cost up to 7% in conversions. Slow times can have a significant impact on visits and overall sales. Make loading speed a top priority and use the finest web performance tools to reduce downtime.

Mobile Functionality

As technology progresses, mobile phones continue to gain new features and uses. People enjoy the convenience of internet access at the palm of their hands. Savvy companies prioritize the mobile versions of their websites to appeal to these customers. They even develop mobile websites before their desktop counterparts. Mobile site development is also a useful learning opportunity, as companies can learn to focus on basic features and functionality instead of flashy gimmicks, which is helpful for building a minimalist main website.

Constant Maintenance

Perhaps the most important of these elements is consistent updates and maintenance to the site. Nothing is ever perfect and certain features in a site can become outdated, malfunction or develop a vulnerability to viruses or malware. Outdated and glitch-riddled sites can harm user experience and hurt the brand. Successful businesses keep a careful watch over their sites and are fast to fix any potential issues or errors that emerge.

A website that draws visitors and keeps them coming for more will help a company build a consumer base. Digital marketing experts should consider these four elements to ensure optimal user experience.

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