Obamacare : Is Your Business Ready?

Obamacare : Is Your Business Ready?

If you are a small business, are you ready for the latest requirements in Obamacare? If you haven’t heard, starting on January 1, 2016, businesses with 50 to 100 employees will be required to offer insurance for their employees. According to the Affordable Care Act, if employers fail to provide affordable health coverage to their employees in the upcoming year, businesses will face a tax penalty (which can result in up to thousands of dollars).

I thought a business with 50 employees was considered small?


Last year, businesses with less than 100 employees was still considered small and wasn’t required to offer insurance to full-time employees, but revisions to the Affordable Care Act lowered the number to 50 employees or more. While this may be beneficial to hardworking employees, it’s a bit trickier for small businesses.

I was making plans to expand my business, now I don’t know if I can or should


For most small businesses, expansion means success. However, with expansion comes more employees and with more employees comes required insurance benefits. While many small businesses care for their employees and want to offer full-time work for all who qualify, some employers may need to draw the line on how many full-time employees can work for the business (full-time is at least 30 hours per week).

Sometimes I hire seasonal employees, do I have to offer benefits to them?


If you own a business that requires more employees during a certain time of year, such as the holidays or during the summer months, you are not required to offer health insurance unless you staff over 50 full-time employees for 120 days or more.


Is there a way to get around the new changes of Obamacare?


There’s no way to get around the Affordable Care Act and it’s not worth trying or the risk. Some businesses try to split into separate entities (with less than 50 full-time employees). This won’t save you any money in the long run because Obamacare treats related companies as one. If it’s more time you need, the federal government is giving businesses (who have all of a sudden become “large”) until April 1, 2016 to comply to the new changes.

I still have no idea what I’m going to do!


Most small businesses will agree that the Affordable Care Act can be overwhelming and confusing, particularly if you don’t have a human resources department to take care of all of the new changes or simplifying the process for you. Take advantage of the extension, but don’t wait until the last minute.


If you’re struggling to wrap your mind around the changes, consider contacting your local or state chamber of commerce, hire an employee benefits consultant, or speak with a licensed insurance broker who can help you find the right health plan that will be best suited for your business.


Even if you feel like the Affordable Care Act has set you back a bit as a business, don’t give up on your dreams of running a business; celebrate your success!


Advice for Startups

Advice for Startups

It doesn’t matter if you are a fresh college graduate, recently retired worker or an average middle-aged person just wanting to try something new, there is always an opportunity to start your own small business. That is the beauty of a small business; it can be started anytime you want. That is not to say that starting and maintaining a small business or startup is a piece of cake. On the contrary, you have to be prepared to do a lot of work in order to be successful. Many people invest a lot both economically and intellectually at an initial stage and often don’t plan for the long term. The key is to have a solid plan of action to avoid failure. Let’s face it, there is a chance that your business may not work out the way you want, but if you follow some basic advice, it will increase the chances of success by a huge margin.

How to get started

Obviously, the first thing you need is to find out the kind of business you want to start. Here, it is important to keep a few things in mind. The most common mistake people make at this stage is that they choose whatever is trending. While there is a chance that it may work for a short duration, the odds are low that it will be a success in the long haul. Pick an idea that you are passionate about, and that you are confident about executing. Do your research and be sure that there is a market for your product or service. Choose something that combines both your passion and current market need. These are a few things you must ask yourself at this stage:

  • Will it be worth the time and money spent?
  • Do customers need it? Will customers like it?
  • What is the future of this small business?
  • Am I really confident about doing this?
  • Who are my competitors? How am I different/unique?

Another significant factor which can make a huge impact on business is the location of your company. Ensure that the placement of your small business is within the reach of the customers. Even if your shop is online, make sure you are reaching the right audience and are able to be found by potential customers.

Protecting your investment

It is imperative that you are on the right side of the law when starting your own business. Securing your business from fraud, copyright infringement, and other legal troubles can be vital, especially if you have come up with the “next big thing.” When it comes to online companies, the risk is even greater in the form of cyber-attacks, copycats, and even online scams. Brick and mortars stores are also in danger of lawsuits or other legal issues involving employees. Therefore, it is quite imperative to make your business safe and secure. In this case, knowledge in business law can help significantly. A deep understanding or trusted consultant in Business law can help you steer clear of any unwanted situations that may arise while you are developing out your small business. Be aware of the laws in your area prior to starting your own small business. If this is not an area of strength for you, be sure to reach out to professionals who can help you through the process.

How do you protect your small business from legal issues? Please leave your comments below:

SEC Investigating Web-Savvy Pyramid Schemers

SEC Investigating Web-Savvy Pyramid Schemers

pyramid-schemePyramid schemers had better watch out. According to The Wall Street Journal, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is on the lookout for web-based pyramid schemes that may be exploiting the booming direct-sales industry.

Investigations are actively under way and at least one company has already been shut down by the SEC as a result of allegations it was nothing more than a “fraudulent $129 million pyramid scheme.”

Direct sales can be an extremely profitable business model. With more than 16.8 million Americans being employed in the direct sales industry, it is no real surprise that web-savvy con artists are interested in tapping into the industry’s success.

The problem is, these individuals are looking for an easy way to make money without having to sell a lot of product or offer a service people can use. This is what the pyramid scheme is all about.

The Basics About Pyramid Schemes

A basic idea behind the pyramid scheme is that the more people you recruit to “work” under you, the more money you will make. It is a multi-level marketing program where success is based on the number of people you can recruit, the number of people they can bring in under them, and so on. The people at the top of the pyramid stand to make the most money, as the people lower down are simply paying off the people who invested above them. Should recruiting action slow down or come to a halt, the money source will quickly dry up and the scheme will fall apart.

Joseph Mariano, of the Direct Selling Association, says pyramid schemers have evolved over the years and are now extremely adept at making their scheme appear as if it is a legitimate business. If you are involved in direct sales and more emphasis is placed on recruiting family and friends to join you in your direct-sales activities, or the list prices on items you are supposed to sell seem overly inflated, you may be involved in a pyramid scheme.

Internet Schemers: Putting a New Twist on a Very Old Type of Fraud

The SEC’s enforcement chief has stated that, “Fraudsters are leveraging social media to put a new spin on an old type of fraud.”

Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and others are prime places for these people to market their schemes, solicit recruits and entice others to join in. Others who come in on lower levels of these pyramid schemes may also consider social media as a way to boost income.

Unfortunately, The New York Times reports many such marketing offers are simply too good to be true. Creating fake friends (bots) on social media, and offering their services, has become its own pyramid scheme. Twitter reported to the SEC that approximately 23 million of its accounts are bots (fake accounts) and Facebook states it finds between 67 million and 137 million fake accounts each year.

Fake friend creators charge people who are interested in increasing the number of followers they have or in having their products and services promoted, yet deliver no discernible results. Companies and individuals who pay these types of schemers are often left with nothing more than false, inflated numbers.

The Wall Street Journal: SEC on Lookout for Web-Based Pyramid Schemes
Securities and Exchange Commission: Pyramid Schemes
The New York Times: Social Media Bots Offer Phony Friends and Real Profit