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Determining Real Employee Cost and How to Avoid It

Determining Real Employee Cost and How to Avoid It

When a business decides to add a new employee, they’re really making a financial decision.

Certainly, the motivating factors behind the decision to hire an employee may be:

  • Handling increased workflow
  • Decreasing work hours experienced by you or the current members of your team
  • Adding specific skillsets and experience to your staff

However, businesses should include the financial impact of the actual employee cost on their budget before making a hiring decision.

Below, we’ll share how you can determine employee costs.

If you are considering hiring employees for your business, you might want to explore alternative ways you could reduce employee costs. One way would be hiring the services of a virtual assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited. We’d be happy to assist you in making a hiring or outsourcing decision.

Just call us at (904) 429-4588.

Calculating Employee Costs

If you want a quick estimate to determine employee cost, the general rule of thumb would be to multiply the basic wage by 1.25 to 1.40.

25% to 40% additional cost is typically used to cover other employee costs such as payroll taxes, benefits, and various overhead and administrative costs associated with the position (e.g., recruiting, accounting, technology, and travel).

Employee Cost Calculation Illustration

Let’s consider you want to hire an administrative assistant. In 2019, the national average for an administrative assistant salary is $44,950.

At 25%, the total employee cost goes to $56,187. At 40%, it would be $62,930.

If you’ve budgeted up to $63,000 for this new hire, you’d be in good shape.

However, if you budgeted $55,000 or less, you’d probably want to look for alternatives to hiring a full-time staff member.

What’s Typically Included with Employee Costs?

The largest portion of employee cost is generally the wage. In addition to wages, businesses will incur other costs.

Mandatory Employee Costs

These are costs mandated by the federal and state government. They include:

  • FICA (Social Security and Medicare)
  • Federal unemployment tax (FUTA)
  • State unemployment tax
  • Worker’s compensation insurance

Other Employee Costs

The cost of hiring and onboarding an employee should be factored in the total cost. These may include:

  • Recruiting fees
  • Background and drug testing
  • Initial and ongoing training
  • Uniforms and protective gear if necessary

Overhead costs should also be factored into the overall employee cost. These may include:

  • Workspace: Computer, chair, desk, phone, etc.
  • Office supplies: pens, paper, etc.
  • Payroll process

You should also keep in mind your employee benefits. These may include:

  • Health insurance
  • Paid time off (sick, holiday, and vacation)
  • Retirement savings

Depending on the employee position, costs may include:

  • Liability coverage
  • Bond
  • Travel to meetings, errands, conferences, etc.
  • Professional membership dues
  • Professional training and certifications

Alternative Ways to Avoid Employee Costs

If the actual employee cost exceeds your budget, you might want to explore other ways to get tasks done in your business.

You could use Independent Contractors to avoid costs associated with payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and disability, 401(k), sick days, etc. However, the IRS is strict on the definition of Independent Contractors. Generally, if the business controls how and when work is to be done by the individual, they cannot be considered an Independent Contractor.

Another alternative is to consider using a virtual assistant firm for your tasks. Generally, VA firms like Business Solutions Unlimited can handle tasks ranging from administrative to bookkeeping to marketing.

The VA firm is responsible for all of the employee costs.

If you’d like to explore the benefits of using a VA firm, give us a call at (904) 429-4588 and let’s see how we can help your business.

Employee Cost Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below are FAQs about the financial costs of employees.

What is employee cost?

The true employee cost is the amount a business pays for wages and total hours worked, benefits, taxes, and overhead necessary to employ an individual. Additionally, employee costs may include recruiting fees, hiring and onboarding costs, plus administrative costs such as business travel, technology systems, and professional organization membership dues.

How do you calculate employee cost?

The general rule of thumb in calculating employee cost would be multiplying their base salary by 1.25 to 1.40. This will help to determine an employee cost estimate you can use for budgeting purposes.

How do you avoid employee costs?

Businesses can decrease employee costs in various ways. For example, by hiring Independent Contractors, businesses may avoid costs associated with payroll taxes, unemployment insurance, worker’s compensation and disability, 401(k), sick days, etc. Another way to avoid employee costs would be by hiring the services of a virtual assistant firm, who would be responsible for all employee costs.

Google Introduces More Ways to Maximize Your Google My Business Listing

Google Introduces More Ways to Maximize Your Google My Business Listing

This summer, Google announced new features businesses may use to enhance their Google My Business (GMB) listing.

According to Google, the new GMB features will help businesses “make their profiles as unique as they are and as descriptive as the queries that get customers there.”

Let’s take a look at these new features.

Give Welcome Offers to First Time Customers

Businesses can reward customers who follow their online presence with an offer or discount. According to Google, more than half of online customers look for an offer or discount.

Create a Short Name for Your Google My Business Presence

Have you ever looked at your GMB URL? It’s usually a bunch of numbers and letters—nothing you’d want to add to a business card or email. Plus, it’s not very memorable.

Now business owners can claim an easily remembered unique short name for their GMB presence. Businesses will be able to change their short name up to three times a year.

Very soon, these short names will be searchable on Google.

Specify Your Business GMB Cover Image

Business owners can now set their preferred cover image for their GMB presence.

Give More Presence to Business Logos

For businesses with completed GMB profiles, Google will give prominence to their logo in the upper right-hand of their GMB box.

More Prominence for Photos

Google will add a new dynamic module to GMB profiles to display photos uploaded by businesses.

Very soon, businesses will be able to add photo captions to their photos.

Rewarding Business with “Local Favorite” Designation

Google also announced a forthcoming “Local Favorite” designation. The top 5 percent of businesses that show consistent and great customer experiences will be highlighted in the “Local Favorite” category.

Why it’s Time to Get Your Google My Business Profile Up to Speed

These new features show Google’s commitment to making branded search results a final destination to customer searches.

As we mentioned in our recent article Why You Should Audit Your Google My Business Presence:

In recent years, Google has not-so-quietly been staging a bit of a takeover on the Web. Not content to be the largest search engine in the world, Google is actively working toward a “zero-click-query” environment.

Basically, Google wants to serve up answers to searcher queries—without sending them to a website. Google wants to keep users on Google.

To stay competitive in local online search, businesses should take full advantage of the features available on GMB. Doing so will help the business develop and maintain a robust online presence that’s not solely dependent on a website for converting searchers to clients.

Don’t Have Time to Manage Your Google My Business Profile?

Many business owners might look at their GMB profile as just more tasks to add to their busy schedules. However, to stay relevant with local searches, they’re necessary tasks to aid in the future success of your business.

That’s why we’re here. Give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 and let us get to work for your business today.

Align Your Landing Pages with Your Promotions for a Better Response

Align Your Landing Pages with Your Promotions for a Better Response

Not long ago, a Facebook ad appeared on my newsfeed that motivated me to click thru to the other side of their promotion.

Disappointingly, the destination of the click landed me on the company’s website home page.

The content of the home page provided me with something about the business and many link options—but nothing related to the initial message the prompted my initial response.

So I left the website.

Leaving the website cost the business two things:

  • Cost of the initial click from their Facebook ad
  • Cost of losing a potential customer showing an initial interest in their offering

That cost could be reduced if the company had connected their ad to a landing page that was optimized to the targeted audience and relevant to their promotional message.

Types of Promotions that Could Generate Traffic to Your Landing Page

While the example above illustrated a Facebook ad to generate traffic to a company’s website, there are other promotional media and platforms to keep in mind.

PPC Ads

Google Ads and Facebook Ads are probably the most popular means of paying per click to generate traffic to a landing page. Both can be highly effective at targeting demographics and user intent.

Direct Mail

The mailbox remains a highly effective method of generating interest in a company’s products and services. For example, a postcard targeted to a specific demographic could be effective at motivating the recipient to visit a website for more information. The response would be better if the URL published on the postcard sent the visitor to a specific page that complements the message and look/feel of the postcard.

Elements of a Landing Page Aligned with Your Promotions

To create a relevant and engaging promotions experience for your potential customer, effective landing pages should include:

  • Relevant headline matched closely with your ad headline and message
  • Supportive tag line
  • Attractive image that emotionally resonates with visitor
  • Copy that features benefits of your product or service
  • Testimonials or badges that foster trust
  • A very clear call to action (phone, lead capture form, etc.)

Before wrapping up your landing page, step back and ask yourself:

“Is the content on your page consistent with your ad?”

If the ad promotes a sale, is the offer front and center on your page?

If your ad is targeting a solution to a problem of a specific demographic (for example, hearing aids to elderly men), does your landing page speak to that audience?

When your landing page matches what your visitor expects to find after seeing your ad, the chances for conversion increases. After all, they did show interest in your message—it’s only fitting that you provide them with a continuation of that message.

Not only will they be more satisfied with making the journey to your landing page but, you’ll be happier with your return on investment.

Is Managing Your Promotions More than You Can Manage? Reach Out for Help.

If you’d like help, give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 for a free consultation and to learn more about how we help your business today.

Ratchet Up Your Presentation Skills to Successfully Communicate Your Business Message

Ratchet Up Your Presentation Skills to Successfully Communicate Your Business Message

If you’re a professional, you’re a presenter.

Whether it’s to an audience of one or thousands, your business day is full of potential presentations.

For example:

  • Pitching a new project or idea to a boss
  • Pitching a product or service to a potential client
  • Being in front of a networking group to promote your services
  • Stepping on stage at a conference to share your expertise on an industry topic

The question is are you a well-prepared and confident presenter?

At Business Solutions Unlimited we’ve been asked many times to make presentations. Sometimes it’s on a particular business topic of interest at a local business networking group. Other times, it’s a conference call with slides presented to scattered groups of people across the nation.

The ability to make these presentations and clearly communicate our message has garnered business. It’s also led to us helping our clients present their message to their clients. Below, we share helpful tips on how you can become a pro at presentations.

By-the-way, if you’re needing some presentation preparation help, we’ll be happy to assist. Just call us at (904) 429-4588.

Preparation is Key to Presentation Confidence

Something to keep in mind is that every presenter is nervous, even the most accomplished ones. The degree of nervousness adjusts with the amount of preparation in advance of the presentation.

The first step in preparation is to understand what you’re presenting. Ask yourself, “What is this presentation about?” Then summarize the presentation in a sentence or two.

Know Your Audience

Understand the audience you’ll be in front of.

  • What do they already know?
  • What do they want to know?
  • What information will help them?
  • How do they like to be presented to?

Write down what you want your audience (of one or more) to get out of the presentation. Is it building awareness of your product, services or topic? Is it motivation to take action (make a purchase, sign up for something, etc.)?

Knowing your audience and what you want the audience to know at the end of your presentation helps to create a roadmap. This will help you gather and communicate relevant information that will motivate the results you’re seeking.

Know Your Venue

Understanding where you’ll be presenting is an important factor in preparation.

  • If it’s an office, will you have a table to place a laptop or collateral materials down?
  • If it’s a networking group or auditorium, will you have a podium to speak from and an area to place collateral materials?
  • What are the technical capabilities of the location—does it have projection capabilities or will you have to bring a computer and projector?
  • If a phone conference, will everyone be able to call in or log into your presentation?

Location preparation is vitally important to a successful presentation. If you’re challenged with the location logistics, then consider delegating to a Virtual Assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited to handle them for you.

Understand How You’ll Present

Once you know your audience and what you’ll present, you need to determine the appropriate presentation method.

  • If one on one, would a laptop PowerPoint presentation or a table flip book be best?
  • If presenting to a group, will a PowerPoint presentation be appropriate or will people follow along with handouts?

Knowing what you’re presenting, who you’re presenting to, and how you’ll be presenting can help squelch your nervousness and give you information you need to organize your presentation.

Organize Appropriate Presentations and Materials

By knowing your audience, you’ll be able to confidently organize your presentation in ways they’ll be receptive to your message.

By knowing what you want your audience to know at the end of your presentation, you’ll be able to organize the opening and body that leads to your conclusion or call to action.

This gives you insights into your:

  • Presentation structure
  • Pacing
  • Order of facts and data
  • Graphics and visual aids
  • Relevant examples and anecdotes
  • Leave-behinds

You’ll also be able to craft visual aids appropriate to your topic and the audience.

Keep in mind that effective PowerPoint presentation slides tend to be brief and visual.

Your collateral materials should be complementary to your presentation. Are colors and graphics consistent? Do your materials enhance your message?

This is where enlisting the aid of Virtual Assistants can be useful. They can help develop your PowerPoint slides and materials while you focus on the message you want to communicate.

Don’t Forget the Travel, Invite, Setup and Follow Up

While being totally focused on crafting your presentation, it might be easy to forget the logistics.

Do you need to send out an invitation to your audience? Maybe it’s setting up an appointment to meet a client. Or, maybe you need to send out a mass email invitation to a group requesting an RSVP.

Is your presentation local or out of town? Don’t forget your travel arrangements.

Will the venue where you’ll be presenting be fully prepared for your arrival? If you’re hosting an event, do you need to arrange catering?

After the presentation, are you prepared to follow up? It could be as simple as mailing a thanks-for-attending card or an email requesting further communications.

A successful presentation has many moving parts. That’s why delegating tasks can be an effective method of making sure all components of your presentation are well prepared.

Too Busy? Delegate Your Tasks

In our experience, successful professionals are experts at their business. However, it’s easy for busy professionals to take on way too many tasks. Many of these tasks might not even be part of their expertise.

In regards to presentations you might understand the topic, but how much knowledge and time do you have to put toward making effective PowerPoint slides or accompanying marketing materials? Are you ready to tackle event planning, email invites and follow-ups?

Find out how delegating tasks to a virtual assistant firm like Business Solutions Unlimited can help you achieve better presentations.

Feel free to give us a call at (904) 429-4588; to discuss how we can help you with your business tasks and goals.

How to Encourage Strong Online Reviews and Why You Should

How to Encourage Strong Online Reviews and Why You Should

It’s been apparent for some time that Google is focusing much of its search results page for businesses toward branded search.

We provided insights into branded searches in a recent article.

When identifying their brand, many businesses will point to such things as their logo, color schemes, snappy tag line, consistent message, and value propositions as their brand. However, all of those items should be considered branding activities for shaping and influencing the public perception of your business.

Your brand is actually your customer’s perception of your business.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is widely quoted as saying, “Your brand is what other people say about you when you’re not in the room.”

Today, it’s not so much what people say outside the room, but online that matters. Online reviews should be considered a major association to your actual brand.

Reviews reflect customer experiences with your business. It’s also what many potential customers look at before deciding to use your services or purchase your products.

Online Reviews and the Impact on Your Business

At the end of 2018, Bright Local published results of a study on online reviews. The following results show the impact reviews may have on your customers:

  • Consumers require 40 online reviews before believing the accuracy of a business’ star rating
  • Nearly 60% expect a business should have more than 11 reviews
  • Consumers look at an average of 10 reviews about a business
  • 85% believe online reviews older than 3 months aren’t relevant while 40% only care about reviews with the last two weeks
  • 89% look for and read business responses to reviews

One survey result really stood out to us: 70% of consumers leave reviews when asked to do so.

Your consumers are helping to create your brand story as it appears online with either positive reviews, negative reviews or no reviews.

Fortunately, customers appear to be more than willing to provide their voice to your brand when asked.

How to Ask For an Online Review

Many businesses are under the impression that asking for reviews is a “no-no” with online review sites. That may be the case with YELP. However, Google encourages businesses to do so:

“Remind your customers to leave reviews. Let them know that it’s quick and easy to leave business reviews on mobile devices or desktop computers.”

They also encourage businesses to engage with customer reviews:

“Reply to reviews to build your customers’ trust. Your customers will notice that your business values their input, and possibly leave more reviews in the future. You can also create and share a link that customers can click to leave a review.”

Adding a convenient link to your website that customers can use to directly visit and add a review to your Google My Business profile can help increase the likelihood of a review.

When asking for a positive review, encourage your customer to add valuable details to help potential customers in their decision to engage with your business. A good review may include:

  • Details on services provided
  • How the service met their needs
  • The area the services were provided (“our St. Augustine home”) if conducted in the customer’s home (plumbing, fence, electrical, etc.)
  • Mention employee who helped the customer by name

Be sure to respond to the customer’s review. If the review doesn’t provide one or more of the three items listed above, feel free to add it in your response.

When your business develops and implements a review strategy, it will become an effective component toward establishing a strong brand online.

Is Managing Your Online Presence More than You Can Manage? Reach Out for Help.

Give Business Solutions Unlimited a call at (904) 429-4588 to discuss how we can help your business today.