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Want to Increase Your Tipped Employees’ Pay Without Spending A Dime?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

My daughter waitressed full time at a restaurant for a year between college and grad school. Here’s the biggest fact she taught me: for the wait staff at a restaurant, it is all about the tips.

Not surprising, right? Your server may pretend not to be looking when you tip but that nonchalance is just a ruse. Believe me, they’re looking. Yes, it’s all about the tips because in many areas of the country tips are not just added income, tips are most of the income for an employee. In Philadelphia, where I live, restaurant owners can legally pay their wait staff as little as $2.83 an hour, which is almost $5.00 less than the state minimum wage, because the difference is made up by tips.

Here’s another thing I learned: tips equals turnover. Where my daughter worked was always busy and people were tipping, so she busted her you-know-what to keep that job. In this low unemployment economy, restaurants and other small businesses are all desperately trying to keep good people. But good people want money and the more money they get the more enticed they are to take (and stay) with a job. Simple as that.

Unfortunately, coming up with that money for a small business isn’t so simple. So wouldn’t it be great if the employees working at your restaurant could make more money than they could working for your competitor down the street, without the difference coming out of your pocket? Well, I’ve got a golden opportunity for you! Read More…

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Ever Heard Of Henry Ford’s Colossal Failed City in the Jungle?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

He was a visionary and one of the most famous capitalists in all of history. He introduced the automobile to the world and created the modern day production line. By the time of his death in 1947 Henry Ford was worth almost $200 billion in today’s dollars. He was an icon and a hugely successful businessman.

Except when he failed. And in 1928 he launched a project that failed big time. It was called Fordlândia and no, it wasn’t located in Oregon and Fred Armisen had nothing to do with it. Read More…

That Time Jeff Bezos Was the Stupidest Person in the Room

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

When you think of Jeff Bezos, a lot of things probably come to your mind.

You likely think of Amazon.com, a company he founded more than twenty years ago, that’s completely disrupted retail and online commerce as we know it. You probably also think of his entrepreneurial genius. Or the immense wealth that he’s built for himself and others. You may also think of drones, Alexa and same-day delivery. Bezos is a visionary, an entrepreneur, a cutthroat competitor and a game changer. He’s unquestionably a very, very smart man. But sometimes, he can be…well…stupid, too.

Like that time back in 1995. Read More…

Advice For Employees: There’s a Limit To Your Complaints

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Ah, it’s good to be an employee in a growing, low-unemployment economy, isn’t it? You can move jobs more easily, ask for higher wages and demand better benefits.

You can also walk off your job – like 20,000 Google employees did last November – to protest how your company handles sexual abuse allegations. Or better yet, you can write a strong letter to your bosses complaining about your company’s business practices, as other Google employees did a few weeks ago. Or you can pick on other management practices to gripe about. Amazon warehouse workers in Europe recently protested their working conditions. Apple employees publicly voiced their work culture frustrations under CEO Tim Cook. Google employees (what, again?) just this week are writing to tech workers at other firms to join together against forced arbitration — a dispute resolution process that favors the employer.

And these are just incidents at companies that are considered some of the best places to work in the world! Read More…

Is That Holiday Party Really Worth It?

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Holiday parties are expensive and a waste of time. I know this because I have been to, and hosted, countless ones.

A hundred years ago I attended holiday parties thrown by the Big 4 (actually it was Big 6 at the time) accounting firm I worked for. The firm actually had three of these parties — one for the main office and smaller ones for their two satellite offices in the area — and my bosses “strongly encouraged” me  to go to all of them. I also attended holiday parties thrown by the firm’s clients. When I left the firm after almost nine years I attended multiple holiday parties at the publicly held biopharmaceutical company where I worked. Then when I left there to start my own business I continued to go to parties at clients and, reluctantly, began holding an annual holiday event (it was a lunch or dinner) for my people.

So looking back I’ve been to big gala parties, smaller affairs, in-office events, at-home soirees, lunches and dinners all related to some sort of corporate holiday festivity. And you know what? None of them were worth it. Why? Read More…

The 3 Costliest Mistakes I’ve Made Launching A New Website (So Far)

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Last month my company launched an entirely new website. Hooray! Well, not so fast…

The site — please excuse my self-promotion — is called Marks Group Live. It’s targeted at users of Zoho, one of the business applications my company sells. It’s a new type of offering, which is part of the problem.

Mostly small companies buy Zoho. The only ways for them to get help is support from Zoho, watch free videos on YouTube or hire partners like me ar rather high hourly fees. My site is aimed at financially conscious users. Sounds good, right?

Well, it’s been a slog. Growth has been slower than I expected. I realize now that users need more time to understand this relatively new way of getting services for a business application. I’ve made other mistakes. Stupid mistakes. Here are my biggest (so far). Read More…

The 5 Words You Don’t Want To Hear From Your Accountant

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(This post originally appeared on Entrepreneur)

Did you know you could potentially save serious money or get help recruiting and motivating your employees just by leveraging a bunch of deductions and tax credits offered by the IRS?

For example, are you aware of the tax benefits available to both you and your employees for reimbursing them for educational, dependent care, adoption and commuting expenses? Did you know you can take huge deductions for capital equipment purchases and not even have to pay for these purchases upfront? Or that there are significant credits available for you to encourage the hiring of welfare recipients and veterans, disabled people, starting a 401(K) plan or just paying a portion of the salary for those employees taking time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act?

Do you have an ESOP? An HSA? A 529? Read More…