Building Childrens Furntiture – Lumber or corner sofa bed

One of the unhappiest experiences the home furniture maker can run into

is buying a piece of wood and then finding it’s just a little too short.

Because of shrinkage and varying standards of mill planning, there is a

difference between the actual “net” size of dressed lumber that you get

from the lumberyard and the nominal size that you order.

You can also think about corner sofa it will be great for your room or kids room.

However, plywood is sold in the exact dimensions as offered.

Board lumber nominally 1 inch thick will actually measure from 3/4 to 7/8 inch

(usually 13/16 inch). And its actual width will be 3/8 inch less than its nominal

width, in pieces between 2 and 6 inches wide; in wider pieces the difference

will jump to 1/2 inch. You can also look for corner sofa bed for your kids room.

Similarly, dimensional lumber of 2-inch nominal thickness actually measures

15/8 inches. So be specific about the size you want, and check the extent

that the dressed lumber varies from the rough-cut size.

Health Care Reform – Growing Your Business – Not Your Overhead

Well, health care reform, or at least the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, is now the law of the land. And, what ever your personal feelings about this legislation, as a business owner or manager you need to prepare for the impact. We’re not accountants at UPi, and, like you, we are consulting with ours to understand the tax implications of this legislation.

What we do understand is that small and mid-size businesses are going to need to more closely consider the impact of their operating decisions and practices on their tax situation and federal liabilities. Adding that 51st employee or keeping them, is now more than just a simple hiring/firing decision. Similarly, if you are under 25 employees with average wages below $50,000 you’ll need to consider the benefits of new tax credits vs. the benefits of adding the next employee or offering raises to your employees. Again, your accountants will need to be involved.

If you go over 50 employees, you not only are subject to either providing health care benefits with a at least a 50% company contribution, you are also subject to rules regarding the % of wages an individual employee is forced to contribute and possibly penalties if certain employees opt out of your plan and join one of the Exchanges in order to obtain federal subsidies. You will be faced with possibly higher benefit costs, taxes and fines, and a new administrative burden to just try and keep track of it all.

Beyond the accounting implications, there have always been some good reasons to focus on productivity and headcount. Now, we have added some legislative cliffs so it would be wise to avoid falling off one of them.

Therefore, if you are below the magic 50 employee number (or 25 and want to get the new tax credits) and want to stay there but still grow your business, you need to find and adopt strategies and technologies that increase the productivity of your existing head count.

Fortunately there are a variety of areas you can explore:

• Automation with technology
• Outsourcing non-core functions
• Business process streamlining
• Organization changes
• Go to market strategies

Further automation of operations and administrative functions is almost always possible as technology moves on. If you’re still using checks to pay vendors, look into EFT (electronic funds transfer) through your bank or accounting software. Similarly, encourage your customers to pay you by EFT. You’ll get the money in the bank faster and eliminate the labor associated with processing a written check.
If you’re a distributor, new racking, scanners, load management software, or other automation may improve operations in the warehouse reducing costs and labor. For sales and service functions, investigate leveraging the power of smart phones and other handheld devices.

While it may be a dirty word in some corners, outsourcing (either on-shore or off-shore) certain business processes should be on your list of things to look at. Not all outsourcing means sending work and jobs to China or India. You can outsource by having payroll done by an outside firm vs. an internal payroll department (your bank might provide this service). If you run a call center, there are a number of providers who can do that for you (many with domestic operations so your customers will never know they’re not talking to you).

Another approach is to look for functions that are seasonal or have spikes in usage. Rather than staffing to perform these functions year round or continually hiring temporary workers, find an outside supplier that can perform these functions on an as needed basis. As an example, our affiliated photography business recently outsourced photo editing. We’ve reduced costs by 75%, improved turnaround, and improved productivity by keeping skilled photographer resources shooting vs. editing. In our case we went with a Hungarian company but that was our choice. Make the power of the internet work for you too.

With the technologies and service providers available today, IT functions are a very good area to look for opportunities to outsource. Running your own data center and managing your own network is rarely cost effective and rarely provides high reliability. Now, with the added costs and administrative burden associated with each additional employee, this is an outsource opportunity that must be seriously evaluated.

Similarly, if your business’s accounting needs are very standardized, investigate one of the SAS (software as a service) solutions now available vs. keeping an old in-house accounting system running. Email can be outsourced to Google, Microsoft, or any number of providers. Both actions will reduce your capital investment and operating expenses while at the same time improving service and reliability.

If you’re serious about your business, invest in some outside skilled resources to take a look and give you an impartial assessment. Not only might you find waste that will bring dollars to the bottom line, you may uncover untapped skills or opportunities that can lead to revenue increases here to fore unimagined. Investigate your business processes, structure and markets.

Over time we all build up ways of doing things that might have made sense at some point but may not any longer add value to the business. Yet these processes become rituals that are performed every day, week, month and year and take up valuable labor time to accomplish. Look at your processes; ask yourself why are we doing this? Can we do it another way. Often times, the answer is we don’t have a valid reason or we can do it another, quicker way. Don’t be afraid to change.

Strategically modifying your business structure to split it into smaller units is something that might not be on the table but for these arbitrary distinctions of what is and what is not a small business. However, now you need to ask a few questions: Should we split unrelated businesses into multiple companies to keep them below these magic labor thresholds? Are there functions we do really well in support of our primary business that may be valuable as a service to other companies and might make money as a stand alone entity? Are there parts of our business that don’t fit now but that could be sold to somebody else? Exploring these and other questions can lead you to some remarkable step changes and opportunities.

Finally, you should look at the markets your in (products, geographies, industries) and ascertain if you are really making money or is something a drag on the overall business. Existing a product line, closing a branch office or even firing a customer are never easy decisions. There is always the easily identified lost revenue associated with the thing under consideration. But, you need to dig deeper and determine the true cost of that revenue and whether it’s really worth the effort.

In the end, the point of these improvements is not to keep a company artificially below 50 employees. The goal is to maximize the output, income, and performance of the business so that when it does need to grow beyond 50 employees, it powers through that barrier with a step change up not an incremental employee.

As we have said in our Perspectives on Cap and Trade for Carbon (an issue that is about to reemerge front and center in the ongoing national debate) and on Keeping Afloat in Tough Times, management action is required. For assessing your options to allow for continuing to grow without falling off the cliff, we recommend a high spot review of your business. Look for the areas that are labor intensive and for opportunities to reduce, improve the productivity, or eliminate that internal labor.

When performing your review and conducting the analysis, remember you not only need to reduce labor but you need to translate that reduced labor need into actual reduced head count. Taking an hour of labor out of everybody’s day improves productivity overall and maybe employee morale, but it still doesn’t take anybody out of the equation. An hour of reduced accounting time doesn’t mean you can let the accountant go. They can’t be replaced by using 8 hours saved in the warehouse. No, you must find ways to replace or eliminate entire jobs.

We understand that last sentence may sound harsh and an overreaction to a higher benefit cost or a $2000 per employee fine. However, we firmly believe that when the reality of the costs of this legislation begin to be felt; fines, premiums and administrative cost will all rise substantially.

Whatever ones politics, nobody who owns or runs a business can deny that a plan that uses 10 years of revenues (taxes, fines, fees) to cover 6 years of costs is not sustainable. As business owners and managers we need to adapt to this new reality by retooling our businesses and growing them not by working harder but smarter. When you need to go beyond that 50th employee, make sure you go to 100 employees not 51.

The business papers and political pundits are full of stories and opinions that talk about prolonged periods of mediocre jobs growth and economic activity, the end of American specialism. Well, we are one small business that’s not ready to surrender and accept mediocrity. We are confident there are a lot of other businesses out there that feel the same way and that the American dream is alive and well in the hearts and minds of its small and mid-size businesses, each looking to grow and prosper.

A Glance at Payroll – Strong Business Credit

Initially, managing two or three employees may seem relatively easy. You may even be able to handle the tax aspects on your own with the right amount of research and advice. However, as your business grows, you may find it more and more difficult to manage the distribution of funds-as well as the calculations involved in taxes and other deductions-to such a degree that you may wish to invest in a new employee or even an outside service to help you manage payroll services.

Failing to properly handle the multitude of fees, taxes, withholdings and other items required can bring on various legal issues and result in fees, back-taxes and numerous other problems. Having someone on-hand who can handle all of these responsibilities appropriately will ensure that the workload is out of your hands, and that you, the government and your employees are all satisfied, with no surprise fees or fines for improper payroll handling.

The various deductions are ever changing. It is safe to assume that, in the majority of the time, the rates increase; however, the problem comes when it’s time to track the increases. Historically, the United States has had a serious issue with Social Security, and thus, small business owners have to adjust their deduction models. Review the increases over the past decade and consider hiring additional help in this field.

AVOIDING VULNERABILITY

If your small business is threatened with a lawsuit, check with your insurance agent to see if the dispute or lawsuit may be covered by your business insurance policy. If the dispute or lawsuit is covered by insurance, then typically the insurance company is required to pay for the legal fees in defending the lawsuit as well as any judgment or settlement that is within the policy limits.

If your small business entails giving your clients advice, publishing articles written by others, manufacturing products, or engages in any other kind of business that might get you entangled in a lawsuit, the business is recommended to incorporate immediately.

In the case of an adverse legal judgment against the business, your personal assets could be wiped out. If your small business currently operates as a sole proprietorship, incorporating may be a good idea. Incorporating protects small business owners from personal liability of any judgments against the business. As members of a corporation, business owners enjoy limited liability, which means they are personally protected by small business laws from certain liabilities of the business and any adverse judgments.