Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Florida SBDC Offering Assistance to Small Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma

SBDC Disaster Recovery Assistance for Florida Businesses

This week, the recovery from devastating Hurricane Irma continues in Florida.

Small businesses remain closed or are struggling to re-open. And small business owners are faced with no electricity, limited cell service, damaged or destroyed properties, and limited resources to do anything about it.

According to Dun&Bradstreet, 2,111,467 potentially impacted businesses were identified by FEMA across 48 counties in Florida in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. 

That’s why the Florida Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is teaming up with disaster recovery specialists to lend a hand — and two RVs — to help get small businesses up and running again. Throughout this week, a pair of Mobile Assist Centers (MACs) are literally rolling across stricken areas of Florida hooking up small business owners in need.

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Florida Businesses

The two 38′ MAC RVs are equipped with all the tools they need to help business owners apply for federal and state disaster loans as well as provide relevant information of post-disaster assistance. The RVs are self-contained and come equipped with laptops, printers, internet connectivity, and more.

Michael Myhre, CEO and Network State Director of the Florida SBDC, said, “The Florida SBDC Network stands ready to assist our state’s small businesses in applying for federal and state disaster loan assistance to rebuild and to reopen.”

On Monday, the SBDC visited St. Augustine with its MACs. It will be in Jacksonville on Tuesday. And there are stops planned in Naples on Wednesday, Lehigh Acres on Thursday, and Immokalee on Friday.

The services on this bus and other help from the SBDC is available from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. each of those days. The American Red Cross, United Way of Florida, and FEMA representatives will be available to provide assistance and answer questions.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said, “I’ve seen firsthand the damage inflicted across the state, and it is my hope that these assistance centers will bring some relief for Floridians who suffered hardship from the storm. I would also like to thank all of the organizations, companies, and government agencies who are participating in this effort for their willingness and assistance during this difficult time.”

You can click here to for more information, or contact the Florida SBDC Network at (850) 898-3489 or Disaster@FloridaSBDC.org.

Image: Florida SBDC

This article, "Florida SBDC Offering Assistance to Small Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma" was first published on Small Business Trends

Florida SBDC Offering Assistance to Small Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Irma

Are You Keeping Up with Employee Recordkeeping Requirements? You Might be Surprised

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Are You Keeping Up with Employee Recordkeeping Requirements? You Might be Surprised

Did you know that employers who don’t file the required Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) reporting forms with the IRS may be subject to a $3 million maximum penalty? That’s enough to keep you up at night! And that’s just one legal requirement.

Employers today face a wide range of employee recordkeeping requirements, as this infographic from ComplyRight, a company dedicated to freeing small business owners of compliance burdens, makes clear. And those requirements seem to grow every year.

Paperwork and recordkeeping burdens can fall harder on small businesses because smaller entities have less staff to manage HR functions, or may not have dedicated HR resources at all. But the good news is that technology can help you stay on top of regulatory compliance requirements as an employer.

Here are some employee recordkeeping requirements that may surprise (or shock) you:

Job Postings

When employers post advertisements for new job openings, they must retain a record for one year according to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).

Job Applications

Employers covered under the ADEA, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and/or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII) must keep all job applications on file for at least one year. The one-year requirement applies to seasonal and temporary workers, too.


Solicited resumes must be kept on file for one year, per the ADEA and ADA. However, there is no requirement to retain unsolicited resumes.

Termination Records

The ADA and Title VII requires that all termination records be kept for one year after the employee’s termination date.

Benefit Plans

The ADEA requires benefit plans to be kept on record for one year following the termination of the plan under the ADEA. In addition, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) requires benefit plan records to be kept on file for six years.

Performance Evaluations

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires performance evaluations to be kept for two years.

Unemployment Tax Records

According to the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA), you should keep unemployment tax records for four years from the tax due date or payment, whichever is later.

I-9 Forms

I-9 forms and additional verification information verifying that employees are permitted to work in the U.S. need to be kept for three years from the date of hire or one year after the date of termination, whichever comes later. The applicable law is the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA).

Employment Contracts

If you have employment contracts with employees, you are required to keep all contracts for three years per the FLSA.

OSHA Forms for Injury and Illness

Employers with 11 or more employees must keep all forms reporting injury or illness for a minimum of five years after the end of the calendar year.

A Dizzying Compliance Landscape

As the above list illustrates, employers are subject to an ever-growing patchwork of employee recordkeeping laws.

It’s not just the number of legal requirements that makes compliance challenging. It’s the fact that the laws are ever changing — and complex.

Laws often are filled with nuance, exceptions and detailed definitions. Recordkeeping requirements can cover some employers based on their size or industry, but not others.

Laws also change frequently, and new laws and regulations are added. If you are caught unaware of a change or a new law, your company could end up paying hefty fines. Remember, lack of knowledge is usually not a defense.

Technology: Essential Foundation for Employer Compliance

Employee recordkeeping is one of those areas today where technology levels the playing field for small businesses.

A good employee recordkeeping app can help you better meet legal requirements that apply to your business — that’s a given.

But today’s best-of-breed recordkeeping software can add so much more value.

The best apps aid productivity by helping small business teams work smarter, not harder. Tip: look for software that’s fast to get started, intuitive and easy to use. Look also for features such as automatic prompts and reminders for added efficiency.

A good employee recordkeeping app can save money by managing risk. You gain peace of mind and sleep better knowing your small business has the tools to comply with complex recordkeeping requirements, just like large corporations.

Here’s one other huge benefit of technology: electronic records instead of paper. Maintaining hard copies of employee records not only requires a large amount of physical space but also demands extreme organization. The average employee wastes 400 hours each year searching for paper documents.

Electronic documentation is gaining traction over paper, according to ComplyRight. It’s no surprise why. When records are stored electronically, information is consolidated in one place and easily searchable. Staff can retrieve employee data in a few clicks.

And as your company grows, and records multiply, electronic recordkeeping systems make it easier to organize and retrieve growing volumes of data. Without the drag of inefficient paper, you can scale your business faster, too.

Where to Find Employee Recordkeeping Help

To see a thorough list of employee recordkeeping requirements and identify the ones that apply to your business, download the free “Employee Record Retention Guidelines for Employers and HR Managers” from ComplyRight.

And check out the Employee Records App from HRDirect. It’s free and quick to get started — and it simplifies managing employee records.

Manager Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Are You Keeping Up with Employee Recordkeeping Requirements? You Might be Surprised" was first published on Small Business Trends

Are You Keeping Up with Employee Recordkeeping Requirements? You Might be Surprised

15 Ways to Keep Your Business Travel Expenses to a Minimum

15 Ways to Keep Business Travel Expenses Down
With American business professionals making 405 million work-related trips a year, according to the Bureau of Transportation, expenses for these trips can certainly rack up quickly. While life on the road is full of costs from hotel stays to airline tickets and meals, keeping these expenses to a minimum is a must for every company looking to maintain economical operations. We asked 15 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) the following:

What’s the easiest way to keep business expenses down while traveling?

How to Keep Business Travel Expenses Down

Here’s what YEC community members had to say:

1. Use the Right Apps

“I have a folder on my phone where I keep my travel apps. These include several apps to search for inexpensive flights, as well as apps to find inexpensive hotels and apps for transportation. Never rely on just one tool or app. Sometimes a Lyft costs significantly less than an Uber, and vice versa. At times Airbnb accommodations are actually more than those from local apps. Be versatile!” ~ Marcela De Vivo, Brilliance

2. Book an Extended Stay Suite

“When traveling with two people, I have found it easier to get an extended stay with a two-bedroom suite. You only pay a little more and get a bonus ‘hang out’ family room and full kitchen. It’s awesome because you don’t have to hang out in each other’s rooms or the community bar, but have a private space to prep and relax.” ~ Brandon Dempsey, goBRANDgo!

3. Share Expenses

“Find out how much you can combine traveling costs with other team members, such as using an Uber rather than renting cars or taking public transportation. See if it is more reasonable to do an Airbnb rental of a small house over multiple hotel rooms. If you are traveling by yourself, focus on online discounts and use sites like Groupon to dictate restaurant choices and other services.” ~ Peter Daisyme, Due

4. Use Airbnb

“Airbnb is great because it’s typically less expensive than hotels and it gives you the ability to cook any of the meals you’re not having with clients. Not only is it a way to save money, but if you’re traveling with team members, cooking a meal together is a great way to bond. Also, if you’re health conscious, it makes it much easier to eat well.” ~ Mark Krassner, Expectful

5. Create a Budget for Your Team

“For young employees, a business trip is an overwhelming experience. Help them by giving them guidance on how to spend. Maybe suggest up to $9 for breakfast, $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. The point isn’t that the team hits those numbers, but that they’re in the ballpark (and yes, they can skip breakfast for a bigger lunch if they so choose), limiting the overall cost of the trip.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

6. Keep to Your Work Schedule

“By focusing your time on work instead of sightseeing you’ll save money and actually be using that time as a leveraged asset. It’s not the most romantic way to enjoy a business trip, but at least you’ll be getting work done and saving money.” ~ Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

7. Use Points

“Early on, select a ‘points family’ like Amex or Chase and try to spend all of your company’s expenses on credit cards in that family. You will quickly amass points that pay for your travel expenses when needed. If your business is anything short of travel-intensive and is growing, it’s possible to cover nearly all of your travel costs based on the growing points balance.” ~ Brennan White, Cortex

8. Be Honest With Yourself on Food and Drinks

“Airfare and hotel are the largest travelling expense, so do your best on that front. Outside of that, I see a lot of entrepreneurs using travel as a way to justify needing expensive meals and drinks. There is something about travel that makes an expensive five-star meal seem well deserved. Perhaps it is, but be honest with yourself and your budget.” ~ Douglas Hutchings, Picasolar

9. Incentivize Savings as Part of a Mini-Game

“As part of our open-book management approach adapted from The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company by Jack Stack, we look at our cost of goods and travel budget utilization every week. This gives everyone on the team visibility into the travel expenses and how quickly they add up. As a result, the team can really see how much travel contributes to, or detracts from profitability and the bottom line.” ~ Dan Golden, BFO (Be Found Online)

10. Find the Locals

“Find a local in the area that’s willing to give you the lay of the land, showing you the best places to eat (for the best prices), or the best spots to grab an Airbnb. Hunt down some Facebook groups, browse Craigslist, Reddit, or other local forums and social groups to find your guide.” ~ Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker

11. Plan Ahead

“I always plan as many items of a trip as possible ahead of time in an effort to reduce cost. Frequently I use points, book Airbnb if hotels prices are spiked and look into our destination’s restaurants to find something great that won’t blow out the budget. Just because something is expensive, doesn’t mean it’s the best. Having an agenda upon arrival allows for less unforeseen splurging.” ~ Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co

12. Use Prepaid Debit Card Set to Travel Budget

“Load a prepaid debit card with what you have allotted for the trip, with a focus on less over more, limiting food and extras. This has been a great way that has helped any impulse spending on a trip and killed any urge to splurge on anything.” ~ Angela Ruth, Calendar

13. Share Hotel Rooms

“One of the biggest ticket items when we travel to visit a customer or to attend a trade show is always the hotel. Engage your employees to be open to share rooms (same gender, of course), which not only allows you to save money but also brings your team together as they experience spending off-hours with their colleagues. Sharing a hotel room creates a new experience and cuts costs.” ~ Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

14. Don’t Travel Business Class

“International business class flights can run six to eight thousand dollars more than coach. That easily adds up to a budget for another employee or investing in other parts of the business while splurging a little bit when on location (e.g., a slightly nicer hotel). My longest coach trip? Boston, Tokyo, Sydney, Auckland, San Francisco, Boston in six days.” ~ Erik Bullen, MageMail

15. Stay Within Walking Distance of Your Meeting

“Check the walk score of an area before traveling and book your hotel or Airbnb within walking distance of your meeting. This will help you save money on transportation (and get some exercise) if you can walk rather than drive. If you can’t find something walking distance to restaurants, check online ordering companies such as GrubHub and Instacart to see if they deliver to your hotel room.” ~ Jared Atchison, WPForms
Business Couple Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "15 Ways to Keep Your Business Travel Expenses to a Minimum" was first published on Small Business Trends

15 Ways to Keep Your Business Travel Expenses to a Minimum

10 Things To Do After Incorporating or Forming an LLC

10 Things To Do After Incorporating or Forming an LLC

You’ve incorporated or formed an LLC for your business.  Now what? You spent time and energy figuring out which business structure to form and when to do it, but there can be just as many questions after incorporating a business or forming an LLC. And the steps you take after forming your business are critical to creating a solid legal foundation that will serve you and your business for years to come.

Things to Do After Incorporating

Here are the 10 essential legal steps to take after you have incorporated or formed an LLC:

1. Execute Your Organizational Documents

After you file your formation paperwork, you’ll need to create and execute your bylaws (Corporation) or Operating Agreement (LLC). These documents define your company’s internal governing rules, such as how meetings are held, what votes are required to take action, how stock should be issued, the officers and their duties for corporations. An LLC’s Operating Agreement defines the relationship of members and their responsibilities, how membership interests can be transferred, how profits and losses are allocated, and more.

2. Get an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An LLC or corporation needs its own federal tax ID number, also known as an Employer Identification Number (EIN). You’ll need this ID number in order to open up a business bank account or file your business tax returns properly. You can easily get an EIN with the IRS.

3. File Any DBAs (Fictitious Business Names) for Any Business Name Variations

If your company is going to be operating under any variation of the official company name filed on your formation paperwork, you will need to file DBAs, also called fictitious business names, for each of the variations. You should have your Corporation or LLC file the DBAs so they operate under the umbrella of your corporation or LLC. If you previously had a DBA as a sole proprietorship, you can cancel that DBA or just let it lapse.

4. Open a Business Bank Account

You will need to create a separate business bank account to keep all business transactions separate from your personal transactions. This step not only will streamline your business accounting and tax reporting, but it’s essential to maintaining the “corporate veil” that minimizes your personal liability. Most banks will require the business’ formation documents, organizational documents, and an EIN in order to open up the bank account. If you previously had a business bank account as a sole proprietorship or partnership, you’ll need to close that account and then open up a new bank account under the Corporation or LLC.

5. Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Incorporating or forming an LLC provides the legal foundation for your business, and a business license gives you the legal right to operate your business. Most types of businesses require federal or local licenses to operate (the specifics will depend on your type of business and location). You can find out what permits you need by contacting your local government or an online legal filing service.

6. Maintain Your Corporate and LLC Compliance

Your work isn’t done after you submit that initial paperwork. For both the LLC and Corporation, you’ll need to keep up with state paperwork (typically on an annual basis). For example, you’ll most likely need to file an Initial Statement of Information within your state and pay a small fee, and then continue filing an Annual Statement with the state each year. You’ll need to keep up with your estimated taxes on allocated corporation or LLC profits and file the annual tax returns for the LLC or corporation with both the IRS and your state. And corporations will need to file their annual meeting minutes for board of director and shareholder meetings.

7. Apply for Trademark Protection

When you incorporate, or form an LLC, you prevent another company from filing under the same name in the same state. But, this is far different than federal trademark protection which can protect your name in all 50 states. By officially registering your trademark with the USPTO (U.S. Patent and Trademark Office), you’ll help prevent others from choosing your name in the future (since there’s a public record of your trademark), and it will be easier to bring a suit in federal court in case someone else does begin using your name.

8. Prep Your Documentation to Work with Third Parties

If, like most businesses, you plan on frequently working with third parties (employees, contractors, customers), you should have paperwork to document each of these relationships. For example, you may want to have a non-compete form in place before hiring any employees. Or, you’ll need an Independent Contractor Agreement before using independent consultants. Anticipate these needs and get these documents in order up front so they’ll be ready to send and sign as soon as you need them.

9. Sign Agreements, Contracts and Loans in the Corporation’s Name

Now that you have formed an LLC or Corporation, it’s critical that you sign all important contracts under the official LLC or Corporation name filed in the paperwork. Unless it’s absolutely necessary, avoid signing business contracts as an individual.

10. Get Business Liability Insurance Coverage

Creating an LLC or Corporation is an important step toward minimizing your personal liability. However, it’s not a substitute for insurance. That’s because a corporation or LLC won’t protect you unconditionally from personal liability. For example, if your personal actions result in an injury, you can be personally liable. In addition, you will probably want to protect your business from personal injury or property damages in the event of a lawsuit. Insurance comes in different forms depending on your business needs, so you should discuss your specific business risks with an insurance agent or broker who’s familiar with small business.

This list may seem daunting to the first-time business owner, but don’t worry. Many of these steps, such as getting an EIN, can be done in minutes. You can even commit to tackling one task per day, and in less than two weeks, you’ll have a solid legal foundation for your business!

LLC Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "10 Things To Do After Incorporating or Forming an LLC" was first published on Small Business Trends

10 Things To Do After Incorporating or Forming an LLC

Want to Be Successful in Business? Make Your Bed in the Morning (INFOGRAPHIC)

Want to Be Successful in Business? Try These Morning Habits of Successful People (INFOGRAPHIC)

Every business owner has a unique entrepreneurial journey, but there are a few traits that most successful entrepreneurs have in common. Waking up early and being active happen to be two of them.

That’s what data compiled by serviced apartment agent, SilverDoor, seems to suggest.

Morning Habits of Successful People

Early to Rise

Data shows successful people prefer getting up early to have some much-deserved me time. PepsiCo CEO, Indra Nooyi, for instance, wakes up as early as 4 am. Disney CEO, Bob Iger, is also an early riser, getting up every day at 4:30 am.

Most of these successful entrepreneurs and influencers have an optimistic view of life. And that could be attributed to their habit of writing notes of gratitude in the morning.

Make the Bed

Surprisingly enough, the seemingly innocuous task of making the bed is quite a useful way to start the day.

Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, in fact refers to bed making as a keystone habit, which is a good decision that begins a chain of other good decisions throughout the day.

Eat Well and Hydrate

The importance of a nutritious meal to kick start the day cannot be stressed enough.

Experts believe starting the day with healthy food and plenty of water makes people less stressed and less tense. It also helps you stay focused as you’re not distracted by your growling tummy.

Ideally, you should aim for around three glasses of water early in the morning to stay hydrated. As for food, healthy proteins and fats are the best option.

To find out the other early morning habits of some of the most successful business CEOs, check out the infographic below.

Want to Be Successful in Business? Try These Morning Habits of Successful People (INFOGRAPHIC)

Images: SilverDoor

This article, "Want to Be Successful in Business? Make Your Bed in the Morning (INFOGRAPHIC)" was first published on Small Business Trends

Want to Be Successful in Business? Make Your Bed in the Morning (INFOGRAPHIC)

Apply These 5 Techniques to Help Employees Return to Work After a Medical Absence

How to Help Employees Return to Work After a Medical Absence

When a worker gets hurt or sick and misses a substantial amount of time, it can be hard for you as a business owner to know what to do. The situation can become even more challenging when it’s time for the employee to return to work after a medical absence.

If you don’t have a plan for dealing with people’s return as well as their absence, this could become a major distraction.

Balancing Responsibilities as a Business Owner

Any sort of employee sickness or injury — regardless of whether it was sustained on the job — is sensitive. Obviously, rules, laws and company-specific protocol have to be respected as well as the personal side of the matter.

On the one hand, you have a duty as a human being to be compassionate and caring for your employee in the person’s time of need. On the other, you have to keep the operation running efficiently and ensure people get back on the job as soon as possible.

It’s a fine line to walk, and you can appear insensitive or careless if you wander too far to either side. A correct answer or step-by-step process you could follow every time an employee went through a sickness or injury would be great, but every situation is wholly unique.

What works in one instance might be inappropriate or ineffective in another. The goal, however, should always be to encourage the employee to return to the job as swiftly as possible after recovery.

From there, the objective is to ensure the worker’s reunion with the company and his or her job is smooth and successful.

How to Ensure Employees Enjoy a Seamless Return to Work

Getting workers back to work after an injury or illness is hard enough. Getting them to return to work without any other issues can be even more challenging. It can be done, though, and the following tips should help you understand how.

1. Implement a Return to Work Program

Studies show that employees who remain out of work for more than 12 weeks as the result of a job-related injury have a less than 50 percent chance of ever returning.  It’s also been shown that, in most instances, getting employees back to work sooner reduces the overall claim cost associated with the incident, since the most significant portion of workers compensation costs is payment for lost wages (indemnity).

Though there are obviously things you can’t control, such as serious injuries that require many months of recovery, it’s a smart strategy to design a formal return-to-work program that dictates a systematic approach to the process of reintegrating employees.

A return-to-work program also raises employee morale and helps workers return to their duties with minimal friction. According to AVMA PLIT, a provider of professional liability insurance, there are seven key benefits to developing a return-to-work program. Such a program will:

  • Reduce the probability of fraudulent claims,
  • Allow a business to receive production in return for wages being paid,
  • Save costs of training and replacing employees,
  • Speed up the healing process for the individual,
  • Promote good morale throughout the organization,
  • Help the employee stay mentally and physically acclimated to the work schedule,
  • Reduce negative financial impact of the injury or illness.

Some businesses are automatically turned off by the notion of launching another costly program, but the fact is that return-to-work programs don’t actually cost much. According to one source, more than half of employers report no cost, while 38 percent experience only a one-time cost which is usually $500 or less.

2. Acknowledge Financial Issues

Speaking of money, it’s worthwhile for employers to recognize the total cost of a medical absence and encourage open discussions with the employee. Not only does the company have to deal with the financial ramifications of the incident, but so does the employee.

This is especially true if the medical absence is unrelated to work. If the employee is okay with it, sit down and discuss the financial pressures he or she is facing. A single hospital stay can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and bills that are past due by even just 30 or 60 days will sometimes be sent to collections.

Supporting and educating employees as they deal with medical debt can go a long way toward improving employee morale and empowering everyone to focus on work.

3. Make Communication Paramount

On a related note, communication is vital in all phases of reunification. The employer should be in constant dialogue with the worker from the moment a medical absence starts until well after the employee has returned to normal work duties.

Encourage regular meetings with HR or company counselors to ensure the employee feels like his or her needs are being addressed in an appropriate manner.

4. Make Reasonable Adjustments

Throwing someone back into the work grind after an extended absence isn’t necessarily wise or healthy. You’ll want to facilitate a smooth transition and make reasonable adjustments to ensure the employee feels cared for physically, mentally and emotionally.

According to Fit for Work, workplace adjustments can be permanent or temporary, and may include:

  • Additional training or retraining (depending on the circumstances),
  • Modification of working hours and work patterns, such as part-time remote working,
  • A phased return to work,
  • Excused absences for doctor’s visits and rehabilitation or treatment,
  • Modifications to work equipment.

The primary objective is to make sure the employee is able to do the job safely and effectively. In most cases, these modifications can be made with minimal financial investment.

5. Take Privacy Into Account

HIPAA laws always come into play any time an employee is injured or becomes ill. Though this usually isn’t an issue, it occasionally poses a problem when it involves an employee returning to work when he or she is still dealing with the lingering effects of a medical incident.

For example, say an employee returns to work in a warehouse where he operates heavy machinery. You know the worker is recovering from a very painful injury and that he may possibly still be on opiates, or other powerful pain medication.

It would likely be unsafe for him to do his job while under the influence of these drugs, but you can’t specifically discuss what medication he is on, unless he volunteers the information. In instances like these, it’s a good idea to hire some sort of intermediary who can coordinate between insurer, healthcare providers, employee and your company.

Many companies do this now, and it creates an added layer of protection for everyone involved.

Are You Doing Your Part?

There’s nothing easy about dealing with employee illness or injury. It’s unfortunate and can be uncomfortable for all parties involved.

As the employer, you have a duty to support the individual, while ensuring a speedy return that poses the least amount of hardship on the business. Are you fulfilling your dual obligations?

Injured Businesswoman Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Apply These 5 Techniques to Help Employees Return to Work After a Medical Absence" was first published on Small Business Trends

Apply These 5 Techniques to Help Employees Return to Work After a Medical Absence

Pizza Shop Runs Unique Loyalty Program Offering Free Tattoo, Free Pizza

Pizza Shop Runs Unique Loyalty Program -- Get Ink, Get Free Pizza

Washington, D.C. based pizza shop &pizza is running a promotion to generate buzz for its newest Manhattan location opening up.

If you get a tattoo of an ampersand (the ‘&’ symbol), you’ll receive free pizza for an entire year.

It all started when &pizza decided to begin paying for its employees (or as they prefer to be called — tribesmen) to get tattoos.

Many employees decided to take advantage of the policy by inking themselves with the &pizza logo itself.

Lastoria calls &pizza “an anti-establishment kind of establishment. A non chain, chain.” And since tattoos often symbolize nonconformity, he promotes it.

He said:

“We’re not doing this because we want [employees] to swear their allegiance to us like we’re some insane dictator…We’re doing it because we listen to our people. They love the symbol, they love the look of it and they love what it stands for.”

Because the only thing worse than getting a tattoo that pledges your allegiance to a capitalistic business mogul is swearing your allegiance to some insane dictator.

Here he is trying to raise the minimum wage, which doesn’t sound socialistic at all:

Lastoria himself does not have the “&” tattoo — but he’s probably just not ready to commit to it yet.

The employee tattoo policy became such a hit that &pizza has extended it to its most loyal customers, too.

When they open their latest shop in Manhattan on October 3, the first 23 people in line can get a free “&” tattoo, along with a free year of pizza. And if the past &pizza tattoo promos tell us anything, the ink is gonna be wild.

The ink-for-free-pizza promo began in Baltimore, where the first five people in line received free & tattoos. One guy apparently got an “&” that took up his entire bicep. That’s dedication.

So if you don’t want to pay for your pizza or your tattoo, and you do want to fight corporate power and capitalistic advertising hop on over to &pizza on October 3. Next month I’m hoping for a Michael Kors tattoo. I could really use a new handbag.

Pizza Photo via Shutterstock

This article, "Pizza Shop Runs Unique Loyalty Program Offering Free Tattoo, Free Pizza" was first published on Small Business Trends

Pizza Shop Runs Unique Loyalty Program Offering Free Tattoo, Free Pizza