This Is How You Prepare Your Home For Winter


Some people live for the summer and the warm weather it brings. Others cannot wait until the weather starts to cool in fall. Regardless of how you feel about it, the weather will soon start to get cold. Winter really is coming.

winter

That means you need to do a little work now to prepare your home for the cooler months. Doing so can save you money on heating, but it can also make sure you don’t have expensive and annoying repairs come spring. You should start by looking at the outside of your home.

Preparing The Outside Of Your Home

In any season, leaky roofs or doors are a problem. You pay good money to control the temperature of your home, and these gaps make it more expensive. That’s why neamb.com recommends taking a look at your roof. Any shingles that are loose can easily come off with a big snowfall. Along the same lines, check your doors and windows for drafts. If there are any, use silicone caulk outside to seal them up.

Because the weather will get seriously cold in winter, you also need to prepare your outside faucets. Start by removing garden hoses and storing them for spring. Then check the faucets themselves. Look into the spout for a metal stem. If you see one, your faucets are likely frost-free and don’t need anything. If there is no stem, you should shut off the water completely to the outside or install a sillcock with an integral vacuum breaker.

Closing Down Your Pool

Speaking of water, you have some extra work to do if you own a pool. Whether it’s above ground or not, you will need to winterize the pool so you can protect it. A treated pool is much less likely to give you problems next summer when you just want to get in the water.

In The Swim has an excellent page of winterizing kits for your pool, including:
● Winter “pills” that have a mix of enzymes and clarifiers to keep the water clear through winter.
● Covers for the whole pool and pumps to remove excess water from the top of the cover as the snow melts.
● Solar blankets that also act as covers.
● Patch kits for covers that develop small holes due to the weather.

What To Do Inside Your Home

Now that you’ve taken care of the outside and the pool, you need to look inside your home. Popular Mechanics has a great list of interior winterizing tips, such as:
● Changing your furnace filters so your heated air is clean.
● Turn any ceiling fans to reverse. (This pushes rising hot air back down to your level.)
● Consider installing storm doors and storm windows, as these can increase your energy efficiency for more comfort and lower costs.
● Hire a certified HVAC maintenance crew to make sure your furnace is working correctly.

If you have two homes and are leaving your summer residence, you should read this checklist from Travelers about preparing your home. Not only should you make sure your home is free of drafts and has a maintained furnace, you also need to drain your water pipes so they don’t freeze while you’re away.

Winterize Now To Save Time & Energy

The thing about fall and winter is that they can be here before you realize it. That’s why it’s so important to start preparing your house for cooler weather while it’s still warm. Check the outside of your house for problems with your roof, windows, and water system. Winterize your pool if you have one, then do some maintenance on the inside. This can go a long way to making sure you’re warm this winter.

How to overcome Financial Problems


How to tackle financial Problems
We have all been there. Financial woes and challenges happen to everyone at some point, and the stress and worry can be overwhelming. The most common financial problems and difficulties are:

Cash Flow
Economic Cycles
Funding
Unforeseen expenses
Poor financial management

Lets look at each in turn.

Cash Flow.

Keeping track of what money is coming in and going out of your business is essential. Remember, profit isn’t the same as cash flow. Your business may generate a large profit margin and you may experience strong growth, but if your money is all tied up in stock you may not be able to pay your suppliers.

Send out invoices promptly and be quick to chase overdue bills. Set out clear payment terms with suppliers. Get to know your customer payment dates and don’t ignore irregularities or delays — a poor paying customer might be about to go bust.

Efficient stock management. This is just as important as managing cash flow. Regularly reconcile your stock records. An efficiently managed stock control system will have a positive impact on your cash flow because you will never be holding too much stock, or have all your money tied up in it.

Stay on good terms with your lenders and keep them informed of any unforeseen outgoings or changes in forecasts. By developing a good relationship, based on trust, with banks and lenders, they’ll be more likely to treat you favourably should your business need future financial assistance.

Economic Cycles

Planning for cycles is largely a matter of recognizing that they exist. This may mean not assuming that the current good times will go on forever.

Plan for tougher times by limiting the costs you add to your business. In particular, be wary of paying higher recurring expenses such as rent.

Entrepreneurs tend to take on unnecessary expenses when times are
good, but this can sink you if a recession strikes. Look out for overly lavish expense accounts, over-reliance on high-priced professional advisors, products that don’t carry their weight, and even marginal customers you’d be better off without. Trimming these costs when times are good will help your profits now and may make the difference between success and failure when the cycle turns the other way.

Also think twice before adding expenses that may be hard to cut, or even cost more to cut than they do to keep. Chief among these costs is people. It can be emotionally as well as financially painful to lay off workers in the event of an economic downturn. And the costs for severance pay, unemployment insurance, outplacement and retraining may also be steep.

Remember: Even if your income statement and balance sheet are strong now, you have to practice cost containment to be ready for the next recession.

finance

Funding

Firstly I need to point out that “The best finance is no finance” however few of us have the luxury of no Finance.

Bank Loans
Normally this is the first place the young entrepreneur thinks of. Since the Financial Crisis in 2008, Banks lending standards have got a whole lot tougher. However some Banks have set aside funds for Small Business Lending. It is always worth contacting them, and compare their Terms and Conditions with other forms of finance.

Equity Funding
Is the process of raising capital through the sale of shares in an enterprise? It can be anything from a few thousand pounds from Mum and Dad to billions from giant “initial public offerings”. The concept is the same. You give up a part of your company in return for cash. Giving up part of your company may be a big ask but being too possessive can kill an idea before it has taken off.

Venture Capital
Is a type of private equity, provided by firms or funds to small, early-stage emerging firms that are deemed to have high growth potential in return for Equity or a stake in the ownership?

Friends and relatives
Can be a controversial method. Always consider that you are risking their financial future and jeopardizing important personal relationships. Offer up a strong business plan. This will show them that you are taking their money seriously, and always make them aware that they could lose everything!

Angel Funding
Or seed investor, is an affluent individual who provides capital for a business start up, usually in exchange for convertible dept or ownership equity.

Crowd Funding
Is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising monetary contributions from a large number of people. Debt-based crowd funding, also known as peer to peer “P2P” is where borrowers apply on line, generally for free, and their application is reviewed and verified by an automated system. Investors buy securities in a fund that makes the loans to individual borrowers. Investors make money from interest on the unsecured loan, the system operators make money from taking a percentage of the loan and a loan servicing fee.

In the years that I have grown my own business www.zzap.com I have learnt that in order to attract other peoples hard earned cash make sure you can tick each of these boxes:

1.Be an expert in your product and the market you are attempting to enter.
2.Don’t just follow the latest Fad. You need to show passion for the idea \ product, rather than just jumping on a bandwagon.
3.Keep the investors up to date. This is often overlooked.
4.Add experience. Surround yourself with people you trust who can fill in the gaps. No one knows it all.

There are many ways to raise capital but they all come at a price. Taking calculated risks is part of being a businessman. Be truthful with yourself, do your homework, know your market. Before anyone will invest in you they have to be convinced that you are a good bet. You will only convince them if you truly believe in yourself. You may be interested in my article “Learn your own way. The most underrated key to success.

Unforeseen expenses

Office Space
Before renting office space or purchasing property, think about how much space you need now and what you’ll need once your business starts to grow. Does your business require more than a home office can provide? Will temporary office space work?

Equipment & Maintenance
Don’t buy the latest model if you don’t need it. Remember to include basic office equipment in your budget, items like computers, copier, paper, scanner, desks and chairs. Use second-hand and discount sites such as eBay, Freecycle, Gumtree and surplus sales.

Employee benefits
Provide perks. It’s more cost-effective to retain good employees than recruit new ones. These perks don’t have to be pricey; benefits such as flexible schedules, telecommuting and casual dress codes can do a lot to boost retention.

Insurance
At a minimum, you need both employer liability and public liability coverage. It’s also a good idea to carry insurance for negligence, property, illnesses and injuries.
Negotiate with your insurance providers. Periodically review your coverage to see if it still meets your business needs. Talk to your provider and other insurers to get the best rates and best coverage.

Poor Financial management

Specialists can save you money and time. Legal professionals can untangle red tape and advise on legal challenges. Accounting specialists can translate tax codes, help maintain accurate payment and inventory records, and find grants to help fund your endeavours. Although expensive they can make that all important difference.

In conclusion

If you want to run a successful business then there are times when you will take calculated risks. This can lead to success or ruin. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You must realise that there is almost always a way out, and before you sink into deep depression you must explore every avenue. I hope I have shown you how to overcome some of financial problems and difficulties and hopefully ease your stress. One size does not fit all. But, by taking a positive approach there is every chance you will succeed.

How to Take the Stress Out of Tax Time


As a business owner, the last thing you need are more tasks on your to do list. And yet, that’s exactly what tax time presents because as we all know “doing your taxes” isn’t just one task, it’s a bunch of little tasks that add up to a huge pain. If you’re a small business owner, a piece of you is probably already starting to dread that impending April 15th deadline. But here’s some good news: While eliminating all of your tax time stress probably isn’t possible, it is possible to mitigate some of it. Here are a few tips:

Start early. All the little tasks required for preparing your taxes aren’t going to get any easier or any fewer in number the longer you procrastinate. If you know you’re going to have to go on a search and find mission to gather all the paperwork you need, then start now. If your records are well kept via your own filing system or with the help of accounting software, go ahead and make sure you can easily find everything you’re going to need to turn over to your tax preparer. Starting early, when there’s no need to rush, will keep your stress to a minimum and reduce the chances of making a costly mistake.

Make the most of helpful tech.As an employer, there are a lot of tax forms you have to deal with for each of your employees. From W-2s to 1099s, filling out and managing all these forms can be a real headache. Thankfully, there is extremely helpful W-2 software available today to help you manage all these forms. In addition to making filing your employee information easier, much of the available software updates automatically in order to account for new tax requirements, such as the Affordable Care Act Tax Provision.

Hire a trusted tax professional.Filing your taxes is a tedious and unforgiving business. Even if you’re a math whiz interpreting the many forms you’ll need to fill out can be a challenge if you aren’t well-trained in tax prep. There is certainly no shame in hiring a professional to prepare your taxes for you. To find the right person for your business, ask some of your fellow business owners who they use, check out Yelp reviews, and always interview potential candidates. When you know you can trust and rely on your tax preparer, tax time becomes a little easier.

Set aside some time for relaxation.Tax time doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Sure, you might have a to spend a couple extra hours in your office here and there to make sure you’re all set for April 15th, but be sure to offset it with some “you” time. Get a massage. Go for a jog. Have a little dance party for one in your office. Regardless of the activity, do something you love to put tax time out of your mind for a bit.

Yes, tax time is stressful, but when you take the right steps early in the process, you can do a lot to reduce your stress load. April 15th may seem far away now, but it will be here before you know it. Start taking steps to get ready today so that you can be less stressed down the line.