25 Profitable Projects for your Welding Business

ROB STARR | January 22, 2019

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Welding is a skill that you need to perfect over time with lots of practice. There’s no reason why you can’t combine it with creativity to make some money with these 25 profitable welding projects. This is a real blast from the past and something that harkens back to frozen TV dinners. That’s why even though the project is called TV tray dinner, you can use it for a side table. One of the best things about this project is it’s easy for beginners because the frame is simple. Big construction companies are always looking toward cutting costs. A good way to do that is by buying custom tractor forks that can be used for other purposes too. It’s a welding job but you need some of the bigger toys like a MIG welder and plasma cutter to get going.

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The Four Most Conventional Small Business Legal Issues Confronted

Article | September 1, 2021

While small business owners are typically preoccupied with the day-to-day operations of their businesses, they frequently ignore the small business legal issues and obstacles that they are likely to encounter in the future. Thus, it is a pressing need of an hour, majorly after the COVID-19, to identify their legal challenges and be well prepared for them. The neglected or untimely addressing of the legal issues could cost you a big deal and prove disastrous, and might even be challenging to recover. This article will describe legal issues affecting businesses and how to avoid them tactfully. There are myriad essential aspects of the business to be considered, such as overhead costs, marketing, employee management, business & marketing budget, etc. Among all these, legal aspects of business also hold a similar level of importance but are usually underestimated issues for business. Legal counsel from a reputable legal firm can guide you in identifying prospective issues and preparing for the future. Spend time ensuring that your firm is legally solid. Here are the most common small business legal issues encountered, and you should be cautious about. Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Establishing the wrong business structure stands first in the list of legal issues and is also critical. The business entity is classified into sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, S-Corp, or C-Corp, and each has its own set of tax structure and legal obligations. However, registering under the wrong ones has a severe repercussion. Business law issues are not limited to tax laws; state and federal legislation changes may also impact a company's risk profile. Contracts are another significant legal issue raised by COVID-19. Unfortunately, once the courts begin to normalize their work environment, precedence will be given to criminal and family law proceedings. Thus, resulting in delays in contract disputes, which will have to wait years to be resolved. Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Businesses are constantly developing new and distinctive ideas, technologies, products, and marketing strategies. However, many small business owners believe that intellectual property issues are not their responsibility and only large corporations deal with them. This is the reason often these legal aspects of business are a common issue among small businesses. It is advisable to do in-depth research before naming your business or launching any new products or services to avoid using and enforcing identical trademarks, which will count as infringement. The consequences of infringement are atrocious. The owner will have to alter their name and suffer legal consequences, including damages and attorney's costs. Without trademark registration, ventures risk losing the right to their branding, wiping out years of effort and investment. Securing a trademark registration precludes the occurrence of any of these issues and inconveniences. It is needful to protect intellectual property and law for small businesses. So, consult an expert attorney or business adviser to identify what should be secured by copyright, patent, or trademark. Improper Licensing Every business must have a valid license to operate. However, it may be perplexing and challenging for novice business owners. Before you may lawfully trade, you must obtain a license. Improper licensing leads to business law issues and is one of the most common small business legal issues. Government licensing requirements vary according to the kind, size, and location of the firm. Additionally, the business license is contingent upon the goods or services provided by the business. Therefore, licensing costs vary according to location. Obtaining a license for your particular business demonstrates that you are knowledgeable about your industry and are capable of operating the appropriate equipment. If you are discovered conducting business without the proper license, you may face severe fines or possibly have your business activities halted. An experienced small business lawyer will help you through the paperwork and ensure that your business is properly licensed. Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Among many legal concerns, one of the most frequent business legal issues for small businesses are improper employment or termination of workers. Unfortunately, numerous small business owners make the error of employing or terminating staff without proper paperwork or agreement. Inadequately executed agreements or employee contracts expose your small business to litigation. Having a written contract is necessary and differs as per the employees whether they are full-time, part-time, and casual. The written contract includes information about the employee and employment details such as: Stipulate payment Rights and responsibilities of the employees Benefits Termination clauses Date the contract was signed Potential reasons for termination The employment contract needs to clarify the terms of employment, conduct, grounds of termination, expected behavior from employees, etc. Employees are asked to abide by this contract. In case of violation, within your legal rights, you can terminate their employment and safeguard every small business's needs. If you have employees or contractors, you must adhere to small businesses' federal and state employment laws. Conclusion Dealing with the legal aspects of business is not a pleasant task, but you cannot ignore it, and if you do, you may have to pay the price. Small business legal issues are critical business law issues that impact a large number of small business owners. Few small business owners are familiar with the legal elements of a business. It is crucial to engage a legal team to assist you in navigating it smoothly and avoiding the danger of destroying the future of your business. Frequently Asked Questions: What are the primary legal issues that small businesses face? Small businesses face many legal issues in their business operation, but the major ones are: Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Shareholders' Agreement Improper Licensing Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Response to Changes in the Law and Regulations Employee Termination How can a business overcome legal issues? Below are few tips for businesses to overcome legal issues: Recognize your regulations Inform yourself about labor laws. Acquaint yourself with intellectual property Select the appropriate attorney Maintain Vigilance { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What are the primary legal issues that small businesses face?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Small businesses face many legal issues in their business operation, but the major ones are: Establishing the Wrong Business Structure Shareholders' Agreement Improper Licensing Inadequate Protection of Intellectual Property Not Hiring or Firing Employees the Right Way Response to Changes in the Law and Regulations Employee Termination" } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "How can a business overcome legal issues?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Below are few tips for businesses to overcome legal issues: Recognize your regulations Inform yourself about labor laws. Acquaint yourself with intellectual property Select the appropriate attorney Maintain Vigilance" } }] }

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As Small Business Hiring Booms, Distributors Sit on the Sidelines

Article | March 5, 2020

As most industries allocate time, money, and other resources into finding new employees in a labor market where the national unemployment rate is hanging at 3.5% — and substantially lower in some areas — at least one index says that distributors are sitting on the sidelines. According to the CBIZ Small Business Employment Index (SBEI), which tracks hiring trends for U.S. companies with 300 or fewer employees, 2020 kicked off with a seasonally-adjusted increase in hiring of 1.61% for January. “This is a notable improvement over the 1.16% decline in December,” CBIZ SBEI says. “It is also a remarkable number for January, as companies tend to contract their labor forces due to the end of the holiday shopping season.”

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The Horeca Sector Cannot Escape the Universal Trends Either

Article | August 18, 2021

The term "Horeca" is an abbreviation of "Hotel", "Restaurant" and "Café". It represents a very diverse sector, i.e. from star-restaurants to catering and canteens to brasseries up to small, local cafes. A small country like Belgium counted end 2017 almost 60.000 horeca-enterprises (7% of all Belgian enterprises), thus showing the importance of this sector. Furthermore with a total revenue (also end 2017) of over 15 billion EUR and more than 75.000 people employed in this sector, it remains an important economical actor for the Belgian economy. It is undisputable that the Covid crisis has been a disaster for this sector. However, now that life gradually returns back to normal, it is likely that the trends which were already launched in the horeca sector before the crisis will be even enforced and accelerated. With new habits come new customer needs related to the horeca. Think about the company canteens. With more people working from home, this sector will have to reinvent itself. Most likely they will start offering also prepared meals directly to consumers via supermarkets and other distribution channels. Obviously, this will force other actors in this market to reinvent themselves, thus launching a chain reaction. Even more pronounced is the impact of take-away and delivery. While a large group of the population was still a bit hesitant to consume take-away, the Covid-confinements also forced this group to start exploring these new services. At the same time, restaurants which were not offering take-away services before were also forced to adapt. As a result, take-away and meal delivery services have known an exponential boost and this trend, although it will know a small set back when the pandemic is fully over, is here to stay. Unfortunately the horeca sector was already a sector with a lot of difficulties before the crisis. The sector historically copes with one of the highest percentages of businesses bankruptcies , especially when looking at the first 5 years following the establishment of the business. This is often caused by the fact that many people consider the horeca as an easy way to entrepreneurship, founding their businesses with a poor of even no business plan. At the same time there is of course the strong dependency on labor. As this sector is very labor intensive, margins are low due to the high labor costs. Furthermore with hard work and irregular and long working hours, horeca businesses have more and more difficulties to find motivated and qualified personnel. Additionally the sector, being so fragmented, often lacks professionalism, not really for the horeca-activity (i.e. the preparation and serving of food and drinks) itself, but rather for the supporting activities like financial management, supply chain management (like good stock management), procurement… This makes that many restaurants have a poor view on the breakdown of their costs and revenues, thus losing a lot of money in inefficiencies like expired stocks due to too large ordering, certain dishes which are not sold at the right price, employees being paid too much expensive overhours, bad negotiations with suppliers… Apart from the above very obvious trends, there are still a lot of other trends. These map perfectly with the 8 universal trends, I described in my earlier blog "Universal trends - Common over all industries?" - https://bankloch.blogspot.com/2021/01/universal-trends-common-over-all.html, i.e. Pressure on margins: margins are historically already low in the horeca sector, but are becoming even more under pressure, due to new forms of competition, like meal boxes (like HelloFresh or Foodbag), prepared meal services (like Mealhero), sharing platforms (like Thuisafgehaald or Menu Next Door), virtual restaurants (also called Dark Kitchens, i.e. restaurants without a physical location, but only serving online delivery platforms), living room and concept restaurants… This forces restaurants to work more professionally and efficiently and find a specific niche (of clientele willing to pay extra for specific product or experience). These efficiency gains can be achieved via digitalization (with regards to personnel management, cash register, stock management…) and new technologies (like 3D printers or cocktail machines like "Tenderone", "Bottletender"…), but also by being more selective on opening hours/days (especially for weekends and holidays), putting less (more specialized) choice on the menu card, making dishes less complex by investing more in the quality of the ingredients, by pushing more self-service (e.g. let the customer cut the food for the whole table, which has as a welcome benefit that it increase the customer experience). Trustworthiness: clients must have confidence (trust) in a horeca place they are visiting. Obviously, the customers must have the feeling of being treated fairly and respectfully (e.g. via a transparent and correct pricing), but they also want to be able to trust the product they are consuming (eating or drinking). This means providing more transparency, like providing more info about each dish and more its ingredients (important for specific diets and allergies), nutritional value and origin of the product (i.e. farm-to-table). Frictionless experience: the customer experience should be at pleasant as possible, meaning any friction should be removed where possible. This consists of frictionless ordering processes, via digital menu cards (providing details of each dish and allowing easy filtering) and direct ordering (directly to the kitchen), all the way to a frictionless checkout, consisting of digitally receiving and paying the bill. A multitude of solutions are available here, like full ERP solutions for horeca businesses (like Apicbase, Horeko, Square for restaurants, HorecaMakers, Growzer…), digital menu card solutions (like Kimeru, Digital Wizards, Futuresto, EasyButler…), ordering terminals and apps (like Futuresto, EasyButler, MyOrder, QCard, PayMyTable…), cash registers (like Lightspeed, RestoMax, Gastrofix, HorecaMakers…). Personalization: the most important trend for the horeca is obviously the personalization. This results in products and services adapted to the specific needs and desires of every customer. Additionally horeca businesses are being converted more and more into "Experience" places (i.e. surprise your customers, by selling them moments and letting them escape from the stress of day-to-day life), i.e. ensure to give the customer a unique, unforgettable experience, not only via the food and service, but also via the texture and color of the dishes, the building, the interior design… More in detail this trend means: New types of restaurants, like living room restaurants (enforcing a more personal touch and home feeling), concept restaurants, food markets, pop-up restaurants… Accommodating for different food and drink choices. Already around 20-25% of people have a specific food choice, meaning restaurants have to accomodate for people wanting to eat vegetarian, vegan, lactose-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, paleo, biological… Additionally people want alternatives for the traditional wine-card like different types of water, mocktails, non-alcoholic wine, champagne and spirits (e.g. Seedlip), luxury soft drinks (e.g. Crodino, Finley, Pinky Rose, Fentimans & Fritz-Kola) or special types of tea to drink the meal. Horeca places should become places to socialize, i.e. provide a home-feeling (i.e. a feeling of comfort, stability, trust, intimacy, warmth…), engage socializing between guests via guest tables, street food or sharing plates… Allow customers to compose their dishes themselves, cfr. Subway, Hawaiian Poke Bowl… Democratization: by working more efficiently, more automation and digitalization, it becomes possible to offer certain services and products in higher volumes and at lower costs and thus at a lower pricing. This means certain horeca products, which were before only available to the happy-few cannot be offered to a larger segment of the population. A good example are star-restaurants offering a standardized (simpler) version of their dishes via a take-out or catering service. Authenticity: restaurants are focusing more and more on providing an authentic experience, e.g. by transforming old factories or churches to restaurants, integrating open kitchens where guests can see the cooks preparing the dishes, chefs finishing plates at the customer’s table… Additionally there is a trend towards pure, simple and honest, meaning natural, artisanal and/or high-quality products (ingredients), which are prepared and served in a simple way. A good example of this are also the traditional dishes in a more luxury fashion, e.g. new types of éclairs (Chez Claire), croques (RemorK), hamburgers (Ellis Gourmet burger), meat balls (Balls & Glory)… ESG (Environment, Social and Corporate Governance): with customers being more sensitive about the environment and society, horeca places need to accommodate to this customer desire. Restaurants are working more and more with local, healthy (e.g. use of superfoods, use of less salt and fat…), biological/organic and Fairtrade products, but also with products with a lower ecological footprint, like e.g. replacing meat with insects, soya-based meat replacements or vegetables. Additionally horeca players need to avoid waste, via a no-waste kitchen concept (via e.g. smaller portions, trash cooking, creative usage of waste…), via anti-food-waste platforms (like Too Good To Go) and by reducing/avoiding packaging (e.g. avoiding plastic straws, cups…). Partnerships: as many businesses, a horeca business is more and more integrated in a concept, like incorporated in a shop or combined with an experience (like a horeca place in a brewery). Additionally due to the digital revolution, horeca places need to partner more and more with online ordering and delivery services (like Deliveroo, TakeAway.com or UberEats, potentially integrated via Deliverect), social media (like Facebook and Instagram) and food review platforms (like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Zomato, Foursquare…), reservation platforms (like TheFork, Tablebooker, Resto.be…) ordering and payment apps (like Dorst.app or Yummy.app). Additionally new players are coming on the market to help horeca businesses with their typical problems, like procurement (e.g. Tippr or Horeca Direct Shop) or recruitment (e.g. Mise en Place). It is clear that although the horeca sector is already centuries old, it is also undergoing major disruptions. In the end let us hope that all those evolutions can give us an even more enjoyable horeca experience.

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Employee Retention Strategies That Work for Small Businesses

Article | April 15, 2020

Whether you are the boss of one or many, each employee is important to your small business. Would you rather work on retention, or retraining? According to statistics, more than 3 million people quit their jobs every month, with one-third of those quitting during the first month of employment. Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomer – they all cite the same reasons for leaving a job. What’s the main reason? If you guessed money, you’d be right, but only partly right. “Money can’t buy happiness,” is an often-used quote, but it’s not the actual quote. It was “Money can buy material things, but real happiness must be truly earned,” which appeared in the William & Mary College quarterly publication in 1792.

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