Archives for Client Side Homepage

A Good Company Culture Shouldn’t Be Hard to Find

In the popular television show “The Office,” branch manager Michael Scott tries hard to develop a good company culture – maybe even too hard. He throws outlandish holiday get-togethers, hosts crazy casino parties in the office, and invites co-workers on a motivational cruise that is anything but that! His over-the-top antics squash the morale he is trying to build and push office culture even further away from being a productive, happy place to work. Building a good company culture doesn’t have to be difficult.

 

What is Company Culture?

A company’s culture is a key part of a business and affects many aspects of its organization. It includes hiring top talent, fostering professional development and job growth opportunities, recognizing employees for their contributions, and promoting positive work relationships. When a culture is not good, employees have a hard time engaging in their work, become less productive in their roles, and eventually leave for a better work environment.

 

How Companies Build Good Culture

Leaders can avoid this kind of unhealthy situation. In its 2018 Global Culture Report, O.C. Tanner, which develops employee recognition and reward solutions for companies all over the world, found that companies are moving toward “shaping more positive, meaningful experiences for employees every day.” To do this, O.C. Tanner suggests company leaders assess how they are doing in the following areas:

  • Do you offer meaningful purpose for employees?
  • Are there opportunities for growth?
  • How are employees recognized for their contributions?
  • Does your organization promote belonging and inclusion?

 

Working Together and Sharing Office Cats at The Barter Company

At The Barter Company, we promote a healthy work environment and positive company culture in both traditional and non-traditional ways. On the traditional side, we enjoy lunch as a team to build camaraderie, participate in fun trivia contests, and celebrate individual and team successes. We also barter with member organizations to provide on-the-spot perks such as restaurant or wellness gift certificates, sports lessons, and weekend getaways to reward employees who have reached their goals. Check out the services available from The Barter Company that can be offered to employees to help them feel appreciated for their work.

 

In addition, our team volunteers to support MUST Ministries, an Atlanta-based organization that works to restore lives one person and one community at a time. The Barter Company staff is also involved in the annual golf tournament that raises money for the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation-SE Region, and area animal rescue organizations. That’s how Bobo and Roscoe became a part of our office.

 

On the non-traditional side, our office is pet friendly. In fact, it’s more than that. It’s home to Bobo and Roscoe, two cats whom our team members take care of together. Bobo and Roscoe make sure they greet everyone who comes into the office and help visitors feel welcome. Everyone in the office takes turns caring for Bobo and Roscoe and taking them to the vet. This combined care and ownership helps build a sense of community and commitment among our team members and offers friendly faces with unconditional love throughout the day.

 

What Would Michael Scott Say?

Since “The Office” is now shown just in reruns, we’ll never know how Michael Scott might have fared in his culture-building attempts if he had followed better examples. Maybe if he had recognized employees or adopted an office cat, he might have been more successful.

Read more

Why use cash to pay your bills? Use barter instead!

Imagine running your business or non-profit and paying bills with trade instead of cash. Many organizations in your area are doing just that, including the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation – SE Region.

“We are tremendously appreciative to receive support from The Barter Company’s golf tournament as well as barter for other items we need without having to spend cash,” said PBTF Regional Director Tammy Bates. “Every penny we receive in donations is vital to the work we do. Barter allows us to use the money we raise to directly help these kids and their families instead of for administrative expenses.”

More than 28,000 children in the United States are living with the diagnosis of a brain tumor, and 13 more cases are identified every day. The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation works to eliminate the challenges of childhood brain tumors.

The Barter Company has established itself as the leading force in the barter industry throughout the Southeast. They provide businesses with an alternative currency network by using barter dollars instead of cash to handle transactions.

Are you ready to see how barter can work for your company? Contact The Barter Company today.

Visit www.thebartercompany.com or call 770-591-4343.

Read more

Leaders Need to Recharge to Keep Taking Charge

How many hours a week does a CEO typically work? 50? 60? More? According to a 12-year Harvard Business Journal study of 27 CEOs published last year, they work 62.5 hours a week and conduct business on 79% of weekend days, on average. Clearly, their time, energy and ideas are always in demand by employees, customers, and colleagues. That type of packed schedule leaves a CEO (or anyone working a similarly demanding schedule) scrambling to fit in time to spend with family and friends, working on hobbies or relaxing!

To keep fit mentally for such intensive schedules, many CEOs and entrepreneurs herald the importance of taking time off to recharge, reenergize and reconnect. Recently, The Barter Company owner Ric Zampatti took the opportunity to get away on a trip to Israel and France. “The timing of this trip was perfect. We visited Israel just a few weeks before Easter and in Paris we were lucky to see Notre Dame Cathedral just before the fire,” said Zampatti. “During our downtime and on the plane, I had a chance to reflect and think about the big picture and our overall company goals in the coming year. And, I never worried about the day-to-day details.”

Zampatti came back energized and full of ideas for how The Barter Company can better tackle business at hand and make plans for future growth. As a side benefit of his trip, The Barter Company team members reported that they were able to accomplish many tasks as well as keeping clients happy – a win-win for everyone!

Whether you are a CEO or have another leadership role in an organization, it’s important to give your brain and body a break and time to refuel. In his book “Wired for Thought,” NY Times best-selling author, brain scientist and entrepreneur, Jeff Stibel writes that, “If you overtax your heart, the next thing you need to do is relax, or you’ll die.” He notes that the same care is required for the brain. “Do too much, and you’ll burn it out. You’ll make bad choices.”

Consider these strategies to prepare for and take time away from the office for much-needed mental recharging:

  • Plan a trip that you look forward to taking,
  • Delegate responsibilities to trusted employees,
  • Let key customers know you will be out and who to contact during that time,
  • Commit to checking email rarely, if at all, while on vacation, and
  • Bring a journal to write down ideas that may start flowing as you unwind.

After preparing for your time out of the office, head out with confidence that your team can handle whatever comes up. You will come back find yourself – and your team – rejuvenated and ready for business.

Read more

Mid-Year Offers Perfect Time to Take Stock of Your Company’s Finances

Maycember. That’s what many people have begun to call May with its overload of graduations, end-of-school parties, recitals, and children’s sports tournaments that are all scheduled within in the same few weeks. May schedules can be daunting, but June soon follows — the perfect month to take stock of your business and personal finances and update plans for the rest of the calendar year.

Setting a regular schedule to create and update financial plans is a smart business practice. When times are good financially, it can be easy to just keep moving forward with day-to-day tasks without planning ahead. During favorable economic times, it’s hard to think about preparing for a business or economic slowdown. However, that’s exactly when business owners should make it a priority to conduct financial reviews to ensure your plan helps you prepare for times when sales and cash flow are reduced. Having time set aside for planning can help make it become a habit for you and your business.

One of our Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, famously noted about the importance of planning when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Whenever you conduct your business planning, do some research to see how barter can help with cash flow. Many business owners are under the misconception that barter is useful only in an economic downturn or when you’re starting a business. In reality, most businesses can only handle approximately 5-10% of total sales (depending upon the company size) attributed to barter. Now, when times are good for most businesses, barter can be easily integrated into your cash management system. Then, if there is a downturn you will already have saved cash on many everyday expenses. In addition, barter offers you the opportunity to sell excess inventory and merchandise to get things you need for yourself or your business.

Consider barter as you update your financial plan for the rest of this calendar year or prepare for your new fiscal year. Barter can help you save cash, gain new customers, and grow your business in good and bad times … and even during crazy #Maycember times.

Read more

Kennesaw’s Barter Company Founder Receives Lifetime Achievement

Kennesaw’s Barter Company Founder Receives Lifetime Achievement

Barter Company CEO Ric Zampatti received a Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Trade Exchanges at their convention.

KENNESAW, Ga. — At the 35 th Annual National Association of Trade Exchanges (NATE) Convention, Ric Zampatti, Founder and CEO of The Barter Company was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to a pivotal member of the organization who has provided ongoing leadership, guidance, and support to NATE during their membership.Zampatti founded The Barter Company in 1996 as a one-person operation in a small office. Today, The Barter Company is located in Kennesaw and exists to help its more than 2,500 clients prosper and have the best, most beneficial experience in the barter industry. The company operates throughout the Southeast and serves thousands of clients who, combined, trade an average of $15 million annually.

President of NATE Kim Ames presented the award to Zampatti.

“While we have many active members, the choice for the Lifetime Achievement Award this year was easy,” she said. “Ric Zampatti has built his trade exchange from the ground up with integrity and professionalism every step of the way. At the same time, he has provided direction and support to NATE. He was an early adopter of barter technology and is always looking for ways to positively impact our organization and the industry.”

 

Read more

Why use cash to buy things? Use barter instead!

Imagine paying for things with trade instead of cash. Many people and businesses in your area are doing just that, including Stars and Strikes with locations throughout Atlanta and the South.

Brad VanBuskirk, Director of Purchasing for Stars and Strikes, explains how barter has been beneficial for them for several reasons:

Markets our product to a large network of people who may have never visited one of our locations.

Offers our product in exchange for a wide variety of products and services we need such as marketing, advertising, and carpet cleaning.

Rewards staff with incentives such as golf outings, cabin rentals, Six Flags tickets, and the Tennessee Tri Pass.

Push more money to our bottom line by trad-ing instead of coming out of pocket.

“The options available through barter are endless!”

 

Ready to see how barter can work for you? Contact us today at barterco.com or call 770-591-4343.

 

“When I was planning my husband’s surprise birthday party, I found that Stars and Strikes was the perfect place. We had a private room, food, drinks, and bowling. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to have his party. Everyone had a great time and he was completely surprised! And, everything was taken care of through barter!”

Read more

In 2019, I Resolve to Spend Less and Save More. How Do I Do That?

How many times have you told yourself that THIS is the year you will improve your life by making an important change like exercising more, eating healthier, spending less or saving more? If your 2019 New Year’s resolutions involve money, a recent Fidelity Investments study indicates that you’re not alone. In fact, the survey shows that nearly one-third of Americans plan to make a money resolution for 2019, with 48 percent planning to save more, 29 percent aiming to pay down debt, and 15 percent aspiring to spend less.

The article lists 20 options for people to consider if they are making money resolutions. They include proven methods such as identifying your financial goals, tracking spending, paying off debt and automating savings, to name a few options. These are certainly good methods, but there is one missing: barter. Bartering is an excellent way that individuals and companies can achieve important money goals like saving more and spending less. And, for people who own a company, bartering for business-to-business (B2B) services offers another avenue for improved cash management.

Barter is not a new concept. In fact, simple trading has existed for centuries. While it’s not flashy or new, barter offers a good option of how people can “pay” for some products and services. With B2B bartering, companies can get the added benefit of gaining new customers and increasing profits. From a business accounting standpoint, barter income is treated the same as cash income, so trading purchases that are normally tax deductible as business expenses are also tax deductible when purchased on trade. And, using a trustworthy, experienced barter company, makes it easy to do.

As you consider your money resolutions, consider barter as a good way to help you make 2019 THE year you achieve at least one of your New Year’s resolutions. Exercising more and eating healthier are up to you, although you can explore barter options for gym memberships, restaurants, or other services to help you achieve those too!

Read more

Small Business Taxes: What to Expect in 2019

(courtesy of Business News Daily)

2019 may not see major changes to the small business tax code, but there are some important things to keep in mind. Last year, Congress introduced some major adjustments to business tax law, including a lower corporate tax rate, new rules for pass-through businesses and a tax break for some industries. As these laws and regulations continue to be implemented, 2019 will be a year of adjusting to change as opposed to incorporating new ones.

“The tax changes were so significant, I would imagine that there’s still a lot of issues in terms of digesting what has occurred,” said Wayne Winegarden, senior fellow in business and economics at the Pacific Research Institute and managing editor of EconoSTATS.

This adjustment means your taxes could be different from last year. If you’re a small business operating domestically, Anthony Parent, founding partner of Parent & Parent LLP, said you should experience mostly positive changes.

“People haven’t seen most of the impact of it yet, and you’re not going to see it until next year,” Parent said. “This is really when you’re going to get surprised – sometimes for good, sometimes for bad. Generally, if you’re a domestic business owner, this should be good news for you.”

Tax reform in 2018 resulted in a major overhaul for small business taxes. Last year, small business insurance company Insureon partnered with Manta to poll 2,700 small businesses about the new tax legislation’s potential impact. The survey found that 83 percent of small businesses owners are optimistic about the tax bill, and 38 percent said they would hire additional employees because of the savings. This kind of positivity, combined with the actual benefits from the legislation, can act as a catalyst for small business and economic growth.

“With respect to the current tax law changes … we wanted to understand what this meant for small business and what the general attitude and tone among small businesses are as they contemplate the impact that this might have on their future growth” said Jeff Somers, president at Insureon.

As a small business owner, it’s important to stay up to date on current tax laws so you can ensure you’re paying the right amount each year. [Doing your taxes on your own? Find the best software to use in our reviews of the Best Tax Software for Business 2019.]

  • International business: If you run a small or medium-size business that operates overseas, there have been some major regulation developments that are important to be aware of. Parent said many SMBs could have a rude awakening in 2019 if they have significant operations abroad. “There are a lot of small and medium businesses that have some sort of international components,” he said. “We’re trying to get ahead of it and warn people.” International taxation and regulation are very complicated, so it’s important to work directly with a professional to ensure you’re being taxed at the correct rate.
  • SALT cap: Filers can now only deduct up to $10,000 in state and local property and income taxes. While this applies to more than just small business owners, many business owners operating a pass-through entity in a high-tax state can take advantage of SALT deductions. Winegarden said all business owners should be aware of this new cap. “I really think in the high-tax states, the SALT cap is going to be meaningful, more for small businesses just because they’re going to be filing through their personal taxes,” he said.

These are two minor aspects of tax law to keep in mind in 2019. 2018 tax reform is still taking effect, and understanding all of the regulations that will be implemented is important for working with your tax professional. The noteworthy changes include deductions for pass throughs, first-year bonus depreciation and net operating loss changes.

The biggest change all businesses are facing this year is a significant deduction for both pass-through and corporate entities. Pass-through businesses are small businesses structured as S corporations, limited liability companies, sole proprietorships and partnerships. Pass throughs make up about 95 percent of U.S. businesses. The new bill provides a 20 percent deduction for all of those businesses. The only limitation is on service-based businesses, like law and accounting firms making more than $315,000 per year ($157,500 if single).

C corporations are also getting a big deduction: The new legislation lowers the tax rate from 35 to 21 percent. This slashed rate aims to bring major corporations back to the U.S. to employ workers and create wealth.

The first-year bonus depreciation deduction is going from 50 to 100 percent. In other words, businesses making eligible equipment and property purchases can deduct the full amount of the purchase, instead of writing off a portion of the expense each year. This provides businesses with more money upfront, which lawmakers hope will be invested back into the business or used to hire workers.

“The new tax plan will allow businesses to write off the cost of assets in one shot,” said Josh Zimmelman, founder of Westwood Tax & Consulting. “A company can invest in vehicles, computers and equipment, and claim the entire expense on their 2018 tax return.”

Winegarden said the break is an incentive for businesses to spend more.

“Anything that gets you closer to complete expensing is going to increase the value of the depreciation, lower the tax burden and reward those capital-intensive firms,” he said.

Net operating losses (NOL) can no longer be carried back for two years, but instead can be applied for an indefinite amount of time going forward. Net operating losses occur when a business’s tax deductions are greater than its taxable income. It functions as a form of tax relief for businesses, where business owners can apply a NOL to future tax payments.

The change eliminates the ability for businesses to restructure taxes completed in years past, but it extends net operating losses’ lifespan indefinitely. This can only be applied to 80 percent of taxable income.

Winegarden said the thinking behind this change is to incentivize businesses to take risks and spend more money.

“Knowing you can carry [net operating loss] forward and carry it forward indefinitely … lowers the cost of failure,” he said.

In addition to some structural changes, there are some important deadlines to keep in mind as well:

  • S corporations need to file their business taxes by March 15.
  • The deadline for 2018 tax returns is April 15.
  • Quarterly estimated tax deadlines are April 17, June 15, September 17 and January 15.

If you’ve just bought a business, or are new to small business tax structures, there are a few things you should keep in mind. While it is possible to do your taxes on your own, you should seriously consider working with a CPA. A tax professional can ensure your business is taking advantage of all the deductions available and, more importantly, can ensure you’re paying everything you owe. Other tips:

  • Think about taxes all year long. Small business owners should not treat income taxes as a once-a-year event. Rather, tax planning should be a year-round activity. Waiting until the last minute makes tax preparation more complicated, and it limits your money-saving options.
  • Be aware of law changes. Even with the help of a skilled professional, a small business owner must keep up with news related to laws. This will ensure your tax professional is doing the best possible job, and it keeps you informed as a business owner. Read the business papers and keep up with Congress’ work on tax laws.
  • Don’t make assumptions. Tax planning, to some extent, is a gamble. Never make business decisions assuming that particular tax breaks will pass, or that certain policies will be enacted.
Read more

Alternative Currencies: How Does Barter Fit In?

Alternative currencies, specifically cryptocurrencies, have been in the news again – only this time it’s been reported that there might be a “crypto winter” as many of these digital currencies lose value. Bitcoin is still the most prominent of these cryptocurrencies with several more that have now entered into the market. These digital currencies are the latest form of an alternative currency which groups of people have used for years. As a quick review, an alternative currency is any type of currency that is accepted between the individuals or groups that are using it. Unlike a national currency that is controlled by a country, alternative currencies work outside a country’s regulations with their own set of rules.

Alternative currencies can range from the ultramodern cryptocurrencies to a very low-tech type of currency called Berk Shares. Berk Shares are used in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts and consist of paper and coin denominations issued at the local banks – all to support local businesses. This encourages the concept of “shopping locally” and those who use the currency know it is only accepted by this specific group.

A complementary currency is similar to an alternative currency as it is not legal tender and used only by those individuals within a closed group who also agree to its value. Complementary currencies are meant to work with a national currency to provide additional value. Frequent flier miles can be described as a complementary currency but are limited to travel with a specific airline and its travel partners.

From an historical perspective, barter is perhaps the “oldest” alternative currency since it most likely existed before currency was even created! Managed correctly, barter can provide exceptional benefits for business owners and individuals by helping them control and save their cash money by using an alternative currency. Like gold (or a government) supports their local currency, the users of a barter system back each other’s products and services thereby providing value. That’s why a barter network is only as good as the people and companies that participate in it. If you’re interested in learning more about barter, check out our website and this short video.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read more

Tax Deductible Donations During the Holidays

The holidays are upon us and it’s the perfect time of year to give back! Being a client of The Barter Company gives you access to making trade donations to some incredible non-profit groups who would greatly appreciate your support. Here are some organizations you can make a tax deductible donation to:

Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation for Children – GA Chapter – The PBTF-GA is the first line of support for families of children with brain tumors in Georgia, with some programs extending into eight other states.

C.H.O.I.C.E.S (provides fun outings, nutritional products to obese children ages 3 – 17 boys & girls)

To make a donation, please call our office at (770) 591-4343.

Read more