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....A quick message for our sponsor...

Posted by Doc Worley on December 1, 2015 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Breathtaking drawn art in numerous ways with animated options. Self-portraits, animals, celebrities and caricatures are to name a few. Each option can be commissioned to satisfy your desire.

www.hre2artportraits.com



Here's to the new Cream....

Posted by Doc Worley on November 19, 2015 at 6:10 PM Comments comments (0)


Do I have to say thank you, Grady?  I already know the answer!  Take care of yourself and your body. Don't you deserve it?  You need the rest, you need the sleep, you need to be serenaded in the melodies of your mind in peace.  Take 5 to smell the coffee....and drink it.  Put down that cell phone and tablet...and other technological innovations too numerous to count.  Here's to the new cream in your life....real and symbologically.  Live your life, live your dream and enjoy your cream.   

Grady Everette Gustauffo

http://www.Facebook.com/GRADYRULES


 

...and I ain't the deputy....either all or.....wait for it!

 

There is a new Sheriff in town.....good for the hair and skin with at least 20 cream-filled benefits:

 

Hair

 

*Adds luster by replenishing magnesium which provides fullness and reducing heavy hair fall

*moisturizes scalp and increases absorption.

*eliminates split ends

*serves as a leave in conditioner

*eliminates dandruff and reduces scalp inflammation

*promotes natural healing of scalp from bacterial and fungal infections

*delays waxy build up of sebum which causes oily scalp

 

Skin

*natural moisturizer reducing aging wrinkles

*improves texture and tone

*promotes to removal of toxins

*promotes the increased production of collagen which increases elasticity

*promotes the elimination of acne by dissolving oil production from pores

*controls pimples and blackheads and soothes irritated acne-prone skin

*excellent for callouses on hands and feet

*improves complexion and retains youthful glow

*soothing for body rashes

*removes impurities and dead skin cells

*removes dark circles under eyes

*soothing for eczema and psoriasis

*enriched with Vitamins A, B, E and magnesium

Request your FREE sample now!

Start With a Healthy System

Posted by Doc Worley on October 9, 2015 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)


Yeah...yeah, we do not have time to eat right, play right and exercise.  I get the excuse.  Do you eat and sleep?  Then you owe it to yourself and and all of the loved ones in your life...as well as others, to do your body right.  You can start slooooooooooooooowly with one nutritious meal every day and buld up.  We know that Rome was not built in a day, nor was your current body!  I believe this is the right time to move on.....Take heed of your body or...


From the desk of Coach Peaches Taylor, Fitness expert and body builder...


 

....you basically want to minimize processed foods and white starches (bread, rice, potatoes) Also added sugars!

READ LABELS! You Want Complex Carbs/Protein AND Good Fat

Also consider taking a multi-vitamin.

Try to use coconut oil, olive oils, in place of butter

Watch sodium intake

Eat 5-6 times a day

BIGGEST MEAL BREAKFAST and Lunch

 

DON'T SKIP BREAFAST!

REALLY READ SNACK BAR / GRANOLA BAR LABELS : there's a lot of unhealthy ingredients in them.

 

Here's a just a general list

 

COMPLEX CARBS

Beans

Barley

Brown rice

Sw potatoes

Oatmeal

Edamame Great quick snack

Quinoa

Whole rye wheat breads and pasta

Sprout grains

Bfast cereal w/more than 3g of fiber LOW OR NO SUGAR

 

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES ARE GREAT COMPLEX CARBS TOO! Also supplies you with Vit/min/fiber/antioxidants/good fat! BASIC RULE MAKE IT COLORFUL FOR A GOOD BALANCE..Just some Examples:

 

GREEN: asparagus, avocado, broccoli, celery, kale, kiwi, collards, peas, Lima beans

 

YELLOW/ORANGE: apricots carrots grapefruit, lemon, orange, peach, pumpkin, sweet peppers, mangoes

 

PURPLE/ BLUE: beets, black grapes, blueberry, blackberry, cabbage, figs, plums

 

WHITE: banana, garlic, mushroom, shallots, onions, turnips

 

RED: apple, strawberry, radish, raspberry pepper, tomato

 

Dried fruits just make sure there are no added sugars read the label!

 

ALL BEANS GREAT CARB/PROTEIN!

 

PROTEIN

EGGS

Skinless Turkey and Chicken : Limit/eliminate dark meat it adds up to 50 calories and can double fat!

 

FISH

TUNA HAS NO FAT 18g of protein!

Salmon

Tilapia

Halibut

Anchovies (packed in water)

Flounder (careful high cholesterol)

Mahi Mahi

 

BEEF high protein red meat

Extremely Lean cut beef top end Gives about 40g of protein

 

Pork

LEAN cut limit because it's high in cholesterol You can get better sources of protein

 

GAME meat

Bison, Rabbit, Venison

 

GRAINS HAVE PROTEIN: GOOD FOR ALL 3 CARB/FAT/PROTEIN

QUINOA, BROWN RICE, REGULAR AIR POPCORN, STEEL CUT OATS, MULTI GRAINS BREAD

 

DAIRY: make sure All Low Fat -Non fat

Milk

Yogurts preferably Greek watch sugar!

Cottage Cheese

Cheddar cheese

 

Protein Powder

Whey, Whey isolate

Casein at night but it's expensive just eat cottage cheese

 

GOOD FATS

Good fat with protein are Your Raw nuts and seeds Limited Amounts:

Almonds, pistachio, pumpkin seeds, macadamia nuts, Chia seeds, walnuts, cashews

Avcado

 

Great high protein high calorie good fat but Make sure truly natural and in moderation

Peanut butter

Almond butter

Cashew butter

Hummus

 

REMEMBER VEGGIES HAVE PROTEIN Fiber and carbs TOO!

 

Water WATER WATER!


THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!!!!


Are you ready for a financial showdown?

Posted by Doc Worley on November 4, 2014 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

  You want the very best for your customers and your business, therefore it is imperative for you to protect them both.   Does your business accept credit cards?  Are your customers and business protected?  Are you Theft Protection Compliant?  Are you really willing to pay thousands of dollars, lose the credibility of your greatest and most valuable assets,,,your customers and your employees in case of a breach by hackers?  Don't say your answer out loud...this is our solution to your problem.  Read Jason's article below....You will be informed!


PCI Compliance: Protect Your Business From Credit Card Criminals

 

By Jason Rueger

 

Cyber criminals are shifting their focus to target smaller businesses that accept credit card payments, which means your business could be next. With 60% of small businesses going under within 6 months of being breached, the cyber security and PCI compliance of your business should be one of your top priorities. After reading this article you will know:

 

Why Cyber Security Is Important for Your Small Business.

How to Protect your Business from Cyber Threats When Processing Credit Cards.

What to do if you suspect you have been hacked.

 

Why Cyber Security is Important for Your Small Business

 

Cybercriminals are now targeting smaller businesses in greater numbers where security is weaker.

60% of small businesses that suffer a data breach are out of business 6 months later

A recent survey by Fortinet found nearly two-thirds of consumers held merchants responsible for data breaches.

 

(Sources: Govinfo Security, Symantec)

 

To help understand these issues we spoke with Simon Gamble, small-business cyber security expert and president of Mako Networks‘ U.S. branch.

A Basic Overview

 

Simon began our conversation with three comments:

 

Any small business that accepts credit cards is a potential target for a cyber security breach.

Small businesses are held to the same level of credit card security standards (discussed later in this article) as large businesses such as Target or Home Depot.

Any small business that suffers a cyber security breach and is found to be non-compliant to credit card security standards, is fully liable for charges related to the breach.

 

You Could Be a Target

 

If you are a small business who accepts credit cards, then you are vulnerable to a cyber attack. Cyber attackers are targeting small businesses more and more, because their networks are easier to hack and they are not as regularly checked for compliance to credit card security standards.

 

If you are underprotected, a hacker can now inject malware onto your payment terminal from anywhere in the world and access your customers’ information.

PCI Compliance (Credit Card Security Standards)

 

If you accept credit cards, then you have agreed to abide by The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), whether you know it or not. The PCI DSS is a set of requirements designed to ensure that all companies that process, store, or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment.

Security Breaches, Liability, and Other Consequences

 

If your small business is suspected of a security breach, PCI DSS inspectors come in and try to determine if there is a breach and how it occurred. This process in and of itself can be crippling for a small business, shutting down operations for a minimum of several days and costing between $8,000 – $20,000 in inspection fees.

 

If your business is found to be non-compliant, then you are potentially held liable for even more charges:

 

Data Security Fine – Up to $500,000 fine per security breach incident.

Non-Compliance Fines – Up to $50,000 per day for non-compliance with published standards.

Card Replacement Fees – $3-$10 per card x total number of cards compromised.

Refund Fees – Potentially held liable for all fraud losses incurred from compromised account numbers.

 

If breached, your business not only risks a severe monetary penalty, you also risk losing the trust of your customers, as mentioned in the statistics above. Often, the loss of customers is the final blow that finishes off an already compromised small business.

How To Be PCI DSS Compliant and Protect your Business from Cyber Threats

 

The key is to make sure your business is PCI DSS compliant. Why? First, PCI compliant businesses rarely, if ever, have been successfully hacked. Second, if your business is sucessfully hacked, you are not liable for any fines or charges (except possibly audit fees).

 

Here’s how to make your business PCI DSS compliant.

Know the Requirements for PCI DSS Compliance

 

You need to know what you have signed up for and what is required for your business to be compliant. If you don’t, you won’t know what steps you need to take in order to secure your business.

 

PCI Compliance Is More Than Transaction Compliance

 

There are two main types of PCI compliance, environment (network) and transactional. Many businesses purchase a PCI DSS compliant POS system and think that they are compliant. In reality, this kind of compliance relates only to credit card transactions and not to your business environment/network, which must also be PCI compliant. The network environment in which your POS equipment resides is just as important an aspect of PCI compliance as your transaction system.

 

A detailed list of all compliance areas can be found at PCI’s Quick Reference Guide. PCI’s quick and dirty list is as follows:

 

Buy and use only approved PIN entry devices at your points-of-sale.

Buy and use only validated payment software at your POS or website shopping cart. Click here to see a list on their website.

Do not store any sensitive cardholder data in computers, receipt printers, or on paper.

Use a firewall on your network and PCs.

Make sure your wireless router is password-protected and uses encryption.

Use strong passwords (a mix of upper and lower-case letters, numbers and special characters). Be sure to change default passwords on hardware and software – most are unsafe!

Regularly check PIN entry devices and PCs to make sure no one has installed rogue software or “skimming” devices.

Teach your employees about security and protecting cardholder data.

Follow the PCI standard. See below.

Assess – identifying cardholder data, taking an inventory of your IT assets and business processes for payment card processing, and analyzing them for vulnerabilities.

Remediate – fixing vulnerabilities and not storing cardholder data unless you need it.

Report – compiling and submitting required reports to the acquiring bank and card brands you do business with.

 

Take The Necessary PCI Compliance Steps

 

There are two main ways to make your business more secure and PCI DSS compliant

 

Hire a PCI DSS Qualified Security Assessor (QSA)

Do-It-Yourself

 

Hiring a PCI DSS QSA

 

PCI SSC certified QSA’s are organizations who have been qualified by the PCI Council to assess compliance to PCI DSS standards. QSA’s perform data security assessments, make recommendations, and provide certification. Hiring a QSA will save you the time it would take to do the research yourself and will also give you peace of mind that the job was done right.

 

The big downside to hiring a QSA, is cost. You have to pay the QSA fees, which are generally quite expensive. One quote I checked on, charged a base $5,000 fee plus $200 for every hour. On top of that, you have to pay for the equipment/software to fix whatever problems the QSA finds, which is also costly.

 

Here is a list of PCI certified QSA companies

Here is a guide concerning what to look for in a PCI DSS QSA

Do-It-Yourself

 

Figuring out PCI DSS compliance for yourself can seem a daunting task. However, just because you’re not hiring a QSA does not mean it cannot be done or that you have to do it without help.

 

Here is how to do it

 

Educate Yourself

Secure your Payment Network

Use a Security Software that Tests for Vulnerabilities

Fill out and turn in your PCI DSS Self-Assessment Questionnaire

 

Educate Yourself

 

This has already been generally addressed above. Here is the link again for the quick reference PCI DSS compliance guide. Although it is a bit rough to get through, it is only 33 pages and is important to read if you plan on monitoring PCI DSS compliance for yourself.

Secure your Payment Network

 

Simon recommended 3 main action steps every small business can take to make their network more secure and compliant.

 

1. Install a Proper Firewall

A proper firewall protects hackers from stealing information from your business.

We recommend Mako Networks, which offers a secure and PCI DSS compliant payment network, complete with firewall, starting at around $80/month. Check out their distributor list to find a reseller near you.

 

2. Have a separate network for payment services

Separating your payment network from your other business networks means hackers cannot access sensitive card data from anywhere in your general business network. Instead, they have to hack your payment network specifically, which with the proper firewall in place will make their task much more difficult.

 

3. Change Usernames and Passwords every 90 days or so on all access points

Make sure you change default usernames and passwords as soon as you can, because they are rarely secure. Then, change usernames and passwords every 90 days. Most network providers have their own how-to document available detailing how to do this. Here is a general guide to changing your wireless network password.

Use a Security Software that Tests for Vulnerabilities

 

There are various software options available that test your network and payment terminals for breach vulnerability and PCI security compliance. Check with your payment processor first, some offer free PCI DSS testing software as part of their package.

 

If you do not already have access to a PCI Security Software, we recommend Control Scan Inc’s PCI 1-2-3. This software gives the small business owner real-time access to the most up-to-date PCI compliance rules. It also conducts vulnerability scans, providing reports and detailed instructions to secure any weak areas. Cyber security training for employees is also included. PCI 1-2-3 costs $250/yr plus an additional $100 per extra IP address.

 

Bluepay, our recommended merchant services provider, has a partnership with Control Scan, giving their clients access to PCI compliant testing at no additional charge.

Fill Out Your PCI DSS Self-Assessment Sheet

 

To be PCI compliant, small businesses are required to fill out an annual PCI DSS Self-Assessment sheet. This sheet is a do-it-yourself checklist to determine compliance. Instructions and the link to complete this self-assessment questionnaire can be found on PCI’s self assessment forms page.

What to Do if You Suspect You Have Been Breached

 

If your computers are unusually slow, one has been tampered with, or you are locked out of various accounts for no reason, it is possible you have been breached. A more comprehensive guide to determining and dealing with a possible breach is available on Visa’s website.

 

If you suspect a breach, here is what you need to do.

 

Report the Breach to Your Payment Processor/Merchant Bank

Check State Disclosure Regulations and Alert Local Law Enforcement

Comply Fully with any PCI DSS Audit

 

Report the Breach to Your Payment Processor/Merchant Bank

 

If you suspect a breach, contact your payment processor or merchant bank and let them know that a possible security breach has been detected. They will then go over protocol and determine what should be done.

Check State Disclosure Regulations and Alert Local Law Enforcement

 

Check your state’s regulations to see who you are supposed to inform. In most cases, you must let customers know that there has been a possible security breach, usually in writing.

 

Generally, you also should alert your local law enforcement agency. Check with your legal advisor and/or your payment processor to be sure.

Comply Fully with any PCI DSS Audit

 

Your payment processor or their bank normally initiates a PCI DSS Audit. If you are notified of an upcoming audit, gather all of your information related to PCI Compliance an have it ready for the inspectors when they arrive. You want the audit team to be assured that you are on-board for full-cooperation. This will make the process much smoother, getting your business back up and running as quick as possible. Full-compliance also communicates that you have nothing to hide.

 

The audit team comes in and checks to see if, how, and where a security breach has occurred. They also determine whether or not your business was in-fact compliant with PCI DSS requirements. You will probably have to pay the audit fees. But, if you do meet PCI DSS requirements, you are not responsible for any fines, credit card replacement fees, or fraud refunds.

Conclusion

 

The cyber security and PCI DSS compliance status of your small business is an important issue. If you follow this guide and take the necessary steps, your business will be more secure than many other small businesses out there and will be prepared should a cyber attack actually take place.


Digital Payments Are Here To Stay...

Posted by Doc Worley on October 23, 2014 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

 

...Just keeping you out of darkness!

 

Get "hip" to the world of digital payments. It is not going away, so for all of you entrepreneurs and/or merchants out there, get ready. You heard it first with us! www.barnabascommunications.webs.com.

 

One More Reason to Love your Phone: Mobile Payments

 

Giving your customers more ways to pay you is never bad, right? You want to reduce any barriers or friction during the payments process. Simplifying the process for your customers is about getting more future business. But, point-of-sale systems are incredibly expensive and clunky. There is a better way — mobile payments. Mobile payments are gaining adoption from consumers and are not a fad. This type of tech is evolving (cloud-based, near field communication, etc.) and there are many players out there.

 

We’ve put together a handy-dandy comparison of just some of the many options out there:

 

Square: One of the first and most well-known. It has extra security enhancements and lots of options for add-ons or displays. There is an offline mode and print receipt options.

 

Compatible Cards: Visa, AmEx, MasterCard, Discover

Need: Hardware

Processing Fee: 2.75%

Fee for Reader: Free

Extra Fees: Keyed Entry fee 3.5% + 15¢

 

Go Payment: From Intuit, so it integrates with Quickbooks accounting software for reports.

 

Compatible Cards: Visa, AmEx, MasterCard, Discover

Need: Hardware

Processing Fee: 1.75% & Monthly Fee $19.95

Fee for Reader: Free

Extra Fees: Keyed Entry fee 3.15% + 25¢

 

PayPal Here: Linking with your PayPal debit card earns 1% cash back on signed purchases.

 

Compatible Cards: Visa, AmEx, MasterCard, Discover

Need: Hardware

Processing Fee: 2.70%

Fee for Reader: $15 in stores that is reimbursed

Extra Fees: Keyed Entry fee 3.5% + 15¢ Additional 1% for non-US cards

 

Flint Mobile: Quickbooks integration, coupons, scan cards without swiping, No fees for 7 days.

 

Compatible Cards: Visa, MasterCard

Need: Software

Processing Fee: Debit: 1.95% Credit: 2.95%

Fee for App: Free

Extra Fees: Keyed entry fee 1.95% Debit; 2.95% Credit

 

Amazon just announced this week that they are introducing a mobile payment card reader, the Amazon Local Register. This also requires hardware, but for a limited time (January 1, 2015) they have one of the lowest rates out there at 1.75%. And bonus, it works with their Kindle Fire operating system.

 

Security concerns should play a part in your decision making here. Check with your provider that they have implemented these important security features: Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol, the three-digit Card Verification Value (CVV2) code and end-to-end encryption (E2EE). It will give you and your customers peace of mind.

 

Determining the best option depends on your business model. Big benefits are: getting your money faster, avoiding bounced checks and happy customers. This will deliver a huge blow to that cash flow monster.

 

*Note: Keyed-in transactions (when you manually type the number) will cost more because the risk of fraud is higher.

Home

barnabascommunications.webs.com

We have partnered with Barnabas 3G Private Capital Group, one of the largest and unique firms in the world. We are expecting great things to occur, improving lives and businesses! www.linkedin.com/pub/doc-worley/2/24b/371/

 

Manta


Choices for Employers in Healthcare

Posted by Doc Worley on September 10, 2014 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

...Endorsed by Doc Worley

Offering Health Insurance – The Small Business Owner’s Guide

 

By David Waring

 

After reading this article you will have a solid understanding of the primary options for offering health benefits to your employees. This is the first in a series of articles, the purpose of which is to simplify your post Obamacare health insurance options.

A Summary of Your 3 Broad Options For Offering Health Benefits

 

Most small business have absolutely no legal obligation to provide health insurance, since only businesses with the equivalent of 50 full-time employees need to offer health benefits. That being said, you may want to offer health insurance in order to attract and retain great employees.

 

There are three main options that you should consider as you begin exploring your health insurance options:

 

Increase employee compensation – Give your employees a raise so they can purchase their own health insurance.

Offer a “cafeteria” plan - A special account your employees can use to pay their health insurance premiums with pre tax income, and that you can make tax deductible contributions to.

Offer small group health insurance – How health insurance has typically been offered by employers.

 

What We Recommend

 

The right recommendation is going to depend on the size of your company, the salary levels of your employees, and how many of them are not already getting their insurance through some other means (such as a spouse).

 

Because there is no one size fits all solution, we recommend taking the following steps to decide which option is best for your business:

 

Talk to your employees to gauge interest in health insurance. Find out who is being covered by a spouse, who is purchasing their own insurance, and who is uninsured.

Talk to a health insurance professional. Ask them whether an employee raise, a cafeteria plan, or a small group plan would be best for your unique situation. Get quotes for different plans, as well as a firm understanding of the tax implications for each option. Ask them how complicated each option will be to manage and administer.

 

Not all insurance professionals are created equal, so make sure you have a basic understanding of the ins and outs of each option (detailed below). This way you will understand enough about your options to know whether or not the insurance broker you are speaking with knows their stuff.

 

If you are looking for a good starting point we recommend speaking to Jonathan Pocius of Payroll Services LLC who was a source on this article and we found highly knowledgeable. He can be reached at 240-215-4438 or via his website at www.payrollservicesllc.com

 

Here is a more detailed overview the ins and outs of each option:

compensationsIncrease Compensation

 

Offering health insurance can be extremely complicated, so one option is to completely avoid getting involved, and just give everyone a raise that they can use to buy their own plan.

Pros:

 

Fixed costs: You are in complete control of compensation, so you can set the exact amount you want to spend on health insurance and easily stick to your budget.

Tax deductible: Salaries are tax deductible as business expenses.

Greater employee choice: Employees can shop around on the individual exchanges for the plan that best suits their needs.

Customizable incentives: You can offer different amounts to different employees, which helps you attract and retain valuable employees.

Cheaper plans and subsidies: In most cases, plans purchased through the individual marketplaces are cheaper than the equivalent costs when paid as part of a small group plan. Furthermore, many of your employees may qualify for health insurance subsidies through the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces (discussed in more detail below).

Ease of use: Letting your employees select and manage their own plans means one less thing for you to worry about.

 

Cons:

 

No tax deductions for employees: Employee salaries are taxable, so they will pay tax on any additional compensation that you provide to help them purchase health insurance. Group health plans, on the other hand, allow employees to contribute towards their their insurance premiums using “pre-tax” income. The portion of premiums which is paid by the employer is also not taxed as income to the employee.

You Have To Pay Payroll taxes: Even though you can deduct salaries as a business expense, you will still be on the hook for the payroll taxes on the additional salary you are paying.

No control over employees’; use of funds: There is no way for you to compel your employees to use their extra income to buy health insurance. You can encourage them to buy insurance, but there is no way to guarantee that they won’;t use it for a vacation instead.

 

More Details:

 

Increasing employee’;s compensation so they can buy their own health insurance allows your employees to shop around for the plan that works best for them, and saves you a huge administrative hassle.

 

If your employees make less than 400% of the federal poverty line ($45,960 in 2014), they may qualify for government subsidies on health insurance plans offered through the individual Obamacare marketplaces. These subsidies could further reduce your employees’; health insurance costs, but they won’;t qualify if you offer a group plan.

 

This means that the only way to ensure your employees will have access these subsidies is to not offer group health insurance. Furthermore, plans purchased on the individual market are generally cheaper than equivalent group plans, so going the individual route is often the best bet.

 

Before 2014, not offering group health insurance was seen as a serious drawback, since people with preexisting or chronic health conditions could be denied individual health insurance, or charged extremely high premiums. This made it important for people to get health insurance through their employer, where they could be sure to find coverage at a reasonable cost.

 

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) changed all of this, however, by making it illegal for insurance companies to deny anyone coverage. This relieves some of the pressure on small business owners to provide group health insurance, since you know that all your employees will be able to access quality, affordable health insurance on the individual marketplaces. Many experts believe the Affordable Care Act will make small group health plans obsolete, and encourage small business employees to go to the individual exchanges.

 

The downside of increasing compensation to help your employees pay for health insurance is that you give more money to the government this way. Because the extra money is being paid out as salary the business must pay payroll taxes on the money, and the employee pays their normal income taxes on the additional income.

butlerA Cafeteria Plan

 

Cafeteria plans can be a good way for small business owners to avoid paying additional payroll taxes, while also giving their employees the ability to buy insurance using pre-tax income.

Pros:

 

Fixed costs: You are in complete control of how much you contribute to your employees cafeteria plan, so you can set the exact amount you want to spend on health insurance and easily stick to your budget.

Tax advantaged: Contributions are tax deductible as business expenses and exempt from payroll taxes.

Employees use pre-tax income: Employees are not taxed on any contributions that they make to their cafeteria plan.

Greater employee choice: Employees can shop around for the plan that best suits their needs.

Customizable incentives: You can offer different amounts to different employees, which helps you attract and retain valuable employees.

Cheaper plans: In most cases, individual plans are cheaper than small group plans.

 

Cons:

 

Complexity: Setting up and administering a cafeteria plan is complicated, and the rules and regulations can be difficult to understand.

No subsidies: Employees are not eligible for government subsidies when purchasing through a cafeteria plan.

 

A cafeteria plan is a form of “Section 125″ plan that allows employees to set up health spending accounts that allow employees to contribute a certain amount of their income to a designated account before taxes are calculated. Employees can then use this account to pay for insurance premiums and other medical expenses.

 

Cafeteria plans can help you avoid paying FICA taxes, and lets your employees pay for medical expenses using pre-tax income. This can save you both a lot of money.

 

There are two primary downsides to using cafeteria plans as part of your business:

 

They are tricky to setup and administer.

Individuals cannot use cafeteria plans to purchase health insurance that is part of the affordable care exchanges, and are therefore not eligible for government subsidies.

 

There is also a lot of confusion, even among insurance professionals, as to whether or not Obamacare allows cafeteria plans to be used when purchasing off exchange health insurance plans.

 

This is why if you are going to explore this option we recommend working with a knowledgeable professional.

group-insuranceGroup Health Insurance Plans

 

When people think about health insurance, they are most likely thinking about an employer-provided group plan.

Pros:

 

Easy for employees to understand: most people are already familiar with the concept of employer-based health insurance, and view it as the most important job related benefit. Offering a group plan will almost certainly increase your appeal as an employer.

Tax benefits: the money you spend on providing health insurance counts as a business expense, which means it is tax deductible. Employees are also able to pay for their share of health insurance premiums out of their pre-tax income, which decreases their overall tax obligation.

Tax credits: If you purchase your group plan through one of the Obamacare exchanges, you may qualify for a tax credit worth up to 50% of your contribution towards your employees’; premium costs. While this sounds enticing, unfortunately the requirements to receive the tax credit generally make providing group health insurance too expensive for the average small business, even with the tax credit. To qualify for this tax credit you must pay at least half of your employees’; health care premiums and have 25 or fewer full-time equivalent employees who earn an average of $50,000 or less per year. The tax credits will be available to small businesses for 2 consecutive years, and more information is available from the IRS here.

Share the premium payment: Offering a group plan doesn’;t necessarily mean that you need to pay the whole cost of the premium. Employers typically pay 50-80% of the premium cost, but small business can generally make smaller contributions and defer the rest to the employee. Depending on your particular circumstances you may end up paying anywhere from 0% to 100% of the premium cost.

 

Cons:

 

Cost: Providing group health insurance can be expensive. In 2012, the average cost to all employers was $4,226 per employee. In addition to this, employees paid an additional $1,118 on average (See this report for state averages).

Changing prices: Health insurance premiums often change from year to year depending on the costs of medical procedures, physician pay, prescription drugs, and administration. The complex calculations underlying health insurance premium makes it difficult to fully anticipate changes and budget accordingly. If you commit to a group plan, you may end up on the hook for a larger expense than you anticipated.

Minimum requirements: In order to qualify for most group plans, you have to give all your full-time employees the option of enrolling, and at least 70% need to actually opt in. The exact requirements will vary depending on the insurance company and plan, but group plans generally give you less flexibility than simply increasing compensation, which you can do on a case-by-case basis.

Administrative hassle: With a group health insurance plan, its up to you to select and manage the plan you offer. The administrative responsibilities associated with this can take up a lot of time, and keep you from more important aspects of your business. It can be difficult to choose a one size fits all plan that will satisfy all your employees and meet their diverse needs.

 

As with a cafeteria plan, we also recommend that you only shop for a small group plan with an experienced health insurance professional. Using a broker won’;t cost you more than shopping on your own, and they will be able to explain to you the benefits and options of various plans.

 

When you talk to an advisor, ask about traditional small group plans, the Obamacare SHOP plans, and getting group coverage through a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). They will be able to give you exact quotes, and help you understand the costs and tax implications of each option.

Conclusion

 

Here at Fit Small Business we always try to give business owners all the information they need to accomplish a specific task, without any outside help. In this instance however, we strongly recommend that you seek professional advice in order to find the best solution for your business. Trying to navigate the post Obamacare health insurance marketplace on your own is simply not worth the time, hassle, or risk.


Stress ain't gonna take me out!

Posted by Doc Worley on August 5, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Do you know that stress can kill you?   Well   it can and It almost did me in.  Why?  There are many reasons and too many to name at this time, however, the sollution to the factor of stress in your life is not to do away with it totally because stress in moderation is good.  Your body is designed to handle stress on occasions, coined intermittent stress, but not long term stress.  Stressful situaions can yield great actions in productivity as well as defense and rescue situations,however prologed stress breaks down your body at the cellular level.

You are not able to control circumstances at all times but you can control your reaction to them at all times...and that is a constant struggle for me.   I am aware that this does not apply to you....Stress is the antithesis to calmness and if you are not careful, you can shift your emotions to levels that you may never want to embrace.  The famous "I  cannot believe I said this or did that" phrase comes to the light of day.  Don't do that...do this.  Read the article below by Dr. Bradberry and embrace his tips.  It is almost like he reached right into my pocket and wrote this but I will not be stressed, but blessed.  Kudos to Dr. Bradberry and you enjoy!




 

How Successful People Stay Calm


 

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.

 

If you follow our newsletter, you’ve read some startling research summaries that explore the havoc stress can wreak on one’s physical and mental health (such as the Yale study, which found that prolonged stress causes degeneration in the area of the brain responsible for self-control). The tricky thing about stress (and the anxiety that comes with it) is that it’s an absolutely necessary emotion. Our brains are wired such that it’s difficult to take action until we feel at least some level of this emotional state. In fact, performance peaks under the heightened activation that comes with moderate levels of stress. As long as the stress isn’t prolonged, it’s harmless.

 

Research from the University of California, Berkeley, reveals an upside to experiencing moderate levels of stress. But it also reinforces how important it is to keep stress under control. The study, led by post-doctoral fellow Elizabeth Kirby, found that the onset of stress entices the brain into growing new cells responsible for improved memory. However, this effect is only seen when stress is intermittent. As soon as the stress continues beyond a few moments into a prolonged state, it suppresses the brain’s ability to develop new cells.

 

“I think intermittent stressful events are probably what keeps the brain more alert, and you perform better when you are alert,” Kirby says. For animals, intermittent stress is the bulk of what they experience, in the form of physical threats in their immediate environment. Long ago, this was also the case for humans. As the human brain evolved and increased in complexity, we’ve developed the ability to worry and perseverate on events, which creates frequent experiences of prolonged stress.

 

Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance. Fortunately, though, unless a lion is chasing you, the bulk of your stress is subjective and under your control. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged.

 

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that successful people employ when faced with stress, what follows are ten of the best. Some of these strategies may seem obvious, but the real challenge lies in recognizing when you need to use them and having the wherewithal to actually do so in spite of your stress.

 

They Appreciate What They Have

 

Taking time to contemplate what you’re grateful for isn’t merely the “right” thing to do. It also improves your mood, because it reduces the stress hormone cortisol by 23%. Research conducted at the University of California, Davis found that people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude experienced improved mood, energy, and physical well-being. It’s likely that lower levels of cortisol played a major role in this.

 

They Avoid Asking “What If?”

 

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend focusing on taking action that will calm you down and keep your stress under control. Calm people know that asking “what if? will only take them to a place they don’t want—or need—to go.

 

They Stay Positive

 

Positive thoughts help make stress intermittent by focusing your brain’s attention onto something that is completely stress-free. You have to give your wandering brain a little help by consciously selecting something positive to think about. Any positive thought will do to refocus your attention. When things are going well, and your mood is good, this is relatively easy. When things are going poorly, and your mind is flooded with negative thoughts, this can be a challenge. In these moments, think about your day and identify one positive thing that happened, no matter how small. If you can't think of something from the current day, reflect on the previous day or even the previous week. Or perhaps you’re looking forward to an exciting event that you can focus your attention on. The point here is that you must have something positive that you're ready to shift your attention to when your thoughts turn negative.

 

They Disconnect

 

Given the importance of keeping stress intermittent, it’s easy to see how taking regular time off the grid can help keep your stress under control. When you make yourself available to your work 24/7, you expose yourself to a constant barrage of stressors. Forcing yourself offline and even—gulp!—turning off your phone gives your body a break from a constant source of stress. Studies have shown that something as simple as an email break can lower stress levels.

 

Technology enables constant communication and the expectation that you should be available 24/7. It is extremely difficult to enjoy a stress-free moment outside of work when an email that will change your train of thought and get you thinking (read: stressing) about work can drop onto your phone at any moment. If detaching yourself from work-related communication on weekday evenings is too big a challenge, then how about the weekend? Choose blocks of time where you cut the cord and go offline. You’ll be amazed at how refreshing these breaks are and how they reduce stress by putting a mental recharge into your weekly schedule. If you’re worried about the negative repercussions of taking this step, first try doing it at times when you’re unlikely to be contacted—maybe Sunday morning. As you grow more comfortable with it, and as your coworkers begin to accept the time you spend offline, gradually expand the amount of time you spend away from technology.

 

They Limit Their Caffeine Intake

 

Drinking caffeine triggers the release of adrenaline. Adrenaline is the source of the “fight-or-flight” response, a survival mechanism that forces you to stand up and fight or run for the hills when faced with a threat. The fight-or-flight mechanism sidesteps rational thinking in favor of a faster response. This is great when a bear is chasing you, but not so great when you’re responding to a curt email. When caffeine puts your brain and body into this hyperaroused state of stress, your emotions overrun your behavior. The stress that caffeine creates is far from intermittent, as its long half-life ensures that it takes its sweet time working its way out of your body.

 

They Sleep

 

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffling through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them (which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. Stressful projects often make you feel as if you have no time to sleep, but taking the time to get a decent night’s sleep is often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control.

 

They Squash Negative Self-Talk

 

A big step in managing stress involves stopping negative self-talk in its tracks. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that—thoughts, not facts. When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things, your inner voice says, “It's time to stop and write them down.” Literally stop what you're doing and write down what you're thinking. Once you've taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

 

You can bet that your statements aren’t true any time you use words like “never,” “worst,” “ever,” etc. If your statements still look like facts once they’re on paper, take them to a friend or colleague you trust and see if he or she agrees with you. Then the truth will surely come out. When it feels like something always or never happens, this is just your brain’s natural threat tendency inflating the perceived frequency or severity of an event. Identifying and labeling your thoughts as thoughts by separating them from the facts will help you escape the cycle of negativity and move toward a positive new outlook.

 

They Reframe Their Perspective

 

Stress and worry are fueled by our own skewed perception of events. It’s easy to think that unrealistic deadlines, unforgiving bosses, and out-of-control traffic are the reasons we’re so stressed all the time. You can’t control your circumstances, but you can control how you respond to them. So before you spend too much time dwelling on something, take a minute to put the situation in perspective. If you aren’t sure when you need to do this, try looking for clues that your anxiety may not be proportional to the stressor. If you’re thinking in broad, sweeping statements such as “Everything is going wrong” or “Nothing will work out,” then you need to reframe the situation. A great way to correct this unproductive thought pattern is to list the specific things that actually are going wrong or not working out. Most likely you will come up with just some things—not everything—and the scope of these stressors will look much more limited than it initially appeared.

 

They Breathe

 

The easiest way to make stress intermittent lies in something that you have to do everyday anyway: breathing. The practice of being in the moment with your breathing will begin to train your brain to focus solely on the task at hand and get the stress monkey off your back. When you’re feeling stressed, take a couple of minutes to focus on your breathing. Close the door, put away all other distractions, and just sit in a chair and breathe. The goal is to spend the entire time focused only on your breathing, which will prevent your mind from wandering. Think about how it feels to breathe in and out. This sounds simple, but it’s hard to do for more than a minute or two. It’s all right if you get sidetracked by another thought; this is sure to happen at the beginning, and you just need to bring your focus back to your breathing. If staying focused on your breathing proves to be a real struggle, try counting each breath in and out until you get to 20, and then start again from 1. Don’t worry if you lose count; you can always just start over.

 

This task may seem too easy or even a little silly, but you’ll be surprised by how calm you feel afterward and how much easier it is to let go of distracting thoughts that otherwise seem to have lodged permanently inside your brain.

 

They Use Their Support System

 

It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself. To be calm and productive, you need to recognize your weaknesses and ask for help when you need it. This means tapping into your support system when a situation is challenging enough for you to feel overwhelmed. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as talking about your worries will provide an outlet for your anxiety and stress and supply you with a new perspective on the situation. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation. Asking for help will mitigate your stress and strengthen your relationships with those you rely upon.

 

:

 

Travis Bradberry, Ph.D.


The Pursuit of Protection

Posted by Doc Worley on August 4, 2014 at 10:30 AM Comments comments (0)

Greetings all from the high steps of businessworks!  We are breathing in the air of preparation, enjoying the fragrance of anti-procrastinations and sipping on the juice of do it!

Below is a great article that you should consider in dressing your business in the right suit in any whether...weathering all circumstances.    Your company will thank you in dividends!



Business Insurance – The Ultimate Guide For Small Businesses

 

By David Waring

 

Need business insurance for your company but not sure where to start? In this guide we will explain the available options, how to go about purchasing business insurance, and give you the questions you should be asking to make sure you get the right insurance package for your business.

 

Start By Protecting Your Personal Assets

 

If you do not operate your business under the correct legal structure, and you get sued, your personal assets are likely at risk.

 

If you have not done so already, we recommend forming a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your business. One of the primary functions of an LLC is to separate your personal assets from your business assets. Once you have setup your LLC, your personal assets are protected under most scenarios from things that go wrong in your business.

 

You don’t have to be a new business to form an LLC and it can be done online for a few hundred dollars. You can read more about business structures here, and learn how to setup an LLC with LegalZoom here.

Types of Business Insurance

 

If you can think of a risk that is associated with your business, there is likely an insurance package available to protect your business from that risk.

 

Below is an overview of the primary types of business insurance. Once you understand the options available, the insurance companies will mix and match the different packages to offer a customized solution for your business.

Workers-Compensation

Workers Compensation Insurance:

 

Workers compensation insurance replaces an employee’s wages if they are injured on the job. If you have employees then it’s often a legal requirement. You can see laws specific to your state here.

 

Who’s it For?: All Businesses

Commercial-General-Liability

Commercial General Liability Insurance (CGL):

 

Pays the costs associated with your business being sued for injuring someone, damaging property, slander (personal injury), or false advertising. This normally includes the cost of defending your business against the lawsuit.

 

Who’s it for?: All Businesses

Commercial-Property

Commercial Property Insurance:

 

Pays the costs associated with damages or theft at your place of business, equipment, or other property associated with your business.

 

Who’s it for?: Businesses that own or rent their place of business and/or have other valuable property such as equipment.

Commercial-Flood

Commercial Flood Insurance:

 

Pays for damages caused by flooding that are not covered under your commercial property insurance.

 

Who’s it for?: Businesses that have a risk of flooding.

Business-Income

Business Income Insurance:

 

Also known as business interruption or business continuation insurance. The purpose is to replace your income if your business is temporarily shut down due to unexpected events.

 

Who’s it for?: Businesses who would suffer if their place of business became unusable for an extended period of time.

Professional-Liability

Professional Liability Insurance:

 

Being sued for mistakes made while rendering a professional service is not covered under most general liability policies.

 

Who’s it for?: Businesses that provide a professional service such as Dr.’s, Lawyer’s, Realtors etc.

Commercial-Auto

Commercial Auto Insurance:

 

Pays the costs associated with damages to your companies automobiles and injuries associated with accidents caused by you or your employees.

 

Who’s it for: Businesses that have automobiles.

Directors-and-Officers

Directors and Officers Insurance:

 

Pays for the costs (including legal defense) associated with one of your company’s directors or officers being singled out with a lawsuit as a direct result of something they did while on the job.

 

Who’s it for: Larger businesses.

Practices-Liability

Employment Practices Liability Insurance:

 

Pays for the costs (including legal defense) associated with your company being sued for things such as workplace discrimination, wrongful termination, and lack of compliance with the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

 

Who’s it for: Larger businesses

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Commercial Umbrella Insurance:

 

Pays for costs that exceed the maximum payout of other policies you hold. Because umbrella insurance only pays out if your other insurance maxes out, it is generally not very costly to add a large amount of additional coverage.

 

Who’s it for?: Any Business

The Business Owners Policy

 

Business owners policies combine commercial general liability and property insurance into one plan. Depending on the provider and your situation you may be able to bundle other options into this one policy as well. In addition to keeping things simple, this will also generally save you money since you are buying all your insurance from one place.

marketingmoney

Business Insurance Costs

 

How much business insurance costs depends on several factors, including:

 

business type

size of business

industry, products and services

risks (do you operate heavy machinery, a store or an office?)

employee work duties

business property and assets

 

Ultimately how much different types of insurance cost are going to depend on how often businesses that fit the same profile as you are sued, and how much the insurance company has to pay out when they are.

 

A business whose employees operate heavy machinery will likely pay more for commercial liability insurance than those who sit in an office all day. Similarly, all else being equal, larger companies will likely pay more than smaller companies.

 

Example:

 

While several companies that we contacted would not give even sample premium rates or examples, Tech Insurance does provide pricing samples for different types of companies, though you need to contact them for exact quotes.

 

According to this site, a sample small consulting firm with 0 to 2 staff and revenue between $250,000 and $1,000,000 can access a plan with the following details:

 

Commercial General Liability

Includes: General Liability and Property Coverage

Annual premiums between $500 and $900 per year

$500 property claim deductible

 

Additional coverage for this scenario includes:

 

Add Umbrella Coverage to General Liability for $450.00/year for an extra $1,000,000 in coverage

Add Worker’s Compensation for $2,441.00/year

Add Professional Liability for $2,500 to $4,500/year.

 

As discussed above, companies where workers are more likely to be injured on the job, where property damage is more likely to occur, or costly mistakes happen often will pay significantly higher premiums.

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Where To Buy Business Insurance

 

Business insurance is a much different ballgame than personal insurance. Every business has it’s own unique risks so it’s important to work with an agent and company that has experience insuring businesses like yours.

 

Unless your buddy who sells insurance has experience selling business insurance, works for a major insurance firm, and has insured businesses like yours before, it’s best to look elsewhere.

Shop Around

 

There is no one sized fits all package for business insurance. Because of this the quote you get for your business can differ substantially from one insurance company to another.

 

In short, it pays to shop around. We recommend starting with the online service TechInsurance.com which allows several large insurers to compete for your business, and have agents standing buy ready to talk to you.

 

Once you have the lowest rate from that source, then go and talk to a local insurance agent, have them review the policy and see if they can beat it. If they can, without sacrificing the quality of the policy, then go with them. If not then go with the techinsurance provided option.

 

Some of the largest providers in the business insurance space who likely have agents in your area are Allstate, Hartford Financial Group, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual.

QuestionsToAskEmployees

Questions To Ask When Buying Insurance

 

Ask Yourself: What harm could your product or service cause?

 

There are going to be obvious things that you want coverage for depending on the business. What have other businesses like yours been sued for in the past? Make a list of those things, and make sure you understand how it would be handled if you ever needed to make a claim.

 

Ask your agent to describe what coverage you need?

 

You want to make sure that you are working with an agent that has experience specific to your business. A good way of determining this is to ask them to describe the type of coverage they think you need.

 

Agents who have worked with businesses like yours should have no problem giving you a detailed explanation, in laymen’s terms, of the unique risks of your business. If they can’t then look somewhere else.

 

What are the deductibles?

 

An insurance deductible is the amount that you have to pay before your insurance kicks in. As an example let’s say you have $500K in general liability insurance with a $1000 deductible. Someone slips in your store and sues you. You have to pay the the first $1000 in costs related to the lawsuit. After that the insurance company pays up to $500K in additional costs.

 

What are the coverage limits?

 

In the above example $500K is the coverage limit.

 

Ask how specific claims are handled?

 

If you are sued does the policy pay for your legal defense? Do legal costs count against your level of coverage? Under what circumstances are you not covered?

The Bottom Line

 

You should now have a good understanding of the different types of insurance available and how to go about purchasing the right insurance package for your business. If you have any questions as you go through the process, drop us a comment in the comments section below. We respond to all comments personally.

 

Article Source: http://fitsmallbusiness.com/business-insurance/


Ignite Your Dream!

Posted by Doc Worley on June 18, 2014 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)


Jaden Newman has a dream...a vision...at 4 years old.  No one dares to take it away!  Ignite your engine and...


Dare to dream!

  



Believe in the possible........Expect the impossible!


Ignite Your Dream Machine

You are the qualities that make all dark days bright,

for the strong and beautiful inner you are bursting full of power and might;

And I dare to to release it from bondage without any reservation,

and watch it express the true and unique inner you without any hesitation;

Nobody has the power over you to keep you from doing what you desire,

for with heart, passion and determination, you are exploding with desire, burning with fire;

And I can feel the heat already from the nations of service in which you are about to lead,

for with faith, trust and love in God Almighty,

nothing more is what you need;

So submit to it, commit to it and make the decision today to win it all,

For your special gifts are on the phone right now,

go ahead and answer your mighty call;

I can hear them ringing loud and clear from the highest mountain,

to the shallowest shore by the pier;

So appeal to your dreams, respond to your call, resting cool in faith,

without burning up in fear;

God Bless You!


Doc






4th Grader Jaden Newman playing high school basketball

http://t.maxpreps.com/1iVkzZz




Employee...button your lip!

Posted by Doc Worley on June 13, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

  If you do not want your employees to reveal vital, important and confidential information, then tell them so in writing.  This is very important to protect your company's interests, across the board, especially in areas where trade secrets and other business  "never tells" can be compromised.  Who do you know in business that intends to grow a compromised one?  Therefore, take action and require your employees to "ok" your request in writing...but how?

David has written a great article that addresses that question,  We agree and are sharing it with you.  For more information, contact us...ASAP!   WE HEAR YOU ,,,AND WE ARE HERE!

Keep the Cat in the Bag


Employee Confidentiality Agreement - How It Works

By David Waring 

An employee confidentiality agreement is similar to a non-disclosure agreement.  The difference is that a confidentiality agreement is with employees and contractors, where a non-disclosure agreement is with other firms.

An Employee Confidentiality Agreement Can Help Retain Secret Information:

  • First, the simple act of signing the agreement may impress upon the person the importance of confidentiality and prevent him or her from revealing the business’s information.
  • Second, there are state laws that protect trade secrets, but to take advantage of these laws the business must be able to show that it attempted to keep their information secret.
  • Finally, a confidentiality agreement provides a basis to sue a current or former employee if he or she discloses or utilizes information in violation of an agreement. A confidentiality policy will demonstrate, in court, that something was meant to be kept confidential.

An employee confidentiality agreement should include broad language that requires employees and other individuals to protect non-public information about the company, its customers, and its employees. It should also instruct them not to use this non-public information or disclose this information with others, except as required by their current position with the company.

However, just because information is not explicitly shared that does prevent the information from being used by former employees when making decisions in new positions with other firms.  This is why a business may also consider having employees sign a non-compete agreement in addition to a confidentiality agreement.

In order for trade secrets to be protected under an employee confidentiality agreement, you have to be able to provide proof that they are both proprietary and non-public.  This means that the information is not known to the world at large but only to a small, select group of people within the company.  Also, it should be labeled or otherwise communicated that the information is confidential. For an employee confidentiality agreement to prove effective, it should provide for the following:

  • Confidentiality – A confidentiality provision would prohibit an employee or someone associated with the business from using or disclosing any trade secrets he or she may have had access to in the course of employment or interaction with the business. In short, the person agrees, on pain of legal sanctions, to ensure the confidentiality of the business secrets entrusted to him or her.
  • Restriction – This clause is generally used only in employee confidentiality agreements. However, some businesses use this clause in all their confidentiality agreements. This provision ensures that the person will not compete with the business after leaving the job or once the interaction with the business is over. For example, the agreement might require that the employee not start his or her own company or take a job with a competitor for a specified period after leaving the job.
  • Assignment – Since the person may develop valuable data in the course of employment or interaction with the business, this provision ensures that the data belongs to the business. In short, it addresses the question of who owns the resulting trade secret.
  • Severability – Because one or more provisions of a confidentiality agreement could run afoul of the law, it’s a good idea to include a severability clause. This clause would uphold the remaining provisions in the agreement if a court should strike down one or more provisions as illegal or contrary to public policy.
  • Acknowledgement – To keep the person from later pleading ignorance and challenging the agreement, the agreement should include a clause that stipulates that the person understands and voluntarily consents to the agreement’s provisions.

Make sure the employee confidentiality agreement complies with the personnel manual. For an employee confidentiality agreement to be most effective, the personnel manual should delineate company policy on proprietary information. The business must define what constitutes a secret if the agreement is to work. This definition can be accomplished by taking the following steps:

  • Labeling proprietary information as “secret and confidential”.
  • Limiting access to the information to employees with a “need to know” basis.
  • Periodically searching employee lockers, desks, and PC files for unauthorized storage of information.
  • Placing notices about the company’s policy at all photocopying machines, computers, and facsimile machines.
  • Limiting access to sensitive, corporate information by unauthorized persons.
  • Requiring outside consultants and temporary employees, who have access to sensitive proprietary data, to sign confidentiality agreements.
  • Including an acknowledgement in termination notices that reminds employees of their continued obligation to not misuse corporate trade secrets.



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