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  • Common Mistakes that Urgent Care Businesses Make

    early evening at a new jersey urgent care centerStarting up an urgent care business has its own difficulties. There is plenty of competition, and just entering into the medical treatment field has its own risks and hurdles. But there are also plenty of mistakes that new urgent care startups make that can make the process even harder on them. Here are some of the most common ones that can be avoided with the right preparation.

    Treating Doctors Like Businessmen

    Not all doctors are great businessmen. Sometimes, someone is really only good at one thing, and expecting all doctors who want to start up an urgent care business to understand and be good at the business side of things may be putting your expectations a bit too high. If you are a doctor just trying to get your urgent care business off the ground, be realistic about what you can do. It’s okay to call in some help and get an experienced business person to plan or run the business side of things.

    Not Having a Business Plan

    On that note, you need to start every business with a business plan. It’s as important for urgent carte centers as it is for every other business and it gives you clear goals to shoot for. It’s okay to update and change your plan as you learn more about the business and run into unexpected problems, but just having the plan will help you develop a clear vision on where to go with your business.

    Trying to Do Too Much Too Fast

    As you develop your business plan, make sure your expenses are in line with your earnings. You don’t want to put yourself deeply in debt over features and services that you aren’t prepared to offer at the highest level of quality. It’s okay if you don’t offer every imaginable urgent care service right away. You need to focus on what you are good at and what you can actually deliver. Give your customers a reliable business they will want to come back to before you plunge into the deep end and try to do a little bit of everything. If you start small and basic, then you will have a better idea of how far you can go and what you are capable of in the future.

    These are just a few of the more common mistakes. There are plenty more you could make, so take time to really plan out your business and think about all your decisions before you make them.

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  • Pave the Way for a Vehicle Tax Writeoff

    if you have a clunker donate itIf the car you donate is sold for less than $500, it is up to you to determine the fair market value as long as the figure is below $500. The tax receipt that the charity is required to send you will be less detailed and will merely acknowledge your donation. The information included on the tax receipt will be your name, the date of the donation and a brief description of the vehicle.

    The simplification of the laws concerning car donation tax deduction is good news for charities. As more people realize the good their car donation can do for others and the ease in which you can itemize your car donation tax deduction, they will be eager to help. Spread the word so that more people donate more cars to help even more people.

    * A statement that no services or goods were made available to you in return in your donation

    * A description and value any kind of services or goods had been presented to you in turn in your donation

    * A statement that this goods or services presented to you consisted entirely of intangible religious benefits

    Further documentation and filing requirements may pertain to claiming a deduction to your car donation. If your contribution may be valued at in excess of $500, you might need to check along with your accountant to see the easiest way for you to contribute your car to charity.

    What About Title and Registration?

    In most cases you will want to transfer the car title to the charity you’re making the donation to. Make a copy of the title transfer and make sure your registration information on file in with your State is updated to reflect the transfer. And finally, remove your license plates from the vehicle you are donating, this can help you avoid future liabilities following the title transfer.

    In case you followed those things your vehicle donation will qualify you (in almost every case) to have a Fair Market Value Tax Deduction in your next tax return. We have a deep knowledge of the tax regulations and understand how to manage your automobile donation to get you the greatest tax break, which means that your own generosity and convenience would really put cash back in your pocket next year!

    We have managed to make it simple for you to donate your car and revel in these benefits. A car donation can get you on your journey to tax savings, and great personal satisfaction. You won’t need to pay attention to a timeshare sales agent, you won’t have to deal with fixing and selling your vehicle, and you’ll have all you need for the IRS!

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  • An Independent Agent’s Take On Collaborating with a Hired Public Adjuster

    office damages require an insurance claimHere’s why working with a public adjuster can be good for an independent insurance agency and for its customers:

    1. After a disaster, insureds have hundreds or even thousands of questions and worries. In a large-scale disaster, many of your local customers will be coming to you for answers. You may find yourself answering the phone every few minutes to address more questions and to resolve their fears. As an agent you will find it necessary to read the policy and then get back to the insured with their answers. You may find yourself at odds with the insurer if you add your own opinion or interpretation of the policy language and it differs from the insurer’s. This is an area where a public adjuster can add value since they will be the ones working directly with the insured and the insurer to address all coverage issues.

    2. Customers who have suffered a loss are very emotional and upset. You will likely be the first person they call about their loss. Your customer will be in need of some immediate assistance and resources. Some of the things they will need are emergency services and temporary housing. Customers will also ask you to report their claim for them and will inquire as to the entire process. It is likely they will ask for a copy of their policy with a full explanation of their coverages. This is an important process that can be handled by a public insurance adjuster.

    3. For the insured who experiences a disaster, working with numerous company adjusters, independent adjusters and contractors can be cumbersome, time-consuming and sometimes may even be infuriating. However, you as an independent agent want to stay neutral – you don’t want your customers yelling at you for decisions the insurer may be making and you certainly do not want your insurance company clients upset with you either. This can be a very challenging position to find yourself in. This is another reason why it makes sense to engage a public insurance adjuster – they are outside of the decision making process and will be an advocate for the insured.

    4. Our experience in adjusting large losses and large scale disasters has shown there are a large number of insureds that are underinsured. This is usually the result of the insured shopping for the lowest rates and ending up with inadequate coverage limits. If your insured finds themselves underinsured, the natural thing for them to do is to point their finger at their agent and accuse them of not properly insuring them. Sometimes, a very skilled and astute public adjuster can find additional coverage within the policy to minimize the impact. When selling a policy I recommend the agent spend additional time with the insured to fully explain the coverages that may quickly reach or exceed limits in case of a large loss – such as personal property with the sublimits; additional structures; landscaping; and building code upgrade to name a few. A good public adjuster will look for all coverages within the policy with a goal of minimizing the effect of an under-insured situation.

    5. During the entire claim process it is common for the insurer and insured to have differing opinions on a variety of issues. A professional public insurance adjuster will relieve the burden from the agent by answering and explaining coverages, processes, values and options available to them. In addition, the public adjuster will be able to obtain a value of the loss that is independent from the insurer’s. The goal of the public insurance adjuster is to pursue all coverage the insured is entitled to under the policy. Our experience has shown this is not always the same goal the insurer has. A professional public insurance adjuster can be a strong advocate for the insured and will work with the agent, insured and the insurer to resolve the claim expeditiously for its full value.

    6. Remember that a professional public insurance adjuster is the only adjuster that can represent the insured. The company adjuster and independent adjuster are only authorized to work for the insurer. If the customer does not engage a public insurance adjuster, then they will find themselves without their own representation – or will rely upon their agent to perform that work and you will quickly discover you have a second full-time job. It is an arduous and tenacious task to juggle all elements of a claim and one that should really be performed by someone that does this on a full-time basis.

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  • Five Ways to Market Without a Huge Budget

    use custom hats when building your brand identityAs a small business owner or marketing professional, you likely don’t have the resources of a mega-brand to market your service or product as aggressively or with the same reach. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still make a strong impact with targeted and creative ideas that will both help you to get your small business in front of a new audience, and retain and engage the customers you already have.

    Here’s 5 of our favorite small business marketing ideas to help you re-think your size advantage and the potential power of your marketing efforts.

    1. Optimize your virtual presence

    Let’s assume you already have a website. Your website should be more than a simple telephone-book listing of your location and hours. It should be the most powerful of your marketing tools, especially if you’re able to deliver value above and beyond simply promoting your business. The best small business websites are those that offer real content and serve as a resource for your industry. Consider starting a frequently-updated blog that offers both updates about your small business and other interesting content, such as industry news and observations. Use your writing and images to establish a unique point-of-view and creative voice, further clarifying the tone of your brand. Once you have strong content, distribution platforms like Outbrain Amplify can help you find a wider network for your work, even without a massive marketing budget.

    Additionally, make sure to include clear calls to action on the heels of good content, such as inviting readers to sign up for your email distribution list or to find you on social media. And be sure your site is mobile enabled. More and more readers are accessing information on the go, and small businesses that aren’t optimized for mobile formats risk falling behind the curve.

    Learn more about how to promote your content on premium websites like CNN, ESPN, TIME, and thousands more.

    2. Reach out

    Explore customer discovery tools like Groupon, LivingSocial, or Scoutmob. These deal-of-the-day platforms, which discount your products or services, can offer you the chance to target a whole new customer base. While they do entail a momentary cut in profits, this will hopefully be offset by customers who become loyal followers – that’s where your relationship-building skills come in!

    Additionally, make sure your business is enabled for review and check-in services like Yelp and Foursquare, and be sure to respond to reviews – both positive AND negative. Reaching out after negative feedback demonstrates responsiveness and a commitment to customer service that many larger companies can’t deliver.

    3. Be social

    Create and maintain innovative and original social media accounts that don’t only promote your small business, but establish your personality. The precision of social media is exactly what makes the medium such a great way to hone your brand message and to get clear about exactly who you are and what you offer. Most small businesses now have at the very least a Facebook or Twitter account, but why not expand to Instagram, Pinterest or Google+ to reach a new customer base and further show your creativity and vision? When used correctly, a Google+ page can be highly effective for your local business as it enables special local features on Google search. You can also use these profiles to become active in social communities that are relevant to your service or product.

    Social media also offers a great way to engage your customer base by offering perks like discounts or giveaways. And, ultimately, your voice here reinforces the sense that there is a real person behind the marketing.

    4. Build relationships

    Rather than focusing on the ways in which you don’t have the same reach or power as a large business, think about what makes your small business particularly effective – for example, the opportunity to form close, meaningful relationships with your customers. Small businesses aren’t stuck behind the layers of professional firewalls that stymie the efforts of big companies to make themselves seem friendly and approachable.

    Cultivate a voice for your marketing efforts that is personable and unique, and use that presence to build your online relationships, such as through an email newsletter and strong social media groups. Start a loyalty program (online or in-store) that gives preference to repeat customers, and consider a referral program that honors customers who tell their friends about you. Invite repeat customers to special events such as a pre-sale exclusive, or offer them a membership discount. These close customer relationships are the best way to ensure your longevity.

    5. Think local

    Whatever the intended reach of your small business, mobilizing your immediate community is still one of the best ways to create buzz. If you are a brick and mortar store, think about ways you can connect with your neighbors and show your investment in the strength of your community. Consider having custom hats or shirts screen-printed to spread your logo and identity.

    Collaborate with other local business – especially those who aren’t direct competitors – to cross-promote or to pair your services as part of local packages. Target local media to respond to community issues and for publicity opportunities. Participate in local craft or food fairs or be a sponsor at a community event. Make sure you have a killer elevator pitch and get networking!

    Once you get to know the rhythms of your neighborhood, you’ll be able to craft your brand to more directly meet the needs of the people you’re serving and be able to meet your customers with your marketing message. And above all, you’ll demonstrate a real commitment to making your business integral to the growth of your neighborhood.

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