How Small Companies Can Provide Competitive Paid Leave

Paid leave is quickly becoming one of the most common demands for workers in all industries. After all, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not have a national paid maternity leave policy in place, and one of only six countries that does not provide paid leave for fathers. Companies that neglect to offer paid leave often find that top talent is turning them down because of it. 

The stats are clearly showing that paid leave is essential for recruiting and retaining top talent, but if you’re a small business or struggling economically, it might not be a financially sound option. Not all hope is lost, however – there are some strategies that you can use to provide your employees with competitive paid leave, even if you’re not a huge company just yet. 

  • Start with a Cost-Benefit Analysis 

Providing paid leave is expensive, but how expensive is not providing it? A lack of paid leave can lead to a rise in failed recruiting expenses, not to mention the drop in morale and productivity that happens when someone quits. For some companies, the expense of paid leave is worth the boost in other areas.

  • Include Male Employees

Traditionally, paid leave policies are reserved for mothers, but fathers are increasingly seeking paid paternity leave as well. Making your paid leave program available to all parents gives it a competitive edge in the current marketplace, and it also has huge social benefits – it helps maintain more diverse workplaces by allowing mothers to return to work if they so choose, and men who are allowed paid paternity leave get the chance to be more engaged with their children and thus become better fathers and partners.

  • Engage in Changing National Policies

Small businesses employ just under half of the total workforce in the United States, and a coalition is forming to lobby for a paid parental leave policy. Get involved in this push for legislation in any way that you can; be an advocate, spread awareness, or join organizations that share your view on the matter.

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Top Areas for Multifamily Property Investing

While the multifamily real estate market has taken a hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s still a very profitable area of real estate investing. Loss of income and the bans on evictions and foreclosures have made it difficult, but with things starting to return to a normal state, it might be time to get into the game.

If you take your time, do your research, and ensure that all of your bases are covered, then multifamily real estate can be a great venture for newbie investors. Here are the top areas for multifamily property investing.

  • Manchester, New Jersey

Manchester has come out on top this year with a median property price of roughly $113,400, or a price per square foot of $95. It has a price-to-rent ratio of 6 and an average monthly rental income of $1,465. 

  • Napes, Florida

Everyone wants to move to Florida when they retire, and the housing market is apparently reflecting this trend. The median property price is much higher than Manchester (about $377,400), but the price-to-rent ratio is 10, making the average monthly income around $3,250. Why not get some sun and set up some lucrative passive income while you’re at it?

  • Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati is a decent middle-of-the-road choice for multifamily properties at the moment – the median property price is roughly $235,000 with a price to rent ratio of 15, resulting in an average monthly rental income of $1,300. 

  • Fort Wayne, Indiana

If you’re starting out without a lot of initial capital, Fort Wayne might be a good choice for you. It sports a low median property price of $93,000, but the price-to-rent ratio is only 10. The average monthly rental income is about $770, but it would be a great place to start to build a portfolio. 

  • Detroit, Michigan 

Detroit is right behind Cincinnati as a middle-of-the-road option with a median property price of $153,000 and a price to rent ratio of 14. The average monthly income is about $923, which is why Cincinnati ranks a little bit higher.

 

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Methods for Improving the Hiring Process

The hiring process is one of the key pillars of any business. You’re only as good as the employee that you hire, and a flawed hiring process can kneecap your company’s potential for growth. As the job market shifts and changes, the traditional recruiting and interview processes are becoming outdated and ineffective. Here are some key methods for improving the hiring process and finding talent that’s right for your company. 

  • Ask Challenging Questions

The classic interview questions have been used for so long that most – if not all – candidates have canned responses to them. This is a huge problem – how are you going to get a sense of who this person actually is and what their skills are if they’ve made a point to hone their answers to be what you want to hear? 

To avoid this, start asking dynamic questions in an interview. Ask potential hires to teach you something, or how they would react to a particular situation with a customer. The trick is to ask questions that are still relevant to the position without regurgitating the questions on every “most commonly asked interview questions” list published since 2005. 

  • Test for Technical Skills 

Technical skills are often overlooked in traditional interviews – the conversational format doesn’t usually allow candidates to display hard skills beyond listing them on their resume. One of the best ways to fill this gap in the traditional interview process is to conduct “expert interviews.” These interviews consist of a technical expert discussing a candidate’s skill knowledge with them – think of it like a pop quiz. 

  • Play Some Games

If you’re interviewing in a group environment, it can be a great opportunity to use games to evaluate your candidates’ capacity for teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. While it might sound a bit cheesy to begin with, games are truly a great way for interviewees to stand out in the crowd and show you how suitable they are for your company culture.

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How to Avoid Employee Turnover

Job culture has been changing rapidly within the past few decades – the rise of the “gig economy” and a sharp increase in job dissatisfaction has caused a rapid jump in employee turnover in many industries. Nowadays, roughly 50% of companies are reporting difficulties with employee retention, and 70% have issues replacing employees once they leave.

Why Do You Need Employee Retention?

For some companies, this phenomenon might not feel like a big deal. But failing to retain employees can cost you valuable time and money; some studies estimate that replacing an employee costs double what their salary was. Additionally, companies that excel in retaining employees report that their employees are more productive, and their work is of a higher quality.

Why Employees Leave Jobs 

Many employers believe that salary is the only factor in employee retention; however, most employees who quit their jobs rarely do so for financial reasons. In reality, the reasons for employees leaving include: 

  • Incompatible talent or interests
  • Insufficient support or feedback
  • Lack of available growth opportunities
  • Inadequate resolution of complaints or issues

Strategies for Employee Retention

One of the most effective strategies for boosting employee retention is to improve your hiring process. If you continuously hire candidates who aren’t compatible with the company culture or values, then the chances that those employees will leave becomes exponentially higher. Don’t be afraid to ask pointed questions to determine if a candidate is right for you, and don’t be afraid to pass on talent that isn’t a cultural fit for the company.

Another strategy applies to the employees that you already have – you need to invest in their education and advancement, or their positions will quickly start to look like a dead end. Studies show that 80% of employees consider high skills training highly beneficial, and it appears to be a huge factor in employee satisfaction and retention. Investing in your employees’ skills and career paths is also a good way to ensure that they feel valued in the company, which is another huge factor in employee retention.

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Fix These Four Problems Before Taking Listing Photos

Photo presentation of a home is more important now than it ever has been. According to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the number of home buyers who used the Internet to search for a new home increased to a record high of 97% last year, and that figure is expected to continue to climb. 

With that in mind, pros in the real estate business are going to want to make sure that their listing photos are as attractive as possible; it might just make or break a sale. Here are four problems to fix before taking your listing photos.

  • Remove Large Floral Arrangements

Photographs are two-dimensional by nature, and tall vases or wide arrangements can become distracting. They’re also terrible for obscuring the depth of a space. Lower profile arrangements are recommended to draw attention to the viewpoint and layout of the room. Consider potted plants or air plants to add a touch of greenery without distracting from the rest of the room.

  • Remove Small Rugs

Home buyers want to see the actual features of a home, and this includes the original flooring. Small rugs and floor runners don’t really add much to a photograph, and they can actually make a space look smaller. Stick with large rugs or bare floors to make a room look big and spacious.

  • Make Sure Your Lightbulbs Match

Lightbulbs may feel like a completely inconsequential feature of a property but differing types of lighting can really mess with photographs. Mixing warm and cool lightning is never recommended for photography, so make sure that you use the same type of lightbulb in every source in a room. Most stagers recommend warm or soft white bulbs. 

  • Iron Wrinkled Linens

In real life, most people don’t care if their sheets or throw blankets are wrinkled. However, the camera picks up wrinkles like a magnet, and can make them look awful in the final product. Use a professional steamer on curtains, sheets, and any other textiles to ensure they look smooth and beautiful in your listing photos.

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Five Unique Ways to Market Your Company’s Culture

Company culture has become an increasingly important factor in business’ relationship with both future employees and potential clients. The behind-the-scenes operations of a company and how they treat their workers influences how outsiders feel about the brand and interact with it. If you’ve managed to foster a thriving company culture, here are five ways to capitalize on it in your marketing strategy. 

  • Highlight Your Employees

A good company culture is focused on the humans it employs first and foremost, so it makes sense that you would highlight them when you’re marketing your company culture. Focusing on your employees can showcase the human element of your business. 

  • Show Off Your Hiring Process

This method is particularly effective for recruiting, but it can also be advantageous for attracting potential clients. Your hiring practice should ideally match your employees with roles where they’ll be happy and effective, and you should showcase how you keep your teams connected and collaborating. Personal anecdotes go a long way in this section; ask employees how the hiring process was for them and what they love about their jobs. 

  • Showcase Your Differences

A unique corporate culture is a great marketing tool, but only if people know how different it actually is from your competitors. If you value giving your employees space to grow and think outside of the box instead of the classic cubicle culture, be sure to showcase that in your marketing.

  • Prove it

Actions speak louder than words – people are going to know if you’re promoting values that you aren’t actually enacting, so it’s important to prove that your company culture is effective and genuine through every action the company takes. If you promote positive connections and teamwork, then your company’s actions should always reflect those values.

  • Produce Media Focused on Your Culture

Increasingly, companies are using blogs and podcasts to show off their company culture and attract new customers. These types of media allow people to get to know your team on a more personal level, and it really showcases the type of company culture you’ve fostered.

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Real Estate Trends Investors Need to Know

The housing market is notoriously everchanging – we’re benefiting from a strong market at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there’s no telling how long that type of market is going to hold. On top of that, this industry is very much dependent on the area that you’re in. Understanding the trends that the market goes through can help you navigate this shifting market and come out on top. 

Dwindling Affordability

For the past little while, a combination of low mortgage rates and strong incomes have been preventing any large dips in affordability. However, things seem to have changed for the worse in that area after recent developments.

A study conducted by ATTOM Data Solutions states that affordability has dipped below historical averages in a whopping 61% of US counties; it dropped in 45 of the 50 top markets last year as well. 

Extensions to Renter and Homeowner Protections

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a large spike in protections aimed at renters and homeowner protections; the eviction bans, foreclosure bans, and rampant mortgage forbearance options were designed to limp us through the pandemic, but they’re having a marked effect on the market.

Landlords seem to have suffered the most from these arrangements – the lost income from unpaid rent and tenants that they legally cannot evict has caused a lot of strain in the industry. Fortunately, these bans don’t seem to be long for this world, and the balance may be tipping soon. 

A Spike in Listings

Supply in the housing market has been a rampant problem for a while, but it seems to be improving. There’s roughly a 4% spike in new listings this year, marking a clear improvement in supply. If you’re seeking rental properties or houses to flip, now just might be your chance.

Rising Foreclosures

Despite the ban on foreclosures coming from the COVID-19 pandemic, they’re still on the rise. One in every 12,700 units had a foreclosure filing last month, with the highest rates occurring in Nevada, Delaware, Illinois, Florida, and New Jersey. 

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What Is Mixed-Used Development Investing?

Commercial real estate investing can feel intimidating – there’s a lot of differences between commercial and residential real estate, and many people aren’t sure where to start or if commercial real estate is worth it. Investing in mixed-use properties is a great solution to this issue – it allows you to combine the benefits of different property types into the same investment.

What Is Mixed-Use Development?

Mixed-use developments are combinations of residential and nonresidential buildings that have been planned within a city, municipality, or state. Projects can range from a single building to an entire neighborhood in scale. Developments like this offer a wide range of benefits, including: 

  • Improvements in residential affordability
  • Walkability between housing, amenities, and even workplaces
  • Stronger neighborhoods

When done correctly, these types of developments are designed to take elements of different types of real estate and use them to complement each other.

Benefits of Mixed-Use Developments

Mixed-use developments are on the rise – the demand mostly comes from new millennial homebuyers, but many types of consumers seek the deeper sense of community and convenience that developments like these provide. Benefits for investors include: 

  • Different types of clientele provide multiple streams of income from the properties
  • Property managers assist with smooth business operations
  • Proximity to amenities makes them highly desirable as residential spaces
  • Variety of tenants lowers risk for investors
  • High rental demand

Mixed-use properties don’t show any signs of falling in popularity in the next few years, and they could make excellent investments for business-savvy individuals looking to expand their portfolios in new directions.

Potential Risks of Mixed-Use Developments

On paper, mixed-use developments sound like a great investment. And they are, but you should be aware of the potential drawbacks before investing in a particular property. Some areas may not be suited to the increased foot traffic created by these types of properties – you need to check how pedestrian-friendly the surrounding area is and what sort of access to public transportation is available.

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How to Build an Unstoppable Dream Team for Your Business

When people talk about successful entrepreneurs, they’re usually only talking about one person – the founder or CEO. But building a successful business is far from a one-person job and having good people behind you is imperative for your long-term success. Whether you’re barely off the starting line or starting to grow, having your dream team behind you can make success much more attainable. Here’s what to look for to hire the best employees. 

Shared Vision

Building a business is an uphill battle, and you need staff that share your vision for the company that you’re going to build together. Having a vision and a plan for growth can help you weather the inevitable hard times that you’re going to face. 

Diverse Experience

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s also essential for business. Having a diverse team that brings a range of skills and experience to the table can ensure that you’re better prepared for whatever the industry throws at you. A great team isn’t just about having the smartest person in the room, it’s about everyone else. The ideal team has people whose strengths lie in areas such as marketing, communication, numbers, networking, and organization, among other skills.

Qualities to Avoid in New Hires

Your business is only as good as the talent you hire, so there are some qualities that you should avoid when building your dream team, such as: 

  • Know-it-all; refuses to change their opinion even in the face of disproving evidence
  • Too focused on personal credit or glory
  • Intellectually selfish; unwilling to share ideas or collaborate
  • Unmotivated or unwilling to put the necessary time and effort into growing the business

In the end, hiring the right team can mean the difference between a thriving business and a struggling one. Taking the time to carefully select your employees is a good practice for any budding business; don’t be afraid to ask questions and test people to make sure they’re up to the task!

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Four Great Benefits of Investing in Multifamily Real Estate

Multifamily real estate has taken a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not still a profitable investment. Multifamily properties are immensely popular for first-time real estate investors, simply because it’s a class of asset that most people understand. You’ve probably owned a home or rented an apartment before, and you can understand the basics that these units require. Here are four benefits of investing in multifamily real estate.

  • Leverage

Real estate is one of the most popular types of investment because they have a high capacity to be leveraged. The mortgage system allows you to invest less initial capital for a high value asset – you’d need $1 million in initial capital to buy $1 million worth of stocks, but you’d only need roughly $250,000 to buy a $1 million dollar rental property.

  • Scalability 

One huge benefit of investing in multifamily properties versus single-family properties is that they can grow your real estate portfolio very quickly. This is because of the leverage concept we covered above; it effectively allows you to grow a portfolio that’s worth a large amount without investing that amount right away. 

  • Taxes

Real estate is one of the most tax advantaged classes of assets due to two factors: mortgage interest deductions and depreciation. Large investment properties typically require large mortgages with 5% plus interest rates, so the annual deduction they accumulate ends up being very high. The concept of depreciation helps shelter real estate owners from even further taxes because it assumes that properties depreciate over time due to wear and tear, even if they’re actually appreciating in value.

  • Passive Income

Passive income is king in today’s markets, and there’s no better way to set up a passive cash flow than through rental properties. Especially after hiring a property manager, most landlords never have to lift a finger to keep the income flowing in from their properties. Passive income is the best way to build wealth over time, making real estate even more popular with all sorts of investors.

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