What’s New with SinglePlatform

We’ve been hard at work over the past few months continuing to improve our services for local businesses.  From the way our product looks to who we can help and newly available upgrades, SinglePlatform is always striving to give you the very best. We’re excited to announce the following improvements to SinglePlatform:

Review Monitoring

Running your own businesses requires you to wear a lot of hats and important aspects of your business can fall through the cracks when you’re focused on making sure your payroll is processed and your inventory is on time. SinglePlatform is dedicated to helping you save time without sacrificing your marketing efforts. With our Review Monitoring upgrade, our customers can easily keep track of their online review across the web from our all-in-one feed and respond to them al from one place. Nothing falls through the cracks because we’ll email you whenever you get a new review. Sign up today! 

Canada Expansion

SinglePlatform is now international! Years of work in the making, we are thrilled to now have the capability of providing SinglePlatform services to local business in our neighbor to the north, Canada. If your Canadian local business is interested in how SinglePlatform can help you get discovered everywhere that matters online, request a demo today.

Portal Re-brand

As we’ve mentioned before, in February our website underwent a complete rebranding to better explain SinglePlatform’s value and benefits to our customers.  Recently, we’ve expanded our rebranding to our portal. For our customers who chose to make updates to their accounts themselves through our easy-to-use portal, you may have noticed our updated colors and feel. We hope you think it looks as snazzy as we do.

SinglePlatform is dedicated to helping local businesses like yours grow which means we are constantly looking to be better than we were yesterday. Stay connected with us to see what other exciting developments will be announced in the coming months. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter for more SinglePlatform news.

FDA’s New Rules for Restaurants

Considering people consume 33% of their calories away from home, the FDA has rolled out a new set of guidelines that require restaurants or similar food retailers with 20 or more locations to clearly display calorie and nutrition information next to items on their menu wherever they can be seen or purchased. Changes will go into effect on May 5, 2017.

Whether it’s a meal at a sit-down restaurant, food purchased at a drive-thru, or a pastry on display at a coffee shop, the calories in an item must be distinctly shown next to the price of the item on the menu or menu board. While these guidelines won’t affect restaurants with less than 20 locations, customers may start to expect nutrition information to be available everywhere they’re dining.

In a study of more than 3,000 people, researchers found that when presented with nutrition information, diners were three times more likely to use this information when ordering their meal than diners who were not presented with nutritional information.  Therefore, when diners have the tools to make more informed decisions about what they’re eating, they are more likely to make health-conscious decisions. Giving these tools to your customers could make your restaurant friendlier to health-conscious eaters.

This is not the first time that the FDA has pushed an initiative that promotes public health via restaurant regulation. The FDA announced a ban on trans fat in June of 2015 as trans fats have been linked to 50,000 fatal heart attacks a year. Make sure that your restaurant is making strides to create a healthy experience for your diners, not only will it help you be FDA compliant but it also may inspire more loyalty amongst your diners.

Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your menu and business information get discovered.

Make Time to Review Overtime

Several companies have come under fire for not properly compensating employees for overtime hours. Starbucks, for example, has dealt with many overtime lawsuits, totaling almost $18 million in fines. While managing employees and their schedules is a necessary task to keep business running smoothly, it has also been a source of legal trouble for many companies who aren’t accurately accounting for employees’ hours.

Although lawsuits are a consequence of improper compensation, there are ways to avoid it. For starters, companies should ensure that employees are fulfilling tasks solely related to their job description. For example, employees in the managerial role should not be running food to tables or bartending when short-staffed.

When employees are tasked with duties unrelated to their job titles, they may decrease their overall productivity as they have to direct their energy elsewhere. Any task the employee might have to fulfill that is unrelated to their job description should be discussed upon hiring and before a contract is signed. Regardless, employees should always be compensated for their time spent working at your business.

Besides the legal complications of accounting for overtime hours, there are many aspects to consider before allowing your employees to clock out later. Burning out as well as developing physical health problems are just two downfalls of working overtime. Studies have also shown that the possibility of developing depression doubles when working long overtime hours.

From a business standpoint, there are several liabilities that could lead to lawsuits if the appropriate amounts are not paid out which would add up to much more money over time.

The logic many companies have behind an overtime policy is the belief that the company will be more likely to meet its financial and production goals with the extra work, which will result in a higher return on investment. Companies feel they are able to deliver more products and services, create more advertisements, and ideally gain more profit.

Considering there are many instances where employees are doing extra jobs to keep business strong, they are oftentimes staying longer than their scheduled 40 hours per week to get everything done. By having an overtime policy that everyone understands, you eliminate the possibility of legal action while simultaneously satisfying your employees.

Learn more tips and trends for running a local business by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. For updates sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below:

4 Ways Your Salon or Spa Can Find the Best Talent

For every salon or spa owner, finding the right employees is important because your product is dependent on their skills. While there were over one million people who worked in the salon or spa industry in 2014, and that number has continued to grow, recruiting the staff members you want to work at your small business should be a selective process. 

To make the search easier, here are a few ideas on how your salon or spa can actively attract the talent you want:

1.    Network, Network, Network

The best way to find talent is to get out there. Whether you attend tradeshows or conferences to network with others in the business, or build a relationship with cosmetology schools in your area, you need to put your salon or spa on their radar. By being physically present and connecting with people face-to-face, you not make your business memorable and hopefully begin to build a rapport that could transition into a working relationship.

2.    Emphasize Education

Considering 76% of people want opportunities for career growth at their jobs and 40% of employees who receive poor training will leave their jobs within a year of starting, your salon or spa must implement training and educational opportunities for your employees. Giving employees the opportunity to sharpen their skills not only allows them to get better at doing what they love, but it also makes them feel that their career is valued by your business.  

3.    Strengthen Your Social Media Presence

Having a strong presence on social media not only allows you to broadcast your brand to customers, but this is also an opportunity to promote your company culture to prospective employees.. When people research your business as a prospective job opportunity, you enable them to see how your business values your employees. 

4.    Win Talent With Your Website

Like social media, your website is another opportunity for potential employees to get to know your business. By having a website that is fully updated and easy to navigate, the talent you’re looking to recruit can quickly find the information they’re looking for. Listing open positions or including a section specifically dedicated to staff members helps potential employees see the opportunities available to them as well as a preview of their potential coworkers.

For more tips, trends and news related to the salon and spa industry, check SinglePlatform out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. For updates sent directly to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter below:

Social Media for your Small Business

The first social media website, Six Degrees, was created in 1997 and though the site is now defunct, social media has taken off. Social media are websites and apps that are designed to connect people with other people, but in the past few years, businesses have also started to leverage these emerging technologies. Learn more about why the two leading social media sites are important for your business. 

With SinglePlatform’s announcement feature, you can publicize your specials, events, happy hours, and so much more to both your Facebook and your Twitter at the same time. Learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your local business get discovered.

3 Tips for Grooming an Anxious Animal

There are 195,070 people employed at various pet grooming and boarding businesses throughout the country and each share a universal experience; dealing with an anxious animal. Although grooming is necessary for the maintenance and wellbeing of the animal, it can be foreign territory for cats and dogs alike.

While each animal will react differently to the grooming process, here are three tips to use when the animal’s anxiety interferes:

1.    Good First Impressions

The first time a pet goes to the groomer is the most crucial visit; their experience can determine their feelings towards grooming for the rest of their lives. Ease pets into the grooming process by letting them get acquainted with your equipment. Allowing pets to walk around your facilities and play with your staff before the grooming begins is essential in making them feel comfortable. 

2.    Forget the Force

Getting anxious animals to cooperate during the grooming process may feel like an impossible task, but using force will only make it worse. Whether you need to clip their nails or shave their fur, introducing them to each tool you’re going to use will make the experience less threatening for the animals, and easier for you. Simply let pets sniff your tools first, and you’ll show them there is nothing to be afraid of.

3.    Keep Their Eyes on the Prize

Another solution to curing animal anxiety during a grooming is to reward them throughout the process. After each time you brush their fur or bathe them, slip them a treat or two to let them know this is a positive experience. When they associate a reward with each part of the grooming process, their fear and anxiety diminishes. Conditioning anxious animals by rewarding them will ultimately make them look forward to their visits to your business.

Understanding how you can create the most enjoyable grooming experience for the pets in your care will not only ensure the pets leave happy, but the owners do, too. Want more tips and tricks for your pet business? Check SinglePlatform out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

 

Give Employees a Break

As a small business owner, your employees are either your greatest assets or a major liability. Make sure that you are getting the most out of your employees by being the best employer you can be. Giving your employees timely breaks during their shifts not only keeps employees happy but also keeps your business safe from legal trouble.

While small businesses may experience a shortage of staff from time to time, employers should never ask an employee to leave their break early. There is no federal law mandating that breaks must occur, but most states have laws requiring breaks depending on how long a shift is.  If your small business is located in a state that mandates breaks for employees, breaking the rules can be a big risk for your business.

A prime example of this liability was the 2014 settlement that Brinker International, the company that owns Chili’s had to pay. Brinker International agreed to pay around $56 million to 120,000 workers in California who had complained that they were asked to leave their break early. While this particular case is large scale and high-profile, your small business should still take note and incorporate regulated practices when it comes to employee breaks during their shifts so that you won’t have to deal with any impending litigation.

While some small businesses may feel that breaks take away from the work day, statistics show that it is actually more beneficial for business productivity to give their employees a break during their shift. Considering a 30-second micro break can increase productivity by up to 13%, and a 15-second break from looking at a computer screen every ten minutes may reduce fatigue by 50%, breaks are a proven way to jumpstart productivity. In another study conducted, employees who suffered from forearm, wrist, and hand discomfort were able to eliminate their pain completely just by taking a five-minute break every hour.

To ensure productivity is consistent throughout the day and employees are satisfied, consider implementing breaks into your business practice. While it can seem beneficial to go without breaks or end them early, the long-term issues can include potential lawsuits and a decrease in overall productivity.

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