Archive | August 5, 2011

Pros and Cons of Owning a Catering Business

I recently decided to start my own catering business from home. This is definitely a challenging job but it has benefits. Catering can be a great option if you want to start your own home business, but it is important that you know both the pros and cons of this job before you begin.

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Pros of Catering

Catering is a really great choice if you like to cook. It may be helpful if have some professional culinary experience, but it isn’t required. One of the things I like best about catering is that it allows me to be creative. I can showcase my talents when I offer menus to a potential client; this is something that cooks don’t regularly have a chance to do. Catering is great for a stay at home job because I can do it in my spare time and prepare food in my kitchen. It is also very profitable if you are able to get some big jobs.

Cons of Catering

Starting a home based catering business is one of the most stressful jobs there is. A caterer needs to be highly organized and attentive to the smallest details. This can get difficult if you are working at home where distractions abound. You also need to be prepared to spend very long hours on your feet when you are working an event. The logistics of catering from home are also a bit more difficult than they are with other businesses. You may need to hire employees to help you with large events, and you will need to get proper licensing and insurance for your business. You should also expect visits from the health inspector and you may need to change things around in your kitchen or get new appliances in order to meet regulations. The catering field can also be highly competitive. As with any job, you need to know how to market yourself. If you aren’t getting clients, you simply won’t make money.

After I took a look at the pros and cons I decided that catering was a good choice for me. I felt comfortable with my decision knowing that I had clear expectations for what was ahead of me. If looking at this list makes you think twice about catering, there are other options for running your own business. Child care services are popular, as are carpet cleaning business start up companies. Catering is just one choice in a sea of options.

How Much is Too Much for Corporate Gift Limits?

Recent changes to financial regulations have created complex rules for financial industry compliance. Sarbanes-Oxley and other legislation have made those throughout the industry nervous. A fine line between company confidentiality and transparency must be walked, and one of the most confusing areas is related to corporate gift limits. Companies of all sizes are left to wonder if financial compliance solutions are possible without alienating clients.

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What are Corporate Gifts?

Corporate gifts are small value items provided to customers or vendors. Reasons for giving these items include appreciation for a job well done, gratitude for past business, marketing, or recognizing an accomplishment or holiday. Most companies impose their own corporate gift limits in order to avoid conflicts of interest or fraud.

What Does Compliance Have to Do with Gifts?

In the past, audits and regulators found gifts of large monetary value often influenced business decisions. For example, a procurement VP in a major corporation might ensure a vendor receives the contract for certain supplies in exchange for favors and gifts from the vendor. These acts can lead to unfair business practices, and can also decrease profitability for companies.

How Does a Company Enforce Compliance?

The first step to enforcing rules about corporate gifts is to develop a consistent policy. All team members should be educated regarding the parameters deemed appropriate when accepting gifts. Often, team members without this education will accept inappropriate gifts without realizing the impact. Those in a customer service role may also give inappropriately in an attempt to build a relationship with new clients.

Compliance software is available to help companies track corporate gift-giving and receiving. Software which links to and monitors expense reports for all employees can flag non-compliant entertainment or gifts. Companies can discover fraudulent activity by reviewing these reports, and can also provide coaching to team members who abuse policies with innocent intent. Some software also allows employees to enter gifts received. All companies should require team members to report any gift, no matter how small. By reporting all gifts, employees create a transparency that makes it harder for fraudulent activity to occur.

Without the ability to educate, report, and monitor corporate gift activity, it is impossible for a company to maintain financial compliance solutions.

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