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President Obama Boosts Employment Chances for LGBT Workers

President Obama Boosts Employment Chances for LGBT Workers


America may be the land of opportunity, but the opportunity it offers is certainly not equally distributed. For many who are willing to work, the barriers to actual employment remain high. In no other community is this truer than among workers who are LGBT, or Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgendered.


ban the box

For these workers, President Obama’s recent decision to force federal agency employers to “ban the box” stands to have a transformational effect.

What is “Ban the Box?”

The phrase “ban the box” refers to the criminal history question on employment applications. 90 percent or more of all domestic employers currently include background and criminal history checks as part of the standard hiring protocol. By “banning the box,” President Obama did not ban the practice of checking into a candidate’s criminal history. However, the act does delay when that background check occurs, placing it much later in the employment screening process.

How the Box Has Affected Employment

Why is this important? Studies show that candidates who do have a criminal record are much more likely to gain employment if they can proceed further on in the hiring process before having their background investigated. This delay gives these candidates more time to put their best post-criminal foot forward to gain an opportunity to win a job.


Employee background checks

Currently, an estimated 60 percent of formerly incarcerated workers cannot even get a job in their first 12 months after gaining release. And of those who do find a job, they stand to earn an estimated 40 percent less than their peers who do not have criminal activity on record in their background.

How the Box Ban Will Affect LGBT Workers

Many LGBT workers today not only struggle to get hired, but many will quickly depart due to workplace hazing, harassment and discrimination. This sends many LGBT workers into the grey areas of employment such as the “adult” industry, dealing drugs and similar industries where the daily dangers include imprisonment and worse.

While President Obama’s recent ban affects only federal agency employers (about two percent of the total number of domestic employers nationwide today), it is viewed as an act that sets the bar higher for all employers. LGBT adults, especially minorities, suffer from extreme levels of poverty at much higher rates than their heterosexual white peers. Here, banning the box is an effort to fight back against the reality of poverty for LGBT individuals in general and LGBT individuals with a criminal history in particular.


LGBT Workers

Companies and States Follow Obama’s Lead

A number of prominent companies have also chosen to “ban the box” for their employment applications, as have 19 states. 100 local municipalities have also followed suit to delay criminal background checks until much later in the hiring process. This is heartening news for the approximately 100 million job seekers in the U.S.A. today who have criminal information in their personal history.

Target and Walmart are two of the best known employers who have banned the box. Among the 19 states, there are certain counties, municipalities or cities within each state that are now banning the box, but it may be just one or two in that state or the whole state may be participating.

“Walking While Trans” and How Banning the Box Impacts It

“Walking While Trans” is another phrase that has recently entered the common national lexicon courtesy of LGBT activists. This phrase refers to the tendency of law enforcement officials and employers to profile, or classify, transgendered individuals as engaging in illegal activity, particularly adult industry work, due only to their appearance. In some communities, simply walking down the street and stopping to say hello to people can get a transgendered person arrested.

Since this profiling can lead to arrests, incarceration and worse, President Obama’s action to ban the box among federal agency employers is expected to have its own ripple effect in this area as well. By standing up for transgendered individuals in particular, the act of banning the box takes aim at unfair and inaccurate cultural biases that harm others.

This content was assembled to inform small businesses – like yours – of potential compliance issues. To have employees in the United States means you’ll need quality labor law protection. If you’re based in Tallahassee, try one of these labor posters for total compliance. Employers around the  country trust these employment posters because they are reviewed by an in-house legal team, and updated every time a change takes place.


President Obama's ruling

Banning the Box is Not a Ban, Per Se

While the phrase “banning the box” definitely has media appeal, President Obama’s ruling is not a ban in the literal sense of the word. Rather, it is a much-needed and long overdue delay in the criminal background check portion of the hiring process that permits LGBT and other at-risk populations to have a better chance to gain employment.

As well, there are other acts in the works that promise further protections to LGBT individuals and those with criminal activity in their background, including The Equality Act and the Fair Chance Act. The ultimate goal is to ensure universal nationwide protection for these at-risk groups so they can feed their families and be productive members of society.



Content courtesy of Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

Neches FCU is one of the top Texas credit unions and has an attentive team of professionals ready to service all members. When their doors open at any of the 9 locations, the core objective of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the sole focus for every representative. They are well-respected for a personal, dynamic and enthusiastic work atmosphere, providing a memorable service experience, and where all members are known by name. Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is acknowledged by members and the business community as one of the top credit unions in Texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!

The Impact of Flexible Employee Schedules on a Workforce

Do Flexible Schedules Really Create a Healthier Workplace?


Flexible Schedules

Flexible Schedules

Working nine to five is the usual definition of the daily grind. It is a fixed time slot. Then why is it so difficult for people to schedule their lives around this particular slot of time? In theory, 7 o’clock is not a bad time to get up and start the day. Make breakfast, shower, dress, walk out the door no later than 8:25am, and punch the time clock onsite at 9:00am. It could work if you are single with no children, maybe.

What’s the problem with a fixed slot of time?


Fixed time schedule

Fixed time schedule

The problem with a fixed time slot is that almost every important business related detail of a person’s life revolves around the same time slot. Banking hours, Mechanic hours, government service hours, outpatient medical service hours, and juvenile education hours are just to name a few. And many of these services require at least 30 minutes or more in order to resolve any issues.

What is a flexible schedule and for whom does it work best?


Personal preference

Personal preference

The United States Department of Personnel Management defines a flexible work schedule as an alternative work schedule that helps an employee balance work and family or personal responsibilities. Flexible work schedules will consist of core hours and flexible hours. Core hours are the part of the schedule when the employee has to be present onsite in order to accrue their work hours. The flexible hours are when the employee can choose when they will arrive and when they will leave.

This type of flexible work schedule is best for those employees who have children that range in age from birth thru primary school, have elderly or sick relatives for whom they are the main caregiver, and those who are involved in programs or activities that promote a greater community. The first two are self-explanatory, but the third can be rather subjective. Teenagers who are involved in youth sports and other educational activities need adult coaches, officials, and supporters to run the programs, so that it can work for the good of the whole community.

Why executives are the employees who most commonly use flexible schedules.




Research studies on flexible work schedules have shown that it is executives who have the most difficult time with work and family balance. A meta-analysis was done on published studies in the United States and Canada, the results showed that employees who had high job involvement also had the most work related interference with their family life. But, their family life did not interfere with their work.

What are the three dimensions of Work/Life Balance?

1. Work interference with personal life.
2. Personal life interference with work.
3. Work/Personal life enhancement.


A healthy workplace

A healthy workplace

Reasons why flexible schedules work to create a healthier workplace

– The flexible schedule is designed by the employee with input from others, which makes it a collaborated effort to get everyone on the same page. Therefore, the work environment is more supportive of the employee’s effort to stay productive in the work place, creating less work place stress.
– Employees with the flexible schedules use daily planners more often to keep them on task. Time slots are outlined, highlighted, and assigned a designated task. This helps the employee make time to schedule physical and mental health activities.
– Studies indicate that the schedules produce employees who sleep better at night, cook at home more often, and exercise more during their awake hours than those employees with fixed or involuntary schedules.
– Studies indicate that employees with flexible schedules drink less alcohol and smoke less than those employees with fixed or involuntary schedules.

What kind of work environments are better suited for flexible schedules


A positive work environment

A positive work environment

The results of the studies done on work environments have shown that results based work environments with flexible schedules proved to be the healthiest and most productive. The flexible schedules produced less negative spillover of work into family life by cutting down on conflict regarding family related responsibilities.

The hidden truth in the studies

Studies indicate that employees who are fortunate enough to work in an industry where they have the option of a flexible schedule can help to create a healthier workplace. An important thing to note is that most studies indicated that women get more of a benefit from flexible schedules than men. However, the fact that it is available to people in executive positions where men are still in the majority, negates that benefit.


Create your own schedule

Create your own schedule

How to create your own flexible schedule to produce a healthier workplace

Whether you have fixed or traditional work hours use a daily planner. Use your daily planner to highlight and schedule tasks and activities that are important to your personal life. This will allow you to have structured control over your productivity.

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This great HR content was provided by, a leader in technology for small and emerging businesses.

Pause for a second and consider how you manage your workers’ attendance issues and vacation accruals. What’s your preferred strategy? Would you try using employee time and attendance software? What about paper products you’ve been using for years? Is there someone you’ve outsourced your HR operations to? With the day to day hassles of running a business, modern day entrepreneurs and managers are switching to online time clock software to simplify much of the ongoing chores involved in dealing with staff time tracking management. Leave a comment below to let us know your opinions on this technology please.


Jump-Start Your Practice With These 10 Marketing Strategies

Energize Your Practice By Using These 10 Marketing Tactics




Marketing is often misunderstood as just a way to attract new customers. However, marketing is any activity that steers your practice in an intended direction including increasing revenue, introducing new services, recruiting new providers and even combating negative publicity.

Some components of “Good practice” marketing include strategic planning, insurance plan contracting, patient relations, recall systems, practice hours and more.

This short, comprehensive guide based on “good practice” marketing will help steer your ophthalmology practice in its intended direction.

Employ a Written One Year and Five Year Marketing Plan

The most essential part of a marketing plan is the goal, because it is the base from which all decisions are made. Therefore, your goals should be the first step of the process. Generally, practices with a plan in place tend to perform better than those without a plan. Begin with your five year goals, since your one year goals will be incorporated in the process.


Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

Your five year goals should be strategic and broad in scope. They should be written so they are clear, specific and measurable. Your goals should be challenging, yet attainable, and time sensitive. Be sure your goals are specific to your market, experience and demographics. For example, a mature practice in an urban area will have different goals then a novice practice in a rural area.

Determining Goals

Determining Goals

When determining your goals, consider factors such as:

  • Budget (typically 3%-8%)
  • Market assessments (economy and demographics etc.)
  • Competition assessments (reputation, experience, location etc.)
  • Target market (location, diagnosis, insurance coverage etc.)
  • Target desires (affability, availability etc.)
  • Self-assessment (ability, availability etc.)
  • Calendar of implementation (pacing, seasonality etc.)
  • Execute (involve staff, implement the plan etc.)
  • Reviews and adjustments (assess results monthly, adjust accordingly)

Limit your goals to no more than five, which will make it easier to craft strong, detailed goals. You should evaluate your goals after each year, then amend them for next year’s goals. Your new goals should be based on whether or not you were able to achieve this year’s goals.

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Make an Oath to Quality

Extraordinary service increases patient retention and referrals, which reduces marketing expenses. Incorporate extraordinary experiences you have encountered at other businesses into your practice. For example, how were patient tardiness and billing disputes that were not the patient’s fault, resolved?

Fine Tune Your Recall System

Too often, second LASIK or second cataract surgeries are missed as a result of scheduling issues and passive recall systems. Audit 20 charts per day for clinical recall requirements. If a large number of charts fail compliance, audit the final three to five years of charts over the course of six months. Call and schedule patients who are not in compliance.


Convenience for Customer

Convenience for Customer

Demonstrate Convenience

Successful practices understand that their patients are busy, so they pride themselves on providing easy scheduling, prompt service and friendly interaction, which is important for patient retention and new referrals.

Successful practices:

  • Address patients by name
  • See referrals and new patients as soon as possible
  • See patients on time
  • Make an effort to interact with patients




Display Your Name Anywhere Potential Customers Would Look

To make your name stand out in customer’s minds, it should be displayed in various publications. This includes the local phone book, Ophthalmic directories, physician listing services, and free standing office signs etc. Likewise, include your name, address, telephone number and web address on all documents given to customers.

Interact with the Public

One of the most successful marketing techniques is networking with others. Encourage your Ophthalmologist to meet and network with various people. Nurses, medical assistants, Health-food store owners, Pharmacists, physical therapists and hair dressers etc. all know someone who is in need of an Ophthalmologist, and they are most likely to refer them to someone they are familiar with and like.

Medical Website template

Medical Website template

Have a Local Webpage

General Ophthalmologists typically only serve their local community, so it would be a waste of marketing to advertise your practice to new customers searching for a local Ophthalmologist in a different region. Build your webpage so that it reflects the office environment and educational material that pertains to your specific region. Be sure to include your web address on all patient material.

Update Your Sign

After some time, the free-standing sign in front of your practice becomes invisible to those who view it on a regular basis. Changing the shape, size and color of the sign will attract more attention.




Consider Whether to Employ or Market-to Opticians and Optometrists

Opticians and Optometrists prefer to refer patients to Ophthalmologists sans an on-site dispensary and who do not employ Opticians and Optometrists. These Ophthalmologists earn approximately $50,000 a year per employed Optometrist. Review your marketing plan as well as your situation to determine if this is the best option for you.

Limit Your Insurance Plans

By limiting your practice to better paying contracts, your doctors can see fewer patients for the same income, which will allow them to spend more time with each patient. Drop one plan at a time until you reach a comfortable patient-load and income.

We appreciate you reading this post. If you have comments, please post them below. If you need cms 1500 version 02/12 form to file insurance claims, head over to They lead the market when it comes to offering cms 1500 02/12 forms. If your practice is up to speed with technology, they offer industry-leading software too.

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Avoid The Following Expense-Tracking Problems This Season

Avoid These Expense-Tracking Pitfalls This Tax Season


Paying taxes are an inevitable part of running your business, and no business owner wants to pay more than necessary to the IRS in taxes at the end of a busy year. As a business owner, you may be well aware that the Internal Revenue Service permits you to write-off or deduct a wide range of expenses that your business pays for each year but that you will need to be able to provide proof of your expenses in the event that you are audited.




There are benefits to you to track your expenses and to mine for deductions that could ultimately save you a small fortune on your tax bill when the tax payment deadline rolls around, and you can streamline your expense tracking efforts by following a few simple tips.

Complete Your Mileage Log As You Go

It can be difficult to get into the habit of tracking your business miles traveled, but the fact is that the mileage deduction may be a large deduction for many businesses. Completing a mileage log is actually rather simple, but some people fail to do so out of forgetfulness or general neglect. You first will need to invest in a mileage log book if you do not already have one. Then, keep your mileage log book in a place in your vehicle where you will inevitably see it when you turn your vehicle on and off.

Travel Mileage

Travel Mileage


For example, you may have a small storage nook next to your gear shift. When you place your mileage log book in a visible location, you will more easily remember to complete the required entries. Remember to include data about the date, the number of miles traveled and the reason for the trip. This will make it easy for you to tally about your mileage deduction and less tedious if you do get audited.

Keep Your Business Receipts

If you are like most business owners, you may easily rack up business-related purchases for everything from meals with clients to postage and extra envelopes. In fact, you may make numerous business-related purchases each week. By the end of the year, you inevitably will have a stack of receipts to sort through. While it can seem onerous to sort through the receipts, it can be detrimental to not have the receipts at all. Without the receipts, you generally may not be able to write-off expenses.

Business Receipts

Business Receipts


There are some exceptions to this. For example, some transactions that have a dollar amount under $75 are not required to be tracked. There are exceptions to this, so it is best to err on the side of caution and to retain all business receipts. You may also take the extra step and sort through those receipts by creating a filing system. By sorting them as you go, you will decrease your burden when you prepare your taxes.

Write the Business Purpose for All Expenses

Each expense that you deduct for business purposes should actually have a related business purpose tied to it. Some expenses may seem rather obvious. For example, if you purchased toner at a toner supply store, obviously this is toner for a business printer. However, if you are deducting a meal at a local restaurant, you may need to write the name of the business client who you ate lunch with.

Each deductible expense must be documented as a business expense, or it will not be eligible. If you simply take a minute to write the business purpose on the receipt as you make a purchase, you will not need to spend the time to backtrack later when you are preparing your tax returns. This can also hedge off issues with fuzzy memories that may result in your inability to count the deduction in your favor.




Complete a Periodic Audit of Your Deductions and Records

Even a small business or an independent consultant can make several business-related purchases over the course of a week. Because of this, you can easily lose track of your expenses, misplace receipts and otherwise forget about deductions that may be used to offset your tax liability at the end of the year. A great habit to get into is to complete a periodic audit of your deductions and records so that you can update your records while your expenses and purchases are still at the front of your mind.

Tax Deductions

Tax Deductions


Depending how large and busy your company is as well as how great your memory is, this may be beneficial to complete every few days, every week or at the end of the tax year. In fact, this step may only take a few minutes of your time, but it may help you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in some cases on your taxes.

Whether you have a smaller business or a larger company, you certainly want to make every effort to lower your tax liability. While the IRS does allow you to deduct many expenses, the fact is that you can only legally deduct expenses if you can prove that they are for business-related purposes.

Tracking and storing this documentation can be burdensome and time-consuming, and many business owners often leave some deductions unclaimed simply because of poor tracking and receipt management efforts. When you follow some of these tips on a regular basis, you may be able to maximize your deductions while also decreasing your tax liability each year.

On the topic of documentation, consider simplifying your tax filings this season. When you’ve got to file 1099 online – or W-2 forms – for several employees and contractors, it can become time-consuming. A simple solution is to find an e-file service that handles your e-filing, the printing and the delivery as well. Visit to see what the industry expects from a provider where you can safely efile 1099 forms.  You can also view their explainer video below for more information.

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Good luck this tax season!