Exam Code: 200-710 Practice test 2023 by Killexams.com team
Zend Certified Engineer
Zend Certified plan
Killexams : Zend Certified plan - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/200-710 Search results Killexams : Zend Certified plan - BingNews https://killexams.com/pass4sure/exam-detail/200-710 https://killexams.com/exam_list/Zend Killexams : How to Create a Desirable Compensation Plan
  • The four primary direct forms of compensation are salary, hourly, commission and bonuses.
  • Beyond direct compensation, there is indirect compensation, such as benefits and equity-based programs, which is just as important a part of your plan.
  • The right way to launch a compensation program has a lot to do with doing your research first and then not skipping or missing any critical steps.
  • This article is for small business owners and employee supervisors who want to learn more about what a compensation program consists of and how to implement it successfully.

What is a compensation plan?

A compensation plan, also referred to as a “total compensation plan,” encompasses all of the compensatory components of a company’s strategy – employees’ wages, salaries, benefits and total terms of payment. Employee compensation plans also include raise schedules, all fringe benefits, and any union perks or employer-provided vendor discounts.

A strategically designed compensation philosophy that is kept current, relevant and in accordance with employment laws, supports several important components of your business:

  • Strategic plans
  • Budgeting and business goals
  • Industry-competitive challenges
  • Operating needs
  • Total reward strategies that support retention of the company’s top talent

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) further outlines the purpose and value of maintaining a dynamic and strategic compensation program:

  • It describes how your organization’s pay and compensation philosophies support your business strategy, competitiveness within the industry, operating objectives and staff needs.
  • It helps attract qualified candidates to join your organization.
  • It serves as a strong motivator for employees to perform at high levels and exceed goals.
  • It helps keep your business competitive in the marketplace in terms of base pay, incentives, total compensation and benefits opportunities.

Key takeaway: A compensation program constitutes a company’s total method of renumeration, including payment, benefits and any other form of compensation for services rendered.

Why do companies need a compensation plan?

Companies need a thoughtful compensation program to remain competitive within their industry and to attract and retain top talent. Employers who just go with whatever they feel they should pay their employees will slowly lose the talent game they are playing with their competitors. Additionally, managing a workforce without a predetermined budget is insanity in action. Compensation programs allow for consistent and predictable budgeting and planning.

According to PayScale’s 2020 Compensation Best Practices report, companies are having a tougher time than ever finding (and keeping) enough skilled talent to fill all of their needs. To attract and retain the top workers they desire, more organizations are focusing on building “an employer brand, which includes a more strategic approach to compensation and career pathing as well as better benefits and more varied and incentivizing ways to reward performance.”

Key takeaway: Every company needs a compensation plan to organize and strategize how they will attract and retain top talent, as well as to budget in a wise and predictable manner.

What is direct and indirect compensation?

The most foundational of compensation components are either “direct” forms such as salary, hourly pay, commission, or bonus monies, or “indirect” forms, which are benefits of various kinds.

The 4 types of direct compensation

Although you can use any of the four types to compensate employees for their work, employers typically choose one and stick with it. The exception is bonus pay, which is meant to be an addition to regular pay based on employee or company performance.


The most traditional form of salary is a monetary amount scheduled over a one-year period. How often salaried employees are paid is another part of the compensation strategy, but businesses typically pay their employees every two weeks.

Salary is the most common method of direct compensation for exempt employees. An exempt employee is not eligible for overtime pay. They receive a base salary for the work they perform rather than an hourly rate, so employers pay exempt employees for the job they do instead of the number of hours they work.

Hourly pay

Nonexempt employees are typically paid an hourly rate, eligible for overtime pay and guaranteed at least minimum wage. When an employee works over 40 hours in a workweek, their employer must pay them overtime.

Hourly rate of pay is typically a predetermined dollar amount per hour of work. Typically, nonexempt employees are paid an hourly rate rather than a salary. They employees generally keep a timecard or clock in and out to begin and end their work shift. During times of slow or reduced work, or a change in a company’s budget, nonexempt employees may not work as many hours as they did in previous weeks. Thus, there is no certain of a routine number of hours worked per pay period.  [Read related article: Salary vs. Hourly: What’s Better for Your Business?]


When compensation is based on volume, production or a predefined level of performance, this is a commission. Other expressions of this type of renumeration are “piecework” and “piecemeal.”

Most commonly, there are two methods utilized and referred to as paid commission. One calculus is based on volume of services performed or products made. The second form is structured around sales volume. An example of a worker with this type of compensation is a real estate broker: They sell a house and will be compensated off of that sale. It doesn’t matter how long or what work activities it took to sell the house, only that the house was sold.

Bonus pay

Bonuses are used to motivate employees or increase their overall performance. This is a variable method of compensation that is commonly associated with sales professionals, who tend to be salaried or exempt personnel. For example, if a sales professional exceeds her quarterly target by a certain dollar amount, based on a predetermined matrix, she receives a commensurate bonus.

Bonuses can also be paid for company performance, as well as when difficult-to-fill positions are filled with employees with unique or highly sought-after skills or experience.

Types of indirect compensation

Indirect compensation can be any fringe benefit that employers offer. Most commonly, it refers to the various types of insurance offered by employers, including medical, dental, life, short- and long-term disability, and vision. Employee retirement programs, like 401(k) plans, are another common form of indirect compensation.

Equity-based programs are another compensation offering, though these aren’t typically offered within the small business realm. Equity-based compensation is generally some sort of share or stock in the company.

These are some other examples of indirect compensation:

  • Disability income protection
  • Vacation days or paid time off (PTO)
  • Paid holidays
  • Flexible working hours or scheduling
  • Other forms of retirement benefits
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Student loan assistance
  • Educational benefits
  • Assistance with child care expenses
  • Relocation benefits
  • Company car
  • Company equipment (laptops, mobile phones, etc.)

PayScale’s 2020 survey reveals the most common ways companies reward their top talent and their employees overall:

Source: PayScale

Key takeaway: The four types of direct compensation – salary, hourly pay, commission and bonus pay – are provided in return for completed work. Indirect compensation, on the other hand, can include PTO, healthcare and retirement benefits, flexible work schedules, and so on.

How to develop and implement a compensation plan

Think of the challenge of developing a compensation strategy less in terms of a “right way and wrong way” and more in terms of what’s right for your team. Here are some suggestions to guide you along the way.

  1. Create an outline. Set an objective for your program and certain targets. We also suggest that you begin with job descriptions for each position on the team and set a generalized budget for your personnel.
  2. Appoint a compensation manager. This position, which is usually filled by someone in human resources, aligns the program and researches what each position pays within the industry, how job classifications will be determined, and how direct compensation will be selected.
  3. Create a compensation philosophy. Determine how competitive you are going to be within your industry’s job market. Are you going to lead the market in direct compensation, or offer modest pay with great benefits?
  4. Rank jobs and place them within a matrix. Outline what, if any, tiers of pay should exist in pay structures for executives and sales employees, for example. You also should determine potential tiers within each job classification.
  5. Develop grades for seniority within each job classification. It is important to develop opportunities for career advancement. Create levels 1-3 or senior- and entry-level roles that may impact the compensation matrix but will offer advancement for employees.
  6. Settle on salaries and hourly rates of pay. Once you have your outline for your compensation platform, assign rates of pay and a salary range for each position and job classification. This is when you fine-tune your organizational budget.
  7. Complete necessary policies. A number of policies related to payroll, fringe benefits and other pay-related matters be impacted by a compensation plan. For example, companies often have policies for paid holidays, healthcare benefits, payroll administration, and company-issued pay advances that need to factor into or at least align with the company’s compensation policy. [Read related article: Employee Handbooks for Startups]
  8. Get approval or buy-in from your company’s other leaders. Once everything is in place, ensure that all of your company’s leadership remains on board and in full support of what you’ll soon launch.
  9. Develop a communication plan. All your employees should learn about the compensation program at the same time. Use several methods of communication to share the plan (e.g., email, group gatherings, social media, flyers in common areas, etc.). Issue this messaging in multiple languages if not all your employees speak English as a first language. You should expect a lot of questions. The complexities of total compensation are not easily understood by everyone – and it is essential that every employee understands their compensation package.
  10. Monitor so you can adjust or evolve as needed. Be prepared to make modifications to your compensation. Over time, adjustments will be necessary for you to remain legally compliant and competitive.

Ensuring equity, fairness, legality and competitiveness

Part of developing a compensation plan is ensuring it’s fair for all your employees. This does not only pertain to gender, culture, race, ethnicity and so on, although that is part of it. We are also talking about skill sets and experience that new team members bring to your company.

SHRM outlines a quality test that your compensation plan should pass before you unveil it to your company. The test addresses the following questions:

  • Are the programs in the compensation philosophy and policy legally compliant? Be mindful of both state laws (which include PTO or vacation regulations in some cases) and federal laws (such as the Affordable Care Act).
  • Is the overall program equitable (i.e., fair to all employees)?
  • Is the overall program defensible and perceived by employees as fair? In this case, perception is reality.
  • Is the overall program fiscally sensitive? That is, can you maintain the benefit offerings even if profits dip for a quarter or two?
  • Can your organization effectively communicate the philosophy, policy and overall program to employees?
  • Are the programs fair, competitive, and in line with your overall compensation philosophy and policies?
  • Is the compensation policy competitive? Will it help your organization attract and retain top talent in your industry?

There are many reasons to adjust or update your compensation program. It may grow out of date for your company, or it may not comply with new employment laws. Retention and recruitment purposes are other motivating factors to keep your compensation plan active and relevant.

Source: PayScale

Each of these attributes represents a critical value to any compensation program, as it’s the foundation of the employer’s relationship with each of its employees.

Key takeaway: You need a solid plan for developing and implementing your compensation program. Make certain that you are creating a system that is equitable, fair, legal and competitive – or you’ll have a lot of repair work down the road.

Compensation plan examples

Although it is difficult to see other companies’ total compensation programs (as many companies hide these details from outsiders), we can share a number of resources that have worked well for others. These are a few of the many compensation planning and design companies that the SHRM lists as resources:

  1. Culpepper and Associates Inc.
    Services offered: Compensation surveys and services
  2. PeopleFluent
    Services offered: Talent management suite
  3. CompensationCloud Inc.
    Services offered: Employee compensation management software
  4. Flex HR
    Services offered: Full-service consulting
  5. CRG emPerform
    Services offered: All-inclusive employee performance management

Key takeaway: There are many resources for templates and tools for compensation plan development. These options can make the task of creating a comprehensive compensation plan more manageable.

Compensation plans are helpful to anchor down a company’s plan for attracting and retaining the best team members possible. Be sure to take the time necessary to develop a complete program and communicate the plan effectively to everyone on your team.

Sun, 22 Jan 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15831-create-compensation-plan.html
Killexams : 457 Plan

What Is a 457 Plan?

A 457 plan is a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan offered to employees of many state and local governments and some nonprofit organizations. Like the better-known 401(k) plan in the private sector, the 457 plan allows employees to deposit a portion of their pre-tax earnings in an account, reducing their income taxes for the year while postponing the taxes due until the money is withdrawn after they retire.

A Roth version of the 457 plan, which allows after-tax contributions, may be allowed at the employer's discretion.

There are two main types of 457 plans:

  • The 457(b): This is the most common 457 plan and is offered to state and local government employees and nonprofits. It is a retirement savings plan that offers tax advantages to participants.
  • The 457(f): This plan is offered only to highly compensated executives in tax-exempt organizations. It is a supplement to the 457(b) and it is, essentially, a deferred salary plan.

Key Takeaways

  • The 457 plan is an IRS-sanctioned, tax-advantaged employee retirement plan.
  • The plan is offered only to public service employees and employees at tax-exempt organizations.
  • Participants are allowed to contribute up to 100% of their salaries up to a dollar limit for the year.
  • The interest and earnings in the account are not taxed until the funds are withdrawn. The exception is the Roth option, if available, in which only post-tax money is deposited.

Watch Now: What Is a 457 Plan?

Types of 457 Plans

As noted, the 457 plan comes in two flavors, the 457(b) and the 457(f).

The 457(b) Plan

The 457(b) plan is most often offered to civil servants, police personnel, and other employees of government agencies, public services, and nonprofit organizations such as hospitals, churches, and charitable organizations.

It is similar to a 401(k). Participants set aside a percentage of their salary into a retirement account. The employees choose how their money is invested from a list of options, mostly mutual funds and annuities.

The account grows in value without being taxed over the years. When the employee retires, taxes will be due on the amount withdrawn.

Employees are allowed to contribute up to 100% of their salary, provided it does not exceed the dollar limit set for the year.

If the 457 plan does not meet statutory requirements, the assets may be subject to different rules.

457(b) Contribution Limits

As of 2022, employees can contribute up to $20,500 per year to 457 plans. This limit increases to $22,500 for 2023.

In some cases, workers are allowed to contribute even more. For example, if an employer permits catch-up contributions, workers over the age of 50 may pay in an additional $6,500 a year, making their maximum contribution limit $27,000 ($20,500 + $6,500) in 2022. The catch-up contribution increases to $7,500 for tax year 2023, making the maximum contribution limit $30,000 ($22,500 + $7,500).

Also, 457(b) plans feature a "double limit catch-up" provision. This is designed to allow participants who are nearing retirement to compensate for years in which they did not contribute to the plan but were eligible to do so.

In this case, employees who are within three years of retirement age may contribute up to $41,000 in 2022 and up to $45,000 in 2023. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of a 457(b) Plan

The 457(b) plan has all of the advantages of a 401(k), although there are some differences.

Advantages of a 457(b)

Tax Benefits

If a traditional rather than a Roth plan is chosen, the contributions are deducted from an employee's paycheck on a pre-tax basis. That amount is subtracted from the employee's gross income, effectively lowering the person's taxes paid for that year. For example, if Alex earns $4,000 per month and contributes $700 to a 457(b) plan, Alex's taxable income for the month is $3,300.

Employees invest their contributions in their choice or choices from a selection of annuities and mutual funds.

All interest and earnings generated from year to year remain untaxed until the funds are withdrawn.

Withdrawals Without Penalty

There is one big difference between the 457(b) and other tax-advantaged retirement plans: no penalty for early withdrawals in some circumstances.

If an employee retires early or resigns from the job for any reason, the funds can be withdrawn without incurring a 10% penalty from the IRS. Early withdrawals from most retirement plans are subject to the penalty except for certain hardship reasons. (The penalty was waived for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.) 

A 457(b) account holder can take a penalty-free withdrawal without changing jobs, like a 401(k) account holder. The list of acceptable reasons, however, is limited to "unforeseeable emergencies."

Exceptions to the Rules

Early withdrawals from a 457(b) are subject to the 10% penalty if the account holder rolls the funds over from a 457 to any other tax-advantaged retirement account, such as a 401(k). This would happen if, for example, a government employee quit to take a job in the private sector.

In addition, anyone who takes money out of a retirement account early must keep in mind that any income taxes due on that money will be owed in the year that the withdrawal is taken.

Disadvantages of a 457(b) Plan

One potential advantage of most tax-advantaged retirement savings plans is the employer match. An employer may choose to match some portion of an employee's contribution to the plan. An employer who matches the first 3% of the employee's contribution, for example, is presenting the employee with a 3% raise.

Employer Match Is Rare

Employers can match their employees' contributions to a 457(b) but, in practice, most don't.

If they do, the employer contribution counts toward the maximum contribution limit. This is not the case for 401(k) plans.

For instance, in 2022, if an employer contributes $10,000 to a 457(b) plan, the employee can add only $10,500 for the year until the $20,500 contribution limit is reached (except for those eligible to use the catch-up option).

457(b) Advantages
  • Looser rules for early withdrawals without a penalty.

  • Early distributions allowed for participants who leave a job.

  • As with other retirement plans, no taxes are due until money is withdrawn.

457(b) Disadvantages
  • Employer contributions count toward contribution limit the year they vest.

  • Employer contributions subject to vesting schedule. If the employee quits, non-vested funds are forfeited.

  • Limited investment choices compared to private sector plans.

457(b) vs. 403(b)

The 403(b) plan, like the 457(b), is mostly available to public service employees. They are a particularly common benefit offered to public school teachers.

The 403(b) has its origins in the 1950s when it exclusively offered an annuity to participants. Participants still have the option of creating an annuity but they also can choose to invest in mutual funds.

In fact, the 403(b) has changed over the years until it closely resembles the private sector's 401(k) plan, although the investment choices offered to participants are relatively limited.

The annual contribution limits are identical to those of the 457(b) and 401(k) plans.

If you're a public employee, your employer may well offer a 457(b) or a 403(b).

Advisor Insight

Dan Stewart, CFA®
Revere Asset Management, Dallas, TX

457 plans are taxed as income similar to a 401(k) or 403(b) when distributions are taken. The only difference is there are no withdrawal penalties and that they are the only plans without early withdrawal penalties. But you also have the option of rolling the assets in an IRA rollover. This way, you can better control distributions and only take them when needed.

So if you take the entire amount as a lump sum, the entire amount is added to your income and may push you into a higher tax bracket.

With the rollover route, you could take out a little this year, and so on as needed, thus controlling your taxes better. And while it remains inside the IRA, it continues to grow tax-deferred and is protected from creditors.

What Is the Difference Between a 457(b) Plan and a 457(f) Plan?

The 457(b) plan is a version of the 401(k) plan that is designed for public and nonprofit workers. It helps employees save for retirement while deferring the tax bill until they retire and start withdrawing the money. (The Roth version, which is available only at the employer's discretion, takes the taxes upfront, so no taxes are usually due on withdrawals.)

The 457(f) plan is also known as a SERP for Supplemental Executive Retirement Plan. It is a retirement savings plan for only the highest-paid executives in the tax-exempt sector. They are mostly employed in hospitals, universities, and credit unions.

A 457(f) is a supplement to a 457(b). Employers make additional contributions to the employee's account, beyond the usual limits. These are negotiated by contract and amount to a deferred salary adjustment.

If the executive resigns before an established vesting period, the 457(f) contribution disappears. The plan is intended as an executive retention strategy, commonly known as "golden handcuffs."

Is a 457(b) Plan Better Than a 401(k) Plan?

For all intents and purposes, a 457(b) is just as good as a 401(k) plan. If you're employer is a public agency or a nonprofit, it's probably your best option for retirement savings.

Assuming you opt for a traditional plan rather than a Roth plan, you'll be lowering your taxable income from year to year while plunking that money into a long-term investment account. The money won't be taxed until you retire and start taking withdrawals.

(If it's a Roth, you'll pay the taxes up front and usually will owe no taxes on the money you deposited or the profits it earns over the years.)

On the downside, your contributions will probably not be matched by your employer. But that's just reality in the nonprofit sector, not a rule of the plan.

How and When Can I Make Withdrawals From My 457(b) Account?

One advantage of a 457(b) is that you can take early withdrawals without paying a tax penalty for any "unforeseeable emergency." This isn't a good idea, since you're plundering your retirement savings, but unforeseeable emergencies do happen. And, you'll owe income tax for that year on the amount you withdraw.

The required minimum distribution (RMD) you must take is determined by an IRS worksheet. An RMD is a minimum amount that must be withdrawn from certain retirement plans, like a 457(b), each year once you reach a certain age. If you were born between 1951 and 1959, the age is 73. If you were born in 1960 or after, the age is 75. This is an increase from the previous age of 72.

Wed, 13 Jan 2016 02:30:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.investopedia.com/terms/1/457plan.asp
Killexams : Best family cell phone plan in 2023

Finding the best family cell phone plan can help you save money on your monthly wireless bill, which is reason enough to compare your current plan to what's out there. You just might find a lower monthly rate than what you're paying now.

But a good cell phone plan isn't just about dollars and cents. You also have to consider perks that bring extra value and the coverage each carrier provides. There's also the matter of which carriers offer steeper discounts when you add more lines.

The best family cell phone plans at a glance

1. Best overall family plan: T-Mobile (opens in new tab)
2. Best for coverage and speeds: Verizon (opens in new tab)
3. Best plan for bargain hunters: Mint (opens in new tab)
4. Best plan for small families: Xfinity Mobile (opens in new tab)

Wed, 25 Jan 2023 11:11:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.tomsguide.com/best-picks/best-family-cell-phone-plan
Killexams : Multiple Employer Plan (MEP)

What Is a Multiple Employer Plan (MEP)?

A multiple employer plan (MEP) is a retirement savings plan adopted by two or more employers that are unrelated for income tax purposes, as defined by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The MEP can be a defined-benefit pension plan or a defined-contribution retirement plan such as a 401(k).

Each MEP is organized and run by an entity known as the MEP sponsor. The MEP sponsor is responsible for administrative duties and, in most cases, has fiduciary liability for the plan. Companies that join the MEP are known as “adopting employers.”

The MEP was created in order to encourage more small businesses to offer their employees a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan. Companies that don't have the resources or the bureaucracy to handle a retirement plan independently can pool together to share the burden.

Key Takeaways

  • A multiple employer plan is an employee benefit offered by two or more unrelated employers.
  • It is designed to encourage smaller businesses to share the administrative burden of offering a tax-advantaged retirement savings plan to their employees.
  • Administrative and fiduciary responsibilities of the MEP are performed by a sponsor, which may be an employer, a trade group, or a third party.

Understanding the MEP

The concept of multiple employer plans dates to the early 20th century and was formalized by the Labor Relations Act of 1947, better known as the Taft-Hartley Act. At that time, it was largely aimed at permitting management and labor unions to come to agreements that applied across several employers in the same industry.

Today's multiple employer plans also allow small companies to band together to offer a retirement savings plan. Individually, a small company may not be equipped to handle the administrative costs, complexity, liability, and sheer paperwork involved in many plans.

Multiple employer plans and multiemployer plans are not the same thing.

Types of Multiple Employer Plans

Initially, there were two main types of MEP, closed and open. A third type, the association retirement plan, was added in 2019.

Closed MEP

A closed MEP is made up of more than one unrelated employer (with employees) and a sponsor that is a bona fide group, association, or organization with which member employers share a nexus or interest other than the retirement savings plan. Only member employers of the bona fide group can participate in the plan, and member employers must also be able to make plan-related decisions.

Association Retirement Plan

A relaxed form of the closed MEP, an association retirement plan (ARP) allows unrelated employers, as well as self-employed working owners, in different industries but with a physical presence in the same metropolitan area, region, or state, to join the same single-plan MEP. The rule also allows companies in the same industry, even if they don’t share a geographical connection, to join the same MEP.

Open MEP

Members have no connection with each other except for their participation in the same retirement savings plan. The open plan initially required each member company to have and report on its own individual plan. That changed at the beginning of 2020 with a new law, the SECURE Act, that allows for a single retirement plan for all members of an open MEP.

Sponsorship of a Multiple Employer Plan

The sponsor of an MEP may be any one of several entities:

  • Board of directors. The board is appointed by the adopting employers to serve as plan sponsor and to appoint and monitor fiduciaries.
  • Co-sponsorship. Each adopting employer is a co-sponsor of the plan. This structure is sometimes combined with a board of directors to ensure that adopting employers control the plan.
  • Trade or industry group or association. Each of these can be considered an employer for ERISA purposes and is therefore eligible to sponsor the MEP. Local organizations such as a Chamber of Commerce may also be a sponsor.
  • Third party. A professional employer organization (PEO) or a similar professional provider performs management tasks such as payroll, workers’ compensation, and training.

Multiple Employer Plan Vs. Multiemployer Plan

Not surprisingly, the two are often confused but there's a difference, at least in the eyes of the Department of Labor.

  • A multiple employer plan, as covered here, is a retirement savings plan maintained by two or more unrelated employers. The plan is a tax-advantaged plan, and thus must be administered in compliance with Internal Revenue Code (IRC) 413(c).
  • A multiemployer plan is a collectively bargained plan between more than one employer, typically within the same or related industries, and a labor union. Multiemployer plans are often called Taft-Hartley plans and must comply with IRC 414(f).
Sat, 15 Aug 2020 04:52:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.investopedia.com/multiple-employer-plan-mep-definition-4766937
Killexams : How to Write a Sales Plan
  • A sales plan is a blueprint that sets specific sales goals for your business and helps your sales team achieve them.
  • For your sales plan to be effective, you should include realistic goals, tools to track your sales, future expectations, commission structure and relevant training programs.
  • A sales plan is a critical tool to help a business drive sales and navigate risks.
  • This article is for small business owners and sales managers who want to create a successful sales plan.

Every business needs a business plan as well as more detailed road maps that offer guidance to each department working toward that common goal. As the revenue-generating engine of your company, the sales department should be a top priority for this type of document, aptly named the “sales plan.” This guide introduces the concept of a sales plan and gives you all the guidance you need to create a sales plan that works for your business.

What is a sales plan?

A sales plan details the overall sales strategy of a business, including the revenue objectives of the company and how the sales department will meet those goals. This may also include revenue goals, the target audience and tools the team will use in their day-to-day. In addition, the sales plan should include examples of the hurdles and pain points the team might encounter, as well as contingency plans to overcome them.

“[A sales plan] is essential to support the growth of an organization,” said Bill Santos, vice president of the ITsavvy Advanced Solutions Group. “A sales plan helps individual reps understand the priorities of the business as well as the measurements by which they will be evaluated.”

Business plans vs. sales plans

Business plans and sales plans are closely linked. A sales plan, though, should outline the actions that the sales department will take to achieve the company’s broader goals. A sales plan differs from a business plan, though both work toward the same end.

“A business plan is a ‘what’ [and] a sales plan is a ‘how,'” said James R. Bailey, professor of management and Hochberg Professional Fellow of Leadership Development at the George Washington University School of Business. “Business plans are where a firm wants to go. A sales plan is a part of how they can achieve that. A business plan is direction; a sales plan is execution.”

For example, a software company that developed a new mobile application might state in its business plan that the app will be installed by 1 million users within a year of launch, while the sales plan describes how that will actually be achieved.

How to write a sales plan

Every sales plan should suit the individual needs of a different company, so they come in all shapes and sizes. There is no one-size-fits-all sales plan; the one you create will be unique to your business. With careful planning, you’ll have a much clearer vision of what you need to accomplish and a road map for how to get there. 

Chris Gibbs, vice president of global sales at Centripetal Networks, named some additional items that every sales plan should include.

  • Targeted accounts: Assign each salesperson a few key accounts to focus on, and grow from that base.
  • Targeted verticals: Sales teams might focus on specific market segments or verticals, such as a particular industry.
  • SKUs: Salespeople should emphasize certain SKUs or inventory items rather than get lost in a broad catalog of merchandise to sell.
  • Sales and marketing coordination: Sales and marketing teams should work together to create promotions to help generate sales.
  • Product road maps: Every company has a road map, and each product should have a road map that shows the plan and direction for a product offering over time to chart out when a product will launch and when it might sunset or be replaced by a newer model.
  • Forecasts: Sales forecasting is projecting sales volumes and expectations by comparing them historically to sales of previous years, and then conducting market comparison to determine where sales will fall against the competition.

“Sales plans are extremely important to ensure there is cohesiveness between product teams, sales and marketing,” Gibbs said. “In addition, they’re important for ensuring that timing of new products and/or new version releases coincide with sales objectives and forecasts.”

What are the steps to create a sales plan?

A sales plan is necessary for businesses of every size, from an individual entrepreneur to a Fortune 500 company. When you’re ready to actually write your sales plan, follow these steps:

1. Define the objectives. 

Clearly outlining your goals and stating your objectives should always be the first step in creating a sales plan or any other business venture. You should include the expected sales volume and any markets or territories you expect to reach. 

For example, let’s say you own a retail store selling household goods and electronics. If your purpose is to establish yourself as a trusted local retailer, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who are your customers?
    • Are they in-store customers?
      • If so, are they purchasing anything or just browsing?
    • Are they online customers?
      • If so, how did they stumble upon your website?
        • Was it word of mouth?
        • Was it through marketing efforts, such as email marketing, direct mail or social media?
      • How many are new customers?
      • How many are repeat customers?
    • Where do you want your sales to come from? 
    • What are some external and internal factors that could impact your sales? These include industry trends and economic conditions.

When you can precisely state your key objectives, you are setting yourself up to plan later steps around achieving your goals.

2. Assess the current situation.

The next step is to create an honest overview of your business situation in relation to the goal you set in the first step. 

Review your strengths and assets. Take a look at your resources and how you can apply them to your goal. This can include personal relationships and competitive advantages like new products or services.

For example, if your goal is to enhance your relationship with your customers, you’d need to ask yourself some questions to examine your current situation:

  • What is your current relationship with your customers?
  • Where did most of your sales come from?
  • Where would you like to expand your sales?

TipTip: When examining your strengths and opportunities, conduct a SWOT analysis to get a clearer picture of where your business stands.

3. Determine and outline the sales strategies. 

Sales strategies are the actual tactics your team will use to reach customers. They can include marketing channels as well as procedures for lead generation and client outreach employed by your salespeople.

Here are two examples of potential sales strategies: 

  • Use your POS system to retain customer information so you can track current and new customers.
  • Employ email marketing, text message marketing, social media, outbound call center services and direct mail marketing campaigns.

4. Define roles for the sales team. 

Each member of the sales team should be assigned clear roles, whether they vary from person to person or everyone performs the same functions.

Defining the sales direction of the team is crucial, as it shows the focus of the company and helps the team target and execute sales most effectively.

The plan of attack for the sales team should be communicated clearly by leadership, whether it is from team leaders or the CEO.  

5. Inform other departments of sales objectives.

A sales plan shouldn’t just update a company president or C-suite; it should inform the whole organization of the sales team’s objectives. 

Clearly outline your plan for the rest of the company to help them understand the goals and procedures of the sales team. Other departments become more efficient when interacting with the sales team and clients. This also conveys a certain level of quality and professionalism to the clients about the company.

6. Provide tools for the sales team.

Provide the tools each member of the sales team needs to achieve the stated goals, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software. The best CRM software is customizable to meet a company’s needs, making it much easier for your team to use the software and work efficiently.

7. Detail how the department will track progress. 

Offer strategic direction and insight on how progress will be monitored. Having a quarterly review to assess whether the company is on target is just as important as the plan itself.

Markets change, and so should your sales plan. Keeping it up to date will help you capitalize on the market and achieve your goals. Tracking progress is made easier by the tools you use to collect data. That data will then have to be analyzed and presented in a way which all departments can understand and use for future growth. 

Key elements of a sales plan

Every sales plan should also include the following elements.

Realistic goals

You need to set achievable goals. Challenge your sales team, but don’t push too hard. Bailey said that these “deliverables” are among the key points to include in a sales business plan. 

“Deliverables need to be as specific as possible and moderately difficult to achieve – specific inasmuch as being measurable in a manner that is uncontested [and] moderately difficult inasmuch as making sales goals too difficult can lead to failure and discouragement.”

Midpoint goals also help build morale and keep the team working toward a larger goal. Instead of having one giant goal, creating smaller goals to achieve along the way will keep your team focused.

TipTip: Set milestones that deliver you the opportunity to regularly determine whether you are on track to achieve your sales goals or need to make adjustments.

Sales tools

Tracking sales throughout the term is helpful, and you can employ tools to keep track of each team member as well as the department overall. It also helps establish a culture of accountability among salespeople.

“Tools can help, especially project management and CRM software,” Santos said. “Having a weekly cadence of update and review is also important, as it sends a message that ownership and updates are important.”

Clear expectations and a defined commission structure

Assign goals and responsibilities to each team member to make expectations clear. This is true whether or not each team member has the same goals.

“We meet with each individual to come up with a plan that works for them so that they can reach their goals,” said Leah Adams, director of client success at Point3 Security. “We measure results based on numbers. Each team member has his own plan and how they’re going to get there.”

It’s also necessary to spell out the commission structure in full detail.

“The only real difference is how sales count,” Bailey said. “In petroleum-based products … a few big clients are necessary. Compensation needs to be structured not just in contract value, but in graduated terms: Above $1 million, commissions move from 5% to 9%, and so forth. In smaller-volume enterprises, commissions might be front-loaded with higher percentages early, then graduated down. You have to reward what you want.”

Training programs

Along the way, some training might be necessary to maintain the momentum.

“What’s important to us is that we’re teaching these individuals to be the best salesperson they can be,” Adams said. “We help them do that by constantly training them and giving them knowledge of what’s going on in our industry. Everything stays on track because each member of the team knows their individual goal; though each person has a number, they also know the ultimate goal is for the entire team to hit.”

Adams said that an effective CRM keeps things organized and helps delegate tasks and responsibilities on a schedule that uses the company’s lead information.

Key steps to follow when devising a sales plan

Here are some best practices for creating a sales plan:

  • Refer to the business plan. The sales plan should directly address the objectives of the business plan and how those objectives can be achieved.
  • Advance clear objectives. The clearer the objectives are, the easier it will be to reach your goals.
  • Reference prior sales data. Chart sales over the previous few terms, and project the trend for the current term. New businesses can create sales projections based on expectations.
  • Outline the commission structure. This will help motivate your team and help you calculate anticipated costs.
  • Be clear about how progress is measured. There should be no dispute about this. If larger clients carry more weight than lower-volume buyers, that should be stated upfront.

The benefits of a sales plan

A sales plan keeps the sales department on track, considering the details of how they must operate to hit their targets and achieve company objectives. Because the sales team is the primary driver of revenue, it is an incredibly important document. [Related article: Adopting a CRM? How to Get Buy-in From Your Sales Department]

“It’s extremely important to have a sales plan in place, almost a must,” Adams said. “Without this plan, it’s almost impossible to get through the year and hit the company’s sales goals.”

It’s not uncommon to encounter obstacles along the way, however. A good sales plan accounts for that.

“Almost always, you’ll run into the speed bumps along the way, but with a plan in place, it makes it a whole lot easier to navigate through it all,” Adams said. “The sales plan allows you to adjust when necessary so the goal can still be hit. I strongly believe a plan allows you to stay in control and reduce the risk while being able to measure the team’s results along the way to that finish line.”

Key TakeawayKey takeaway: A solid sales plan helps you deal with unexpected events and acts as a benchmark for where your company is and where you want it to go.

Sales plan templates

Sales templates are helpful in that many of them are based on tried-and-true formats that have been used by businesses across several industries. They can also provide structure so that it is clear to each employee what their role and responsibilities are. 

TipFree download: Create your own sales plan by downloading our free template.

“A template helps plan each individual’s daily activities in a structured way,” Adams said. “If you know what each person is doing daily, it’s easier to help correct what’s going wrong. It helps with things like conversion rates, etc. Yes, these templates can be customized in any way a team’s manager sees fit, based on how he believes the team will perform better.”

Sales plans should be unique to the company; however, there are key components they should always include. Because there is somewhat of a formula, you can use a template.

Templates are extremely helpful, Gibbs said. “It creates uniformity for the team, as well as a yearly or quarterly sales plan to present to senior management.”

Gibbs added that templates can easily be customized to meet the needs of a particular business or sales team.

Keeping your team on track with a sales plan

Planning is vital for any business, especially when dealing with sales targets. Before selling your product or service, you must outline your goals and ways to execute them. Essentially, a sales plan enables you to mitigate problems and risks. When there is a clear plan of action, you will know how to proceed in order to attain your goals. 

Enid Burns contributed to the writing and reporting in this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

Thu, 20 Aug 2020 03:48:00 -0500 en text/html https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15773-how-to-write-a-sales-plan.html
Killexams : Best cell phone plan deals for January 2023

If you’re searching for the best cell phone plan deals, you’re in a good place. Competition among carriers makes unlimited wireless phone plans cheaper than ever. When cell service plan prices drop, often the way to get the best price is to switch to a new wireless carrier. There are so many plans available in surrounding areas that shopping for the best cell phone plan for home use can be very different from the best cell phone plan for small businesses. The process can be a time-consuming hassle. There are enough providers and data plans to make your head spin (not to mention all the smartphone deals and carrier offers you’ll also come across). So, why not look for the best bargain? To save you time and money, we rounded up the best cellphone plan deals available right now.  If you’re looking for 5G phone deals, we’ve also found the latest discounts from carriers.

As of August, 2020, Sprint no longer exists as a brand. Sprint and T-Mobile merged earlier this year.

Note that the availability of these plans will depend on your geographic location and in some areas prices may not include additional upfront costs such as one-time activation or setup fees:

  • Best unlimited family plan:  T-Mobile Magenta Plus$30/month per line for three lines, taxes and fees included
  • Best plan: — Starts at $15/month
  • Best talk and text plan: Republic WirelessStarts at $20/month for DISH customers


T-Mobile is offering one of the best unlimited plan deals right now, with its Magenta Max  unlimited bundle delivering a lot of bang for the buck: For just $85 per month, you get unlimited talk, text, and data as well as HD streaming, 40GB of mobile hotspot data at 4G speeds, and a free Netflix subscription (with one simultaneous HD streams included). If you like to travel, you also get 4GB of 4G data in Mexico and Canada as well as unlimited in-flight Wi-Fi where allowed. As a result of T-Mobile’s merger with Sprint, Sprint customers are now T-Mobile customers. There are also T-Mobile 5G plans available.


Due to the Sprint/T-Mobile merger, Sprint no longer exists as a separate brand. The brand was discontinued on August 2, 2020.


AT&T is another contender for the best unlimited phone plan deal going right now. Its Unlimited Premium plan rings in at $85 per month and includes unlimited talk, text, and data in the U.S. as well as Mexico and Canada. You also get 50GB of high-speed mobile hotspot bandwidth per month (which reverts to 128Kbps speeds after this is used up), HD streaming, 5G access, and a free subscription to HBO Max as a nice little sign-up bonus. If you don’t need all the extras, the Unlimited Starter plan gives you the same unlimited calls, texts, and data and 5G for a cheaper $65 per month.


Finishing off the “big four” list of U.S. carriers, Verizon offers similar wireless services as the other main providers but tends to be more expensive if you’re only paying for one line. Unlimited Verizon wireless plans start at $70 per month per line with Verizon 5G access, unlimited talk, text, and data, but is cheaper at $60/month/line for two lines, $45/month for three, $35/month for four, and $30/month for five or more lines. Also bear in mind that the Verizon Start Unlimited package is rather basic — if you want extras like HD streaming, you’ll have to pay $10-$20 more per line.

U.S. Mobile

Prepaid wireless plans are a great option for light users, kids, and anyone else who won’t be consuming a lot of data on a daily basis. U.S. Mobile is one of the best prepaid service providers available today, allowing you to build your own custom plan — meaning you’re only paying for as many minutes, texts, and gigabytes of data as you want to. As just one example, unlimited minutes and 1,000 texts would set you back just $12 per month, and if you want to go totally unlimited, it’s still only $45 per month. You also get 10GB of 4G roaming data in most countries (not just Mexico and Canada). If you’re adding multiple lines to a plan, you can also unlock free extras like Disney+ and Netflix.

Mint Mobile

Mint Mobile is a newcomer to the budget wireless scene and one that is very promising, especially for light data users who use their phones mainly for talking and texting. Mint is running an introductory offer for new customers, too, with the cheapest unlimited talk and text plan ringing in at a super-affordable $15 per month for the first three months (paid in three-month increments). This is only unlimited for talk and text, but you do get 3GB of 4G data per month, or up to 12GB of monthly data with the $25/month plan if you need more. After the first three months, this special pricing returns to normal, but if you like your service, you can opt to pay in advance for the 12-month renewal plan and keep these low introductory prices.

Republic Wireless

If your needs are modest, then Republic Wireless is a very affordable option, especially if you mainly need a phone for talk and text. The most basic talk/text plan includes unlimited calls and text messaging for just $15 per month for DISH customers; if you want to add some data to your talk and text plan, then you can tack on 4G LTE for $5 per 1GB (which would come to $20 per month for unlimited talk, text, and 1GB of 4G data, for example). However, if you pay in advance for a yearly “My Choice” plan, you get two months free: For instance, a $15/month talk + text plan is $150 per year, a $20/month plan is $200 per year, and a $25/month plan with 2GB of data comes to $250 for the year.

Looking for more great stuff? Find tech discounts and much more on our curated deals page.

Editors' Recommendations

Fri, 20 Jan 2023 01:34:00 -0600 Bruce Brown en text/html https://www.digitaltrends.com/dtdeals/best-cell-phone-plan-deals/
Killexams : Medicare Plan N: Coverage, Cost and How It Works

Medicare Supplement Plan N reduces how much Original Medicare enrollees have to pay out of pocket for health care. For example, Plan N pays 100% of the coinsurance for hospitalization (Medicare Part A) and medical care (Medicare Part B).

Plan N, one of 10 Medicare Supplement or Medigap policies, provides greater coverage than most of the other supplemental plans on the market. This includes Plans A, B, D, K, L and M.

It isn't the most comprehensive plan available. However, Plan N is best for those who want a good value with most medical expenses covered for an average cost of $152 per month.

How does Plan N work?

Like other supplemental policies, Plan N fills coverage gaps in traditional Medicare, thus making it easier for beneficiaries to meet their overall health care expenses.

Because only about 80% of medical costs are covered by Medicare Part A (hospitalization and inpatient care) and Medicare Part B (outpatient services), supplemental plans can help eliminate the cost by paying for the remaining 20% of costs.

Among other benefits, Plan N covers the coinsurance costs for Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, hospice care and skilled nursing facilities. This means that instead of an enrollee being charged 20% of the bill, as would happen with Original Medicare, the supplemental plan would pay that 20% of the bill.

One of the most important features of Medigap Plan N is its copays — you pay a $20 copay for each physician visit and a $50 copay for each emergency room (ER) visit that does not result in hospitalization. Even though the supplemental plan pays the coinsurance charged by Original Medicare, the supplemental policy has its own copayments for these services. Most Medigap Plan N policies do not charge for visits to urgent care centers, though.

Beneficiaries buy supplemental Medigap plans through private insurance companies such as Aetna, Cigna and UnitedHealthcare, among others. Each supplemental plan category bears a distinct letter, denoting differences in coverage, monthly premiums and out-of-pocket expenses.

It is important to note, however, that policies sold by insurance companies are standardized across the country, meaning a Plan N policy sold by Aetna covers the same core benefits as a Plan N policy sold by Cigna or a different carrier.

How supplemental policies work

  1. Medicare Parts A and B pay their share of medical expenses, usually 80% of costs.
  2. Supplemental plans then pay their share, filling in gaps of Medicare Parts A and B based on the plan's level of coverage.
  3. Beneficiaries then pay the remainder of the costs, if any.

{"backgroundColor":"ice","content":"\u003C\/p\u003E\n\n\u003Ch4\u003EHow supplemental policies work\u003C\/h4\u003E\n\n\u003Cp\u003E\u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--root\"\u003E\n\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--content\"\u003E\n \u003Cdiv class=\"ShortcodeList--column\"\u003E\n \u003Col class=\"ListOrdered--root\"\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListOrdered--list-item\"\u003EMedicare Parts A and B pay their share of medical expenses, usually 80% of costs.\u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListOrdered--list-item\"\u003ESupplemental plans then pay their share, filling in gaps of Medicare Parts A and B based on the plan's level of coverage.\u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003Cli class=\"ListOrdered--list-item\"\u003EBeneficiaries then pay the remainder of the costs, if any.\u003C\/li\u003E\n \u003C\/ol\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n \u003C\/div\u003E\n\u003C\/div\u003E\n\n\n","padding":"double"}

What does Plan N cover?

Plan N covers the Medicare Part A deductible of $1,556, coinsurance for Parts A and B, three pints of blood and 80% of medical costs incurred during foreign travel.

Plan N does not provide coverage for the Medicare Part B deductible ($233 in 2022). Moreover, its copays do not count toward meeting the Part B deductible. Most Plan N policies do not carry a separate deductible aside from the Part B deductible.

Plan N also does not cover Medicare Part B excess charges — the amount providers can charge over and above Medicare costs if they do not accept Medicare-approved rates. And there are no out-of-pocket limits for Plan N.

Part A coinsurance (hospital care)
Part B coinsurance (medical care) Plan N copays apply
Blood (first 3 pints)
Part A hospice care coinsurance
Skilled nursing home coinsurance
Part A deductible
Part B deductible
Part B excess charges
Foreign travel emergencies Usually up to 80% of costs

Costs of Plan N

Monthly premiums for Plan N can average between $120 and $180, climbing to over $200 in some states and dropping as low as $80 in other states. Rates are determined by location, age, gender and in some instances, current health status.

This monthly cost is on top of the cost of Original Medicare (Parts A and B). Most enrollees get Part A for free, and in 2022, Part B costs $170.10 per month.

Plan N does have copays for some medical services: $20 per physician visit and $50 for each hospital emergency room visit that doesn’t result in admission.

Medigap Plan N vs. Plan G

Plan N and Plan G are frequently compared to one another. We recommend Plan N if you want lower monthly costs and are willing to have some expenses for medical care like doctor appointments. However, Plan G is a better option if you're willing to pay more each month for a plan that provides the most comprehensive coverage for new enrollees. Note that neither plan covers the Medicare Part B deductible.

Medicare Part B coinsurance for medical care Additional copays apply
Medicare Part B excess charges

The cost structures may determine which plan is better for you.

The standard Medicare Supplement Plan G has higher monthly premiums than Plan N, making Plan N a budget-friendly choice. Plan G, however, does not impose copays for physician office visits or trips to the ER that do not result in hospitalization, a major difference from Plan N, thus appealing to beneficiaries who do not like shelling out copays for these services. Conversely, other beneficiaries may not mind paying more in copays, especially if they do not make frequent trips to physician offices or ERs.

With Plan N, low-end users of health services may come out ahead. High-end users of health care services will have a different experience.

Let’s say, for example, that a Plan N costs $150 in monthly premiums while a Plan G costs $200 a month, resulting in $50 per month in savings for Plan N. But if a beneficiary with Plan N visits the physician three times in a month, that beneficiary will pay an extra $60 in copays. That's $10 more than what would have been saved that month by choosing Plan N over Plan G.

Similarly, if that same beneficiary visits the ER and the visit does not result in a hospitalization, the beneficiary will pay a $50 copay, resulting in the same total cost that month for Plan N as they would pay for Plan G.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to predict how many times you are going to have to visit a physician or an ER in the course of a year. But based on these demo plans with a $50 monthly difference in price, it would be worth it for someone expecting to visit a physician more than 30 times a year to upgrade from Plan N to Plan G.

High-deductible Plan G is a low-cost alternative

Insurance companies sell two types of Plan G plans: one called a standard plan, and the other a high-deductible plan, which requires beneficiaries to meet a yearly deductible of $2,370 before the plan begins to pay. Once the deductible is met, the plan pays 100% of covered services.

With the high-deductible Plan G, beneficiaries pay low monthly premiums, averaging $40 or $20 a month and even less in some cases. The amount paid toward the plan’s deductible counts toward the Part B deductible. In other words, as beneficiaries meet the plan’s own deductible, they are also satisfying the Part B deductible.

Plan costs can vary. For example, a 65-year-old nonsmoking woman living in suburban Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., would pay $43 in monthly premiums for a high-deductible Plan G policy through UnitedHealthcare (UHC). That same woman would pay $112 a month in premiums for the standard Plan G or $89 a month for a Plan N policy.

The high-deductible Plan G may be a viable alternative for healthy Medicare beneficiaries who want the low monthly Medicare premiums associated with the high-deductible plan.

Many beneficiaries look at the high-deductible Plan G as a catastrophic plan because the beneficiaries who require little in the way of medical services may never come close to meeting the $2,370 deductible. But if they have a catastrophic event or illness, the deductible is quickly met, and the plan then pays 100% of covered services for the calendar year.

The standard Plan G has monthly premiums running as high as $250 to $300 in some states such as New York and Florida. In Iowa, the monthly premiums for the standard Plan G policy can be as low as $80 a month.

Like Plan N, neither the standard nor high-deductible Plan G has out-of-pocket limits. Plan G policies, like Plan N policies, also travel, picking up 80% of medical costs incurred during trips abroad.

Is Plan N or Plan G more popular?

Medigap Plan G is more popular than Plan N, with 27% of Medigap enrollees choosing Plan G and 10% of enrollees choosing Plan N. Note that Plan F is the most popular plan overall with 46% of enrollment, but it's not available to those who became eligible for Medicare in 2020 or later.

Plan G is a more popular plan than Plan N for two reasons — its coverage is more comprehensive and, most importantly, it does not impose copays for physician and ER visits that don’t result in hospitalization.

Also, Plan G’s expenses are more transparent than Plan N's costs, and they are mostly paid up front through deductibles, making it easier to budget for health care expenses. With Plan N, beneficiaries are required to pay copays for physician and ER visits, costs that can quickly add up during the course of a year. These costs are not always predictable or apparent because a beneficiary may not know how many times they will have to visit the physician or ER.

Is Plan N the best Supplement plan for you?

Medigap Plan N is a popular plan that's best for budget-minded shoppers who still want very good coverage.

Plan N is cheaper than Plan F or Plan G, and you'll have some out-of-pocket costs for medical care. However, your medical costs will be minimal, and you won't pay anything for expensive medical care such as hospitalization.

There are multiple factors to consider when choosing the best plan for you.

  • Coverage versus cost: Beneficiaries should first determine what they want in a Medigap policy — what the plan needs to cover and whether it is affordable. These are the two primary factors when deciding which plan is right for you.
  • Pricing differences between providers: The costs of Medicare supplemental policies often vary among insurance carriers. For example, one company may provide cheaper monthly premiums for Plan N than another carrier. Another insurance company may provide discounts for nonsmokers or for being married, discounts not offered by a competing insurance provider.
  • Out-of-pocket expenses: Also consider whether the plan has its own deductible, how much of Medicare's coinsurance it covers and if it imposes copays that could significantly add costs during the course of a year.
  • Plan restrictions or perks: In some instances, an insurance company may require you to see certain providers in exchange for a lower premium. Some companies may also provide extra benefits like free gym memberships, for example, or help with vision and dental services.

Medicare Supplement Plan N reviews

Plan N is available from our three top Medicare Supplement companies: Aetna, Cigna and AARP/UnitedHealthcare. Among these providers, you'll save an average of $31 per month by choosing Plan N over Plan G.

Aetna $86 $117
Cigna $103 $140
AARP/UnitedHealthcare $167 $193

Find Cheap Medicare Plans in Your Area

Your actual costs for Medicare Supplement plans can vary by age, location and other factors.

Remember that coverage for Plan N is standardized, so you'll get the same medical benefits with all providers. However, providers have different rates, customer service and add-on benefits.

Aetna Medicare Supplement

Why it's great

Aetna Medicare Supplement is a great choice for individuals looking for cheap rates on Medigap Plan N.

The cost for Aetna's Medigap plans is consistently cheaper than its main competitors, and the combination of low costs and overall customer service for policyholders makes Aetna Medicare Supplement one of our top recommendations.

Aetna falls short based on the customer complaint index from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), scoring a 1.57 for its Medicare Supplement product, meaning its complaint performance was significantly worse than the average of 1.00 across the country.

Cigna Medicare Supplement

Why it's great

Cigna Medicare Supplement plans are widely available, but monthly costs for Plan N may be higher.

Cigna Medicare Supplement is available in 48 states, but the company only offers four Medigap policies — A, F, G and N — in 46 states. These are the most popular Medigap plans, making it highly likely that beneficiaries will find a plan they like in these states.

Cigna's rates are generally higher compared to other competing companies. But the company offers a rewards program as part of its supplemental plan coverage, providing discounts on health and wellness programs and services, adding to the overall value of what you're getting if you sign up for Plan N.

Some Cigna members and providers complain about customer service, citing long hold times and other service delays as well as difficulty getting claims approved or paid.

AARP/UnitedHealthcare Medicare Supplement

Why it's great

AARP Medicare Supplement policies, sold through UnitedHealthcare, rank among the best and most popular on the market.

AARP Medicare Supplement plans are a popular way to reduce medical expenses. Enrollees get discounts for vision, dental and hearing programs, as well as a 24/7 nurse line and free gym memberships where available. However, AARP/UHC Medigap policyholders must also be AARP members, adding a nominal membership fee of $16 a year.

With an AARP/UHC policy, a 65-year-old may pay slightly more for a supplemental policy, but yearly increases are generally lower with these plans, meaning a beneficiary could end up paying less for a plan when they are in their 70s or 80s.

Most complaints about UnitedHealthcare result from the company’s handling of claims. Other complaints cite too much junk mail generated by the company, overly aggressive marketing and poor customer service.

Frequently asked questions

Is Medicare Plan N a good plan?

Medigap Plan N combines fairly extensive coverage with relatively modest premiums, making Plan N a good policy. It is important to remember that Plan N imposes copays for physician visits and trips to ERs that do not result in hospitalization. These costs can quickly add up for high-end users of health care services. As a result, Plan N is probably best suited for beneficiaries who do not require a lot of physician and ER visits during the course of the year.

How popular is Medicare Plan N?

Amount 10% of all Medigap enrollees have Plan N, making it the third most popular plan overall and the second most popular plan for new enrollees.

Does Plan N have a deductible?

Most Plan N policies do not have a deductible. However, beneficiaries enrolled in Plan N are required to meet the Medicare Part B deductible, which is $233 in 2022.

Does Plan N have a maximum out-of-pocket limit?

Plan N does not have an out-of-pocket limit. Only two Supplement plans have an out-of-pocket limit: Plans K and L.

Can I have Medigap Plan N while enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan?

No. Medigap policies are only available to people enrolled in the Original Medicare program. They cannot be used by beneficiaries who have Medicare Advantage, also called Medicare Part C. Medigap policies are true supplemental plans, augmenting but not replacing Medicare Part A and Part B coverage.

Methodology and sources

Sources for the above comparisons include Medicare.gov, insurance providers, the Better Business Bureau, J.D. Power and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Comparisons are based on plan details, coverage levels and cost data.

Fri, 10 Dec 2021 16:43:00 -0600 Jim Arvantes en text/html https://www.valuepenguin.com/medicare-plan-n
Killexams : Certification Requirements

Certification now follows a rolling model for applications and approvals. If you have questions after reviewing this website, please contact cert@nullesa.org or 202-833-8773.

The period of certification lasts for 5 years, retroactive to the first day of the month the application was approved and expiring on final day of the same month 5 years hence. ESA staff will communicate with you about your status beginning at least 60 days prior to expiration, and will additionally remind you to submit your CEU data on a regular basis.

If you currently hold a certification from pre-2021 and will expire the next June from now, you should recertify in the spring of the year your certification expires; if your certification expired in the previous June, you may still recertify or upgrade.

We allow 2 years’ grace periods to recertify or upgrade, but you will be required to pay a penalty fee if your certification has lapsed beyond that grace period. All recertifications at all levels (except Emeritus) cost $25 for ESA Members and $50 for non-members. 

Starting in 2022, the penalty fee is the cost of recertification for each year of lapse, with the first 2 years waived if you recertify within 2 years. In other words:  

0 yr lapsed: $25 for recertify 

1 yr lapsed: $25 for recertify (1 yr of back recertification fees waived)  

2 yr lapsed: $25 for recertify (2 yr of back recertification fees waived)  

3 yr lapsed: $75 for recertify  

4 yr lapsed: $100 for recertify 

Minimum Education Requirements to Apply

Candidates for certification must have completed at least a bachelor’s degree or a higher degree in ecology or a related science. Completed undergraduate or graduate coursework must include the following, totaling 42 semester credit hours. Full requirements include areas of coursework and should include some core topics.

Eligibility per Level

Please use this table for a general overview of requirements; specifics for each category follow below. Following approval of the minimum CEU type requirements by the Board of Professional Certification, this table will list requirements to upgrade as well.

  Degree Requirement Professional Experience (Years)
Ecologist in Training Bachelor’s + 0
Cover Letter Detail: Career aspirations, highlights of research/work to date
Associate Ecologist Bachelor’s + 1
Cover Letter Detail: Field work, data skills, understanding of the human dimension in ecological systems
Ecologist Bachelor’s + 2 with master’s degree; 5 with bachelor’s
Cover Letter Detail: Independent studies, complex data analyses, journal publication, report writing, oral presentations, understanding of the human dimension in ecological systems
Senior Ecologist Bachelor’s + 5 with doctoral degree; 10 with bachelor’s/master’s
Cover Letter Detail: Thorough knowledge of ecological theory and application, including the interdependence and impact of humans on ecosystem structure, function, and environmental change; written original contributions of original interpretation of ecological information; technical or organizational competence as evidenced by supervision of projects

Certified Ecologist and Senior Ecologist certification holders who hold that status for at least 10 consecutive years and are no longer working full-time may upgrade to each level’s respective Emeritus/ta designation. Contact cert@nullesa.org to learn more.

  • Professional experience accrues as soon as the minimum education requirements are met (typically with an appropriate bachelor’s degree). Professional experience during graduate studies shall be counted the same as any other professional experience regardless of whether it was undertaken during a degree program such as a master’s or doctoral program.
  • For recertifications, courses completed as part of a graduate degree program (or outside a degree program) may be counted toward continuing education in the appropriate category.
  • If courses during graduate training are used to satisfy the minimum education requirements, professional work experience may be counted after the last such course is successfully completed.
  • Provide an appropriate explanation of time spent in full-time employment (e.g. if working through school, during a gap year, etc.) in your application.
  • Length of experience will be evaluated only up to the application submission date.

Continuing Education

Please note that beginning 2021, all newly certified ecologists are required to complete 44 continuing education units over 5 years to be eligible for recertification or upgrade. Currently certified ecologists will be permitted to recertify or upgrade per their original requirements up to 2025; beginning with 2026, all recertifications and upgrades will require having met the CEU requirements. The ESA Board of Professional Certification approved this framework in January 2021.

Certified ecologists should report their CEU as they are earned, or at least on an annual basis. You can see how to do so here.

Interpretive leeway will be given to participants to identify suitable professional development opportunities per the requirements. ESA is partnering with other scientific organizations and training bodies to recommend opportunities for CEU in addition to the content that ESA provides — see the directory. Participants are encouraged to share ideas with staff as well.

Ethics and Professional Conduct

All ecologists certified by ESA shall conduct their activities in accordance with the ESA Code of Ethics and with the highest standards of professional conduct and personal honor. 

Application Materials

You can review the full application requirements here.

Here are additional details about the requirements for each certification level.

Ecologist in Training

This category is for graduating students who have met the education requirements for ESA certification but do not have the required professional experience for the current certification categories. The basic requirement is:

  • A bachelor’s or higher degree in ecology or a related science from an accredited college or university.

A holder of the Ecologist in Training designation is encouraged to use the full term, “Ecologist in Training,” on business cards or in official signatures, but may use the initialism “EiT” if space limits require.

Associate Ecologist

This category is for ecologists in the early stages of their career. Course requirements may be met with post-baccalaureate courses from an accredited college or university, but professional experience may not be counted until all coursework requirements for certification are met. The basic requirements are:

  • A bachelor’s or higher degree in ecology or a related science from an accredited college or university.
  • At least one year of post-graduate professional experience gained in the performance of research or data analysis demonstrating technical competence in current application of ecological principles and/or theory.
  • Relevant experience should have been gained within the five years preceding application at this level.

A holder of the Association Ecologist designation is encouraged to use the full term, “Certified Associate Ecologist,” on business cards or in official signatures, but may use the initialism “CAE” if space limits require.


This category is for established professional ecologists.

  • A master’s degree or higher in ecology or a related science from an accredited college or university and at least two years of full-time equivalent professional experience after degree; OR at least five years of professional experience in addition to the education requirement for Associate Ecologist.
  • In addition to the one-year experience requirement for Associate Ecologist, candidates must also demonstrate the ability to perform professional work in ecology, as outlined in the table above. This professional work must follow completion of the education requirement for qualification at the Ecologist level.
  • Relevant experience should have been gained within the five years preceding application at this level.
  • Note that, beginning in 2022, Ecologist in Training or Associate Ecologist certification holders who achieve a relevant doctoral degree may upgrade to the Ecologist level without completing other CEU for that 5-year certification period.

A holder of the Ecologist designation is encouraged to use the full term, “Certified Ecologist,” on business cards or in official signatures, but may use the initialism “CE” if space limits require.

Certified Ecologist Emeriti

This category is for previously Certified Ecologists who are no longer working full-time. The requirements are:

  • Previously certified as a Certified Ecologist for at least 10 years, with no more than a total two-year lapse between periods of certification.
  • May no longer be employed full-time.
  • DO NOT USE THE APPLICATION FORM for this designation. Contact cert@nullesa.org if you are interested.

If the Certified Ecologist Emeritus/ta desires to depict certification on any official document, they are encouraged to use the term “Certified Ecologist Emeritus/ta.” This is meant as an honorary lifetime recognition and does not imply continued professional status. The initialism “CEE” is acceptable if space limits require.

Senior Ecologist

This category is for professional leaders in ecology who have established a track record of excellent contributions to the field in applied and analytical environments.

  • A doctoral degree in ecology or a related science from an accredited college or university and at least five years of full-time equivalent professional experience after degree; OR at least 10 years of professional experience after completion of the minimum education requirements for certification (qualifying bachelor’s degree or completion of required coursework in post-baccalaureate courses).
  • Course requirements may be met with post-qualifying degree (post-baccalaureate or post-master’s) courses from an accredited college or university, but professional experience may not be counted until all coursework requirements for certification are met.
  • Relevant experience should have been gained within the five years preceding application at this level.
  • Note that, beginning in 2022, Ecologist certification holders who achieve a doctoral degree may upgrade to the Senior Ecologist level without completing other CEU for that 5-year certification period.

A holder of the Senior Ecologist designation is encouraged to use the full term, “Certified Senior Ecologist,” on business cards or in official signatures, but may use the initialism “CSE” if space limits require.

Recertification applications at the senior ecologist level require only a cover letter and up-to-date CV if the applicant is, at the time of application, currently certified as a Senior Ecologist by ESA and a member of the Society in good standing.

Senior Ecologist Emeriti

This category is for previously certified Senior Ecologists who are no longer working full-time. The requirements are:

  • Previously certified as a Senior Ecologist for at least 10 years, with no more than a total two-year lapse between periods of certification.
  • May no longer be employed full-time.
  • DO NOT USE THE APPLICATION FORM for this designation. Contact cert@nullesa.org if you are interested.

If the Senior Ecologist Emeritus/ta desires to depict certification on any official document, they are encouraged to use the term “Senior Ecologist Emeritus/ta.” This is meant as an honorary lifetime recognition and does not imply continued professional status. The initialism “SEE” is acceptable if space limits require.

Wed, 18 Dec 2019 07:31:00 -0600 en-US text/html https://www.esa.org/certification/certification-requirements-checklist/
Killexams : Course Certification

What is course certification?

The purpose of the USATF course certification program is to produce road race courses of accurately measured distances.

For any road running performance to be accepted as a record or be nationally ranked, it must be run on a USATF-certified course. In addition, the certification program is very important to the average road racer, as well as those of exceptional speed. Most runners like to compare performances run on different courses, and such comparisons are difficult if course distances are not reliable. No one can truly establish a personal best if the course distance is not accurate.

Sat, 04 Dec 2010 01:36:00 -0600 text/html https://www.usatf.org/resources/course-certification
Killexams : Writing a Business Growth Plan

When you run a business, it’s easy to get caught in the moment, always focusing on the day in front of you. But to be truly successful, you need to be looking ahead. You need to plan for your growth. To help with that process, many business owners write business growth plans, which provide a timeline for the next one to two years on how revenue can increase. In order to write an effective business growth plan, you need to understand what one is, the different types of strategies to consider, and how to project ways for your revenue to grow.

What is a business growth plan?

graphic of a person sitting next to a large graph

A business growth plan is an outline for where a company sees itself in the next one to two years. The growth plan should be formatted to follow along with each quarter. At the end of each quarter, the company can review what goals it met and what goals it missed during that period. At this point, management can revise the business growth plan to reflect current market standing.

Why are business growth plans important?

These are some of the many reasons why business growth plans are important:

What factors impact business growth?

Countless factors can affect your business growth. These are some of the key elements:

What are the four major growth strategies?

graphic of person standing next to a large chart

There are countless growth strategies for businesses, but only four major types. With these growth strategies, you can determine how to build on your brand.

TipTip: Share your growth plan with key employees as a motivator. When employees see an opportunity for increased responsibility and corresponding compensation, they’re more likely to stay.

What to include in a business growth plan

A business growth plan focuses specifically on expansion and how you’re going to achieve it. Creating a useful plan takes time, but the effort can pay off substantially by keeping your growth efforts on track. You should include these elements in your growth plan:

  1. A description of expansion opportunities
  2. Financial goals broken down by quarter and year
  3. A marketing plan of how you will achieve growth
  4. A financial plan to determine what capital is accessible during growth
  5. A breakdown of your company’s staffing needs and responsibilities

FYIFYI: Your growth plan should also include an assessment of your operating systems and computer networks to determine if they can accommodate growth.

How to write a business growth plan

To successfully write a business growth plan, you have to do some forward thinking and research. Here are some key steps to follow when writing your business growth plan.

1. Think ahead.

The future is always unpredictable, but if you study your target market, your competition and the past growth of your company, you can plan for future expansion. The Small Business Administration (SBA) features a comprehensive guide to writing a business plan for growth.

2. Study other growth plans.

Before you start writing, review models from some successful companies.

3. Discover opportunities for growth.

With some homework, you can determine if your expansion opportunities lie in creating new products, adding more services, targeting a new market, opening new locations or going global, to name a few examples. Once you’ve identified your best options for growth, include them in your plan.

4. Evaluate your team.

Your plan should include an assessment of your employees and a look at staffing requirements to meet your growth objectives. By assessing your own skills and those of your employees, you can determine how much growth can be accomplished with your present team. You’ll also know when to start hiring additional people and what skill sets to look for in those new hires.

TipTip: Review and revise your growth plan often – at least once a year.

5. Find the capital.

Include detailed information on how you will fund expansion. Business.gov offers a guide on how to prepare your request for funding, as well as how to connect with SBA lenders.

6. Get the word out.

graphic of a person with a megaphone climbing out of a smartphone

Growing your business requires a targeted marketing effort. Be sure to outline how you will effectively market your business to encourage growth and how your marketing efforts will evolve as you grow.

7. Ask for help.

Advice from other business owners who have had successful growth can be the ultimate tool in writing your growth plan.

8. Start writing.

Business plan software has streamlined the growth plan process. Most software programs are geared toward business plans, but you can modify them to create a plan that focuses on growth.

Tue, 14 Feb 2023 10:00:00 -0600 en text/html https://www.business.com/articles/writing-a-business-growth-plan/
200-710 exam dump and training guide direct download
Training Exams List