But it doesn't have to be that way. All it takes is a little extra planning, say registered dieticians.
"If you pack your food the night before, you can make sure you are eating healthier," says Stacey Newpoff, clinical dietician for the McConnell Heart Health Center on the Riverside Hospital campus. "And it doesn't take a lot of effort."
Newpoff says even peanut butter on whole wheat bread is a healthier choice than typical fast food take-out.
"I also recommend yogurt and pretzels for snacks," she says. "And pack a frozen entrée."
There are a number of choices for low-fat, low calorie frozen entrées; the biggest drawback can be their sodium content.
If fast food is your only alternative, opt for more sensible choices like salads with low-fat dressing and plain baked potatoes.
"Many fast food places are trying to offer healthier choices," says Newpoff. "like Subway's veggie sub with baked potato chips."
Sue Ayersman, clinical nutritionist with Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kronos Optimal Health Centre, suggests stocking up on healthy foods and eating them often throughout the day.
"Not eating is a big mistake," says Ayersman. "It leads to bingeing later."
Ayersman says high-starch foods like bagels are not the answer, either.
"You should have a higher protein food like boiled eggs," she says. "Mixed with low-fat cottage cheese, it's a good lunch as well."
Ayersman also recommends hummus because it is high in protein and fiber. And don't rush out for a protein bar -- they are often high in sugar and calories.
"A small package of nuts, mozzarella cheese sticks and fruits like red grapes or peaches are healthy and easy to eat on the go," she says.
And Ayers recommends the overnight traveler pack canned tuna and order a salad at the closest restaurant.
"Eating healthy can be easier and quicker than you think," she says. How to reach: McConnell Heart Health Center, (614) 566-3801; Kronos Optimal Health Centre, (800) 515-5332 or www.kronoscentre.com
I refer to this fear of choosing as "double-mindedness." Everyone is looking for a guarantee. So many things are uncertain that people are afraid to make a choice.
In business, we need leaders who are not afraid to make decisions and live with the consequences -- good or bad. I'm not suggesting people make bad decisions, but rather that leaders need to lead. Too many people try to have everything by straddling the fence.
Here are five suggestions for making the best decision possible the next time a choice needs to be made.
1. Surround yourself with good people. Wisdom comes from an abundance of counselors. Don't look for people who will tell you what you want to hear. Look for people who care about you and the best interests of your company, and who will give you honest answers no matter how much you might not like it.
2. Gather as much information as soon as you can. This will help you make the best decision possible.
3. Use prayer. Whenever making a decision, I feel it is important to pray and include God. The prayer may not get answered the way you want, but at least you included him in your decision-making process.
4. Follow your gut instinct. This comes from experience, based on trial and error. As you learn from your mistakes, you will hone your instincts. When there doesn't seem to be logical information to base your reasoning on, let your instincts show you the way.
5. Follow the leader. Sometimes the best way to make a decision is to see what already works and improve upon it. Don't be afraid to copy someone who is doing something successfully.
Double-mindedness is choosing to be indecisive -- the worst choice of all. When there are tough choices to make, you can't have it both ways.
Get off the fence and lead.
Frequently absent from such policies, however, is any mention of the employer's stance on religious discrimination in the workplace.
Just as Title VII protects employees from racial and sexual discrimination, it also protect them from religious discrimination,and requires employers to make reasonable accommodation of their employees' religious practices. Under most interpretations of federal and state law, religion includes all aspects of a religious observance and practice, including beliefs as to what is right and wrong, so long as they are sincerely held with the strength of traditional religious belief.
For purposes of antidiscrimination laws, religion is not limited to mainstream or organized religions; instead, it turns on whether religious beliefs are sincerely held. Religious discrimination encompasses either taking adverse employment action against an employee or applicant based upon their religious beliefs and the failure to make accommodations in the workplace for religious beliefs or practices.
This latter definition causes the majority of problems for employers.
Under the law, employers are required to make "reasonable accommodations" for the religious beliefs and practices of their employees and afford them an opportunity to freely adhere to their beliefs. But employers are not obligated to tolerate undue hardship.
The United States Supreme Court has defined "undue hardship" to mean anything that causes more than a minimal cost or disruption to the business. Accommodations not required of an employer are lost efficiency from shifting employees from other departments to cover lost shifts caused by religious practice; increases in wages, including overtime, for working weekend or evening hours; requiring employees without religious conflict to work off hours or overtime; lost productivity due to the loss of a worker with unique skills.
Accommodations found to be minimal, and therefore required, are an employer's obligations to explore voluntary shift trades; allowing workers to use leave time to accommodate religious observances; allowing up to one week of unpaid leave for religious observance; relaxing clothing and grooming rules where such rules only further concerns of professional appearance; and the failure to consider permanent transfer or demotion to accommodate religious observance.
First, an employer should amend an employment policy or create one that accounts for religious discrimination, and establish a system for handling accommodation requests, ensuring a system is in place for fairly and uniformly receiving, reviewing and implementing requests. Designate one person to receive and respond to requests.
All requests should be in writing and identify the general nature of the religious activity and the specifics of the accommodation requested.
Once an employer receives a request, keep the lines of communication open, especially between the employee and the individual who will determine whether the accommodation will be granted.
Establish guidelines informing the manager of the accommodations available and how they may be implemented. Also implement a procedure by which requests, efforts and decisions are documented so the communications between the employer and the employee can't be called into question.
Once the accommodation is granted or denied, follow up with the employee to ensure that the accommodation is satisfactory or that the employee understands the nondiscriminatory basis for the employer's inability to implement an accommodation based upon their religious beliefs.
By taking these simple steps, employers can better protect themselves from claims and liability under federal and state antidiscrimination laws. How to reach: Matt Albers is a litigation attorney with practice experience in employment discrimination at the Vorys, Sater, Seymour & Pease Cleveland office, (216) 937-3708 or email@example.com.
An adviser should have appropriate levels of education, professional qualifications, experience (typically at least five years handling investment accounts for clients) and technical competence. You may want to ask business associates and friends for recommendations, and check references.
Interview the individual and ask about his or her investment philosophy and specialties. Find out how many clients the adviser handles, as well as how much money the average client invests.
You should feel comfortable that the firm's style, as well as that of the individual representative, matches your own in order to develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
Choose a manager who has consistent performance over long time periods. Focusing on historical performance is a classic error in choosing a money manager. Studies have shown that the top-performing manager in one period typically underperforms in the next.
The industry's rule of thumb is to compare returns over at least the past five years in different periods to assess the manager over a complete market cycle.
However, this is only a sound predictor of skill if the investment philosophy, process and personnel of a firm are the same over the period the track record was established. Confirm that key personnel are still in place.
Additionally, a good investment counseling firm is convinced of its style and security selections and will not change its approach for the wrong reasons, such as pressure from clients and consultants to perform better. A firm with a goal of long-term growth may not perform as well in a declining market, while investors who are seeking "value" tend to perform better in this environment.
Making a change could be a major mistake, since it could be made at the point where the market moves the other direction.
Research lets an adviser construct a logical, thoughtful investment strategy. Inquire about the amount of research, the frequency and the type.
Ask if the firm performs its own research or uses an outside source. It should provide you with data sources, including the source of historical data used to perform useful analyses.
It's important that you understand exactly how your investment adviser is compensated. There are basically two types of compensation: fee-based and commission-based.
Fee-based managers typically charge an annual fee based on account value. Commission-based managers typically charge a commission based on the investments purchased. Whichever approach you choose, be sure you are receiving value for the fee or commission you are paying.
Also, determine whether an adviser's performance data includes the impact of fees charged to clients, as well as whether he or she receives compensation from anyone other than clients.
An adviser should provide an accountability of your portfolio with detailed reports, preferably quarterly but at least annually. Good reporting provides you more information and a better understanding, helping you make informed decisions.
Your portfolio's return should be compared to an index that is an appropriate measure for the type of portfolio you have. Ask to review a sample copy of reporting before selecting an adviser. How to reach: Frank Wojcik, senior portfolio manager, Fifth Third Bank, (614) 233-4413 or firstname.lastname@example.org
By making an equity investment in an eligible Community Development Entity (CDE), investors can receive a New Markets Tax Credit worth more than 30 percent of the amount invested over the life of the credit, in present value terms.
The program, overseen by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, was implemented because although markets in inner cities and distressed rural areas possess enormous untapped economic potential, growing businesses in these communities are unlikely to attract the attention of venture capitalists who generally work within their existing relationships and communities. CDEs can offer a lucrative incentive to invest in those areas.
Businesses apply for CDE certification by forming a subsidiary to apply for certification or by working with existing CDEs. Entities already certified as either a Community Development Financial Institution or a Specialized Small Business Investment Company only need to register, rather than apply for certification. Small businesses can visit www.cdfifund.gov to determine which entities in their area have received CDE designation.
To qualify, an entity must be a domestic corporation or partnership with a primary mission of serving or providing investment capital for low-income communities or persons, and that maintains accountability to residents through their representation on a governing or advisory board. CDEs may be nonprofit or for-profit, but only for-profits can provide tax credits to investors.
The entity must also explain how it will maintain accountability through the board -- how board members will be selected, how often it will meet and solicit feedback from residents of low-income communities, etc. The accountability requirement allows residents and business owners to be heard in the development of their communities.
Once an entity is certified, it may apply for an allocation of credits that it can make available to investors. The administrators at the fund say the allocation application process will be competitive. Once a CDE receives and issues credits to investors, investors receive a tax credit equal to a percentage of the cash paid to the CDE. These investments are transferable to other qualified investors.
The credit is available for seven years, unless a CDE ceases to be qualified, the proceeds of the investment cease to be used as required or the investment is redeemed by the CDE. These are called recapture events, and carry severe penalties.
As of June 20, 2002, there were 11 entities certified to offer tax incentives for investments in low-income communities in Ohio. These entities provide businesses in low-income areas with additional financing options.
The New Market Tax Credit Program is an excellent vehicle for providing low-risk investment opportunities and infusing capital into areas that are often overlooked. Small businesses, particularly those with significant operations in inner cities or distressed rural areas, should strongly consider seeking help from their CDEs. Renee C. Khoury is an attorney with the Columbus office of Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP, tax group, (614) 464-6400.
That's why many companies invest in directors and officers (D&O) insurance. Just as medical malpractice insurance covers doctors, directors and officers insurance protects your company should a board member or officer make a costly mistake.
"More businesses have exposure to possible lawsuits than actually have this insurance," says Bob Fenner, CEO of Thomas Fenner Woods Agency Inc.
Fenner says even your employees can sue your company if they participate in a profit-sharing plan and feel they have lost money due to director or officer omission or error.
"Anyone that feels he or she has suffered a financial loss as a result of an error can file suit," says Fenner.
And due to events at Enron and WorldCom, there is a growing mistrust of larger companies.
"People feel that these companies misled investors," says Fenner.
So the need for D&O insurance has never been greater, but Fenner says thanks then recent accounting scandals, policies will not be as easy to come by and will be more costly.
"No doubt the policies will be more expensive and companies will be under more scrutiny by underwriters," said Fenner.
Insurance companies will be asking for more extensive financial statements that cover a longer period of time than they did previously.
"A company will need CPA-audited financial statements going back at least five years," says Fenner. "And there will be more scrutiny of the experience of the directors."
Underwriters will look for a conflict of interest and accounting signs of insider trading, as well as at the directors' experience, says Fenner. In the application process, they'll also look for downsizing plans and seek explanations.
Smaller firms that previously purchased D&O insurance because it also protected them against potential employee discrimination suits might now be better served by purchasing an Employment Practices Liability Insurance policy, says Fenner. However, if your company is publicly traded and has 10 or more shareholders, D&O insurance is highly recommended. How to reach: Thomas Fenner Woods Agency Inc., (614) 764-8999 or www.tfwinsurance.com
Here, working adults can find courses both online and in traditional classroom settings.
With most of these programs, the emphasis is on applying the classroom experience to the workplace the next day, which means your company benefits from Day One. Whether you're grooming a successor or sharpening your management skills, there are many academic institutions working to meet your needs.
Most managers and executives feel an MBA is a must, and several programs can provide not only a quality education but hands-on project experience and specialization.
The Fisher College of Business (FCB) of The Ohio State University offers a unique executive MBA program which students can complete in 17 months.
"The program is formatted for the employee that is moving up the ladder," says Carol Newcomb, director of executive education at FCB. "Two-thirds of the class material is offered in the classroom, the remainder is offered over the Web."
The programs encourages students to apply classroom knowledge to their jobs.
"I've heard a student say after the first session that he can use what he learned now," Newcomb says.
Students attending this program are chosen by their companies because they are bright, aggressive professionals climbing the corporate ladder. Many are doctors or lawyers who are leading their firms.
Neil Shnider, director of Capital University's MBA program, says Capital offers two types of MBA programs, each directed to a particular type of student. There's a two-nights-a-week program for those working full time and a day program for full-time students.
"We offer every required course every semester," says Shnider.
And Capital offers the only 12-month daytime MBA program in the city.
"It's a very structured program," he says.
Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University offers both the MBA and technology oriented management degree programs.
"Our MBA program and the Master of Information System Management program are the most popular," says Terri Lechton, Keller's center director. "We offer evening, weekend and online formats, and the ability to mix and match them for maximum flexibility."
Lechton says the school's student base includes employees from the area's largest firms as well as budding entrepreneurs.
"In all of our classes, students undertake projects or consult with organizations in the community to apply and sharpen their skills," Lechton says. "They help organizations that do not have the resources to hire external consultants."
Keller offers six specialized master's degree programs that include a Master of Human Resource Management, a Master of Telecommunications Management and, a Master of Project Management. Again, technology is a strong focus of these programs.
"Many of our students are already mid-level managers building skills to move up in their organizations," says Lechton.
Capital University also offers specialized master's and MBA programs. Students can earn a combination of degrees, such as an MBA/JD, MBA/MT (master's of taxation) and MBA/MSN (master's of nursing).
Newcomb, of the Fisher College of Business, says the school has found there's a need for leadership training. In response, it has created its Emerging Leaders Program, in which students meet once a month and work on specific projects.
"The student can apply what he or she is learning immediately," says Newcomb.
Students also receive individual mentoring and counseling.
According to Newcomb, this program is ideal for professionals who have been focused on one area of a business, such as engineering, who are becoming executives. The program shows students how all departments of a corporation work together.
Companies looking to improve processes and efficiencies can also take part in FCB's Six Sigma program. The program, developed by Motorola, is a disciplined, data-driven approach for eliminating waste by improving the quality of organizational processes and products. In other words, it's a way to systematically improve bottom-line results by eliminating defects throughout the value stream.
FCB's program combines one week of classroom experience with 120 hours of online learning to ready the student for the Six Sigma Black Belt, or certification exam.
For small to mid-sized businesses wanting to develop a new or revised business plan, the resource may be the Ohio Foundation of Entrepreneurial Education (OFEE).
"We offer custom business plan programming," says OFEE executive director Sandy Dickinson. "It is very much applicable to new businesses, those looking to revamp their plan or companies looking to move into a new phase."
The program also helps corporate departments develop business plans and assists with new product development.
"The same analysis can be done to address a whole new product line," Dickinson says.
OFEE also offers the program to consulting firms. "Banks, law firms or accounting firms can offer the program to their clients," she says.
Companies can take advantage of programs to provide employees with new skills. Jan Wagner, dean of community education and work force development at Columbus State Community College, says her department's goal is to upgrade the skill level of the area's work force and transition welfare recipients to work.
"We contract with employers to provide the specific job training they need," Wagner says. "Essentially, when the employer calls, we go to the work site and do an assessment."
Columbus State can customize almost any training program to fit a company's needs, "although education is not always the answer to the problem," Wagner says.
Columbus State develops the curriculum and partners with experts on and off campus to ensure the program's quality.
"We had a group of forensic pathologists that wanted a program for digging up bones and determining their age and other information," says Wagner. "We contacted a professional organization expert in this area to help develop the program.
"If we don't have a person on staff, we have a link to the correct professional. How to reach: The Ohio State University Fisher College of Business, (614) 292-8511; Capital University, (614) 236-6670; Keller School of Management of DeVry University, (614) 251-6969; Ohio Foundation of Entrepreneurial Education, (614) 264-9047; Columbus State Community College, (614) 287-2400.
The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) has been elected to the 2002 Associations Advance American Honor Roll, a national awards competition sponsored by the American Society of Association Executives in Washington, D.C. The OSBA received the award for its "Legal Eagle" program, designed to provide legal information on a variety of topics in lay terms to television news viewers.
Allen S. Birrer, DO, received the Ohio Osteopathic Association Trustees' Award, recognizing his contributions to the osteopathic profession in Ohio.
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP appointed Peter T. Cahoon co-chairman of the Litigation Practice Group. He has represented clients in trials and appeals in federal and state courts in Northeast Ohio since 1977 and is on the Board of Governors of the Akron Bar Association Foundation.
David A. Royer, CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health (ADAMH) Board of Franklin County, was elected as an at-large member of the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities' Executive Council. He will serve as a member of the governing board.
Edsall & Associates, a planners/landscape architects firm, was named 2002 Business of the Year by the City of Columbus Equal Business Opportunity Commission Office.
Regis Financial Group has moved to 900 Club Drive, Suite H, Westerville. The company offers financial planning, investments, insurance and mortgages.
James A. Wilson, a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease, has been selected publications officer of the Antitrust Section of the American Bar Association. In this two-year assignment, he is responsible for all publications of the Antitrust Section, including books, treatises, handbooks and others.
MCR Services Inc., a full-service commercial construction company, hired Delbert A. Smith II as vice president of field operations. He will oversee the completion of nearly $10 million in projects this year.
WOSU Stations General Manager Dale K. Ouzts received the 2002 Public Radio Regional Organizations Award in recognition for his significant contribution to radio, commitment to public broadcasting and 35-year dedication to the industry.
Conrad, Phillips & Vutech, a Columbus-based marketing and advertising agency, received a National Silver ADDY Award in the sales kit category. The award was presented for the firm's work on behalf of Studio for Architecture, an East Norwalk, Conn., firm.
Law firm Thompson Hine LLP received the 2002 Burton Award for Legal Achievement. Only 15 of the nation's top 500 law firms receive this award each year. The Burton Awards for Legal Achievement is a national program dedicated to refining and enriching legal writing. Partners Mark A. Conway and John H. Wendeln received the award for their article, "IRS Issues New Proposed Regulations Simplifying Minimum Distribution Rules," which appeared in the March 2001 edition of The Banking Law Journal.
Sandy P. Baker, president of BWXT of Ohio Inc. in Miamisburg, Joe Weller, president and CEO of Nestle USA in Solon, and Dwight Smith, president and CEO of Sophisticated Systems Inc. of Columbus received this year's Governor's Recognition Award for Minority Business for their support of minority owned businesses.
How did she make this transaction happen in a matter of days? Dr. Joan is a client -- she has maintained all of her personal and medical practice business with the same bank and has had a relationship manager in its private banking department for three years. Because her banker has a personal relationship with her, has all of her financial information and has discussed her goal of purchasing a building, her loan request was approved Saturday over the telephone.
Establishing a solid working relationship with your banker is crucial to accumulating, growing and preserving wealth. Private banking was established by financial institutions to develop, maintain and grow strong relationships with clients, referred to as private client group, investment advisers or wealth management.
Whatever the name, private bankers focus on providing superior service and customized financial solutions and products to professionals and their families.
Here are several factors to consider when establishing a relationship with the private banking division of a financial institution.
* Quality of banker/adviser. Look for a true partner to help you attain personal financial goals. While education, licensing and certifications are important, the banker/adviser's experience, reputation and ability should be the overriding factors. The primary role should be to coordinate financial services and products for the client.
* Responsiveness and support. Establish expectations. Only when the client and banker/adviser share expectations will the relationship grow and flourish. The banker/adviser should provide the names of support staff and their capabilities in the event that he or she is unavailable.
* Service and product offerings. Unless a bank specializes in a market segment, it is essential it offers a full spectrum of products.
* Strength of institution. The financial services industry has undergone tremendous change in the past 20 years as institutions have been acquired or dissolved. Select one with a stellar reputation, strong operating performance and solid credit ratings, especially if your goal is to transfer wealth to your heirs.
* Local decision-making. The banker/adviser and the local bank should be empowered to make decisions and customize services and products. Money managed outside the local market cannot be personalized if the client cannot communicate with the money manager directly. Products and services should be flexible enough to be tailored to the client's unique needs. Be wary of any firm that pushes "one-size-fits-all" standardized products and services.
Developing a banking relationship is an important part of business. The banker/adviser can be a valuable information source and help you network and grow your business. Ask other owners for recommendations and start a relationship that will enable you to reap personalized benefits and services. How to reach: Tom Mitevski is senior vice president for the Private Client Group at Fifth Third Bank. Reach him at (614) 233-4593 or Tom.Mitevski@53.com.
Panic is never good.
It makes us act rashly. It makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. It leads us to believe a situation is more dire than it typically is.
So stop panicking about the economy. It's not worth it.
Sure, some belt-tightening is in order during business slowdowns, but some of you are scaling back too much in your rush to prevent the sky from falling. In doing so, you are actually endangering your company further.
It's easy to work yourself into a frenzy over a poor financial outlook. After all, positive cashflow is everything. And when you've just revised your sales projections downward and you need to put company expenses in line with that new figure, the hatchet inevitably comes out.
Hold on. Before you start figuring up the body count, try being innovative.
Instead of laying off your six lowest-producing sales people, for instance, switch them from base-plus-commission to 100 percent commission -- but pay them a higher percentage of each sale. That way, you don't have poor performers weighing down your balance sheet month after month, and those who can improve their sales will be adequately rewarded.
If you lose a few people under the new system, so be it. You were going to cut their jobs anyway.
Another option is barter. When money is tight, trading your product or service to cover a budgetary necessity -- office supplies, commercial printing, courier services, even rent -- could help perk up your bottom line.
If, after exploring options like these, layoffs are still necessary, step carefully. Remember:
* Every staff cut puts an additional burden on other workers who are expected to pick up the slack. Not only is that a morale killer, but suddenly those you counted on most are spending time on tasks they didn't sign up for -- and may not be qualified to do.
Frustration mounts. Their production slips and doesn't recover. It can't. You've simply put too much on their plate. You've set them up for failure. Your company will pay the price.
* If you cut down your work force to the point that every single person is indispensable -- so there is absolutely no redundancy in any position -- you're running too thin. People get sick. They take vacations. Accidents happen. You need to be sure your company can survive all of the above -- simultaneously.
* Smart companies find ways to eliminate most, if not all, the job tasks of the positions they're cutting. Slashing production staff by a third? Better phase out your slowest selling products along with those jobs. Eliminating the HR staff since you're under a hiring freeze?
Better outsource your benefits administration, since the stream of 401(k) and health insurance inquiries from "surviving" employees -- as well as the paperwork that goes along with payroll, government reporting, employee evaluations, etc. -- won't just disappear with the HR staff.
Recessions are scary, no doubt about it. But if fear causes you to cut back too far too fast, you may wind up worse off than if you'd done nothing at all. And that, my friends, just might be reason enough to panic. Nancy Byron (email@example.com) is editor of SBN Magazine in Columbus.