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Javier LaFianza will listen to any idea an employee offers up or any suggestion he might get from one of the 4,000 volunteers at Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, more commonly known as HOBY.That doesn’t mean he’ll always agree with it or even think it’s an idea worth pursuing. But he will listen and give the person a chance to make their case for whatever point they are trying to make.“If people are giving you two or three suggestions and you’re shooting every single one of them down, they will be left with the impression that this isn’t real,” says LaFianza,…
Jon Kirchner could feel the tension looming on the horizon just as sure as if he were watching a movie where the storyline was about to reach a climactic turning point. DTS Inc. was trying to do too much and it was threatening to tear his company apart.The company had launched in 1993 to support the development of better sound equipment for movie theaters. But as home theater systems began to take off in the 2000s, the company discovered there was a huge market for people who wanted to create a great movie-watching experience at home in their living room.“We…
When Steve Jones, founder of Homeland HealthCare, was looking for a new home for his rapidly expanding business, he considered many locations around the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.But although other cities made generous offers to attract the business – a national third-party administrator and managing general agency that specializes in servicing a variety of health and wellness products -- it was Allen, Texas, that easily won the day, says Jones.“The Allen Economic Development Corporation was very aggressive,” says Jones. “In 2009, we were still at our previous location but we were growing so quickly, we needed a new space. Our previous…
When the Orange County Business Journal published the newspaper’s annual listing of the region’s Top 50 Employers, the MemorialCare Health System showed a 19 percent increase in its workforce over the previous year — the highest gain among the top businesses.That growth is part of MemorialCare’s expansion of its physicians, hospitals and outpatient services, including within its six Southern California hospitals, as well as with innovative programs and partnerships.Smart Business Magazine turned to Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., who serves as president and CEO of MemorialCare Health System.How is today’s marketplace impacting health care systems?While all U.S. health care organizations are being…
Business failure has historically been a risk insurance carriers have assiduously avoided. Other than trade-credit insurance and limited credit-enhancement policies, the risk of default of a business is typically borne by the business owner.In today’s lending environment, as banks look to mitigate their own exposures to risk, nearly all small and midsize business owners must sign a personal guarantee to secure financing. The result is that, if the business fails, the business owner’s personal assets are used to cover the loss.This is obviously an extremely angst-inducing, emotionally charged decision, which, if it ends badly, can cause significant hardship — including…
You need operating cash to grow your business, but securing a traditional commercial loan hasn’t been easy, especially for small business owners. Bank loans to businesses grew 10 percent in 2011; however, commercial lending has not returned to pre-recession levels, largely because companies that experienced a decline in sales or profitability can’t meet today’s strict underwriting standards.Fortunately, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are a worthwhile financing option for small to mid-sized companies. An SBA loan typically offers longer terms and more competitive interest rates than other commercial loans and, best of all, bankers can be more lenient when considering your…
I was recently involved with a commercial lease transaction that yielded the greatest percentage savings and bottom line impact to a company that I have witnessed in my 28 years as a Certified Public Accountant.This is saying a lot, as I have a background in corporate finance and auditing with Ernst & Young and Lockheed Martin Corp. I have been deeply involved with strategic, long-term business planning, corporate turnarounds and taking private companies public. My clients looked to me for expertise on increasing revenue, reducing costs and creating value. They also want quick results with minimal disruption to their business…
Business owners might avoid bringing an attorney to the table when negotiating a lease, but the advantages of having an advocate in their corner far outweigh the cost.“In my experience, when you see a lease where an attorney was not involved on behalf of the tenant, you get a lopsided, landlord-favoring lease,” says Jesshill Love, a partner with Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC. “The attorney’s job is to think ahead to what happens if something goes wrong to make sure the tenant will be treated fairly.”Smart Business spoke to Love about the pitfalls a tenant can avoid by partnering…
Classroom learning can get you a long way, but UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Executive MBA program takes learning to a whole new level.In the later stage of the program, students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the business world of another culture, says Eric Sussman, a senior lecturer at UCLA.“The program affords students the opportunity to gain a broader perspective of what is happening on the ground in another country or geographical region,” says Sussman, who has led student groups twice to Dubai and, most recently, to Brazil. “They learn how business is conducted in that particular country…
Successful retirement plan financial management requires careful coordination on the part of the employer. Without the knowledge to properly manage the plan, plan sponsors could face serious repercussions, says Gary Gausman, a senior consulting actuary at Towers Watson.“For plan sponsors to manage their programs, there are four main areas to focus on — benefits policy, funding policy, investment policy and accounting policy,” says Gausman. “There are a number of things you can do in each area, and there is a lot of interaction between them that you need to be aware of.”Smart Business spoke with Gausman about the keys to…
If you’re contemplating selling or recapitalizing your business, there are a number of challenges ahead. Anyone who has followed his or her investment portfolio over the past year knows that we live in volatile and uncertain economic times. While 2012 began with positive momentum in the equity markets, the underlying fundamentals for sustainable global growth remain significantly challenged. The world’s developed economies remain highly over-leveraged, with the painful process of deleveraging still in its early stages. Deleveraging by its very nature is difficult, painful and costly — often accompanied by increased taxes, reduced spending and volatility.This is most acutely seen…
Digital risk management strategy used to be a luxury reserved for huge corporations, but in today’s business climate, even small businesses need to understand digital risks and set up a plan to protect themselves.“Today’s society is completely based on digital recordkeeping and digital media,” says Pervez P. Delawalla, CEO of net2EZ Managed Data Centers, Inc. “If companies don’t have strategies in place to insure their digital lives, they are just playing with fire.”Smart Business spoke with Delawalla about how to develop a sound digital risk management strategy and how to ensure it will work when you need it.What are some…
When The MGHerring Group began studying the Dallas/Fort Worth area as a site for a new mixed-use development, it zeroed in on Allen, Texas, an established city with strong demographics, says Matt Gallo, CPA and development manager at the company.The MGHerring Group has developed more than 30 major shopping centers and malls in the United States and Mexico, totaling more than 24 million square feet of retail space. It developed The Village at Allen, a 181-acre mixed-use development that includes the Allen Event Center and Courtyard by Marriott hotel, and its sister development, The Village at Fairview, a 200-acre mixed-use…
Wrongful termination claims are far and away the number one lawsuit against employers. Even if you feel that you are justified in firing an employee, you may find yourself on trial.“In California, it often seems like it’s open season on employers,” says Andy Wolfe, partner at Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PC. “It’s not only the most frequent source of litigation, but it’s also the kind of litigation that causes the greatest potential exposure to liability.”So how can you protect yourself when you are warranted in terminating an employee?Wolfe explained to Smart Business how to ensure a smooth separation when…
As if competing against corporate America and big box retailers weren’t enough of a challenge, smaller merchants have to contend with tectonic shifts in the way consumers shop and pay for goods and services.For instance, e-commerce wasn’t a factor just 10 years ago, but in 2011, U.S. online sales reached $194.3 billion according to the Commerce Department, and more than 90 percent of online transactions are paid by credit or debit card. Gift cards are the latest craze, according to First Data’s “2011 U.S. Gift Card Consumer Insight Study.” So merchants need to stay abreast of the latest and greatest…
Unfortunately, circumstances arise when a company no longer has use for commercial space it has leased. Needs may have changed regarding the size of the business or location, or a company may have experienced financial reversals and must rid itself of the unnecessary expense. Whatever the cause, unwanted commercial space is expensive. Companies holding such leases are hemorrhaging money every month and want relief fast.“The larger the square footage and longer the lease term, the greater the exposure,” says Robert Chavez, founder and CEO of Guardian Commercial Realty. “Maximizing time and efficiency is vital to properly sublease space and mitigate…
Saturday, 31 March 2012 21:01

Managed IT services that deliver ROI

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Over the last several years, the term “managed services” has become more prevalent in the IT services community. It’s how many companies these days are consuming IT services, especially those companies who don’t have the need or the budget for a full-time IT department. In its most basic sense, managed service delivery is the utilization of remote tools in which an IT service company can remotely manage and support a client’s IT environment.These tools allow the remote monitoring, patching, upgrading and support of a client’s servers, workstations, and network devices. These services are usually priced on a “per device/per month”…
Whether your company is involved in a lawsuit as a plaintiff or a defendant, bringing the case to a federal trial court could be to your advantage.Federal trial courts only accept limited types of cases, but if yours qualifies, your attorney can help you determine if moving to that venue is the right decision, says Andrea Figler Ventura, an associate at Dykema Gossett LLP, who previously served as a law clerk for the United States District Court for the Central District of California.“Although overworked, federal judges generally have more time to read the pleadings and take the time to analyze…
Every employer considers foundational rewards — base pay, benefits, retirement packages and paid time off — when working to attract and retain employees. But there’s more to it than that, if you want your employees to remain engaged in their work, says Josh Strok, Director of Rewards, Talent and Communication at Towers Watson.“You should consider performance-based rewards, such as merit-based pay, bonus plans and recognition programs, which help differentiate performance and reward top performers,” says Strok. “These rewards focus employees on the company’s priorities, as workers see where the organization is putting additional dollars. There are also career and environmental…
If you’ve ever been inside one, you know children’s hospitals are special, some say miraculous places, where everything is kid-sized and child-friendly, and even the most critically ill children have hope of becoming healthy once again. Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach is one of the nation’s six largest children’s hospitals in patient admissions with a world-renowned neonatal intensive care unit for fragile newborns. In addition, its Women’s Pavilion is unique in medical history as a pioneer in perinatal medicine for high-risk pregnancies. As a result of these achievements, moms and families from throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties access Miller…
Digital risk management strategy used to be a luxury reserved for huge corporations, but in today’s business climate, even small businesses need to understand digital risks and set up a plan to protect themselves.“Today’s society is completely based on digital recordkeeping and digital media,” says Pervez P. Delawalla, CEO of net2EZ Managed Data Centers, Inc. “If companies don’t have strategies in place to insure their digital lives, they are just playing with fire.”Smart Business spoke with Delawalla about how to develop a sound digital risk management strategy and how to ensure it will work when you need it.What are some…
If there is one thing running a business has taught me about being a leader, it is that you have to know when to step back and allow your company to run without constant meddling. Everyone has a story about that one manager who would check in every 30 minutes to make sure everyone was “on task” or the executive who seemed to have lost any human compassion toward people who weren’t sitting around a large, wooden table during a meeting.Back in April, I was looking to hire a new salesperson to shore up numbers down on the floor. I…
Dana Roberts could not place all the blame for his company’s problems on the recession. As the end of 2009 drew near, C.W. Driver had a few issues of its own that it needed to work out if it was going to remain a leader in the construction industry.“There were projects out there, but we kept missing them,” says Roberts, the $500 million company’s president and CEO. “We got wind of the projects when it was too late. We were way behind the power curve from the standpoint of our contacts in the industry. We just needed more people out…
The workplace is where most adults typically spend half of their waking hours and can have a powerful impact on one’s health. Thanks to efforts in engaging employees in workplace wellness, many businesses are promoting healthier lifestyles while also reducing absenteeism, lowering health and workers’ compensation costs and improving employee health, morale and productivity.To learn more, Smart Business turned to Tammie Brailsford, RN, MemorialCare Health System executive vice president and chief operating officer, whose passion for employee wellness has created an environment of improved health among the system’s 11,000 employees.Why should businesses invest in wellness?A healthy work force is the…
Subleasing is a common method of occupying commercial property as opposed to executing a conventional lease directly with a landlord. The most common reason a tenant (sublessee) subleases space is to save money and time. Subleases are almost always priced well below the fair market rates for comparable properties, already built-out and often include furniture fixtures and equipment at no additional cost.“Subleases are often a situation where ‘one company’s rain is another’s blue sky,’” says Robert Chavez, founder and CEO of Guardian Commercial Realty. “One company no longer has the need for a particular leased space but still has term…
Microsoft SharePoint is a product that invades your company culture, in a good way.“In its most basic sense, SharePoint is an intranet, used primarily by companies to increase collaboration and efficiency,” says Zack Schuler, founder and CEO of Cal Net Technology Group. “The current version is SharePoint 2010, but it has been out in some form or fashion for the last eight to 10 years.”Smart Business spoke with Schuler about how SharePoint works and how to determine whether it makes sense for your organization.How does SharePoint change the way your company operates?Again, it is an intranet, which means it is…
While some students continue on to higher education directly after graduating from college, many more head out into the world to work. It is only after gaining years of experience and success that they realize they could do even better by enrolling in an executive master of business administration (EMBA) program. Instead of just learning about theories and concepts that they may someday apply, they can immediately apply them in their work lives, says David Lewin, the Nell H. Jacoby Chair in Management at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.“The EMBA program draws people who are very highly committed because their…