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Friday, 14 October 2011 15:37

Workers' compensation insurance

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Workers' compensation laws were created to ensure that employees who are injured on the job are provided with fixed monetary awards. This eliminates the need for litigation and creates an easier process for the employee. It also helps control the financial risks for employers since many states limit the amount an injured employee can recover from an employer.Workers' compensation insurance is designed to help companies pay these benefits. As a protection for employees, most states require that employers carry some form of workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation insurance is not health insurance. Workers' compensation is designed specifically for injuries sustained…
Friday, 30 September 2011 21:01

Workplace violence: preparing for the unthinkable

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Over the last couple of decades, violence in the workplace has actually dropped to an all-time low. A March 2011 Special Report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Justice, shows that in almost every major crime category, including homicides, workplace violence has continued to decline since 1993. Over this time, homicides in the workplace have decreased by 51 percent. Thirty percent of these homicides were committed by co-workers or those related to an employee, such as a spouse or jilted lover. The decline in workplace violence coincides with a downward trend of violent…
Smart Business spoke to Edward Kubiak, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing at Phoenix Energy Technologies, about why now is the time to investigate sustainability initiatives to reduce energy use and costs in commercial buildings.Nowadays, it’s no secret that getting hip to being green is good for business. And, when you’re delivering a consumer product, the eye-catching appeal of green materials, green packaging and green marketing makes good sense. However, in a B2B environment, and more specifically the commercial real estate market, leveraging green marketing to drive business development and customer retention leaves many unsure where to begin.In a…
A lawsuit has just been filed against your company and several of the company’s executives. Your first thought: “We have general liability insurance, and paid a lot of money for it. The insurance company will pay the lawyers to defend us and pay any settlement or judgment that might be entered. No need to worry.”But then the insurer tells you that your general liability insurance policy only covers claims for bodily injury, property damage and something called “advertising injury.” None of the claims in your lawsuit fall into those categories. You are on your own. Now, your company has to…
As the primary caregivers for their spouses, as well as their children and parents, women often neglect their own health needs while tending to the priorities of others. But there is research that demonstrates that when women take care of themselves, the health of their families improves.To learn more, Smart Business turned to Karen Don, M.D., internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, and Ann Marie Raffo, M.D., obstetrician/gynecologist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.How do symptoms differ among women and men?Heart disease is a good example. While the leading cause of death for females and males, underdiagnosis and subtle, often…
If you’ve tried to obtain or increase bank financing lately for your business, and been turned down, you’re not alone. The “word on the street” is that bankers’ lending criteria continue to be stringent. So what can you do to improve your chances? Obtain the assistance of a CPA who knows how the process works.“Through including a CPA firm in the relationship between your bank and business, you can increase your chances of success and reduce the frustrations of the application process,” says Jeff Hipshman, partner, HMWC CPAs & Business Advisors in Tustin.“Your CPA can also work with you throughout…
When it comes to maximizing the performance, scalability and value of their IT infrastructure, corporations want the best of both worlds: the features, functionality and benefits of their business applications without the headache of managing and running them.It has been a challenging proposition for enterprises to optimize their outsourced investment and the performance of their IT spend. Increasingly, however, these companies are turning to providers of colocation and managed services for an IT optimize solution that extends beyond the infrastructure to provide above platform-level support and services.Smart Business spoke with Christian Teeft, vice president of engineering at Latisys, to help…
Three years ago, Matt Carter was the president of a business unit that was anything but booming.The competition was, however.Carter was the president of Boost Mobile, part of Sprint’s prepaid wireless group. Boost had made its name catering to lower-income customers in urban centers. But staying confined to that niche wasn’t helping expand the division’s market share.“It was a very challenging situation,” says Carter, who is now the president of Sprint Global Wholesale Solutions Group, an Irvine-based division of Sprint Nextel Corp. that generated $1.8 billion in revenue last year. “Boost was in a category that was growing, but we…
John Rost realizes that employees show up to work each day for a paycheck. But he also knows that most employees — and the managers who listen to them — will tell you they seek something more from their place of employment.They want a sense that their work contributes to a greater goal, a sense that they are valued by the company, a sense that their input on the company’s policies and directions has meaning and will be seriously considered by management.But in order to have that, the tone has to be set at the top level. That’s why Rost…
Monday, 19 September 2011 13:27

5 keys for a next-generation contact center

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In the 21st Century, delivering high-value customer interactions is a fundamental best practice. Today’s customers expect businesses to provide top-class service and support. That top-class customer support includes prompt responses to handle customer service promptly and professionally — without long hold times or countless transfers — as well as multimedia queuing to provide the same high level of service whether the interaction is through phone, fax, e-mail, Web chat or SMS.Over the past several years, businesses have increasingly focused on improving customer support as a key element in their top-line strategy. In fact, industry analysts report that more than 80…
Patients and parents who have been searching for less expensive, quicker and more convenient alternatives for the treatment of minor ailments and routine health care needs are finding comfort and care in retail health clinics — one of the fastest growing segments of the health care industry.To learn more, Smart Business turned to Marcia Manker, CEO of Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center and Steve Geidt, CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and San Clemente.What is a retail health clinic?These convenient health care facilities, like MemorialCare’s HealthExpress found in the ALBERTSONS/Savon Pharmacy stores throughout Orange County in Huntington…
Does your company have an effective plan for executive succession? Do you have a plan for current employees to step into key positions? Do you have an objective process to identify and develop future leadership? These issues alone point out the need for succession planning.According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, only 30 percent of family-run companies succeed into the second generation, while only 15 percent survive to the third generation. A key reason, according to many experts is the lack of an orderly succession plan. Creating a succession plan can help ensure that your company will continue into the…
Over the course of the last century, managers and supervisors have been given the arduous task by HR departments to complete those ever-annoying documents called performance reviews. Employees dread them, managers hate them, and HR departments (made up of the people who administer the process) tend to loathe them. So if this seemingly universal dislike surrounds these reviews and processes, why do businesses feel compelled to continue using them year after year?To learn more about these HR tools, Smart Business spoke with Brad Bjelke, an attorney with Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh who ran an HR department for more than five…
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 20:01

What to look for in an enterprise cloud plan

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Moving to the cloud. It’s what everyone seems to be talking about lately. It’s what everyone seems to be recommending. But, it’s not as easy as it sounds. Before migrating to a cloud environment, there are several facets you need to think through.Smart Business learned more from David Feinglass, director of Solutions Engineering at Latisys, about the key components that make up a smart cloud migration plan.What does a company need to think through before migrating to a cloud service provider?Cloud migration is a big step for any organization and, potentially, a risky decision if not planned for properly. There…
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 20:01

How an appetite for risk can strengthen your culture

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You know that you need a stomach for risk as a business leader. You need to be able to make the tough call and be willing to live with the consequences of being right or wrong on your decision. But your ability to handle risk extends beyond the boardroom and strategic planning sessions to the hallways and offices where your employees work. You need to take a chance on your people, build a culture that suits them and give them the freedom to think and perform in a way that best suits their talents. Below are several thoughts on managing…
On the surface, Chad Hallock’s situation seemed contradictory: generate more business while spending less money.Hallock, the CEO and one of five co-founders of Budget Blinds Inc., was forced between this rock and a hard place by — not surprisingly — the economic recession. As a manufacturer and installer of custom blinds, shades and drapery, Budget Blinds’ customer base took a hit as the economy took a nosedive in late 2008, slashing new housing starts and halting remodeling projects in the process.That made it much harder for the company’s 800 franchises — employing about 2,000 people — to drive business and…
Few functions in a business can bring a company to its knees like malfunctioning accounting software. The ability to track invoices and payables, handle cost accounting, prepare payroll and monitor cash flow is absolutely crucial for day-to-day operations.“If your accounting system is inadequate, or too slow and cumbersome, several steps should be taken prior to purchasing a new system,” says Gerry Herter, a partner and head of the Information Technology practice at HMWC CPAs & Business Advisors in Tustin. “Take the time to identify the benefits of a new accounting program, along with the disadvantages involved in implementing the system.”Smart…
The commercial condominium is not a new concept, but it is worth revisiting in light of the current real estate market. For the builder, there are several advantages to creating commercial condominiums and offering them for sale or lease. For the buyer, there are considerable benefits to owning, rather than leasing, a place of business.Smart Business spoke to Abe Cook and Stephanie Nation of Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh about why builders and buyers alike should consider investing in commercial condominiums and how a commercial condominium development is created in California.As a builder, why should I consider creating a commercial condominium…
How long do people spend choosing a hospital, doctor and health plan during open enrollment? The average is just 16 minutes. By minimizing time spent making selections, people hope to make the process less painful. But the opposite may happen. Without careful selection, they may end up lacking the choices they will need later on.Open enrollment is like putting together a complex puzzle. The more employees try to make sense of the options offered, the more they end up confused in the process.As open enrollment season approaches for numerous businesses, Smart Business turned to Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D., president and CEO…
Sunday, 31 July 2011 20:01

Cheryl Osborn on maintaining stable growth

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Surviving this economy has been a challenge for all companies, especially those in commercial real estate like Casco Contractors Inc. But it’s not the biggest challenge on President Cheryl Osborn’s mind.Her sights are set higher — on not just surviving but maintaining stable growth through the downturn. She achieves this by creating open lines of communication to stay in tune with her employees’ workloads and putting technology in place to manage projects and keep everyone in the field informed, as well.These processes have helped the firm, which specializes in Commercial Tenant Improvements, keep efficiency, quality and consistency first. And now,…
Sunday, 31 July 2011 20:01

Charles Schreiber on finding the best talent

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For Charles Schreiber, finding the best talent is only the tip of the human resources iceberg. At KBS Realty Advisors, that talent needs to be trained and prepared to jump directly into their new jobs.KBS has a work force of 200, and Schreiber wants any new hires to be able to assume their full job responsibilities with 60 to 90 days of coming aboard. In that two- to three-month window, new hires need an education in the culture and structure of the real estate and investment firm, which CEO Schreiber co-founded in 1992.Smart Business spoke with Schreiber about identifying and…
At Ceradyne Inc., chairman, president and CEO Joel Moskowitz has seen firsthand the need to constantly grow and evolve his business, which he co-founded in 1967 and has built into a company that generated $402 million in 2010 sales. Ceradyne started as a defense contractor, using advanced technical ceramics in military applications, including nuclear weapons.“We were a classified facility, and doing a lot of work with nuclear weapons,” Moskowitz says. “That really gave the company its start, but it quickly became evident that were relying very heavily on defense work. But at the time, we were too small to do…
Businesses carry various types of insurance in order to provide protection from liabilities and reduce risks. Since coverage for certain types of risks is expensive or difficult to obtain, many business owners simply choose to not obtain this insurance.Is there a better option?“An innovative technique to address business risk is through a captive insurance company,” says Curtis Campbell, a partner at HMWC CPAs & Business Advisors in Tustin. “It is a great tool to consider for the insurance coverage and can provide additional tax, estate and asset planning benefits as well. We’ve found this to be very useful for many…
Friday, 08 July 2011 11:07

How owners can prepare to sell the business

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Eventually, most businesses owners face a decision — whether and when to sell the business. Here, advice and support from competent consultants is paramount to enhance the probability of a successful sale.Smart Business spoke with Douglas F. Landrum, a corporate transactions lawyer with Jackson DeMarco Tidus Peckenpaugh, to obtain insight into some practicalities of selling a business in today’s climate.What should an owner do to prepare for a sale?Owners need to assess current business practices. A good way to identify issues that may inhibit a sale is to perform a pre-sale due diligence audit of the business. Any issues discovered…
The reluctance of men to visit the doctor when they are sick, pursue routine check-ups when they are well and take advantage of preventive measures is taking its toll — helping explain the longevity gap where women outlive men by an average of 5 to 10 years and higher death rates men have for all top 10 leading causes of death.To learn more, Smart Business turned to Stanley Arnold, M.D., an internist at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, and Brian Henry, M.D., an internist at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.What keeps men away from needed health services?Reasons include an unwillingness to…
When Bob Funari and his executive team acquired majority ownership of Crescent Healthcare Inc. in 2004, the company was facing severe economic challenges.But by moving away from commodity-based transactional relationships and toward value-added partnerships, Funari soon changed the outlook.His team has forged a new culture that values teamwork, accountability and innovation. Along with it, they’ve more than doubled sales, eliminated significant operating losses and achieved profitability goals.Because of this, Smart Business, ThinkASG, IBM and Union Bank named Funari one of the 2011 Smart Leader honorees. He shared how he innovatively transitions his company’s strategic direction to overcome challenges.Give an example…
Sunday, 31 July 2011 21:01

What to look for in an IT off-load solution

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IT resources are often pulled in several directions, with more time spent on the ongoing maintenance and monitoring of the core IT infrastructure in place than they would prefer. Projects that would position the company for more profitability or greater efficiency are not always achieved in a desired time frame.Smart Business spoke to Christian Teeft, vice president of engineering at Latisys, to help define the business benefits of off-loading routine IT services to a provider of managed services, and what to look for in an IT off-load solution.How does IT off-load differ from off-site and how does a firm know…