Health and Safety within Small Business

Brought to you by www.bowlinent.com

Couple of things you need to know….

1. Small business is considered under 50 employees

2. The rules and regulations for health and safety are the same for all business…whether big or small.

Employees reflect the attitude of the owner or manager toward job safety and health within the workplace. If the owner or manager does not show an interest in preventing employee injury and illness, then the employees will probably not give it much thought either.

Therefore, it is essential that owners and mangers demonstrate the concern for employee safety and health, and the priority that is placed on them in the workplace. The policy must be clear and the importance must be shown through managements’ actions.  For example, If the employees work in a potential flammable area then spark resistant fans should be installed.

Commitment can be demonstrated by involving employees in planning and carrying out the efforts. Employees will bring their unique insights and energy to achieving the goals of the program. The employees are among the business’ most valuable assets, so their safety, health and goodwill are essential to the success the company.

Here are some actions to consider:

* Post policy on worker safety and health visible to all employees

* Hold an employee meeting to communicate the safety and health policy and objectives

* Make sure that management personally gets involved in the activities that are part of your safety and health program.

* Ensure that all management follows all safety requirements that apply to all employees

* Take advantage of employees’ specialized knowledge and encourage them to buy into the program by having them make inspections, conduct safety training, or investigate accidents

*Make clear assignments of responsibility for every part of the safety and health program, and make sure everyone understands them. The more people who are involved, the better. A good rule of thumb is to assign safety and health responsibilities in the same way you assign production responsibilities. Make it a special part of everyone’s job to work safely

* Give those with safety and health responsibility enough people, time, training, money and authority to get the job done

* Recognize and reward those who do well and correct those who don’t

* At least once a year, review what you have accomplished in meeting the objectives and re-evaluate whether you need new objectives or program revisions.

* Institute an accountability system where all personnel will be held accountable for not following work rules designed to promote workplace safety and health.

Move Big Air supports health and safety in the work place as well as energy efficient products like High Powered Low Speed fans.

 

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Workplace safety tips – 2013

By www.movebigair.com, known for the spark resistant exhaust fan.

Slip and fall

There are many ways to get hurt at work.  One of the most common ways to get hurt in the workplace is by a “slip and fall”. They are the 3’rd leading cause of workplace injuries and account for 12% of workplace deaths. There are many causes, here are some:

  1. no handrails
  2. ice
  3. slippery surfaces
  4. climbing ladders
  5. height

Lighting Accidents

Another type off accident is lighting accidents.  If you have poor lighting, especially in a stairway, people can get hurt.  If you notice that a light has blown out, don’t be afraid to tell your boss, you might help save an injury from happening.

Burn Accidents

Burn accidents, are very prevalent in restaurants and buildings with kitchens.  Employees must be aware of their surroundings and know how to properly use the equipment.  Bosses should make sure that employees are properly trained on all the equipment and tools that they will be using.

Neck and Back Accidents

These are caused when people don’t lift or carry something properly.  Employees should be trained on how to lift boxes and objects in the correct way.

Steps to Take For Prevention

There are many steps that employers and employees can take to make a work environment more safe. Sometimes, just being aware of one’s surroundings can help minimize workplace injuries. Here is a list of the others:

  1. Make sure stairways are in good working condition.
  2. Have the proper lighting through the building.
  3. Keep walkways and hallways free from debris and clutter.
  4. Clean up spills on the premises.
  5. Be careful when walking on slippery surfaces such as ice or water.
  6. Wear slip resistant foot wear if your workplace tends to be wet or oily.
  7. Teach workers how to properly use a ladder.
  8. Remove ice and snow properly after snow storms.
  9. Danger signs should be placed around the workplace accordingly.

Movebigair.com supports workplace safety by selling products such as movebigair.com.

 

 

 

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What Lessons Can Marissa Mayer Teach Small Business Owners?

For every small business that is struggling to reposition itself, reinvent itself, or transform itself, Yahoo serves and an example.

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO, has certainly received a lot of press over the past month. She just completed her first year at Yahoo, and the year-end reviews are everywhere.

Ms. Mayer understands the concept of organizational gravity, even though she may have never heard of the term. Organizational gravity is leveraging the inter-relation of strategy, brand, culture, and talent to grow the organization.

Here is what she is doing:
1. Creating and communicating a clear, relevant and executable strategy.
a. Yahoo’s strategy was at best outdated and unfocused. She has created a vision and strategy to move Yahoo into mobile technology.
2. Revitalizing the Yahoo brand.
a. It’s brand, while well known, was stale. She is revitalizing it through her focus on mobile technology and her commitment to applying the talent and resources to make it happen.
3. Reversing Yahoo’s toxic culture.
a. Talent was leaving at an alarming rate. Through weekly Q&A sessions, open communications, clear strategy and vision for the company, better employee contracts, and team development, attrition dropped by 59% in the second quarter.
4. Addressing Yahoo’s voracious need for talent
a. She is doing this through acquisition (she acquired 18 start ups since she became CEO plus purchased Tumblr), organic growth, and changing the culture

She is addressing all four elements of organizational gravity in her renaissance strategy. Yahoo prefers renaissance over turnaround. Another nice cultural shift.

If you are in a position where growth is stagnant, you have a hard time finding and keeping good employees, take a lesson from Yahoo, and think about what you need to do in the next year to revitalize your business.

In our experience, working with clients over the past five years, effective turnarounds address the four key elements that create organizational gravity:
1. A clear executable strategy and vision that is relevant for you and your market
2. Creating a clear brand promise. A brand that is consistent, compelling, and reflects what you do and what you stand for in the market. And making sure the same message is communicated throughout all your market entry points
3. Growing a culture that attracts and retains top talent. You, the leader, set the culture, by how you behave and communicate, what you tolerate and don’t tolerate, and how you treat your employees. And, how you deliver your brand promise.
4. Hiring, retaining, and growing talent that can get excited and committed to helping you grow the business. Good talent is attracted to businesses that have a compelling strategy and vision, a brand that stands for what they stand for, and a culture where they can do their best work and grow.

One of our clients, focusing on these four elements:
• Created an executable strategy relevant to their market and their capabilities
• Revitalize their brand message and ensured brand continuity
• Created a culture that reinforced their focus on outstanding client service – communicating it both inside and outside the company.
• Went from struggling to find the right talent to support their work to choosing from a pool of talent who wanted to work with them.

In the last three years, they more than doubled their revenue, opened up a European market, and instead of struggling to find new clients, now are responding to calls requesting their services. And this transformation occurred during one of the worst recessions we’ve seen.

Business don’t grow by addressing only one element, and they don’t grow soley by managing the balance sheet and using other financial metrics. They grow by addressing the four synergistic elements of organizational gravity. Yahoo is on this path, the client profiled is on this path, and you can be also.

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information on organizational gravity and its impact on performance and outcomes, visit our website: www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

Authors of Organizational Gravity: A Guide to Strategically Growing Your Company’s Brand, Culture, and Talent. Available of Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Organizational-Gravity-Strategically-Growing-Companys/dp/0615670482/

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The Five Warning Signs of a Troubled Partnership and What To Do About Them

Too many partnerships we’ve seen, and continue to see, are on life support.

Literally, everyday, people form partnerships to do amazing things. They have a unique idea or an innovative way to serve a need and solve a problem. Listening to them gets you exited for them about the possibilities. And yet talk to them a year later or two later, and the business is floundering, or the partnership dissolved. This is a common theme we see in new professional services companies, and really small businesses in general (high failure rates for new and young businesses according to the SBA). But, what happened?

What happened is that they not only didn’t heed the warning signs, and likely is they didn’t even acknowledge that there were warning signs. Here’s what to look for:

The five common warning signs of a troubled partnership:
1. No clarity on what each partner brings to the table
2. No clear definition on each partner’s role in the business
3. No understanding of what each partner wants from the partnership
4. No clear understanding (or plan) of what needs to be done to,
a. Start the business
b. Grow the business
c. Scale the business
5. No agreement on who is in charge and how decisions are made

Yes, these are tough issues to identify – loaded with questions behind them. Questions and respective decisions that are often put off until later when the money starts flowing and there is time to discuss and agree on them… Unfortunately, because they’re not addressed, the money may not start flowing, at least to the level where the business is seen as viable. And should the partnership get through the early stage, addressing these issues later is actually harder, not easier!

Here’s what you should do to address and resolve these issues before you start the business:
1. Identify each partner’s strengths – what they bring to the business
a. Is there overlap (a lot or minor) with the other partners?
i. Does each partner have unique skills important to the business?
b. Can they bring money in terms of personal funds or access to capital?
c. Do they have a strong network – contacts with people and people who know people?
2. Identify each partner’s role in areas such as: business development, marketing, finance, delivery, and building and running infrastructure.
Do this by preparing an Organizational Chart of what the company will look like when it is up and running in a year. Then fill in the names for key functions required in the business.
3. Openly discuss what each partner wants from the business. Start with the end in mind. For example, is it to: grow the business and run it, grow it and sell it (what’s the time line for selling it), how big will the company be and by when (will you grow it to a certain level and maintain it at that level?), will it be a life style business or a growth business?
This is best done in a facilitated session with a trusted outsider who can ask the tough questions. The facilitator is not invested in the “dream”, but in the reality of attitudes, beliefs and behaviors, which if not expressed and identified, can quickly derail a business.
4. Develop a strategic plan to bring the company from a start-up to early growth. Then modify it to support the growth, then modify it again to understand what must be done to scale the company
a. Each stage has different challenges and requires different skills
i. Early growth requires a laser focus on who you will serve (you can’t serve a broad market early on as you have neither the time, resources nor talent to be in more than one market niche)
ii. As you grow, how will you get new clients, will you serve new markets, and if so which one?
iii. As you scale, can your brand (your promise) and culture (how you deliver on your promise) hold up in a scaling business?
b. As the company grows, people will need to be hired, infrastructure will need to be built to support the growth (i.e. information systems, financial systems, organizational structure, reporting relationships, human resources and so on). How will you do this and in what order?
5. One of the hardest decisions to make is: who will be in charge. One person needs to be identified as the person in charge. The person who makes the final decision, even if you believe the consensus approach to management is what you want. Someone needs to facilitate the consensus.
Without this it is not only difficult to make decisions but it also takes longer. You run the risk of not being able to decide fast enough to support business growth

As we said, these are tough decisions and can make for tough discussions. And because they are tough, they are avoided. And because they are avoided, the business suffers.

Don’t let friendship, euphoria or false harmony over your idea trump common sense. Growing a business is hard enough. Don’t start it in the ICU on life support.

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information on business growth and partnerships, visit our website: www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

Authors of Organizational Gravity: A Guide to Strategically Growing Your Company’s Brand, Culture, and Talent. Available of Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Organizational-Gravity-Strategically-Growing-Companys/dp/0615670482/

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How Good a Boss Are You?

Last week’s hot topic on our KLC Fan Page commented on a recent survey that identified the Top Ten Reasons People Hate Their Jobs. The Number One Reason – “my boss sucks.”

We all know that good bosses are great to work for. We have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t want to work for a good boss. So that got us thinking: what makes a good boss (at the mid-management level)? Based on our work with companies and organizations across the nation, we’ve identified 10 characteristics that we believe make a good boss. Answer the statements below with a simple yes or no to see how you fair as a boss.

10 characteristics to determine if you are a good boss:
1. I hold my employees and myself accountable for results.
2. I enable my employees to perform well by providing them with the resources, support and authority they need to do their job.
3. I provide ongoing feedback on how my employees are performing and inquire as to their personal goals and aspirations.
4. I coach my employees on how they can improve their performance and contribution to our team and our company. This includes how well I do at supporting conflict resolution between my employees
5. I am able to influence others in the company and key stakeholders to provide support and resources for my employees and our projects.
6. I act with integrity and honesty in what I say and what I do.
7. I ask about and listen to the issues, concerns, and creative ideas from my employees and respond accordingly.
8. I encourage and foster teamwork, breaking down silos wherever I find them.
9. I support and promote my employees whenever we succeed and recognize and reward accordingly.
10. If asked, my employees will provide evidence of my positive leadership.

How did you do?

Now here’s the key point. It’s one thing to know what it takes to be a good boss, and the characteristics you would like to see in your boss. But what if you are the boss? You need to show these characteristics also.

Regardless of how you did, unless you scored a perfect 10 yeses, here’s what we recommend. Work on each one of them – one at a time. Leadership is a developmental process.

The best way to do this is to use the technique Benjamin Franklin outlined in his book: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. He identified a series of characteristics that he thought were important and that he realized he needed to improve on.

He did this by identifying each characteristic and then he worked on one, every day, until he got better. Then he moved to the next one. Awareness, attention, action.

Consider doing this as your personal improvement technique.

You don’t get better at anything by accident; you get better by practice.

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information, visit our website: www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

Authors of the new book: Organizational Gravity: A Guide to Building Your Company’s Brand, Culture, and Talent, available on Amazon.

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7 Questions to See If You Are Ready to Start and Grow a Business

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in this country. People we talk to have dreams, aspirations, and ideas for innovative products and services. We listen to them as they express their frustrations about starting or growing their business. We believe these frustrations are real and deeply felt by the people we talk to. We hear the excitement about a better future; we also hear the frustration about not being able to achieve that better future. In other words, many we talk to come up short.

For the most part, they don’t come up short because of someone else – what someone else did or didn’t do for them. They fall short because of what they failed to do.

So you want to start a business or grow your current business (or grow your career). You want to live the dream you had as a child. So why don’t you? What’s holding you back?

Answer these 7 questions, and see what you find?
1. What do you want to do and accomplish in the next year?
a. Start a business
b. Grow your business
c. Advance your career
2. What will success look like when you sit down on day 366 and look back?
3. What have you done in the last 60 days to move you closer to starting (or growing) your business or career?
4. What will you have to stop doing to have the time to do what you need to do?
5. What obstacles have you faced in the past 60 days moving your plan forward?
a. By not stopping what you need to stop
b. By not doing what you need to do
6. What actions have you taken to remove those obstacles or to make them irrelevant?
7. What reasons do you have for not doing what you said you wanted to do and would do?

Now look at your answers. How many times have you identified someone else or something else as the obstacle? Have you mentioned:
• If only the bank would lend me money
• If only the government would be more business friendly
• If only my partner would do his/her share of the work
• If only my employees would have the drive and ambition needed for me to grow this business
• If only the customers could understand what a great product or service I have
• If only my spouse, friends, parents can understand and support me
• If only …

There is not one example we can find, either in our work with business owners or in our research, where barriers didn’t have to be overcome. Not one example – anywhere.

Be honest with yourself. Your path to starting and growing a business (or growing your career) is a difficult one, no question about it. It does take sacrifice, it does take effort, it does take courage. One thing it doesn’t take and that is blaming someone or something else for what’s not working for you.

For your sake, stop making excuses. Perhaps starting or growing your business is not right for you – and that is OK. But perhaps with the right mindset, and with the help and support of trusted others, starting and growing a business is exactly what’s right for you. If that’s the case – do it.

Someone will introduce a new and better product. Someone will provide a service that is critical for other’s success. Why not you?

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information on business growth, visit our website: www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

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Schedule your Facebook Postings

Did you know that you can schedule your Facebook postings?

It’s easy to do and it’s useful for anyone, especially if you’re a busy person trying to keep up with your business Facebook page. You may have a posting about a special that you’d like people to see at a particular time of day, but the only time you can allocate to posting on Facebook is at night. You can schedule it to appear at a particular day, hour, and minute!

Just go to the Status box. Click on the clock in the lower left corner (see red arrow). Set the year, date, and time. Click post and you’re done.

Simple and it will help you get your postings out at a time when people are logging on.

This entry was posted by Deirdre Weedon a social media consultant for small businesses. She develops an effective presence for her clients on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others) and offers customized training. Look for her weekly columns on social media for businesses at www.openclickblog.com. You can reach her at dw@openclickcommunications

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Examples of Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Who doesn’t want to differentiate?:
• “We offer the lowest prices and if you can find it for lower we will …”
• “We have the best people so we provide you with the best service”
• “Our software has 1,087 unique features more than any of our competitors”

And on an on ad nausea. As if any of these really matter. They are differentiators in the minds of the business owner, marketer, or social media pundits, but to the buyer, it sounds like a flock of geese pissed off about another species trying to infringe on their territory. Just a lot on noise.

What many business owners, artists, solopreneurs miss is the opportunity to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Think about this for a moment:
• A friend of ours, known as Ram Songs on Facebook, is a guitarist and singer. So are so many, many others. But what he does is take songs, and through his musical talent and ability to engage an audience, makes the experience extraordinary.
• A local Rhode Island demolition company takes the task of demolishing a building and talks about recycling 90% of what they just took down. That’s extraordinary.
• A local tree service is hired to take down some trees and clean out the “backwoods” area. Then they used the felled trees to outline a walking path in the now cleared backwoods. That’s extraordinary.
• A manager in a high turnover fast food store advises and coaches new employees on the importance of service and the value of what they are learning in their experience working in the store. Same store sales increase. Imagine that. Now that is truly extraordinary.

If you want to be noticed – be extraordinary. To paraphrase Seth Godin: be the purple cow in the field of Holsteins.

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information on business and personal growth, visit our website www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LEGAL NAME, TRADE NAME, AND A TRADEMARK?

First, there is an important distinction between a legal name, trade name, and a trademark or service mark. A legal name is the name of a person or entity that owns a business. A legal name must be registered with a state government and includes a legal ending, such as an LLC or LLP, after the title. This is used in communicating with the government. Rhode Island Trademark AttorneyFirst, there is an important distinction between a legal name, trade name, and a trademark or service mark. A legal name is the name of a person or entity that owns a business. A legal name must be registered with a state government and includes a legal ending, such as an LLC or LLP, after the title. This is used in communicating with the government.

A trade name is generally considered the name a business uses for advertising and sales purposes. A trade name is sometimes referred to as a “fictitious” or “doing business as (DBA)” title. For example, “McDonald’s” may be the trade name, but the legal name is “McDonald’s Corporation”.

A trademark is a brand name. A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services. For example, the Golden Arches are a trademark of McDonald’s or the McDonald’s Corporation.

An important reason to distinguish between trade names and trademarks is that if a business starts to use its trade name to identify products and services, it could be perceived that the trade name is now functioning as a trademark, which could potentially infringe on existing trademarks.

It is not mandatory to register a trademark; however, federal registration has many advantages:

•Public notice of your claim of ownership of the trademark;
•A legal presumption of your ownership of the trademark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
•The ability to bring an action concerning the trademark in federal court;
•The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
•The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
•The right to use the federal registration symbol ®; and
•Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s online databases to deter potential infringers.

In addition, the trademark may be used in a variety of ways in the online environment to the benefit of the trademark owner. A trademark protects your company brand or product names from being used by another company in a similar line of business.

In the online world, your trademark can appear as your Twitter handle, your Facebook URL, as well as product-specific Facebook pages. Also, if you prove that a third party registered a domain name in “bad faith” in relation to your trademark, the federal registration provides a presumption of your entitlement to take the third party’s domain name. Therefore, the registered trademark may facilitate ensuring that you are the exclusive user of your brand name on websites, URLs, and advertisements.

This post was submitted by Daniel Holmander, Esq. with the law firm of Barlow, Josephs & Holmes, LTD of providence, RI.

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I Think I’ll Just Quit

As a business owner, artist, solopreneur – have you ever said this to yourself? Have you thought about giving up? Longing to have people appreciate you (on their own and without your goading), tell you what a great job you are doing, and how wonderful you are. Ever thought about that?

If so, here’s 4 reasons why you should just chuck it all in:
1. What you’re doing now is much harder than you expected it to be and you really don’t want to work that hard
2. A job working in an organization will be different, people will see you for how great you really are
3. There is security in an organizational job – and aren’t more people starting to work for organizations again?
a. You also get a steady paycheck, benefits – especially health benefits
4. Once you get an organizational job your life will turnaround for the better.

And you know what, for some, this is exactly what they should do. But is it what you should do?

Before you answer, here are 4 other points to consider:
1. Of course starting a business is hard (or being an artist, solopreneur), but it also can be more rewarding than anything you have ever done in your life
2. In an organization, regardless of your talent and contribution, people will only see how great you are if you don’t rock the boat, and you politically place yourself in a neutral – non-threatening position
3. People are starting to work for organizations again, not because it’s better, but because it represents a safe and comfortable decision
a. Yes, you will get a steady paycheck and benefits, but remember, your growth (financial and career) will be determined by the rules of the organization – which you must conform to if you want to get ahead
4. Sorry about this last one. We have yet to find in anyone, including ourselves, where one event will turnaround our life for the better.

In short, there is no precise “if this happens then that will happen”. It’s fantasy just like Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Our business and personal life is made up of small decisions, some wins, some losses, and more small decisions.

What do you want for yourself? Be brutally honest. When you decide – go for it with all the energy and enthusiasm you can muster. Disregard the opinion of others. They are not you, although they sure may have an opinion about how you should proceed in your career based on their standards.

Oh and one more statistic to consider. The Gallup organization recently released its State of the American Workplace Report. It found that “30 percent of employees are engaged and inspired at work. A little more than half of workers (52 percent) have a perpetual case of the Mondays—they’re present, but not particularly excited about their job. The remaining 18 percent are actively disengaged or, as Gallup CEO Jim Clifton put it in the report, ‘roam the halls spreading discontent.’ Worse, Gallup reports, those actively disengaged employees cost the U.S. up to $550 billion annually in lost productivity.” (http://www.today.com/money/americans-hate-their-jobs-even-perks-dont-help-6C10423977)

So, based on this study, you have a 1 in 3 chance of being inspired working in an organization. We don’t know about you, but the odds don’t seem all that good.

Have courage. Whether it’s the courage to be an artist, to be a business owner, to provide for some social good. And if you must quit, quit and trade up to do something where you can make a meaningful difference.

Copyright 2013 Kubica LaForest Consulting

For more information on business and personal growth, visit our website: www.kubicalaforestconsulting.com

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