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Archive for March 2014

Good Riddance Winter Of 2013-2014

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Relax

Relax

Spring has begun and soon the temperatures will be suitable for outside activities. In metro Atlanta the temperature averages around 70 degrees farenheit this time of year.  Since it has been an unusually cold winter and terms such as polar vortex are commonplace, I think it is appropriate to jump past spring and list what I am looking forward to and hoping to accomplish this summer.  Perhaps one these things will spark an interest and will inspire you to do the same or add your special twist to the idea.

  • The first thing on my summer to do list is to get a pizza burger from the corral in hermitage, pa when I am up there on business. I am writing this in the late afternoon and am hungry so I believe this is influencing my desires. I wrote about the corral last year, check it out here.

  • See a minor league baseball game and spend the whole day exploring the host city and its amenities.

  • Take a nap on my deck after a bike ride – maximizing outdoor time. Okay, I will put on sunscreen.

  • Eat fresh vegetables from my garden and if the weather co-operates and provides a bumper crop of tomatoes, make salsa for enjoying in the fall and winter.

  • Stop and smell the roses. I have several large rose bushes and they are covered with wonderful blooms all summer and I must confess I have never stopped to take a whiff. Who knows I might not like the fragrance, so I will get back to you on this.

  • Go camping, cook a hot dog over the open fire and sleep under the stars. I will do this to reinforce how much I enjoy the comfort of my own bed with the feather bed mattress add on. I am sure I will make lasting memories under the stars so the lingering backache will be worth it.

  • Spend a long weekend out of town with my wife – anywhere will do even a quirky small town with a minor league team.  This was a goal last year that I did not achieve.

  • Go to Stone Mountain.  It is larger than Mount Rushmore, which I have already visited, and only 50 miles from my residence.  The only problem – it is on the other side of Atlanta and chances of getting there without traffic slow downs are remote.  On the weekend it could easily take 2 hours or more one way.  I think I will wait until I am already on that side of town for a quick peek.  It is a big rock and I don’t think it is going anywhere soon.

  • Explore a cave or walk on a beach or climb a mountain – even if it is Kennesaw Mountain down the road from me.

It might not be an extensive list but just thinking about those things has warmed me up a bit.  Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

Are Supplemental Insurance Products Right For Your Business?

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DuckSupplemental or ancillary insurance is a product that can be offered to your employees at no cost to your company. In fact, depending on the circumstances and the amount of company contribution, these products can actually SAVE the company money due to the payroll tax advantages.   I believe that these plans deserve a closer look due to the state of the health care industry with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act – which seems to have made things less… affordable.

Many people are familiar with these products through AFLAC but there are many other providers that offer coverage. Companies with less than 10 employees can use these products to provide coverage at a more affordable cost – especially life insurance that is generally cost prohibitive with less than 10 employees. In addition to Life insurance, you can also offer short or long-term disability or a variety of other insurance products. This ability to offer more coverage options can upgrade your benefits package making your company more competitive in the marketplace. These plans are also portable and can be kept by the employee if they leave your employment. The insurance companies will also take care of the administrative hassle which is always welcomed by the small business owner.

With health care plans trending towards higher deductibles supplemental coverage can provide for a way to fill in the gap that employees may have.  What I have found to be popular with both employers and employees is to offer a fixed “allowance” each month to employees and they can use that allowance to purchase the products in the amount and type of coverage they want. The employees like the flexibility and the employer likes the ability to fix their costs at a level they want.

If you haven’t considered offering supplemental or ancillary insurance coverage it may be time to think again. Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 24, 2014 at 8:01 am

On The Brink Of Madness – March Madness

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This Is Still A Basketball

This Is Still A Basketball

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Every year about this time I write about the NCAA tournament that captivates the country for about three weeks.  This year is no different.  Why mess with a good thing?  Check out my previous thoughts here, here and here.

Rather than give you my predictions which would be as good as asking your dog or cat to fill out your bracket, I am going to pass on some trivia behind the tournament that you might find interesting.  Since four is a number closely associated with the tournament (the Final Four) I will give some trivia in groups of fours.  All information is current as of the 2013 results.

Schools with the most wins:

  1. 113 – Kentucky
  2. 108 – North Carolina
  3. 100 – UCLA   
  4. 96 – Duke

Schools With Most Championships:

  1. 11 – UCLA
  2. 8 – Kentucky
  3. 5 – Indiana and North Carolina
  4. 4 – Duke

Coaches With Most Championships:

  1. 10 – John Wooden, UCLA
  2. 4 – Adolph Rupp, Kentucky & Mike Krzyzewski, Duke
  3. 3 –Jim Calhoun, Connecticut & Bob Knight, Indiana
  4. 2 – Dean Smith, North Carolina and 8 other coaches

My wish for this year is that it will be an interesting tournament with a low seed getting into the final four which always makes for a good story line and high ratings most people like to root for the underdog.  Good luck to your favorite team or alma mater.

Have a great week and don’t overload on the madness.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 17, 2014 at 8:01 am

Business Lessons From The Metro Atlanta Snow Storm of 2014

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This Is NOT Atlanta

This Is NOT Atlanta

On January 28th, metro Atlanta was hit by a snow storm that left nearly 3 inches of snow on the ground.  This may not seem like a lot to people outside of the South but with not enough equipment and salt to battle it the area was stuck in complete gridlock.  There may have been ways to lessen the severity of the chaos that ensued but I will leave the finger pointing and placing of blame for someone else. 

I want to discuss what can be learned about the readiness of your company, large or small, to deal with a disruption of business for two or three days.  Do you have a plan?  Many of you may be able to dust off your disaster plans that you had for the Y2K problem and update them for any kind of natural or man-made disaster.  This time it was a snow storm that crippled traffic in Metro Atlanta but it could be a flood, tornado, ice storm, power grid outage such as the one in 2003 or any number of other calamities.

Before discussing how to continue doing business under these circumstance, let’s consider simple things like procedures for employees trying to travel to work during poor road conditions.  Do you allow them to take a personal day or vacation day if they can’t safely make it to work – in their estimation?  What about a policy on employees trapped at the office?  What provisions are made if that is the safest place to stay during a weather or other calamitous event?  Do you have some sort of phone or other communication system to assure everyone knows what is going on at work?   

Below are a few items to consider:

  • Can your employees telecommute to keep things running?
  • Do you have data and software programs that can be accessed and stored in the cloud?
  • How do your customers contact you?  Can phones be redirected?
  • If your company is located in a larger geographical area, can critical functions be moved to unaffected areas?
  • What happens if key people are cut off from the company or the event does not affect you but affects a supplier? Do you have a plan in place? 

I wrote a blog on the last bullet point in 2012, check it out here.  It is best to learn from this type of event and take action before something happens that affect your company.

Have a uneventful week.

 

Snow

Snow

A Simple Treat

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On the last day of January, I had some pork chops that I defrosted earlier in the week and never used so I decided we would have them for dinner that night. I was not in the mood to do anything special nor could I pull off a culinary masterpiece.  So I went to an old crock pot favorite.  Its simplicity is only rivaled by its effectiveness of delivering tender, juicy pork chops to my tummy.  So I got the crock pot out and a bottle of special barbeque sauce made locally and this is what I did. 

I measured out a cup of the barbeque sauce and put half of it in the bottom of the crock pot and then placed the pork chops (boneless) in the pot and covered them with the remaining half cup of sauce and turned it on low for 6-8 hours. Then I walked away and let time do its magic.  Just before dinner time I made some brown rice and peas to go with the chops and served it in our dining room with the lights dialed down to a warm candle light glow.  It was perfect on a cold night. It was such a simple meal but it was one of the best meals I had in a while.  I guess I was looking for some comfort and I got it!  After dinner I had such a good feeling that I commented to my wife several times.  It has been a while since I had a meal that put a smile on my face that lasted through the night.

I suppose if I tried to recreate the same experience at a later date it would not be the same.  I would not be able to replicate all of the various things going on around me that led to this being such a sublime experience.   I still have the memories of that night and I can always replay it in my mind and that way it is even better – no calories!

Have a great week.

Written by pacelinebiz

March 3, 2014 at 8:01 am