Pertinent Perils, a blog by Donna Childs, building a community of resilient small businesses


Jul52015

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Jul42015

Happy Fourth of July!

Fourth of July

Enjoying the Holiday

Jul32015

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Jul22015

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Jul12015

Preparing for the Holiday Fireworks

Storm nervousness

Not Looking Forward to the 4th of July

In anticipation of the Fourth of July holiday, people in our neighborhood are testing their firecrackers and causing fear and anxiety in one of my two canine office mates. It will likely be even worse this weekend. And, of course, even after the holiday, loud noises that frighten some dogs, including one of mine, can be expected to continue as thunderstorms are more common during the summer months.

When we are out walking and Coco hears loud noises (airplanes overhead, firecrackers, thunder), she immediately turns around and starts pulling on her leash to lead us home, where she feels safe. Henry is fine, but Coco does not like loud noises, although she doesn’t seem to mind sirens. When she hears a noise, and her hearing is much better than mine, she prefers to be safe in her home. And once home, or in the office, she tends to be very cling-y, following me room to room and jumping into my lap when I am at my desk, attempting to type on the computer keyboard.

If you have pets in your office, you might have to prepare for some mild pet anxiety that could interfere with your work as thunderstorms happen or people celebrate the summer months with firecrackers. I have found the following approaches to be helpful:

  • Keep the pets inside during fireworks or storms and stay close to them. If I have any flexibility in my schedule, I move appointments around so I can be in the office with Coco during a storm as she does become very anxious (excessive lip licking is the first sign) at that time. Make sure your ID tags and microchip information is current as, in the event a fearful dog bolts, you want to make it easier for someone to return your pet to you.
  • Get your exercise before the storm – it avoids the need to go out later as the rolling thunderstorms approach and gets the dog tired, which makes the anxiety easier to manage. Ideally, I’d have Coco so tired she’d sleep right through the storm. Keep the windows and doors closed to block out as much noise as possible.
  • Sometimes providing a safe place, like a comfortable pet bed or crate, or a toy can offer reassurance to a fearful dog. It doesn’t work for me, Coco loses her appetite when she is fearful, but I am told treats reassure other nervous dogs. Thundershirts, which are like compression garments for dogs, can also help.
  • Go about your day as you normally would. If you appear anxious, your dog will pick up on that and her anxiety will be even worse. To that end, I always make sure I do my grocery shopping in advance of a storm forecast. Because I get anxious about being out on the road when there is a thunderstorm.
Jun302015

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Jun292015

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Jun282015

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Jun272015

Could Health Insurer Mergers be a Disaster for Small Businesses?

The EconomistA number of health insurance companies are seeking partners as corporate mergers are planned to further consolidate the industry. Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield has expressed its interest in acquiring Cigna. Aetna and Humana may also merge. The implications of these proposed mergers are the subject of an article in this week’s edition of The Economist (Better together?) in which I was quoted as expressing concern that the consolidation in the medical insurance sector raises costs for small businesses. Professor Dafny, without speaking specifically about small group markets, presented research, cited in the article, that shows that consolidation in the industry typically results in higher premiums. This is of particular concern given the plan offerings of the parties to the proposed mergers.

Anthem Blue Cross offers medical insurance policies in more than twenty states. Cigna offers some of the most attractive plans in the small group market. Indeed, Cigna became a partner to the Start Up America Partnership LLC, an initiative to support entrepreneurs, offering not only competitively priced health plans, but also mentoring and support to small businesses aiming to access corporate supply chains. As The Economist went to press, the Supreme Court had not yet decided the case before it regarding the subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act. Cigna rebuffed the initial takeover overtures, let’s hope their efforts to remain independent are successful.

Jun262015

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Prepared Small Business, from paralyzed to prepared.