Archive for the ‘Family and Home’ Category

My Week-End Project

Sunday, April 18th, 2010
Not Just Memories

Not Just Memories

The weather was cold this weekend, so I took the opportunity to work on a long-standing business project: updating my inventory with digital photographs. I take pictures of key assets and record the information for insurance and personal replacement purposes. This is particularly important for assets that could be difficult to value, such as an aquarium or art work. I recommend doing this for both your business and home assets. It is not so overwhelming once you break the task down into manageable steps. I find it also helps me to make better purchasing decisions, as I know at my fingertips what I have. Indeed, with the 2010 hurricane season approaching, this task may assume particular urgency for small business owners in coastal areas. Once you get the base project done, updating for new purchases gives you an incentive to stay organized.

Memorial Day

Monday, May 25th, 2009
Recognizing Those Who Serve

Recognizing Those Who Serve

I had occasion to read a letter to the editor captioned “Best Free Subscription Plea of the Month” in the now defunct Business 2.0 magazine. The author of the letter, Specialist Mickey Doto, described how he and his colleagues in the 252nd Infantry on duty in Iraq have to burn all trash before moving on to their next site. He happened upon a copy of the magazine and pulled it out of the fire so that he and his colleagues would have something to read. I immediately packaged and shipped a box of magazines to him in Iraq. Postal rates to U.S. military installations overseas are subsidized, such that I was able to ship 14 pounds of magazines for $2.90. I wrote to Specialist Doto that my choice of magazines reflected my own interests. As a small business owner, I subscribe to magazines such as Entrepreneur, Inc., Fortune Small Business and other publications relevant to my work. I offered to purchase at the newsstand any titles that he and his colleagues would prefer. Specialist Doto wrote back to me to say that I could not have made a better selection. As it turns out, the 252nd are reservists from the New York/New Jersey area called to active duty. Most of them are small business owners. Specialist Doto owns Dragons Way Karate Academy in New Jersey where he teaches martial arts to children. His bunk mate owns a car service in New Jersey that provides transportation to area airports. They were delighted to have something to read and connect them with home. Every week I ship a box of 14 pounds of magazines and am embarrassed that it is so little, but it appears to mean a lot to the men and women over there. We in the small business community have many unique ways to contribute and today we should reflect on how we may do so.

Home Distractions

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009
Plan Your Home Need in Advance

Plan Your Home Needs in Advance

In Prepare for the Worst, Plan for the Best: Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Small Businesses (John Wiley & Sons Inc., second edition, 2008, first edition, 2002), I urged small businesses to prepare their homes and families for disasters and to encourage employees to prepare as well. This is critical to support the members of your small business family: give them the tools and information that they need to protect their families and households against the risk of disaster. It enables buy-in as employees can see the benefits of supporting the disaster plan for the small business: they can take this methodology home to benefit their families. It also proactively addresses recovery issues, as employees who are worried about the security of their homes and families in the immediate aftermath of a disaster are unlikely to be very productive in contributing to the essential recovery tasks of the business. Now add another benefit to family and home preparedness: long, long distractions brought about by post-disaster litigation.

QBE, an insurance company, is involved in litigation with Florida condominium residents concerning allegations over unpaid insurance claims arising from the 2005 hurricane season. Imagine what a stressful and unnecessary distraction this must be for the individuals concerned. This is yet another reason why you must prepare your home and family against the risk of disaster which includes carefully crafted insurance coverage and you must encourage your employees to do the same. And propose arbitration to resolve disputed issues with your insurance company. Both sides lose in lengthy litigation; only the lawyers win.