HR & Compliance

Add SBAM offers a full spectrum of human resources services to keep you compliant and help your business run more efficiently and profitably....


Human Resources Solutions

ASE LogoLooking for help with tough HR issues? 

SBAM partner ASE has the answers about hiring, firing, FMLA, ADA and more! Get access to a FREE HR hotline, affordable and cost-effective research consultation services, discounted employee handbooks and workplace posters, and more.


Section 125 Plan, FSA, HSA & HRA Administration

 

KUSHNER & COMPANY LogoLooking for ways to contain health care costs?
With the cost of health insurance continuing to rise, most employers require their employees to contribute to the cost of health insurance premiums. SBAM partner Kushner & Co. can help you put a tax-favored, consumer-directed plan in place that benefits you and your employees.

 


COBRA Administration

Personalized, affordable administration for your business. 

If you have 20 or more employees, your company is required by federal law to offer continued health insurance coverage via COBRA and will face huge fines if it's not administered correctly.  Let SBAM help you stay compliant for only $30 per month. 

State of UnEmployment! Better Think About Recruiting – Even if You Aren’t Hiring Now!

By Julie Mann, MSIR, SPHR, CCP

While the news focus is on the state of unemployment in Michigan, the state of employment has become a topic of the past. But yet, we know that history repeats itself and that the positive signs of things to come are becoming visible; the tide in Michigan is turning. As this tide turns, while we need to keep a watchful eye on the unemployment rate, critical to business success will be our focus on the state of employment.

Human Capital remains the number one asset in organizations and is a key to success and growth. We need to retain our talent, know how to attract new talent and know how to stay ahead of the talent curve. So, how? Do we simply just try to network more? If our business isn’t hiring right now, do we care? If not hiring, the state of employment doesn’t matter to my business, right? Wrong.

I recently asked a client, “Are you hiring?” They said, “No.” I then asked, “Are you recruiting?” After the client gave me one of those ‘didn’t you hear me’ looks, he responded, “I just said no. What’s your point?” Ah-hah…that’s the conversation!! Building your virtual bench and always recruiting becomes paramount to success. Let’s examine…

According to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau, there are:
  • 120,208,320 people employed or seeking work
  • 77,555,280 are employed but open or seeking a new job
  • 39,952,72 are employed and not open to a new job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average lifetime number of employers for a worker has risen from:
  • 4 in the 1960’s to
  • 10.8 in 2006 and
  • 14 is the Gen X prediction

What does this mean to your business? It means that two thirds or 53 percent of employed adults are open to a new job or actively looking for a new job!

In today’s state of employment, we need to “Dig our well before we’re thirsty.” Even if not hiring, we need to constantly be recruiting for the best talent in the marketplace. And with 53 percent of people open to a new job, if they are an “A Player,” then other companies know who they are too and may just be talking to or recruiting them before you.

Therefore, keeping an eye open for talent isn’t something that we should just passively continue to “try” to do; we must actively pursue building our virtual bench. Let’s face it, if you’re waiting until you have a hiring need to try to identify talent, the task becomes that much more challenging. We need to always recruit and keep an eye open for people who you’d like to work with and be talking to them regularly about your business. Even if you can’t/won’t hire them immediately, A Players know A Players and when you are ready to hire, A Players can also recommend A Players and you now have people you think highly of who know about your business. Is this networking? Sure it is, but it is networking with a distinct purpose and not just something we ‘try’ to fit into our “To Do List.”

As the state of employment becomes more robust, networking for talent, virtual bench building, isn’t something successful businesses will just ‘try’ to do. When the outcome is important, we leave “TRY” out of the equation. We don’t “try” to love our kids, right? So, the next time you’re about to say that you’ll “try to do” something, reconsider. If the outcome of the activity is important, like hiring the right people, don’t just try. Like Nike says, “Just do it.” Your business will distinctly benefit from it.

Julie Mann is the CEO & President of both The Rock Star Factory and JMann Consulting Group. The Rock Star Factory is a professional placement firm specializing in matching companies with rock star quality employees, while JMann Consulting Group provides on-call HR Manager services for small & medium sized businesses. Julie can be contacted at 51

Cardiac emergencies can happen anywhere to anyone. Is your workplace prepared?

If someone collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest in your workplace today, would you know what to do? Would your employees know how to increase a co-worker’s chance of survival? With each minute of elapsed time before defibrillation, the chances of survival diminish by approximately 10 percent.

The fact is, employers are required by OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1910.151 to have a person or persons adequately trained to render first aid for worksites that are not in or near proximity to an infirmary, clinic, or hospital.

Thankfully, The Red Cross has an Alliance with OSHA signed in 2005 to work together to help employers train employees. The Red Cross is the leading provider of Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training and services. For the cost of a laptop computer, a lifesaving AED could be installed at any facility. Businesses with AEDs and people trained to use them save lives when every second counts.

Customizable Training

The American Red Cross suggests that the first-aid program for a particular workplace be designed to reflect the known and anticipated risks of the specific work environment. Consultation with local emergency medical experts and providers of first-aid training is encouraged when developing a first-aid program. It’s also required that the program must comply with all applicable OSHA standards and regulations. In fact, OSHA requires certain employers to have CPR-trained rescuers on site.

Sudden cardiac arrest is a potential risk at all worksites, regardless of the type of work. Serious consideration should be given to establishing a workplace AED program. There are a few important factors to consider:
1. First-aid supplies must be available in adequate quantities and readily accessible.
2. First-aid training courses should include instruction in general and workplace hazard-specific knowledge and skills.
3. CPR training should incorporate AED training.
4. An AED should be available at the worksite.
5. First-aid training should be repeated periodically to maintain and update knowledge and skills.
6. Management commitment and worker involvement is vital in developing a strong workplace safety program.

You can schedule an authorized OSHA instructor to come to your workplace or hold the OSHA 10 or 30 course at your local chapter of the American Red Cross. The Red Cross can customize the OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 courses to meet your occupational needs, while covering all the required topics. The OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 courses have mandatory topics that will be covered in addition to elective course topics as needed or requested by the employer.

Whether you need to train two employees or 1000 employees, the Red Cross can help by providing quality safety training when and where you need it. Flexible service delivery methods will help you meet OSHA Guidelines and prepare your employees to save lives. For more information contact your local American Red Cross Chapter, www.redcross.org/where.

The author, Alison Bono,  is the American Red Cross Mid-Michigan Chapter Regional Director of Communications and Marketing. She can be contacted at abono@midmichiganredcross.org.

Get Involved with Politics? SBAM Members Share Experiences

From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine

Getting involved in politics is not usually the first way small business owners choose to spend their “extra” time. However, as the following SBAM member testimonials prove, getting involved is easier than most think thanks to the many opportunities created by SBAM. Here’s what SBAM members have to say about advocacy, volunteering and letting their voices be heard:

Cynthia Pepper, Principal, Pepper Consulting Group, LLC
“In this world of polarizing politics and slanted, revisionist versions of history and events, it’s become increasingly difficult to find rational, thoughtful assessments of candidates for political office – assessments based on actual voting records and real experiences and decisions. I rely on SBAM to provide the analyses that help me cut through the chatter and make informed decisions that fit my personal interests and perspective. SBAM’s advocacy for and understanding of the issues facing small business in this state are deep, and continue to be very important to my success as a business owner. But never more so than in times of such political importance.”

Sharon Miller, Owner, ITH Staffing
“Membership in SBAM provides members with an opportunity for interaction with other business owners, SBAM legislative staff, and elected and potential candidates for office. This activity is ongoing-once involved you stay involved.”

Lorri Rishar Jandron, President & CEO, Edge Partnerships
“As a volunteer member of SBAM’s Legislative Action Committee, I not only get the chance to discuss public policy but also to make an impact. Just recently, I was able to speak directly with legislators gathered at an SBAM forum. That’s advocacy in action thanks to my involvement with SBAM.”

Mike Fox, CEO/President, Ingenuity IEQ
“I believe it’s important for small businesses to be engaged in the political process and SBAM has allowed me to get involved.”

Barbara Lezotte, President, Lezotte Miller Public Relations Inc.
“I really appreciate SBAM’s leadership on ‘economic gardening,’ which is the right strategy to help revitalize Michigan’s economy. SBAM’s advocacy on behalf of small business is second to none in the state. The staff keeps a close eye on legislation that will impact us and is lobbying to protect our interests daily.”

Larry T. Eiler, President, Eiler Communications
“As Michigan moves toward growing businesses through the economic gardening concept, ‘cultivating as well as hunting,’ SBAM has moved to the fore of leadership. This is part of “Re:NEW Michigan” and is a meaningful step we can all take part in to restore our state to economic progress.”

Interested in Selling Your Company? Tips for a Successful Transaction

By Jeffrey Van Winkle and James Waggoner

Businesses enter into financial and strategic combinations for a wide variety of reasons. Many are in need of additional growth capability, which can be supplied by new products, an infusion of capital or acquisition of new management; others are interested in a business combination to maximize shareholder value or to provide an exit for the ownership for retirement or business continuity reasons.

Whatever the reasons for considering a business combination, the needs and goals of the parties should be examined by the ownership of the business, its internal management and by experienced financial and legal advisors to establish a viable action plan. This article will address two important topics related to business combinations:
  • The current climate of merger and acquisitions in the United States
  • The various value-maximizing items firms interested in selling their business should consider prior to approaching potential buyers

M&A Market Trends


From the peak of 2007 and continuing through the first two quarters of this year, M&A transactions have dropped considerably. Though 2010 has seen a bit of up-tick in activity compared to 2009, it is apparent that the business climate here in the United States and the financial uncertainty abroad continues to negatively impact the M&A market. Potential buyers are still looking to avoid taking the big risk, while those interested in selling are having difficulty establishing a purchase price consistent with current market conditions. Nevertheless, many inside the industry continue to remain optimistic that conditions will continue to improve during the course of this year and into 2011. A cursory overview of information about completed transactions over the past 12 months shows that larger sized transactions, particularly among the publicly held businesses, have increased. That trend has not been observed in the smaller M&A transactions typical for small and mid-sized businesses.

Advisors report that many businesses and funds are very actively seeking candidate businesses to purchase, but often do not have the right connections to discover businesses interested in selling. One reason for increased optimism for completed transactions centers around financing availability, which has continued to improve. In addition, financial advisors and business brokers representing sellers say they are expecting firms interested in selling to better understand the value of their businesses.

Preparing Your Business for Sale


Ideally, selling a business is part of a long term strategy relating to existing owners reaching the end of a work career or planned management transition. However, it is often hard to know the right time to consider a sale. If the business has strong management, ownership interested in the next 10 years, sufficient capital to move to the next step and a business model or strategy that will generate growth and profits, there should be no reason to sell. On the other hand, the absence of any one or more of those four requirements may prompt consideration of a sale, especially if capital or a management team is missing.

When considering whether or not to sell, the best prepared businesses have focused on the following items in order to maximize the value of the business, especially in a struggling M&A market.

Maximizing Business Value


Financial Performance: The financial performance of a firm is often the prime factor in determining the ultimate value of the business. Certainly, potential buyers will want to see how the business has fared especially during the economic downturn. Perhaps as important, however, are the future financial prospects of the business. If the selling firm is able to provide evide

Retaining Clients: It Takes More Than You Think

By Kirk Squiers, owner of Central Michigan Graphics in Lansing. From SBAM’s member-only Focus on Small Business magazine.

With the proliferation of the Internet, the bad economy has made customers more price conscious. As a result, relationships and service have become the most important aspect of client retention. As the owner of a printing and sign company, I see the World Wide Web cutting into my business weekly. Just last week a customer said,” I can buy 500 business cards on the Internet for $10!” That’s great, but how does that help the Michigan economy?

Staying close to customers should be a number one priority in these rough times. Regular visits to your top ten clients and constant contact through e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, etc. is crucial to maintain top of mind awareness. One of the many ways that my small company stays close to our clients is through our Facebook page. Every time we do a new project, we take photos of it and put it on our home page. The comments we get are amazing; not to mention that it’s like the old adage of tell two people and they will tell two people and so on. A great aspect of social media for small businesses is that it allows you to reach a large group of people with minimal time and resources.

Another great vehicle for communicating with customers is through YouTube. My company has a full video presentation of a time lapse installation on a vehicle wrap on YouTube. And the best part is – YouTube is free!

As a small business owner, your day is filled wearing multiple hats. Social media helps you reduce time spent on marketing, sales and client retention. Facebook, Twitter and blogs are great ways to keep in contact throughout the year. Start using all the free services available on the Internet and you will see client retention surge. Customer loyalty cannot be bought, it must be earned!

Here’s some strategies that have worked for us:
  • Customer communication – be sure to keep in communication with your client base. Send them small thank you notes, birthday e-mails and company newsletters. Make sure you focus on the customer over your company and foremost, do what you say you will do! The recession presents some unique challenges to customer retention management. But the current climate also provides opportunity for small businesses that know how and when to act.
  • Listen for needs and wants. Figure out how can you make the customers life easier. Diversify your product line. We were once just a printer. Now we offer signs, banners and vehicle graphics. Find a niche that you can easily piggyback onto your current offerings.
  • As a current board member of SBAM, you will hear us talk about economic gardening in terms of nurturing relationships with successful businesses already here in Michigan. As a small business owner I am constantly cultivating and gardening my current client base. It is like taking care of a garden. Water and feed the customer with things you provide to help their business flourish. Weed out your competition consistently by paying attention to details and following through.
  • And here is the kicker. If you can’t do something, admit it! Your customers will respect your honesty. 

As we move into the next few years, Michigan-based small businesses will continue to face tough times economically. Continue to seek new business and spend even more time and energy with your top ten accounts. Make it a personal goal to speak in person or on the phone directly with the decision maker of each of those top ten clients at least once a month. You can surely make enough time to call or stop by three places a week. This will lock out your competition and reaffirm your concern for the business relationship. If you do the little things that create the “Wow” factor and y
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