Your Business Resolution — Time For a Fresh Approach

business resolutionsFor many, January is the perfect time for a new start. Resolutions to go on a diet, exercise more, pay off debt, get a new job, and otherwise improve our lifestyles are as popular as ever. But, there’s another area where a fresh start can make a big difference — Your business.

The fact is, you’re probably so involved in the day-to-day running of your organization that you don’t take a step back and get a better perspective. When you’re able to step away for just a little while and look at things objectively, the chances are you can find some good stuff to improve in your business. Here’s how to go about it.

Step 1 — Set aside the time

Get some time in the diary in early January to remove yourself from everyday operations and allow yourself to review how you could improve how your business functions, policies, and procedures. Encourage your leadership team, key managers, and a selection of employees to be involved.  Not only is their input critical, it will also remove some of the burden off your shoulders.

Step 2 — Get out of the workplace

You can’t do this with distractions. Go offsite and have an away day where you can minimize the chance of interruptions and actually get some initiatives in place, bring key members of your team along with you.  Make it engaging, fun and ensure you have white boards to capture your ideas.  Take pictures so you can save the details of your discussion.

Step 3 — Identify the main areas you want to improve

Have an honest and open discussion with your team. Let everyone bring up the main pain points in the business. What’s unnecessarily complicated or difficult to do? What policies, procedures, or functions could be improved? You’ll want to keep the discussion constructive, but don’t leave anything off the table.

Step 4 — Categorize the problems

You’ll want to split the various issues into categories, for example:

  • People related — More training needed, new team setup, staff handbook updates etc.
  • Policy related — New and amended policies to make your workplace easier to do business in.
  • Procedure related — Changes to business processes, ways of doing things, and functionality.
  • Technology related — Issues with technology, hardware, software, etc.
  • Other — Any other issues that don’t fit neatly into the previous categories.

Step 5 — Brainstorm fixes

Once you’ve got your categories, see if any of the problems are related. After you’ve done that, go through and generate ideas on how to fix the various issues, especially your policies and procedures. Don’t consider any idea to be too outlandish.

Step 6 — Prioritize

Once you’ve got your ideas, prioritize the fixes. Deliver on ideas that are easy to implement and will have a good impact. Follow that up with the harder implementations that will still make a big difference. After that, carry out the changes that will still have an impact, even if it’s minor.

Step 7 — Give people accountability

Once you have a list of ideas, get people in your business to take ownership of them. Get project management in place to deliver on the ideas and fix the broken parts of your business. Then, get regular updates throughout the year on how things are going. Give your project managers the resources and people they need to make a positive change.

This can be a great way to incentivize and fire up your people to change their working environment. Whether it’s removing bottlenecks in a process, rewriting a policy, enhancing training for team members, improving hiring methods, or replacing old technology, small changes can have a big impact.

Carry this out every January, deliver on your changes, and you’ll have a beautifully functioning, sleek, and efficient operation in less time than you think.

Matt Bauer
President
mbauer@srfm.com

Business Resolution

High Value Homes: Value of Luxury Homes

High Value Homes Value of Luxury HomesHigh Value Homes: What can one million dollars get you across America in today’s market

As many have noted the real estate market is gradually strengthening, some states more rapidly than others. However, despite the fluctuating changes in the market, one thing is still fixed; not all cities are equal. In Daytona, Ohio one million dollars may buy a 12,000 square foot estate, yet one million dollars hardly guarantees you an 800 square foot apartment in Manhattan, New York. There are several factors that affect the market price of a property such as location, neighborhood, job market, competition, supply and demand, and the overall health of the local economy.

One million dollars is where affordability and luxury come to a crossroad. According to a survey performed by CNBC.com here is what a million dollars can get you in 5 cities across America.

In San Francisco, one million dollars buys you a 3 bedroom, 1846 square foot apartment. Mark Best of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage says that San Francisco’s homes are selling fast and has drastically improved from last year due to a limited inventory, low interest rates, and a potentially better job market.

On the other side of the country is Manhattan where one million dollars can get you on average, a 2 bedroom, 900 square foot apartment. Although the location is impeccable, a lot of money does not come a long way. The real estate market in Manhattan is at its best, and there has been an 8.7% sales increase in high value homes. However, in a city where single family homes are a rarity, buyers’ concerns lie in the financial condition of the building, number of owner occupied units in the property, and the property’s restrictions.

In Denver, one million dollars buys you a 5 bedroom, 5229 square foot estate. Comparable to many of its neighboring states, Denver, Colorado’s market has improved and sales have increased 25% from last year. High value homes will continue to sell as long as interest rates remain low.

In Houston, one million dollar homes continue to get you a considerable amount of square footage (5,438 sq. ft.). The increase in single-family home sales is due to Houston’s steady job growth in energy, the international shipping port and the medical industry. Real Estate Agent, Toni Nelson said that buyers focus on school districts and communities when purchasing a home.

Comparable with San Francisco, Chicago buys you a 2 bedroom, 1752 square foot apartment for one million dollars. Although there seems to be a lot more buys, homes around one million dollars sell much slower than homes of a lower price because consumers are unable to secure big mortgages. Prospective buyers are concerned about the amount of foreclosures in the apartment buildings.

Offering broad coverage with the flexibility needed to protect your unique home.
Sinclair works with many families to protect their high value homes and assets. We can do the same for you. Give one of our professionals a call at 203.265.0996, email us, or return the form on this page to discuss your specific needs.

How Your Manufacturing Business Can Go Green

How Your Manufacturing Business Can Go GreenHow Your Manufacturing Business Can Go Green

In the beginning of the  “Green” campaign it seemed like liberal politicians and a minuscule amount of concerned citizens were the only ones pushing for change. However, that is no longer the case. People started to become concerned about the environment and have taken the initiative to decrease their carbon footprint. Most industries followed and have become environmental conscious. They are taking responsibility in creating a greener Earth. The manufacturing industry has now evolved to an eco-friendly dominant business instead of a trend. These manufacturers have acknowledge that “going green” does more than help the environment, it is also a great cost-effective strategy.

Many individuals assume that the manufacturing industry’s ability to “go green” is nearly impossible, as they are known for putting emissions into the air to produce their product and consuming about 25% of the energy the United States uses each year. The very nature of manufacturing causes pollution because they have to obtain energy through coal, natural gases, oil, and waste (key elements of dangerous greenhouse gases). Here are ways for manufacturing plants to “go green.”

  • Recycle: Although this seems like a small step, it drastically improves the environment. First implement a recycling rule and have your employees throw all their recyclable waste into bins. Second, acknowledge that many of your finished products such as ink cartridges, paper, and old cell phones are recyclable. Try finding alternative ways to reuse these products in order to keep the waste in our landfills minimal.
  • Use natural products: If you are able to afford it, try to make your products from raw ingredients that are free of chemicals. These natural products may also be used for packaging your products. Using recycled products will reduce waste and it will also be more cost-effective.
  • Stop using hazardous chemicals: Avoid chemical conditions, chemical anti- bacterial and preservatives. They usually end up in our landfills.
  • Alternative source of energy: It is now much easier and accessible to find alternate ways to obtain energy because of our advanced technology. Find a cleaner substitute that will lower air pollution.

Sinclair Insurance has more than four decades helping clients understand the risks associated with their manufacturing operations and designing a customized risk management plan to protect the future of your organization. We’ll provide you with solutions that make a difference to your profitability – today and for years to come. Give Sinclair a call at 203.265.0996 for more information about our Manufacturing insurance programs.