Sales Leadership Dysfunction — Disconnected Sales Execs

My last post in this series was about Sales Managers As Desk Jockeys.  This post takes up and extends the idea about sales and other corporate executives, being disconnected from the worlds of their sales people and customers.

Not long ago, I was speaking to an outstanding Sales Executive.  We happened to be speaking about the Sales Manager Survival Guide.  He was reflecting on how it reminded him of many challenges front line sales managers face.  He talked about how easy it is, as a sales executive, to get disconnected with the “real worlds of front line sales managers and sales people.”

This particular executive didn’t really have to worry about being disconnected, he spent huge amounts of time with sales people, making calls on customers.  Unfortunately, this is a rarity.

Too many managers and executives are totally disconnected with what their sales people do every day.  They may be trapped behind their desks analyzing reports.  They may be in endless, “strategy” meetings with others in the organization.

Ask top executive, both in sales and on the top management team, when they last went on a sales call, or when they last visited a customer.  The answers are astounding, for some it’s been years!

Too many are distracted by the “needs of the business.”  But the needs of the business, the growth of the business is about finding customers, serving them, and growing the business.  To become disconnected from customers and sales people results in becoming disconnected with what’s going on in the markets.  How can grow if we aren’t talking to customers and the people that work with them every day?

Frankly, too many are afraid to visit customers with sales people.  They may challenge us, they may disagree, they may not be as “enchanted” with us and our companies as we are–it’s a harsh but critical reality check.

Sometimes, executives think they have engaged customers.  They are ushered into a customer event, they may shake hands with a few customers, they do a presentation–dazzling the customer with great charts and slides, then quickly leave, seeking the shelter of internal meetings.

Without spending time with sales people and customers we become disconnected with what’s happening in the business.  While people may be providing us reports and insights, these tend to be sterile and distant.  Reality comes crashing in when we actually see customers and experience things for ourselves.

When’s the last time you went out in the field with sales people, or listened in on a phone call?  When’s the last time you got engaged in listening and learning from them?  If it’s more than 30 days, it’s far too long!


Related Posts:

  • When’s The Last Time You Visited A Customer?
  • Being Present
  • Sales Leadership Dysfunctions — Sales Managers As Desk
  • Goal Alignment–A Performance Roadblock
  • Persuasion And Communication

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Mastering Your Value Proposition

Not long ago, I had the pleasure of speaking with Will Barron of Salesman Red about Value Propositions. As Will reflected in the discussion, too many sales people don’t really understand Value Propositions or how they create the most value for their customers.

I enjoyed the discussion with Will. Hope you do, as well.

By the way, Will runs a regular series of video and podcasts.  They are outstanding, make sure you visit.



Related Posts:

  • Sales Enablement Lab: How Frequently Do You Coach Your…
  • Is Differentiation Overrated? What About Being Just Good…
  • When Should Your Company Consider Global Expansion
  • Can Value Propositions Be Generic?
  • Things Are Changing!

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How to Choose the Right Used Car


Used car shopping can be intimidating. After all, a car has about 30,000 parts. Making sure they are all in good working order is no small feat, but this post will tell you how to pick the gems from the lemons.
Understand Your Needs
Understand your needs before you hit the used car lots. This way no salesperson can talk you into a sports car when you really need a minivan. To understand your needs, think of what currently irks you about your current car. Is it too small? Is the ride harsher than would be ideal? It’s also helpful to think years into the future. If you are planning on getting a dog or buying a house – what kind of vehicle will you want then? How reliable will the car be as you put more miles on it?
I find the best approach is to discover exactly what car you want before you visit car lots. Look online first. A mistake people often make is buying a car simply because it seemed alright. A vehicle is a decision you’ll have to live with for a long time. Make sure you get what you really want.
Get a Friend
Becoming an expert in used cars takes lots of research. I consider myself an expert now but it’s only after spending many, many hours researching online, buying used cars myself and helping others buy. So after hundreds of hours ‘in the field’ I’m confident in this subject. But if you aren’t or you aren’t willing to put in tons of hours – that’s okay. What you want to do is recruit a friend.
Think of anyone you know who is into cars. If you can’t think of anyone – take notice of people’s cars. If you see an interesting looking car in the company parking lot – find out who owns it. The cool thing about car people is they are almost always willing to talk about what makes a good car versus a bad car. These friends are valuable. They can help you buy the right used car.
Get a Car That Looks Good
You may think this advice is a bit pithy, but looks matter.
It’s hard to tell if an engine is in top condition, but a decent way to tell is by looking at the rest of the car. How has it been treated? If the previous owner cared for the paint, they probably cared for the bigger things as well.
This is where you have a slight edge buying private party. Buying private party means you buy directly from the person who actually owned and drove the car. When you buy this way, you can more easily tell how the car has been treated. Does the owner have previous service records? Does the owner have a garage in which it was stored? A lot can even be learned from just eyeing the previous owner. Plus, you can ask them all the questions you’d like. No one knows the car better than the current owner.
A used car should be as close to showroom condition as possible. That’s what you should aim for. Don’t let the owner say things like, “Well, it’s a 5-year-old car so what do you expect?” A car never has to be damaged – regardless of its age. If it is, make an offering accordingly.
Fewer Miles Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Fewer Problems
Fewer miles is generally a good thing. Although consider this. City miles are much harder on a car than cruising down the highway miles. This means a car with 10,000 miles that has lived its life in Manhattan may be in worse shape than a 20,000 mile car whose owner had a long highway commute each day. Miles are a good indicator of how many years are left in the car but it’s also important to note how they miles were tallied.
Should You Get an Inspection?
An inspection is always best if you’re serious about buying the car. It can save you thousands and give you great peace of mind. Just ask the owner to let you take the car for a few hours to be looked at by your mechanic. If the owner shies away from this idea – that’s a bad sign.
Inspections vary in price depending on the mechanic but some are as low as $100. The mechanic simply tests everything and looks at everything. They can do everything from checking common issues with that type of car, all the way to checking the health of the engine via a compression check.
A professional inspection may be overkill if your gearhead friend is confident in his/her skills, but I do recommend you take the car on a long test drive however. Check everything. See how much you would enjoy driving the car. Taking 30 minutes for a test drive sounds like a lot, but considering you’ll likely have the car for years – it’s not long at all.
One top tip is if you’re buying a convertible is to take it through a car wash. Check for leaks in the roof.
Always Be Ready to Walk Away
I mean it. Do not fall in love with the car before you get see it, because what can happen is you talk it up in your mind, see it, are disappointed, but you don’t even care because all you made it look so pretty in your mind. Walk away if the car isn’t great. If it’s really good but not as you expected, make a lower offer than what you were prepared to give. Price is always negotiable.
The most important rule when pricing a used car is just that – YOU get to set the price. What the seller is asking should not go into your equation. The price should be determined by you and only you. A mistake many people make is thinking a car is worth the price just because that’s what the seller is asking. Most sellers price cars higher than what they would sell them for. They expect you to negotiate. So negotiate and negotiate hard. Nearly any car becomes a good car if the price is low enough.
Don’t Be Persuaded
Earlier in this article, you learned to determine what you want in your vehicle. Once you’ve decided this, don’t let a pushy salesperson change your mind. It’s okay to listen to them but make sure you end up with what you want. After all, you’ll be the one living with the decision. Day after day. Good luck.
Tagged as: Frugal Living, Money Tips, Shopping Smart
Editor’s Note: Did you know that there’s a service called $5 meal plans? For $5 a month, they send you recipes of delicious, healthy, yet cheap food that costs just $5 a meal.
Several of my friends are signed up and they find they are able to eat at home more because the instructions are easy to follow, making everything convenient. The deal also comes with grocery shopping lists, which saves so much time. Check it out yourself by clicking here and you too may be able to save more and become healthier in the process.

How To Be A Great Leader At Work

Throughout your life, you’re going to be a leader and a follower on many different “teams”. This is important. Your ability to “lead and/or play well with others” at work is a critical success factor for career advancement.
Why is it so important to be good at leading and following? First, if you are a poor leader or weak team member you’ll be shut out of many opportunities. Second, those roles often reverse in the blink of an eye. You might be the designated leader now, but if someone else comes up with a great idea out of the blue, you might need to switch hats and sit in the back seat for a while. You never know. Someone who is on the bench today could become the team captain tomorrow.
The reverse of this can also happen; you might a cog now but you could become the decision maker down the road. Either way, you want to cultivate support from the people around you rather than create tension and resentments.

As a result, it’s critical to be good at both leading the group and also simply providing support. And you have to recognize when to play which roll.
Again, there is a lot at stake here. If you are not a good leader and a good follower, you’re going to make it more difficult for your team to be effective. As a result, you may find yourself off the team before you know what hits you. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen. Today we’ll talk about being a great leader. Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how to be an invaluable team member. Let’s get to work.
A team exists for one thing – to accomplish a goal. Sure individual members have their own motivations. But the team’s objective is the common thread you can always pull on in order to bring everyone together.
Spend time to define your mission. Crystallize it. Write it down. Get everyone’s agreement and buy-in. Don’t do a thing until everyone in the group understands the purpose of the group and can articulate that purpose. This includes you amigo.

Define Rolls
Democracy is great for politics but not so much when it comes to business or to getting things done quickly and decisively. It’s important to know who is responsible for what and who makes the final decision. If not, it will be really hard to accomplish anything.
Of course your group is made up of many individuals and everyone has their own opinion. But every group has a leader in order to move forward. If you are in charge, remind everyone that you value their opinion but for the sake of moving ahead, decisions will be made and implemented. Explain the process for re-evaluation and make it clear that once ideas are tested, there will be plenty of time to gather input and make changes as needed.
But at some point, you have to pull the trigger. After a reasonable amount of time discussing options, it is better to make a decision (even a flawed one) and act rather than to waste precious time in endless debate.
If you reach an impasse with some of the people on your team, have a private meeting with them. If they refuse to accept your decision as leader this simply means they don’t accept your authority. Talk about this with your next highest up. It could be that you are overstepping your bounds. If so, admit it and take a breather. But if the boss re-affirms your position, you have to assert yourself. Make it clear that a decision has been made and the members can either support it or be removed from the team. Their choice.
Hold The Ego Please
Remember I asked you to first clarify your mission before doing anything? Here’s why. Often, while a group operates, people get mixed up. They mistake your reactions to their ideas or actions as a confirmation or rejections of them as people. You as a leader have to be careful not to fall into that trap as well.
Humans take things personally. In other words, if you reject someone’s idea, they could take as a personal rejection.
As a leader, you have to be careful. Don’t let anyone’s ego (including your own) hijack the group. Constantly remind each member what the purpose of the group is. When someone suggests an idea that you don’t think is particularly useful, be gentle. Before delivering the bad news, tell them something you like about what they said or did and then add your correction.
If someone corrects you or offers a better solution, welcome it. That’s what true leaders do.
I keep harping on talking about the group’s mission. You know why? Because people forget. If someone on your team forgets or gets mixed up, don’t get angry. Instead use every opportunity to reinforce why you are doing what you are doing and what the end benefit is.
Coca Cola is the world’s most recognized brand – yet they are also the second greatest advertiser in the world. Why? Because people forget. Do yourself a favor. As long as Coke keeps reminding us what to drink, you keep reminding your group what they are doing and why if you want to be a great leader.
As I hinted above; there is a time to lead and there is a time to follow. Even if you are the official team leader, look for opportunities to put other people at the head of the pack. When someone comes up with an idea, don’t dismiss it out of hand as I suggested above.
Take time to evaluate the suggestion. If it helps the group achieve their objective, embrace the idea. Give that person the ball and let them run with it. Don’t ever worry about being pushed aside. If you can achieve your goal faster by putting someone else at the helm, the people in the corner office are going to notice this sign of leadership in you.  This actually could be one way to advance at work believe it or not.  In any event, it’s not about you anyway, remember?
Being a top team leader isn’t really that difficult. It’s about taking yourself out of the equation and making it all about accomplishing your team’s goal. You do that by putting your ego on the shelf and facilitating advancement towards the end goal. Remind everyone what you are trying to do and why it’s so important. Encourage everyone to contribute their best ideas and efforts and show them respect by showcasing other people’s good ideas and successes.
What are other ways to be a great leader at work? What are the traps we need to avoid?

Marlay Park Gig Guide

Marlay Park Gig Guide – AA Travel Hub

04 Jul Marlay Park Gig Guide
Posted at 12:26h in Ireland by Sharron Lynskey

It’s another busy summer for the Rathfarnham park with big names such as Kodaline, The Stone Roses, Kendrick Lamar and Major Lazer all taking to the stage over the month of July.
If you’re lucky enough to have nabbed tickets to a Marlay Park gig this year, chances are you’re figuring out how to get there, how to get home and what to expect.
Lucky for you, AA Roadwatch have compiled this handy gig guide for anyone heading to a Marlay Park concert this summer:

Getting to Marlay Park

By Car

If you’re bringing the car along with you, bear in mind that traffic and parking delays are inevitable. Marlay Park concert traffic tends to be extremely heavy and motorists are strongly advised to use public transport or carpool if you can.
We strongly recommend you plan your journey in advance allowing at least an extra 2 hours travel time to and from the venue, to allow for the worst possible delays.

From Dublin City Centre

Your best route out to Marlay Park from the city centre is through Rathmines and Rathgar before heading towards Terenure on Terenure Road East. You’ll then turn left onto Rathfarnham Road at Terenure Cross. Continue along Rathfarnham Road for a time and then take a right onto Grange Road (signposted Sandyford and Ballinteer). Continue on that stretch of road before turning right onto Taylor’s Lane at the T-junction. You’ll then take the next left onto Whitechurch Road and then left onto College Road, where the entrance to the car-parks is located.

From the M50

If you’re using the M50, exit at Junction 12 Firhouse, and follow signs for Ballyboden (R113). You’ll continue straight via Scholarstown Road and Taylors Lane. After the third roundabout, turn right onto Whitechurch Road and then left onto College Road. Entrance to the car-parks is off College Road.

For full details of your route, why not use AA Routeplanner?

Car Parking

You’ll find the car-parks off College Road, close to the Park. Remember that there is limited parking available for concert-goers and they open to the public from midday.
Motorists are warned to refrain from parking illegally in areas surrounding Marlay Park, in local housing estates or outside local residences. Parking enforcement rules will be in operation and your vehicle is likely to be clamped or towed.

By Bus

Dublin Bus

There are a number of Dublin Bus routes that serve the Grange Road entrances of Marlay Park:

The below Dublin Bus services stop at Ballinteer Shopping Centre, which is only about a 15 minute walk to the site:

Please double-check your timetables before you travel. Take note that not all services will be operating at the end of the concerts and will be on a first come first served basis. For more information, check out

Marathon Coaches Bus Service

Marathon Coaches will operate a return bus service from Georges Quay (outside Ulster Bank) in the city centre direct to Marlay Park for all gigs this summer. Bus tickets are available for sale on a first come first serve basis on their website.
Prices for the Shuttle will cost you €10 when you book them online up to 10am on the morning of each service.
Subject to availability, you can also purchase tickets at the bus stop at Geroges Quay each day. Fares will be charged at €15 return or €10 one way.
Return buses to the city centre from Marlay Park will depart from 10:30pm until midnight each evening and will leave on first come first serve basis.

Private Buses and Coaches

There will be coach/bus and minibus parking available within Marlay Park and access to that car park will be via College Road.

By Luas

If you want to get the Luas to Marlay Park, the Balally stop on the Green Line is roughly a half hour walk from the venue.

Top Tips from the AA Roadwatch & PR team

“Leave plenty of time if travelling by bus as services are usually full, especially heading to the park. Bring sun cream and also a rain coat/ something water-proof for the unpredictable Irish weather.” – Adrian Harmon

“My favourite bus to Marlay Park is the 14 because it drops you at Ballinteer Shopping Centre where there’s a SuperValu and two petrol stations nearby for any last minute essentials. However, getting home from Marlay Park on public transport is another matter. In my opinion, the best option is to arrange transport with a private bus company.” – Nicole Gernon

“Pack bin liners! They make for super compact waterproof blankets that you can sit on with your mates. Have an exit strategy too. Weigh up in advance whether that last song is really worth the two hour journey back into the city centre.” – Yvette Poufong

“Avoid taking the car and use your two feet as much as possible. The ideal option would be getting off somewhere that’s thirty mins walk away from Marlay Park to avoid getting caught in concert traffic. Arrange to meet your lift at that same location after the gig. The last time I went to a concert there I walked from about an hour away and when you take all the traffic restrictions and congestion into account, it was definitely the easiest option.” – Ruth Jephson

“From past experience, getting home is much more difficult than actually getting to Marlay Park. Your first port of call should be organising how you’ll arrive home safely, whether it’s booking a taxi in advance or arranging a lift home from someone you know. Be aware that taxis will be in high demand on the night so you may not be able to rely on just hailing one after the gig.” – Orla O’Callaghan

Sharron Lynskey

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Media, Mixed Messages and Statins


flying cadeuciiRecently, sitting next to me at a family friend’s wedding, was a middle-aged Indian male, a retired investment banker. He had an axe to grind with doctors. He said, “You doctors don’t know what you’re talking about. One doctor says check your PSA, and another doctor says don’t bother. Can’t you doctors make up your minds?”

He was an aggressive chap, faux aggression really; a tardive alpha male, who’d looked like he’d been hen-pecked most of his life. He had just eaten four pieces of rasmalai, and was storming the fifth. Rasmalai is a sugar-rich Indian desert that’s monstrously tasty and devilishly diabetogenic. I retorted, “Uncle, PSA testing won’t save you if you keep scoffing the rasmalai.☺”

He wasn’t related to me, but Indians call random Indians, “uncle.” “Uncle” had a capacious midriff sculpted by years of disciplined over eating rasmalai and laddu. He had a point, though. Despite our profession’s call for shared decision making (SDM), he, amongst others, wanted doctors to unequivocally tell him what to do. He couldn’t appreciate the controversy of screening for prostate cancer for what it was – uncertainty over true effect size. The controversy reaffirmed his belief that doctors were incompetent.

“Uncle” isn’t alone in taking unkindly to medical controversy. A recent study in the BMJ showed that the controversy over statins, and negative media reports about statins, may have persuaded thousands to stop statins, and might lead to several premature deaths and MIs.

The findings are hardly implausible. Many patients are on the fence with primary, and even secondary, prevention. Adherence is exquisitely sensitive, or elastic if you wish to be clever, to many factors, including media skepticism. It is hard motivating yourself to take pills for an ailment you don’t have, and might not get. Adherence to screening is precarious as well and is affected by a meagre copayment, which is why the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurers cover screening at zero cost sharing.

The study led to a discussion about the culpability of the media, and responsible reporting of medical facts. Edward J. Schloss, an electrophysiologist, tweeted cheekily “mainstream media is now the third leading cause of death in America.” Some questioned the numbers. Some wondered whether the benefits-harm ratio of statins is really as high as we think. Many implicitly believe that evidence based medicine will reduce medicalization and healthcare costs – a premise which lacks evidence.

It is through a sleight of hand that in our age of unprecedented rationalism arguments of kind (value) masquerade as arguments of degree (precise numbers). Arguments of degree are interminable – you can argue about true effect size, statistical methods and biases, till the cows come home without resolution. Arguments of kind need courage. The question people seemed unwilling to answer is what if the numbers are true? What if thousands really will die because they stopped statins because of the negative reporting. What next? What should be done, differently?

If number needed to treat with statins for primary prevention to save one person from death/ MI is 100, and 200,000 people stop statins because of negative media coverage of statins, this means 2000 people will die prematurely or have heart attacks. Does the media have blood on their hands? Given the frivolity with which causality is insinuated these days, ironically by the mainstream media, it’s hard not to conclude that the media is culpable. Such a conclusion would, however, be a mistake. It would imply that the media, and by extension medical journals, can never discuss any medical controversy, lest that discussion leads to treatment non adherence leading to a bad outcome. It would imply that scientific inquiry can kill.

I once wrote about overdiagnosis in screening mammography. A prominent radiologist wrote to me that my “academic inquisitiveness could kill women.” His moral confusion about causality, a confusion for which I have nothing but utter disdain, was understandable. If health and longevity are goods of infinite value to be guaranteed to citizens, it follows that any possibility that people are devoid of these goods, should be stamped. The logical conclusion is that what is discussed in medical journals, what is questioned by scientists, what is reported by the media, be subject to a high level of scrutiny. This requires a regulatory state of a scale one struggles to comprehend, a central control which even Stalin and Mao might have looked upon enviously. Theists, not scientists, reach the truth by censorship and certainty.

Nevertheless, I feel for doctors who prescribe pills for primary and secondary prevention. The non-judgmentalism which comes with acknowledging uncertainty in medical treatment won’t encourage patients to take their medication. A friend, who is a GP in London, tells his patients, who are mostly first generation Indians and Pakistanis, that if they wish to cuddle their grandchildren, they must take their statin, aspirin and anti-hypertensives. His world is far removed from the indulgence of SDM – a practice which seems bizarre to eastern cultures. His patients love him. They confess to him when they’ve forgotten to take their pills, and expect to be scolded by him, and when he tells them off, they say in a loving tone, “I’m sorry beta (son).” You’ll never learn about such patients in medical school, where the fervor for SDM has become religious, and where patient-centeredness is really Anglo-centric-patient-centeredness.

There’s confusion over statins because statins are an easy target. I, too, have ridiculed statins. But their prescription isn’t unscientific. If you believe the treatment effect of statins is too small – and I do – have the courage to say so, rather than deny that their effect is real or cloud the effect with statistical sophistry. In a similar vein, if you believe that the prescription of statins isn’t worth the public purse, say so, rather than bleat on about the harms of statins, or muddy the issue with patient preferences and shared decision making.

I’m encountering a new species, Gladius Medicus Skepticus, who claim to be about the evidence, the whole evidence, and nothing but the evidence. Their mantra, when skeptical about expensive treatment, is that it’s about harms, not costs, which makes them conveniently patient-centered and non-judgmental. Harping on about harms is a nifty way of dodging the more difficult question about costs. But some harms this genus is concerned about are parody. One such harm is anxiety from false positives in screening. It is disingenuous to be worried about anxiety from false positives. Much of public health works by scaring people nearly to their death about their imminent death – think about the macabre warnings about smoking. After being told that they may die a miserable death from lung cancer, do you really think smokers, for example, are worried about anxiety from false positive screening CTs to find that lung cancer we’ve been scaring them about?

In the case of statins, over stating harms, such as muscle pain, can backfire cosmically. Pharma will make newer, grotesquely more expensive, phenotypes (let’s call them Safer Statins) with fewer side effects. Since costs aren’t an issue, only harms are, and as statins are beneficial in some but harmful in others, and because healthcare is a right, and there’s no moral distinction between anticipatory medicine and medicine to deal with existing problems, it follows that people are entitled to Safer Statins and Even Safer Statins. If they’re not entitled, on what basis are they not entitled?

Healthcare will bring civilization to its knees. Not because it’ll break the bank – there’s a school of thought which says that healthcare may become the primary driver of the economy. But because health, as a good of limitless value and a human right, is big government writ large.

Have a happy Independence Day.

Ultimate Guide To Health & Safety For Small Businesses

workplace injury fall

As a small business owner, you are likely to have a lot on your mind. There’s product development, marketing, sales, and plenty of admin tasks to do to make sure your company survives. However, many small businesses forget about the importance of health and safety. It’s no real surprise. After all, when you start a company and build it from scratch, it might not seem as if you need to worry about such issues.

However, you should ignore health and safety concerns at your risk. The second you start up a company they should always be at the forefront of your mind. If you don’t take H&S seriously, it will come back to bite you at a later stage.

With this in mind, we thought we would take a look at some health and safety tips for small businesses. Read on to find out more as we walk you through what to expect:

The basics.

First of all, it’s important to understand the role of the Health and Safety at Work Act. It’s a legislation put in place to ensure employers are taking care of their employees. All staff members have a right to work in a safe environment. And, if you break the rules as an employer, it will lead to trouble in court.

It’s not just a set of rules to follow, either. The Health and Safety At Work Act also requires you to take action and be proactive in identifying risks in your business. It is your responsibility to understand those risks and do your best to reduce them.

We’ll be honest; it’s a big piece of legislation, and it covers a lot of ground. However, in essence, the Health and Safety at Work Act asks you to use your common sense and ensure you take the best measures to keep your employees safe. And, throughout the rest of this post, we’re going to reveal some of the things you need to think about.

Drawing up a policy.

Every business needs to make a health and safety assessment to identify risks that can arise from work. Even if you work on your own, from home, it is essential. However, if you have five or more employees, you must have a written policy. Your health and safety policy should describe how you will manage all risks in your business. In essence, it outlines your commitment to making a safe working environment.

Of course, this might well take you some time – and if you are writing from scratch, you are better off seeking out a business lawyer. Or, you could outsource your health and safety program to a third party HR specialist. According to Ellis Whittam, you should find a firm that gives you hands-on, proactive support. Thy should give you assistance in making your risk assessments and ensure you are complying with regulations.

There are plenty of other options for you. The HSE have a variety of templates you can download, and they also supply guidelines so that you can ensure you are on the right track.

Understanding your responsibilities.

According to the HSE, you have a lot of key responsibilities as a business owner and employer. First of all, you are responsible for anyone that your business affects. That includes employees, visitors to your site, or anyone that uses your service. As you can see, there are a lot of people that the legislation covers, so it’s vital to take it seriously.

You also have to provide training and instructions to follow health and safety legislation. So, you should train your staff and sign them off for any aspect of your business that might be a risk. And, you should provide clear instructions on work practices. Also, consider the safety instructions on your products. You have to highlight electrical risks, for example, or dangers to children.

Why do you need to do this? In short, if you neglect your responsibilities, and there is an accident in your workplace, you will be liable. Employees or visitors can take you to court or make a claim against you – and it can be a costly experience.

Training tips.

You will need to provide health and safety training for your employees. Again, it is possible to outsource these activities, although you can do them yourself. Or, you can create a health and safety role and give it to one of your employees. But what should that training entail

You should start with a health and safety induction. This is particularly important for anyone working in a hazardous environment. Start as you mean to go on with every new employee and make sure you brief them on every aspect of health and safety.

They need to know about how to use equipment, and you should also introduce them to your working practices. Whenever there is a change in these practices, it is vital that you underline the differences to your employees.

Finally, you should also have a monitoring system in place. You need to check that your employees are following your policy rules and also ensure that your plans are working. Any failure to do so on your part could lead to a claim being made against you.

Employee information.

Health and safety signs must be present in your workplace wherever necessary. It could be a sign advising the use of safety goggles by a piece of machinery, for example. Or, it might be a portable sign to use when there is a liquid spillage or wet floor.

You also need to display a health and safety law poster – you can get these from the HSE.

Finally, make sure that all employees have access to a handbook that outlines all their responsibilities – and yours. Makes sure they sign off to give you protection should a claim against you arise.


It’s also important to cover yourself with the right insurance policy. As an employer, employer’s liability insurance is an absolute must. It will give you the protection you need in the event of an accident occurring, and should save you a considerable amount of money. You should also look into public liability insurance.

Your insurance company will expect you to take your H&S responsibilities seriously. That said, they won’t refuse a claim just because there has been an accident. In most cases, slight mistakes will not be punished. Check your insurer’s policy details for more information on this.

Key areas to consider.

So, once your health and safety policy is in place, what do you need to look out for? Several common accidents occur in every workplace. Slips, trips, and falls, for example, are the most common cause of injury at work. It is essential, then, that you have clear pathways at all times, and that your employees understand the need to tidy up after themselves.

Be aware of fire hazards, too, and make sure you have regular fire safety training sessions. Regular drills will also cover you if a fire becomes a reality. Again, it’s all about promoting these ideas and responses to your employees, so they understand what they need to do when the time comes.

The key thing to understand about health and safety is that everything stems from you. If you start out with good practice, it will become part of your daily routine. And, more importantly, the routine of all your workers.

Let us know your thoughts on health and safety for small business. Or, if you have any advice – feel free to leave that, too!

Finding The Right HR Tech Solution For Businesses


by Ashley Walsh, Director of Marketing for Formstack

Human resources management is a key component in any successful business, no matter the size. All companies have fundamental human resources tasks, including payroll, benefits, and taxes. All those tasks can seem overwhelming, but if you have the right human resources technology solution, those tasks suddenly become significantly simpler.

There are many HR tech solutions, but how do you pick which solution is best for your business? Below are four questions to help you decide which HR tech solution is the perfect fit for your department:

1. What does my company’s HR department need?

In order to improve your business, it’s important to consider what your company needs. If you need a tech solution that will assist with multiple human resources tasks — including payroll and benefits, recruiting, hiring, reviewing employee performance, training, and monitoring time and attendance — then you probably need a specific HR software such as a PEO, or professional employment organization. PEOs offer broad HR support and great healthcare rates and benefit packages. Some examples of PEOs include Trinet, Insperity, and XcelHR.

2. How many employees work for my company?

Size is one of the most important factors to consider when deciding on an HR tech solution. For example, if your company is big, a larger software solution is needed to handle the differing needs of your business, such as transactional processes and benefits packages.

On the other hand, if your company has less than 20 employees, the solution can be easier and fairly straightforward. For example, smaller companies can manage PTO requests using forms. Online form building software can be more efficient when submitting PTO request forms to the correct managers for approval. 

3. What are the biggest HR challenges at my company?

In order to find the best solution for your HR tech needs, you must first identify the problems. Some challenges, like managing payroll and benefits, require a solution such as hiring an outside consultant, but sometimes the problems faced by a smaller business can be easily solved.

If your small company is growing, you may find yourself swimming in job applications and hiring requests. Implementing an online form solution can help you easily manage HR data by allowing you to instantly create and submit job applications, hiring request forms, and performance reviews. Online form builders like Formstack can be a great solution, with an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface and secure data collection.

4. Will this technology work for my business in the long run?

Finally, a basic — yet extremely important — question to ask when choosing HR tech: is this product going to benefit my organization for years to come? In order to get the most out of your HR tech solution, make sure the software reflects up-to-date technology and current trends. If your company is looking to expand, it’s a good idea to limit your search to technology that is scalable for future growth.


Ashely Walsh Ashley Walsh has worked in multiple areas of the B2B marketing sector and is currently the Director of Marketing for Formstack, an online form building solution based in Indianapolis.

What if my car insurance payment is late

Things you Really Needs to know..
  • When you buy auto insurance, most companies offer different premium payment options so that you don’t have to pay in full
  • The most common payment plan options include monthly, five-pay, quarterly, semi-annually, and Electronic Fund Transfer
  • When you choose a payment plan option, your due date will typically be on the same day of the month
  • Grace periods range in length between one to 30 days, depending on the carrier and the state requirements
  • If you don’t have a grace period or you don’t make a payment before the grace period is up, your coverage will cancel for non-payment

When you buy auto insurance, it’s your responsibility as a client to pay your premium payments on time. In fact, your insuring agreement specifically says that you must pay your premiums and comply with all of your duties as an insured for your claims to be covered.

If you fail to keep your payments up to date, you are at risk of having an uninsured loss.

If you’re on a limited budget and you’re having difficulty paying your bills, it’s important to know the consequences of being delinquent on each account. Being late on a credit card payment can ding your credit and be late on your cell phone bill can leave you without service.

The consequences of being late on your insurance can be greater than you’d expect. Here’s what you need to know before you procrastinate.

Start comparison shopping today by entering your zip code into our FREE tool above!

You Pay Insurance Premiums Upfront

wallet-cash-credit-card-pocket-1600x1600It’s important to understand how you’re billed for your insurance coverage to really grasp why it’s so important to make your payments on time. With some service providers, you pay for something after you’ve used the service. Since insurance is a product that you don’t use on a regular basis, you pay before the coverage date instead of after.

For example, if you buy insurance with a term from June first to December first, and you pay your premiums monthly, the payment that you make on November first will buy you coverage from November first to December first. Since you’re paying for coverage that you may or may not use, all insurers will charge you upfront.

Your Payment Plan Options

When your premium payments are due depends on the installment option you selected. If you pay your premiums in full each term, your next payment won’t be due until your renewal. The renewal is the same date as the expiration date that’s listed on your most current ID card or declarations page.

If you prefer to split up your payments so that you don’t have to pay the entire policy premium at once, you can choose from a few different payment plan options. Many insurers offer you the option to choose a plan that suits you best. Here are the most common options:

  • Monthly – Payment due on the same day of each month (manual payments or EFT)
  • Quarterly – Payment due on the same day of the month once every three months
  • Semi-annually – Payment due once every six months on annual policies
  • Five-pay – Make a two month down payment and payment is due the same day of each month for five months with one month off

When is a payment considered late?

Your car insurance payment is considered late at 12:01 am the day after your due date. Insurers are very specific as to when a payment must be posted. If you don’t process your payment by phone, online, or in-person before the due date, the carrier may charge you late fees or cancel your coverage altogether.

Is there a grace period?

AdobeStock_62082716-1600x1600Not all insurance companies offer grace periods. Since very few states require insurers to give their policyholders a grace period, the terms will vary from carrier to carrier.

Most preferred insurers offer longer grace periods than substandard providers. The grace period can be as short as one day and as long as thirty days.

What happens when you don’t pay before the grace period is up?

If you don’t make your payment by the due date and your grace period expires, your policy will be canceled for non-payment. When your coverage cancels, the state will be notified that your coverage is no longer active.

If you can’t provide proof of insurance for the period when the policy lapsed, you could be fined or your registration could be suspended.

If your policy has canceled, see if you can reinstate it. If that’s not an option, you can shop around for better rates and then start a new policy. The best way to shop around is an online rate comparison tool.