ARTICLES

Forecast 2019

Businesses should enjoy brisk economic tail winds in 2019. Corporate profits will continue to rise at a nice pace, and the improving job market will inspire consumers to spend freely. 


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How to Keep Your “A” Players

It’s a nightmare scenario for any business: A star employee suddenly decides to jump ship for the competition. In a labor market growing tighter every month, employers must take steps to obviate the loss of their top performing employees to aggressive competitors.
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Sunny Skies, Clear Sailing

Fair weather ahead: That’s the economic forecast for 2018. Business operations should benefit from an improving employment picture, growing disposable consumer income and an easy credit environment. “The United States economy continues to power forward,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of Industry Economics at Moody’s Analytics, a research firm based in West Chester, Pennsylvania. “Furthermore, for the first time during the nation’s eight-year expansion, there are no serious impediments to growth.” Brisk tail winds should keep the economy in full sail for the near future. “Consumers are benefiting from a strong job market, their balance sheets are healthy and
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Local Politics: How to Pull the Strings Your Way

Business owners everywhere are wondering how the nation’s post-election political environment will affect revenues and profits in 2017. And no wonder: Legislation out of Washington can have a profound effect on the economy. Important as federal elections are, however, the health of your business more likely depends on decisions made at a lower level of the political food chain: Your city. “It’s all too easy to focus our attention on legislation and regulations from the federal government,” said Sean Hadley, a Moorestown, New Jersey-based attorney active in government relations. “But the reality is that businesses are more affected by
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Workplace Drug Abuse: Reducing the Risk of Impaired Workers

Workplace drug abuse can threaten your bottom line in many ways. Higher absenteeism. Lower productivity. Costly accidents that spark customer lawsuits. Employers are facing a greater risk than ever before from a growing culture of impairment that shows no signs of tapering off any time soon. “We are seeing a real uptick in the number of employees testing positive for drug abuse,” said Nancy N. Delogu, shareholder in the Washington, D.C. office of Littler Mendelson, the nation’s largest law firm defending employers in labor disputes. The portion of U.S. employees testing positive for marijuana, amphetamine and heroin has increased
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Workers Compensation Insurance: How to Cap Costly Premiums

Every company wants happy and healthy employees. When workplace accidents occur, it’s critically important to help the injured people recover and return to their jobs as quickly as possible. Workers compensation insurance plays an essential role by paying for medical treatment and protecting employers from civil lawsuits. What’s good for employee health, though, can be bad for the bottom line. Experience too many workplace accidents, or fail to identify and deal adequately with fraud, and escalating premiums will take big chunks out of your profits. “Workers compensation costs, if not managed well, can put a company out of business,”
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Forecast 2017: Rising Employment, Confident Consumers Drive Economy

For any business looking to enjoy a more profitable 2017, the economic stars are shifting into happy alignment. Major drivers of the economy — such as capital investment and housing construction — are expected to continue their modest but steady growth. Consumers should spend more money over the coming 12 months, thanks to increases in employment and wages.“The economy should continue to strengthen in 2017,” said Kathryn Asher, associate economist in the Research Division of Moody’s Analytics. “The job market is posting impressive gains, vehicle sales have never been stronger, home sales and house prices have largely recovered from
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Saving the Family Business: How to Balance People and Profits

In the best of worlds, a family business would thrive for many generations, providing inspiration and revenue for decades to come. Reality, alas, is usually more somber.“Only 30 percent of family businesses survive into a second generation, and only 17 percent into a third,” said Kathyann Kessler Overbeke, principal of GPS: Generation Planning Strategies in Beachwood, Ohio.Why? Too often the emotions of family members conflict with the demands of the bottom line. This happens in all kinds of family businesses, including auto service shops.“Family businesses are made up of two complex, overlapping systems,” Overbeke said. “One is family, and
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How to Get More From Your Next Trade Show

So much to learn, so many people to see, so little time. You’ll likely face this three-part predicament at your next trade show. You may even experience it next month if you happen to be headed to the International Fast Lube Expo (iFLEX) on May 9-11 in Nashville, Tennessee.How can you get everything done in the few hours you have available while receiving the best return possible from your investment in time and money? Answering that question is important because trade shows offer benefits unavailable from studying vendor offerings on the Internet.“The efficiency of the face-to-face model consists in
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More Jobs, Fatter Wallets, Freer Spending

How will businesses fare in 2016? According to experienced marketplace watchers, very well. After several years of gradual progress, the economic stars are aligning in favor of a more robust commercial environment.“We expect 2016 will be a good year, with increased consumer spending driving economic growth,” said Sophia Koropeckyj, managing director of industry economics at Moody’s Analytics, a research firm based in West Chester, Pennsylvania.Why the sunny outlook? Economists point to a number of conditions favoring businesses like higher employment, lower consumer debt, greater credit availability, trimmed gasoline prices and an overall robust American economy.The most important contributing factor
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Holiday Stress Busters

It's the busiest season of the year — and the most stressful. If end-of-the-year sales activity can make or break your bottom line, success to a large extent depends on effective customer engagement by a motivated staff. Too often, alas, frustrated and distracted employees deal poorly with the public. That can affect revenues. Customers are less likely to buy when the staff is clearly not having a good time. And profits can soften further when frazzled employees call in sick, leaving a skeleton crew to deal with customers frustrated by reduced service levels. What causes holiday stress? For starters,
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