Your New Plan for Business: Keep Organization In and Politics Out

By Paul Bieber

We know about the health problems facing our people and our country. These are impacting you, your team and, ultimately, your business. You need to have a plan in case you or a trusted supervisor tests positive for the virus.

Things to Consider

Who can sign checks in your absence? I recommend requiring two signatures when others are signing. Who does the purchasing? Set up your key folks with purchasing authority to your vendors. Who handles payroll when your bookkeeper is out? Train a second person to do this … someone who knows how to keep numbers confidential.

Wait a minute. You have a glass company. Who will give quotes to customers if you are out? Training must begin now on all aspects of job pricing. Who will schedule daily shop and jobsite work? Is your foreperson ready to step up to this? Practice by having him or her give out the work assignments for the next week. You’ll know quickly if that will work. If not, you need to name a different scheduler.

What happens if someone is on vacation this summer and then you can’t come to work? Do you have the depth of people to fill in here? If not, make your next hire someone with strong experience and leadership skills. This will cost you a couple of bucks more per hour, but right now that is cheap insurance to keep you going in an emergency.

Policies and Procedures

You have a must-wear mask policy … good. Do your supervisors have the authority and the courage to confront a person who isn’t wearing a mask? What about other rule infractions, arriving late or taking too long for lunch? Your team must know who is in charge when you are not.

Can all of your office staff answer the phone politely and knowledgeably? Who can call for past-due money owed when you can’t? Do you fear upsetting customers with a new person asking for 45-day old money? Don’t. It is better to ask for monies due now than wait until you get back to work in four weeks.

We are in strange times. You’re going to be spending more money on people and on standardized systems. It may be time to raise your prices a tad to cover these costs. I can tell you that companies across many industries, including our own, are raising prices just to cover these increased costs.

Approaching November

On a totally different subject, we are heading into a very tumultuous election cycle in our country. You will upset about half of your customers if your truck pulls up to their home supporting one candidate or another. Don’t allow political buttons on uniforms or clothing for your outside people. Don’t allow bumper stickers on the cars of your sales people. Don’t allow your office computers to be used for political messages.

There should be no political parties at work. You have free time on weekends or evenings. You or your employees can do campaigning then. By the way, I was with a consulting client quite a while ago, whose employees were upset and the client couldn’t figure out why. When I spoke with his crew, they were extremely angry that the company made donations to a political party and a candidate, but didn’t give the employees a raise, saying cash flow was tight. That was a major mistake the owner wasn’t able to turn around. He lost 70% of his workforce the next year. Something to keep in mind.

Paul Bieber has more than 40 years’ experience in the glass industry, with C.R. Laurence and as executive vic president of Floral Glass in New York. He is now the principal of Bieber Consulting Group LLC and can be reached at paulbaseball@msn.com. Read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com

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