News for Accredited Businesses
Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma
QUICK BITS....Ordering “free trial” products online or from TV ads can be a real problem. Better Business Bureau offices nationwide have received a flood of complaints from consumers who thought they were taking advantage of free trials of various products – tooth whiteners, diet aids, male enhancement supplements – but who discovered that hefty charges were assessed to their credit cards or bank accounts. If you take the time to read the fine print of most offers as it blinks on and off your TV screen or computer monitor, you’ll see that the advertiser has disclosed exactly what this emerging practice will do. The disclaimers typically explain that the first (and sometimes second and third) month’s treatment has been shipped along with the advertised free trial offer, and the company has billing the customer for those regular shipments. One might argue that the disclosure, especially in the TV ads where the print is very small even on a big screen plasma television, is not appropriate considering the radical difference between what is being said or advertised in plain sight verses the reality of the offer, but the companies responsible claim that there is no hard and fast rule concerning the requirements for such disclosures and, in some cases, the terms of the offer are disclosed in more detail when the customer places the order. The bottom line here is that there’s no free sample – there are strings attached, and consumers who try to take advantage of such deals are leaving themselves open to additional charges and costly surprises….. Does your business budget? A lot of small business owners think the company accounts end with balancing the checkbook to the bank statement. Successful companies plan for success. That means they make a budget. Most common business software has a function to help you through the process, but it helps to gather your usual bills, payroll figures and supplier contracts and other invoices. Plugging those into the computer will show you what your business needs to earn to succeed, and reasonable (or even conservative) projections of your income each month will help you plan out everything from raises to when to schedule a sale. Conversely, knowing when your business’ income tends to lag can indicate when to cut back on advertising or trim the fat. A local plastics handler says, “I used to pretty much live out of the checkbook, but as your business grows, things get complicated and it’s easy to lose track of things if you don’t have a calendar and computer to help you out. Using Quickbooks or Peachtree, or any other accounting software you find at the computer store will help your business work better, and can even help you look more professional to your clients”…..
MAKING THE MOST OF ACCREDITATION: The Liberty National Worksite Advantage!
The Better Business Bureau Serving Central Oklahoma has entered into a partnership with Liberty National Insurance to provide the employees of Accredited Business with low-cost life insurance. In a program unique in this area, Liberty National will set up an appointment to meet with your business and tailor a program for your special needs. Liberty National is a sister company of long-time BBB Accredited Business Globe Life and Casualty Company, so you’re sure to get solid benefits from a company you can trust. For more information, contact Leeda Kurtz at 236-5292 or through e-mail at email@example.com
Protect Your Business from Flu Season
The Center for Disease Control says that, while H1N1 is no more dangerous than the usual flu bug, it does appear to be transmitted much more easily than other viruses. That means we expect to see more people with the flu and that the workplace is more dangerous than ever. Here are some tips to keep yourself, your employees and your business safe from the flu this year.
The CDC is partnering with Better Business Bureaus across the country to make company owners aware of special problems this flu season. It’s an unusual move, but it makes sense. The so-called Swine Flu virus, or H1N1, is no more dangerous than the usual flu bug (although even the typical flu virus results in thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year). What makes H1N1 unique and more of a problem is that it appears to be more easily transmitted through casual contact, and coworkers could be especially prone to passing the disease between each other. If the outbreak is bad enough, businesses may be forced to close their doors, and in the current economy, that could mean those businesses will never open again. Nobody wants to see that, so business owners are being warned to act now to prevent the worst from happening.
The CDC is advising business owners and employees to protect themselves. Employers are being asked to relax or be more liberal concerning their call-in policies and sick days this season. If employees are too worried about taking a day off to fight the flu and come to work with a fever or other symptoms, you risk your entire staff. Investing a few days in keeping an employee at home might protect hundreds of work hours for the rest of your staff. Encourage employees who feel they may have the flu to stay at home until they no longer have a fever. The reality of the workplace is that many employees feel that they can’t afford to miss a day while they’re ill, and they fight their way to work, maybe choking down as many over the counter drugs as they can swallow to do it. Those drugs might make the employee feel better, but the virus may be just as contagious. Whether or not you pay for sick time, you owe it to the employees who have done their best to remain healthy to send an employee home when you know that person is sick.
Still, no matter how carefully we monitor employees or curtail the flow of germs, employees will get sick. So might management. It’s important to make plans to protect your business from an outbreak. Cross-train as many employees to do as many jobs as possible so that they can cover each other when one or two call off. Set up work-from-home software for managers so that they can maintain control of their projects and monitor their employees while they’re out of the office. Also, consider the fact that your suppliers might not be so lucky. What will you do to cover yourself if a major supplier runs short due to a sick staff? Maybe ordering a little extra material is a good investment to keep your healthy crew members working.
Last – but maybe most important – develop strategies to cover the business so that, in the unlikely event you need to shut down for a week or two, you can pick up where you left off without damaging your place in the market..
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Check out OKC-BBB President Bob Manista's blog at http://oklahomacity.bbb.org/blog/ to learn more about what's "behind the scenes" at your Better Business Bureau.