Category Archives: Business 101

REAL BUSINESS 101: Hostile Workplace Prevention

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There are two ways to obtain knowledge: study and experience. Both are valuable, but when it comes to business, there’s a lot that you can’t learn from a book or in a classroom.

We’re not knocking school. We just want to help folks in the real business world. So we’ll be posting articles with a healthy dose of plain-spoken, real world insights and tips. We hope they help.

Man’s World?

Not so much. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 report on women in the labor force found that, while women made up 47 percent of the total workforce, they accounted for 52 percent of all management across all U.S. industry. So in considering compliance processes and policies, start by understanding, unequivocally, that this is not, in fact, a man’s world. Nor is it a white world or any other homogenized world.

So, What?

Ok, so the business world is steadily becoming more diverse, but it’s business, so why bring all this gender and culture diversity stuff into it, right? You’re exactly right: it’s business. And friendly, respectful business is easier, more effective and, most importantly, more profitable for all involved.

Protect Your Employees and Company

If your shop doesn’t have a policy to protect workers from harassment (sexual or otherwise) that makes them feel like their workplace is hostile, consider creating one for your their protection and yours. You can find useful resources to help you by searching “hostile workplace prevention” on LinkedIn.


Related:

REAL Business 101: Regulatory Compliance

REAL Business 101: Communication Key in Freight Industry, All Business

REAL Business 101: the In’s and Out’s of Business Courtesies

Make One-Way Trailers Part of Your Equipment Strategy

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 report: Women in Labor Force

REAL Business 101: Regulatory Compliance

By | Blog, Business 101 | No Comments

There are two ways to obtain knowledge: study and experience. Both are valuable, but when it comes to business, there’s a lot that you can’t learn from a book or in a classroom.

We’re not knocking school. We just want to help folks in the real business world. So we’ll be posting articles with a healthy dose of plain-spoken, real world insights and tips. We hope they help.

Rules, Rules, Everywhere Rules!

Let’s face it; rules are a hassle. And when they’re imposed by federal, state or local governments, they become even more tiresome. Regulations can hinder productivity, holding up business and costing you and your business associates money. In many cases, it seems like the people who draw up all the regulations have no understanding of the business they seek to regulate. It almost seems like government agencies simply want to bury you in paperwork and make it hard to do business.

But there’s another side to regulations and regulatory compliance.

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Fences that accurately define the boundaries between yours and your neighbor’s properties make you both feel that your rights are protected. In turn, your relations with your neighbor are likely to be amicable and, in terms of neighbor relations, successful.

Similarly, regulations are aimed at protecting rights. In theory, if everyone has a fair shake, then the whole system will be successful. Sure, it’s debatable whether or not they are effective, fair and advisable. But it helps to understand that, unless you have a personal beef with a legislator, they’re not conspiring to take down your company or industry.

Face Reality

It may or may not help to realize that regulations are aimed at protecting rights, as onerous as they may be. Regardless, here’s the simple reality: Whether you agree with them or not, you have to comply with your industry’s regulations in order to do business. So you had best know and understand the regulations that apply to your business, implement an aggressive compliance system and aim to exceed the spirit of the rules.

Get Regulatory Compliance Smart, Fast

Whether you’re a small shop or a big operation, you should have a formal regulatory compliance process. You can learn more about the regulatory requirements that apply to your business from connections and professional groups on LinkedIn, as well as from government and industry sources. Here are a few resources to help get started:

U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Noise and Environmental Regulations

FMCSA Hours of Service Requirements

DOT Regulation Info

More on Regulatory Compliance


Related:

REAL Business 101: Communication Key in Freight Industry, All Business

REAL Business 101: the In’s and Out’s of Business Courtesies

Make One-Way Trailers Part of Your Equipment Strategy

communication

REAL Business 101: Communication Key in Freight Industry, All Business

By | Blog, Business 101 | No Comments

It seems like we’re communicating more than ever. Email, text, messaging apps, social media; technology seems to connect us like never before. But technology only provides a means to communicate. It doesn’t guarantee good communication. That’s up to the users. Up to us.

Put another way, technology can make it easier to communicate, but it can’t communicate for us. How we use the technology determines how well or poorly we communicate. With this in mind, we’ve put together a few tips to help you harness technology and communicate effectively, whether you’re a shipping dispatcher or a CEO.

Take Time to Think

Fuzzy thinking leads to fuzzy communication. Before you communicate, take a moment to consider not what you want to say, but what you want to happen. Doing this before you call, email, text or even leave a Post-it note will help ensure that you say what needs to be said to the person or people who need to hear it when they need to hear it, via the best channel.

Do you need an associate to help you respond to a sensitive matter? Then a phone call may be the best way to communicate. Want to build support for an initiative? Then an email blast or social media may be the way to go. The time you take to consider the outcome you hope to achieve with your communication will help you ensure that it’s effective.

Keep it Simple

People are flooded with messages nowadays, with media, email, text and other communications. A study in 2010 found that, after meeting all other obligations, the average adult has only 12 minutes of discretionary time to read each day. Sure, your communication may fall into the “all other obligations” category. But you will do your associates and yourself a great service if you ensure that you only communicate when necessary and do so in a concise manner.

A good guideline is to restrict yourself to no more than two or three items in an one communication. If you’re composing an email, and get to more than three paragraphs, read over it and make sure you’re sticking to the key subject. People will thank you for it, and you will be more successful in getting the point across … and achieving your desired outcome.

Consider Low-Tech Options

In the spirit of keeping it simple, here’s the point of this guideline: Pick up the phone and call. People tend to use email to insulate themselves from obligation or put off having to make decisions or act. A quick call says, “Let’s get this done, now.” It also says, “You and our business are important and call for real-time communication.

On the other end of the spectrum, remember that a handwritten, personal note makes a big impression in this age of widespread electronic communication.

Beware of Emotion

Remember that words are like bullets; once you let them go, you can’t call them back. While it may make you feel better to “put them into place” with righteous indignation, fiery words can damage relationships and, thus, your business.

If you start composing an email in the heat of the moment and find yourself using all capitals, punctuating multiple sentences with exclamation marks, underlining and bolding words, and filling up page after page with your diatribe, stop. Copy it into a word document, close it, and come back later to finish it. You will almost certainly tone it down when you have time to cool off, possibly avoiding costly ill will.

Follow these basic guidelines to communicate clearly and skillfully in your business dealings, and you’ll find it easier to achieve your disired business outcomes.

business courtesies

REAL Business 101: the In’s and Out’s of Business Courtesies

By | Blog, Business 101 | One Comment

There are two ways to obtain knowledge: study and experience. Both are valuable, but when it comes to business, there’s a lot that you can’t learn from a book or in a classroom.

We’re not knocking school. We just want to help folks in the real business world. So we’ll be posting articles with a healthy dose of plain-spoken, real world insights and tips. We hope they help.

Business Courtesies: Not Just for “Good Ol’ Boys” Anymore

The debut of our real business series is a frank discussion of business courtesies, which range from things like gift baskets and business meals to golf outings, sporting events, fishing charters and more.

Mention business courtesies to 10 people and, like as not, nine of them will wink and nod knowingly, implying that they’re just an excuse for “good ol’ boys” to play golf on company time. With a few unfortunate and distasteful exceptions, this is a cliche’d misconception.

“Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.”

Strong Relationships, Strong Business, Satisfied Customers

Business courtesies, properly employed, provide opportunities to build business relationships based on shared values and objectives. They enable business associates to amass goodwill and build trust, both of which are priceless in today’s competitive business world.

When you build strong business relationships based on shared values, trust and goodwill, your business and that of your associates grow stronger. In turn, this enables you to deliver increasing value to your customers. Truly, everybody wins.

business outing, business courtesies

Business courtesies are like golf: Have fun and play fair.

Fun Is Not Wrong

Also, your business is a big chunk of your life. How dismal would it be if business was always separate from pleasure? So, finally, we submit that it’s ok for business to be a pleasure. Just make sure you follow the rules.

The Rules of the Road

Your company and the companies you do business with almost certainly have rules or guidelines for giving and accepting business courtesies. They’re in place to protect the company from legal risk from conflicts of interest, market manipulation and other dishonest practices by employees. Most companies clearly define business courtesies, when it’s ok or not ok to give or accept them, how much value is ok to give or receive and other details.

The Spirit of the Rules

But if you understand the spirit of rules regarding business courtesies, you’ll have no problem staying out of trouble. Here’s the bottom line: A business courtesy must never be exchanged for anything, especially unfair advantage over competition. Period.

Keep that in mind, make sure you know your company’s limits, and have fun. Trust us, it’ll be good for everyone involved, including your customers.