Business: The Fall Lineup

Weighing the basics before the fourth quarter

By: Connie Laughlin

Your quarterly lineup consists of four fundamentals:

1/  Revenue and production
2/  Finance management
3/  Employee administration (human resources)
4/  Operations

It’s imperative to review each in-depth and independently.

Going into the fourth quarter, will you be on point to hit your mark, or do you have ground to cover before 2014 ends with goals achieved and money in the bank? If you’re busier than ever due to the Eagle Ford Shale or multiple new ventures under construction, it’s mandatory to come up for air long enough to do some strategic assessments. These glory days might include a bumpy ride if you don’t.

Profitability depends on executive initiatives and operations management. Before you ponder computing in the Cloud, investing in renewable energy and taking things green, let’s ensure the other green stuff is sustainable. What lingering concerns do you have internally? How could you better streamline your business? Let’s do some risk management and think strategically.

Neglectful management is the norm within many businesses, and it can easily put you in the hole, even though you may have more business right now than you can say grace over. Obviously there’s a growing list of things to do today such as new computing and technology initiatives that add extra layers to our already exhausted list of things to do. But they’re not a priority if you don’t have your ducks in a row.

Revenue, production and finance management  
You can no longer slash your fees or cut costs, so your only advantage is see how well you’ve fine-tuned your core functions in business. Let’s get creative when we look at costs, revenue and production. Are you taking advantage of every discount or rebate available and working with the best vendors?

Examine all expenses and insurance providers to see how you could better streamline your entire operation with better services and processes for less money. Keep risk management in mind at all times! Enterprise resource planning (ERP) programs are great tools for tracking revenue management and production.

Employee administration (human resources) and operations
There might be problem areas you’re not aware of because you’ve never experienced a loss in this part of your business. You don’t know what you don’t know if you’re lacking in expertise or training. If you’ve not had extensive formal classroom training in every department of your business, you’re not qualified.

Many administrative initiatives – especially those that require claims administration or human resources knowhow – drag on unsolved. You might think you have a handle on it, but do you really?

In HR administration, payroll, human resources, safety training programs and workers’ compensation insurance and claims admin can all be outsourced probably for less than what you’re currently paying to do them in-house. Take advantage of any initiative that will streamline your organization, especially one that will ensure best practices and procedures are in place. Note: If you’re outsourcing your human resources, ensure you’re working with a highly accredited professional employer organization (PEO) that has ESAC (which is like FDIC for the banking industry).

The best risk management strategy is to partner with a PEO that is a “certified” self-insured workers’ compensation insurance provider. A “certified” self-insured workers’ compensation insurance program has been proven to offer the best experience modifier protection and claims administration. There is only one PEO in Texas that meets this criterion, and it is headquartered in Corpus Christi: UniqueHR.

Your operations plan is very important. Don’t go without one that’s finely crafted, and update it as often as possible. Our world is changing rapidly with new technologies and market trends, so you must be ready to 360 your plan on a dime.

You could have an overall operations plan of action and one for daily operations. Examine and review your current business model and your goals, and implement your strategic planning monthly. Ensure you don’t neglect any areas of the business for risk management and financial purposes. If business is booming, a review of the business plan is still mandatory. If you’re out hustling every day, juggling too many balls, and are too busy to oversee your imperative operation plans, you’re going to start dropping them eventually.

In addition to outsourcing your HR (via PEO relationship), optimize all departments within your company. Streamline every detail and solution. Know each employee is up to speed with your strategic initiatives and on board with their duties and expectations, which are thoroughly outlined. Who needs training and certifications?

Popular and worthwhile business software programs are ERP and customer relationship management (CRM). They can help you keep your finances, as well as your marketing plans and customer satisfaction solutions, in check.

Super ideas and hard work are great – but they’re not necessarily the key to your success!

Connie Laughlin is a business consultant for UniqueHR. For more information, you may contact her at 361-852-6392 or

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