Pursuing Business With ‘Risky’ Accounts

Prevailing business wisdom holds that the way to reduce credit risk is to limit credit lines, be stingy in allowing credit and freeze orders on past due accounts. This line of thought posits that it is generally impossible to lower “bad debt” losses without adverse consequences to sales and business expansion. Read The Full Story »

Expanding Your BusinessMore Like This

The U.S. economic recovery is firmly underway and the growth prospects for many mid-size companies are better today than they have been for more than five years. The Federal Open Market Committee expects steady growth in the three percent range through the end of 2014, and the latest data (2Q 2013) from the National Center for the Middle Market shows that mid-size construction companies have significantly more confidence in the global economy compared to just several months ago (up 17 percent from Q1). Continue »

Best PracticesMore Like This

As the economy continues to struggle to improve, offering a few bright spots among declines in construction spending, it is important for contractors to monitor the ups and downs and understand how these peaks and valleys affect their business. During a bad economy, contractors may expand to new geographic areas, bid on projects outside of their expertise or financial capacity, take thinner profit margins and self-perform work normally subcontracted out. All this can spell danger if not properly thought out. Continue »

Asset ProtectionMore Like This

According to David Paulison, former executive director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), 40 to 60 percent of small businesses without a disaster plan in place don’t survive after a disaster. Creating an effective disaster plan need not cost money or take much time. The federal government provides resources to help develop an emergency preparedness plan. A quick and easy way to start is by filling out  Emergency Response Plan and Business Continuity Plan from FEMA’s Ready Business. Continue »

Claims ManagementMore Like This

A force majeure is an event beyond the control of the parties to a contract, which prevents or delays the performance of a contract obligation in an unanticipated way. Although force majeure events such as labor strikes, bad weather and materials shortages may complicate a construction subcontractor’s efforts to perform on schedule, courts of law are reluctant to excuse a subcontractor’s failure to perform due to such occurrences. Continue »

InsuranceMore Like This

Each year, the Merchants Bonding Company™Leaderboard Program salutes agency partners who have demonstrated their surety savvy and collaboration for growth. We salute J Smith Lanier & Company of Birmingham, AL, for attaining the Champions Tour of surety professionals. Congratulations to Alvin Bresler, Ryan McClendon, and Bo Evans for surety professionalism in 2012. Merchants Bonding has partnered with J Smith Lanier & Company for 14 years. We thank them for the successes we’ve had together and recognize them for sharing our common sense vision. See our online salute to J Smith Lanier & Company of Birmingham, AL, here. Continue »

Asset ProtectionMore Like This

After a disaster, the local infrastructure often is broken. For a small business owner, this means their supply chain also is compromised. Power outages, telecommunications failures, and road, port or airport closures can cut off access to vendors and suppliers. For example, the 9/11 attacks caused a massive supply chain interruption on the East Coast, followed by huge economic losses for small businesses nationwide in the aftermath of the temporary closure of many airports and heightened security at U.S. borders. Continue »

Expanding Your BusinessMore Like This

Last month, FMI released its Q2-2013 Construction Outlook Report. The strength of individual markets is shifting, reducing annual construction put-in-place predictions to $913 billion, a 7 percent growth from 2012. This is down nearly $6 billion from the $918,897 million, 8 percent growth estimated in the Q1’s Outlook. However, FMI does expect growth to return to 8% growth in 2014 with annual CPIP reaching $989 billion. Continue »

Asset ProtectionMore Like This

When a disaster occurs, it’s often the misleading bit of information shared by an outsider that gins up rumors about a damaged business shutting down. Obviously, this situation undermines the company’s ability to recover. That’s one big reason precise, effective communication—within the organization and to the public—is vital during an emergency.

Now is the time to set up an effective crisis communications strategy–before disaster strikes. Develop a plan to make sure everyone you do business with, including employees, customers, vendors and contractors, is aware of the progress the company is making as it recovers in the aftermath of a disaster. Continue »

Asset ProtectionMore Like This

In June, lightning struck and tragically killed a construction worker on a jobsite near Naples, Fla. According to local reports, the worker saw severe weather approaching and decided to head down from the rooftop where he had been doing rebar work. Unfortunately, lightning struck as he climbed down the scaffolding. Continue »