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Faith, Family, and Christmas
As a guy whose faith is the central guiding force for my life, the Christmas season is one of the most important times of the year for me. I find few moments more moving than the couple of minutes at the end of the annual Christmas Eve service, when the faces of my family are lit dimly by the flickering candles they hold in front of them as the congregation sings “Silent Night”. Standing in the crowd in the midst of this beautiful scene, I’m usually overcome with profound feelings of peace and gratitude, along with an unusually strong connection to the Holy Spirit. focus throughout the holidays. But beyond a celebration of His many gifts, Christmas is the ideal time to come together with family and enjoy one another’s company. This year, we’re having our first fully-multigenerational Christmas gathering at my house. In addition to the holiday regulars (our six kids and two grandchildren), both sets of our parents will be joining with my brother, my sister, and their families, who live in Kansas and Iowa. To say it will be a full house is a bit of an understatement; all told, there should be 27 of us, if I’ve done my math right. To accommodate this crew, I’ve rented out a bunch of rooms at the Embassy Suites a couple of miles down the road from our house, so at least the We certainly try to keep Jesus’ birth, the true reason for the season, our primary
older folks can get a little break from the younger folks (who will be staying at our house) when they need to! We are thrilled to be welcoming everyone into our home. Especially with my wife’s parents and my own, who are getting up in age, we know the number of opportunities for Christmases spent together are dwindling as the years go quickly by. I feel deeply blessed that we’re all able to set aside our busy schedules, break bread together, relax, and catch up. For some of my family, it’ll be their first visit to Little Rock, so we’ll definitely take time to explore and show off some of the beautiful scenery and outdoor activities around town, weather permitting. One tradition that is important to me happens before we exchange presents on Christmas day. Everybody sits down, and I read the Christmas story from Luke Chapter 2. Though we’re all only human, we really try not to lose focus by getting too carried away with all the gifts and commercial trappings that inevitably accompany the holiday. Having said that, I’m sure our two young grandkids, who are 2 and 3, will be spoiled beyond belief, again! After all, everybody likes to receive a small token of a loved one’s appreciation. But what’s more important to us is being thankful for the abundant love with which we’ve already been blessed, especially in these relationships we’ve maintained and strengthened throughout the
years. I just feel incredibly fortunate we can all still get together to celebrate — because I know, unfortunately, for various reasons, not every family can enjoy and share in the spirit of Christmas together. For me, it’s all about faith and family, in that order. Bathed in candlelight in the hallowed chambers of the church, worshipping our Savior beside those I love most, I can’t think of anything more meaningful. I hope you have a blessed Christmas, and you also experience God’s love in a personal way this season. After all, everybody likes to receive a small token of a loved one’s appreciation. But what’s more important to us is being thankful for the abundance with which we’ve already been blessed.
President, Risk Services of AR Specialized Insurance Programs For Specialized Industries. • www.insurica.com • 1
5 NETWORKING TIPS
So, you’ve finally woken up and realized that social media marketing is more than just the fad skeptics thought it was a few years back. However, keeping tabs on numerous posts across multiple social platforms can easily eat up all your time. After all, you’re a small-business owner, not a savvy social media marketing expert who can afford an entire team just to run the company Facebook page. Enter Hootsuite, a robust, web-based social media management application that allows you to wrangle a nearly unlimited number of social accounts in one place, drastically reducing wasted time spent tracking each platform, while providing you with a number of tools to measure customer engagement with your brand. With Hootsuite, you can integrate nearly every possible social network your business utilizes — from Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and beyond — into a single, seamless dashboard. From here, you can create timed streams for every bit of content you post to any social media account you’re managing, synchronizing or duplicating posts across platforms for maximum impact. Hootsuite plans range from a limited free plan, which allows the managing of three social profiles from a single user and includes post scheduling (perfect for a user brand-new to social media marketing), to a $499 per month business plan, which includes exportable analytic data, 50 social profiles, and customURL branding. After you create your account, Hootsuite will take you through a step- by-step process to add each social media account you need. Following that, you can begin using the dashboard to create social media posts and control which accounts the message will get posted to and at what time(s). You can upload images and add links (which will be automatically and conveniently shortened in the actual post), as well as set privacy settings. You can even set up auto-scheduling, which lets you queue up a bunch of posts that are then automatically posted at the dates and times you specify. These tasks only scratch the surface of Hootsuite’s capabilities, which also include a staggering number of options for monitoring posts and customer engagement. That said, it’s a good idea to shop around before committing to a social media management platform. Hootsuite is the most popular one out there, but it’s far from the be-all, end-all. Check out HubSpot, ideal for tracking every aspect of your social media sales funnel, or TweetDeck, a renowned tool for specifically managing your company’s Twitter.
Successful networking benefits all business owners, whether they’re just getting started or trying to grow their business. These face-to- face meetings with other entrepreneurs, however, can be awkward and difficult for some people. Interfacing with industry leaders, experts, and like-minded CEOs doesn’t have to be anxiety-inducing, even if you’re naturally shy. Here are some tips to help you network more effectively at your next industry seminar or small-business conference. 1. Prepare Beforehand There are a few great ways to get yourself into the networking mindset before an event. You should have a few talking points ready. It shouldn’t sound like a formal presentation with bullet points. A few words about who you are, what you do, and why you do it will suffice. And you don’t want every word drilled down. Remember, networking is not the same thing as a sales pitch. 2. Don’t Forget to Listen Networking works best when it’s a two-way street. You can’t expect somebody to listen to you for five minutes, only for you to head to the snack table as soon as they start telling you about their company in return. The mutually beneficial nature of networking allows for a conversation about business to become a platform for building a relationship. Odds are everyone at your conference is trying to network just as much as you are. 3. Have a Card, Seriously Imagine this scenario: You’re at a conference and you just finish up a fruitful, engaging conversation. The person you’re talking to hands over their business card, and you realize you don’t have one to provide in return. Nobody wants to end up scribbling their contact information on a napkin. 4. Network From Home LinkedIn isn’t just for finding a job or screening employees. It can be a powerful networking tool for business owners. Because you can see the connections of your connections, it’s not hard to reach out to people in similar roles or industries. 5. Be Yourself Your personality and values should be an integral part of your business, and networking should be an honest conversation, even when the end goal is developing a business relationship. Be confident in who you are, and you’ll find that people will believe in your vision. for Small-Business Owners
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IS YOUR CALENDAR CHRONICALLY CRAMMED? Try This Must-Do Resolution
In her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Marie Kondo gave us a transformative method for decluttering our homes. Based on feng shui principles and Kondo’s own study of organization, the KonMari Method has led thousands of devotees to new heights of tidiness. Kondo instructs participants to assess each of their possessions, item by item, category by category, and then dispose of those that do not provide joy. It’s touted as a simple, though not easy, guide to long-term organization. What would happen if this approach were applied to your calendar? Entrepreneur Christina Wallace calls her 10-month experiment in doing so an “unqualified success.” Most of us could benefit from trimming our jampacked schedules. Those various calendars synced to our phone, each emitting noisy reminders about the upcoming hour’s plans, aren’t exactly harbingers of harmony. Get a jump-start on your organization resolution by applying the KonMari Method to your calendar. Step 1: Assess First, envision the life you want to lead. Next, assess all the items listed on your calendar within a two-month period. Organize each commitment according to categories — social, work-related, doctor’s appointments, etc. Be thorough. Including each commitment, no matter howminor, is the key to this process. Step 2: Joy Test Do these commitments bring you joy? Are they part of your ideal life? When you look at “Lunch date with Margot” from last week, are you reminded of her
unfriendly comments about your waiter and her negative attitude toward your renovation ideas? Consider each commitment and its impact on your joy.
Of course, not all commitments will live up to the joy standard. You may not love your annual check-up, but it is important for your health. When you encounter non-negotiable items like these, consider the long-term impact they have on your well-being. Step 3: Discard Put an end to commitments that are not bringing you joy. This might mean having tough conversations with clients or friends. No one said the KonMari Method is easy. Decluttering entails getting rid of items that do not pass the joy test. Step 4: Apply! Follow through. Cancel commitments and long-standing obligations that are not benefiting your life. Have the difficult conversation. Apply the joy test as new commitments come up. By considering each commitment and its impact on your life, you will make room for those that bring you joy. To read more about the KonMari Method, check out Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and its companion book, “Spark Joy.” Sudoku
Have a Laugh!
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INSIDE This Issue
Faith and Family During the Christmas Season page 1 5 Networking Tips for Small-Business Owners The Perfect Tool for Managing Your Social Media Accounts page 2
Go KonMari on Your Calendar Sudoku page 3
Our Array of Loss Control Services page 4
Are You at Risk of a Financial Pitfall? Take a Look at Our Comprehensive Loss Control Services
• Mock OSHA consultations, in order to assess written programs, record keeping, training, and plant conditions • Loss analysis and accident investigations, to determine patterns and trends in accidents and set objectives to mitigate them • Training, in compliance and safety for supervisors, managers, and safety committee personnel • Job safety and hazard assessment, to determine elements on the job where safety measures should be implemented • Ergonomic assessments, including both general workplace assessments and analyses of specific workstations • Machine guarding surveys, to assess safeguarding and compliance with OSHA standards • Safety program development Everything comes together to form a comprehensive loss control program designed to minimize loss and lower your total cost of risk through reduced premiums, tailored specifically to your business’ unique needs.
As any business owner knows, potential risks for financial loss are everywhere. With many small companies, a single large financial pitfall can devastate the bottom line, a phenomenon that shatters hundreds of businesses each year. Because of this, careful loss control measures have become vital in the contemporary insurance market. Not only that, but an insurance company’s intimate understanding of your specific business needs is paramount to your survival. At Risk Services of Arkansas, we work person to person, combining our vast breadth of knowledge of our core industries with a comprehensive information-gathering process, in order to uncover risks and opportunities other firms might miss. While everything we do is in the interest of reducing the financial impact on your organization, the array of loss control services we offer is robust, including the following: • Needs assessment, in order to determine potential areas of concern • Safety program audits, such as general hazard assessments and comprehensive evaluation of strengths and weaknesses in your operation
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