Chamber Review

 

Each month, the Chamber Review newsletter lets our members know what's happening in Greater Concord: where and when our upcoming networking and committee events will be...what forums are slated for discussion...and which educational topics we think are beneficial to you. Business Focus articles are written and sponsored by members of the Greater Concord Chamber. Read on and benefit from your fellow Chamber members' expertise on a range of topics of interest to the business community:

June editionChamber Review June 2018 cover

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2017

December edition

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September edition

August edition

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June edition

May edition

April edition

March edition

February edition

January edition


Recent Business Focus Columns:

Pet-friendly workplaces benefit workers and employers

By Laurel Trahan, Age at Home

Increasingly, our pets are at the center of our lives—they are our companions, loyal partners, our “kids.” We can’t imagine our lives without their undivided attention and no-strings-attached devotion. Overall, individuals who own pets report better physical and mental health than those who do not. It is no wonder, then, that so many offices have decided to become pet-friendly, allowing employees to bring their pets in to work with them - more in the June edition.

Equal pay is here to stay

By Beth Deragon, Esq., Pastori | Krans, PLLC 

NH employers are well advised to understand their legal obligations to ensure that women are being paid equitably and to take remedial measures, if needed. All NH employers are covered by NH’s Equal Pay law, RSA 275:37. NH employers may not prohibit employees from disclosing the amount of their wages, salary, or paid benefits, or discipline or fire employees for doing so (includes making a complaint or causing an investigation). The federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits pay inequality and discrimination in pay based on gender. The EPA covers all employers and requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work - more in the June edition.

Makerspace: imagine the possibilities

By Laura Miller, Making Matters NH

Makerspace (noun): a place in which people with shared interests, especially related to arts and technology, can gather to work on projects while sharing ideas, inspiration, equipment, supplies, resources and knowledge. Imagine a place where you can create something, take a class, start or grow a business, join a community or simply enjoy the creative marketplace. Making Matters NH is a newly formed group working to create such a resource in Concord - more in the May edition.

Are businesses ready to turn themselves in to the DOL?

By Charla Bizios Stevens, McLane Middleton, Professional Association

The U.S. Department of Labor recently initiated a nationwide pilot program referred to as the Payroll Audit Independent Determination (“PAID”) program. The stated purpose of the program is to facilitate resolution of potential overtime and minimum wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The expectation is that FLSA claims will resolve more expeditiously and without litigation, thus improving employer compliance with wage and hour laws and getting back wages to employees more quickly - more in the May edition.

New tax laws: estate and financial planning tips

By Monique Brown, Ledyard Financial Advisors

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect on January 1, 2018 but with a few provisions. If you have not reviewed your estate plans in some time, 2018 is the year to confirm that yours is up to date—even if it won’t be affected by the new tax law. You may discover that your current plan no longer meets your needs because of changes in your life or changes in the lives of your heirs, including: your divorce or the divorce of your son or daughter; the birth of a grandchild or grandchildren; inheritance; sale of your business; your retirement; or the chronic illness or death of a family member. It is also possible with the new tax law that provisions in your estate plan may now be obsolete - more in the April edition.

Home safety for seniors

By Caitlin Cawley, Home Instead Senior Care

Today’s employees are frequently caring for both children and aging parents. One way for workers to ease concerns about an unsupervised senior is to make sure that he or she lives in an environment that adapts as they age - more in the March edition.

Combating holiday weight gain: make a plan

By Sara Finn, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

The holidays are about celebrating health, family, friends, gratitude and faith. Food is a way to celebrate, and the holiday season offers us many delicious ways to do so. As we look forward to joyous events, it is helpful to have a plan for balancing your favorite holiday treats with long-term wellness. Here are a few suggestions for developing yours - more in the February edition.

Keep businesses going with next generation of owners

By John Howe, N.H. Business Sales, Inc.

Popular culture glorifies the startup—bootstrapped enterprises with new ideas and services. These ventures capture our imagination, especially when we read of tech companies achieving huge valuations. But all too often, upon closer look, many are barely breaking even. Good news—it isn’t necessary to start businesses from scratch to create a solid company and grow jobs. There’s another avenue to entrepreneurship with incredible opportunity: existing businesses. - more in the February edition.

Kick-off the New Year with some flair

By Doug Packard, Renaissance Executive Forums NH/ME

Whether one is meeting with the entire company or a selected team, planning and facilitating meetings is a crucial skill for any leader—yet some wrestle with how to conduct a great 2018 kick-off meeting. Without the right involvement, approach and agenda, leaders risk setting a tone that causes the meeting to fall flat. It’s important to make meetings memorable and provide themes the team can recall well after the meeting concludes - more in the January edition.

NH’s opioid crisis continues to challenge employers

By Charla Bizios Stevens, McLane Middleton, P.A.

New Hampshire continues to have more than its fair share of problems related to opioid addiction. Business owners face challenges previously unheard of, or at least unmentioned, in this small state. As employers continue to struggle to hire adequate numbers of skilled employees to meet business needs, the opioid crisis adds a significant hurdle to overcome. Employers need to know how to assist addicted employees, minimize the impact of the crisis on business to the extent possible, and avoid legal risk - more in the January edition.

Take care of your employees during the holidays and they’ll take good care of your customers

By Laura Miller, Marketplace New England, Inc.

The holiday season is upon us, and with all its joy and spirit of giving comes deadlines, expectations and added pressure in our already hectic lives. Holiday stress can easily get the best of us. Here are some strategies that will help keep your team focused and motivated, and help you and your customers cherish the fun this time of year brings - more in the December edition.

How’s your customer service? Tips to ensure every member of your team is your best ambassador

By Laura Miller, Marketplace New England, Inc.

Good customer service isn’t rocket science, but in the fast-paced world we live in, it is becoming increasingly rare. Excellent customer service—service that will differentiate your business and keep your customers loyal—isn’t dead. It is achievable with planning, training and most importantly, vigilance in developing and supporting a culture of service - more in the November edition.

Is it fractured or broken?

By Ryan K. Duffy, MD, Concord Orthopaedics

Patients ask this question from time to time. When a break is revealed on an xray, the answer is both. A fractured bone is the same thing as a broken bone. Fracture is simply the medical term for a break in the bone. The confusion often comes into play as a result of the commonly held perception of one being more severe than the other - more in the November edition.

Supporting caregivers in the workplace: Employees increasingly juggle career and aging parents

By Lisa Byrne, Home Instead Senior Care

All working caregivers report higher levels of stress than the overall population. And unfortunately, caregiving rarely becomes easier. Caregiving is hard and only gets harder over time. Research reveals that female caregivers of older adults are continuing to make sacrifices at home and in the workplace, and that men and women differ on the type of caregiving responsibilities they fulfill - more in the September edition.

Structuring paid time off so it ‘works’ for all: best practices for employers 

By Beth A. Deragon, McLane Middleton Professional Association

Neither federal nor NH law requires that paid time off is provided to employees. Rather it is the employer that determines how it will structure paid time off, including whether it will be vacation time, sick time, or paid time off (“PTO”), whether the time is accrued or given in a lump sum on employment anniversary date (or calendar year), whether the time must be used in the benefit year or can carry over to the next benefit year, and whether any accrued unused time will be paid out when employment ends  - more in the September edition.

Trends in socially responsible investing

By Fred Wainwright, Ledyard Financial Advisors

More than one out of every six dollars under professional management in the US is invested using socially responsible investment strategies according to The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investing. More people are incorporating their values into their long-term investment strategy and comprehensive wealth management planning. The best companies attract the best employees by aligning their values with those of talented well-informed global citizens - more in the August edition.

Substance use costs New Hampshire: recent study reveals how much.

By Dianne Pepin, MLADC, New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counselors Association

A study released in May from PolEcon Research finds that substance misuse and addiction cost the state of New Hampshire $2.36 billion last year (not including $604.6 million in costs related to premature death). That’s over $21,000 for each resident of the state. Most of these losses can be counted in lost productivity of those who are dependent on alcohol and other drugs (about $1.6 billion in 2014) - more in the August edition.

Workplace Massage is Good for Business

By Janet Bourne, Moving On Massage Therapy LLC

Most companies base business decisions on a cost benefit ratio. While some bring in massage therapists as a once per year perk, others are incorporating wellness professionals on a continual basis and seeing results in terms of dollars and “sense." The American Institute of Stress estimates that 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress. When people do come to work, back pain, headaches and eye strain contribute to reduced production. Repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome have become the nation’s leading workplace health cost - more in the July edition.

Ten ways to optimize your health and prepare for orthopaedic surgery

By Jeffrey W. Wiley, MD, Concord Orthopaedics

As a patient, you play an important role in the overall outcome of your orthopaedic surgery. Being in the best possible health prior to your surgery will reduce your chance of complications, improve your body’s ability to heal, and potentially shorten your recovery time - more in the June edition.

Professional service companies face significant cyber risk

By Cameron G. Shilling, McLane Middleton, P.A.

Cyber attacks and costly accidental losses of sensitive personal and financial information are no longer confined to retailers like Target or investment houses like JP Morgan. Professional service firms commonly have fewer resources than larger companies. Consequently, hackers recognize them as easy targets that generate significant yields of this prized information > more in the April edition.

Overwhelmed by social media? Give your audience something to “Like”!

By Laura Miller, Marketplace New England

400 million active on Instagram, 300 million on Snapchat, 300 million on Twitter, over 2 billion active users on Facebook, and so many more sites competing for your customers’ attention. How do you get through the noise of thousands of marketing messages the average person will see every day? > more in the April edition.

Tips for early dementia diagnosis and prevention

By Julia F. Burdick, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Memory impairment is one of the more common concerns among individuals as they age. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common cause of dementia, affects more than 5 million Americans today and the numbers are only rising. Dementia is the 6th leading cause of death in our country. Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia take a heavy toll on our country, our communities, and our families. Early recognition of cognitive decline can help patients and their families plan and prepare for the challenges that arise when a person is faced with a diagnosis like Alzheimer’s - more in the March edition.

Wireless security essentials everyone should know (and practice)

By Twinstate Technologies®

By its very nature, wireless technology is a great deal more insecure than wired technology. When information gets transmitted between a device and access point over wireless, it’s much more susceptible to interception by anyone within that range. With wireless being such a prolific technology these days, there are lots of people who can and will eavesdrop on your wireless networks - more in the February edition.

A resolution for success: Get to know your financial statements

By Robert A. Dawkins, CPA 

People have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. The prospect of starting fresh, breaking bad habits and setting new goals galvanizes us every January. Often, New Year’s resolutions center on financial health. For business owners and managers looking to achieve greater financial success this year, remember that you already have a valuable but often underutilized tool at your disposal—your financial statements - more in the January edition.

New year, new approach: Practical steps to help you (finally!) reach your goals

By Helen Dutton, A Vision of Your Own, LLC

The holiday decorations are put away, kids are back at school, and your business is off and running into a new year. Hopefully, you created a realistic budget, but also one that stretches you and your team a bit to grow. Before January ends, I often hear business owners say that their annual goals have fallen by the wayside because life, customers, or business has gotten in the way...again. Your goals and budget become a nice idea, a frustration in the back of your mind because once again, you are failing to pay attention to them - more in the January edition.

 

Interested in contributing a Business Focus article?

Contact Kathy Bacon for more information.