by Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor
In This Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,
How Does Your Business Reflect?
It's the end of another year – one of the toughest ever for many. Now is an appropriate time to ponder upon that great question: "What is your company's reflection?"
By tradition, year's end is when we reflect on the 12 months behind us while, at the same time, planning for the 12 months ahead. While you're engaging in that process regarding your own company and those you do business with, your customers and suppliers will be doing the same for themselves as well as pondering their relationship with you and your firm. Are you comfortable with how you will be perceived by those who do business with you, as well as by your friends and family?
As I write this month's editorial I am reflecting on the outlandish array of tales I've heard from a wide variety of sources this past year. Whether business dealings I've seen for myself or stories related by friends and associates, it appears to me that a 'madness convergence zone' is coalescing in America, especially in the world of business.
The theme that ties these otherwise disparate stories together is their sheer 'outrage factor;' they contain an unbelievable level of audaciousness. Unfortunately, a number of them have incorporated business practices that are questionable, to say the least. Others are downright shoddy. Take the events of yesterday, as just an example... Read the whole editorial.
December Newsletter Contents (Click on link or scroll down to read stories.)
Profile on National Service Provider:
- Avoiding a Holly Jolly Lawsuit at your Holiday Party
Affiliated Grounds Maintenance Group, Inc.
Ten Steps To Building Credibility With Your Website
Sweeping a Big Part of Alaska Snow Removal's Business
Fact Trumps Fiction: Russia Looks to Build 'Pod Sweeper' for Space Debris
NAPSA Announces Board Members for 2011
Price of Diesel Hits Two-Year High
Avoiding a Holly Jolly Lawsuit at your Holiday Party
The most common complaints stemming from holiday business parties include excessive drinking, sexual advances, off-color or inappropriate jokes—even arguments and fistfights.
Thanks to David B. Wilson, Attorney at Law, for his reminder about ways to your holiday party incident-free. We're reprinting his advice from last year – which is the same as what he reprinted in his blog this year – since it was so well received then by our readers.
By the way, this information has been featured on the WorldSweeper home page for the last couple of weeks. Read and enact these principles!
National Service Providers (NSPs) are a hot topic these days, especially since Wal-Mart has contracted with what most in the industry know as U.S. Maintenance (renamed "USM, a Transfield Services Company") for its exterior maintenance services. In most areas this includes power sweeping and in many snowplowing. Although I have contacted USM to request an interview, to date the company has not contacted me back.
However, another substantial NSP, Affiliated Grounds Maintenance Group, Inc., returned my interview request promptly. After an initial cordial conversation, the Business Manager for the company, Richard Arlington, III, additionally agreed to conducting a taped interview. Somewhat surprisingly, considering the negatives that are often heard about NSPs, Arlington put no conditions onto the questions to be asked in the audio.
The impetus for starting Affiliated Grounds Maintenance Group (Affiliated) came about 1998, when a national service provider, also often called a "services aggregator," moved into the market area for Arlington's lawn care and sweeping company.
When he got his management team together to strategically plan out their response, they decided they could either work for this type of company or become one. The latter seemed like the best course of action, since if it didn't work out they would still be able to go back to just providing sweeping and related services.
Affiliated's initial forays into the field took place in Arlington's surrounding market area, including Erie, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Cleveland, Ohio. Gradually Affiliated moved out to other states and have kept expanding to where they are today, which is overseeing sweeping and other exterior maintenance operations in more than 150 different cities in 31 states. The enlightening article showcases how at least one NSP is purporting to make a difference in how the companies in its industry are perceived. Take a look.
What is credibility? According to the dictionary it means; "The quality, capability, or power to elicit belief." In short, it means my ability to convey to my followers that I am a truthful and honest guy. Convey messages so that readers know they can trust and believe what is being said.
How do you get your website viewers to believe in your company? The article provides ten things to make sure your website is or is not doing in order to better ensure you build credibility with your followers. Take a look.
It was in 1978 that Tabb Thoms started into the snow removal and abatement field in Alaska. His service was exemplary, the state gets plenty of snow and his business steadily increased. Twenty-two years later his company provided a host of related services. Power sweeping wasn't one of them.
"Although we coordinated sweeping services for a number of our customers," says Thoms, "we stayed out of the business ourselves. It was in about 2000, though, that the average mall manager started to realize the value of lot sweeping. And, as one business property got swept then the neighboring managers wanted sweeping done, too. What happened is that the sweeping companies we were using started to be so busy that they couldn't always show up when we needed them. So, I decided to add power sweeping to our list of services."
Today, the company provides sweeping services to a wide range of business customers, including the Ted Stevens Airport, where non-performance is not an option: "We have to post a bond to work at the airport, both for sweeping and snow removal," says Thoms. "If you delay an airplane from landing for 60 seconds there is a $10,000 fine. That's quite an incentive to have your best operators on the job using equipment that is not going to break down."
In the profile on ASR, you'll learn about the enormous gains the company made by 'firing' over 600 customers; their methods for routinely sweeping below freezing; and, techniques for sweeping when each 100' fills the sweeper's hopper to capacity. Check out the contractor profile story.
Last April Fool's Day, WorldSweeper's editor offered what became a national award-winning spoof story about NASA sending a sweeper into space to clean it up. Turns out that wasn't such a joke after all.
Alert WorldSweeper.com reader, Albert Price, recently sent an email that provided the link to an article about Russia's planned effort to "build a $2 billion orbital 'pod' that would sweep up satellite debris from space around the Earth. According to a post on the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Facebook site, the cleaning satellite would work on nuclear power and be operational for about 15 years.
The Russian rocket company, Energia proposes that they would complete the cleaning satellite assembly by 2020 and test the device no later than in 2023. Note that all the little white flecks in the photo above are space junk. Take a look.
The current Board of the North American Power Sweeping Association has announced that, at the last Board Meeting on December 15, 2010, it approved a slate of nominees for member review. Take a look.
According to a recent report compiled by the staff of eTrucker.com, the national average price jumped 3.5 cents to $3.197, after falling 2.2 cents the previous two weeks. The current price is a two-year high.
Prices in all individual regions tracked by DOE increased. The Gulf Coast rose 5.4 cents to $3.132, while the East Coast gained 4 cents to $3.206, including a 7.8-cent increase for New England. The Midwest climbed 3.1 cents to $3.175. The West Coast increased 2.1 cents to $3.321, and California gained 2.4 cents to $3.352, the most expensive.
To keep a link of current state-by-state diesel prices on your web browser, bookmark this website page. The site updates diesel prices on a daily basis.