About The Fremont Group

Picture 068The Fremont Group—your partners in success!

CLICK HERE FOR BRIEF VIDEO

The Fremont Group is a non-profit organization.  Each year our profit is donated to educational uses.  Our mission is to provide quality, accessible professional services to all small business owners.  TFG is evolving!  We are expanding the blog with the intent to become an “information clearing house” for small business owners and small business consultants.  We will continue to  sponsor our educational events and are expanding our scope to include materials and information from approved consultants and consulting firms.  With this will be a partnership with the nationally known Independent Professional Services Association (IPSA) who independently certify small business consultants and firms.

(more…)

Common Workplace Poster Mistakes and How to Correct Them

A number of federal, state, and local laws require employers to display labor posters in their workplaces that include information about relevant employment laws. Employers should be mindful of the following mistakes concerning workplace posters.
Mistake #1: Posting the Wrong Posters
A good place to start your poster inspection is with the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) online Poster Advisor, an interactive tool that can be used to determine the poster requirements of several federal laws administered by the DOL. Be sure to check with your state labor office for state-specific poster requirements, as well as any industry-specific requirements that may apply to your business. You should also check with your local municipal government, as certain localities may require additional workplace postings.
Mistake #2: Posting Outdated Posters
Workplace posters are updated from time to time–for example, to reflect changes in the law–so make it a regular practice to check whether the posters displayed in your workplace are the most recent versions available.
Mistake #3: Posting the Wrong-Sized Poster
Many of the agency links to required workplace posters contain specific information regarding a poster’s size. If you have any questions regarding the required size of a poster, contact the DOL or the applicable state or local agency.
Mistake #4: Hanging Posters in the Wrong Place
Workplace posters must generally be displayed in a prominent location where all employees can see them, but some posters may have special location requirements. Check for specific requirements for the posters you must display, and choose each poster’s placement carefully.

How to Handle Employee Attendance During Bad Weather

Snow and slippery conditions during the winter months may make it difficult for your employees to travel to work. Consider the following guidelines that can help your company be prepared when bad weather strikes.

1. When an employee misses work due to bad weather conditions, whether the employee is entitled to be paid for the absence may depend on the employee’s exempt or non-exempt status.
Under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers are not required to pay non-exempt employees for hours they did not work, including when the office is closed due to bad weather.
Exempt employees generally must be paid their full salary amount if they perform any work during a workweek. However, an employer that remains open for business during a period of bad weather may generally make deductions, for full-day absences only, from the salary of an exempt employee who chooses not to report to work because of the weather. Deductions from salary for less than a full-day’s absence are not permitted.
If the business is closed for the day as a result of inclement weather, the employer may not deduct the day’s pay from the salary of an exempt employee. The general rule is that an employer who closes operations due to a weather-related emergency or other disaster for less than a full workweek must pay an exempt employee the full salary for that week, if the employee performs any work during the week. This is because deductions may not be made for time when work is not available.
2. Some states require employers to pay employees for showing up even if no work is available or there is an interruption of work and the employee is sent home.
Although payment for time not worked may not be required for non-exempt employees under federal law, some states do require that employees be paid for a minimum number of hours for reporting to work, even if there is no work that can be performed (such as when the office is closed) or the employee is sent home early, for instance, due to an impending storm.
Often called "reporting time pay," these laws may apply to specific industries (e.g., manufacturing) or certain employees only, so it is important to check with your state labor department for requirements that may apply to your company before implementing any policy.
3. Plan ahead to let your employees know what is expected of them and to help minimize disruption to your business.
Make it a priority to notify all of your employees, both exempt and non-exempt, of your company’s policy regarding employee attendance and pay during periods of inclement weather. Your policy should include information on how your employees can find out whether the office is open or closed, such as by email, radio broadcast, calling in to hear a recorded message, or other methods that all employees can access. Be sure to apply your policy consistently and fairly to all employees.
It’s also prudent to remind employees to use their best judgment and not to put their safety at risk when it comes to traveling to work during or after a storm. If possible, see if you can arrange for employees to work remotely from home on days when the weather makes travel dangerous.

Your company could be writing this letter next year!

Dirk,

Thank you for all your assistance with our business this year.   Your continued support and guidance has helped us identify areas to improve, what is working, and to plan ahead for future growth.  The tools you have shared with us have given us the ability to learn and execute our plan.   You always have a unique perspective when we have a challenge to overcome or a decision to make.   I have come to rely on your advice and humor to get me over the hump when thinks stack up.

That you for your genuine concern for our progress and personal care you put into each member of our group.   I would recommend The Fremont Group to anyone in business.   Your service has kept us on track!

Sincerely,

Dana Beck

Entropy Coating Solutions – ECS

A Division of Construction By Design Group, LLC.

CEO

12/15/15

Follow The Fremont Group on Facebook!

Do you use Facebook?  Check us out!  Learn about discounts, management, and many useful topics.

Year-End Discount on Services

As year ends our non-profit has subsidy money to use.  Existing clients and new clients will all receive a 10% match on all payments received by December 15th!  Those of you with balances can take advantage of this discount and new clients have the opportunity to start at less than existing 2015 rates!  New clients should also be aware that there will be a price increase for new clients starting in 2016 that you can avoid–once you are a client your fees never change!

Act now and let us know if you are interested!

The Fremont Group

www.tfginfo.org
303 338 9300

What do Small Business Management Consultants Do?

Small business owners fall into three categories.  The first are owners who have successfully used consultants or mentors and continue to do so; the second are owners who used expensive, private consulting firms who flew in a couple of people, charged an arm and a leg and left nothing but a binder; and the last are owners who have never used management consultants.

Owners who have a solid relationship with a person who has on-going interaction with them and seem to care as much about their business as they do have found an invaluable resource.  These are generally the most successful of the three groups of owners.  Owners who have been burned discredit the value of the industry but then I once had an AMC Pacer and that didn’t mean that all cars are bad!  The last group generally doesn’t understand what a consultant can do for them.

The Fremont Group is a non-profit.  Our fees are significantly below the private firms such as Legacy Analytics, ABS, CBS, Global Resources, HMMC, and others.  A first rule is that you should never make a major investment in consulting until you have met the person with whom you will be working.  Use our “Search” function and find posts regarding how to hire a consultant.  Recent successful projects completed by our Success Partners include:

Management Committee Development, Team Building, Forms and Procedures, Taking Your Business to the Next Level, Executive Development and Counseling, Financing Packages, Positioning for Value, Sales Focus, Gaining Financial Control, AR/AP and Inventory Controls, Transition to Family Member(s), Mergers and Acquisitions, Survival Plans, Controlled Sustainable Growth, Management Retreats, and Handling Divorce and Your Business.

Other topics also include:

image

No one is perfect—turn your weakest area into your strength and transform your business.  Give us a call 303 338 9300

Time for your Annual Check Up!!!

The health of your business is as important as your personal health.  The Fremont Group offers annual business physicals—an independent check-up of your systems, procedures and controls and the results might be the most important thing that you have ever done.  Head off future problems; address current problems; and get solid recommendations from an independent third party.  Nominal cost of travel is well worth the investment.  Give us a call at 303 338 9300.

Scam or The Answer? Management Consulting Firms who call

There is a controversial industry of small business management consulting.  Many have found it to be an expensive scam yet others have found it as “the answer” that they have sought.  Very few small businesses are yet to receive a phone call from such a firm offering a 2-day “business survey” for a nominal cost that will identify savings for you company.  This results in a salesperson arriving attempting to sell you management consulting for $300 per hour per person, travel and other expenses—over $25,000 per week.  Owners who report this as a scam signed the contract before they really understood the cost; owners who are happy had businesses capable of shouldering the cost and had immediate needs.  The quality of these firms varies tremendously and some simple rules will help you make a better decision.

  1. What are your needs?  Do you have an emergency need that must be addressed immediately or are your issues more structural and require a long-term fix?  Can your issues be solved through an intensive couple of weeks work with professionals or are you better off with a long-term relationship?  Do not sign a contract which provides a fix that doesn’t match your issues.
  2. Who is going to do your work?  Does it really make sense to commit to thousands of dollars of fees to a person that you have never met?  If they try to tell you that it does—run the other way!
  3. Did you get references?  Have you checked the internet?  Have you called the references?  (Remember that some companies actually have “shill” references!)  Do your research but most of all, follow your “gut feel.”  Does it seem like this person can help you?

Consulting firms are divided into two groups: those that generate short-term consulting clients and those who develop long-term relationships with their clients. Effective management consulting for small business owners is the development of a long-term relationship between themselves and a competent professional who is able to counsel them in the management of their business. The Institute of Management Consultants recommends that when making the determination as to whether or not to hire a management consultant use common sense—meet the person before committing and make sure that the consultant is in it with you for the long-term.

Are you an Entrepreneur or a Neopreneur?

By Dirk Dieters, Executive Director of The Fremont Group

The term “entrepreneur” has been hijacked!  It has been stolen and unfortunately it is so far gone that it won’t come back.  Over my 20 years working with small business owners there is a disturbing trend among the younger owners—they have never learned how to make a profit.  The merger mania of the 80’s followed by the high tech boom made millionaires out of people who never made money.  Today the term “entrepreneur” is associated with people who had an idea, found a backer with a lot of money, created a level of sales volume and hype, and then made their money by being bought out.  Compare that to 100 years ago.  In 1912 President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Columbus, Ohio. 

The great mass of  business is of course done by men whose business is either small or of moderate size.”  These people he called entrepreneurs.  He went on to say that this man is “in no sense dangerous to his community, just because he is an integral part of his community, bone of its’ bone and flesh of its’ flesh.  His life fibers are intertwined with the life fibers of his fellow citizens.”  These businessmen are “satisfied with a legitimate profit.”

These businessmen were the builders of our communities.  Generally their objective was to made a good living and pass the business opportunity on to their children.  A business run with the objective is run very differently from a person who is focused upon an “exit strategy” that involves a big pile of cash regardless of the profitability of their venture.  This shift in focus has destroyed the fabric of our communities and is resulting in less successful small businesses.  For the first time, 2014 saw more businesses close than businesses being created.  Fact is—if by today’s definition you are an “entrepreneur” who is planning to make their money by selling out, The Fremont Group is not for you.  And since the new definition isn’t going away we need a new word.  We have created the word—neopreneur.  Whatever is old is new again.

The neopreneur supports his or her family from the profit of their business.  They understand that their chances of being bought out with a big payday are about the same as winning the lottery.  They may not be passing the business on to their children and they have an exit strategy but their focus is to make money now.  The Fremont Group wants to work with neopreneurs.  The fundamentals of profitability have never changed but the tools have improved them.  We create systems, procedures and controls that make your life better.  We believe that there is only one reason for your business to exist—to make your life better.  If you spend your day looking to raise millions of dollars you aren’t spending your days trying to make money.

Give us a call.  As a non-profit you will be amazed at the results that can be obtained from a very reasonable investment.  303 338 9300

Managing Working Capital

The Fremont Group would like to share a NYT article about non-bank sources of working capital – the cash needed to run your business while wating for invoices to be paid. New online lenders are proliferating, often extending credit based on invoiced revenue. One online lender we support is The Finance Store. Bank loans cause you to lose time and waste effort filling out miles of paperwork and then they leave you hanging on for a decision. Online lenders are much more flexible, leaving you to use your time most effectively – running your business.