Most BSCs have safe-driving policies for their employees, but does yours include cell-phone use? A publisher of a legal newspaper suggests companies ban cell-phone use by their drivers, lest they be held responsible for any accidents. For instance, a Virginia law firm is being sued for $30 million because one of its employees, while talking on a cell phone and driving, struck and killed a pedestrian, according to Lawyers Weekly USA.

“More companies are telling their employees not to talk on the phone and drive. As the number of mobile phones goes up, so are the accidents, and businesses could really become targets for their employees’ actions while talking and driving,” says publisher Tom Harrison. “Recent statistics and studies show people using a cell phone are a danger behind the wheel because their focus is not totally on driving. If an innocent person gets hurt and a cell phone user is driving, a jury could reach out and wring the employee’s company financially.”

Currently, the state of New York and many U.S. cities are considering or have enacted bans on hand-held cell phone use while driving. Both houses of Congress have introduced similar legislation.

Radio personalities “Click and Clack,” (Tom and Ray Magliozzi, hosts of NPR’s “Car Talk” show), have launched the “Drive Now, Talk Later” campaign to combat behind-the-wheel cell phone use.

Perk Up Your Site
Adding certain “freebies” or extras to your Web site could help keep customers coming back for more. Click here where you’ll find helpful hints such as:

  • Set up a ‘daily click’ section that draws people to your site on a daily basis by using daily stock quotes, lottery numbers, horoscopes, etc.
  • Implement a reward program for your users, either for referring other members or for clicking client banners, hyperlinks and tiles.
  • Add an ‘ask the expert’ section. Make sure to respond promptly.

Irwin Pollack is a sales, advertising and marketing consultant and trainer.

Increase Your Software Arsenal
Take a look at your company’s information-technology network. Chances are, whether you have one computer or hundreds, you have a word processor, spreadsheet, Internet software, an accounting package, and possibly some payroll or desktop-publishing software. You even may have some programs specific to BSCs, such as bidding and estimating, workloading or inventory management.

But these programs just scratch the surface of what’s out there for owners and managers of small and mid-sized businesses. And while you may not need every new program to hit the market, you may want to consider adding some additional software to help run your business more smoothly.

  • Human Resources Information System (HRIS): More than just a payroll program, HRIS integrates almost every aspect of personnel management into one software package. Training, attendance, organizational charts, grievances, injuries and more can be recorded into an HRIS.
  • Safety software: Keeping up with government regulations, especially standards from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), can be a time-consuming task. Several software companies market complete compliance suites, which include OSHA regulations, material safety data sheets, incident reports and other safety-related features.
  • Routing software: If a significant number of your employees perform route work, consider using routing software to plot the best course. One such package, Dynamic Mobile Data, uses wireless technology so someone in the office can transmit schedule and route changes to a route worker’s wireless device (such as a Palm Pilot). Dynamic Mobile Data is the product of a partnership between Dynamic Mobile Data Systems Inc. and InterGis.
  • Scheduling and contact-management software: Most business owners have some way of keeping track of their appointments, whether it’s a Dayrunner or a calendar program. But sophisticated contact-management software also can remind users when to call a new sales prospect, as well as keep track of the outcome of the call. More expensive packages even allow other users to access the data, so sales, customer service and operations all can be on the same page.