Monthly Archives: June 2017

Write Job Descriptions That Work

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Hiring a new employee can be stressful. From posting the position, to screening applicants and even on to training, a lot of time and energy is invested in the individual you select. This is why the job description you post can be incredibly important: it can ensure that you receive candidates who are really going to fit the mold you’ve built for a new employee. Here are some tips for writing a job description that works for you.

Compliance: There are some laws that dictate what must be included in a job description, including an equal opportunity statement. Make sure you’re aware of what rules apply to you and the job you’re posting.

Be Careful in Your Word Choice: When listing job requirements, especially, it is important to use verbiage that reflects the nature of the requirement. Consider saying the employee will be required to be able to “move” 50 lbs. rather than “lift” 50 lbs. so as to not exclude potential employees who could perform the task with the assistance of a dolly.

Keep Job Descriptions Up to Date: Perhaps when you were initially looking for a new employee you were needing someone to take on some functions of accounting, but an existing employee has added that task to their workload. If that skill is no longer needed, removing it ensures the job description is accurate for any who may apply.

Be Real About the Job: Don’t try to sell anyone on the position (sell them on your company, though!). Glossing over unpleasant duties or leaving them out altogether is unfair to the applicant and to you when the employee end sup finding a job elsewhere because they got more than they signed up for.

List Essential Functions Clearly: By law, employees must be able to perform the essential functions of the position with or without accommodation. If there are additional functions you’d like to inform applicants of, do it separate from the essential functions list to ensure you don’t accidentally exclude a potential employee with a disability who is able to perform the essential functions of the position.

Call AmeriAgency for the best advice and rates for business insurance at 615-209-9362.

Taking Smart Risks For Small Businesses

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By nature, risk taking is necessary to the growth, and stability of your business. But, as any gambler knows, when you take risks, you can lose. It’s important to learn how to take risks that sustain and grow your business and that minimize the potential of losses.

Plot Your Goals: What are you aiming to get from this risky decision? Make sure you’ve written those goals down, and have someone look them over with you for perspective.

Determine Your Potential Losses: Smart risk taking does not involve risking your entire business for growth. Before you leap into a risky situation, cover your bases. Do you have the cash to run your business for 6 months? What exactly do you stand to lose if things don’t turn out the way you hoped?

Plan it Out: You need a plan that takes into account every obstacle and issue that may come up and how you should face it. Take your time to really think this through and map out your every step.

Review: Once you’ve taken the risk, evaluate the choices you made in the process. Were you slow to make adjustments? Was the risk profitable? Will it be profitable in the future for your business? And in the end, it all comes down to: Was it worth the risk?

Call AmeriAgency today for help covering your risks at 615-209-9362.  

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Make An Impact In Meetings – Overcome Shyness

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Did you hate speech class?  Meetings are a place where multiple employees who may not generally communicate in person come together. As such, it’s an opportunity to build your reputation in your company, as well as foster trust between colleagues. However, if you struggle with shyness or a lack of confidence, it can be difficult for you to seize that opportunity.    If this is a problem that affects you, these 5 tips may help.

  1. Be Prepared. The greatest boost to your confidence is knowing the material you’ll be discussing backwards and forwards. Write down ideas you may want to bring up. You can even practice saying them aloud, like memorizing a script.
  2. Weigh in on Topics You Know. If the meeting is about marketing efforts and you are the one who analyzed the numbers that are being discussed, this is the perfect time for you to weigh in. Use your experience to inform the opinion you share in the meeting.
  3. Be Careful of the Words You Use. Some words and phrases take away from the confidence you feel about what you’re communicating. Your question isn’t stupid, you know what you’re talking about and you have every right to speak.
  4. Build up to it. By creating goals for how much you plan to contribute in each meeting, you can slowly build up to full engagement, without the fear.
  5. Have a “Pre-Meeting.” If you know someone else who will be a part of that meeting, you can meet up with them ahead of time and discuss the topic of the meeting. Often, the person you pre-meet with will call you out in the meeting to speak because they know you have something valuable to add.

For a meeting with the best auto, home and business insurance agents call AmeriAgency at 615-209-9362.

2017 CONSTRUCTION TECH UPDATE TO 2016 TRENDS

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2016 CONSTRUCTION TECH TRENDS UPDATES FOR 2017

While it’s going to take a year to see how the 2017 tech trends play out, we thought we’d update you on the trends we reviewed last year:

  1. Remote surveillance: Check out these new theft prevention solutions at Construction Equipment. Most are designed for remote surveillance.
  2. Drones: Here are some of the latest construction applications from Construction Executive.
  3. Wearables: Yet another application where the cloud is mandatory.
  4. BIM: It’s not just for large-scale builders anymore.
  5. Unified Communications: Another trend that depends on the cloud…
  6. 3-D printing: Still much promise but actual practice remains foggy.
  7. Digital documentation: 92% growth for one firm in 2016.
  8. Vehicle-Mounted Cameras: How about a public video stream accessible to anyone?
  9. Mobile Field Service Software: Still growing at a CAGR of 11.3% until 2020.
  10. Business Intelligence: A byproduct of big data, business intelligence will continue to grow in parallel with the cloud and IoT.

Call AmeriAgency today to work with Tennessee’s

leading construction insurer at 615-209-9362.  

Five Ways To Save Money: Including on Your Insurance

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1. Review your service plans

How long has it been since you reviewed your cellphone plan? If it’s been a while, you might be surprised by how much of what you’re paying for goes to waste every month. If you’re paying for way more service than you actually use, check with your provider and see if there’s a less expensive plan that would be perfectly adequate for your needs.

Next, take a look at other service providers with regular monthly charges — this could include your internet provider, your gym, Netflix, your landline phone service, etc. See if these providers also offer less expensive plans that would work just as well for you, and make the switch.

2. Review your insurance policies

Looking at your insurance policies annually is a good idea for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that you can easily cut costs by either cutting out features you don’t need or switching to a provider who offers the same features at a lower price. One way to get a better deal is by getting multiple insurance policies through the same company: Many insurance providers will give you a “package deal” if you buy, say, both your homeowners insurance and your car insurance through the provider. If you’re not sure what features you really need, call your insurance agent and ask for advice.

AmeriAgency offers both advice and bundled policies for savings.

3. Review your financial services

The financial industry is highly competitive, so a lot of banks and brokerages offer extraordinarily good deals to lure you away from your current provider. For bank accounts, look for the highest possible interest rates paired with low or no fees. For brokerage accounts, consider switching to an online discount broker — or, if you already work with a discount broker, shop around and see if you can find one that will give you an even deeper discount.

If you really like your current bank or brokerage but find a better deal elsewhere, call up or visit your current provider and tell them about the great deal you could get elsewhere — then ask if they can do anything for you to keep your business. Odds are, your provider will be willing to waive some fees or otherwise incentivize you to stay.

4. Automate your savings

It’s time to look at the numbers you wrote down in the previous three steps. Freeing up this money is a great first step, but unless you intervene, that extra money is likely to vanish right out of your pockets. To keep that from happening, set up an automatic transfer for the exact amount of the money you’ve managed to trim off your various expenses so that the funds will go directly into your savings account.

Nearly all banks will allow you to set up automatic transfers in a variety of forms. For example, rather than doing a once-a-month automatic transfer, you may find it easier to divide the total amount you’ll be saving by 30 and do small transfers every day. That keeps your checking account from taking a sudden, large hit every month — which could be a disaster if you forget it’s coming.

5. There’s an app for that

Want to do even more of that painless saving? Quite a few companies are now offering free savings apps that use algorithms to find the fat in your budget and transfer it away to safety. One of the most popular savings apps is Digit Opens a New Window., a program that analyzes your checking account history to determine how much extra money you have and then automatically transfers the excess into a special savings account every two or three days. Digit’s savings account does not pay interest, so plan to move the money into a different savings account on a regular basis.

If you want to get a bit more aggressive about saving, consider Acorns Opens a New Window., an app that rounds up all your purchases to the nearest dollar and invests the change in low-cost index funds. (The app is free, but this company charges an investment fee of $1 per month; savers under the age of 24 and students can get this fee waived).

What to do with your savings

Once you’ve gotten into the habit of tucking away money on a regular basis, you’ll soon have a respectable balance in your savings accounts. After a certain point, leaving all the money in a bank savings account may not be the wisest idea. You should definitely hang on to a minimum of three to six months’ worth of expenses in savings in case of emergency.

Call AmeriAgency for advice on insurance and you may save up to 15% today.

Call 615-209-9362.

 

Free Music In Nashville

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10 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Einstein

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1. He renounced his German citizenship when he was 16.

From an early age, Albert Einstein loathed nationalism of any kind and considered it preferable to be a “citizen of the world.” When he was 16, he renounced his German citizenship and was officially state-less until he became a Swiss citizen in 1901.

 

2. He married the only female student in his physics class.

Mileva Marić was the only female student in Einstein’s section at Zürich Polytechnic. She was passionate about math and science, and was an aspiring physicist in her own right, but she gave up those ambitions when she married Einstein and became the mother of his children.

 

3. He had a 1,427-page FBI file.

In 1933, the FBI began keeping a dossier on Albert Einstein, shortly before his third trip to the U.S. This file would grow into 1,427 pages of documents focused on Einstein’s lifelong association with pacifist and socialist organizations. J. Edgar Hoover even recommended that Einstein be kept out of America by the Alien Exclusion Act, but he was overruled by the U.S. State Department.

4. He had an illegitimate baby.

Einstein’s future wife Mileva gave birth out of wedlock to a baby girl in 1902 while staying with her family in Serbia. The baby was named Lieserl, and it’s believed by historians that she either died in infancy, probably of scarlet fever, or was given up for adoption. In all likelihood, Einstein never saw his daughter in person. Lieserl’s existence wasn’t widely known until 1987, when a collection of Einstein’s letters was made public.

 

5. He paid his first wife his Nobel Prize money for a divorce.

Anticipating winning a Nobel Prize, Einstein offered all his expected prize money to his first wife, Mileva Marić, so she would agree to grant him a divorce. The award added up to $32,250, which was more than ten times the annual salary of the average professor at the time.

 

6. He married his first cousin.

Elsa, the second Mrs. Einstein, was the daughter of Albert’s mother’s sister, making them first cousins. They were also second cousins, as Elsa’s father and Albert’s father were cousins. Her maiden name was Einstein.

 

7. He was a civil rights activist before the civil rights movement.

Einstein was a strong supporter of civil rights and free speech. When W.E.B. Du Bois was indicted in 1951 as an unregistered agent for a foreign power, Einstein volunteered to testify as a character witness on his behalf. After Du Bois’s lawyer informed the court that Einstein would appear, the judge decided to dismiss the case.

 

8. His son was institutionalized for most of his adult life.

Albert’s second son, Eduard, whom they affectionately called “Tete,” was diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized for most of his adult life. Eduard was fascinated with psychoanalysis and was a big fan of Freud. Although they corresponded in letters, Albert never saw his son again after he immigrated to the U.S. in 1933. Eduard died at the age of 55 in a psychiatric clinic.

9. He had a rocky friendship with “the father of chemical warfare.”

Fritz Haber was a German chemist who helped recruit Einstein to Berlin and would become one of Einstein’s close friends. Haber was Jewish but converted to Christianity, and preached the virtues of assimilation to Einstein before the Nazis came to power. In WWI, he developed a deadly chlorine gas, which was heavier than air and could flow down into the trenches to painfully asphyxiate soldiers by burning through their throats and lungs. Haber is sometimes referred to as the “father of chemical warfare.”

 

10. He had an affair with an alleged Russian spy.

In 1935, Einstein’s stepdaughter Margot introduced him to Margarita Konenkova, and they became lovers. In 1998, Sotheby’s auctioned nine love letters written between 1945 and 1946 from Einstein to Konenkova. According to a book written by a Russian spy master, Konenkova was a Russian agent, though historians have not confirmed this claim.

 

You do not have to be Einstein to bundle your home, auto and life insurance with AmeriAgency.  

Call us at 615-209-9362.

A Motorcycle Is More Than A Vehicle – It Is An Identity

 

Using extreme safety measures while operating a motorcycle is imperative: failing to wear a helmet or operate the vehicle correctly can result in an accident, a severe injury or even death. But following these tips can ensure a much safer motorcycle-riding experience.

Always wear a helmet
Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle is not only a non-negotiable when talking about safety, it’s illegal in most states to NOT wear one.

Monitor your speed
Following the posted speed limits of the area you’re in is very important. Riding a motorcycle already presents small room for error; the faster you’re going, the more dangerous a potential accident could be. Staying under or at the speed limit could help you avoid a ticket and, more importantly, an accident.

Be Visible and Keep your Distance
Avoid the blind spots on other vehicles to ensure friendly and safe driving. Also, don’t tail anyone. You have a lot less protection than the car or truck beside you!

Use Both Brakes
When braking on a motorcycle, use both brakes at the same time by applying them slowly and steadily. Being comfortable with using both brakes will make driving any motorcycle a much safer and easier experience.

 

Not matter what your motorcycle identity, AmeriAgency can insure you & your bike.  Call us today at 615-209-9362.

10 Tips To Reduce Your Road Rage

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Admit it, road rage has gotten the best of you at least a few times. Congested roadways or slow drivers can be frustrating when you’re in a hurry, but the dangerous effects of letting the anger sink in aren’t worth it. Just how dangerous are we talking?

The NHTSA estimates that aggressive driving behaviors contribute to approximately one-third of all car crashes and approximately two-thirds of all car crash-related fatalities. So the next time you feel your blood boiling behind the wheel, use these ten techniques to calm yourself down. You never know how many lives it can save!

  1. Get your sleep: Ever feel cranky and irritated if you don’t get a good night’s sleep? It’s not the best idea to get behind the wheel in that condition. Getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night helps you wake up feeling refreshed and energized.
  2. Give yourself extra time: Giving yourself just enough time to drive to work or an appointment doesn’t leave any wiggle room for traffic or stopping for gas. Instead, leave ten minutes early to prevent yourself from running late, which causes some people to drive with wild abandon.
  3. Call ahead: We all run a bit late from time to time. When this happens, simply call your boss or whomever you’re meeting to let them know you’re a few minutes behind schedule. This can reduce feelings of anxiety associated with running late.
  4. Avoid sudden movements: Use your turn signals to notify other drivers of lane changes and apply gradual pressure to the pedals. Sudden movements can confuse other drivers, which can escalate everyone’s level of irritation.
  5. Distract yourself from triggers: If you find yourself in a traffic jam or another frustrating situation, turn on some soothing music or an audiobook to distract your mind from whatever is causing you to feel angry.
  6. Do not tailgate: Tailgating is a dangerous behavior that can upset everyone on the road. Instead, take a few deep breathes to calm yourself until you can safely pass the driver ahead of you.
  7. Practice breathing exercises: Taking a series of controlled, deep breaths is a great way to force your body to relax. Try this any time you begin to display aggressive driving behaviors.
  8. Avoid engaging other drivers: Other drivers may try to challenge you by revving their engines, flashing their lights or honking. This often results in racing and other dangerous behaviors, so do not engage if this happens to you.
  9. Prevent eye contact: Similar to the point above, do not make eye contact with aggressive drivers because it could be interpreted as “challenge accepted.”
  10. Record your drives: You may not believe you’re getting too aggressive behind the wheel until you hear it for yourself. Record some of your drives and play back the audio later. Hearing yourself scream out at other drivers may be the wakeup call you need to rein in your anger.

These tips are a great place to start, but everyone handles their own emotions differently. How do you stay calm in a frustrating driving situation?

Call AmeriAgency today to reduce your auto insurance rate rage at

615-209-9362.