Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012


Howís Your Glass Business Doing?
How Far Into the Future Will Your Business Last?
by Paul Bieber

With 2013 just around the corner, nowís a good time to take a look at your business, what youíre currently doing and the areas in which you should focus. This little quiz could help. If you give yourself a low score on a question, itís time to think about changing that area of your business. You canít fix everything at once Ö pick one or two areas for the first half of 2013 and set your targets.

1. How much of your glass sales involves low-E or spectrally-selective glass?
o Less than 20 percent -5
o 20-39 percent -1
o 40-59 percent +3
o Above 60 percent +5

2. The glass industry is constantly changing; I spend this much time learning new products and practices:
o Less than 20 hours per year -5
o 20-40 hours per year -3
o I read USGlass and go to trade shows +1
o I attend seminars and vendor presentations +3
o I average at least four hours per week educating myself +5

3. Describe your showroom.
o Whatís a showroom? -10
o Messy, dirty -5
o Nice displays, but outdated -1
o Displays are clean and current +3
o We make big bucks in our showroom +5

4. Do you have a web and/or a Facebook site?
o No -5
o Yes +5

5. When I hire employees,
o I hire after the first interview -5
o I usually hire at the second interview -3
o I hire after doing a thorough reference and drug test +3
o I involve at least one other person, usually the department supervisor +5

6. What is the average tenure of your employees?
o Less than 2 years -5
o 2-4 years -3
o 4-6 years +3
o 6-10 years +5
o 10+ years +10

7. Which of the following best describes your profit sharing, pension plan or 401K plan?
o Skip this question, there is no plan -5
o We have a plan, but I donít contribute anything for the employees -3
o I match their contribution, up to 1-2 percent of salary +1
o I match their contribution, up to 3-5 percent of salary +3
o I match 6 percent or more of their salary +5

8. How do you handle your employeesí medical insurance?
o I donít provide any insurance -5
o I pay 50 percent or less of employee insurance -3
o I pay 50 percent or less of employee and family insurance +1
o I pay 50-75 percent, or more of employee insurance +3
o I pay 50-75 percent, or more of employee and family insurance +5

9. In handling the finances of my company,
o My bookkeeper signs all the checks -5
o It takes two signatures when I donít sign checks +3

10. I have a clear program in place to run the company if I am injured or sick.
o Iím young and healthy so I donít need this -5
o I really have thought about this, and have a rough idea in my head -3
o I have a good second-in- command, but have not taught him/her everything +1
o I give my second-in-command plenty of responsibility and let him/her run the shop when I am on vacation +5

11. How many weeks of vacation do you take?
o None -5
o 1 week -3
o 2 weeks +1
o 3-4 weeks +3
o 5 weeks or more +0

12. A customer calls your office on Saturday afternoon, around 3 p.m., asking for a quote and lead time on replacing a window,
o You, or your office, call back after the Monday morning rush, about 11 a.m. -5
o Call back first thing Monday -3
o You call back in the early evening on Saturday +3

13. I have a strong liability insurance contract, including Errors and Omission (E&O)
o What is E&O anyway, and why do I need it -5
o Liability insurance is too expensive; and I donít need it -3
o I have liability and E&O coverage equal to half my assets with a $100,000 deductible +3
o I have full liability and E&O insurance, covering 80 percent of my assets +5

-25 points or fewer: I sure hope you have a very wealthy uncle, near death, who loves you dearly.
-10 to -24 points: Start learning and implementing new management techniques and investing in a good workforce.
-9 to +9 points: You are right there in the middle and can do better for yourself and your company.
+10 to +24 points: You are trying, and succeeding in building a company that can prosper, but you have a lot to do.
+25 to +35: You are hitting homeruns often, but there are improvements to make when the economy turns around.
+36 or more: You are a superstar; keep it up.

Paul Bieber has 30 years in the glass industry, including 21 years as the executive vice president of Floral Glass in Hauppauge, N.Y., from which he retired in 2005. You can read his blog on Tuesdays at http://usgpaul.usglassmag.com.

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