TUESDAY, MARCH 6, 2018
Businesses face a slew of risks, annually. Even if you’re an optimist, you should prepare for the worst. One of the ways to do so is with business insurance. Before deciding on a policy, you should pinpoint the biggest dangers to your business. Below, we’ve outlined the five biggest pitfalls you might fact as a business provider.
Step One: Defend Against Lawsuits
If you’re running a business, you’ll eventually face the risk of lawsuits. Sometimes, these might arise completely out of the blue. Between workplace accidents, wrongful termination, libel and workers’ compensation, your business has a lot of legal responsibilities. To protect it, you’ll need to purchase a targeted business liability policy. A liability policy can cover any legal fees you might face. It can also pay for any damages.
Step Two: Change Business Tactics with Care
Bankrate.com has covered a number of ways to avoid business-related pitfalls. They urge business owners to insure against their specific risks. Unfortunately, these risks change. They change often.
As your business grows, you might forget about the policies protecting it. Know the risks your business faces. Insure against them. Always be ready to change your policies, because not doing so might leave gaps in your coverage.
Step Three: Defend Against Property Loss
Your business’s property is in danger at all times, and it’s your responsibility to protect it. Make sure you’re auditing your physical locations, processes and assets. Also, invest in a business owners’ policy to cover any damages your assets might face. Between storms, fire and other disasters, property damage happens far too often.
Step Four: Protect the Workplace from Injury
Workplace injuries, meanwhile, can result in surprising medical costs. They can also lead to lost productivity, inflate insurance premiums and spawn lawsuits. As part of your business protection plan, make sure you’re protecting your workplace from slip-and-fall-accidents, leaks and even structural damages.
Step Five: Reduce the Chance of Reputation Loss
Reputation loss, surprisingly, is a devastating expense. If your business fails to maintain a solid reputation, it can lose employees. Even worse, it can lose valuable sales to competitors. While a business’s goodwill isn’t directly impacted by a business insurance policy, staying legally safe can certainly protect you from possible reputation loss.
Update your business insurance policy regularly, and double-check with your provider before picking a comprehensive coverage package. Your business’s safety comes first, and you—as its owner—deserve as much coverage as possible. For more information, contact one of our agents today.
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2018
Why is it that some businesses fail quickly, while others turn into multi-million dollar companies?
As the owner, you have more power than you might think. One way to make sure that you have a successful business is to follow best practices from others. Here are six habits you can put in place today:
1. Focus on one task at a time. Science has shown that multitasking is a myth. You can work faster and get better results when your mind focuses on one thing at a time. Each afternoon, make a list with your top two priorities for the next day. Then block out time so you can work on them with extreme focus.
2. Protect your time. This is how you'll accomplish focusing on a single task. Put your phone in airplane mode, turn off email and social media notifications. Shut your office door and set a timer for 30 to 60 minutes. Buckle down and work only on the project at hand. When the time is up, get up from you desk and take a short break. Drink some water, do some stretches. Then do another focused block of work.
3. Follow a written budget. Financial worries can turn a good day into a bad one real fast. Losing a client due to budget cuts. Finding out the manufacturing costs 30% more than you'd expected. These things happen. Be prepared by working regularly with an accountant. They can help you create a working budget and retained earnings account.
4. Be positive. You're bombarded with bad news as soon as you turn on your computer. The world seems to thrive on it. It's sad, but you can't let yourself dwell on it. Keep a notepad with an ongoing list of things for which you're grateful. Also note your "wins" of the day, and ways in which you gave or received generosity. Read over these daily and anytime you feel down.
5. Don't do everything by yourself. You might start out as a one-person business, but don't keep it that way. As your business grows you'll need to pass of some of your work. This may be a virtual assistant to manage email and website projects. A house cleaner to clean once a week so you can focus on work. Outsource tasks that are better done by someone else.
6. Have proper amounts of insurance at all times. Not only will this include business insurance to protect your business assets, but home, health and life as well. Bad things happen to good people. Make sure that you have insurance no matter what happens. This is key to allowing you, your team and your family to get back on track after something happens.
Follow these six habits and you'll be on your way to being as successful as possible.
THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2018
As a business, you strive to provide your customers with outstanding service. You make your prices affordable. You offer something new, unique, or otherwise desirable. When you hand it to the customer, you expect it to solve their problem. Sometimes, this does not happen. The product may fail to work. It may cause injury to the user. When this happens, your business insurance may offer some financial protection.
Product Liability Coverage
When a product causes loss to the customer, a component of your business insurance may help to pay for that loss. This is a component of your liability insurance. Product liability insurance can also be a rider or additional coverage. It extends your protection here. Your first step is to ensure you have adequate coverage. Speak to your insurer about the types of products you sell. Be sure to discuss the types of risks possible. Once it is in place, your next goal is to know what to do when an incident occurs.
When a Claim Occurs
Your customer calls you. The product you sold to that person did not work. It caused an injury to someone. Or, perhaps the product damaged their home. When you have an individual with a claim like this, you will need to document the details of the incident. Gather as much information about what happened and how it happened. Here are some other guidelines.
- Whenever possible, get the item back from the customer. This is evidence. Your insurer will likely want to have this if possible. Your customer does not have to give it to you, though.
- Gather the name and contact information from the individual. While you can make statements such as "I'm sorry this happened to you," never say, "I'm sorry our product failed or did this to you." Your goal is to avoid admitting guilt.
- Gather all information about the incident. If possible, ask for the individual to stop by to provide you with more info.
Then, contact your business insurance agent. They will handle processing the claim. If the claim is not factual or has errors, the agent might help you fix them. However, other agents may not honor incorrect claims.
It is important to make sure your employees know this process as well. Your insurance is likely to pay for the damage if there is reason to believe it was due to an unavoidable and unpreventable product failure. And, your agent will provide you with feedback about what happened. They will help you determine how to file the right claim and make changes for the future. For more information on product liability coverage, our website can help you do your research.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 14, 2018
Whether it's a new year, new quarter or new month, business goals probably come to mind. Maybe you're crushing them; maybe not. If you find yourself in the later group, here's a way to help you make goals that you can achieve.
Specific: Your goal needs to be specific. Don't just say that you want to make a lot of money this year. Write down that you want to be earning $8,000 each month by the end of the year. When you get to December 31 and your earnings for the last twelve months have been going up you know you did well. If the last three months all exceeded $8,000 you know you've met your goal. Likewise if each month you've been earning $5,000 this means you're doing well but haven't yet met your target.
Measurable: You need to be able to track some metrics like income. You could also track customers. Say you have a house cleaning business that has 10 clients. You want to be working full time by the end of the quarter. You'll need to double that to get 20 clients. This is a metric that you can easily track. Another goal might be to review insurance policies. You need to be clear so that you know when you're done. Your goal can be review business insurance, auto insurance and life insurance for better coverage.
Attainable: There's no sense in making a goal if you can't meet it. A small mom and pop restaurant in a town of 10,000 people is not likely going to bring in $1 million in revenue in a year. When you're starting up your new business, you will find that you need to have more than a four hour work week you dream of.
Read Often: Write out your goals and review them often. You might find that rewriting them weekly keeps you focused on them. At the very least, keep them in a prominent place so you see them daily and keep them top of mind.
Time Bound: Goals that have no time frame are dreams. You need to make it your goal to have hired an assistant by June 30. Or you will sell thirty houses in the first quarter of the year. Also remember that work expands to fill the amount of time that's available. Keep your deadline as short as realistically possible. If you need to design new business cards, make it a goal to have them done in two weeks. There's only a slim chance that they'll get done in two weeks if you allow yourself four.
Use this SMART framework for all your business goal setting and you'll find that you achieve more than ever before.