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Deck the Office Halls...and Avoid Damage
A little festive cheer can boost office morale and make surroundings more appealing to employees and customers. With this in mind, many businesses decorate for the holidays; however, it's important to also keep safety in mind. Unsafe decorating practices can lead to personal injury or property damage. To avoid these disasters and the ensuing claims, use the following precautions:

The gift of gravity: Don't take chances when stringing lights on doorways or windows. Rolling office chairs do not make good step stools. Always use a stable, well-positioned ladder to reach decorative heights.

A sprinkling of good cheer: As you decorate, it might be tempting to hang items from sprinkler heads. Don't do it. The decorations can prevent the system from working properly.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire: Do you plan to plug in lights or other electrical décor? Inspect all cords before using them. If any items have frayed cords, exposed wiring, or damaged prongs, do not use them. These pose a fire hazard.

An extended holiday: If you need to use extension cords for your decorations, be careful about placement. Avoid stringing these cords in high-traffic areas or under rugs, as they can create a tripping hazard.

Stuffed with goodies: Be careful not to overload circuits when powering electrical decorations. You may cause shorts that damage office equipment or cause overheating that starts a fire.

To all a good night: Put a system in place to ensure all indoor and outdoor electrical decorations are turned off at the end of the day or before everyone leaves the building.

Teamwork on the Fly: Learning to Collaborate with Just about Anyone
In today's 24/7 world, companies depend on remote workers, diverse markets, and global interactions.

Many of us find ourselves frequently teaming with different people, coordinating and collaborating across geographic, disciplinary, linguistic, sectoral, and societal boundaries.

Consider that a typical hospitalized patient is seen by some 60 different providers over the course of a stay. These professionals may come from different specialties, different backgrounds, and different areas of expertise. They may not even know one another, but they work as a team to provide appropriate, timely patient care.

Members of such fluid teams may not have fixed roles or even fixed deliverables. They often come together to deal with urgent, complex, unpredictable issues.

They may be individuals from different professions, different organizations, even different nations, who find themselves working together in the face of a natural disaster, a health emergency, a complicated rescue, a refugee crisis, or some other situation. Despite language barriers, cultural differences, professional egos, and myriad physical challenges, these pseudo teams often produce remarkable results.

So, what does successful teaming require? What's the secret sauce? Researchers point to "true grit" characteristics such as dedication, perseverance, and goal orientation.

Of course, leadership is important, too, but here there is a caveat. Experts note that teaming leaders must exhibit extraordinary situational humility and a willingness to defer to others. They must develop a mind-set of inclusivity rather than competition. Solutions and ideas can come from anywhere, so leaders must be curious, humble, willing to listen, willing to take risks, and open to trying different approaches.

Secrets to a Successful Start-up
Before launching a small business, it is important to develop a sound business plan laying out how you will structure, operate, and grow your business. You'll need it to convince people to invest in and work for your company, as well as to keep the firm on track as you grow. Here are some winning tips to develop this plan:

A simple, one-page business plan should include a vision statement, a mission statement, objectives and goals, basic operational strategies, a proposed budget, a preliminary marketing plan, and a simple action plan.

Be realistic about how much capital you'll need to fund your business and determine where/how you will acquire it. Draft a preliminary budget and open a business bank account.

Decide on a business structure. The legal structure you choose for your business will impact your business registration requirements, your tax liability, and your personal liability. Register your business, obtain federal and state tax IDs, and apply for necessary licenses and permits to make your business legally compliant.

Do some market research on trends and competitors in your sector. Both brick-and-mortar and online businesses need a website, an SEO strategy, and a marketing plan.

If yours is a service-based business, get involved with the local chamber of commerce or small-business chapter and take advantage of opportunities to present your business to the community. Make presentations, speak at local events, or provide distributable marketing materials. Network with potential customers and capitalize on every opportunity to turn your idea into a successful business.

Growing Company? New Business = New Insurance Needs
Is your business experiencing growth? While this is good news for the entrepreneur, it also comes with challenges. As your business grows, it undergoes changes and encounters new needs. As you adjust your revenue projections, expand your market, and invest for continued growth, don't forget another area that should be examined. It's likely that your insurance needs are also changing.

To ensure your coverage adequately matches your current risks, remain in close communication with your insurance provider. Your agent can make recommendations for appropriate changes to your policies. Consult with your agent if you experience any of the following situations that often warrant an adjustment in insurance coverage:

Staff changes: Are you hiring additional staff? Have you transitioned from part-time staff to full-time employees? Are your workers taking on new duties? As you bring on new employees or expand work tasks, it's important to update your insurance policies to reflect these changes. Appropriate coverage is necessary to protect you and your business if workplace injuries should occur.

New address: Have you outgrown your location? Relocating to a new setting to accommodate your expanding business involves a lot of work. In the midst of moving, don't forget to update your insurance. The new building may have a different risk profile that alters the coverage you need.

New features such as security systems may also affect your premiums. Before you choose a new location, discuss the insurance ramifications with your agent so you can budget appropriately.

Equipment upgrades: The equipment your business uses directly affects your insurance premium. If you purchase new equipment to meet growing needs or update old equipment to modernize your business, you must also update your insurance policy.

Expanded services: Are you offering new services or new items? This can affect your liability. Review your current list of goods and services with your insurance agent to verify that you still have appropriate coverage. Add further liability coverage if needed to protect your business from new or additional risk.

Increased revenue: If your business is growing, you are likely experiencing an increase in revenue. While this is good news, it can affect your insurance needs. Keep an eye on policy limits to make sure they remain in alignment with your revenue streams. As you grow, you will probably need to increase coverage limits. Consult with your agent to determine when this bump in coverage should occur.

Specialized growth: Consider any unique needs of your business based on your industry and the types of products and services you offer. As you expand these specialties, you may need to alter your insurance coverage with more specific policies.

For example, if you have grown from a mom-and-pop paper-invoicing shop to a fully digital enterprise, you may want to consider adding cyber insurance.

Vehicle additions: Whether you add a company car for your own use or expand your fleet of delivery vehicles, it's essential to update your commercial vehicle insurance coverage.

The policy details will depend on the type of vehicles you purchase, how they are used, and who will be driving them. Work with your insurance agent to create policies that are suited to your growing needs.
How to Win Big in Today's Economy
The altered economic landscape presents innovative and nimble businesses with opportunities to thrive.
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Worth Reading
Five Warning Signs That Mean You Shouldn't Take the Job
By Kema Christian-Taylor
It's an all-too-common mistake that people on the job hunt make: being too focused on getting an offer and neglecting to find the right fit. Thankfully, choosing the wrong job can be prevented if you know what warning signs to look out for. These red flags include high turnover rates and a job that doesn't align with your career goals. Learn more about these warning signs.

Nine Reasons CEOs Should Hire Introverts
By Geoffrey James


Did you know that introverts are more likely than extroverts to have the characteristics commonly associated with ideal employees? According to decades of research, introverted people are generally and consistently more creative, they're more reliable, and they tend to work better in teams. Learn more about what sets introverts apart in the workplace and the science that backs it all up.

Unexpected Smart Tech Tools to Help Your Small Business
By Brian Hughes


You might be surprised to learn that there are plenty of inexpensive smart technologies available right now that can help you and your business save time and money. It's true! Whether you're trying to cut back on your utility expenses or looking to improve your customer service, there's a smart tech solution for you. Learn more.

Goal Setting
Have you made any New Year's resolutions? These year-end declarations are often more whimsical than winning. To set goals that will truly impact your business in 2019, tap into these resources:

Not sure how to get started with goal setting? Here are four simple steps:
4 Goal-Setting Tips for Entrepreneurs

For many, goal setting isn't an issue. It's the motivation and action to complete them that pose a challenge. Find out how to overcome these obstacles:
Motivation And Massive Action: Your Goal-Setting Playbook

Do your goals look far enough into the future? Learn the secrets to long-term goals:
3 Ways To Plan For The Very Long Term

Your current goal-setting methods might be holding you back. Find out how:
5 Ways Your Goal-Setting Is Holding You Back

Are you following bad goal-setting advice? This article debunks some common myths:
3 Popular Goal-Setting Techniques Managers Should Avoid
This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter.
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