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INSURANCE
Are You Underinsured? Most Small Businesses Are
A recent Manta and Insureon survey revealed that fewer than 30% of small business owners have basic business insurance. Even fewer, just 6%, have business interruption insurance, and only a rare few (2%) have cyber insurance.

This lack of insurance can be a costly mistake. These policies are essential for the proper protection of a company in today's marketplace. Here's why.

Business owner's policy: The basic coverage for a small business is a business owner's policy (BOP). This typically provides general liability and commercial property coverage. The liability portion offers protection in case a customer is injured on your property or you cause damage to a customer's property. Business and Industry Connection Magazine reports the average cost for a slip-and-fall injury is $20,000. An annual insurance premium is clearly the more affordable option.

Business interruption insurance: When disasters cause damage to a business, operations may be shut down for hours, days, or weeks. The resulting loss of income can be devastating to a company. How much revenue would you lose if you couldn't open your doors for 10 days? Business interruption insurance replaces the income lost while your business is temporarily closed.

Cyber insurance: Modern businesses are typically dependent on online services in one form or another. This makes their business vulnerable to cybercrime. A study by Kaspersky found that the average cost of a cyber breach for a small business is $86,000. These costs can be avoided with an affordable cyber insurance policy.

 
HOT BIZ TRENDS
Customer Reviews Are Crucial: Here's How to Get Good Ones
 
These days, customer reviews can make or break a small business. This means you need to actively encourage your satisfied customers to share their experiences with your company online.

Here are some tips to get you started:

Social Media

Make sure you have a presence on all major social media sites that are relevant to your business. Start with Google, Facebook, and Yelp. Then consider Bing, Angie's List, LinkedIn, Yahoo, TripAdvisor, CitySearch, and others.

Feedback

Ask your customers to give feedback. As long as you deliver as promised on your product or service, they won't mind if you ask for a review. Don't wait too long, though. Customers are more likely to provide feedback right away.

Follow-Up

Whenever possible, follow up your initial request with a reminder email containing links to suggested review sites. And anytime customers compliment you in person or via phone or email, ask them to post their feedback online.

Convenience

Make it easy for your customers. Put direct links to your review profiles in multiple places, such as in emails, in newsletters, and on your website.

Incentives

It's okay to incent, but not buy, reviews. You might offer your customers a bonus or reward of some kind, but be sure all reviews are authentic.

Review

Make sure your employees understand the importance of soliciting reviews from their customers, and be sure to monitor the reviews. You need to know what is being said about your business and where you may need to improve your level of service.

 
EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
Are You Building a Championship Team?
Because great teams are goal-oriented and imbued with a sense of purpose, team-building needs to be a holistic process.

The first step is to choose team members who can and will contribute in meaningful ways to the team's overall success. Once the team is in place, as team leader, you need to delineate the roles and responsibilities so that individuals know that their jobs matter and that they bring something unique and essential to the table.

Next, set clear, realistic short-term and long-term goals, and establish milestones and deadlines. Motivate progress toward the goals with positive reinforcement, but also know when to pivot or course-correct if necessary.

Provide continuous feedback and maintain open channels of communication. Communication fosters engagement and commitment to the team's success and also enables team members to surface ideas, suggestions, and issues that may lead to a more productive workflow.

Celebrate successes and accomplishments, but also acknowledge problems, setbacks, or concerns. This type of candor conveys the importance of working together and reaffirms each individual's responsibility to contribute to the team's success.

Ultimately, it takes vision and strong leadership to create and sustain a high-performance team. As a leader, you will have to make difficult decisions, establish standards of performance, and implement corrective action from time to time. Be aware of your leadership style and techniques. Get to know the people you work with so that you can have constructive discussions and lead your team to achieve the best outcomes.

 
INSURANCE
Rented and Personal Vehicles: Are Your Risks Covered?
 
Are you familiar with hired and non-owned auto (HNOA) insurance? If your business involves vehicle use in any way, this coverage could be crucial for your operations. Here are the FAQs.

What is HNOA insurance?

Hired and non-owned auto insurance provides coverage if an employee uses a personal or rented vehicle for business purposes.

If an employee in these circumstances is in an accident, the company for which they were driving could be held liable for damages. HNOA insurance covers this liability.

Who needs HNOA insurance?

Business owners may assume that if their employees don't use company vehicles, they don't have to worry about insurance coverage. This isn't necessarily true.

The employee's personal insurance may not always cover the full liability, in which case the litigators may go after the business for which the employee was driving at the time. This makes it important for any business with exposure to this risk to maintain HNOA insurance.

While HNOA insurance is most commonly associated with food delivery tasks, the need for HNOA goes beyond pizza and sandwich delivery. Home health care providers, consultants, contractors, and anyone else who uses their own vehicles or rented vehicles for business-related tasks or travel have HNOA exposure.

Of course, a company with a fleet of inexperienced teens delivering dinners will have a higher risk than a small business with two professionals who attend occasional client meetings. Still, the risk is there, and it should be addressed.

What can business owners do to reduce HNOA exposure?

To reduce their risk, business owners can take several steps. First, they can conduct motor vehicle record checks on employees. This task can be completed twice a year to monitor employee driving. Second, business owners can establish guidelines for who is considered an acceptable driver. The employer can use driving experience, age, and driving records as parameters to set these guidelines.

Modern technology allows for a third method that could be worthwhile for some businesses. This solution is telematics. Using this technology, an employer can monitor the activity of a vehicle and the driver's performance. The data will reveal whether drivers speed, how they brake, and other information that can be helpful in determining risk. Because they are being monitored, employees may make greater effort to drive safely. Employers can also create reward programs based on telematics data to further incentivize safe driving among employees.

Is HNOA coverage provided by a standard commercial auto insurance policy?

Business owners who have a commercial auto insurance policy may or may not be covered for HNOA situations. Previously, this coverage was often a standard part of commercial auto policies, but the rising frequency and cost of litigation have forced many providers to make it a separate policy. Business owners should check with their carriers to see what coverage is included and what is available.

What's the next step?

If you're unsure about your HNOA exposure and insurance needs, contact our office. We can provide a quick review of your policies and risks and make sure you have appropriate coverage.
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
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Worth Reading
12 Most Unusual Offers Made to Recruit a New Employee
By Young Entrepreneur Council
 
Small Biz Trends
 
Notice when a potential hire with strong credentials mentions a niche interest during the interview. Incorporating that interest into an offer letter may ensure you get the employee you want. That's one tip employers can learn from this list. Another is to leverage remote, digital working arrangements to provide more time off or an option of working while traveling.

Just Do It: How to Work When You Really Don't Feel Like It
By Aytekin Tank


Entrepreneur.com

Don't wait for motivation before starting work. Start working, and then you will find motivation. That's the main theme of this article about how to prevent procrastination. Remove emotions from your work. At the same time, create structures that will encourage you. For example, pair a pleasant ritual with a dreaded task or create a visual reminder of your accomplishments to encourage you to keep working.

10 Ways to Make Working from Home More Productive (and Free Up More Time for Yourself)
By Jeff Haden


Inc.com

Working from home can work, but you need to put in the effort to set up an environment that encourages productivity. This article gives practical advice about how to arrange your workspace and your work schedule. Communicate these things with the people you live with; this can decrease distractions and interpersonal conflict.

LINKS YOU CAN USE
This Month-Small Biz HR
Few small-business owners find it feasible to staff an entire HR department. Yet they must find a way to accomplish the tasks of HR professionals.

How? The following links shed some light on the options available to today's entrepreneurs:

A good place to start is an overview of what HR is, what HR tasks your business should provide, and the various ways you can do this:
HR for Small Business: The Ultimate Guide

Small-business software may be a good solution for your HR needs. Learn what the software should include and discover a few leading platforms here:
Best HR Software for Small Business

If payroll is particularly challenging for your business, you may want to consider one of these payroll options:
The 5 Best Payroll Options for Small Businesses

Do you need to offer employee self-services? Check out these small-biz-friendly employee portals:
12 Employee Portal Options for Small Businesses

Perhaps HR administration tasks are simply eating up too much of your time. Here are some tips on outsourcing these jobs:
Best HR Outsourcing for Small Businesses in 2019
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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