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INSURANCE
Watch Out for These Top 5 Small Business Blunders
Blockbuster passed up the chance to partner with Netflix 20 years ago. Kodak held a patent for a digital camera way back in 1977 but didn’t make it public.

Where might these businesses be today if they had made different decisions? Where might your company be in 20 years if you make smart choices?

To guide your enterprise in the right direction, avoid the following blunders commonly made by small business owners.

Overreaching: Small business owners can’t be everything to everyone. Find your target market and create a solid marketing plan to reach that audience.

Insufficient coverage: Small business owners often don’t have the capital to cover disaster expenses. A fire or lawsuit can cripple the company. It’s essential to establish sufficient insurance coverage. Contact me to review your business needs and put the proper policies in place.

Underpricing: Cheaper prices don’t always lead to success. While your goal might be to attract more customers, setting your prices too low may fail to meet your expenses. Stay competitive, but set rates that will keep you in business.

Lack of guidance: Entrepreneurs need support to get their businesses off the ground. You might be an expert in your product or service, but you might need help with certain best business practices. Reach out to mentors and experts for the guidance you need for success.

Giving up: As a start-up, you might not make money in your first year. That's okay. Even FedEx, established in 1971, didn’t turn a profit until 1975. If you don’t see profit right away, don’t give up.

 
HOT BIZ TRENDS
Help Clients with Reasons to Celebrate Every Month
 
Are you challenged to produce marketing content that is fresh and relevant? Monthly marketing themes offer ways to humanize your business and connect with customers. There are events and reasons to celebrate practically every day of the year.

In February, of course, love is in the air and on everyone’s mind (Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14), so it’s a perfect time to show affection and gratitude to your customers.

Heart health is another angle that’s appropriate in February. Also, don’t forget Groundhog Day (Feb. 2) and Mardi Gras (Feb. 25).

March ushers in spring (Mar. 20) and an opportunity to hail World Compliment Day (Mar. 1) and Women’s Day (Mar. 8). In April, you might get into the spirit of April Fool’s Day (Apr. 1), or you could honor Vitamin C Day (Apr. 4) or Earth Day (Apr. 22).

In addition to Mother’s Day (May 10), May provides a chance to celebrate and have fun with Cinco de Mayo (May 5) and International Hamburger Day (May 28).

Some lesser-known events in June that might have relevance to your business include Cancer Survivors Day (June 7), Fudge Day (June 16), and Social Media Day (June 30).

As you can see, the calendar offers numerous opportunities to market your business throughout the year. Don’t forget to make the most of Fight Procrastination Day (Sep. 6) as well as World Kindness Day (Nov. 13). Plan content around themes that are relevant to your business or your industry and be sure your content supports your business’s long-term goals.

 
MARKETING
Email Campaigns that Boost Your Business
Retail Dive reports that today's consumers will often go out of their way to shop at small and local businesses, especially if they have developed a relationship with the companies, their owners, or their employees. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to hone this personal connection is through email marketing.

A welcome email can serve as the first handshake with a new customer. Encourage patrons to sign up to receive your emails by offering a discount code, access to exclusive offers or product updates, or how-to tutorials. Then take advantage of the opportunity to share your story and emphasize what makes your business special and unique.

Follow up with emails in which you introduce and promote your top products or services. Once someone has established a purchasing pattern, make personalized recommendations, introduce related products, or offer ancillary products or services that might interest them.

Consider creating an email campaign that features user-generated content, such as posts, tweets, and images created by your customers. As more people interact with you online, a sense of community will develop that further encourages them to stay involved and connected to you.

Don't forget to implement a follow-up program that automatically sends a thank-you email whenever people interact with your brand. Reach out whenever a customer makes a purchase, requests a return, or posts a review. Even if they had a problem with your product or service, reaching out and following up via email lets them know they are valued.

 
INSURANCE
New Employee Orientation Checklist
 
Dave is new to the team. He’ll start working with your company in a couple of weeks. You’re excited about what he has to offer, and you’re looking forward to welcoming him to the business.

But how exactly should you do this? What’s the best way to integrate Dave and allow him to help your business succeed?

For the best results, follow a three-step new employee orientation checklist.

1. Prep

Make room for Dave: The specifics for this will vary depending on the type of product or service you offer. It might mean clearing a desk space for Dave. It might mean creating an inbox for him. Maybe it means ordering Dave a company uniform. Whatever Dave will need to work as one of your employees, get those items ready.

Send emails: Send Dave an email that welcomes him to the business and provides any information he will need for his first day on the job. This could include where to report, who to ask for when he arrives, and any documentation he may need to bring as a new hire. Send a second email to the rest of the team to let them know Dave is joining your company.

Gather documents: Prepare handouts that outline any important information Dave will need on his first day. These could include company policies, an organizational chart for the company, or a to-do list for his first week.

2. Onboarding

Orientation: On Dave’s first day, orient him to the company. (Introduce him to other team members, give him a tour of your facility, etc.)

Policy review: The key to this orientation is a review of safety policies, accident reports, and security access. To prevent future incidents, injuries, and insurance claims, it is essential to ensure Dave understands the proper procedures in each of these areas. If Dave is accessing sensitive information, be sure to establish protocols for how this will happen and what you expect of Dave regarding this access.

Documentation: Ask Dave to sign any necessary disclosures or liability forms based on the type of work he will be doing for you. He should also sign a form stating he has received and reviewed all your company procedures.

3. Follow-up

One-week check-in: Check-in with Dave after a week to make sure he has completed any paperwork, benefits enrollment, or new hire training that should be completed in the first few days of employment.

Two-week meeting: Schedule a time to meet with Dave two weeks after he starts. Ask him how things are going and take time to answer any questions Dave has.

Three-month review: After 90 days, provide an informal review of Dave’s performance. Let Dave know about this meeting in advance, including what he can expect at the meeting.

Following these steps will help you establish a smooth process for onboarding new team members. By keeping everyone on the same page with company policies, you can also minimize your risk for costly insurance claims.

If you have any questions about what policies to review with your team, feel free to contact me. I’m just a phone call or email away.
 
 
 
 
 
   
 
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Worth Reading
How to Start a Podcast: Every Single Step
By Colin Gray
The Podcast Host
 
Podcasts are now available about virtually anything and everything. For podcast creators, they are a versatile medium, allowing creativity and the exploration of topics in an in-depth way. They also allow engagement with audiences (and potential clients) in a personal way. But they’re also a lot of work. This 18-chapter guide walks you through creating a podcast, from idea generation to launch to promotion.

What Is the Gig Economy? How It Works, Benefits, and More
By Angela Stringfellow


Wonolo

The term "gig economy" is often thrown about, but if you need a refresher about its importance, check out this article. It outlines different types of freelancers and freelance arrangements, such as having one’s entire income come from gigs or pursuing gigs in addition to full-time employment. The article also summarizes the benefits of such arrangements and things to be mindful of if you’re considering joining the gig economy, either as a worker or an employer.

Have a Seasonal Business? 4 Tips for Year-Round Profitability
By Saige Driver


Business News Daily

Businesses exist all year, even if most of their profitable activities are restricted to one season. Success in this seasonal environment requires more than following a simple budget. As this article outlines, it involves being creative about how to repurpose your skills, employees, and physical assets throughout every season.

LINKS YOU CAN USE
This Month - Business Insurance
Protecting your company with the right insurance coverage is a vital aspect of business management. But what type of insurance do you need, and how much coverage is necessary? Use the following links to find out what you need to know about business insurance.

Start here for a general overview of business insurance:
Get Business Insurance

Get the scoop on BOPs (business owner policies), a common commercial insurance solution:
Understanding business owners policies (BOPs)

Exactly what types of insurance policies do you need? Find out here:
The 9 Types of Small Business Insurance Coverage You Need

For further insight, check out these 25 insurance tips to use when starting a business:
25 Expert Insurance Tips When Starting a Business

Here, insurance experts share what mistakes to avoid regarding business insurance:
Top 25 Small Business Insurance Mistakes to 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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