Banner Ads are so Yesterday, So What’s Hot Today? Plus Property and Liability Coverage

BOP Offers One-Stop Property and Liability Coverage

Today’s businesses require both property and liability coverage to avoid uninsured losses. Fortunately, those small and medium-sized business that don’t provide professional services can obtain both with a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP).

A BOP provides both property and liability coverage in one package, so you can avoid purchasing separate policies. With packaged coverage, you benefit from the lower cost and avoid gaps in coverage.

Your BOP provides protection for buildings and contents, as well as for others’ personal property brought into your facility. BOPs also cover fire and theft hazards; however, certain occurrences such as floods and earthquakes require separate coverage.

The BOP premium is based on your business’s location, financial stability, the type of construction of your business premises, fire protection, and other factors. Each business has unique liability risks; with a BOP policy, you can choose how much liability insurance you need. Liability coverage provides a defense and pays damages if you are sued for business reasons, subject to certain exclusions: If a customer falls on your premises, the injury would be covered by the BOP; if an employee is injured at work, it wouldn’t be.

The BOP also provides limited business interruption coverage, as well as “personal injury” liability – such things as slander suits against you for allegedly using copyrighted material. Employee theft may also be covered, while other coverages, such as mechanical breakdown, are available for additional premiums.

If you’re interested in discussing Business Owners’ Policies, contact your advisor, who is experienced in helping businesses like yours protect themselves against loss.

Banner Ads are so Yesterday: So What’s Hot Today?

Online banner ads are outdated for two reasons: First, banner ads are seen as intrusive. Second, users now have access to great pop up blockers.

The truth is, online consumers no longer want to be spammed, and a banner ad is no longer seen as an ad – it’s seen as spam. So yes, your banner ad will get you noticed, but for all the wrong reasons.

The new approach to digital advertising is called “sponsored content,” and it’s what’s happening today. Sponsored content offers benefits to both advertisers and publishers, allowing an advertiser to become part of the media platform’s “natural” content flow. For big money.

Typically, this translates into an advertiser who pays to have its article featured on a publisher’s platform along with non-sponsored content.

Recently, however, heavy hitters are opting for solutions such as Gtxcel’s Turnstyle, a magazine app in which sponsored content goes interactive and takes audiences through videos and additional content if they want to learn more.

Other advertisers are attracted by geo-targeted ads (in which magazine publishers deliver specialized content to mobile users by location) and Brightcove, a company which helps publishers share their own and sponsored content in multiple ways across various channels.

The change in digital advertising stems from increased demand and available technology.

Advertisers are always seeking the new.

Publishers are facing extinction unless they can get ahead of the curve. And users? Well, they’re enjoying the smorgasbord. It’s not your mom’s online environment anymore.

Give Staff the Flexibility to Bond With Customers

According to research, you can either adopt the latest best practices for customer service, or watch as your brand image erodes in front of your eyes.

In most small businesses, customer service is a company-wide endeavor rather than a function of one department. That means every employee, regardless of his or her role, should understand the importance of loyal customers.

It’s now understood that the key ingredient in excellent customer service lies in recognizing that emotional ties build strong relationships. A major innovation in customer service training is the introduction of a general approach to customer relations rather than a tightly scripted procedure. Employees require some freedom in handling customer relations, because every customer is different; by empowering employees to adapt to various situations, you’re giving them room to build bonds with customers.

The desired outcome is a satisfied customer, not one who is forced into a one-size-fits-all box. For example, upselling is desirable, but not always appropriate. The focus is on servicing the customer; the selling part should fit easily into this context.

Imaginative businesses reward workers for customer satisfaction. However, don’t penalize an employee for upholding company policy in the face of a potentially unhappy customer. Sometimes, a dignified defense of the company’s brand by refusing a customer’s demands is the right response.

Smooth customer service is a combination of common sense, flexible communication structures, and support of the company brand. Friendly employees who master this approach will reward your customers, who will then reward you with their loyalty.

How to Reduce the Chances of Employee Theft

Your belief that “my organization is immune to fraud” may cost you thousands of dollars, or even destroy your business.

Fraud is a global problem. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’ (ACFE) 2012 Report to the Nations, the typical organization loses 5 percent of its revenues to fraud annually. In global terms, that’s $3.5 trillion in 2011 – the most recent information available. The median loss of cases reported to ACFE was $140,000, but more than one-fifth of reported cases had losses exceeding $1 million.

At the top of the list of those companies most affected by occupational fraud is small business, which, according to the report, suffers the highest median losses. Almost half of the companies who fell victim to fraud in 2011 didn’t recover any of their losses caused by fraud.

What the report doesn’t highlight is the feelings of betrayal on the part of employers who have discovered that a trusted employee has bilked them of their hard-won revenue.

Employees likely to steal

So how can you spot a fraudster in your midst?

They are usually in high-level positions, and the vast majority of those fraudsters known to ACFE worked in the accounting, operations, sales, executive/upper management, customer service, and purchasing departments. More than 80 percent were first-time offenders, and on average, the fraudulent behavior went on for a year-and-a-half or longer.

What contributes to fraud? According to ACFE, most of the companies, particularly small businesses, lacked anti-fraud measures. Those who had 16 of the most effective anti-fraud measures in place had reduced losses from fraud.

Here are several tips to help your organization combat fraud:

Institute a fraud-reporting hotline. Tips from employees, vendors, and customers accounted for 50 percent of detected frauds in 2011.

Don’t expect internal audits to catch every fraud. Only some 16 percent of frauds were identified by audits.

Don’t be lulled by background checks. Fewer than 6 percent had previous fraud convictions, and that number has shrunk over the years.

Watch for lifestyle indicators. The two most common are employees who are experiencing financial difficulties and those living beyond their means. In 36 percent of the study cases, employees were living a lifestyle far above their salaries. Employees who steal are often “control freaks.” They often refuse to allow oversight. Watch for that “Do not question me” attitude or for employees who refuse to take vacations. If you suspect substance abuse or other personal problems, heighten internal controls. Refer such workers to employee assistance programs if your organization offers this benefit.

Prohibit and monitor employees’ vendor relationships. Almost 20 percent of fraudsters had unusually close relationships with vendors or customers. Kickback-type losses can be costly.

Never assume. Don’t think your employees are too loyal or that you treat them too well for them to steal. Most employees are trustworthy. However, one worker with personal problems or a grudge can devastate your business. The best way to prevent fraud is to be aware. Most importantly, bulletproof your business with insurance coverage designed to protect against these types of losses.