Watch Out For Storms

Storm Watch: Don’t Get Blown Away This Spring
During this “in like a lion, out like a lamb” month, the weather is nothing if not unpredictable. But the one thing you can usually count on is a storm; at some point this spring, your business will likely be pummeled by high winds and heavy rains. You might even be hit with hail.

Dangerous winds, flying branches, and large hailstones can wreak havoc on your property. Damages can add up quickly. To keep costs lower during storm season, try the following tips:

Keep a close weather watch: If the forecast calls for a storm, get your equipment inside. Don’t risk it. Ensure all your valuable equipment is safely stored before bad weather arrives.

Brace for impact: Keep everyone at your company safe. During inclement weather, avoid working outside or near windows. If you experience a significant storm, move everyone to a storm shelter or basement.

Inspect your building: Take inventory of the condition of your business at the start of spring. Reinspect after each storm to check for damage. Make repairs right away, even if they are minor, to prevent further damage during the next storm.

Get coverage: Two types of insurance policies are good for storm damage protection-commercial property insurance repairs or replaces property that is damaged by wind and hail; a business owner’s policy is tailored to small businesses and bundles your commercial property and general liability coverages together for an affordable rate.

Don’t get blown away; contact your agent to discuss the policies you’ll need to keep your company covered this spring.

Sadder but Wiser. You Can Move Past a Setback

A setback may result from something you did or failed to do. It may be due to something beyond your control. Or it may just come out of nowhere. Regardless of the cause, the first response to any sort of setback runs the gamut from denial, blame, shame, or guilt to finger-pointing.

Not only are these responses mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausting, they’re not productive. Here are some healthy coping mechanisms to help you recover from a setback:

  • Acknowledge the setback and the pain and frustration that goes along with it. Recognition and acceptance are key steps to finding a way forward.
  • End the pity party. It doesn’t do you any good, and the victim role can really turn off people.
  • Don’t blame others or dodge your own responsibility for what occurred.
  • Talk about the setback with a person you trust. Share your feelings with someone who will keep you honest and give you unbiased feedback.
  • Give yourself time. With the passage of time, you’ll gain fresh perspective, digest any lessons learned, and become more open to new approaches and opportunities. Defer critical decisions and refrain from doing anything impulsive.
  • Reflect and readjust. Think about what you might have done differently, or may do differently in the future, to avoid a recurrence of the setback or at least secure a better outcome.
  • Develop a concrete plan. This should list steps to take you to a single goal or a series of interim goals. Include a “Do by” date.

Above all, know that everyone experiences setbacks; they’re part of everyone’s life experience. And the good news: a setback can almost certainly make you wiser and more prepared to weather future storms.

How to Stay Relevant in This Era of Disruption and Change

Sometimes it feels like technology is advancing so quickly it’s impossible to keep up. Unfortunately, anyone who doesn’t may risk becoming irrelevant.

According to the Miami Herald’s Cindy Krischer Goodman, a lot of people are intimidated by technology. Singer Cher was one of them. But in a determined effort to stay relevant, she mastered Twitter and now has 3.5 million followers.

Writes Goodman, “In an era of disruption, technological advances, new workplace trends, and constantly emerging communication styles, everyone needs to follow Cher’s example: embrace change to stay relevant and effective.”

Jobs have grown more technical in the past few years, and holding onto one requires staying on top of things.

If you want to protect (and advance) your career, you need to do more than simply maintain the status quo; you need to be relevant.

Relevance is about constantly adapting to changing conditions. It means being open to new ideas so you can relate to everyone, from your peers to your customers.

In a recent article titled “How to Stay Relevant in a Constantly Changing Marketplace,” author Michael Hyatt offers a list of essentials, including staying curious. He says, “To save yourself from obsolescence, keep asking questions and poking around the next corner.”

Other essentials on Hyatt’s list: read new books, meet new people, listen to podcasts, attend webinars and conferences, take courses, hire a coach …

In effect, stay relevant by continuously learning, embracing change, and constantly exposing yourself to new ideas. It’s an approach everyone can, and should, master. No one wants to be irrelevant.

Reduce Liability Risk and Costs with These Tips
You’ve checked liability insurance off your list. Your policy is in place. You’re fully covered if you’re hit with a liability suit. That’s great news.

However, wouldn’t it be nice to avoid liability claims altogether? While it’s vital to have insurance to pay any liability expenses you incur, it’s even better to avoid the claims in the first place.

According to, reputation damage tops the list of the most costly small business insurance claims, and resolving these claims costs, on average, $50,000. Number four on the list is product liability, and number five is customer injury or damage.

However there is good news: You can take steps to avoid making a claim under your liability insurance simply by reducing your liability risks. Instituting a comprehensive risk-reduction program can save your company time, money, and damage to its good name. With the following suggestions, you can lower your risk and save significantly on liability costs:

Employee training: Do you have the proper safety training programs in place? Make sure your employees are well trained on general accident prevention and response as well as industry-specific safety issues. This can go a long way in stopping liability issues before they start.

Safe surroundings: Regularly inspect your workplace for safety issues. Ensure you have sufficient lighting in stairways and entrances. Repair tripping hazards on floors or stairways. Clean up spills or wet areas immediately. Regularly review outdoor areas and take action if issues are discovered. Repair parking lot potholes and clear trash, debris, and slipping hazards. Small fixes can have a huge positive impact.

Mindful marketing: In today’s world, advertising and marketing are essential. With the slew of social media and other digital options available, businesses can deliver a constant stream of advertising to customers and potential customers. But as you market yourself, take care to avoid liability issues. Don’t slander a competitor (or a client) and don’t make claims you can’t support.

Copyright warnings: In designing advertising, many companies have accidentally stepped into copyright issues. Be careful when quoting others or using images or logos, and get permission for testimonials before you publish them. It’s easy to repost or “borrow” content, but that can just as easily land you in a liability suit.

Property care: Do your operations involve customer property? Do you offer a service at their homes or provide customers with in-store repairs? If so, have policies in place that protect both you and your customers. The goal is to establish careful procedures for handling customers’ property. Two suggestions: consider having them sign a waiver before services are performed and/or document the condition of their property before and after services are rendered.

Customer service: Communication is key. When you’re open and honest and clearly communicate with customers, you’re more likely to have a healthy relationship with them. This may mean they’re less likely to sue. Make the extra effort to keep customers in the loop and follow up with them, and try always to exceed their expectations.