Some modern entrepreneurs are in search of ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Business owners who are looking for environmentally friendly methods to deliver their products and services may encounter obstacles. They may be required to make significant investments in new equipment to change their business processes. Fortunately, the insurance industry is making it easier for businesses to go green. Here’s how.
Green Endorsements: Business owners may be able to add a green endorsement to their commercial property insurance. Options include Green Materials and Equipment endorsements and Green Construction and Related Costs endorsements. The first covers the additional cost if you decide to rebuild with environmentally friendly equipment that is more expensive than your original property. The second covers the cost of green certification, design, and engineering.
Green Coverage: Other customizable options may be available to further your green efforts. For example, you may need longer business interruption coverage to allow time for green rebuilding. You may also need expanded policies to cover new environmental features that would extend beyond standard coverage.
Green Savings: Your green initiatives may result in savings on your insurance premiums. Does your business use hybrid vehicles? You may be eligible for a discount on your commercial vehicle policy. Have your green construction methods made your building more stable and disaster-resistant? You may be able to save on your property insurance. Contact your insurance agent for more details.
HOT BIZ TRENDS
Navigating Nepotism: Stormy Waters Ahead
If you own or run a small business, you may be tempted to hire a friend or family member – either because you actually need the help or because the person needs a job.
While there are advantages to having a buddy on your staff, there are also challenges. For starters, friends and family may assume privileges or try to take advantage of their relationship with you. They may intentionally or inadvertently undermine your authority or blur the boundary between personal and professional realms.
Additionally, monetary discussions with friends and family members can be extremely awkward, and performance reviews are often difficult. And even if you try to avoid showing favoritism, other employees may perceive nepotism.
Of course, there are exceptions, and some family businesses thrive. But before hiring a friend or family member into your business, be sure you are hiring for the right reasons.
Additionally, be sure the person’s skill set, experience, and work ethic fit the position. Always set performance expectations in advance and be frank and up front about salary and bonuses. Lastly, go into the situation prepared to hold the person to professional standards.
Ultimately, you should always hire the person who is best for the job. If that is a friend or family member, be aware that the time may come when you have to make a decision that they won’t like, and this may result in a damaged relationship that lasts a lifetime.
Want a Strong Q4? Pay Attention to These Biz Trends
Fueled by technology, business is changing more rapidly than ever before. Entrepreneurs should be aware of key trends and predictions that will affect small businesses for the rest of this year and into 2019.
Cybersecurity: Small businesses have become prime targets for ransomware and attacks on mobile banking and card transactions. As cashless payments continue to grow, mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay are seeing greater adoption, as are various app, browser, and person-to-person payment platforms.
Marketing: More and more, consumers are seeking customized content and offerings. Advances in technology, such as individualized email messaging, allow small business to provide the personalization their customers desire.
Social: Social media advertising has become more competitive and more expensive. SMEs can benefit by using apps to link single posts to multiple sites. This will streamline their postings to reduce time spent on social media marketing. Partnering with micro-influencers – those with under 100K followers – has also proven beneficial for SMEs.
Gen Z: This generation is beginning to make its presence known in the consumer and workforce spaces. Gen Zers are independent and tech-savvy. Personalization is key to attracting the attention of this cohort.
Finance: The economy is doing well, but uncertainty around tariffs and the threat of a trade war loom large. Also, look for interest rates to tick up.
The workplace: More and more employers are turning to mobile workforces and freelancers for noncore tasks. A large number of SMEs allow employees to work remotely. This strategy can reduce payroll costs and increase the employee pool to include nonlocal talent. For in-house employees, SMEs are offering wellness programs (both physical and mental) and bolstering anti-harassment policies.
Putting strategies in place that address these key business trends will help you stay on top of your game and ahead of your competitors, in 2018 and beyond.
The FAQ on Cyber Insurance
You’ve heard the term “cyberspace.” You may have visited a cybercafé. You know of businesses that have suffered from cybercrime. But are you familiar with cyber insurance? It’s one of the best weapons businesses can wield against the effects of cybercrime.
What is cyber insurance?
This type of insurance is designed to cover a company’s liability if data breaches occur that release sensitive information such as customers’ Social Security numbers, health records, or credit card numbers.
Doesn’t liability insurance cover these situations?
Cyber coverage is often excluded in a general liability insurance policy. The general policy typically covers property damage and bodily injuries resulting from a company’s operations or services. This does not encompass the issues that arise with cybercrimes.
What does cyber insurance cover?
Policies vary and may be customizable to suit each company’s needs. Typical coverages include:
Legal fees: Even a small data breach can generate significant legal expenses. From lawsuits filed against the company to those the company needs to file, cyber insurance covers the many expenses involved.
Notifications: If a data breach occurs, the business must notify its customers. This could take the form of snail mailings, phone calls, emails, or other forms of communication. Cyber insurance covers the expenses incurred with these notifications.
Restoration: A cybercrime might result in one affected customer or thousands. The company affected might be responsible for restoring personal identities for each of these customers. The cyber insurance policy will ensure coverage for the cost of customer restoration.
Recovery: Data that has been compromised needs to be recovered. Whether the attack was via ransomware, stolen files, or viruses, the company under attack must expend resources to get the affected data back under its control.
Repairs: Cyberattacks often damage computer systems. Cyber insurance offers coverage for the cost to make these repairs.
Who needs cyber insurance?
Almost every modern business relies on cyberspace for some aspect of its operations. If you’re not sure whether you need cyber insurance, ask yourself the following questions about your company. Do your employees rely on computers to complete their work? Does your company manage or store personal customer data? Do you use cloud services? Could your company financially survive a cyberattack?
The answers to these questions will clarify whether or not your business is in need of cyber coverage.
How can I prevent cybercrime?
Of course, the optimal scenario for any business owner is to never fall victim to cybercrime. Business owners can take steps to prevent these offenses. First, put proper security measures in place. Protect computers with appropriate security software. Second, educate employees. Make them aware of common scams that result in data breaches. Train them on proper security protocols. Lastly, keep a close watch on your systems. Track security logs and analyze systems for suspicious activity. Watch account balances carefully. Take immediate action if something seems off track.
How much cyber insurance do I need?
This depends on your business size, operational costs, and risk level. Consult with your insurance carrier to determine the right coverage for your needs.
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