Tag Archives: business

Critical Aspects That Appertain to Small Business Insurance

When it comes to the cost of small business insurance, the amount you pay will be informed by the exposure unique to your enterprise. Indeed the types of exposure may be similar in description from business to the next but the cost incurred by one business will be different from that in the other because the premiums are different. It is therefore prudent to thoroughly understand why these premiums differ for the different areas of exposure i.e. property, workers’ compensation, liability, time element, automobile and crime.

For property insurance premiums, the various factors that may be considered in determining the rate include building use and occupancy, structure construction, public protection, internal protection e.g. fire escapes and sprinklers, etc. In terms of liability insurance the premium cost is dependent on the business type. For example, manufacturing and hotel business’ premium costs are informed by gross sales while the premium costs for service and contracting businesses are informed by the payroll. Enterprises based on payroll or sales are auditable and it’s possible for such to end up in supplementary or return small business insurance premiums. In the case of companies there are deposit and minimum premium requirements to consider and these sometimes vary. Thus, when shopping around for small business insurance packages these requirements should be factored in accordingly.

Having identified a number of insurance companies that you can deal with, the first thing to do should be to make a background check on each company. Next, you should contact the relevant insurance authority in your area in order to ascertain the status of these companies and how long each of them has been operational there. Your search for the most suitable company to deal with may also require you to search for various review reports as published by various established and reputable rating services. Such reviews will offer detailed insights into the financial and rating positions for each firm on your list. The firm with the most attractive credentials should definitely be your preferred small business insurance provider of choice.

After contacting the insurance firm you have identified and having an agent take you through an assessment of your exposure, you will be in an informed position to purchase a small business insurance cover. If this is the case you will be required to complete some application forms and then pay an amount of money. Your agent should then present you with a ‘binder’ that bears his/her signature. This document will among other details identify you as the insured, show the date on which coverage becomes effective, identify the insurance firm, describe the location and nature of the property being insured, show the cost of the small business insurance cover, describe the liability limits, and any other necessary information. This binder can remain valid for up to 90 days before you are issued with the policy.

It is possible for an insurance cover thus issued to be cancelled by the issuing company. An insurance firm has a 60-day underwriting period within which it should review submitted applications and information, have an inspection carried out if required, and also make a verification of the premium calculation and rating. Your small business insurance cover may be withdrawn within this period but you must be issued with a cancellation notice of not less than ten (10) days. After the 60 days elapse the insurance company can only cancel your cover by giving you the reason for doing so and a 30-day notice. Insurance cover cancellation on account of fraud or premium payment can only be done after a 10-day notice is given. The non-renewal of your small business insurance cover by the concerned firm can only be done if you are given the reason(s) for the action and a notice period of not less than 60 days but not exceeding 120 days.


Networking for Your Small Business

Networking is perhaps second only to cold calling in terms of the contention it creates as an effective small business marketing strategy. Some small business marketing experts say that networking is a waste of time; others insist that it’s the only small business marketing tool that’s really vital to success.

The debate probably arises because of differences in what networking is. Staying in touch with past customers, for example, is undoubtedly a highly effective and important small business marketing tool. Regularly attending networking functions may or may not be as effective a small business marketing tool.

So let’s consider those two types of networking separately:

Networking type 1: Staying in touch with past and current customers as well as those who have inquired about your services

This type of networking is probably one of the most important small business marketing tools you have. Past and current customers, as well as those who have inquired about your services make up the ideal small business marketing list: people for whom you have complete contact information and who, you know, are interested in your products or services.

To successfully network with these customers and prospective customers, set up a way to contact them on a regular basis. One way to do that is through a monthly (or quarterly) newsletter in which you offer relevant information (newsletters have the added benefit of positioning you as the expert). Another is to send out promotional offers that will entice those customers to return and do business with you again. Yet another is to send holiday cards (try sending cards on holidays that aren’t traditionally celebrated with cards, such as the Fourth of July or Thanksgiving to really stand out from your competition).

Networking type 2: Attending networking functions with other business owners

Attending networking association functions is no doubt less effective than the first type of networking. Some small business owners consider this second type of small business marketing to be a complete waste of time, while others find that they make contacts that turn in to business customers.

Perhaps the best argument against attending networking association functions as a means of small business marketing is that your network association is made up of other small business owners just like you who are anxious for customers, not looking to make friends with other small business owners.

The flip side of that argument is that networking associations, when run well, offer you a chance to network with other small business owners selling different kinds of products or services from whom you may get referrals or with whom you may start a joint venture.

If network associations are going to help your small business marketing efforts, though, they should meet a few conditions:

1. They should limit members to one business in each market sector, so that you’re not “networking” with your competition

2. They should require each member to meet a leads quota – to ensure that no one is trying to free ride

Whichever type networking fits well within your small business marketing strategy, the key point to remember is that staying at the forefront of your contacts’ minds is critical to getting the referral (or the repeat business, in the case of current and past customers). There are a number of software programs that will help you establish a list of contacts and remind you when it’s time to follow up.