StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Have You Insured Your Business Correctly?

StrategyDriven Risk Management ArticleInsurance: if you don’t have it, you’ll only wish you did if the time comes to call upon it. Indeed, it’s far safer, smarter (and sometimes more financially viable) to invest in insurance, just in case.

This protection becomes even more important when you’re running a business — you’ve certainly got a lot on the line if you fail to insure your business properly. You could lose profit, employees or reputation. Business insurance can seem confusing and over-complicated. Truthfully, it can be quite simple to ascertain whether you’re insuring your business correctly, by deciding which of the various types of business insurance you need…

Asset insurance

Commonly we think of ‘assets’ more with personal insurance, yet there are many assets that your business will rely upon, and which you’ll, therefore, want to insurance. Think specifically of any equipment — manufacturing and the like — that you depend upon for income; should any of these be at fault or be stolen, you’d be unable to continue working. Insurance can be used to defend against any unforeseen interruptions to workflow.

Travel insurance

You may not have considered whether you need professional travel insurance, as once again it’s something that’s more commonly associated with personal cover. Yet, if you or any of your employees travel for work (whether internationally or domestically) you’ll want a level of protection in place. Even if simply to cover goods such as business phones and laptops when you are out of the office. Most certainly if any of your team are flying abroad, carrying with them anything that belongs to the company, either in hand or hold luggage, you’ll want this to be insured.

Motor insurance

Do you or your employees drive, using company cars or pool cars? If so, you should also have motor insurance. This is also the case even if your employees are using the company cars for personal use — you must take out a business policy, as you’re the vehicle owner on paper. If you’re unsure of the technicalities involved in carpooling with company-owned vehicles, ask a Business Insurance expert for advice on their commercial vehicle insurance.

Personal indemnity

Many professions, ranging from doctors to journalists, would benefit from taking out personal indemnity insurance in their line of work. This policy covers the financial repercussions of a client making a loss due to incorrect information or guidance from the company itself. You may think, “Well that’ll never happen to us.” However, save your risk-taking for other aspects of the business — such as innovation — and get yourself covered as tightly as you can.

Credit insurance

Balancing the books can be tough, and especially so if you’re got invoices out that clients are unwilling to pay in a timely manner. Credit insurance can be put in place to ease cash flow issues so that even if you’re awaiting some big payments, you can still continue to invest in your supply chain and keep the business running day to day.

It really is recommended that you consider whether you’re insuring your business correctly; review whether you’re missing any of the above, and get in touch with a business insurance company today.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

5 Problems Construction Businesses Will Inevitably Face


 
Of all the business sectors in the world, none are quite so tangible as construction. If you open a construction business, then your everyday life will be governed by a very physical reality. Unlike many modern businesses, which involve moving words and numbers on computers, construction is something that you can reach out and touch – and it’s inherently rewarding as a result.

Unfortunately, the many, benefits of working in construction are often somewhat weighed down by non-tangible, metaphysical problems. Thankfully, there are ways and means of navigating these issues, but you do need to be aware of the almost-inevitability that you will experience them. This is due to the fact that construction business owners may produce work that is inherently physical, but they will face a number of threats that are far less concrete – and it will be your job to navigate each of these situations when they occur.

So, without further ado, let’s examine the theoretical problems that your very practical construction business will inevitably experience at some point.

1) High employee turnover

Unfortunately, the construction industry is infamous for the high rate of employee turnover it tends to produce. There is no single reason for this high turnover rate, but it is a simple fact of life for construction businesses.

It would be wonderful to suggest that there are incredible solutions to ensure your business does not experience high turnover but, in truth, this would be misleading. There are, of course, things you can do to help reduce employee turnover, but these measures alone are unlikely to be sufficient. Instead, it is usually best to opt for a two-pronged approach: improve existing conditions, but also exist in a state of perpetual hiring, continually accepting applications for positions and building a list of potential future employees that you keep on file. Working together, these two measures should allow you to control the problem as best you can, and ensure you always have the staff you need to complete projects.

2) Unsuitable ground conditions

At the beginning of history, construction was incredibly simple: the earth was how it had been for millennia, and construction companies could trust the soundness and cleanliness of the soil. Unfortunately, thousands of years of human habitation has changed that, and modern construction companies will often find themselves facing issues with poor or even contaminated soil.

It is inevitable that, at some point in your time at the helm of a construction company, you will have to deal with problematic soil. Your best option is usually to work with a ground improvement specialist such as those at the Helitech Civil Construction Division and similar companies; these experts have a variety of techniques that can mean even the most difficult of soil can eventually be used for construction. While hiring a subcontractor for this work will lengthen the process somewhat, it can make possible building on soil you would usually dismiss, which opens up your possibilities for future development.

In anticipation of this inevitable issue, it may be worth fostering a relationship with a ground and soil improvement specialist from the start of your business. This ensures that when you inevitably encounter difficult ground conditions, you know exactly where to turn for the expert assistance that can allow you to continue a project as quickly and efficiently as possible.

3) Public discontent

The longer your business is in operation, the higher your chances of working on a project that draws the ire of the public. We have all seen activists demonstrating against the construction of a new building or shopping mall, and it is inevitable that your company will at some point be involved in a project that activists dislike.

In terms of managing this issue, realistically, there’s very little that is within your control. The best bet is to always work on projects that have full authorization and that have passed impact studies with flying colors, and it may also be worth checking social media to see if there is planned opposition to a construction project prior to agreeing to undertake the work.

However, even with these precautions, you may well find that you still find yourself working on a site that is subject to demonstrations. If (or when) this happens, your best plan of action is to leave the matter to the police. Engaging with activists will rarely end well, even if you’re in the right, so advise your employees to refuse to enter into conversations and seek appropriate help from the authorities.

Alternatively, if you suspect that fightback against a project you were intending to work on has become so fierce it will negatively impact your company, then you may want to consider withdrawal. The penalties for doing this will depend on your contract, but it’s worth examining this possibility, especially if you suspect the activists may well have a point – the negative publicity from continuing to work on the project could greatly outweigh the penalties you will face for walking away.

4) Workplace accidents

Construction is an inherently dangerous industry. From people working at height to the movement of heavy plant machinery, the risk of accidents is ever-present – and to an extent, this is something that you will need to accept.

However, accepting that accidents can happen does not mean that you are completely powerless in the situation. You do have an element of control when it comes to reducing and mitigating the risks involved in the industry, and examining your options in this regard can help to ensure your business – and your workers – are fully protected at all times.

First and foremost, prioritizing safety at all times is a must for construction companies. It’s important you trust that workers understand the risks of what they are doing, and that their health and safety awareness and training is also up-to-date. Regular meetings to refresh guidelines is a good way to do this, and helps to ensure that even the most experienced of workers is always aware of the risks of their occupation.

Secondly, it’s worth going above and beyond to ensure that your working practices align with regulatory requirements. Unfortunately, many business owners of all types tend to see health and safety rules as something of a bind, and will satisfy the minimum requirement and then move on. However, it’s worth noting that these rules are there for a reason, and if you seek to adhere to them, the chances are you will have a much safer working environment as a result. Ideally, you should seek to exceed the basic regulatory requirements, and also continually check back to ensure these are being adhered to by workers at all times.

Finally, there is an additional health and safety component that is often overlooked by construction business owners: stress. The more stressed your workers are, the more likely they are to experience an accident – and even the very best health and safety practices cannot help in this regard. It is therefore well worth considering implementing measures that are designed to keep workplace stress at a minimum. This should ideally involve a dual approach of managing stress on-site and also learning to identify the signs of stress in an employee.

5) Theft

Finally, theft is a constant threat in the construction industry. This is largely due to the nature of the work; sites are often left unattended for hours or even days at a time, and contain expensive equipment that is an all-too-tempting target for thieves.

Controlling this problem primarily involves ensuring site security at all times, but this alone is unlikely to fully solve the problem. As we have already discovered, a double-approach is often best, and the same applies to the theft issue: you should seek to protect your site, but also ensure you are fully insured for any losses that you do experience.

Unfortunately, obtaining insurance as a construction company is often easier said than done, and premiums can be incredibly expensive. In an effort to keep costs down, work with a broker to ensure you are only insured as far as you need to be – avoid comprehensive, catch-all policies that may provide coverage for instances that are irrelevant to your business. By ensuring you find the right policy for your company, the cost of the premium should be justified, and you’ll enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that your valuable equipment is protected if your on-site security measures fail.

In conclusion

The issue presented above can be uniquely challenging to a construction business, due in no small part to their constancy and their changeability. This can be difficult for construction business owners to cope with, as so much of their prior working life has focused on physical problems with absolute physical answers. Learning to adapt to more theoretical and conceptual challenges can be far more difficult – but it is, ultimately, well worth doing. Construction is a thriving, essential sector, and if you believe you can navigate the inevitability of the problems as mentioned above, it could be the perfect choice for your entrepreneurial ambition.

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article

Backup Appliance vs. Windows Backup: What is Best for Your Business?

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article
 
Every 40 seconds a company is hit with ransomware. These are scary statistics. Does your business have a plan in place in case you are the next victim?

A large part of your digital disaster plan should involve your digital backup. There are many options to consider when looking for your safety net.

Should you invest in a backup appliance or software solution? Or go with a window back up?

Let’s review some of the pros and cons of each solution so you can better understand and make the right choice for your business solution.

Windows Back Up

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Windows Backup is a component of your operating system that helps to backup and restore your system and data. If you are using a newer version of windows, system restore will create points in history that you can reset your system to in the event of a crash or other digital disaster.

It is important to consider that when using System Restore, it is a total recovery and you are not able to pick and choose which items to recover and which do not.

Ease of Use

Windows back up are incredibly easy to use. If you are using system restore, restore will automatically create points in newer versions of windows, you can also go in and manually create points. These are easy to create and can save you lots of headache in the event of a crash.

Reliability

Alternatively, there have been many times that user try to go back to one of the restore points only to have an error message come up stating the device cannot be restored to that particular point.

Virus and Malware

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article
 
Windows back up will not protect your computer from viruses or other malware. Additionally, when you perform a system restore you could possibly be restoring potential viruses that your computer had during the restore point.

Documents

Windows back up does not protect your files and documents during restore. Any new software installed, or accounts created after the restore point will not be recovered.

You will need to have a separate strategy for storing documents. You could utilize a cloud-based solution such as Google Drive to ensure that you can recover your files.

Back Up Appliance

A backup appliance is a type of device that will store your data. It works as a central area that will protect your business against loss of data and against hostile threats such as viruses and ransomware.

A backup appliance can be customized to fit your business’s growing needs.

Ease of Use

StrategyDriven Risk Management Article
 
There is a little more work in the beginning set up of your backup appliance, but it is worth it in the long run.

Companies like Unitrends offer a fantastic step by step onboarding process to guide you through the setup to ensure you are maximizing everything they have to offer.
Reliability

It doesn’t get any more reliable than using a backup appliance. Your IT department is usually overloaded with things to do, and it is becoming harder and harder to predict threats from ransomware and others. Back up appliances utilize AI or artificial intelligence that can predict threats and stop ransomware before they happen. It’s like you always have someone in your corner protecting your assets.

Planning

Seek the help of a company that is used to dealing with enterprise backup solutions. Many enterprise level customers are ideal targets for ransomware threats. When working with a company, you can develop a strategy that is unique to your business needs that will help reduce the risk of a digital disaster.

Chances are your IT department is too overloaded to spend the time identifying risk and threat analysis that is needed to continually develop your recovery plan.

Conclusion

Your digital assets are an integral part of your business which should be protected. Investing in the people and products that you need is an integral part of this strategy. Don’t think that your company is not at risk for a cyber-attack.

What is your company doing to lessen the risk? Using a backup appliance is the best strategy for your business. This is the quickest route for you to be up and running as seamlessly as possible.

Depending on windows back up will usually leave you left unsatisfied and scrambling to get back to Point A.

If you haven’t already, hold a meeting with your team to work through developing your own recovery plan. By identifying your areas of weakness, you will be better equipped to handle disaster striking.

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article

Protecting Your Small Business: How to Cover the Basics

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship ArticleThe market offers a lot of opportunities for small businesses to thrive at the moment. There are more chances to expand than ever before, despite many market uncertainties. You have the internet turning the world into one global market and allowing you to tap into more potential customers.

Rapid growth, however, should never blind you from establishing a strong foundation for your small business. As tempting as growing at an incredibly pace may be, your business will not survive market challenges when it doesn’t have the basics covered properly. You need to protect your small business and there are several things you can do to get started.

Understand the Laws

One of the first things you need to do when you want to establish a strong foundation for your small business is understanding the laws. We’re not just talking about the local laws that govern the city you are in. You need to take the time to understand the laws in different markets you are operating in.

There are several things you want to dig into. First, you need to understand the employment law of the city you are in and other areas in which you plan to hire employees. You also want to get yourself accustomed to the financial laws.

Once you have these two basics covered, venture into other areas of the law that also affect your business, including marketing and advertising law and intellectual property law. These regulations affect how you can protect and market your products and services in different markets.

Understanding the law isn’t always easy. There may be jargon and specific regulations that you cannot understand even when you try. This is where having a good business lawyer comes in handy. Your lawyer can help draft the contracts you make and keep your business in compliance with the law at all times.

Protect Your Assets

Next, you need to start thinking about protecting your assets. Assets are valuable resources that every small business leans on at different times. The office you use, the office equipment you bought when you first started your business, the cash and financing options you have, employees filling key roles, and other assets of your business are equally important and are worth protecting.

For most tangible assets, you have insurance options to look into. A building insurance plan can help protect your investments and equipment. Business insurance offers coverage against interruptions, allowing your small business to remain healthy even in bad situations.

Other insurance policies protect the business against liabilities. Workers insurance, for example, is designed to not only keep employees covered but also to protect the business from financial risks associated with workplace accidents. You can even go a step further and provide additional insurance coverage for employees.

Speaking of going a step further, many small businesses now take active steps towards protecting their key employees. While business lawyers help protect your business from legal matters, you can have a team of lawyers on the side of your employees when they face their own legal problems. Advocates like the experts you can find on this website are worth retaining.

Work on Your Cash Flow

Cash flow is king. The only way your small business can grow is by maintaining a healthy cash flow at all times; well, at most times at least. Cash flow dictates how you handle expenses and income. When you have a healthy cash flow, you can keep up with expenses without an issue. An unhealthy cash flow, on the other hand, often leads to bigger financial issues for the small business.

Market uncertainties certainly make creating and maintaining good cash flow harder, but it is not an impossible thing to do. You just have to be smart about balancing your expenses with your income.

Timing is everything. Earning $20,000 from a project is great, but the amount isn’t as useful when you have $15,000 worth of expenses to pay before your invoice for that project clears. You will end up with $15,000 worth of expenses that you cannot cover, causing a serious disruption to your business cash flow.

Fortunately, you also have more financing options to utilize these days. Short-term loans, long-term financing, and project-based advances are some of the financial instruments you can use to keep your business running smoothly while you wait for the big invoices to clear.

Diversify Whenever Possible

Another thing you want to do to further strengthen the business is diversifying. Relying on a single source of income isn’t how you survive a competitive market. You need to find additional revenue streams so that the business can continue to operate smoothly in different situations.

Additional revenue streams don’t need to come from a separate business entity or another operation. Adding a product that is aimed at different market segments is a good start. Diversifying is also achievable when you cater to online and offline customers. These two groups of customers behave differently and complement each other.

Some small business owners even go as far as developing passive revenue sources for their businesses. Similar to financing options, you also have more investment instruments to add to your portfolio. For instance, you can rent out a portion of your office that you don’t need to other businesses. You are basically generating passive revenue on your asset.

Proceed with Care

Running a small business means taking a lot of risks along the way. When that big order comes in, your instinct will tell you to grab it right away. This is a good mindset to be in, but that doesn’t mean you should make reckless decisions.

With every decision you make, be sure to calculate your risks and explore ways to manage them. You need to be extra careful with every step you take, even when you are certain that the step is good for the business.

Risk management is a natural part of running a small business. When you know how to manage your risks properly, implementing the tips we covered in this article and turning your small business into a big success is easy to do.

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven Enterprises, LLC

StrategyDriven is dedicated to providing executives and managers with the planning and execution advice, tools, and practices needed to create greater organizational alignment and accountability for the achievement of superior results.

We help our clients create and execute a clear, forward-looking strategy – translatable to the day-to-day activities of all organization members – that’s critical to their realizing success in today’s fast paced market environment. Not only does a compelling, well executed strategy align individuals to a common purpose, it ensures that purpose best serves the company’s mission.

The StrategyDriven website provides access to a wide array of best practice business planning and execution tools, streamlined process flows, how-to articles, example-rich podcasts, and customizable ready-to-use program management templates. Premium Members receive access to over 200 members-only articles, whitepapers, models, and tools and templates; providing an in-depth look into critical business performance areas; placing specific focus on the alignment of organizational standards, programs, and behaviors to the optimal achievement of mission goals. Sevian Business Program purchasers receive fully implementable business performance improvement processes out-of-the-box, enabling the acceleration of business growth and heightening of operational efficiency needed to significantly improve bottom line results.

Collectively, our products offer business leaders the opportunity to access the knowledge of a highly educated and experienced staff without the associated overhead expense.

At StrategyDriven, our seasoned business leaders deliver real-world strategic business planning and tactical execution best practice advice – a blending of workplace experience with sound research and academic principles – to business leaders who may not otherwise have access to these resources.

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