6 Most Common Small Business Insurance Claims

According to a 2015 study, four out of 10 small businesses will experience property or liability claims within the next 10 years. If you’re a small business owner, the statistics show that claims aren’t rare, and it’s only a matter of time before something happens to you.

Aside from having comprehensive business insurance coverage, knowing what the most common small business claims are can help prepare you for future liability cases. Below are the six most common insurance claims businesses make annually and the issues likely to cause said claims:

Theft or Burglary

Thievery constitutes nearly 20 percent of all small business claims made in the United States. Coming in at the top spot on the list, chances for burglary can come from various sources. Perhaps the suspect is a negligent employee that has malicious intent, or it may be as simple as an outsider breaking in and robbing the business. Beefing up security measures and keeping an eye out for suspicious activity can help you avoid falling victim to burglars.

Wind or Hail Damage

Wind and hail claims comprise of roughly 15 percent of total claims made by small businesses. If your business operates in a location that is known for hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe storms, make sure that the underwriting of your business insurance policy also covers potential damages from these weather conditions.

Water or Freezing Damages

Water and freezing damage makes up 15 percent of total business claims. Structural damages that come from water-related issues can be detrimental. Although your location plays a part in determining if you’re at risk, weather conditions aren’t the only thing that can cause water damage. Poorly maintained piping can cause pipes to leak, which, if not repaired immediately, can go on to do some major damage to the business.

Fires

It’s not only restaurants that are susceptible to workplace fires the Insurance Journal notes, as 10 percent of small businesses have been found to make fire-related insurance claims. Regardless of your industry, the potential for a fire to break out is always possible. Taking extra measures to ensure your business and employees are prepared in case of a fire can help mitigate the destruction they are likely to reap.

Customer Slip-and-Fall

For business owners that have customers walking in and out of their store on a daily basis, this is a worst-case scenario. Comprising 10 percent of total business claims, the possibility of a customer falling and injuring themselves on your sales floor or in your office only increases with more foot traffic. These issues can be quite costly, with the average claim costing nearly $20,000.

If you have customers that visit your store regularly, make sure to take necessary steps to avoid this type of claim. Floors should always be dry and clean, objects and product displays should be out of the way and any debris on the floor should be tended to immediately.

Product Liability

When making claims about your product, keep in mind that the slightest slip up can cost your business greatly. With product liability composing of five percent of total business insurance claims, being completely honest and transparent with customers is the only way to fully avoid this issue. Although coming in at sixth on the list, product liability claims rank third for being the most expensive.

With 40 percent of companies likely to make an insurance claim over the next decade, it is crucial for business owners to implement measures that will decrease the chances of making a claim. With insurance rates already a costly expense for some businesses, the fewer claims that are made, the lower insurance premiums will be.

What Marketing Strategies Should I Use To Build My Business? 

While business owners know that effective marketing plays an integral role in generating brand growth, not all of them have taken the time to implement a targeted advertising campaign. Yet you should. In addition to sending your conversion rates through the ceiling, good marketing can improve your retention rates while also extending your organization’s domain of influence. With these ideas in mind, consider implementing some or all three of the simple, straightforward marketing strategies outlined for you below:

  1. Signage Services.

One great marketing strategy you can deploy to put your business on the path to growth is the use of signage services. These services are important because they ensure that more and more members of your organization’s target market are being exposed to your brand. Companies such as Priority Sign place primacy on developing cutting edge, customized, creative signs for clients who are trying to connect and convert their unique audience.

See more about this company and the results they’ve generated for brand owners by visiting the business website at www.prioritysign.com.

  1. Digital Marketing Services

In addition to using professional signage services, be sure to consider the value of investing in digital marketing services. These services are important because they enable you to connect and convert people in the online realm. Note that while you may have a regularly effective traditional advertising campaign in place, there are likely members of your target audience who have not been exposed to your brand through marketing modalities like brochures, television commercials, etc.

There are multiple strategies that a digital firm might employ to keep your organization growing online. Some of them include:

  • content marketing
  • email advertising campaigns
  • social media optimization
  • online reputation management
  • responsive web design
  1. Public Relations Services.

One final form of marketing that you should be sure to invest in is public relations services. These services help keep you connected to the public while ensuring that your brand’s image is as positive and relevant as possible. Another benefit of public relations services is that they help you maintain a strong, productive relationship with media representatives like journalists, influential bloggers, and reporters. Some of the PR services a marketing firm may offer you include message development, press releases, and crisis communications.

Don’t Delay: Start Using These Digital Marketing Services Today!

If you’re ready to make your brand as successful as possible this year, know that optimizing your marketing methods can help you realize the goal. Use the advice offered in this quick reference guide to take your marketing plan from average to exceptional!

 

4 Tips for Better Company Leadership Utilizing Video

Leadership is key when it comes to growing a company, and fostering employees who will rise to the role when necessary is all about strengthening self-empowerment and avenues of communication. This is where video conferencing comes in, which not only allows employees to connect across a huge spectrum, but also changes up how people think of their workplace. Allowing employees autonomy, such as the ability to work remotely or meet on the go, is a good first step in encouraging leadership skills. Here are four tips for how you can improve potential for effective leadership in your company using the right communication tools.

Company-wide Meetings and Seminars

One feature of BlueJeans enterprise web and videocasting that’s especially useful in contributing toward breaking down barriers between key company leaders and employees is the ability to have a two-way interface when audience members are given moderator level speaking privileges on the fly. This means that the wall between audience and presenter is broken down and made porous. Whether you’re dealing with 100 audience members or 10, the idea behind this type of webcasting is the ability to interface actively. This is key when you’re trying to build up leadership, empower employees, and strengthen personal relationships in the company. In the end, you’ll see quantifiable results when you more effectively groom new leaders and improve productivity with more engaged employees.

Set the Tone of Company Culture

According to Tweak Your Biz, one of the most important methods that defines strong leadership is setting the tone of how business will get done and company culture at the very beginning. This can also include the type of communication methods that you’ll expect employees to use. Video conferencing is an important part of allowing employees to work remotely, or simply streamlining meeting tactics for project teams. While you may encounter a new hire who expects there to be more traditional in-person meetings in a conference room, letting that person know that business isn’t done that way in your company from the start is important. A good way to set up video as an expectation in everyday business affairs is to interview candidates via video conferencing. Whether the position you’re hiring for is completely remote or on-site, this will set up a particular expectation from the beginning.

Establishing and Teaching Trustworthiness

Whether you’re dealing with colleagues or clients, trust is one of the most lucrative currencies in business. According to Business 2 Community, when 75,000 people were asked about the quality that makes leadership most effective, the most popular answer was honesty. While this isn’t particularly surprising, accepting the quality as important, versus living it, are two very different things. In order to inspire trust and loyalty in other people, you need to live by example. This is also what makes for strong leadership and establishes a model for how employees are expected to function within their work environment, in relation to coworkers, and while engaged in daily tasks. Once employees trust the leaders in your business, then the example inevitably trickles down. This can be hastened by using video platform and broadcasting model behavior and leadership tactics across many channels, reaching many employees. For example, if you have an excellent manager who’s good at rallying people, by having dozens of employees join a videocast across the company, it allows you to bring that message to a broader platform.

Seeing Everyone Eye to Eye

If you’re at the helm of a large company or managing a large department, it can be difficult to see who’s excelling that works for you. While this is much easier in a small business environment, or a startup that’s still in the first phases of growth, once your business takes on more staff it can be difficult to gauge where your true team strengths lie. Using video allows you to interact on a large scale with multiple employees, facilitating a dialogue between the new person hired last week and the career manager who’s been with you since the beginning. While this dialogue allows lucrative morale and relationship building to take place, it also allows you to take stock of who’s doing the best job. Interacting with as many employees as possible and trading ideas and feedback is a surefire way to identify who in your organization is poised for promotions, which is much more difficult if you don’t have video to access your entire staff.

Leadership in a face to face context is no longer enough in an age when there is extensive potential for better communication and a larger platform for information to be dispersed. Using video conferencing is the perfect gateway to spreading model management strategies and bringing up the leadership of the future that already exists in your company. Collaboration is also key, allowing natural go-getters to take leadership roles within departments or project-specific teams, using video to transcend geography and removing the barrier of needing to be on-site to exercise leadership prowess. The bottom line is that video amplifies leadership messages and communication at a minimal, scalable cost, and leadership is one of the most important elements that leads to success in your industry.

Increase Your Business’s Reach with Search Engine Optimization

Contrary to uneducated and unpopular beliefs, search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t going away anytime soon.

In fact, it works better than ever, so companies are tapping into this powerful medium to grow and expand their business online.

Think about it.

What did you search for the last time you were on Google? Modern kitchen faucets? Boating equipment near you? Weekend getaway ideas?

Did your search ultimately lead you to buy a new product or service?

Most people use the search engines when they research products to buy. They also use the search engines when they research services for their homes or businesses.

Can you see the value of first page Google rankings?

If your company has not invested in SEO yet, you are seriously missing a golden opportunity.

To help educate you on this topic, we will discuss three reasons why every business owner needs to invest in SEO at this stage of the game.

It’s the Cost-Effective Way to Market Your Company

When you compare search engine optimization to other forms of advertising – whether it’s online or in print – search engine optimization is definitely the most cost-effective of the bunch.

Social media marketing, PPC advertising, buying leads from marketing companies, print ads in newspapers, and other choices often require business owners to spend too much money upfront before they can gather enough data to perfect their campaigns.

On the other hand, SEO is completely free if you know how to manipulate the search engines. If you do not possess this skill, it’s still incredibly affordable even if you have to hire a search engine optimization specialist.

Search Engines Are Being Utilized by Consumers Now More Than Ever

Only a few years ago, roughly 60% to 70% of people looking to buy something would go online to find out if there were any positive or negative reviews and other information that they could use to help make their buying decision.

Knowing that 60% to 70% of consumers were using the search engines for this information should get you excited. And today the numbers are even stronger.

As of right now in 2017, it’s estimated that 80% to 90% of consumers will go online to look for information about a particular product or service before they actually purchase it.

And online reviews are very powerful as well. People love to use the search engines to locate reviews from other satisfied or dissatisfied customers. The information that these people share helps to sway buying decisions one way or another.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to rank highly in the search engines. It’s your responsibility to provide positive information about your company so that people can find it online.

The easier consumers can find this information online, the more often they’ll buy products and services from your company.

If you ignore the search engines, you are ultimately ignoring your business. This could lead to serious problems along the way and cause greater harm to your company than you might expect.

Tap into SEO as soon as possible to increase your business’s reach.

Local SEO Is Thriving Right Now with No Signs of Stopping Anytime Soon

Computers and mobile devices are sending massive amounts of traffic to local business owners focused on search engine optimization.

It doesn’t matter where your business is located. It doesn’t matter what type of local business you own.

Your customers will find you if you have a presence in the search engines. And they’ll inquire about your products and services.

If your sales funnel is rock-solid, it should be easy to convert interested searchers into paying customers whether you are in Boston, Manhattan, Indiana, or Iraq.

Learn more about local Boston search engine optimization at www.youthnoise.com/seo-boston-ma.

Author Bio:

Wendy Dessler

Title: Super-Connector at OutreachMama

Wendy is a super-connector with Towering SEO and

OutreachMama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.

Tips for Hiring a Lawyer

There may come a time in your life when it becomes necessary for you to secure the services of legal counsel. If this should happen, it is imperative that the person you hire has outstanding qualifications. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing your court case. There are certainly many different lawyers to choose from. You should never make the mistake of thinking that all lawyers are basically the same because they all graduated from law school. The quality of law schools can vary dramatically. Therefore, the quality of the legal counsel these lawyers can provide for you can also be quite different. Here are some things for you consider as you begin the process of hiring a lawyer.

  1. Does the lawyer practice the specific type of law that your case involves?

Lawyers are a lot like doctors. There are many different areas of the medical field that a doctor can specialize in. For example, you would not go to a foot doctor if you are having problems with your back. You would need to be sure that the doctor has studied the type of medicine that is needed to cure your particular ailment. Likewise, there are too many areas of the law for a single lawyer to study. Therefore, he or she must select a specific area of the law to practice. Some lawyers practice several types of law. It would be advisable to only hire a lawyer who focuses on a single legal area. This will ensure that they know all of the ins and outs of that particular legal field.

  1. How much time will the lawyer be able to devote to your case?

This is an issue that many people do not stop to consider. Some lawyers have so many cases that they can only devote a limited amount of time to each one. You need to hire an Iowa workers compensation lawyer who can spend the time that is necessary to construct a case that will allow you to win. Therefore, do not hire a lawyer who has a massive caseload.

  1. How is the lawyer willing to accept payment?

There are lawyers who will only get paid if they win your case. This is called getting paid on a contingency basis. Other lawyers expect to be paid regardless of their performance in court. Meet with the lawyer and determine how they expect to be paid.

 

Why Do Large Truck Accidents Happen?

Whenever talking about vehicle collisions, those that involve trucks are the ones that are the most dangerous and that create the more damage. It is normal to be fearful of trucks and when driving you are mostly interested in understanding how to avoid the situation in the first place. According to a truck accident attorney Salt Lake City, most of the truck accidents are causing injuries that are long lasting and the legal processes associated are really tough to deal with.

Statistics Of Importance

In the US alone there are around 4,000 people that die in truck accidents every single year. Close to 100,000 are injured. Around 17 to 20 percent of all the truck accidents are going to involve a fatality. This is definitely something that should not be taken lightly. We tend to think that truck accidents are not common but that is not actually the case. Even if there are less trucks than small vehicles on the roads, any truck accident brings in serious damage to individuals and properties.

Why Do Truck Accidents Happen?

A truck driver is in charge of a really heavy and large vehicle. This means that extra caution is always a necessity. Big rig drivers or a trucking company can become negligent. If this happens and accidents happen, serious repercussions appear. The most common of the truck accident causes are the following:

  • An Overloaded Truck – We have special federal and state laws that highlight the weight that a large truck can have. There are also specific laws that will indicate the weight distribution that is necessary for every single axle. The reason why the laws exist is to guarantee road safety. When the laws are not respected, a truck accident is bound to happen. Companies that try to increase profits by overloading trucks are particularly at fault in many cases.
  • Fatigued Drivers – Unfortunately, this is another cause that is normally associated with the desire of a trucking company to make more money. A large truck driver has to respect specific time based driving rules. When they are not respected and the driver is fatigued, he can become drowsy. Reaction times will be slower and it is a lot easier to become distracted. In so many cases the truck accident happened because the driver did not even realize that something bad would happen.
  • Underride Accidents – A tractor trailer is bigger, taller and heavier than most vehicles. Because of this there is a risk of crashing under trucks. A truck will normally include underride guards along sides and in the back. If these do not exist or are not installed properly, the truck accident can be a lot more serious than it could have been.

Truck accidents mostly happen because of negligence, not because of direct driver fault. Because of this, you need to be aware of the causes and practice due diligence in all cases. It does not matter if you are the driver of a small car or of a truck. Knowing the facts mentioned above helps you remain safer.

Go Big the Right Way

Large-scale videoconferencing isn’t simply a matter of upscaling Skype. Running a symposium, a town hall meeting, a training session, or even a discussion panel means managing hundreds of attendees, roster of speakers, and a range of documents and media. Going big the wrong way can make you wish you stayed home, but going think the right way can show your professionalism and technological capabilities, in addition to adding much-needed value to large meetings.

Meetings Suck

One of the reasons that videoconferencing is becoming so popular is simply because meetings suck. Everyone has been in a meeting where they either play Candy Crush or practice the undergraduate art of sleeping with one’s eyes open. Likewise everyone has been on the receiving end of a large video training where it is difficult to ask questions or in a large-scale meeting session where there is little interaction with the speakers. It’s frustrating, exhausting, and somewhat demoralizing simply to be a body in the chair in a room when you could be elsewhere doing something productive. It is time to redefine meetings as productive, engaging, and vital.

Go Cloud the Right Way

Secure videoconferencing within an organization is a vital way to communicate across a wide geographic area, with a variety of workers either on campus, in the field, in different time zones or telecommuting. Going large-scale with your videoconferences takes some assistance from experienced and secure providers such as BlueJeans, which offers its cloud-based Enterprise-level Primetime service. A great deal of paranoia wrongfully surrounds the use of the public cloud when it comes to security. The natural tendency is to want to own and control the servers and systems that comprise an organization’s information technology, and to construct a private cloud network for use by the organization. A number of people point to the hacking of application development company Code Spaces in 2014.

As covered by ThreatPost, a hacker gained access to the company’s data via Amazon EC2 control panel and demanded a ransom, that ransom was not paid and the hacker then proceeded to delete all of the company’s data and backups. Whether this is a commentary on Code Spaces’ security practices or the security of the public cloud is open to question. For most people in information technology, your security is only good if you are following security protocols. Before diving in to the cloud, it’s best to have a parachute in the form of best practices for security. Let’s patch five holes in your security that can lead to disaster.

  1. Dumb passwords. Security Magazine notes a recent study where users used their own first names in the passwords, or some of the top 10 most common words included in passwords. This means hackers don’t have to work hard, but you will once your system is hacked and held for ransom – much like this Hollywood California hospital or the San Francisco BART. Institute a policy of strong passwords, and using a password manager app.
  2. Shakeout your BYOB policy. While it’s easier and more convenient for employees to use their own devices such as laptops, smart phones, and tablets for work it also poses a massive security gap. Possible risks are unsecured networks, hacker friendly passwords, and devices that are lost, stolen, or simply forgotten. Devices can also be rooted, jailbreaking, or infected with apps that piggyback malware or security risks with them. You will need to institute training programs to encourage employees to use heightened security measures on their devices, or you will have to shell out for work-only devices. While the latter option is expensive, the IT department will sleep better at night with a more homogenous range of devices.
  3. Train everyone. Now here is a use for that mass videoconference. In the first place, you can train your staff to use your videoconferencing app, and at the same time train everyone in the security measures that will help to keep your company’s data safe.
  4. Update your hardware. A number of older systems do not support encryption. Unless you want to someday shell out a large ransom in BitCoin, or see your organization’s internal emails plastered all over the media, you need to change this. And it’s not just computing devices, but also the hardware that you are using for your conferencing system such as cameras and microphones.

This list is by no means comprehensive. If you have not had a recent security consultation, you desperately need one and you needed it five minutes ago. In this part of the 21st century, for all companies, data is life. If you lose that data, and lose that security, you will lose your business’ or organization’s reputation. When you’re going big, go big the right way with comprehensive security and applications and policies in place.

Increase Your Company’s Productivity With These 4 Techniques

When it comes to finding the best ways to get ahead in an organization, oftentimes the best solution is to increase revenues and sell more. That being said, sometimes the actual easiest way of getting ahead for any organization is simply to figure out where their leaks are and how they can get just a little bit better at what they do. If you are trying to accomplish more with the same amount as (or less than) before, then you should strongly consider the following options in your company to maximize productivity.

Continue to Train Employees

One of the hardest things you will find in an organization is to force otherwise talented employees who have accumulated years or even decades of experience to struggle when it comes to changes. While it might be silly to see a veteran of the organization having trouble with their email or using the internet, the fact of the matter is that you have a very capable individual who has worked their way up the ladder. Now, they are at the mercy of technology that they don’t understand. Instead of making their job easier, you have actually made it worse. That is even more upsetting when you consider the number of employees who would like to embrace technology if they just knew how. As the Huffington Post describes, it is absolutely imperative to know your older workers before you pass judgement or institute policies on them.

One of the best remedies for this type of situation is to simply continue to offer employees opportunities to learn more about technology within the organization. Not only will they continue to feel like they are a strong part of the organization, but you will also be able to see just how much more effective they can actually become at their job.

Improve Communication

In many organizations around the globe there are constantly issues with communication. This can be extrapolated when it comes to a company that is growing, a company involved in a merger or acquisition, or even just a company that deals with people in multiple time zones. Instead of waiting to see how long it will actually take to communicate with the other party and delay whatever task you are waiting on, it makes a lot more sense to have the option to speak with others. For many, that answer is simply the best video conference for IT by the BlueJeans Network. Not only can you figure out in a short period of time how easy it is to always be connected to others, but you will also be able to give faster response times, have less downtime, and truly see work getting done faster than ever before.

Implement RFID Tags

One of the easiest things for any organization to do is to track their inventory and products better than ever before. With items such as the RFID systems found in inventory management today, you can simply scan individual tags on any pallet, product, or even equipment, and then instantly know where it is in a given warehouse or plant campus in a matter of seconds. The technology that is behind the radio frequency devices isn’t just tremendous for tracking inventory, but when you consider the capabilities of finding equipment or other items in places such as retail, hospitals, or even with multi-component manufacturing facilities, then you can see why a type of tracking system for all of your possessions could eliminate anything being lost as well as give you real time data on how long it takes to move inventory through the operation. As the RFID Arena outlines, there are significant benefits to any sort of radio frequency strategy for tracking.

Cut Hours For Employees

The simple thing about work is that some people believe it extends to match the amount of time you have to do it in. The reality is that when you start to consider an average workday, you know your employees are working hard, but you also know that they are spending some time in any given day on non-work related tasks. That is why some companies have taken the approach to cut hours instead of extend them in the hopes that employees will then be able to work as hard as they can in order to meet their objectives for the day. The truth of the matter is that when you start to think about how effective your employees can be if they are focused, then they will work harder to meet goals. Throw in the fact that they don’t have to work as long so long as they can accomplish what needs to be done, and you can see the tremendous results of your output increasing.

At the end of the day, your employees will continue to do significant amounts of work, but you do need to embrace technology and show them how they can save by doing more with less. The suggested processes listed here may not seem all that intuitive, but they will wind up being some of the best options in terms of output and productivity.

Best Communication Solutions for eCommerce Enterprises

Even though the world of business has continued to ramp up over the years as the internet has led to new growth opportunities and brand new outlets, the fact of the matter is people are starting to realize there are only so many low hanging fruit left on the technological tree to pick from. That is why when it comes to finding the best possible ways to move forward with their operation and their organization, it only makes sense to see one of the best possible video conferencing solutions. Pay attention to the following reasons as to why so many are making communication via the internet their top priority.

Constant Communication Is Everything

In the world of business, you are starting to be able to see a strong shift and a major trend. Over the last decade people and customers of all types wanted to compete on price. It didn’t matter if they had to jump through a hoop and translate their language three times in the process. If someone was going to be able to save a few cents in the process, then they were going to make the switch for the cost savings.

However, the business society that is educating others and growing up today seems to be one that trusts and values strong relationships over time far more than they value a few extra cents. After all, people are not just trying to find the right opportunities to move forward which will give them the best value over time, but they are also trying to think about the business relationships that will give them the least amount of headaches in a given period of time as well, according to Chron. Finding the chance to always be connected to others isn’t just about having some fun new gadgets or apps that you can play around with over the course of the workday. It is about making sure when there is a problem or an issue, you can get the answers you need quickly or demonstrate the value of your company by giving answers to the other party that they desperately need.

Global Communication from Anywhere

While you may be much more comfortable in a given location or with a specific group of people, the one thing that you need to realize about the current business landscape is that talent is everywhere and people are always on the lookout for new customers, suppliers, opportunities, and more. That means you should look outside of your geographic and physical area in order to find new potential resources and you should be doing this all of the time. However, it’s not just about being sure you can actually contact those people or just find them in the first place. What you will want to do is to be sure you can effectively communicate with them early and often.

You may need to feel like you are always on the phone with someone or sending them information and messages all of the time in order to make up for the lack of physical presence. However, when you consider the fact that a service like BlueJeans’ video meeting solution platform is able to have you in front of your audience within just a few seconds, it only makes sense to see if you can have just as good (if not better) communication with someone over a virtual conference than you would have in person.

Always Be Proactive

If you think about any sort of relationship, then you know being proactive versus being reactive is a much better strategy and a much more profitable one. Always being someone behind the eight-ball is something that no-one strives to accomplish. It is also something that can give off a bad vibe and potentially harm your business reputation as well because who wants to work with an individual who doesn’t seem to care about the consequences or the results? However, when you start to consider the powerful possibilities of something like an online video conferencing system then you can see why so many people fall in love with the system. Not only can you be proactive in the sense that you are always touching base with your customers and clients as well as other stakeholders, but even when things happen you can put out the fire quickly as a result.

Instead of continuing to play the game of doing business the old fashioned way, it makes much more sense to simply be able to communicate with others in the new business landscape. It’s not just about adapting so you don’t fall behind, but rather you want to adapt to be a leader and to get ahead. Think about how tapping into the new power of video conferencing technology can help your business today and see why more and more companies are making the switch.