Natural disasters and other calamities can affect any company at any time. Depending on the type of business and its financial stability, a few weeks or months of lost income can leave it struggling to turn a profit indefinitely — or force ownership to sell or close. One way to guard against this predicament is through the purchase of business interruption insurance. The difference You might say, “But wait! We already have commercial property insurance. Doesn’t that typically pay the costs of a disaster-related disruption?” Not exactly. Your policy may cover some of the individual repairs involved, but it won’t keep you operational. Business interruption coverage allows you to relocate or temporarily close so you can make the necessary repairs. Essentially, the policy will provide the cash flow to cover revenues lost and expenses incurred while your normal operations are suspended. 2 types of coverage Generally, business interruption insurance isn’t sold as a separate policy. Instead, it’s added to your existing property coverage. There are two basic types of coverage: 1. Named perils policies. Only specific occurrences listed in the policy are covered, such as fire, water damage and vandalism. 2. All-risk policies. All disasters are covered unless specifically excluded. Many all-risk policies exclude damage from earthquakes and floods, but such coverage can generally be added for an additional fee. Business interruption insurance usually pays for income that’s lost while operations are suspended. It also covers continuing expenses — including salaries, related payroll costs and other amounts required to restart a business. Depending on the policy, additional expenses might include: • Relocation to a temporary building (or permanent relocation if necessary), • Replacement of inventory, machinery and parts, • Overtime wages to make up for lost production time, and • Advertising stating that your business is still operating. Business interruption coverage that insures you against 100% of losses can be costly. Therefore, more common are policies that cover 80% of losses while the business shoulders the remaining 20%. Pros and cons As good as business interruption coverage may sound, your company might not need it if you operate in an area where major natural disasters are uncommon and your other business interruption risks are minimal. The decision on whether to buy warrants careful consideration. First consult with your insurance agent about business interruption coverage options that could be added to your current property coverage. If you’re still interested, perhaps convene a meeting involving your agent, management team and other professional advisors to brainstorm worst-case scenarios and ask “what if” questions. After all, you don’t want to overinsure, but you also don’t want to underemphasize risk management. Potential value Proper insurance coverage is essential for every company. Let us help you run the numbers and assess the potential value of a business interruption policy. © 2018
Every company, big or small, should have a mission statement. Why? When carefully conceived and well written, a mission statement can serve as a beacon to the world — letting everyone know what the business stands for and where it’s headed. It can build customer loyalty and mobilize people behind a common cause. And it can define the company’s collective personality, provide clear direction, and most of all, serve as a starting point for all of your marketing efforts. Here are some elements to consider when writing a mission statement:
Target audience. This starts with customers, of course. But it also includes employees, job candidates, investors, lenders and the community at large. You can focus a mission statement on a combination of these groups or just one of them.
Length. Some mission statements are only a single sentence. Others are long and complex, encompassing philosophies, objectives, plans and strategies. Generally, it’s best to come up with something in the middle that’s concise, easy to understand and actionable — again, a viewpoint from which your company will express itself and make decisions.
Tone. Establishing the correct tone involves a process of intentional word selection. If the language is too flowery and cumbersome, readers may not take a mission statement seriously. Then again, something too short may come off as vague or flippant. Use appropriate language that’s directed at the target audience and reflects your strategic plans.
Endurance. A mission statement should be able to withstand the test of time and, ultimately, have meaning in the long term. By the same token, its language should be current enough to reflect changes in the business and its competitive environment. A statement created years ago may no longer be relevant.
Distinctiveness. Every company is different — even those in the same industry. Customize your mission statement to express what’s different and distinguishing about your business.
An effective mission statement can be a great asset to an organization. Develop yours as part of an overall strategic planning process, starting with an analysis of your company’s culture, development, and prioritization of goals and objectives. Contact our firm to discuss this and other ways to enhance profitability.
The IRS began accepting 2017 federal income tax returns on Jan. 29. The tax agency reports that it is expecting upwards of 155 million returns. More than 70% of them are expected to yield refunds. At least 90% of refunds will be issued within 21 days of receipt of the returns, but refunds that include an earned income tax credit or additional child credit shouldn’t be expected before Feb. 27, 2018. The filing deadline this year is April 17, 2018. Read more at: http://bit.ly/2FvRO3y
You’ve probably heard the term and wondered whether it could happen to your company. Maybe it already has. We’re referring to “digital disruption” — when new technologies and business models affect the value proposition of existing goods and services. Perhaps the most notorious recent example of this is the rise of ride-sharing companies such as Uber and Lyft, which have turned the taxi industry on its ear. But it’s hardly a fait accompli that a business will fall flat on its face because of digital disruption. You may be able to dance right through it with the right digital transformation strategy. Here are five steps to consider: 1. Focus on customers. Businesses often view the world through the filters of marketing, sales and maximized revenues. Instead of thinking about business success, target the customer experience. 2. Make analytics your friend. Develop a strategy to access, analyze and use that data. Tap the brains of analysts who can think outside the box of departmental silos in order to combine all types of data, including point of sale, sensors and machines, logs and social streams. Then use that big data to innovate. 3. Unify operations. Best-practice organizations assess digital requirements from across the business and then set objectives. Most organizations have multiple teams and departments involved in digital transformation. It’s crucial to ensure that all of your business is aligned and operating toward the digital goals you’ve defined. 4. Think visually. Data visualization is the ability to see various data in a variety of formats such as charts, graphs or other representations. Infographics often play a role in visualization. If your company has a hard time understanding how data can be used to drive digital transformation, consult an advisor who can help you leverage this critical information. 5. Be nimble. By the time a project is completed, the market and customer requirements have often changed. To avoid this problem, develop digital agility that will let your business embrace operational changes as a matter of routine by using digital technologies. Digital agility is rooted in the concept of learn, launch, relearn and relaunch. Digital disruption — and transformation, for that matter — are very much the new normal. We can help you crunch the numbers and target the trends that enable you to waltz around trouble and boogie your way to continued success. © 2017
Every business owner must find time for strategic planning. Failing to do so can leave you working blindly, in danger of crisis or even ruin because of unforeseen developments. Some experts say a CEO should spend only 50% of his or her time on daily operations, with the other half going to strategizing. But the ideal amount will vary depending on your company’s size and nature. However many hours you decide to spend, make regular time for strategic planning just as you would for tending to an important customer relationship. Let us know how we can help.
No business owner wants to send out spam. Even the term “email blast,” the practice of launching a flurry of targeted messages at customers and prospects, has mixed connotations these days. Yet email remains a viable and even necessary communications channel. Here are four tips on making your marketing emails a blast (in the fun and informative sense) and keeping them out of recipients’ spam folders: 1. Craft a catchy subject line. It should be no longer than eight words and shouldn’t be in all caps. Put yourself in the customer’s place, particularly considering his or her demographic, and ask yourself whether you would open the email. Also, clearly indicate the message’s content. Example: Office Supplies Blowout! 30% Year-End Discount 2. Write a compelling headline. The first thing readers see upon opening an email is the headline, so make it: Different from the subject line, Short (four or five words), A larger font size than the body of the message, and Persuasive. Example: Rock Your Stockroom Now 3. Make it quick, keep it simple. Most people will read very little text and may not wait for slow-loading images. So think of each marketing email as an “elevator speech,” a quick and concise pitch for specific products or services. And keep images relatively small and easy to download. Customers want to fulfill their needs at a reasonable price. Don’t expect them to search for answers about whether you can meet these expectations. Tell them why they should buy. Example: Buying office supplies in bulk now will save you time and money throughout next year. 4. Close with a “call to action.” Instill a sense of urgency in readers by setting a deadline and telling them precisely what to do. Otherwise, they may interpret the email as merely informational and file it away for reference or simply delete it. Be sure to include clear, “clickable” contact info. Example: Offer expires November 30. Call or visit our website now! Speaking of calls to action, please contact our firm for help ensuring your marketing initiatives are cost effective. © 2017