The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on how the past year went for your small business, both the wins and the losses. A thorough, honest review can help you plan for growth and success over the next 12 months.
Here are six New Year’s resolutions that can protect your business and help it thrive, regardless of what the new year brings.
1. Employ strong cybersecurity practices
Data breaches and other cybercrimes are becoming increasingly common and costly. Here are some ways you can protect your business in the coming year, as suggested by the Federal Trade Commission:
- Install antivirus software and antispyware on all company devices, and always download the latest updates.
- Train employees on cybersecurity principles.
- Change passwords regularly and don’t make them obvious.
- Back up your business data to an off-site location or cloud storage.
- Secure your Wi-Fi networks.
- Develop a cyber risk management plan.
- Talk to your insurance professional about cyber insurance.
2. Develop a disaster plan
Planning ahead for a disaster can mean the difference between staying in business and losing everything. And it’s one of the easiest ways to help ensure your business survives and recovers.
Sit down and think about the kinds of disasters that are most likely to affect your business, whether they’re hurricanes, cyber threats, wildfires, earthquakes, tornadoes, labor strikes or something else. Then, work through each scenario and figure out how you can minimize the potential damage — including transferring the risk via smart insurance strategies.
Before disaster strikes, review your insurance policy with your insurance professional. They can explain your deductibles, your coverage limits, and what you are and aren’t protected against.
3. Evaluate your need for flood insurance
Damage caused by many types of natural events, such as lightning or wind, will usually be covered by commercial property insurance. But you need a special policy if you want protection from flood damage. For example, flooding caused by a hurricane-generated storm surge typically isn’t covered under a standard commercial policy.
Flood insurance is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and some private insurers. NFIP coverage can’t be obtained directly from the federal government; you must purchase it from a qualified insurance professional. Typically, there’s a 30-day waiting period before coverage starts, so plan ahead.
4. Shield you and your business from mistakes
In today’s litigious society, no one is safe from lawsuits. What you think is a simple mistake can be deemed a “wrongful act” and result in a lawsuit. A directors and officers (D&O) liability policy specifically covers “wrongful acts,” such as an actual or alleged error, misleading statement, neglect or breach of duty.
Errors and omissions (E&O) insurance is another type of policy that can fill a gap in your commercial general liability policy. It covers service errors, contract performance disputes and other professional liability issues.
5. Learn something new
As a small business owner who wants to remain competitive, you need to continually expand your skill set and keep up with the latest tools, techniques and technologies. This helps to enhance innovation and promote operational efficiency.
Seek out professional development opportunities online and in your community. Also, make sure a culture of continuous learning is encouraged at your business and passed along to all employees.
6. Give back
Incorporate charitable giving into your business plan. It provides a sense of fulfillment and can also help promote your brand. You can give back in one of two ways: your time or your money.
Giving back shows you understand how your business fits into the broader community and highlights a commitment to improve that community for everyone. Consumers would much rather support a business that cares about the well-being of the local community than a company that simply offers services or products.
As your business’s needs change, so should your insurance.
At the start of the new year, carve out some time to weigh the risks you and your business face if the unexpected happens. Then, be proactive and contact your trusted insurance professional to review all policies, understand your coverages and make updates for the upcoming year.
Get the coverage you need to safeguard your continued well-being and the success of your business, year after year.