Avoid Pitfalls of Working From Home

Local coffee shops or shared offices make great work-spaces too!

You started your own business. You started it because you had a passion for what you were doing and a belief that you would be more successful on your own rather than working for someone else. But that was a few years ago. Or maybe it was a couple of months ago. Either way, your passion, your excitement and your energy is slowly waning, and the warm weather is only making it worse. How do you get it back?

 

Well, if you’ve been working from home this entire time, it may be time to get out. At least a few times a week. If you’re running a home office and the warmer weather is making you feel a little stifled, below are four reasons why you may want to co-work – either from your local coffee shop or at a more formal co-working space.

 

Boost Productivity: No, it’s not in your head. People are more productive when they work in a coffee shop, they provide no “work hours” pressure, just enough distractions and to a lot of people, work doesn’t seem like work when you’re out of the office. When you’re working in a public space, there’s the (needed) pressure of looking like you’re doing something. At home, you can watch TV or spend time on Facebook. But when surrounded by other productive people, you become more productive as well.

 

Get New Ideas: When you force yourself out of your home, you expose yourself to new ideas. Meeting new people, seeing new things, having new experiences. All of this will affect your view of the market, your company and how you relate to other people. Changing your environment is a good way to free up your mental bottleneck and start seeing things in a new light.

 

Build a Social Network: Whether you’re a one-person shop or even a three-four-person shop, it can sometimes be hard to build social ties you need to effectively grow your business. Working in a co-working space, whether formal or informal, can make this process easier by naturally putting you around people who can help you when needed. You build your network by placing yourself around qualified people and learning how others work.

 

Find a Balance: Some small business owners do a great job at setting realistic hours and expectations for themselves. However, some aren’t so good at this and end up working on their SMB for 12 hours straight, 7 days a week, and begin to think that’s a “normal” routine. It’s not. It’s also not healthy – to you or your business. Getting out and working in a co-working environment can give you the physical separation between work and home that so many business owners lack –  to the detriment of your health, personal relationships, and, yes, even the success of your business.

 

So get out and recharge yourself! Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Earth Day 2017

This Saturday is the 47th Anniversary of Earth Day, and to celebrate we want to take a look at the business of sustainability. How sustainable is your small business, energy wise? Commercial buildings generally use up a lot of energy.  As a small business owner you can take several measures to make your building or office more energy efficient.

 

All the “going green chatter” can sometimes feel like an incessantly beating drum.   The truth of the matter however is that the economy starts with small businesses, and this is also true for energy consumption. So, in honor of Earth Day, here are some ways your small business can conserve more energy.

 

HVAC Maintenance: When was the last time you thought about your HVAC system? Often small business owners neglect their ventilation and air-conditioning, not noticing the system is in dire need of a tune-up or replacement. Sometimes energy savings can be made with something as simple as changing an air filter or moving a piece of furniture blocking a vent.

 

Lighting: While most people realize any light not in use should be turned off, in practice this often gets forgotten.  In 2017 there are so many options to help ranging from smart bulbs to motion sensors to timers.  While such products use to be costly, they have significantly dropped in price and in time, tend to pay dividends in the savings.

 

No More Paper: Businesses in 2017, need to be as paperless as possible. Not only does it conserve precious natural resources, it saves money and digital records are far easier to keep track of.

 

Office Equipment: This may sound trivial and unnecessary, but this is actually an area where a business can suffer the most when it comes to energy conservation. You should always make sure that your building is constantly turning off machines when they are not in use. Just enable the machine to automatically switch to sleep mode or have employees turn monitors off manually.

 

Hopefully you take these tips on energy conservation to heart, and help in preserving the natural beauty of our planet.  Happy Earth Day to all!  Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Lessons from the Easter Bunny

Easter is just around the corner, but small businesses all over the country are hard at work making sure their customers are happy. Happy customers are the keystone of success for many businesses. Poor customer service can quickly bite you where it hurts most: your profits. The Easter Bunny has several valuable lessons about customer service that small businesses may benefit from learning.

 

Hiding “Goods” Isn’t Always Good

The Easter Bunny sneaks in and hides Easter eggs all over houses, yards, parks and other areas. While this might make for some good treasure-hunting fun, your customers will not appreciate going on a hunt to get answers about your business. You can’t hide your answers as a business. Having a well-developed knowledge base is a good start. With quality content from which to draw, your customers may be able to trust that you understand your business and can provide them with the goods and services they desire.

 

Visiting in the Night Limits Availability

Have you ever caught a glimpse of the Easter Bunny? Probably not. He only seems to visit in the middle of the night, much like Santa Claus, he’s not around when you’re awake. As a business, it’s important to be available when your customers are. If most of your business happens at night, then you need to be available at night. If your customers are working from 9-5, that’s when you need to be available.

 

A Mysterious Myth

We all know the Easter Bunny sneaks around, leaves candies and hides eggs. What else? He’s mysterious and, according to some people, a myth. This is intriguing for a figure that leaves candy for children, but no one appreciates such mysteriousness in business. People want to speak to people. Mystery makes many customers and clients feel uncomfortable. Don’t tiptoe around; be real and upfront with your customers.

 

Everyone Loves the Easter Bunny

Who doesn’t love the Easter Bunny? We’re not saying you should give out baskets of chocolates and hide eggs everywhere but going above and beyond for your customers is likely to bring you the same type of love and loyalty.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Business Communication Mistakes

 

Are You Making Communication Mistakes?

Communication with your customers is the key factor in determining whether they will have a positive buying experience and if they’ll come back to purchase again. Technology is a tremendous competitive weapon that small businesses can leverage.  Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes among small businesses.  Here’s how you can address a few of them:

 

Phone Communication System

Don’t get stuck with old PBX switches or just using cell phones for company business. By getting a central business number and an automated receptionist with an auto attendant menu, customers will become more comfortable with your credibility and more likely to conduct business with you.

 

Call Data

Analytics are critical for small businesses to understand their customers. By knowing who is calling, how often, and how long they are on the line, you can get significant insights into what is working and what is not working.

 

Team Collaboration

One of the most important things in a company’s productivity is how easily your team can collaborate even when they are not physically in the same place. Having a system where all your team members can collaborate on documents in a secured environment facilitates the exchange of ideas and increases efficiency.

 

Social Media Management

Being able to easily manage a company’s social media presence needs to have a strategy and process to it. Customers need to be responded to on social media, as it’s a huge form of customer and business relationship building. Instead of being only reactive on social media, content can be scheduled strategically weeks in advance using various online tools.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Reduce Financial Risk

Reducing Financial Risk As An Entrepreneur

There’s no doubt that starting a new business has risks. If you’re an entrepreneur considering starting a new business, you’re probably already thinking what can be done to make sure you survive the first few years? Specifically, how can you reduce any potential financial risks? Here are some things to consider:

 

Develop a Solid Business Plan

This must be the first step to help entrepreneurs reduce financial risks. Before jumping in with both feet, you should know how much time and capital you are going to be investing in your new business. Market research must be done; this gives you an idea of whether your business has a chance at success or if it may fail.

 

Keep Good Records

Establish an organized record keeping system that works from the very beginning. This can save you both time and money when it comes time to pay your bills or file taxes.

 

Limit Your Loan Amount

If you must start out with a business loan, try to make it as low as you can comfortably manage. If it is possible to fund your business without loans, that would be ideal to reduce your financial risk as much as possible.

 

Buy Insurance

Be sure to purchase insurance against the unforeseen.  Disaster, accidents, lawsuits, and any other thing you can think of that could potentially jeopardize your business. The peace of mind of knowing that you have protected your business from such risks, is well worth the money spent.

 

Save Money

When you can, save as much as you can. Build up some cushion as a “safety net” in case of a turn in the economy or other circumstances beyond your control. To do this, you may have to focus on improving your personal finances and having your own personal emergency fund before starting a business.

 

You can’t 100% guarantee that your own success will succeed, however, you can take the proper steps ahead of time to help reduce the financial risks of starting your new business, giving it a greater chance of being a success!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Account Executive

Bullfrog Insurance – Canada’s first online brokerage where you can get a quote and buy small business insurance online in 90 seconds — is looking for the best and brightest!  We are growing at a staggering pace and need ambitious, intelligent team members like you!  Are you an energetic, tech savvy individual with a RIBO license who enjoys innovation and looks for ways to continually improve?

Are you a self-starter, who wants to join a rapidly growing company with tremendous potential for career growth?  Are you looking for an opportunity to be part of brilliant team driving disruptive changes in the insurance industry?  If these attributes describe you, we’d love to speak with you!

We are looking for Account Executives to join us as we go into our biggest year yet!

 

Why Join Bullfrog Insurance?

Account Executives at Bullfrog Insurance get to use the latest technology, enjoy a generous salary and bonus structure, have flex hours, have the ability to work from home and get to be part of a team that shapes the future and growth of the enterprise.  In addition we support staff members who wish to further their skills through courses and education.

 

What Will You Be Doing?

Account Executives are responsible for processing Small Business Commercial Insurance transactions, in accordance with company service/quality standards, including;

  • New, renewal, cancellation and change documents
  • Updating Client Management system, client policy data, including claims open/close activity
  • Issuance of documents confirming coverage for interested parties
  • Preparation of applications, submissions and proposals as directed
  • Invoicing as appropriate
  • Scan and attach documents as required
  • Other duties as assigned

 

PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS

  • Ambitious, innovative, professional, friendly and courteous in all interactions, whether with co-workers or customers
  • Team player adaptable to a changing environment
  • Persistent performer who excels in a busy environment and remains calm under pressure
  • Agile thinker with good organization skills and the ability to prioritize
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Detail-oriented
  • Wants to get in at the start of a growing organization

 

QUALIFICATIONS

  • RIBO License
  • Commercial Insurance Experience
  • Minimum High school diploma, post-secondary education an asset
  • Excellent keyboarding and data entry skills
  • Familiarity with MS suite of products
  • Obtaining a designation will be a condition of employment
  • Experience with Salesforce or other CRM platforms would be an asset

 

How To Apply

Interested applicants should send a resume outlining their relevant skills, experience and capabilities to info@bullfroginsurance.com.  No agents, recruiters or headhunters please.  Candidates under consideration will be contacted by Friday April 28th, 2017.

 

About Bullfrog Insurance:

Based out of Mississauga Ontario, Bullfrog Insurance is a licensed Canadian brokerage launched to help small businesses by providing rich knowledge content, educating them about their insurance needs and serving those clients in a manner that is convenient and efficient.  Bullfrog Insurance allows business owners to obtain a quote and buy insurance online in 90 seconds anytime and anywhere.  Customers simply fill out a short questionnaire, obtain up to 4 quotes from reputable insurers, pay by credit card and get their insurance documents in their email instantly.  Clients get the best coverage for the best rate possible without having to spend hours searching and contacting brokers and insurers.

 


 

When Business Is Slow

 

Anyone who runs a business knows that there will inevitably be slowdowns that occur from time to time.  Whether it’s a seasonal slowdown or an overall economic decline: sometimes customers disappear, sales go down, and overall business drops. Don’t panic, it may be a blessing in disguise. It’s the perfect time to evaluate what’s working for your business and what isn’t. There are 3 key areas business owners should focus on when business slows down:

 

Networking

These events are often a great source for sales opportunities and you just never know what kind of relationships you can form with other like-minded people. While networking may not be what you want to do when you’re already stressed over business being slow, these events may be a great opportunity.  It’s not difficult, it’s just a matter of putting yourself out there, you never know who you might meet.

 

Marketing

This should always be high up on your priority list. Marketing doesn’t only keep your business visible to your consumers, but it forces you to constantly think about the benefits and positives associated with your business; something that can help any business owner through tough times!  It may not be possible at the time to allocate large funds to marketing, but there are always inexpensive and creative ways to stay in touch with your audience.

 

Social Media

This is the most inexpensive way to connect with a much larger audience than would normally be available through traditional media. Just like marketing and networking, social media is an excellent area to focus your attention. It’s all about engagement and content. Customers today want an interactive experience with the brands they’re supporting, by giving them unique and informative content; you can turn shoppers into loyal customers.

 

There are multiple things that you can do when business is slow to help raise brand awareness and keep your consumers engaged. These will ensure that when consumers are once again ready to part with their hard earned dollars, your business will be first in mind.

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Tax Refund Opportunities

 

Tax Season Opportunities

Tax season is upon us and if your business played its cards right throughout the year you may have a big refund coming your way. Rather than waste it on short-term fun, think about how you can invest back into your business for a long-term gain. Here are a few ideas on how to use the money to benefit your business:

 

Improve Your Website

This is generally your first impression to consumers, if you’re trying to run a successful business, you need a website that looks the part. Think about your number one goal when someone lands on your website, then design your site’s user experience around that goal.

 

Attend a Conference

Conferences are a huge opportunity.  They can be pivotal to any business — especially entrepreneurs.  Hanging out with people in the same industry can be a big boon to your mental state, plus you can learn a lot to improve your business at the same time.

 

Upgrade Your Branding

Make your brand stand out.  First impressions mean a lot and research shows people derive an impression of you in as little as 1/10th of a second!  If you have never put thought into your branding, consider investing in a new logo design or branding package that you can use on your website, social media, business cards, and anywhere else you are working to get the word out.

 

Outsource Bottleneck Tasks

Are you a bottleneck?  If so, you’re probably causing inefficiencies and costing your business money.  It is important to recognize this and alleviate it. Create processes to improve your productivity, and outsource the where possible. There are many sites that can quickly send projects to remote workers, like UpWork and Freelancer.com.

 

You may be tempted to spend that refund on new shoes, a vacation, or something else but take a moment to consider how you can leverage those dollars to earn even more down the road. You only get a tax refund once a year so be sure to use it wisely!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

St. Patrick’s Day 2017

St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated every year on March 17th, honoring the Irish patron saint, St. Patrick. This holiday was first celebrated in American in 1737, organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, including a feast and religious service. It is largely Irish culture themed and typically consists of wearing the colour green, big parades and of course, drinking green beer. Churches may also sometimes hold religious services.

 

All over the world people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, especially places with large Irish-American communities. Parades and wearing green have always been a traditional part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but if you’re looking to attend the biggest events on this day, these are the places you’ll want to be: Boston, New York, Scranton, Chicago, New Orleans and of course Ireland.

 

There are many legends associated with St. Patrick. The symbol of the shamrock (no, not the shamrock shake at McDonalds) comes from the story of St. Patrick using the shamrock to illustrate the Holy Trinity. The three-leafed plant coincided with the Pagen religion’s sanctity of the number 3 and is the root of the green color theme.

 

Feasting on the day features traditional Irish food, which can include corned beef, corned cabbage, coffee, soda bread, potatoes, and shepherd’s pie! But the Irish themed breakfast is the best part, sausage, black and white pudding, fried eggs, and fried tomatoes.  So today is the day everyone, put on your green t-shirt and go out and celebrate responsibly!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

Quick Tips For Starting A Business


What is the most important technique or approach most small business owners use for success? There isn’t one! There are some essential key skills that go into building almost every successful business however.  Here are just a few

 

You Don’t Know What People Can Do, Till You Let Them Try
Empowerment is the key to running a successful business
. Whatever your business, you need to find ways to empower yourself and your team.  Make sure you are as informed as possible when making decisions and delegate to your team — groom them and grow them.  You’ll appreciate the extra seconds and they’ll appreciate the experience and career growth.

 

YOU Own Marketing
Remember – it’s your business.  It’s all too easy and tempting to outsource marketing to an agency, but never forget who owns marketing.  No one knows your value proposition or brand better than you, so nobody is in a better position to channel that and tell your story in a clear and vibrant manner.  Marketing can be a lot of fun, but effective marketing requires a deep understanding of the customer and the most effective tactics.

 

Have A Mobile Strategy
In 2017, having a mobile strategy is not optional. From having a mobile friendly-site to having a mobile app, it is key to always consider how you can make it easier for customers to be made aware of you and access you from a smartphone or tablet.

 

Plan the Work & Work the Plan
Deadlines are essential for businesses to function properly.
You can’t expect your business to grow if you haven’t figured out a RoadMap for at least 3 – 5 years.  It’s like heading out to the airport for a vacation without a planned destination.  Help your team stay on track with deadlines by setting up tasks, tracking progress and measuring against plan.

 

Get Some Perspective

Challenges and dilemmas are going to be a part of running any small business. With some networking however you will often find you are not alone.  Participating in CEO or Entrepreneur peer groups is a great way to get some mentorship and occasionally some comforting perspective – regardless of how tough the day has been, the sun will rise tomorrow!

 

Be sure to visit the Bullfrog Blog often for more tips on marketing, productivity and risk mitigation.

 

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