5 Resolutions for Your Business to Adopt in 2016

Resolutions

As we wave goodbye to 2015 and welcome 2016 with open arms, this time of year presents small business owners, such as yourself, with a great opportunity to set New Year’s resolutions for your business. What important decisions should you make to propel your business forward onto the route of success? Now is a great time to make these decisions and an action plan to support them.

Here are some potential resolutions to make in 2016 to aid in your business’ growth and success:

 

1. Review and Assess Your Brands Online Image.

Has it been many years since your company’s last website facelift and/or are your customers not interacting with your website as intended? If the answer is yes, to either of those points, you may want to refresh your brands image and/or your site to make it easier for your customers to navigate and utilize. Your website should always be updated with promotions, news, and important insights for it to reflect your current offerings and to create a great first impressions for potential new customers.

 

2. Let Go of Employee’s That Bring down You and Your Team.

Do you have an employees on your team that make team-work extremely difficult and who bring an overwhelming cloud of negativity towards the business’s environment and objectives? If yes, then it may be time to let them go. By holding on to employees that emit such a negative influence and vibe in the office, you put your business on the brink of losing extremely valuable employees who drive your businesses success.

 

3. Can Clients and Potential Customers Find Your Business Online?

Depending on the services and/or products your business sells, potential customers who may be  interested in your offerings will search for your business online to read available reviews and to just get a sense of the value that your business offers. If your company doesn’t have an online presence in this day and age, it is as if your company doesn’t exist.  Without knowing, you may be turning away many potential customers by not having an a foot in the online sphere.

 

4. Focus on Making Your Existing Customers Happy.

As a small business owner, a lot of your focus and time is placed upon ways to attract new clients and how to offer them exceptional value. While this is great, it’s very important to remember to keep your current client base happy and satisfied in order to keep retention rates high. Although you strive to make new customers happy, the benefit of having a strong group of loyal customers will help your business soar for years.

 

5. Look at Expanding Your Business.

Gaining a lot of business and ongoing success? If things are in the positive and you see potential for expansion, now would be a great time to investigate your options and see what would work best for your business to continue its growth. Whether it be an additional physical location, additional staff or even opening an online version of your store, the options are endless. Be sure to keep your target market in mind when making such important decisions.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Tips to Make Your Website More Reputable and Trustworthy

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Consumers love the convenience of shopping online but they’re also savvier than ever before.  They are also likely to have hundreds, maybe even thousands, of websites that they can pick from to purchase their goods and/or services from. If you want consumers to purchase from your site they need to feel confident that their personal information including payment details will be secure. They need to trust in what they’re buying, what kind of quality it will be, and what the experience will be like if they have a problem along the way. Trust is important because people tend to do business with those that they know, like and trust. If someone trusts your brand, they are more likely to purchase from you.

Here are some tips to help make your website more reputable and trustworthy:

 

Build a Professional Website.

Make sure that your site is visually appealing and easy to navigate. Also, make sure that the design elements fit your dedicated target market. Audit your site regularly to update content, fix broken links, and make regular improvements.  If you have a blog, try to keep it updated with new content. If the last post on your blog was 2 years ago, people will wonder if your business is still active.

 

Tell People Who You Are and What to Expect.

Have an About Us page that gives the story of your business; remember that people like to do business with those they know and like. Have a Privacy Policy that tells people how you handle their personal information and a Return Policy so they know what to expect in the event their purchase doesn’t meet their expectations. You can implement a FAQ page for any miscellaneous info specific to your site that consumers should know.

 

Legitimate and Easy to Find Contact Details.

The Contact Us page deserves its own category because it’s very important. If consumers don’t think there are real people behind the site then they are definitely less likely to trust it. The page should display contact information including a phone number, email address, mailing address and physical address (if applicable). Don’t be afraid to get personal by listing specific contact people rather than generic contact details. Most importantly, reply to all inquiries in a timely manner. Not replying is the easiest way to an unhappy or lost customer or both.

 

Get a Trust Mark or Certified Seal.

This reassures people that your website is safe and reputable. Check out Trust Guard or the Better Business Bureau (among others) to see what you need to obtain this type of third party endorsement. You will likely have to meet some guidelines for approval, which only helps improve your site in the long run.

 

Use a Secure Checkout.

By partnering with a reputable payment vendor you will help ensure that you don’t lose a customer at the very last stage of the purchase process. PayPal is one that most consumers know and trust, but you can also do your research and pick one that you think is best for your site. Make sure to use SSL encryption to prevent unauthorized access to client information and don’t be afraid to advertise this to clients in the checkout area.

 

Include Reviews.
Post reviews and testimonials from real customers to help new customers feel more confident about their purchase. Build credibility for the reviews by including a picture and some background information on the person giving the review.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business or for personal risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Tips for Growing Your Small Business

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So you’ve finally got your small business off the ground (congratulations!) and things are positively moving ahead. The next item on your to-do list is to continue to invest in your small business to ensure its ongoing growth and success.

To help your business on its journey through the competitive marketplace, here are some tips to consider to boost your business further ahead:

 

Make Networking a Priority.

Whether it’s going to industry information sessions or introducing yourself to your fellow local businesses, make networking an integral part of your business plan. In order to grow and expand your operations, you will need to make connections. From creating awareness of what your small business offers to even creating an extension of a current offering via a corporate sponsorship, when it comes to expanding your network, the possibilities are endless.

 

Create and Maintain a Strategic Direction.

Developing a strategic plan and setting out clear objectives is key to your business’ success. Along with helping your business stay focused, a strategic plan will aid your business in finding its place within the competitive marketplace and will shed light on any changes that need to be made. As you follow through with your plan, various external and internal factors may come into play that will require you to re-assess your strategy and make adjustments. In order for your business to progress and adapt, these small changes are necessary.

 

Keep Your Website Updated.

In order for potential new customers to find your business and assess the services and/or products it offers, it is imperative that your website is kept up to date. Whether it be ensuring that your site is properly reflecting changes in your branding or promoting new product/service offerings, it is important to keep your site updated in order to keep your customer base informed.

 

Keep an Eye on the Competition.

Assessing your competition in the marketplace is very beneficial and a must when it comes to growing your business. From advertising initiatives, changes in services or products or the way in which businesses are interacting with their customers, your competition offers insight into what is working in regards to growth and what potential gaps may be presenting themselves.

 

Utilize Social Media Platforms.

Depending on what industry your small business belongs to or what products/services it offers, utilizing social media platforms can be an important tool for interacting with your customer base and developing a community following. It is important to stress that just because you create a social media account on a specific platform doesn’t mean that your business will grow ten-fold over night. Make it routine to post useful and engaging content that your customer base will find appealing and resourceful.

 

Protect Your Business.

As your small business grows, it is imperative that you ensure it is properly protected with the right insurance policy. Whether your small business is a home business consisting of two employees or a niche advertising agency consisting of 15 employees, your risks will be unique and your insurance policy should reflect that.

 

Have any questions on the information above or want to speak to one of our licensed insurance brokers about getting the right liability insurance for your small business? Give us a shout today!

Insurance Options for Your Small Business

liability-insurance-types

Bullfrog Insurance now offers small business owners the option of purchasing either a Business Owners Policy or a Liability Only Policy for their small business. With two options for you to choose from to protect your small business against risk, we want to ensure that you don’t get confused by which policy is right for you.

We are here to help you make the right decision for your business when it comes to its insurance protection. Here is some insight to help clarify the differences between the two types of policy options we offer so you can make the right choice based on your business’ needs:

 

1. Business Owners Policy (full package deal).

What does this option include?

This full package automatically includes Property Coverage, Business Interruption/Income Coverage, Crime Coverage, Equipment Breakdown Insurance, Commercial General Liability, Non-owned Automobile Liability and comprehensive package extensions such as Cyber Event Expense, Installation Floater etc.

Is this right for my small business?

This full package is great for business owners who have a physical business property or own valuable tools, equipment etc.

 

2. Liability Only Policy.

What does this option include?

The Liability Only option includes Commercial General Liability and Non-owned Automobile Liability.

Is this right for my small business?

This is good for business owners who have a home office only and no business assets that they care to cover in the event of a fire, theft etc.

 

If you have any questions regarding the two policy options available through Bullfrog Insurance or have any other questions regarding your business insurance needs, our brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

The New Fast & Easy Way to Get Liability Insurance for Your Business!

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Need liability insurance for your small business? Don’t have the time to fill out lengthy forms and wait days to receive a handful of quotes? No problem. Bullfrog has you covered.

It has never been easier to get the liability insurance coverage that your small business needs. In 90 seconds, you can fill out our short online quoting form and are instantly provided with multiple policies to choose from, all from Canada’s top insurance companies. Once provided with the various policies, you can then select the policy you want for your small business and proceed with purchasing it; all while online!

Although Bullfrog has made the process of obtaining liability insurance for your small business fast and easy, we haven’t forgotten about the questions you might have along the way. Along with our knowledge centre, we have our brokers available via phone or live chat to answer any question you many have. We’re here to help!

Have any questions on the information above or want to speak to one of our licensed insurance brokers about getting the right liability insurance for your small business? Give us a shout today!

Avoid the Burnout by Making Work-Life Balance a Priority

work-life-balance

As a small business owner and/or entrepreneur, you most likely find yourself working 24/7 and the idea of having a work-life balance is a mystical concept that doesn’t fit within modern day society. Although it can be difficult to implement and maintain, developing a work-life balance is possible and essential when it comes to avoiding the dreaded burnout.

It’s important to understand that everyone is different and so are our responsibilities, which is why there is no cookie cutter plan to ensuring an effective work-life balance approach and strategy . Between organizing effective growth strategies for your small business and ensuring your clients are effectively being taken care of and valued, do your best to make your personal life outside of the office a priority.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate a work-life balance into your schedule:

 

Unplug at the End of the Day.

Working 7 days a week and having your phone always within arms reach 24 hours a day will ultimately make you feel drained and pushed to your limits. Being on call 24/7 will ultimately lead to a burn out and will hinder your ability to focus 100% on your small business. Make it a priority to turn off all your devices at a specific time in the evening in order to re-energize and take a fresh approach to your tasks the following day.

 

Create a Schedule and Prioritize Items on a Daily Basis.

Whether the night before or the day of, make it an effort to put together a schedule for each day so that you can prioritize your tasks and tackle them effectively. Creating a list  will also allow you the opportunity to analyze what items are urgent, what items can be dealt with within the day, and/or what items may need further follow-up.

 

Make Time for Family and Friends.

Although this can seem impossible at times, your family and friends should always be a top priority because at the end of the day, these individuals are most likely your support system and deserve your time and attention. The key to ensuring you spend quality time with your family and friends is to pre-plan and book time off accordingly. By pre-planning, it refrains you from reverting back to the famous line of ‘If I have time after work.”

 

Delegate Work Off Your Plate.

Sometimes you have to give up the control and hand over some of your workload to your employees to handle. They are there for the common goal of seeing the business grow and succeed so let them aid in seeing those goals achieved. By trying to juggle everything at once, you risk not being able to effectively tackle tasks efficiently and with focus.

 

Invest in Your Well-being and Take Care of Your Health.

By getting a full nights rest, eating right, and making an effort to exercise when possible, you are making an investment in your health and your businesses success. By taking care of yourself, you are ensuring that you are always tackling your work as the most productive version of yourself. By investing in yourself you are investing in your business.

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

6 Tips for Taking Advantage of the Summer Slow Down

summer-small-business

Time goes by so fast! It’s now August and the summer is almost coming to an end. As your staff are finishing off their summer vacations and the business has slowed down, it’s a great time to take a breather and plan ahead for the coming months or catch up on some items.

Here are a few tips that you and your small business can implement and take advantage of before business begins to pick up again in the fall:

 

Review Invoices.

Make sure invoices are paid on time so that clients are happy and that there is no negative financial impact to your business. Instead of having only one individual who can sign off on cheques and authorize them, include another individual on this team so that there is always someone on staff with this responsibility.

 

Mid-Year Review.

The year is now halfway over and even though your fiscal year may not be in tandem with the calendar year, the summer provides an opportunity to review business objectives to see what is on track and/or what requires more attention.

 

Team Building.

As things may be slower around the office, it’s a good time to bring your staff together to discuss how they feel they can improve professionally on an individual basis, as a team and as a small business. From discussing these topics over a fun activity, perhaps trendy axe throwing competitions or even a team dinner, it allows for all staff to be open-minded and willing to offer constructive insight.

 

Online Reviews.

Potential new clients may be looking online for a company that offers the services/products that your small business provides; grab their attention, and business, by ensuring you have customer reviews available online. By having reviews and testimonials from your customers available online, whether through your business’ Google Plus page or another site such as Glassdoor, it provides potential and future clients with a window into what your business offers and how successful it is at providing it. You can request reviews from past and present clients/customers.

 

Community Involvement.

Small businesses rely on their communities, whether online or offline, to support their business endeavour and allow it to flourish. As things may have slowed down at the office or store during these summer months, it’s a great opportunity to head out to local events to spread the word on your small business. From attending street festivals and handing out information, to being a sponsor for an event that hits your target base, to even ramping up conversation on your social streams, staying connected with your community is important and will render positive results.

 

Take a Break!

With only a few weeks of summer left, treat yourself to some rest and relaxation. Although as a business owner it may be difficult to take a step back from your small business for a few days, it will give you the recharge needed to come back to work with more energy and with fresh new ideas on how to grow your small business. Avoid the burn-out!

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss getting the right insurance for your business, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Contact us today for a free quote!

Safety 101: Emergency Response Plan

emergency-response


With fast-moving wildfires continuously spreading across British Columbia, many are claiming 2015 to be the worst wildfire season in a decade. Bringing with it a path of destruction, these fires are an unfortunate reminder that a fire can break out anywhere and at any time.

When it comes to your small business, it is important to remember that it is also susceptible to fires and numerous potential hazards. Whether it is an overloaded circuit, over used and deteriorating electrical cords, heat producing equipment or electrical appliances left plugged in at the end of the day, there are a host of factors that can cause a fire in the workplace. The first step in protecting your employees from injury, and your small business from property loss, is to ensure an emergency response plan is in place.

Not sure where to start or what to include in your small business’ emergency response plan? Click Here or on the image below to download a basic version of an emergency response outline.

 

Emergency Response Plan Outline

Emergency-Response-Plan--Link

 

It is important to modify and fill in the document to reflect your business and how it is conducted. As some industries may face more risks than others, there are additional sections that may need to be added to your small business’ emergency response plan.

In addition to your emergency response plan, the items below should also be completed/indicated and reviewed on a regular basis:

 

  • Exit locations are clearly marked
  • Emergency procedures should be posted on each floor
  • Review emergency procedures on a regular basis with all employees
  • Conduct fire drills on a regular basis with all employees

 

Keep in mind that all aspects of your emergency planning should take into account the type of business you run and the nature of your workplace/worksite. For example, assembly area procedures will differ between a contracting business that works on different job sites, versus a retail business where the location is constant.

As the owner/employer you should be ensuring that a properly tailored emergency response plan is in place and up to date, whether it is run by you or an appointed member of management. If you have questions on developing your response plan or any other aspects of risk management, our Bullfrog Insurance agents are always available to assist.

Water Damage Prevention

Water-Damage-Prevention

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Water damage issues can affect more than just walls and ceilings; it can also affect your business’ bottom-line. Depending on its severity, water damage can result in a loss of inventory due to a flood or it can even halt your business entirely. It’s important to note that from damaged hose connections indoors to frozen pipes bursting in the winter, water damage issues can occur year round.

To ensure your business is protected and that proper safety measures are put into place, here are some tips to aid in water damage prevention.

 

Tips for Preventing Water Damage.

  • Properly insulate pipes so that they don’t get exposed to our harsh winter temperatures. This helps protect pipes from potentially freezing and ultimately cracking.

 

  • When the temperature drops below freezing, allow both hot and cold faucets to trickle in order to protect against frozen pipes occurring and potentially bursting.

 

  • You can also open cabinetry to expose pipes to warmer temperatures within your place of business.

 

  • If you’re going away over the winter months and plan to close your business down, drain all of your pipes and turn off the water supply to ensure that excess water doesn’t freeze and burst the pipes. Alternatively, maintain the heating to minimize the chance of freezing. This will also help protect your pipes from cracking.

 

  • If your business has a dishwasher, ice maker, or any other appliance that uses water, be sure to check hose connections to see if they are secure and that there is no cracking.

 

  • Regularly check older appliances for rust or leaks. Over time, older appliances can produce condensation which can lead to rust and leaks in supply hoses.

 

  • Regularly check gutters, eaves and downspouts for debris and clean when needed so that water can drain. Also, make sure that your downspouts are extended and pointed away from your foundation and aren’t connected to the sewer system or footing drains.

 

  • Fix any damaged or deteriorated roofing panels or materials so that water doesn’t seep through cracks.

 

  • If your building has a basement area, be sure to install a sump pump to prevent ground water from entering. Be sure to check it regularly to ensure it is properly functioning.

 

  • Take steps to prevent sewer backup such as installing a backwater valve or back flow device, checking and maintaining your sewer lines, and being conscious about what you put down your drains – no bulky items, oil, grease or fat.

 

 

If you have any questions regarding the information above or if you would like to discuss your current policy with a broker, our Bullfrog Insurance brokers would be happy to help you out. Bullfrog Insurance also offers affordable insurance coverage on tools, equipment and materials. Contact us today for more information.

 

Why You Should Have Your Insurance Broker Review a Contract

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If you’re a contractor or sub-contractor, you will likely find yourself signing contracts for clients or a project manager. Likewise, if you own a retail business or operate any type of office, you are probably required to sign a contract with your landlord.

Many business owners don’t realize that contracts contain insurance and indemnity requirements. Once you sign on the dotted line, you’ve made a commitment to abide by those requirements, regardless of whether or not they make sense for your situation. Whether it’s a two or thirty page document, you should always have your insurance broker review prior to signing it. Here are some of the reasons why:

 

What coverage is required?

A contract will usually state what type of coverage is required for you to have and in what amounts. This could range from property insurance, liability insurance, equipment breakdown, business interruption or even construction insurance. It’s not uncommon to see cookie-cutter contracts that ask for just about everything. If there’s something not applicable to your business or a limit that seems too high for your exposure, your broker will identify this and you can ask for it to be removed or altered so you’re not forced to pay for coverage you don’t need. Your broker can also quote increases in coverage or additional types of coverage, so that you’re fully aware of the extra cost going in.

 

What insurance clauses are required?

In addition to the type of coverage required, there are often specific insurance clauses that are outlined in a contract. At a basic level, these can include naming specific parties as Additional Insured’s, a Waiver of Subrogation, Notice of Cancellation of your insurance policy, Products and Completed Operations coverage being maintained for a certain period of time after the project is complete, and many others. Some of these clauses may cost extra and most will need to be approved by your insurance company. Similar to above, if you identify these ahead of time, you can request unreasonable requirements be removed or amended or at least determine whether or not your current insurance company can comply.

 

Lastly, having your insurance broker review your contracts will help them better understand your business and operations, ensuring that you have the right coverage in place. If you need help reviewing insurance requirements or want to learn more about the clauses above, contact us at Bullfrog Insurance today.

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