Building Trust With Your Customers

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After spending a lot of time, effort, and money getting your new business off the ground, the next thing you’re likely to think about is how to get people to purchase your products and/or services. You can invest a lot of money into promotion and building awareness for your business; however, that doesn’t guarantee that someone will actually purchase from you or that they’ll become a loyal customer. In order to achieve a successful business, you need to establish customer trust and make them feel good about buying from you and your business.

Here are some key strategies to establish trust between your small business and your customer base:

 

Referrals & Testimonials. 
People are more likely to trust a business has been referred to them by someone else they trust. Essentially, trust builds trust. If you know that someone has had a good experience with your business, ask them to refer you to a friend in exchange for a set percentage off their next purchase. Ask for reviews in store, by email or through social media and use them in your marketing initiatives. Also, don’t be afraid of bad reviews or feedback as this gives you an opportunity to fix the situation and improve for next time.

 

Give Great & Genuine Service.
Great customer service is a no brainer, but it needs to be genuine. Be interested in your customers and ask questions. Talk to them and listen to them, don’t give a sales pitch. If you think that they would be better served somewhere else or that your product isn’t a fit for them, tell them that. They will be much more satisfied and more likely to speak highly of your business then if they purchased something insufficient for their needs. Most importantly, make sure you only make promises that you can deliver on. It’s better to exceed expectations then to fall short.

 

Be Consistent & Transparent.
Showing a customer that you will be consistent over time allows them to predict your behavior and are therefore more likely to trust you. This means consistency in customer experience, in supply and quality, and in handling issues. Tell the truth when customers ask questions about your products and services, and be clear with them about what they’re receiving. You will lose their trust if the reality of what they purchased does not live up to their expectations. Besides, we all know honesty is the best policy.

 

Get Involved.
Whether it’s a cause or a community activity, get out there and stand behind something. Getting involved in something you care about outside of your business allows people see a different side of you. It also allows them to relate to your business in a different and maybe more meaningful way, therefore building trust.

 

There are many other ways that you can build trust with potential and existing clientele, but these are some starting points. Start small and use people that you’ve already established some trust with to champion your business, whether that’s customers, employees or friends and family. The more trust you can create, the better relationships you’ll build and the more loyal customers you’ll have.

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 Keep Customers Coming in Your Door, Literally – PART 2

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In Part One, we looked at ways to differentiate the in-store experience from the online experience. This time, let’s look at another approach – how to adapt the successful strategies of an online retailer to your traditional brick and mortar.

Imagine for a minute what it would look like if E-Bay was a brick and mortar store. They would immediately know every item that you set your eyes on and would keep those items aside for you at the counter. They would analyze your choices to better understand your tastes, interests, and budget and to learn what sort of products you might want in the future. They would show you reviews and give you product suggestions. If you actually purchased something, they would collect personal data such as your gender, your address, your credit card details, your email address and more, using that information to re-market to you over and over. How can you even begin to compete with that? Read on:

 

Collect Insights. 
In the same way that an online retailer collects data, you can collect insights from people in your store. How do they move through your store, what do they look at, how long do they look? Observe and record client behavior and encourage employees to interact with customers to find out their interests are, what their budget is, what sort of items they are looking for now and what they might be looking for in the future. For example, if a customer purchases a bicycle, it’s likely they will be interested in a helmet, a bike rack, lights for visibility or sunglasses.  You don’t need to assault them with a barrage of add-on products – no one enjoys pushy upsell tactics, but by listening to them, you can better assess their experience level and get a sense of what they have and what they need.  In other words, you simply need to observe and listen to your customers and then think like them.

 

Use Technology. 
In store apps such as iBeacon are popping up everywhere. These apps communicate with shoppers via their mobile device while they’re in your store. They can offer customers deals, discounts, recommendations, and rewards and even enable mobile payments. It’s real-time, relevant marketing to your customers.

 

Build Your Database.  
Start collecting customer information at check-out, even if it’s just their email address and what they’re interested in (product information, specials, events etc.). Have a spot on your website and social media where you ask for these details. Use this, in combination with the other information you’re gathering, to send out relevant information and offers to your customers, including price alerts. This will strengthen your relationship with them and prompt them to come back to your store with a sense of urgency. Also make sure that you reward buyer loyalty with either special offers or events. Tailor your loyalty program based on who your customers are and what’s important to them.

 

Access to Information. 
People love to shop online because they can research and read reviews from other customers. Come up with a way to show clients this same information. If you use an in-store app, that’s a great way to give clients access to product information and reviews. If that’s not possible, post printed information or customer comments with your products or use a simple star rating system based on customer feedback (think dollar store stickers here). Encourage customers to give real reviews and feedback that you can use. They will appreciate that you asked for their opinion, and your future customers will benefit.

 

Be Unforgettable. 
Ever notice when you look at something online and the next thing you know, an ad for that store or item is popping up everywhere? This is not magic people (it’s cookies), but this type of remarketing can be hard to replicate in a brick and mortar environment. One way to adapt this strategy is to network within your community and identify businesses that target a similar demographic and offer complimentary service. Develop cross-promotions or cross-advertising to give buyers an incentive to visit or re-visit your store. Use Google or Facebook ads to target specific areas or demographics. You can even create physical wish lists enabling your customers to go home with a list of items that they didn’t buy, but maybe wanted to. Make it something wallet-sized so they have to see it every day. This will ensure that your business or products remain top of mind.

 

Next time you feel overwhelmed with your online competition, remember that this high-tech, online world we live in is our friend, not our enemy. Your customers can access information and make decisions quicker than ever before, but so can you. Use this to your advantage to create exceptional customer experiences and to build a real relationship with your clientele. As a brick and mortar store, you have the unique ability to integrate the best of both worlds. All that you need to do now is get out there and get started.

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 Keep Customers Coming in Your Door, Literally – PART 1

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In today’s world, customers have almost endless options when it comes to where they want to shop and how they want to interact with a brand. This means stiff competition for retailers, especially for traditional brick and mortar stores competing against online retail giants.  Come on, who doesn’t want to do their shopping in pajamas, while eating a bowl of chips and watching Netflix? That being said, the battle isn’t lost yet and people do still enjoy shopping in a physical store, especially ones that work at making the experience exceptional.

Here are some tips to differentiate yourself from the online experience and to keep customers coming in your door:

 

Build Awareness. 
Before you can even think about creating an exceptional customer experience, you need to make sure that customers are actually finding you so that they can have an experience. Whether or not someone actually purchases an item online, they generally start their search there. Invest in improving your search results for terms relevant to your products and make sure that you have a good website where clients can get the information they need on your products, your location, your hours etc. Your website is often a client’s first interaction with you – make sure it’s a good one.

 

Create a Community.  
Differentiate yourself from your competition by becoming the local authority or hub for the products you sell. If you sell bikes, start a weekly riding club, sponsor a charity biking event, do a demo or send a speaker to events that target your clientele. Start a blog or a YouTube account offering tips and other interesting info. The more community you can build with your customers, the more they will come back and the more they will refer you. The more fun you’ll have too.

 

Empower and Arm Your Staff.  
Employees have the potential to be your biggest differentiator from an online competitor. Who wants to wait on hold with customer service for an hour, or pay for shipping to return an item that was wrong in the first place? Turn your employees into technology wielding, customer service ninjas. Give them the power to make quick decisions regarding discounts, taking returns and addressing customer complaints.  Arm them with tools that allow them to quickly check pricing, inventory, upcoming specials and more as they interact with customers.

 

Listen and Take Feedback.
Don’t forget the power of face to face interaction. In a physical store, you have the ability to actually meet your customers in person and hear what they have to say. Talk to your customers and find out what they like and don’t like, ask for feedback in person or offer a reward for completing an online survey. Watch for those who are unhappy or unsatisfied and try to rectify the situation. We all know that an unhappy customer will tell far more people about their experience than a happy one. Don’t miss an opportunity to turn a poor experience into a great one.

 

Make it Memorable.
At some point along the customer’s journey, from finding your website to walking out your door, make sure that they FEEL something. It might be telling them the story behind your business, or peaking their curiosity with a well-designed window display, or offering them a coffee while they’re in the store. Whatever IT is, make sure that it creates a feeling or experience that they will remember.

 

If you can master even a few of these tips, you might just prompt your customers to get off their couches, out of their desks, away from their computers and return to your store, over and over. Keep in mind that you have weapons unavailable to the online world and use them to your advantage. Make sure you don’t miss Part Two of this article, when we’ll look at how you can also add strategies from online retailers to your arsenal.

 

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!

Insurance Options for Your Small Business

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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!

Avoid the Burnout by Making Work-Life Balance a Priority

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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!

Importance of Arranging a Builder’s Risk Policy

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When building a new home, and sometimes even during a renovation, it’s essential to make sure that a Builder’s Risk/Course of Construction policy is in place. This policy provides coverage for the physical building while it’s under construction, from losses such as fire, vandalism, water damage and more. As a general contractor, you are responsible for the build and for the site, and as such, you could find yourself on the hook if you don’t arrange the Builder’s Risk policy yourself. Some of the pitfalls you might encounter if you don’t arrange the policy include:

 

No Coverage.

If you are working for a homeowner, they might say that they will purchase the policy and then forget to follow through or decide to save money and not purchase the policy or even let the policy expire before the project is complete. The general contractor is often considered to be responsible for all aspects of the project and as a result, you could find yourself paying for an uninsured loss due to the fact that you failed to purchase insurance for the project.

 

No Protection.

As the general contractor, you should always be a Named Insured on the Builder’s Risk policy in order to protect yourself. If you aren’t listed on the policy, you could be sued for a loss that occurs to the property and then not have a responding policy in place. This type of loss would not be covered under your Commercial General Liability policy as the house under construction would be deemed to be under your ‘care, custody and control’, which is an exclusion under a general liability policy. If you arrange the policy, you can ensure that your name is listed on the policy and that you will be protected under that policy in the event of a loss.

 

No Rights.

If there is a claim under the Builder’s Risk policy, say for example that a partially finished house caught on fire and burnt to the ground, you will want to be able to communicate with the claims adjustor and deal with both the repairs and the balance of the project. If you are not named on the policy, you would have no right to discuss the claim with the adjustor and they could even hire a different contractor for the repairs.

 

These are some broad examples of why a general contractor should arrange the Builder’s Risk policy. Our Bullfrog Insurance brokers are here to help if you have questions or want to discuss this policy coverage in further detail.

6 Tips for Taking Advantage of the Summer Slow Down

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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

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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.

Seasonal Contractors: The Importance of Carrying Insurance Year-Round

 

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If you are a seasonal contractor, such as a roofer or a landscaper, the summer months are the peak of your busy season. You are probably trying to work as much as possible, knowing that in a few short months you’ll shut down for another season or the number of jobs will be radically reduced.

If you’ve been in business for a while, you may know that it’s very difficult to buy insurance for your business for a few months out of the year as most companies insist on selling you an annual policy. This might seem unnecessary given that you aren’t operating your business over the winter. However, an annual policy actually provides some very important protection for you.

 

Business Property.

If your insurance policy is covering any business property such as tools or equipment, it’s important to maintain this coverage year-round. Even though your tools might be kept at home or in a storage unit over the winter, they could still be lost or damaged due to fire, theft, water damage and/or more.

 

Products & Completed Operations Liability.

The Commercial General Liability portion of your business insurance policy should include coverage for ‘Products & Completed Operations Liability’. Let’s look at an example. Say you complete a project in August and cancel your insurance policy in October. In November, someone is hurt as a result of the work you did on that project in August. Since the injury occurred in November, after you had cancelled your policy (including your coverage for completed operations), you would have no coverage against a claim of bodily injury. Furthermore, many contracts require that the contractor carry continuous completed operations liability insurance for a certain period after a job is completed (usually 12-24 months).

 

Premium & Payment Implications.

Insurance companies don’t like to see a pattern of buying and cancelling insurance policies. Since you need to disclose your insurance history when applying for a new policy, they will recognize lapses in coverage and may require you to pay a higher price, and/or pay your full premium up front and make it fully retained, which means that no refund would occur in the event of cancellation, regardless of the reason. Keep in mind that they are charging you a premium heavily based on your type of operations and your estimated revenue, not the number of months you are operating for. Also, keeping continuous coverage will allow you to pick up a job over the winter if the opportunity presents itself, without having to worry about arranging insurance coverage.

 

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 offers quick, easy and affordable insurance coverage for contractors. Contact us today for a free quote!

5 Common Small Business Insurance Myths

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There are often many misconceptions regarding small business insurance, especially when it comes to whether or not existing personal insurance policies protect your small business against potential claims. To help clarify what is and what isn’t covered, here are some common business insurance myths demystified. We have also included a few other ‘top’ myths, which are worthy of being debunked!

 

1. MYTH: Your Home Insurance Policy Will Protect Your Home Business in the Event of a Claim.

Don’t make the assumption that your existing home insurance policy will cover your home-based small business in the event of any type of claim; it won’t. Although your existing home insurance policy may offer very limited coverages, and may even give you the option of purchasing an extension for your business, it is highly recommended to get a separate policy for your home-based business so that you are properly covered in the event of a claim.

 

2. MYTH: You Don’t Require Additional Insurance Coverage If You Use Your Personal Vehicle for Work Purposes.

This really depends on how you primarily use your vehicle and what type of usage your auto insurance policy is based on.  If your auto insurance is rated for personal use only and you got in an accident on route to a regular delivery for work, you may run into issues getting your claim covered.  It is important to note that personal auto insurance policies may automatically exclude coverage for vehicles while being used for business purposes.  You should always talk to your insurance broker if you are going to be using your vehicle for work, and determine whether or not you need to change your rate class or purchase a commercial auto policy.

 

3. MYTH: Damage Caused by a Flood Is Automatically Covered by Your Business Insurance Policy.

First, keep in mind that ‘flood’ refers to the overflowing of a body of water, which is different then regular water damage (for example, a sink overflowing) or sewer back up. Coverage for flood damage is not a standard insurance coverage, even under what’s commonly referred to as an ‘All Risk’ policy. Flood is purchased as a separate add-on coverage to your policy and comes with a higher deductible then your other coverage. The cost for flood coverage on a business insurance policy is usually minimal, but it can be more if you are in a high risk flood zone. Make sure to check your policy or ask your broker to be sure you are covered for flood damage.

 

4. MYTH: Small Businesses Should Always Look for the Best Deal.

Purchasing the ‘best deal’ or cheapest insurance premium may mean that your business is not adequately protected for all potential risks. As premiums are calculated based on the exposures a business faces and the coverages it needs, buying a policy based on the lowest premium provided is not necessarily a good thing. Always be sure you are getting the coverage you need, while not blowing your budget; Bullfrog can help you with that.

 

5. MYTH: Using A Broker Will Add a Huge Additional Fee to Your Premium. 

This is a common misconception. Insurance brokers work on your (the clients) behalf to find your business the best rate based on your small business’ needs. Rather than get an insurance quote from just one insurance carrier, brokers are able to provide you and your business with quotes from multiple carriers. You also get to use the brokers expertise in ensuring your are getting the right coverage that your business needs.

 

 

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.

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