Labor Day Weekend – Creative Out Of Office Replies

Summer is coming to an end and with the long weekend approaching its nearing time to ring the starting bell of vacation; the out of office reply. It’s a signal that work can wait and fun cannot! The standard out of office reply is boring, and for many it’s a missed opportunity.  The standard “Hi there, I am out of the office from [DATE] to [DATE] with limited access to email. If you require immediate assistance please contact ______” is boring and lacks any added value or call to action. Add value with comedy or a call to action with a free download. Here are some ideas.

Base it in Truth

Share a little about what you’re actually doing on vacation!

“Hello – I’m currently out of the office eating ice cream with the kids, hopping on roller coasters and playing soccer in the yard.  Presuming this all works out, I’ll be back in the office [DATE] and shall do my utmost to respond to you as swiftly as possible.”

Add a Twist to the Standard Message

Adding a little humor lightens the mood when the recipient finds out you won’t be able to get back to them right away.

“Hello – I’m currently out of the office, but clearly you’ve already hit send, so this notice probably isn’t very helpful.  On the other hand, I am somewhat helpful and will be back [DATE] at which point I’ll respond at the earliest opportunity.”

Add a link to a free download

Add some value to your out of office reply by giving the recipient something.

“Hello and thanks for the email. I’m out of the office until Monday. If you need something right away you can contact johndoe@johndoe.com .

In the meantime, check out this new [guide, blog, free download of your choice] it’s free and easy to read!

Talk soon”

Spread Goodwill

Praising a colleague who helps you out while you’re on vacation is a positive way to mention your vacation and show that you are grateful for your colleagues.

“Thanks for your email. I’m currently on holidays with the family for the first time in (what seems like) forever.

For urgent matters, ____ will help you. She doesn’t wear a cape but she’s basically superwoman.

See you soon!”

Out of Office replies are a fun way to engage with people even when you’re out of the office. They give you permission to step away from your computer or phone and truly enjoy your vacation. Bullfrog insurance is committed to ensuring your vacation is worry free by providing the coverage your business needs in less than 2 minutes so that you can get back to fun in the sun!

Let’s Go To The Ex!

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Let’s go to the Ex!

The Canadian National Exhibition – the Ex — is a Toronto tradition that began in 1879 under the name Toronto Industrial Exhibition. Over the years the Ex has evolved but maintained it’s reputation as the place to see the best and brightest performers, technological innovations, commercial products, and to enjoy the thrills of the midway. This year’s Exhibition has lots to see and there is something for everyone!

For the Techie:

The Innovation Garage at the Ex is full of the latest tech including a section on Virtual reality! Try on a VR headset and feel the dizzying effects of a virtual roller coaster ride. There are also a number of kid friendly tech booths so the kids won’t get bored!

For the Trekkie:

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek Series the Ex is hosting a special art exhibition featuring art in a variety of mediums including a sand sculpture! There is also be a Star Trek themed bar and trivia nights!

For the Adventurous Foodie:

The Ex is known for its wild variety of “franken-foods” and this year is no exception! Bug Bistro will be serving up a variety of foods made with real insects including beef franks topped with slaw and mustard crickets. If that’s too adventurous for you check out Howie’s Cinnamon Rolls on the midway for a pulled pork cinnamon roll. Or if you’d really like to satisfy your sweet tooth try dessert nachos from Nacho Libre featuring tortilla chips topped with Nutella, strawberry puree and bananas.

For the Fashionista:

Every year the CNE features the Warehouse Outlet and this year some great brands have joined the roster including DKNY, Danby, Bench Kids, Lids, and Designer Shoe Sale. Beware, many of these retailers only accept cash, so come prepared!

For the Thrill Seeker:

The Canadian Classic “Polar Express” ride is joined at the 2016 CNE by its sister the Himalaya, a ride based on the South Asian Himalayan Mountain. It’s a fast ride with blaring sirens and pumping music. If that’s too much check out the carnival classic Tilt-A-Whirl which is celebrating it’s 90th Anniversary this year!

It’s even easier to enjoy the Ex, when you know your business and its assets are covered while you’re away having fun – and it’s never been easier to get insurance coverage.  Simply visit bullfroginsurance.com where you can get a quote and buy coverage in 90 seconds.  That way you can get to more important things like the 2016 Canadian National Exhibition, Let’s go to the Ex !

Canada Post Strike – Is Your Business Ready?

Talks Between Canada Post and the 51,000 Postal Union Members have stalled – is your business prepared?

 

Just when you thought it was safe to ship those time-sensitive documents, the headlines have begun to emerge.  Canada Post talks between management and the 51,000 postal union members have stalled suggesting that a strike may be approaching.  While many may shrug and say they don’t use the traditional mail system anymore, for a business the impacts can range from mild to massive.  Taking action to mitigate against the uncertainty and risks a strike can pose to your business could save you significant time and money – not to mention help to avoid frustration!

 

As a first measure, if you’re not already doing so – encourage your clients and your employees to be as digital as possible.  Use email instead of mail, market your products on the web instead of with drop mail and feature your company’s products and services on a website instead of in physical documents such as brochures.  If you’re organization has multiple locations intercompany communications should be digital as well.  You can share documents, ideas and artifacts through the use of online tools such as DropBox, Google Drive or slack.

 

Many organizations have no choice but to ship products however.  If you are one such company, now may be a good time to explore alternatives to Canada Post to ensure availability and timeliness of services.  We all know of FedEx, UPS and Purolator Courier, but for local shipping, you may have smaller courier options which work just as well.  As well, if the costs of other shipping services are excessive or your shipments are not time-sensitive, now is the time to let customers know that a strike may be approaching and delays may occur.

 

It’s also very important for business owners to recognize that there may also be other impacts to them if they receive their bills or their payments by mail.  If so, now is a good time to prepare by setting up online billing and online bill payments to minimize potential impacts to their business

 

While most of this is common sense, it’s also the sort of thing we don’t think of until we need to.  Business insurance can be the same – we only think of it when we have an unforeseen issue.  By going to bullfroginsurance.com you can get a quote and buy coverage in a mere 90 seconds.  That way you can get back to your business and prepare for potential issues like postal strikes!

Does Your Business Have a Fire Safety Plan?

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Does Your Business Have a Fire Safety Plan?

In the last year we’ve all seen stories on the news about the destruction which can be caused by fire. Fires can happen anywhere and anytime so its important to be aware of fire hazards and have a safety plan in place to mitigate risks, injuries and even fatalities.

Prevention is the best safety measure.  It pays to know about your business premises and your surroundings —  an electrical fire caused by old wiring, or by the upstairs tenant or human error can be devastating.  Knowing your building, your neighbors and the habits of your employees and patrons can be a great way of avoiding mishaps that cause fires.  You should also have a plan for emergency situations to protect your patrons, staff and property. Below are some easy things businesses can do to mitigate their risk.

Ensure You Have Working Fire or Smoke Detection Equipment

Not only is early detection key to putting out a fire, it is also mandatory in many places to have functioning equipment, whether its fire alarm, smoke alarm or a sprinkler system. You should frequently check that this equipment is in good working order. A good rule of thumb is to change batteries in smoke alarms bi-annually; many people use the spring-forward and fall-back time changes as guides.

Ensure You Have a Fire Evacuation Plan Complete With Designated Fire Marshal

A fire safety plan will help ensure that if disaster were to strike, the damage will be mitigated and that there will be no human loss.  A good fire safety plan will detail all possible exists from the premises. It will also identify a safe meeting place where you can get a proper headcount of staff and guests to your location. It will also identify a person, and a backup person to act as the company fire marshal who will be in charge of making sure everyone made it to the safe location off site and will inform the fire department if anyone is missing. It will also identify ways to slow and stop damage from occurring. Closing windows and doors on your way out of the building (if it is safe to do so) can slow the spread of smoke and fire.

Conduct Regular Fire Drills

Fire Drills should be conducted bi-annually to ensure all staff members are familiar with the fire evacuation plan. Ensure your staff take these drills seriously and ensure participation is mandatory.

Ensure You Have The Proper Coverage

In the event of a fire, having the appropriate insurance in place is critical.  Each business has unique risks and requirements and a broker can be an invaluable source of knowledge and advice to ensure you have the right coverage for your business.  Bullfrog Insurance covers businesses across Canada and we have experienced agents here to help you get the right coverage for your business- nothing more, nothing less. Just Insurance – Without the Bull.

Take Your Business To The Next Level

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Take Your Business To The Next Level

Many entrepreneurs can drive their business on pure passion and will power, especially in the start-up phase of the company. But what do you do when that just isn’t enough and you are ready to take your business to the next level?

  1. Cut down busy work

When you try to do it all, from shipping your products, customer service and lead generation you spend a lot of time doing repetitive tasks that might be better served by automation or additional staff.  Check out the wide range of services available online for automation or our recent blog post on temporary labour for some ideas. Don’t let paperwork bog you down. You can apply this to all aspects of your business, including your insurance needs. With Bullfrog insurance you can get your business insurance online in less than 2 minutes, so you can get back to running your business.

  1. Make your website work for you

If you are selling your product online your website needs to work as hard as you do. Make sure it is optimized for search engines like Google, keep the content fresh, relevant and of high quality and be sure to put in capabilities for the capture of lead data such as email addresses

  1. Re-evaluate your business plan

Your business changes constantly and sometimes what seemed like a great plan at the start, is no longer your best plan of attack. Having a business road map can definitely help with this.  Once you have a business road map, it is important to take stock of where you are in your plan and possibly adjust. This type of adjustment can give you a renewed sense of direction and send you down the path to growth.

As the 4th quarter of 2016 approaches, now is the time to take your business to the next level. Cutting out inefficiencies and taking a good hard look at where you want to go will surely help you get there.

Do you have a company road map?

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To paraphrase an exchange between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there”. This little nugget of knowledge can be applied to planning for your business as well. If you lack the vision to determine your goals and destination you will still reach a destination, but there’s no guarantee you’ll like it.

Creating a road map for your company will help you to define your goals [destination] and how you want to get there [the roads you’ll take]. Without a road map you may be working very hard, but not working very smart.  As a business owner each day comes with a multitude of decisions which you need to make.  A roadmap, makes those decisions simpler by causing you to consider if decisions bring you closer to or further from your goal.

A roadmap also gives you something to strive for, and allows you to rise above the day-to-day distractions of running a business by highlighting a clear end point.  Indeed a clear vision  often serves as the guiding light for moving your business forward.

While there are numerous ways to develop a road map, one of the best ways to do so is based upon 2 underlying goals:

  • Clearly define the end vision. Doing so with your team is also very important so that everyone is clear on the destination and strives to achieve the same goal
  • Realistically outline the path to reach that destination

It is especially important to note that if you are struggling to achieve point #2, you may need to re-examine your vision in point #1 and consider how feasible and realistic it is.

Once you developed your road map be sure to share it with your entire team to ensure that everyone is clear on what needs to be done and what part they will play.  It is also important to regularly check in and evaluate your progress towards your goals.  By doing so, you will have clarity on whether you are closer or further from your end goals.  Do this planning now and you will enter the fourth quarter stronger than before and prepare yourself for an even stronger 2017.

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