Business Insurance 101: What You Need to Know

So you started your own business. You’ve seen a hole in the market or come up with a brilliant new idea. You’ve got things underway and maybe even started to make a bit of money. Well, before you take one step further, it’s time to think about insurance for your business. After all, you took a big risk starting your own company and that means you need to mitigate those risks as best you can.

The hardline fact about coverage and businesses is that you need it. Everything you have for your business, from vehicles to basic liability, requires insurance. Without it, you could put everything you’ve built in jeopardy, open yourself up to crippling financial issues, or even be in violation of the law. But not to worry, here are some basics about coverage of your business that can help you get the protection you need to succeed.

Types of Business Insurance

The first thing you need to understand about coverage and your business is the different types that exist. Depending on your business, you may need specific kinds of insurance. In general, business coverage can be broken down into three broad categories: insurance for owners or partners and key employees, coverage of business earnings and property, and liability insurance. Here is a breakdown of each different kind.

Insurance for Business Owners, Partners and Key Employees

If you own a business, you need specific types of coverage depending on how your business is set up. These can include, but are not limited to:

• Life insurance – This coverage protects your family if something happens to you. If you are the sole proprietor of your business, this insurance is key because business owners are personally liable for all the debts of the business.

• Disability insurance – In the event that you are injured or fall ill, disability insurance will provide you with an income for a specified amount of time.

• Partnership insurance or buy-sell coverage – If you have a partner in your business, this insurance will help you purchase your partner’s shares and continue running the business in the event of their death.

• Critical illness insurance – If you become critically ill, this coverage will give you a lump sum of money to help you through the situation.

• Key person insurance – This coverage protects you in the event of the death or loss of those employees who are most important to your business.

Insurance for Business and Property Earnings

On top of coverage that protects individuals, your business may also require the following types of insurance to protect its assets and earnings. Bear in mind that businesses run out of your home may require coverage beyond your home insurance. It is always a good idea to contact your coverage company to discuss running a business out of your home.

• Property insurance – This coverage covers any buildings or property owned by your business if it suffers damage or destruction from fire, earthquakes, avalanches and other such disasters.

• Contents insurance – If you have a property or building that stores things for your business, such as a warehouse or storefront, this policy covers the loss of those contents. Note that even if you are leasing space, you may still require contents insurance as your lease will likely make you responsible for what you put inside the leased space. Home business owners will need to contact their insurance companies to discuss what needs to be included in their home policy.

• Business interruption insurance – When disaster strikes, this policy will cover you for the time that your business cannot run at its proper efficiency.

• Vehicle insurance – If your company owns vehicles, you are legally required to have coverage. If you use your personal vehicle for your business, make sure that you contact your insurance company.

Setting Up a Small Business in 2018 – It’s Not All About How Much Money You Have

When you think of starting a business, the first thing that comes to mind is money/capital. Of course, you need money to start a business, even if it is very little considering the fact how easy it is to start a business in the digital age. However, there could be many other factors that affect a business in today’s digital economy-some you show serious concern to and some you don’t really pay attention to much.

Blockchain Is Affecting All Types of Businesses

One of the biggest concerns for today’s entrepreneurs before they start business is probably blockchain or crypto technology. The world is seeing the rise of crypto technology and how it is being integrated into the existing business ideas. A little more than a couple of years ago, you must have heard the term “bitcoin”. From bitcoin, people still believe that blockchain is all about digital currency i.e. money in the digital world. However, this is far from truth. Blockchain is expected to affect all types of businesses and industries in the world in the coming days.

It is a technology that redefines the security aspect of many businesses in 2018, introduced decentralization in modern business technologies and benefits the end consumers in multiple ways. For example, you could launch a gaming platform where no one needs the existing currencies. You could launch your own platform with your own money today. You don’t really have to start everything from the scratch; instead you could base your currency on the existing blockchain platforms like Ethereum. Through ICOs, you could have investors from around the world invest in your idea. So, blockchain is definitely a consideration for all businesses starting in 2018 and the coming years.

Physical Warehouses Are Not Necessary

A few years ago, only a certain types of business could be called truly online businesses. For businesses where products have to be stored for some time, a complete online presence was not the solution. Entrepreneurs who had such business ideas in mind had to have enough money to have their own warehouses. However, this has also changed quite a bit in the past couple of years. With the idea of drop shipping becoming common with time, it is becoming easier for businessmen to start their own businesses without much investment.

In a drop shipping model, all you have to do is collect orders from customers, forward those orders to the manufacturers or suppliers and have the goods shipped. You only act as a liaison in this particular model because it is the supplier that sends the products directly at the customers’ doorsteps. You will still need an online store with all the products listed for customers to see. However, you don’t need any warehouses because you don’t have to own, buy or store any products. The good thing is that this model now allows drop shippers to offer much more competitive rates so penetrating into the market is easier for them.

Big Data Is the Big Difference

Another technology that has been influencing business decisions and the way businesses operate is big data. While the term “big data” seems that you are referring to just large amounts of data but in reality, you are also referring to the methodologies and technologies that are in use to handle big data. You will be completely wrong to think that traditional software and hardware solutions can deal with big data in any way. Let’s take the example of a bank. A bank could have hundreds of branches located all around the country. In these hundreds of branches, the bank will have hundreds of thousands of customers.

The bank has account information of hundreds of thousands of these customers. In addition to that, the bank is constantly investing in stock and foreign markets, storing and utilizing that information. The same bank handles the data of all micro and macro loans it is forwarding to its customers. It is also storing information about customers through its mobile application to know what customers expect from the mobile website. On all of those hundreds of branches, the bank also has CCTV cameras collecting terabytes of footage on a daily basis.

Do you think all this data goes to waste? No, the data bank collected from banks is utilized in making bank branches securer. Data from mobile devices helps bank refine their mobile application. Data collected through financial softwares helps a bank improve its insurance, loan, mortgage, etc. offerings. It may seem on the surface that big data is a headache for big businesses only, but big data is just as important for small businesses as well. What this mean is that businesses starting in 2018 will have to have a big data approach right from day one.

Internet Security Is the Biggest Threat Now

It is unfortunate that rather than making the world a safer place, the new technology has led to greater internet threats. Cyber attacks are becoming more frequent with time, and much more sophisticated too. In the past few years, cyber attacks on some of the biggest companies of the world, including tech companies have proved that security has to be the major concern for every business-small, mid-scale or large. If you think starting a new business or having a small business gives you any advantage over large ones.

As a matter of fact, it’s the small businesses that are at a higher risk when they are under any type of cyber attack. This is because large businesses have the technologies and capital to fight the attack, recover and get back on their feet again. On the other hand, small businesses usually don’t have any of that.

Final Thoughts

The challenges for any small businesses in 2018 are much bigger and technology-related than they have ever been in the past. The need of the time for small business owners in 2018 is to say goodbye to the traditional thinking and embrace new technologies to be successful. They must also remember that in the modern age and coming years, every business is (like) a tech business to some extent due to its dependence on technology to collect customer data, create marketing campaigns and secure customer information.