Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Impact Kitchen, a Toronto-based restaurant founded on the belief that food has the power to shape our daily lives. Josh, co-founder of Impact Kitchen, highlights how his business’ success rests on its customer-first philosophy.

Tiago stresses the importance of being properly equipped to ensure he and his team won’t make any mistakes when applying vinyl wrap to vehicles. “One mistake on one of these vehicles is not just a couple of hundred bucks, it’s well over thousands of dollars of damage that could happen,” Tiago explains.

“Seeing how [Impact Kitchen] has evolved through word-of-mouth, and the trust our customers give us, has very inspiring.”

As a former personal trainer and nutritionist, Josh was inspired by his clients. After noticing there was an opportunity to open a healthy marketplace in the city, Josh and one of his clients decided to take the leap with Impact Kitchen.

“Experience and time give you the ability to see everything and take that in, and that has alleviated a lot of risk factors here.”

Running your own food establishment can be challenging. Mistakes can arise when preparing food, cutting ingredients, and serving baked goods. Here are three circumstances you might come across when you work in the food and restaurant industry, along with tips on how to handle them.

Contamination and food-borne illness

Food products move quickly: you could be taking hundreds of food or beverage orders every day, and while we’re certain you’re applying the highest degree of quality control, we know problems can arise despite your close attention.

Imagine that you serve homemade baked goods in your restaurant, and one day you learn your go-to coconut oil brand has been recalled due to contamination. Your customers start to get sick, and the next thing you know, you’re getting phone calls and complaints.

If you want to limit the negative consequences of such a situation, you’ll want to consider product liability insurance for your business. Product liability insurance protects business owners from the costs associated with damages caused by their products. Having adequate product liability coverage can help mitigate the losses you experience from liability lawsuits, even if it’s not the direct fault of your business.

Out of the frying pan, into the FIRE!

When it comes to running a food establishment, it’s not only the physical business space that matters. Have you considered all the things inside your space that your business also relies on?

Here are just a few examples of important assets you’ll want to protect:

  • Tables and seats for your customers to enjoy their meals and drinks.
  • Counters and glass cases that display your freshly-made goods.
  • High-tech kitchen equipment that helps craft your culinary masterpieces.

Now, imagine these and other things inside your building are damaged due to something unexpected like theft or vandalism. Despite your safety measures and routine inspections, your business could still experience a sudden loss.

The right commercial property policy can help with the repair and replacement costs and get you back to running your business quickly. There are many benefits to covering your business with commercial property insurance – here are a few to keep in mind:

  • Fewer out-of-pocket expenses. This type of coverage can help with keeping your repair costs down and speed up the repair process to help limit your downtime.
  • Financial support while you’re closed. The right coverage can mitigate your loss of income to help you keep up with expenses like payroll and bills until you’re back in business.
  • Long-term security. Commercial property can also help keep equipment replacement costs low if the damage is too extensive for repairs.

No business is too small to face unexpected risks and challenges. These situations are often beyond your control and can significantly impact your bottom line, but the right commercial property policy can help minimize your loss and get you back to business quickly.

Protecting your delivery vehicles!

If, like Impact Kitchen, you’ve extended your service beyond your workspace with a food catering service, you’ll need some transportation to move around. Whether it’s serving a small party of close friends or a corporate lunch for 50 people, chances are you count on at least one commercial vehicle for delivery purposes.

If your business uses vehicles, you’ll need commercial auto insurance. There’s a common misconception amongst small business owners that their cars and drivers are protected under their personal auto policy. This is a dangerous assumption. It’s important to understand the differences between the two types of auto coverage to avoid leaving yourself vulnerable to the consequences of an accident. The last thing you’d want is to have your insurance claim denied after a car accident, simply because you weren’t protected with the right auto policy.

Not sure if your small business needs commercial auto insurance? Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Who owns the vehicle?
  • How is the vehicle used on a daily basis?
  • What type of vehicle do you operate?
  • Do you drive for a ridesharing service?

For businesses like Impact Kitchen that offer food catering services, the right commercial auto policy can help protect their employees, their vehicles, and their operations if something happens on the road.

Coverage that makes a positive impact!

Small business owners are inspired, motivated, and filled with ambition. You put a lot of energy into perfecting your restaurant’s menu, but it’s just as important to focus on protecting your business. Small business insurance can protect your bottom line, reputation, and everything you’ve worked so hard to build.

We want to thank Impact Kitchen for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay updated with what they’re up to. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series. Stay hustlin’!

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.

Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Sekanskin, a Toronto-based vinyl vehicle wrap shop that has worked with notable celebrity figures including Drake and Deadmau5. Tiago, owner at Sekanskin, always knew he wanted to own a small business. “I had an idea I wanted to paint my car rooftop black,” Tiago said, “I found out it was a ridiculous thing to think, so I learned about vinyl and it became one of those things that really interested me. I jumped into it because I knew it was going to be a big thing. I haven’t looked back since.”

Tiago stresses the importance of being properly equipped to ensure he and his team won’t make any mistakes when applying vinyl wrap to vehicles. “One mistake on one of these vehicles is not just a couple of hundred bucks, it’s well over thousands of dollars of damage that could happen,” Tiago explains.

“I jumped into it because I knew it was going to be a big thing. I haven’t looked back since.”

Running your own business can be stressful, especially when one small mistake can lead to costly damage to your business and your reputation. If you run a specialized business like Sekanskin, here are three situations you might come across, along with tips on how to handle them.

What if you’re late for a very important date?

Typically, before you start any work for your clients, realistic timelines will be discussed and agreed upon. Various factors are considered when determining these timelines, including other current projects you may be working on, and the estimated amount of time required for the specific project. In most cases, you probably have enough previous experience with similar projects to provide a realistic deadline.  But, as we all know, mistakes can happen, and everything may not always go according to plan.

No matter how careful and meticulous you are with your planning, unexpected events may pop up, mistakes happen, and oversights can be made. And while you may be able to ask for project extensions, sometimes a missed deadline could lead to financial ramifications for your client. If your client suffers a loss due to an error or omission in your work, it could expose your business to costly lawsuits.

Imagine you’re a freelance graphic designer and an editor from a local fashion magazine has asked for your help to edit several sponsorship images on their upcoming issue. A contract has been signed, specifying the deadline for work to be delivered by. The day before your work is due, you accidentally drop your hard drive down several flights of stairs, irreparably destroying your hard drive. As a result, you’ve lost all of your work that is due the next day.  Because of your accident, the sponsorship images won’t be published in the magazine, which means the sponsorship companies aren’t going to pay your client, the magazine, their fee.  The next thing you know, you receive a lengthy email from the magazine saying they’re suing you for their financial loss. Could your bank account handle this?

This is where professional liability insurance can help. This type of coverage is designed to help small business owners who provide a professional or creative service to clients in exchange for a fee. It can often act as protection from unexpected mistakes. It can even help cover legal costs in the event that your business does face a lawsuit. We trust that you’re careful with your work, but sometimes things are out of your control. And while the right insurance policy can be a strong safety net, here are a few other tips to help avoid errors or omissions in your work.

  • Organize deadlines, and make sure both you and the client sign-off on the timeline for any project.
  • Triple-check all your project requirements before, during and after work has been done.
  • Update your clients on a project’s progress along the way. This will help keep expectations as realistic as possible.
  • If your work is stored electronically, always back it up to an external hard drive or the cloud.

For more information, check out this infographic on professional liability coverage for small businesses.

Could you finish a project without your equipment?

If you run a specialized business, you know how valuable your equipment is to your operations. Sekanskin is no different—their business relies heavily on state-of-the-art equipment including their industrial printers that print the vinyl wraps and the heaters that help install their designs on vehicles. Without this equipment, it would be challenging, if not impossible, for their business to continue operating.

And this isn’t just a concern for businesses like Tiago’s, many other small business types rely on their equipment for their day-to-day operations.  Imagine a baker trying to function without his or her electric stove. Or a contractor trying to complete a project without his or her electric saw. Industrial equipment and machinery are expensive to repair or replace. And if your bank account doesn’t have enough to cover those costs when an unexpected breakdown occurs, your business may need to shut down temporarily, which would lead to a loss of income. It will also interrupt your customers’ experiences with your business, which can be bad for publicity.

That’s where equipment breakdown insurance comes in. While this coverage is typically only seen as necessary for large manufacturers, it’s actually important for businesses of all shapes and sizes. If your business’ day-to-day operations are dependent on equipment, then you may want to consider getting equipment breakdown insurance.

Many small business owners feel equipment breakdown insurance is unnecessary because they believe they’re protected by warranties—this may not always be the case.

We know expensive equipment typically comes with a warranty. We hear it all the time from small business owners when they’re shopping for insurance options, and we’re here to debunk the myth of warranties. It’s very important to read what is and what isn’t covered under your warranty when purchasing equipment. There are a number of things that aren’t covered under most equipment warranties, including operator error.  Operator error means that the cause of the breakdown was the operator using the tool improperly. For example, if you have an expensive electric saw for your contracting business, and you pull on the cord to unplug it one day and cause the cord to break—your warranty likely wouldn’t cover the cost of repairs.

Having their vinyl printer breakdown suddenly and without warning just before they finish an install is the last thing a business like Sekanskin wants to deal with. If you rely on your business equipment to get the job done, then you need to consider equipment breakdown insurance.

Slips, trips and falls—oh my!

There is no business too small for insurance. Every business faces risks from the minute they start operating. If your business has a physical business space like Sekanskin does, chances are you will have clients walking in and out of your property on a regular basis, which puts you at risk for third party liability claims. If someone slips, trips or falls at your business and suffers an injury, they could sue your business for any resulting damages. Even if you operate your business from home and don’t necessarily see your clients or customers on a regular basis, this is still a concern. Delivery persons or maintenance workers could injure themselves while visiting your home-based business, which could also lead to a lawsuit in the end.

Some small business owners don’t know they need liability insurance, or they think it’s too expensive, and some think they can mitigate the risk on their own.  But the truth is every business faces liability risks, and insurance could be the safety net you need to protect your bottom line. Mitigating risk is great, but you should always be prepared in case the worst happens.

There is no business too small for insurance.

The good news is a TruShield commercial general liability insurance (CGL insurance) can help! In the event that your business is found legally liable for an injury to a third party, a CGL policy can help protect you  by mitigating some of the costs associated with these types of lawsuits.

Thinking about getting insurance? Don’t Sekan guess it

It’s important to understand the risks that go hand-in-hand with operating your small business and have proper insurance coverage in case things go awry. For a business like Sekanskin, working with tight deadlines, operating state-of-the-art equipment, and keeping their business environment safe for anyone who visits it are just a few of the risks they face daily.Running a small business is not always easy, but knowing the risks that come with it and having the right insurance coverage can help make things easier.

We want to thank Sekanskin for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, check out their shop, and follow them on Instagram and Twitter to see the projects they are working on. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series. Stay hustlin’!

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.

Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Timmie Doggie Outfitters, a pet boutique that provides grooming services and sells food, toys, and cute little clothes. The business was co-founded by two graphic designers, Paul and Georges, who love being surrounded by dogs. “It’s a dog place,” Paul says enthusiastically. “How can you not be happy with dogs running around? For me, that’s the best.”

Although being swarmed by dogs seems like heaven, Georges emphasizes how difficult it was to launch the business. “The whole thing was a risk, to be honest with you,” he admits. Paul adds how they had their fair share of skeptics. “Nobody thought we were going to have a successful business. Our friends, our family, my wife. Nobody wanted this to happen. Everyone said, ‘You guys are crazy!’”

Paul and Georges, however, followed their instincts and decided to take the plunge without hesitation.

“Dive into it. You can’t go halfway. You either do it or you don’t.”

Launching your own business can be an unnerving yet rewarding risk, especially when you’re entering a market you have little experience in. If you run a business like Paul and Georges’, here are three situations you’ll likely come across, along with tips on how to handle them.

Signing your first commercial lease

After spending some time developing a business plan and coming up with product ideas, you might decide to set up a store for your business. This may involve leasing a commercial space, which can be an exciting but stressful task. “When we were doing research,” Georges exclaims, “and we were figuring out what products to make…all that was fun and games. [When] it came time to sign the lease, I almost puked. Because the lease was 5 years, whether it’s successful or not. It doesn’t matter. You’re on the hook.”

Clearly, signing your first commercial lease can be daunting, so it’s important to know exactly what you’re signing up for. It’s also important to know how to protect your business’ bottom line once you’ve signed the lease. When reviewing the lease documents, you’ll likely find a clause requiring you, the tenant, to have insurance for your business, including commercial general liability (CGL) insurance.

This type of coverage protects you and your business against bodily injury or property damage claims made by a third party, such as a customer. For example, if a customer gets injured while shopping in your store, they could file a claim against your business, which could be costly. Having CGL insurance can help you protect your business in this type of scenario. If you already bought insurance for your business prior to signing your first commercial lease, you should contact your insurance company. Notify them that you’re leasing a commercial space and ask them to provide any additional coverage you may need to fully protect your business.

Selling a faulty product

Pobody’s nerfect, which means at some point you might accidentally sell a product that’s not up to snuff. This product could be faulty, cause property damage, or even hurt someone. If this happens, you and your business would be held responsible – for instance, if you accidentally sell bad dog treats that make a customer’s dog sick, you and your business would be held accountable. You could face an expensive and time-consuming lawsuit…talk about a ruff situation!

Having the right protection can help in this scenario, which is where product liability insurance comes into play. This coverage can help protect your business from legal costs if a product issue causes property damage or bodily harm to a third party. Product issues could include design and manufacturing defects, or incorrect instructions and safety warnings.

Sold a food blender that malfunctioned and damaged a customer’s countertops? Product liability insurance can help. Baked a new batch of cupcakes that caused food poisoning? Product liability insurance can help. Sold workout equipment with incorrect instructions, causing someone to hurt themselves? Product liability insurance can help. Having the right protection can help protect your bottom line when faulty products like these reach your customers’ hands and keep your business out of the doghouse.

Dealing with doggone property damage

With cool products and a unique vibe, you’ll likely have a wide range of people stopping by your store on a regular basis. Some of your customers might have kids. Like Paul and Georges’ customers, some of them might even have dogs. Imagine if a customer’s dog gets excited and embarks on a frenzied tour of your store. They damage the floors, your products, your furniture, and even your equipment. How do you deal with the damages and the costs?

With cool products and a unique vibe, you’ll likely have a wide range of people stopping by your store on a regular basis. Some of your customers might have kids. Like Paul and Georges’ customers, some of them might even have dogs. Imagine if a customer’s dog gets excited and embarks on a frenzied tour of your store. They damage the floors, your products, your furniture, and even your equipment. How do you deal with the damages and the costs?

The right commercial property insurance coverage can help cover these damages and get you and your business up and running in no time. Substitute the rampaging dog with a ravaging storm or a rascally vandal, and this coverage can still help cover damages on your property, both inside and outside of your store. For example, commercial property insurance can typically provide coverage for:

  • Repair costs for windows, doors, signs, furniture, and other items
  • Replacement costs if damages are too extensive for repairs
  • Compensation for loss of income while your business is closed

Repairs will cost you both time and money. Expenses can add up quickly, and so can your lost income. Dealing with property damage can be aggravating, but commercial property insurance can help you patch up your business quickly.

Stay ahead of the pack

Running your own retail business isn’t always a walk in the dog park, but being able to handle stressful situations with the grace of a greyhound can help you and your business stay ahead of the pack. Having the right protection in place for your retail business can help you stay focused on creating an exciting experience for your customers, like Timmie Doggie Outfitters does.

We want to thank Timmie Doggie Outfitters for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, check out their two stores, and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to discover the latest creations from exceptional artisans and designers across Canada. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series. Keep being paw-some!

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.

Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Jolly Productions, a Toronto-based company specializing in hand-painted outdoor advertising, portraits, and sign painting. This week’s founder, Chris Jolly, discovered his entrepreneurial drive after seeing a mural painted for the first time. “Just through word-of-mouth, I just started picking up jobs. I invested in equipment, and more jobs started coming my way, and then suddenly it felt like a real business, and then I ended up getting a studio, and then…it just happened. It just fell on my lap.”

And while Chris believes that running his own small business was the right path for him, he also recognizes the risks that come with that journey.

“There’s a pretty big risk…the hours that go into the pre-production, just to mix everything and do the patterns. “We’ve had so many different things happen, where you have to think on the fly.”

And while all entrepreneurs must be able to think on the fly and deal with any surprises that may arise, it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why we’ve outlined three situations you may encounter if you run a small business similar to Chris’, and provided some tips on how to deal with them.

Handling late work or errors

No matter how much effort you put into your work, or how many times you double check it, sometimes mistakes happen. We’re all human, after all. As a result, work can sometimes be finished late or oversights can be made, like spelling your client’s name wrong on a billboard.

These types of errors could expose your small business to costly lawsuits from your clients. If a client suffers a loss because of errors in your work or they believe your service failed to meet the agreed upon      expectations, they could file a suit against your small business. If your business is found legally liable for negligence in the service you provided to a client, you may also find yourself tangled up on a long and costly lawsuit. That’s why professional liability coverage is so important, as it can help protect your business from the costs associated with these types of lawsuits.

Any business that provides a service for a fee should consider having professional liability coverage. This could include copywriters, photographers, graphic designers, web designers, IT consultants, and management consultants.

Falling victim to vandalism or burglary

It’s a scene out of small business owner’s nightmares. You head into your workshop one morning only to find the front window smashed and your equipment gone. Your space has been vandalized and you have been robbed.

While there are numerous precautions one can take to attempt to stop this from happening, including surveillance cameras, locks, and alarm systems, sometimes these steps just aren’t enough. That’s where commercial property insurance comes in. It doesn’t just protect the building you use, but a long list of things inside including equipment, inventory, furniture, computers, and other electronics. It can also protect things outside of the building including outdoor signs, fencing and landscaping such as gardens, trees and shrubs.

The right commercial property insurance policy can help with repair costs, replacement costs, and unexpected losses that occur because of natural disasters, fires, winter storms, and hail. If you suffer a loss, you may not be able to sustain operations right away. Your commercial property policy may include business interruption coverage to help you mitigate your loss of income by helping you keep up with bills, payroll and other expenses until you’re back on your feet.

Dealing with your commercial vehicle breaking down

Getting to the job is just as important as the work you do once you’re on site. Which is why if your work vehicle breaks down, or you find yourself in an accident leaving you with no way to transport yourself and your supplies to the worksite, your business could suffer.

That’s why commercial auto insurance is so important. Some of the common, standard coverage options include:

  • Injuries to you, your employed drivers, and passengers. Your commercial auto insurance policy could help with medical expenses and lost wages that are caused during a covered accident.
  • Loading and unloading liability, which is particularly important for small business owners who transport products to customers or events.
  • Replacement car coverage. If you’re involved in a covered accident and require a temporary rental car to continue your day-to-day operations, your commercial auto insurance policy can help with this cost.

Many small business owners think they’re protected under their personal policy, but it’s important to understand the differences between the two types of coverage so you’re not leaving yourself vulnerable to risk. The type of vehicle, vehicle ownership, how the vehicle is used, and whether or not you drive for a ridesharing service are all factors that go into determining what kind of coverage you need.

Stay Jolly

While the risks associated with running your own business can be stressful, it’s important to be as prepared as possible, so that you can enjoy work everyday and remain jolly. Having the right protection in place for your professional services business can help ensure that you’re not sweating the small stuff, and keep you focused on your customers instead.

We want to thank Jolly Productions for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Vimeo to view their paintings and ads. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series.

 

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.

Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Kid Icarus, a Toronto-based screen print studio and retail shop that sells homemade goods from across Canada, with a focus on paper products. Bianca Bickmore, co-owner of Kid Icarus, explains how customers who visit their store can actually see how screen printing works and the behind-the-scenes process of how things are made. “People walk in and can purchase screen-printed products. While they’re browsing around, they look over the counter and they see us actually printing the product that we’re selling in the store.”

Bianca also speaks about how she and fellow co-founder, Michael Viglione, dove into the business headfirst, as many small business owners do.

“We had no idea if it was going to work or not. We just thought, ‘Let’s quit our day jobs.’ At the same time, too, if you don’t take a little bit of risk, then you’ll never know what’s going to happen.”

While a bit of risk is expected, it can be overwhelming dealing with the numerous risks that can arise during the day-to-day operations of running a small business. If you run your own small business, here are three situations you may encounter, and some tips on how to handle them.

Handling equipment breakdown

Picture this. Your business is thriving and you’re pumping out numerous products every day. But then the unexpected happens — the equipment you’re using to create your products, like a printing machine, breaks down.

Now, you may think you’re covered in this scenario. You may have property insurance and perhaps there’s a warranty on the piece of equipment that broke. But both of those coverages may not be enough.

Property insurance – while essential to protect the building you operate out of and a long list of your possessions – may not cover you for the sudden, accidental breakdown of your company’s vital equipment. Property insurance typically covers damage to equipment caused by external sources such as fire or water, but it may not cover internal sources such as mechanical breakdown, electrical breakdown, or explosion damage from boilers and piping containing steam or water under steam pressure.

Property insurance covers damage to equipment caused by external forces but may not cover damage caused by internal sources like mechanical or electrical breakdown.

And warranties, while extremely helpful for small business owners, need to be read very carefully. One of the main things that often isn’t covered in a warranty is operator error. That means if the damage to the equipment is found to be caused by the individual operating it, your warranty won’t cover the repair or replacement costs.

That’s where equipment breakdown insurance comes in. Some equipment breakdown policies may cover what a warranty or commercial property insurance policy doesn’t. That way, you don’t have to deal with costly repair or replacement costs and can get back to your business’ full operating capacity quickly.

Dealing with a custom printing gone wrong

Anytime you provide a service for clients, like making custom prints, you open yourself up to being held liable for mistakes. And mistakes happen. We’re all human, after all.

That’s why professional liability insurance is so important. You could find yourself in need of professional liability insurance if you fail to provide services to a client in a timely manner, your work results in costly damages for your client’s business, or you make a mistake that results in your client not receiving the agreed-upon service.

While professional liability insurance is a good way to protect yourself against the cost of minor mistakes or major lawsuits, there are also some steps you can take to further protect your business from professional liability risks:

  1. Organization is key. Have a written and signed contract with your clients that lists exactly what is and isn’t expected of you. It should also include concrete deadlines and fees. A calendar can help you follow deadlines, and paperwork should be stored in an easy-to-find location.
  2. Communicate with clients. While you’re working on a project or service for clients, make sure you’re consistently and clearly communicating with them about the status of the job. This helps their expectations remain realistic.
  3. Have the proper steps in place to avoid disaster. Having proper quality control policies and procedures in place for your small business can be a big help in avoiding errors or omissions that result in a lawsuit.
  4. Recognize that sometimes referrals are necessary. There might be certain jobs that you just can’t complete for your clients. If you’re not able to meet a client’s specific needs, try referring them to a specialist you know and trust. This will prevent you from having too much on your plate, which can cause pressure and lead to mistakes.
  5. Double-check, triple-check, always check! Set aside a certain amount of your time for reviewing your work to ensure you’re delivering everything to your clients that’s been promised.

Falling victim to vandalism

Any business property could face the risk of vandalism. On top of vandalism simply being upsetting, it can also affect your business’ operations. If your property is damaged, you may have to cut back on some aspects of your operations or shut down entirely for some time. The repair or replacement costs may have to come out of your pocket too.

Luckily, commercial property insurance is designed to help with all of that: repair costs, replacement costs, and business interruption coverage. Say, for instance, you own a commercial space and someone vandalizes the door to your business, making it impossible for customers to enter your building. Commercial property insurance may be able to help cover the cost of repairs and mitigate the loss of income to help you keep up with bills, payroll, and other expenses until you’re back on your feet.

When creating your commercial property policy, insurance companies will take a few things into consideration. Some of these factors include the location of your business, the replacement costs for both your commercial space and its contents, the age of your property, and the type of electrical work and plumbing in your building.

Be a master of your craft

The day-to-day responsibilities of running your own business are stressful, which is why it’s important to know how to deal with situations like the ones above. Having the right protection in place for your business can help you focus on what your customers want, just like Kid Icarus does.

We want to thank Kid Icarus for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, check out their store, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to discover their latest hand-printed items and homemade goods. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series.

 

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.

Founders: Behind the Hustle is a video series highlighting small business owners as they share their unique stories and tell us why they’re driven to run their own businesses. Each episode provides a personal perspective on the hard work that goes into running a business, as well as the rewards that come with it.

In this episode of Founders: Behind the Hustle, we’re taking a closer look at Brika, a Toronto-based retail business that showcases hand-selected items from independent designers, artisans, and makers across Canada. Kena, the co-founder and Crafter of Brand at Brika, highlights the sense of community that their business is creating. The customers, Kena states, “really help to describe the product, describe the maker, and really make that connection between the customer and the maker. Because that’s really what we’re trying to do in this environment.”

Kena also underlines the appeal of running her own small business. “For me, my work and my life are one,” Kena explains, “and that is the absolute best part. There’s no line that I draw. In some ways, that can be a stressful thing, but I think if you love what you do and you truly believe in what you do, then it all just flows together, and that’s what I love most.”

“For me, my work and my life are one, and that’s the best part.”

Indeed, running your own business can be stressful, especially when dealing with unfamiliar situations. If you run a retail business, here are three circumstances you might come across, along with tips on how to handle them.

Participating in a tradeshow

A great way for retail businesses to showcase their products, generate demand, and attract new customers is to participate in tradeshows.

When a venue hosts a tradeshow, the organizers will usually ask participating businesses to provide proof of insurance before granting them access to the venue. Why is this required, you might ask? Well, at a crowded tradeshow with hundreds of people attending, many unexpected problems could arise.

Your power cables could start an electrical fire and damage the venue. Your equipment could malfunction and damage another business’ booth. Exposed wires and a cluttered booth could cause visitors who walk by to slip, trip, or fall. Brika had a frightening experience at a tradeshow-style event in New York: “There was a massive storm, there was tons of snow,” Kena describes. “The pipes froze, they burst, and water just came gushing down from the ceiling…and literally destroyed 90 per cent of the product that was in there.”

With a laundry list of things that could go off the rails, venue organizers typically expect participants to provide a certificate of liability coverage. That’s where commercial general liability (CGL) insurance comes in. This type of coverage protects you and your business against personal injury or property damage claims made by a third party, such as a customer or tradeshow visitor. For example, if someone visits your tradeshow booth and injures themselves by tripping over your signage, they could file a claim against your business, which could be costly. Having CGL insurance can help you protect your business in this type of scenario.

Dealing with unexpected property damage

Running a retail store can be a dream come true, but it comes with its own set of risks and rewards. Whether you operate your business out of your home, or you rent, lease, or own a commercial space, you need to look after a number of items on your property, like equipment, inventory, furniture, and electronics. You could also be responsible for items outside of your building, including fences, railings, and signs. Managing all of this property can be a little overwhelming, and unexpected events could force you to replace some items.

For example, let’s say a particularly angry wind storm rages by your business late one night (why was the storm angry, you might ask?). Here are some of the issues that could result from such a storm:

  • Strong gusts of wind could damage the front doors of your building and crack the windows.
  • The storm could knock out the power, damaging your HVAC system, your electric panel, and your computers and cash registers.
  • The lack of power (and lack of doors) could cause you to close your business for a few days.

You’ll need to address these issues quickly before you can open your doors for business again, but repairs will cost you both time and money. Expenses can add up quickly, and so can your lost income.

Suffering losses like these can be a traumatic experience, and the longer it takes to get back on your feet, the worse it can become. However, the right commercial property insurance coverage can help mitigate the long-term effects of these losses. In this wind storm example, commercial property insurance can typically help provide coverage for:

  • Window and door repair costs.
  • Replacement costs if the damage to your electronics is too extensive for repairs.
  • Compensating loss of income while your business is closed to help you keep up with bills, payroll and other expenses until you’re back on your feet.

No matter how much you prepare your small business for the risks it faces, sometimes unexpected events happen. These disasters are often out of our control and can cause significant property damage. The right commercial property policy can help minimize your losses and get you back to business quickly.

Protecting against cyberattacks

Like Brika, your business might sell products and interact with customers both offline and online. Having an online presence is a great way to attract new customers and showcase your unique business. However, maintaining an online presence means managing an extra set of risks that could byte into your business. Many of these revolve around protecting your business from cyberattacks.

You may think it’ll never happen to you. You read the news, hear about stories of a friend of a friend, but never expect that you’ll become a cautionary tale— that’s where you’re wrong. Cyberattacks on small businesses are continuously rising. According to Symantec, 54% of cyberattacks targeted small businesses in 2016, compared to 18% of attacks in 2011.

Given that small businesses are top targets for cyber criminals, how do small business owners feel about cyberattacks heading their way? According to a recent TruShield Insurance poll, not great. We polled hundreds of Canadian small business owners, and 65% of them said they aren’t very confident they could survive a cyberattack.

As a small business owner, you need to take the proper measures to defend your business from cyberattacks. Here are a few tips you can tackle today:

  • Make your passwords unique and difficult to guess.
  • Update your passwords on a regular basis.
  • Don’t click things from people you don’t know. If you receive a sketchy email from someone you do know, give them a call to confirm that they sent something to you.
  • Install anti-virus software on your computers, which can protect you from email attacks and sketchy attachments.
  • Update your software often; many software updates include security enhancements and bug fixes that could help defend against cyberattacks.
  • Actually read the terms and conditions when installing or downloading things like software. Resist the temptation to quickly skim over the page, as it will include details on what kind of access you’re giving to various parties.
  • Back up your data. If your business does become a target, it’s important to always have a backup of all your files secured. You can use cloud sharing or an external hard drive to do this—better yet, why not both?

Implementing the tips above can help you and your employees shield your business from unwanted cyber threats. In the unfortunate scenario that your small business falls victim to a hack, there are specific steps that you can take to recover from a cyber breach and minimize your losses.

Don’t “Brika” sweat!

Running your own retail business can be exhausting, but knowing how to deal with stressful situations like the ones above can help ensure that your business continues to thrive. Having the right protection in place for your retail business can help you stay focused on creating the most unique customer experience possible, like Brika does.

We want to thank Brika for participating in our series Founders: Behind the Hustle! Be sure to visit their website, check out their two stores, and follow them on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest to discover the latest creations from exceptional artisans and designers across Canada. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the Founders: Behind the Hustle series. Stay hustlin’!

Ready to protect your business?

This blog is provided for information only and is not a substitute for professional advice. We make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy or completeness of the information and will not be responsible for any loss arising out of reliance on the information. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply to coverage. See policy for details.