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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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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.