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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.”

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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!

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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.