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, 43% 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’!
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.