As a small business owner, you’re constantly pulled in a million different directions—especially if your business provides a professional or creative consulting service. And while you focus on growing your business and juggling all the moving parts, insurance usually doesn’t top the (never-ending) to do list. Whether you’re a graphic designer, IT consultant, photographer, or copywriter, your expertise is valued by clients. But consulting on technical topics can introduce a unique set of risks to your business. Don’t worry though, we’re here to help! We’ve got the scoop on common consulting risks that business owners like you should be aware of, and how your insurance coverage can help.
These consulting risks can cause headaches
1. Cyber Risk
Although we often think of cyber hackers as evil masterminds that only target big corporations and government agencies, small businesses are just as much a target. According to the 2016 Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, small businesses have a 1 in 40 chance of being targeted. While you might think the data on your laptop isn’t valuable, even the smallest pieces of client information can be critical. Be proactive and follow these steps to prevent cyber risk:
- Plug and scan. USBs can be a common source of viruses, so regularly scan yours using security software.
- Migrate to the cloud. Migrating away from physical servers to virtual cloud servers may help establish stronger perimeters and surveillance.
- Encrypt sensitive files. As a consultant or service provider, ensure confidential client information is encrypted with an access key or password.
- Just delete it. Sometimes the recycle bin is the way to go—any suspicious links, emails or posts should be deleted to help avoid malware.
As a consultant and business owner, you can face significant risks from weak security measures. Start thinking about these simple tips and consider cyber event expense insurance for added protection.
2. Errors and omissions
Leslie Knope’s Type-A personality might have nothing on even the most meticulous planners—but mistakes can and do happen. Because the work of a professional services consultant is unique and relied on for expertise, a minor mistake or failure to meet client expectations can result in errors and omissions risks. If a client believes your work as a consultant or service provider wasn’t done correctly, missed a step or didn’t meet the standards, your business may be liable for damages.
Here’s how you can prepare and help avoid errors and omissions risks:
- Use own standard client contracts. This can help eliminate any confusion and / or mixed expectations between you and your clients.
- Stay organized. Have a calendar to follow deadlines and store paperwork in an easy to find location.
- Provide referrals when necessary. If you can no longer advise a specific client or meet their needs, refer them to a specialist.
- Double-check. Check and double-check your work to make sure you’re delivering on what was promised.
- Plan ahead. Implement quality control policies in advance and conduct regular follow-ups.
For days when you can’t channel your inner Leslie Knope, make sure you have the right coverage. Knowing that you’re covered in the case of an error or omission can give you the peace of mind you need to focus on what matters—the growth and performance of your business.
3. Car trouble
For a professional services business owner, a car can be an essential tool for a variety of tasks such as client meetings, site visits, photoshoots and more. But we all know that the combined traffic, congestion and collisions aren’t conducive for business. Trouble on the highway could mean trouble for your business (and inevitable road rage).
When it comes to the vehicles you use for your work, a personal car insurance policy may not provide the auto coverage you need. Coverage from a commercial auto insurance policy can go a long way in re-establishing your business after damage or after an accident. As a small business owner, cost-effective commercial auto coverage can help protect your business, your brand and your reputation in the long run.
Small business, big hustle
The risks your small business faces shouldn’t stop you from big opportunities—and the right insurance coverage will help protect the future of the business you’ve worked hard to build. By understanding these common risks faced by professional services small business owners and learning how to mitigate them, you can plan ahead and find the right coverage for you.
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.