Insuring your business future

iStock_000020557146LargeSome businesses are unique to the individual. If you are a successful writer, then what the clients or readers are buying is you. There are other businesses which are all about the owner; for example, performers such as actors, artists, designers. If the work is so original and cannot be done by someone else, then the income is dependent on the business owner, and that might be you.

Suppose you cannot work for a while. You are ill, really sick. Will your income dry up? You can get insurance which will provide you with an income for a certain period while you get back on your feet. Why wouldn’t you do that, because it gives peace of mind?

Perhaps your business is not unique, but it is your business with a flavour of you? If you could not work, the business would still suffer, even if you have several employees or subcontract a certain amount of work. Of course you should also insure against your getting sick, but you can also get insurance to pay for someone to run your business while you are recuperating. If you never get well enough to work again (perish the thought) you will still have a business to sell.

You might have an employee who is vital to your business. Suppose she has a health problem and has to take months off work. Have you insured your business against losing her services for a while, so that you are able to bring in someone capable of filling her role temporarily?

If it is you who are ill, you need to get treated as soon as possible and get back to work. Do you have health insurance so that you can get treated quickly?

I am not an insurance salesman. I do know that having insurance is not only vital for peace of mind, but is an important lifeboat when the unexpected happens and you have to face a nasty health issue.

Are you insured?

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Take a break!

Deckchair happinessWe know that work stress can burn us out  even when we are young.  One of my colleagues had a serious breakdown through stress when still in his twenties.

Of course it is important to get on in our working lives and do our best, but we are not at our best if we drive ourselves into the ground. Apparently “Generation Y” workers born between 1980 and 1993 are getting badly stressed in their jobs or when trying to get better jobs by climbing the employment ladder.

Working is important, because we all need money to get on. However, if we do not look after our health and fitness we will not be able to work. We all need to have a break during the day, and take time off for holidays to recharge.

The world will not fall apart if you are away from work for a short while. If you must check your email on a day off, make one time in the day to deal with it (no more than an hour) and then relax with a book, or go windsurfing, or whatever takes your fancy.

You will feel much better for it, and be a more effective worker when you get back. You know it makes sense, don’t you?

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Your most important business asset

Sony Apr 10 09 070Do you know what is your most important business asset? Is it your car or your office or your technology?

No, your most important business asset, the one you can’t do without, is you.

Let me tell you a story about me (indulge me).

Over twenty years ago I had a health problem with my stomach. It wasn’t life-threatening but it did make my life miserable. Finally I gave in to the normal resistance any guy has to going to the doctor. I went. I had to keep going back, too, as various doctors tried all sorts of pills. Eventually, when my social life had all but gone and my working life was really hard, one doctor referred me to a consultant who was prepared to do a (then) unusual operation. Although I was off work for a month or so, this surgery fixed me up, and after about a year I felt like a normal person.

One thing all this did teach me is that if I thought I had any health problem I needed to go to the doc. I acquired a habit of getting checked out now and again.

So it was that a few months ago I went to our nice lady doctor because I had been feeling a bit unwell for a few weeks. She ordered all the usual tests, and while it turned out that what was making me feel unwell was only temporary (and indeed it cleared up) a blood test indicated a problem much more serious for which I had and have no symptoms.

It turns out I have one of those really nasty things guys can get which require a sort of radiotherapy. I have a very good chance of being completely cured, but if I had not been a fairly regular visitor to the local medical practice, the disease might have progressed to a point at which it would have been much more difficult to cure.

Many guys ignore symptoms. I went for years without going to the doctor until a health problem I couldn’t ignore made me go. However, it is important to get checked out and especially as you get into your forties. Guys are the worst for burying their heads in the sand, but it is not just us men. Sadly I have had female colleagues who really should have gone to their doctor before they did.

It is not your business if you are not there to run it. There might be no business at all, or no you, and maybe your family and your employees rely on you. They certainly want you around.

Don’t confuse yourself by thinking “I am fit and therefore I must be healthy”. It doesn’t work like that. I am fit and I try to maintain my fitness. Fit doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, so have those regular tests.

This is rather a personal post, but my business is personal, and so is yours. Look after yourself, because you are your most important business asset.

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Keeping your business safe – Part 2

English: Thomas Boylston to Thomas Jefferson, ...

English: Thomas Boylston to Thomas Jefferson, May 1786, Maritime Insurance Premiums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Keeping your cover

You are the boss. It is your business. But suppose you were not there for a week, or a month, or many months, or couldn’t work ever again. How would you manage?

I believe in insurance and I believe in common sense. Not everyone does believe in insurance. I know people who have been robbed, and people who have lost their possessions in a fire and they were not insured because they “didn’t believe in it”. For a small annual outlay they could have replaced what they had lost; of course not personal or family items of sentimental value, but at least stuff to help them get on with their lives.

So it is with business. Paid for insurance should cover:

  • Compensation when we are not able to work due to illness or accident.
  • Perhaps paying someone experienced to work in our place
  • Indemnity insurance in case our business is sued. We may have done nothing wrong at all but we might still have to pay lawyers fees.
  • Accident insurance in case anyone visiting us or working with us has a serious mishap.

Being sensible

Then there is the common sense insurance:

  • Have someone nominated who can step into our shoes if we are not there, and make sure they would be able to do so by briefing them “just in case”.
  • Keep as fit as we reasonably can. Go for a walk every day, go to the gym, eat sensibly. Take precautions.
  • Have a ‘flu jab every year.

There will be people who disagree with me because they still don’t “believe” in insurance or they have “heard” that people can get bad reactions to ‘flu jabs. Of course we cannot argue with those who won’t listen. Some would rather risk being broke when their business collapses because they were not insured. There are those who would rather risk being ill in bed for two or three weeks than have a ‘flu jab.

I am risk averse and not ashamed of it. I pay my insurance premiums. I have my ‘flu jabs. I would not want put at risk my clients and my colleagues by not being insured, and I would not want to give the ‘flu to my colleagues or to my elderly relatives who are most at risk.

Do you feel assured that you are insured?

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