So you’ve had an incredible new idea and you simply can’t wait to get to work on contacting potential customers, setting up meetings and making your dreams become a reality. But have you made sure you have the right insurance and have a first aid box on site?
It might sound ridiculous, but it’s very often the boring things businesses ignore that kill them in the all-important first year. So here’s a look at three things you might think are dull – but could end up being what breaks you if you choose to ignore them.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you’re covered if anything goes wrong, right? But did you know that there are certain types of business insurance that are compulsory to anyone who chooses to get a business off the ground? Luckily there are handy online guides that will tell you more, so read up and make sure you’re covered.
No matter how big or small your premises might be, from a spare bedroom to a whole factory floor, a risk assessment could save your skin. It can help you to better protect visitors, clients and staff from accidents. If you don’t carry out a risk assessment, you could find yourself at the centre of a claim that digs so deep into your pocket that there is nothing left to keep your business afloat.
Sure, your risk assessment will help protect you, but it won’t stop accidents from happening. Trips, falls, bumps and much more can unexpectedly crop up anywhere so you’ll need to have either an industrial or office first aid kit available when they do. It may just be a few plasters, bandages and pain killers, but it could make all the difference if it stops someone trying to make a claim against you.
In the 1980s there was a notorious sales technique for selling health insurance that was popular in the US. A salesman would make a cold call and open up the dialogue with a potential client by shouting down the phone: "You're going to die! What are you going to do about it?"
I can't imagine how fast a ton of bricks would be dropped on the company that tried that technique today, nor who exactly would drop it first, the regulator or consumer, but when it comes to business insurance it's tempting to take a similar stance to those who don't really see the point of public liability insurance.
This is your small fledgling business. To start up, you have forgone the security of a monthly wage, the certainty of holiday pay and other benefits. It's a brave, quasi-insane move that is incredibly admirable and should be awarded the highest of accolades. Why then do so many people not see the value of taking this financial and logistical tightrope walk without a safety net?
A very small number of businesses don't need it, but these are unusual and don't really operate with other people (a rarity in any venture from which you hope to make money). Any small business that has survived longer than a few months will understandably be very cautious of spending money and many businesses will see public liability insurance as an unnecessary expense.
At the risk of sounding like I'm hawking wares and crossing over into pushy ‘80s salesman territory, let me explain... You might never need it. Most people never will. That's the point of insurance. If you do need it, however, it will likely be because of a completely random act over which you have no control over. It doesn't matter how careful or responsible you are, you are completely at the mercy of third parties. Legal action from someone feeling wronged could, at best, set you back significantly. At worst – it could shut you down completely.
If you run a small business, you probably started one up to be your own boss and take control of your life, but you must face the fact that you have less control than you think, and you're going to benefit from having something there just to catch you if things go horribly wrong.
Insurance is rarely the first thing anyone thinks of when starting up a business. It's not always even the second or third thing, but it probably should at least be in the top five. A lot of business insurance packages are not complicated and you've undoubtedly got enough to keep you awake at night without worrying about the possibility of random chaos undoing all of your hard work in an instant.
This piece was provided by YOUR Insurance, an insurance broker specialising in public liability insurance and employers’ liability insurance for small businesses.
Any type of vehicle can be used to deliver cargo, freight or precious items. Most commonly you will see small vans, although once upon a time it was lots of motorcycles.
What happens if someone causes you to have an accident? Or you hit another vehicle? How will your business operate if your main tool for work is out of action?
When starting a courier business, insurance can seem like a big expenditure. People know exactly what they are getting when they buy a van, but insurance can be a bit fuzzier. For example, do you really need insurance at all to be a courier? After all it's only delivering stuff.
The answer to that question is a resounding yes, it's essential for a courier business to have insurance. What type of insurance is down to the business owner. Insurance for couriers comes in several types:
Goods in Transit Insurance covers the potential damage of goods on the vehicle whilst in transit. Goods in Transit doesn't cover all goods, so check what your policy covers.
Light Haulage Insurance offers similar cover to courier insurance and goods in transit but for a limited amount of drops per day, often 3.
Hire and Reward Insurance covers you for the carrying of other parties' goods.
At the very least you need hire and reward insurance. It may not give you as much 'cover' as the other options but to be without insurance is a situation that may cost you business. Customers are reluctant to let their goods be transported and delivered without insurance no matter how safe you think you are!
It's quite common for glass, fine arts, ceramic, antiques and second hand goods to be uninsured under the 'goods in transit' or courier insurance policies.
These need to be specified as add ons to your policy when you talk to your broker. Make sure you find out what is excluded and whether it is financially beneficial to have these added on before you buy your insurance policy.
If you decide to trade without insurance, stop for a moment and think... How will you pay if your clients goods are damaged in an accident? How will you continue with your business?
Sarah Arrow is co author of the Complete Courier guide which is an essential guide for self employed couriers looking to start their own courier business. It can be downloaded from http://www.thecouriershop.co.uk.