Let people taste the lemonade before they buyDoomsday is a recurring theme in today's society, especially with the quickly approaching end of the Mayan Calendar. All over the world, panicked individuals that believe in the end of days are preparing themselves. Similar to before the millennium, some people are constructing fall out shelters, undergoing survivalist training, and of course, and stocking up on an endless supply of Twinkies. So what does any of this have to do with social media?

Actually, a lot.

In many re imagined apocalyptic scenarios, such as the new show “Revolution” and the infamous novel, Atlas Shrugged, people wonder what would happen if electricity, vital resources, and yes, the mythological Atlas, ceased to be. So why shouldn't we wonder the same about social media? What if Facebook fans logged out for good, or Twitter followers stopped tweeting? What would the marketing world be like? More specifically, how would our marketing strategies be forced to change?

It's not too difficult to imagine, because once upon a time, that's exactly what the marketing world was like. Besides websites and blogs, people had very little value for online social interaction. Marketing professionals were had well-established print and promotional marketing campaigns that worked. Small businesses depended on old fashioned mailings, signage, and word of mouth from loyal customers to find new audiences. The world of marketing is drastically different than it once was, and at times, nearly unrecognizable.

However, even when most marketing campaigns start with Facebook, some companies haven't forgotten the value of traditional marketing. These small and upcoming businesses set out to incorporate “old-fashioned” marketing techniques into an overall strategy. These simple strategies can increase customer satisfaction while boosting the company's reputation- both online and offline. Here are traditional marketing strategies used by real companies and small businesses. (You know, just in case the social media world does end.)

 

  • Give away some free stuff. Don't underestimate the value of providing your customer with a free gift. From company logo apparel to free orders, try showing your customers some appreciation without any incentive. After unknowingly placing the company's one millionth order, a Queensboro Shirt Company customer received his order for free.

 

  • Get involved with your community. Instead of just tweeting about it, attend local events and become involved. Philadelphia based company SEER Interactive has the right idea. The online marketing company recently hosted a “Meet The Community” BBQ for their Northern Liberties neighborhood, with all $10 ticket proceeds going to charity.

 

  • Let customers try your product. After launching their Big Hunk candy bar to a national market, the Annabelle Candy Company invited customers to try it- for free. Willing participants received a full size Big Hunk candy bar in the mail, without any requirement to review or give feedback about the product. The candy bar currently has over 50,000 likes on Facebook.

 

  • Have a distinct personality. These days, there's hundreds of fast food and restaurants for customers to choose from. Highly successful restaurants, no matter the size, know how to cater to their loyal customers. Giovanni's Lunch Cart, literally just a seasonal lunch cart, serves a limited variety of fries, burgers and sandwiches to the residents of Victor, NY. Locals rave about the food, and the chef- Giovanni Gullace. Gullace, along with his wife, have been open for 22 years, operating out of the same small park.

 

  • Offer something no one else can. Have an idea for an unusual product or service? It may just be crazy enough to work. While many companies struggle to find an identity for themselves, truly unique companies don't have to. Hangover Helpers out of Colorado has a very simple strategy- they clean up after college house parties and make the residents breakfast. The two man team hands each housemate an ice cold Gatorade, and prepares them a breakfast burrito while cleaning up beer cans, trash, and other party debris.

 

While most marketing professionals will confirm that social media isn't going anywhere, remember, it isn't everything. With the redundancy of promotional emails and limited time offers, social updates and postings tend to lose their punch. Set yourself apart from exclusively using online marketing, and find creative ways to set your company apart offline.

“Melissa Weidenborner is a content creation strategist specializing in social media and SEO. She's the SEO/Social Media Manager for Queensboro Shirt Company, a custom embroidered shirt and promotional products company in Wilmington, NC. Give her a shout on Twitter.”

Linkedin as a networking toolAs a well known and (for basic users) free social networking service designed for professionals and businesses to convene on, LinkedIn, with over 53 million members is a versatile tool in your arsenal of techniques which you should be using to remain ahead of your competition.

 

Having more advantages in the B2B rather than the B2C sector, correct and proactive use of LinkedIn can in the first instance, build your professional network, reputation and credibility as an authoritative figure and industry thought leader, and second of all can help you locate, generate and leverage your professional contacts to source good potential leads online – that is if they don’t find you first!

 

Enabling you to display all the aspects of yourself and business in one concise, easily navigable place, LinkedIn is not just an online resume, professional networking tool or trusted job board. Providing the perfect space to encourage and grow thought leadership, by regularly using and sharing status posts and discussions forums, this surprisingly underused social network can help you and your business gain credibility and responses around your particular niche market, which in turn can lead to an increase in your business.

 

From this it’s clear that making your LinkedIn presence known by correctly utilizing its qualities can intensely advance your professional progression beyond that of your competitors. And judging by a common lack of efficient LinkedIn use by professional organisations, there’s a whole catalog of things you can do to get ahead:

 

  • Ensure you have a complete, visible and fully informative profile
  • Include dedicated ‘LinkedIn time’ in your daily routine
  • Build and leverage your network: Target and connect with industry professionals to source clients

 

Ensure you have a complete, visible and fully informative profile

First of all, you should ensure that you have a totally complete and up to date profile; whether business page or personal. Making sure that information is clear, appealing and easily navigable; especially contact information and links to your professional website, blog or other sites, is crucial as prospective contacts, recruiters, employers or customers will form an instant first impression of your business and services based upon the clarity and relevance of this information.

So many people don’t make the most of LinkedIn’s profile features and have an incomplete (or even worse invisible) profile. Ensuring company products, services, about section and contact information are present and easy to find can be instrumental in displaying authority and professionalism, and are a very quick and simple way of advancing profiles over that of competitors. Basic features such as simply putting up a profile picture to humanize a profile, or listing and introducing skills and contact recommendations can boost credibility within your industry and make potential leads and other industry authorities more likely to connect and respond to you.

Making your profile appear client-friendly too, rather than just displaying a big CV format can work wonders on your interactive potential. LinkedIn does encourage you to show your information in more of a resume format, however you should consider your professional offering and instead use your profile to show your unique qualities and a backstory (your ‘summary’ or ‘about’ section depending on whether this is a personal profile or company page). Placing relevant keywords into this section will also help clients find you by improving your SEO.

Think of your profile as a business introduction. You wouldn't walk into a client meeting and start talking about the previous companies you've worked for, would you?

Include dedicated ‘LinkedIn time’ in your daily routine

Developing a daily system of actions to strengthen your presence in your industry of focus will regularly reinforce and build your credible reputation (and as a side-line your business/company) as a source of authority, professionalism and thought leadership. These actions may include:

  • Regularly updating your LinkedIn status
  • Sharing a blog
  • Taking the time to answer questions, proactively follow up and display good opinions on LinkedIn groups, discussions, other peoples’ statuses, blogs etc.
  • Sharing good content – from LinkedIn and otherwise – which you come across
  • Creating your own valid discussions, groups and company pages

 

Spending 5 or so minutes a day on such tasks is all it takes to gradually encourage other members and potential clients to start interacting with you as an industry leader, and this small amount of time will soon add up to to hours of dedicated time you’ll be spending securing your reputation above that of your competitors.

 

Build and leverage your network: Target and connect with industry professionals to source clients

 

It’s no use having a perfect profile if you don’t have any connections. To get ahead of the game and reach potential clients ahead of your competitors, it helps to enhance your business connection network and its value – using your connections’ influences to source and find other contacts and relevant leads. Whether you choose to increase your network value by either connecting with as many people as possible, or through a strategy of connecting and deepening relationships with key and trusted individuals (say by helping them out; with a blog, or recruitment sourcing for another organisation, or by providing your services if that person is a possible client).

Because of this, focusing on your LinkedIn presence can help you to build up a strong networking signal – and really consider the word network there – by encouraging potential leads and reliable business relationships. If you’re stuck wondering just who to connect with, begin by adding the people you know, then start adding people focused on your area of business or client focus. Target these people by searching out relevant organisation employees (under the ‘Companies’ tab) and then once you've established your presence and credibility a little more, identify and target key influential industry figures at specific organisations. Linking to other social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to increase your social activity can help, though be aware that using the same content on all networks may not be the best strategy to follow.

Regularly doing all the above and conducting frequent searches for industry professionals, leaders and other influences should ensure you always stay that one step ahead of your industry’s competition, and bring you into closer contact with potential leads and clients that little bit quicker and easier.

 

Byline:

Cathy Wellings is a staff writer for a business communications consultancy which provides business writing courses to business professionals.

(Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)  

 

Black Friday is the Super Bowl of shopping.  A strong Black Friday for a retailer can turn a previously poor performing year into a profitable one.

Many retailers, both traditional and E-Commerce prepare months in advance, laying out detailed marketing plans to make the most of this “home stretch”, which hopefully will end the year on a high note.

Social Media is almost always front and center when it comes to an online marketing strategy.  It has to be, it's the darling of media these days and you're a fool if you ignore it.  At least that's what they tell you.  Now I'm a little biased as I'm a search marketing kind of guy.  I personally don't think search marketing can be beat when it comes to matching a specific offer to a specific user….because that's what they asked for, or at least typed into the search box.

social media does not drive online sales for retailers

It's all about intent.  When someone searches via search engine, their intent is to find something specific.  That may be information, and answer to a question, or a specific product.  It's a perfect match.  When it comes to Social Media, you're taking more of a round about way of getting your message across.  Social Media is definitely a soft sell, if that.

So the Black Friday shopping numbers have come out, at least the online numbers, and they're interesting.  These numbers come courtesy of IBM, and seem to show that Social Media, namely Twitter and Facebook, do exactly bunk when it comes to driving online sales.  Is Social Media a waste?  Of course not, but these are sobering facts to say the least.  The one notable is that mobile use is on the rise, though it'll be awhile before it overtakes desktops and laptops when it comes to online sales.

– A whopping 0.68% of online sales came via a Facebook referral, down from 1% last year.  This explains why most businesses have shuttered their Facebook E-Commerce stores.

– Online sales from Twitter accounted for a ………0.00% of online sales, down from 0.02% a year ago.  This confirms my theory that heavy Twitter users don't have jobs and still live at home with their parents.

– Mobile devices (includes smartphones and tablets) accounted for 16% of sales. That's up from 10% last year.  Mobile devices also accounted for 24% of site traffic.

– The conversion rate of online shoppers was at 4.58%, down from 9% a year ago.

 

 

 

Is networking a waste of time?Networking can be great or it can totally suck.

I think everyone's viewed it through both lenses before.  Almost all of us business owners have attended formal networking events where the only thing you were thinking was, “what the hell am I doing here”.  The other times, we've left events where we were excited at the possibilities of new leads and potential business partnerships.  It can be hit or miss.

I wrote a previous article on why networking events are worthless.  I'm not here to pee on everyone's networking parade, nor am I against networking……I attend formal and non-formal events almost every week.  What I'm saying is that alot of the time, we're not doing it effectively.  Either we approach networking the wrong way or we are networking with the wrong people.

Below are 5 times that you're wasting your time networking, at least in my opinion.

You network because you're scared of selling

Everyone hates cold calling.  Heck, most of us hate warm calling.  If only people would just randomly hand us money and beg us to sign a long term contract, life would be grand.  If you're not into selling (you better go find someone who is), networking can be a safe haven of soft talk and non-intimidating interactions with “friends”.  That's alot easier then walking into a business and trying to pitch your value to a skeptical business owner.  While networking is good, don't use it as an excuse not to actively go out and sell to potential customers.

You network because it's comfortable

Just like above, don't use networking as an excuse to not do the things you really know you should be doing.  At many networking events, most of the people are looking to get business, they aren't necessarily seeking to buy anything.  Alot of sellers and not enough buyers.  They may not be your target market, you're ideal customer is at work, at there business…..probably listening to a pitch from one of your competitors while you're having tea and strumpets with other business owners just like you, “brainstorming” on how to find your ideal customer.  Networking is great, just don't use it as a crutch.

You spend all of your time networking

Are you a professional networker? If your business is booming, that's awesome, keep at it.  If after several months, there's nothing, maybe it's time to re-evaluate your marketing plan.  Networking is the offline version of Social Media, it can be highly effective, but can also be a huge time suck if left unchecked.  Just like in your personal life, make sure you have balance in your business life.  Networking can be fun if you meet the right bunch of people, but don't let it distract you from working on your business.

You networking isn't really networking

I've attended networking events where most of the conversations revolved around shopping, family, vacations…..everything except business.  If you attend networking events like this, don't fool yourself into thinking your networking for your business, you're socializing with friends.  People will argue that this is networking……you're building friendships and relationships.  If your marketing plan is to get business by osmosis, then this type of socializing is great…..it's just not effective.

Your ideal clients aren't networking, They're At work

Be honest about this one.  Are the people you're networking with fit your ideal customer profile, or are they like you, looking to drum up more business?  Most of our ideal clients are too busy to network, they are running businesses and have little time to spend on a Tuesday afternoon at the local cafe.  While your networking circle may be able to refer you to your ideal client, you still need to go to the source and get them yourself if you want control over your business.

How Effective Is Your Networking?

Networking should be a part of your overall marketing strategy, its not a marketing strategy in of itself.  It also shouldn't replace a sales strategy for your business.  Put it this way, the guy who walks up to a girl and asks for a date will get rejected several times…..but will eventually land a date. The guy who's afraid to ask for a date will hang around groups of friends…..hoping one of those cute girls will basically “ask him out” so he doesn't have to.  Sometimes it works, but you could be waiting a very long time to get asked out.

 

This week in the WordPress Roundup……..

How to Put WordPress in Safe Mode For Quick Troubleshooting

The Safe Mode plugin allows you to load your website without plugins and with the default theme…..after your WP site crashes.  Just add an extension to the url to activate Safe Mode.  Really useful tool and saves time from de-activating and testing each plugin one at a time.

What’s Coming in WordPress 3.5 

A preview and some screenshots of WordPress version 3.5, which will be coming out in a few weeks.

How to Add Pinterest's Buttons & Widgets to Your Website

Pinterest recently released a slew of new widgets and buttons to add to your website.  Hubspot gives a breakdown of the one's available for your site.

Create, Manage, and Charge for Events with the Events + Plugin

Run events for your business or organization?  Instead of sending your visitors to a 3rd party website like Eventbrite, why not keep them on your own site.  Events+ plugin lets you setup and register events right from your WordPress site.

How to Automate WordPress and Social Media with IFTTT

IFTTT is a great tool, it lets you perform an action, which then triggers a series of actions based on what “recipe” you cook up.  This post shows you how you can use WordPress, Social Media, and IFTTT to cook up some cool stuff.

Membership Site Tips: How To Build A Successful WordPress Membership Site

Ever wanted to create a membership site on your WordPress powered website?  This post from WordPress Arene gives a nice overview of what a membership site is as well as several plugin options you can use.

Jetpack 2.0 Adds Free CDN for Images, Publicize and Post By Email Features

Do you have a website or blog that hosts lots of images?  Have too many high resolution images could slow down your website and negatively affect your SEO.  Jetpack 2.0 adds a free CDN network (courtesy of WordPress.com) for your self hosted blog.  JetPack keeps getting more and more useful.

If you want to find even more great WordPress resources, follow us on Twitter!

Have a question about what plugin or theme you should use for your website?  Ask and you shall receive an answer!

 

 

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

PDF to Word – Ever had a PDF that you needed to edit?  You can purchase the full version of Adobe Acrobat, which is pretty expensive, of you could do it for free.  PDFtoWord is a free tool from Nitro Software, maker of Nitro, a premium PDF document converter.  It lets you upload a PDF document and will email you a Word doc version for easy editing.

TweetReach – Free tool that lets you enter a Twitter name, url, hashtag or phrase and find out how far across the Twitterverse it has traveled.  Free and paid plans available.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here

cyner monday deals for businessI'm not a shopper.  I hate waiting in line, whether for a great deal or to buy concert tickets.  I think it's the ADD inside me.

I have never stood in line before in my life for any sort of deal.  This is why I love Cyber Monday, or as it should be called now, Cyber Weekend.  I love the fact that I can get killer deals online without having to waste a day of my life standing in line at some store, only to find out they ran out of stock……before the store even opened.  Yes, employees tend to ravage the best deals before the stores even open to the public.

As a business owner and gadget enthusiast, I wanted to share some great deals coming this weekend that you as a business owner might find useful.  Every year, I stock up on my yearly online services, gadgets and other goodies that I get at a fraction of what it'll cost me if I decide to purchase next month.  Last year I purchased a years worth of hosting from HostGator (only offering 20% off for the starter plan right now 50% off deal goes live on Nov 23rd at midnight!) for 1/2 of what I would normally pay.  I also purchased several themes and plugins for my WordPress websites that saved me a bundle.

Take a look below and if you see any great deals online, I  only listed products that I personally use and pay for. If there are any other great deals online for businesses,  I'd love it if you posted it in the comments.  Happy shopping!

Go DaddyBlack Friday Sale! $1.99 .COM! $7.99 additional .Com's from GoDaddy.com. While I'n not a fan of their hosting services, they almost always offer the lowest prices on domain names as they are always sending coupon codes out once you sign up.  Their domain interface (DNS) is also easier to use than most other domain name providers.

Headway Themes – If you use coupon code: hwblackfriday at checkout, you can save 33% on everything they sell, including all themes and blocks.  This is the WordPress theme framework that I use for almost all of my websites.  They've come a long way since I first starting using them almost 3 years ago.  It may be the most flexible theme framework out if you're not an experienced web developer.  It's powerful enough for the most demanding websites and easy enough for a beginner to create a great looking website.  The blocks they have added are fantastic and allow you to create some great stuff.

Moo – My favorite place to buy businesses cards.  They are offering a storewide 30% off sale from Nov 22nd to Nov 27th.  If you've never heard of Moo or purchased their cards, check out their site and be amazed with what you can do with a business card.

Blue Host – Though I use Hostgator (50% off Hostgator goes live on Nov 23rd at midnight)for most of my websites, I still have and use Blue Host, they were my first hosting provider.  They offer shared hosting at the best price you'll find online.  They are currently offering $3.95 a month hosting packages for unlimited websites and storage.  They have been around for a longtime and have a history of reliability.

WP Engine – $25 off the first three months of service for Thanksgiving Weekend 2012. If you use WordPress and have a higher traffic website, or just want your website professionally managed, WP Engine is tops.  If you're just starting out online, I'd probably start with a shared hosting account first, as it's a bit of a jump in price to go from shared hosting to a managed service like WP Engine.

Smilebox – From November 22nd through the 27th, new customers can get an annual Club Smilebox premium subscription for just $23.88 (regularly $39.99), a 40% savings.  I've been using SmileBox for about 4 years now, we use it to send custom e-greetings to our customers throughout the year.  They also offer a great free version, though the paid version allows for more customization, like uploading your own music.

Sugar SyncBlack Friday Limited Time Offer: Save 30% on Your First Year of SugaySync.  SugarSync is a great cloud storage service that backs up and syncs all of your computers and mobile devices into one account.  This means I can access files from both of my home computers and my office computer right from my phone.  I've been a paying customer of theirs for over 2 years and the automatic backups saved my butt 3 years ago when the hard drive on my old desktop crashed.  I was able to recover 4 years of family pictures because of SugarSync.

LaptopsBest Buy, Dell and Microsoft are all offering great deals for new lap tops for under $400.  In addition, they are throwing in lots of add-ons for certain purchases like free shipping and accessory packages.  I've done away with a desktop now for over 3 years and find the portability and power match any desktop these days.

**If you're looking for other, more general Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals, check out Bradsdeals.com!

 

Using Facebook custom audiences for your business advertising

In the old days of advertising, you just had to have faith that your advertising dollars were being used effectively.  ROI was more of a gut feeling rather than a data driven process. The internet has changed all of that with options that allow advertisers and online marketers to get their messages to specific internet users. Facebook, the number one social marketing platform with over one billion monthly active users (Facebook), has taken it one step further with its new Custom Audience Targeting which allows advertisers to direct ads to people based on email addresses, phone numbers and Facebook user IDs.

How Custom Audience Targeting Works

A Facebook Custom Audience is easy to create for most any internet user. The program is available to companies and internet marketers who use Facebook Power Editor or any third party vendor like Sales Force, AdParlor, or other similar software. Through one of these programs, they simply upload a CVS or TXT file with email addresses. Facebook mashes the list with their list of users to see how many matches there are. Once that is done, they create an ad targeted at this group or audience. That is all there is to it.

How to Use Custom Audiences

In terms of how to use Facebook custom audiences, the possibilities are endless. For most advertisers and companies, there are several popular ideas.

Drive Facebook Likes.

Most every company, product, or service has a Facebook page and works hard to drive traffic in order to generate “likes.” With custom audience targeting, they can take their email/contact lists, match them to Facebook profiles and send them an ad asking them to “like” their page. From there, they can promote offers, new products or services and more to Facebook fans as well as always be kept top of mind with current and potential customers.

Drive Sales/Conversions.

This is a great way for any company that relies on lead generation for sales to market to potential customers. By uploading email lists, they develop a custom audience with Facebook, and then create and post an ad targeted at driving leads or sales to this audience.

Use Facebook Ads to Drive In-Store Traffic.

Custom audience targeting allows advertisers to post ads directed at current and past customers. These ads feature in-store sales, special coupons, or other offer available only through this Facebook ad.

The Safety of Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook has always worked hard to keep its users' information private. With the custom audience program, when Facebook runs the uploaded list against its own hashed (encrypted) database, it discards the data so that no other information can be collected. It is important to point out that hashed data cannot be decrypted.

Custom Audience Shows Promise

Social marketing experts are excited about the potential with Facebook's Custom Audience ads. Companies using the program have seen significant increases in their conversion rates and decreases in their cost per leads or fans depending on the objectives. Facebook's Custom Audience ads definitely work and are well worth the investment.

In today's advertising world, it is more important than ever to be able to deliver measurable results to clients in a very cost efficient manner. Adding Custom Audience ads to the mix is an effective means and delivers results. 

 

Insure your business against slip and fall lawyersThe lawyers you see on TV want you to get hurt at work. That’s how they make money.

And as a small business (or any type of business) there will likely be some type of accident, whether it is personal injury or a fire. There are a lot of other events that you could be liable for in between, too. That is, of course, unless you have insurance for your property, your business, and your products.

What about the cost of insuring all the different aspects of your small business? Isn't it expensive? Well, it may be a little expensive, but imagine the costs you would incur should someone sue you for negligence or your building goes up in flames. These are problems that could potentially bankrupt your business.

In this article, we’ll break down the different types of insurance for small businesses, and also break down why you will probably need them at some point in your small business’s hopefully long, long future.

So, let’s begin.

Here are a few big reasons you should get your company, your property, and your products insured.

LIABILITY

Anything and anyone that is a part of your business should be covered by some type of liability insurance (more on the different types of liability insurance later). Why? Insurance, just like homeowners’ insurance, protects you from fires and floods, to libel and malpractice. With any type of claim that is made within your company, insurance will help spare you the costs of lawsuits and liability claims, making it much easier to get your business back into shape after accidents or other unforeseen problems. Most important, though, is that you will be able to keep your business running throughout it all.

LAW

Insuring your property is the law. If you don’t abide by the law of the land, you could lose your business, and worse, face criminal charges. Ever heard of a cease-and-desist order? Law enforcement can slap one of those on you if your building or property isn’t insured. Property insurance can cost a bundle, but many places have minimum liability insurance, so make sure you know what exactly you need to stay legal.

So now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s begin with the different types of insurance that are available to small business owners.

GENERAL LIABILITY

General liability insurance is used to cover all different types of legal issues stemming from accidents, injuries, and claims of negligence. This also covers and protects you against payments for bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses for your employees should they get injured, libel, slander (yes, libel and slander), cost of defending lawsuits, and settlement bonds or judgments that are required during an appeal procedure.

Got all that? Basically, this protects you against anything you think could possibly happen to your company. But, there are more specific types of insurance that you will need to consider, as well, depending on the type of business you own.

PRODUCT LIABILITY

This type of insurance is used to cover companies that manufacture, wholesale, distribute, or retail a product. It protects you from financial loss because of a defective product that might cause injury or bodily harm.

To be clear, this will not protect you should an employee get hurt while making your product. That is covered under the general liability insurance.

The amount of insurance you’ll need depends on the type of business you own, though. For instance, if you own a hat store, the insurance costs will be a lot less than if you owned a large appliance company.

Ever wonder how all these companies that constantly have to recall products stay in business? – Great insurance policies. They’ve probably got pretty good lawyers, too.

PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY (aka Errors & Omissions Insurance)

This type of insurance is specific to companies that provide professional services. Let’s say you are a business consultant, for instance. Professional liability insurance will protect you against malpractice, errors, and negligence in services rendered.

Depending on the state your business is set up in, you may be required to get this. While this is usually required for doctors and physicians, there could be other requirements, I’d check with your state just to be sure (remember the whole law thing…).

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

Property insurance is required, but this type of insurance differs a little in that commercial property is for office buildings, industrial property, medical centers, hotels, malls, retail stores, farm land, multifamily housing buildings (apartments or condos), warehouses, and garages. Basically, this is any type of building or land that is intended to generate a profit.

Sound like you?

Commercial property insurance covers damages and loss that comes at the hands of anything from fires to vandalism.

It also comes in two forms – all-risk and peril-specific.

All-risk insurance covers a wide range of issues, except those that are explicitly stated in your policy. So be sure to read your policy. This usually covers risks for general small businesses.

Peril-specific insurance covers losses explicitly stated in your policy, but generally these are fire, flood, crime, and business interruption services. This usually covers businesses that are in high-risk areas.

HOME-BASED BUSINESS INSURANCE

So you’ve started a small business that operates out of your home? All the comforts of your home and none of the hassles that come with insuring a business… Nope. Typical homeowners’ insurance policies DO NOT cover home-based business losses.

Depending on the risk, you can add what are called “riders” to your homeowners’ insurance policy to cover normal risks like property damage.

But, of course, you will most likely need to add additional insurance policies, such as general and professional liability insurance.

So get out there, get insured, and watch your business grow without all the hassle that comes with worrying about how you’ll pay for problems that could happen in the future.

Lance Trebesch insuranceLance Trebesch is the CEO of TicketPrinting.com & Ticket River which offers a variety of event products and ticketing services. After nineteen years of Silicon Valley experience, Lance found the key to happiness is helping customers worldwide beautify and monetize their events with brilliant print products and event services. Listening to his customers and learning about how they plan their events – ranging from concerts to fundraisers has helped him gain insight and expertise on how to host a successful event that he is always eager to share.

 

 

Each week I like to post useful tools and resources that you may be able to use for your business.  The resources I post here are either free or available at a low cost.

I don’t go into much detail here, so feel free to check them out yourself and let me know what you think.  If you know of any great tools and services that will help small business owners, please share them in the comments below.

Ring Central – If you run your business from home, the last thing you want is to have customers (and telemarketers) calling your home phone.  Ring Central is a VoIP service that offers phone, fax and virtual phone lines for office and home office use.

Square – Turn your smart phone or tablet into a virtual credit card terminal.  A little device that plugs into your microphone jack lets you receive payments while on the go, with less fees than a traditional credit card processor.  Great if you run your business on the go or do business at trade shows, fairs and other shows.  Available in the US and now Canada.

Have questions about the best tools to use for your business?  Contact me with your questions and you can rest assured you will receive a response!  Contact me here