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Small Business Blog

Our blog is designed to be a "go to" resource for your small business. Here you will find valuable information and advice on launching, running, protecting and making your business a huge success.

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Hiscox TweetChat recap: The 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur report

Hiscox TweetChat recap - The 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur reportU.S. Head of Communications, Hunter Hoffmann, shared detailed insight from the 2014 Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report.

Last week, we released the annual Hiscox DNA of an U.S Entrepreneur report. For our third Hiscox TweetChat, Hunter Hoffmann, Head of U.S. Communications shared some detailed insight from the report, alongside the Hiscox Entrepreneur-in-Residence Brian Moran.

See the TweetChat recap below for highlights from the report.

What is the Hiscox DNA of an Entrepreneur report?

  • The Hiscox DNA report surveys 500 U.S. small business owners each year about sentiments on their growth prospects and obstacles to future growth.
  • The survey also gauges the overall business environment within the U.S. over the past year.
  • Each business surveyed has 50 employees or fewer.

Why does Hiscox conduct this study each year?

  • We conduct the DNA of an Entrepreneur study each year because small businesses matter. Their impact on local economies is important.
  • Gauging the health of small businesses and understanding the key issues they face, are vital for policy-makers everywhere.

Read More »

3 reasons why women entrepreneurs should go back to school

3 reasons why women entrepreneurs should go back to school

Guest blogger Lynn Bardowski shares why women entrepreneurs should consider heading “back to school.”

School is back in session. This is a great time for women business owners to increase their skills.

Work-at-Home-Moms and women business owners everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief as their bright-eyed children went back to school this fall. After a long, lazy summer enjoying family vacations and day trips, we’re ready to dust off our goals and get our business mojo, and our me-time, back. All we need to do is pick up where we left off, fire up a Katy Perry song and we’ll be ready to finish the year strong. Woot!

But wait, somewhere in between the water park and roller coaster ride, brain fog seeped in. Like our kids, we need training, resources, connections and some after-school fun (maybe a snack) to be more productive. Read More »

3 fall cleaning tips for your business

3 fall cleaning tips for your businessGuest blogger Eydie Stumpf of Terra Media Marketing shares tips for getting into the swing of things after the lazy days of summer.

Ahhhhh – those crazy, lazy days of summer. Are you like many people who take the time to slow down during the summer months? As we take advantage of the longer days and warmer weather, we sometimes put our businesses on hold for a while in order to rejuvenate ourselves before the brisk days of fall, and the cold, dark days of winter reappear.

I’m one of those entrepreneurs who takes time off in the summer from my business Terra Media Marketing. I use the downtime to unwind, spend more time with the family, travel and just plain old chill’ with a glass of wine by the pool. In order to do that, however, I have to have things in place so that my business doesn’t take a nose dive while I playing hooky. Read More »

Protecting your education consultancy from A to Z

Protecting your education consultancy from A to ZWith back-to-school in full swing, education consultants may want to consider protecting their businesses with professional liability insurance.

As an Education Consultant the work activities you’re engaged in might include assessing student needs, recommending career options, establishing guidelines for educational programs, training educators, evaluating courses for use in schools, leading workshops and attending  conferences – or maybe all of the above!  It’s clear that you’ve got a lot on your mind as you go about ensuring your clients and students get the very best in educational services.  In the hub-bub of your daily activities make sure your business is getting the very best in protection from possible errors with professional liability insurance.

By its very nature your work product is advisory in nature.  Clients can take your recommendations or not. If they do, but aren’t happy with the results, they could potentially blame you, contest your advice and hold you liable for less-than-positive results.  Professional liability insurance coverage helps make sure you have knowledgeable legal representation and a financial safety net if this happens and you’re pulled into a work-related lawsuit.

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Hiscox DNA of an American Entrepreneur 2014

Hiscox DNA of an American Entrepreneur 2014 - 2The 2014 Hiscox DNA small business survey highlights the triumphs and challenges of the American entrepreneur.

We’re excited to share the U.S. results from Hiscox’s sixth annual global DNA of an Entrepreneur report.  This year we again surveyed 500 U.S. small business owners and got their sentiments on their growth prospects, obstacles to future growth and the overall business climate over the past year, and looking forward.

Here are some of the highlights of this year’s report:

Small businesses biggest concerns

Small business owners worry about not being able to attract new clients (43%), having to pass cost increases on to customers (36%) and facing rising costs of debt (31%). Another area that continues to keep small business owners up at night is financing. Thirty-one percent of respondents worry about not having the financial resources to keep their businesses going, while 65% reported obtaining financial funding for a new business continues to be difficult. Yet, despite growing awareness, 92% of all small business owners have not considered using crowdfunding.

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What does the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard mean for your Business?

If your business accepts credit cards, make sure you know how to keep your customers information secure.

What does the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard mean for your business

Click the image for a larger view of the infographic.

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of standards that establishes and enforces security requirements for customers, businesses and service providers. It was developed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council  (PCI SSC), which includes American Express, MasterCard Worldwide, Visa International, Discover Financial Services and JCB International.

In other words, PCI SSC gives your business a plan in preventing data breaches. These are also the standards that all companies accepting, processing or storing card data must adhere to.  Failure to comply can have enormous financial implications to the business in the event of a card breach.  There are four levels of compliance to which a payment card accepting business may be subject to.  The standards become more stringent as a business accepts or stores more payment card data in the course of its operations.

Read More »

Cast your vote for Hiscox in the Small Business Influencer Awards

Cast your vote for Hiscox in the Small Business Influencer AwardsConsider casting a vote for Hiscox for a Small Business Influencer Award!

We’re excited to share that once again this year, Hiscox was nominated to receive a Small Business Influencer Award in the category of Corporations. The annual awards is in its fourth year and it honors companies, organizations, vendors, apps and people who’ve made a significant impact on the North American small business market.

The Small Business Influencer Awards is organized by the teams at Small Business Trends and Small Biz Technology. Launched in 2003 by Anita Campbell, Small Business Trends is an online publication that provides resources for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Small Biz Technology, founded by Ramon Ray, educates small businesses on how to use technology to grow their businesses.

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Hiscox TweetChat: Results of the 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur survey

Hiscox TweetChat - Results of the 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur surveyFind out what small business owners are thinking with the release of the Hiscox annual small business survey.

Next week, Hiscox will release the results of the 2014 DNA of an Entrepreneur survey. The annual survey features responses from 3,500 business owners from the U.S., France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the U.K. In the U.S., 500 small business owners were questioned about the sentiment of their companies and their overall outlook of the business environment within the country.

This year, we’re hosting a TweetChat to discuss the results of the survey. The Hiscox Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Brian Moran of SmallBusinessEdge.com, and Hiscox’s U.S. Head of Communications, Hunter Hoffmann, will highlight the report’s U.S. findings, which include:

  • Optimism and Opportunities for the Year Ahead
  • Obstacles to Growth
  • Social Media Savvy and Cyber Threats
  • Small Business Stress
  • Closing the Gender Gap

Read More »

3 simple steps to check the overall health of your small business

3 simple steps to check the overall health of your small businessConduct a check up of your small business to make sure you’re on the right track.

It’s always a good idea to check in on your business to gain a better understanding of its overall health—even when you think it’s doing well. As a trusted source of information for small business owners, BizLaunch provides resources to help business owners perform these check ups. From balance sheets to break-even analysis, you can download these resources directly from the Free “Small Business Tools” section of the BizLaunch website.

Continuing to work in your business rather than on it could be putting your company at risk. But the question is, how can entrepreneurs get a handle on what’s really going on in their venture? The answer is simple: by conducting regular health ‘check-ups’ Here are three simple steps you can follow to determine just how healthy your business is. Read More »

3 steps to ensure your small business passes an IRS audit

3 steps to ensure your small business passes an IRS auditFollow these steps to ensure your small business passes an IRS audit.

First, what is an IRS audit? An audit is an accounting procedure in which the IRS examines your financial records to verify that you filed the return in question accurately. If you have your paperwork and receipts (or access to them) and can prove that your initial return was complete and correct, the tax audit will end there.  If the IRS finds errors, either accidental or intentional, you’ll have to pay the adjusted amount and any interest penalties.

There are few pieces of correspondence as capable of making small business owners fearful as an unexpected letter from the IRS.  But entrepreneurs don’t have to start worrying, as the IRS is generally eager to resolve small business tax issues amicably.  In 2013 only 0.6% of business returns were audited, your chances of an IRS audit are relatively low. Read More »

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