How to prepare your small business for the fall

October 21, 2014

Fall is in full swing. Use the tips below to keep your small business on track.

Every year as the days get shorter and leaves start to brown, we begin to hear a lot about winterizing homes and gardens to prepare for the coming winter. What we don’t hear so much about is getting your small business into gear for the fall and winter seasons. Your business probably doesn’t have a water heater to flush or chimney to sweep, but it might have some leaves to rake.  Here are several smart steps you can take to make sure you’re ready to tackle the last quarter of the year with gusto. Travel If running your small business involves any amount of air travel, this fall is going to be more of a bear than usual. Infectious disease outbreaks, terrorist activities and weather events will – or already are – making a mess of travel plans for entrepreneurs and business people across the country and around the world. Realistically, try to limit your air travel to what is absolutely necessary. The silver lining to this dark cloud is more time in the office, less money spent on travel and fewer tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Holiday sales Next is the obvious, preparing for holiday shoppers. Ahead of the winter rush invest time in thinking about how you can make the most of the holiday shopping season. Make sure you’re tracking your customers and sales so you’ll know who you’re best customers are, then create special offers that will appeal to them. Even if your small business doesn’t sell products per se, you can capitalize on the buying hub-bub around holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah by selling gift certificates or special gift-worthy packaged services. The usual suspects Some risks don’t really care what season it is or what temperature it is outside. If you’re a service provider, a client could become dissatisfied and sue for negligence. Owners of all small businesses also have the potential to encounter a problem with a customer or client tripping on an electrical cord,  laptop bag or something else around your office or store. And there isn’t a small business around that doesn’t have equipment worth protecting. This is where small business insurance coverage comes in:

  • Professional liability insurance (also called errors and omissions insurance) covers your business if there’s a disagreement with a client about the quality or outcome of services provided.
  • General liability coverage protects you in cases of third-party claims for bodily injury, personal injury, libel or slander, and damage to someone else’s property.
  • A business owners policy – also known as BOP or business owners insurance – combines general liability coverage with protection for business equipment such as computers, printers, copiers and office furniture.

No one can ever completely outrun risk or experience a lifetime of business without problems. But when you take the time to stay abreast of changes – be they seasonal, regulatory or something else completely unexpected – and have plans in place to capitalize on opportunities and protect your small business, it’s a lot easier to approach winter with a confident smile. Have you already prepared your small business for the fall? What steps did you take to make sure you were prepared? Leave your comment below to share insight with the Hiscox small business community.