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Make sure your business is prepared

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on January 14, 2014

Make sure your business is preparedLess than two years after starting a wholesale and retail footwear business, Kyle Berner saw his entrepreneurial dreams come to a screeching halt.

The April 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in a delayed shipment of about 10,000 pairs of flip-flops he was planning to package and ship to customers ahead of the busy summer season. Though the items had already been paid for by the customers, the hold-up lasted six weeks—and by then his customers weren’t interested in reordering his company’s eco-friendly flip-flops, as they had the previous spring.

“We were in trouble of actually going out of business because we didn’t have any cash reserves,” says Mr. Berner, 32 years old, who juggled odd jobs before founding Feelgoodz in New Orleans in 2008.

To salvage the situation, he quickly signed up with daily-deal website Groupon GRPN -1.28% to run a three-day sale of his flip-flops for 50% off. While the stunt didn’t net him a profit, it did generate enough cash for his business to make a loan payment on time.

If he could do things over again, Mr. Berner says he would account for extra working capital when raising start-up funds.

“We would’ve made sure we had a miscellaneous pad of cash for the unknown,” he says, adding that he now stashes away enough money to cover about three months’ worth of business expenses. “You just never know what life will toss your way.”

Taking “what if” precautions may not seem urgent or even necessary if you’re an entrepreneur just starting out. But it can be wise to set aside some funds and plan ahead in other ways in case a calamity strikes. Just one tragic event could set a new venture back several months or even destroy it for good.

Roughly 25% of small businesses fail to reopen after a major disaster, according to the Institute for Business & Home Safety.

Protecting a new venture from the threat of an unexpected fiasco doesn’t require a lot of money or hard work, says Gail Moraton, business-resiliency manager for the Tampa-based nonprofit.

For starters, she recommends writing up a set of instructions describing exactly how your business functions, including who is responsible for doing each task, security passwords and contact information for key vendors. Then store it in a safe place outside of the office that you and your management team can easily access if necessary.

“It’s about having all this information available because when a disaster hits, you’re not going to remember all of these things,” she says.

Meanwhile, begin building a cash safety net to cover short-term expenses, such as a few months’ worth of payroll and supplier fees, says Dennis Ceru, an adjunct professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass. This could help you keep your business going while you wait for things to get back to normal following an unforeseen event that temporarily puts your operations on hold.

Taking this step also could help you avoid a disruption should a key vendor or customer suffer from a disaster—preventing you from receiving the inventory or income you rely on. In fact, you might want to ask your prospective business partners if they have a business-continuity plan before agreeing to team up with them on any major projects, adds Ms. Moraton.

As for insurance, your business may be required by law to purchase a certain amount of protection, such as if you’re located in an area prone to flooding or tornados. But don’t assume this will cover you for other potential hazards or that once you’ve taken out a policy, you’re in good hands for the long haul.

“You have to understand what your insurance covers and what it excludes,” says Mr. Ceru. “You always want to have at least an annual review of your coverage, especially if you’re a start-up, because you may quickly exceed the initial coverage as your business grows larger.”

Finally, keep in mind that disaster takes many forms.

Zachary Rose of New York lost tens of thousands of dollars last year when an employee stole critical paperwork from his lead-certification-training business.

He says he wishes he had the $2,000-a-year insurance policy that he’s since taken out to protect his firm from any damages caused by dishonest employee behavior. The business-continuity coverage also includes losses due to other calamities, such as fires, power outages and natural disasters, he says.

Mr. Rose, 31 years old, founded Green Education Services in 2009 after getting laid off from an architecture firm.

In the beginning, “I didn’t really have any money at all, so to look into policies like this wasn’t something that even crossed my mind,” he says, adding that the incident also required him to spend several weeks making sure his students’ certifications weren’t compromised.

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Practical Business Training

Posted by cat5shuttersllc on October 7, 2013

Practical Business TrainingBreaking Bad Habits:
Techniques for Making Positive Change in Your Workplace
An audio conference on creating a culture of readiness
October 8, 2013
1:30 – 2:30 PM Eastern Time
Register now

According to the State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders report recently released by Gallup, “disengagement” is causing serious issues in the workplace. In fact, this new research shows that a shocking 70% of US workers are either not engaged in their jobs or actively disengaged.
Whether it’s just one employee or an entire team, disengagement produces habitual lateness, laziness and disregard for details and safety.
Here’s how to break these hazardous habits — before they break your bottom line.
Register now for Breaking Bad Habits: Techniques for Making Positive Change in Your Workplace. In this 60-minute audio conference, internationally recognized expert Lew Bayer arms you with powerful ways to motivate employees to trade habits like lateness, negative attitudes, and poor communication for a vibrant new culture of readiness.
From getting employee buy-in to rewarding positive change, you’ll master the art and science of breaking bad habits and engaging employees in their jobs – and in your company’s success.
Reserve your space now to create your own performance-boosting culture of engagement, including how to:
Measure employee motivationIdentify bad habits – before they undermine performance and moraleDevelop an engagement strategy that’s right for your workplaceUse proven motivators to keep complacency from causing lateness, laziness, errors, safety issues and other “bottom-line busters”Increase employees’ ability to adapt to change and self-directRegister now for Breaking Bad Habits and get all-new power to turn good habits into good business.
Expert training
Lew Bayer: Author of The Power of Civility and head of Civility Experts Worldwide. Lew Bayer is an internationally recognized leader in her industry and for the past 14 years has lead the team at Civility Experts Worldwide- now 34 affiliates strong with representation in 13 countries. Lew’s expertise has earned her the title of Canada’s leading expert on civility in the workplace. She is the author of eight books, including The Power of Civility, and she is a national columnist who is frequently called upon for expert advice. She has worked with organizations large and small all over the world. Recently, Civility Experts Worldwide launched the “You’re So Rude” App- available for free on iTunes and in the App store.
Register today to learn how to get employees to trade hazardous habits for initiative and accountability!
Why a PBT Audio Conference is Right for You:
Fast, convenient learning without any out-of-office time lost.No travel-related expenses or complications.The perfect way to train as many employees as you like.100% Guarantee: If you are dissatisfied, you are entitled to a complete refund.If you have problems registering online, or have any questions, please call our customer service department at
1-800-780-4066 ext. 208.
1:30 PM Eastern – 12:30 PM Central – 11:30 AM Mountain – 10:30 AM Pacific
Length: 1 hour

**For online orders placed the day of the audio conference, please contact customer service at
1-800-780-4066 ext. 208 to receive the Dial-In Instructions for the event in a timely manner. If lines are busy, please try back.

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