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Protect Your Assets – Purchase Insurance For Your Business

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When you own a business, you have assets that you need to protect. The right insurance has a big impact on your success. There are many different types of coverage to choose from. Here are some factors you need to consider if you want to purchase insurance for your business.

Your Risks

Assessing your risks can help you figure out what kind of insurance you need to get for your business. Insurance companies determine the level of risk they are willing to accept when reviewing your application. During this process they will determine whether they will provide all or a portion of the coverage you are requesting. The premium is the price you pay for your insurance. Premiums vary on the type of insurance you get and on risk factors like location, building type, local fire protection services and the amount of insurance purchased. A deductible is the amount of money you agree when making a claim. For most insurance companies, the higher the deductible, the lower the premium. However, agreeing to pay a high deductible could mean high financial risks. Therefore, it is important to assess your risks before going to purchase insurance.

Shop Around

There are many different kinds of insurance and even more insurance companies. Make sure that every part of your business is covered when you purchase insurance. The cost of coverage differs from one insurance company to the next. There are some companies that specialize in covering specific areas of the business. For example, there are companies that specialize in fire insurance while there are also others that are good in business car insurance.

Consider BOP

Business Owner’s Policy or BOP can be purchased separately and usually results in higher premiums. BOP covers property, general liability, vehicles, business interruption and other areas of business. BOP simplifies the insurance-buying process and can help save money. However, be aware of what is covered in any BOP you are considering buying because not every aspect of your business could be included. If you have unique risks, you should consider buying other insurance.

Assess Annually

As your business grows, so does your assets and liabilities. You don’t want to be caught uninsured should disaster strike. If you bought new assets, replaced equipment or expanded operations, call your insurance agent to let them know of these changes. Discuss how these affect your insurance coverage and how you can get them insured the soonest possible time.

Reputable Licensed Agent

Insurance brokers can help you find the right kind of coverage your business needs. Brokers make money by receiving commission from the policies they sell which is why it is important to look for an agent that has your best interest (and theirs) at heart. Before buying, make sure that the broker understands the nature of your business or the coverage you need to find the best matching policy for your business.

Finding a reputable insurance agent is just as important as finding a good doctor or accountant. Always look for one that is licensed by the state. Many states have a directory listing licensed insurance brokers so this is a good place to start.

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Business

How To Get Employees To Tell You Their Best Ideas

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Your company has many employees which mean you have access to an unlimited number of the best ideas. But do you ever wonder why they don’t approach you? Despite their numbers, are most of them uninspired? Or is everything just about the status quo and only a few ideas are acknowledged? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it means that your company is just like any other company out there. Luckily, you can change this so that your employees contribute ideas regularly. An atmosphere where ideas can flourish and expressed can help give our company a competitive edge. Here are some tips to follow to get employees to tell their ideas.

Change “Yes but” to “Yes and”

Responding “yes but” to ideas give off a negative vibe. According to Ed Harrington, CEO of Ideas to Go; the “but” kills the best ideas and is akin to closing the door on their face. However, switching to a “yes and” invites further participation. You are essentially telling them to go on and to explore their ideas. It invites more discussion which can help broaden the idea and maybe give it enough lift to let it fly.

Make A List of Good Ideas And How To Make It Better

Encourage employees to make a list and then invite other people to help make it better. Sometimes, employees feel intimidated when talking to their supervisor. Making a list and then inviting other co-workers to help make the idea better is a good way not only to involve the whole team but it can help refine the idea and help it reach the next level. Don’t worry about possible problems that might crop up. Remember that it’s not a list of potential drawbacks or obstacles.

For example, you have an idea on how to lower cost and you post it in a bulletin board. Your coworkers can come up with solutions on how to make this come true. With participation from the whole team, possible drawbacks can be identified and solutions optimized.

Don’t Make Idea Killing Pronouncements

Making pronouncements is not only counterproductive, it is also very arrogant. Leaders and top management who want to take advantage of the creative juice should refrain from making idea killing pronouncement. Instead of making these types of statements, encourage employees to think critically, give them room to explore their ideas, let them think outside the box and always encourage discussions that lead to advancement of ideas. In other words, don’t tell them right away that the idea won’t work. Give ideas proper consideration and room to play out.

Trust Them

One of the reasons why employees don’t have interesting ideas is because they know you don’t trust them enough. This does not only cover creativity but authority too. Managers that trust their employees create an environment where employees know that they are valued. This makes them feel inspired which can lead to creativity and result in the best ideas.

Provide Constructive Feedback

Not all ideas pan out but not acknowledging them can have devastating effects on employees. Employees need encouragement and feedback especially constructive ones. As leaders, you have the responsibility of nurturing employees and not giving them useful feedback can hinder their growth as working individuals. Constructive feedback gives employees new insight, perspective, promotes trust and prevents hurt feelings.

Share Vision

Share your visions and ideas with your employees on a regular basis. This works just like letting employees make a list and inviting people to improve it. When you share your best ideas and visions to your team they get a picture of the direction you want the company to go. Your employees can have ideas that can make your idea better. They can help improve upon your original idea to make it better. When employees have no idea where the ship is going, their thought are unfocused because they are navigating blindly. Sharing your ideas on the other hand could lead to a win-win situation.

Every employee could have something up their sleeve to help make your product or service better. Leadership is not only about steering your ship in the right direction. It is also about acknowledging that they have ideas that you can use to beat the competition.

 

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New Tech in Old Places

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Our environments are made up of the places we frequent throughout life.  Most of us have a home, a job, and have gone to school.  With the advent of the internet, many of these classic environments are evolving to accommodate a world that is becoming evermore interconnected.  Here’s a look at how everyday spaces are integrating new technologies.

At Home

Like the vacuum cleaner and microwave, kitchen appliances were slow to evolve after their domestic debuts in the fifties.  Only now with the advent of appliances being “smart” are we seeing new innovations in the kitchen.  Everything at home from the fridge, security system, to the tv now come in “smart” options allowing devices to connect with each other and be accessed remotely.

Homes now have options to be built or retrofitted into being more sustainable.  It is already common to see homes fitted with solar panels, providing power not only to homeowners but also providing excess power to their cities.  New innovations in material science are creating solar panel “film” that can adhere to existing windows, providing homes and buildings more more aesthetic ways to capture clean energy.

In the Classroom

Education is an area that has infinite benefits to reap since the dawn of the internet.  Less than three decades ago it was rarity for a school to have a computer.  Today, it is a rarity for a school not to have one.  Learning is no longer limited to books and chalkboards. Creative new channels for learning are now being found through virtual and augmented reality, 3D printing, and game-based learning.

Virtual and augmented reality adds a dimension of interactivity that is previously unprecedented.  Instead of simply looking at a page of a history book, students will soon be able to virtually visit different places and times.  Similarly, 3D printing offers the ability to add tactile experience when studying complexities such as molecules.  A 3D printer also gives students the opportunity to learn about custom manufacturing and design.

Game-Based Learning is a brilliant new technique in teaching that combats student’s ever shortening attention spans.  This method concentrates on interactivity and “gameplay” in learning.  By incentivising students to “win” better grades, school will be less like pulling teeth and more like playing while learning.

Cloud computing is an important next step in optimizing how students do their work.  Although a futurist classroom is on the cusp of reality, kids today can still use excuses like “my dog ate my homework”.  With cloud computing, students can efficiently turn in work, check into classes, and have discussions without their dog’s hungry involvement.

Building Efficiency into our Infrastructure

Many changes are not only happening inside but outside as well.  Our infrastructure is due for a technological makeover.  Many cities have begun to offer hubs for free wifi.  Many parks now offer charging stations and wifi.  In New York passengers can now take advantage of free internet service in select subway stops, increasing productivity for workers during their commute time.

Building materials themselves are going through their own evolutions.  Solar Roadway is a company manufacturing solar powered hexagonal road panels.  This year, the first road of this kind will be installed into a section of route 66.

Innovators such as Elon Musk are introducing concepts such as a completely solar roof.  Creating an option for solar panels as a permanent fixture as opposed to temporary modular panels is the first step of many to building efficiency and sustainability into our environments.

Many more advances in every field are beginning to grow in coevolution with our age old environments.  Increasing efficiency and connectivity is making the world a smaller and more convenient place.  Like archeologists admiring the engineering of Roman aqueducts, we will one day look back at this time and marvel at the progress and creativity our ingenuity has brought to fruition.  The world we live in today is literally, ‘the state of the art’.

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5 Effective Workplace Communication Hacks

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Communication is a key factor in many aspects of life. Often times, miscommunication impacts work in a negative way. However, proper communication assures that everybody is on the same page. Good communication improves relationships not only with co-workers but with your family and friends too.  Effective workplace communication for what you need makes life and work flow easily.

How you communicate with co-workers need careful consideration. For example, what is the right way to communicate? Do you send a text message or email? Are you communicating enough information? Is your method of workplace communication accessible?

Communication goes beyond writing or speaking. Here are some tips to make you an effective communicator at work.

1. Listen

Workplace communication is not just about writing a good email or sending a timely text message. Effective communication begins with listening. One mistake in listening could lead to errors in communication which could lead to problems in the workplace. This is why listening carefully is very important. One mistake people frequently make is talking over each other. To become an effective communicator and better listener, it is better to let a person finish talking before responding. When you do not fully listen to a person, key information could be lost which can lead to blunders and miscommunication.

2. Pay Attention To Body Language

Sometimes people say a great deal without opening their mouths. Communication is not just about talking because a great deal of it takes place non-verbally. We can communicate with expressions on our faces, gestures and body language. When communicating with other people, always make the best impression. Make eye contact, stand tall or sit up straight or give firm handshakes. This type of behavior conveys self-confidence. When you are confident you colleagues know it.

3. Get to The Point

When at work, people are normally busy including your colleagues. There are times when background information is needed and there are times when they are not. Know the appropriate instances where you need to impart background. Getting to the point quickly will prevent your audience from getting bored. A long winded email is not always alright. In fact, some people include a lengthy introduction or start with a totally unrelated subject. People who do this are not only wasting their time but their co-workers too. Be direct in all forms of workplace communication and raise 3 to 4 points if needed. Some people appreciate small talk but it is always better to get to the point especially in important matters.

4. Message Sent and Message Received Is Not Always The Same

Many negative situations arise and can be avoided if people do not make wrong assumptions after reading a text or email. The problem with written communication is that we are our own filter. We are usually the ones to determine the tone of the communication and conclude whether it is positive or negative. The problem arises when we determine that the tone is negative even if there is none. Giving color or reading a certain missive in a different light is natural because we all have different experiences and react differently to each one. When this happens, it is better to step back and take a moment to calm down. Remember that tone cannot be conveyed in emails and text. If you’re confused, ask for a face-to-face meeting. This can deflect any negative connotations and help clear up the air so that communication between people is always clear. It is unprofessional to make something out of nothing.

5. Know Your Audience

People like to communicate a certain way. For example, there are many people on top that prefer to talk to their people face-to-face rather than a teleconference. There are people who prefer communication via email while others are alright being contacted through text or a mobile phone call. If a co-worker is struggling to finish drafts in the computer, wouldn’t it be better to print a hard copy so to make editing faster? Knowing their preferred method of communication will help speed up response. Aside from this, knowing your audience helps things to run smoothly in the office.

Mastering communication strategies will you a better communicator. By listening, figuring out non-verbal cues, knowing preferred ways of communication, getting to the point quickly and not making assumptions will show that you are a reliable employee.

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