Your small business is thriving. You’re turning a profit, and you want to keep up the momentum. You start dreaming up ways to attract new clients and talented employees to your small empire.
The glitz and glam of startup culture can be alluring, and though you may think imitating other hip startups will bolster business, it's usually a better plan to protect your small business's resources instead. To prove that point, here are nine things your business probably needs less than Professional Liability Insurance:
- Business logos on everything. Branded pens! Branded mugs! Branded t-shirts, caps, water bottles, and stickers! Sure, these things can be good advertising, but they are budget killers. What are you going to do with all those extra stress relief balls, anyway?
- Videos for the website. You want your website to have compelling content and interesting visuals, and videos can accomplish both. However, unless you want the videos to look like they were filmed with a webcam in your mother’s basement, you’ll need to purchase a camera, video equipment, and editing software. You'll also need to figure out how to use all that stuff, too.
- A mobile app. There’s a mobile application for almost everything these days, and more people than ever browse the Web on their mobile devices. But developing a mobile app takes a lot of time and financial resources. You’ll need to hire an employee or outsource to take care of coding, testing, and developing your app. You may want to focus on developing your core website before taking the leap into mobile app territory.
- Catered meals in the office. People love food. People love free food even more. And if your employees get their meals at work for free, they have more time to stay at work. Efficiency equals higher work production, right? Catered meals sound convenient, but the expenses add up. If you’re determined to offer a foodie perk for employees, try scaling down by offering healthy snacks instead.
- Sleep pods. Does staying late or overnight at your office sound appealing to you? We hope not – everyone does better work when they take a little break. So skip the in-office sleep pods and go home to hang out with your dogs instead.
- A yoga instructor. You want to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for your employees. Why not offer a free class with a yoga instructor once a week right in your office? It's a nice gesture, but an expensive one. Nix that plan and try offering a health incentive program that rewards participants for nutritious eating and exercise. You could receive discounts on your office health insurance from your insurer.
- A spokesperson or paid personality. Thinking about hiring a spokesperson or paid personality to get the word out about your small business? Hope you have a big budget. TV, print, radio, and even Internet ad campaigns are pricey. Try building up your small business's brand through excellent customer service, word of mouth referrals, and engaging online content instead.
- A fancy espresso maker. We know: people need their daily caffeine fix. Although there’s some really terrible office coffee out there, resist buying an expensive espresso machine to impress employees and clients. A regular cup of java gets the job done.
- The latest and greatest tech. Apple, Google, and other IT giants are always hyping the “Next Big Thing” in the tech world. All these latest gotta-have-it items also come with very high price tags. If there’s no business-related reason (e.g., improved security features or outdated software) to justify purchasing new tech, stick with your slightly older, but perfectly fine models. By the time you’ve saved up a bit more cash, the next version of that tablet you were eyeing should be available.
The Profitability of Smart Spending
Before you buy into the latest startup gimmick, take a close look at your budget and plans for the future. Sit down with your accountant to discuss the realities of your spending. Considering the following questions:
- What items or actions will add to the value of your business in the long run? As much fun as a pinball machine or ping-pong table in the office would be, does it really help your business? It may affect productivity and the space could be allocated for something more useful, like an extra table and chairs for impromptu meetings.
- Are there immediate benefits to justify any of these purchases? You really, really want to buy that state-of-the-art drone, but why does your business need one? Spying on competitors from above isn't an acceptable answer.
- What long-term costs are associated with these items or practices? You know better than most that economic turns have major impacts on your business. Think twice before saddling yourself with another high-dollar item you have to make regular payments on.
- Are there any costs you’re currently not accounting for that may pop up in the future? Your business is growing in revenue and size. When you hire new employees, you’ll need to allot for hidden costs in your budget, like salary, Workers' Compensation, and health benefits. Maybe you’ll outgrow your current space and need to move.
Careful financial planning is a key to any successful business’s continued growth. And yes, insurance is a crucial part of that strategy. It may seem like Professional Liability Insurance coverage doesn’t do much, but it’s a financial safety net for your small business. It shows clients that you have confidence in your business's future and they can trust the quality of your professional services because you have insurance to back it up.
For ideas on how to keep your insurance rates low, read "6 Ways to Save on Professional Liability Insurance."