A recent survey among our business owner clients showed that over 70 per cent have made significant changes to their business model in the past five years. Some are expanding, some downsizing, and others have found or are trialling new ways of going to market – either in response to the global financial crash or simply to meet the challenges and opportunities of the 24×7 global business village.
Even before the revaluation of business rates, soaring high street rents had already seen more and more business owners seek out new and cost-effective ways to work without having to rent, maintain and insure costly business premises (brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘flight to task’).
Maybe you are plying your trade with just a desk and a phone in your home as your ‘hub’, while you go out to visit clients that you contract with. Maybe you are on the move most of your working day, plugging a laptop or smartphone in to coffee shops en route and booking serviced office space for meetings or to run training sessions. Maybe your whole business proposition is in cyberspace and reliant on the Cloud for data storage – instead of that rusty grey filing cabinet you finally offloaded at the tip (or should we say ‘Council amenity site’ as these are now called – when you can actually find them).
As larger corporations downsize, more people are becoming independent consultants, homeworkers, freelancers and sole traders (solopreneurs). This combines with the growing opportunities for flexible, internet-based work such that the traditional bricks-and-mortar office is no longer integral to a business set-up. In this brave new (online) world, priority goes to the means of communication: laptops, smartphones, broadband, online storage. The more your business goes virtual and is not tied to a location, the greater your dependence on technology – and the more you need to protect against business interruption and loss of your data whether accidental (wot, no back-up?) or through cyber hacking.
Moreover, as a company’s services expand virtually, business owners can employ and sub-contract teams of people without needing to meet with them or provide office accommodation. However, whilst you may have dispensed with your facilities and furniture costs, you still have employer liabilities and need to protect your people’s safety and welfare while they are working for you on your clients’ sites. Remote resource management can generate all kinds of different risks – risk you can insure against!
Ah yes – insurance – now where does that fit into your business model planning, set-up and costing? Even without a physical office location, you still need to protect your intellectual property, your corporate materials, marketing collateral and customer files. From the ‘standard’ public / products liability and employers’ liability to professional indemnity, directors’ liability, computers and cyber cover, there is a bewildering range of customised policies out there to reflect the specifics of how and where you work. As an example, you can cover your property, documents and computers at exhibitions and you can protect yourself against claims brought against you for (alleged) mis-advice (including in relation to work by consultants or subcontractors working on your behalf) or loss of customer data.
Whatever you are doing to change how your business model, it is always worth a chat with our expert team to assess the impact on your business risk and associated insurance.
We see many businesses over-insured and paying over the odds because they have just bought add-on policies to cover different perceived needs (and in fact may not be covering the right things); many not realising where a change in their business model or mode of operation means they need new or additional cover, and others simply failing to protect themselves adequately in key areas of their operation. It may be the case that an ‘off-the-shelf’ policy is perfectly adequate to meet your requirements, but it can equally be the case that a more bespoke solution may be more appropriate or, believe it or not, in some cases more cost-effective!
We’ll take a no-charge, no-obligation look at your business activities and objectives and advise properly on what you need. We’ll help you maximise the costs vs cover of any insurance you do take out. New types of policies, especially consolidated offerings for smaller businesses, are coming to the market all the time and we can help identify which will work best for you without you having to pay for lots of provision you will never need.
With our long experience as an independent broker and close links to a wide range of professional and industry bodies, we keep up with the market and the needs of business owners at each stage of the company development. That gives you confidence that working with Fairweather Insurance will give you access to all the information you need, with responses in straightforward terminology from people who understand your business and, therefore, the real insurance you that need.
By the way, while we are absolutely fans of technology, at Fairweather Insurance we keep our phone system very simple: no menu – just people who will answer the phone when you call. Innovative indeed! Try it out now…. 01753 882222. Or if you’re busy now, send us an enquiry or leave your number [here] and we will call you back.