An important part of running a successful business is planning for the worst possible outcome. There's no way to know what the future holds, so it is best to prepare for as many outcomes as possible. This means thinking about business insurance.
But what should you consider when looking into business insurance? After all, there's a fine balance between reducing costs by limiting your business's coverage and paying too much for coverage you don't need. Figuring out the exact level of coverage your business needs can be tricky.
To help, we asked nine entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to weigh in on the key considerations to explore when thinking about getting business insurance.
1. If benefits outweigh the cost
"Insurance should be treated the same as any other business decision: Will the benefit outweigh the cost? Personally, I think businesses should consider insurance. Generally, employers can be liable for the acts of their employees. While you may be very careful to avoid incidents, all of your employees may not. Without proper insurance, one single event can devastate a company's financial position." – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers P.A.
2. The risk factors
"Business insurance is the one expense most businesses fail to realize they absolutely must incur. In fact, by not including this expense, companies risk even greater loss. This is because every business, regardless of size or level, is liable should even a minor calamity befall it. Therefore, you should research and invest in appropriate business insurance in the very early stages of your startup." – David Ehrenberg, Early Growth Financial Services
3. Your growth plans
"If you're in the early stages of a business, insurance is tempting since you have a lot to lose. However, waiting until you've generated more profit and monthly income might be a better strategy. If you take out a costly insurance policy too early in your company's life cycle, you can severely limit its ability to take on new team members or pursue new projects." – Bryce Welker, Accounting Institute for Success
4. If you're getting large clients
"If your company is signing contracts with larger clients or partnering with other companies, you should consider getting business insurance. These bigger clients and companies can request proof of insurance at any time, and if your company can't provide it, it can make those clients question your company's credibility and reliability." – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
5. Recent equipment purchases
"If you're purchasing a number of expensive new equipment pieces for your business in the near future, it's a good time to look at getting business insurance. If you rely on certain pieces of equipment to keep your business running, then you should protect your investments. Look into property insurance, equipment breakdown insurance or commercial auto insurance to protect your equipment." – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
6. Can the policy grow with the business?
"I view insurance as an investment rather than a cost. I recommend that all companies – even home businesses – have some type of insurance. The best policy is one that has the power to grow with your business. It's always difficult to predict the future, but try to assess any challenges that your growing company business may face and choose the insurance that best addresses them." – Shu Saito, Godai Soaps
7. Your hiring needs
"Having business insurance helps attract and keep employees. So if your business is growing and you need to start hiring more, you should consider getting business insurance. Qualified employees are looking for a position that will give them benefits packages, and if you can't offer that, you might lose them to another company." – Blair Williams, MemberPress
8. The liability you face
"Assess the amount of liability you face. You should get liability insurance before you do any serious work or hire people. If you are in an industry where you have manual laborers, insurance is paramount, whereas in my industry of search engine optimization, we have risks of a different, less tangible nature. Know your business to know your liability and assess potential losses and strategize." – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
9. Industry examples
"Do some research to see if any others in your industry have insurance or have dealt with any legal issues in the past. You also need to think about the max damage that you can possibly cover. A product or service improperly made or used that could lead to the death or disability of a human is the biggest risk, but a product or service that leads to a minor inconvenience might not be as risky." – Andy Karuza, FenSens
Investing in an ATM (automated teller machine) is an excellent revenue source for you if you own a brick-and-mortar business. If you have the space, you can attract more customers simply by having an ATM in the store, and you can make a profit on a percentage of each transaction.
ATMs are available for purchase directly from their manufacturers or via turnkey ATM service. Turnkey solutions usually handle all aspects of the ATM itself, including cash management, service, transactions, monitoring and installation. As with most major business components, you can lease, rent or finance an ATM.
Let's take a look at the different types of ATMs and what you should consider when it's time to evaluate an ATM purchase for your business.
Should your business get an ATM?
If your business has hefty foot traffic (150 or more customers per day) or you find that customers regularly ask if you have one, you may want to consider buying an ATM for your business. The following business types often do well with having ATMs installed:
Clubs and bars / nightlife establishments
Cafes and other businesses with minimum transaction or charge amounts
Banks and credit unions
Editor's note: Looking for an ATM for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.
Old vs. new ATMs
Many ATM providers offer a choice: You can purchase an older (used) ATM or get something new. Customers don't always trust older ATMs, as they are generally slower and look like a product of the '90s. Newer models are more expensive but produce more (and faster) transactions. Prices vary depending on features and models, but most leasing options run from $75 to $100 per month with a $1 buyout option, according to CostOwl. Freestanding machines cost $1,000 to $25,000; add $5,000 to $10,000 more for a built-in wall machine.
What is EMV compliance, and why is it important?
EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa. These three organizations teamed up to create the EMV compliance standard, which accepts chip cards. EMV-compliant ATMs can authenticate these transactions, and EMV compliance is considered the gold standard in ATMs. EMV technology also refers to the square chip itself. It's preferred for these reasons:
It reduces fraud by more than 50 percent.
EMV is more secure, creating a unique transaction code each time the card is used. This code is unusable again.
Customers correctly perceive it as a sign of security.
It encourages customers to use EMV technology (chip cards), which also results in less fraud for your store when they use debit card transactions.
EMV deters fraud attempts on your ATM.
If you acquire a used machine, make sure it is EMV compliant to avoid headaches in the future.
As with cars and other forms of technology, the appearance of ATMs is important when it comes to its use. Many customers associate older ATM models and looks with low security and higher fees, so an obviously older model will cut into your profits. Older models are generally ...
Slower to dispense cash, which makes people nervous.
Reminiscent of computers and terminals from the '90s, which customers perceive as very outdated.
In need of more maintenance, costing you money as you experience downtime and deal with irate customers.
Run using very simple digital menus (no touchscreen) and two-color display.
Boxy, made of older gray plastic, and faded.
More modern machines include touchscreens, digital displays, updated fonts, sleek designs, and greater accessibility for people with disabilities and hearing impairments. They have full-color digital displays and are manufactured with EMV compliance in mind.
Main ATM manufacturers: Compare and contrast
In the U.S., there are five main ATM manufacturers, each with its pros and cons.
Triton: Triton ATMs don't take up much room. They're made in the U.S. and feature a small, sleek design. Customers may also recognize the brand name. The company claims it offers superb phone support and that its machines require fewer maintenance visits than others.
Nautilus Hyosung: Nautilus Hyosung is renowned for carrying multiple model types. It has a reputation for heavily integrating software and hardware, with software upgrades being less problematic than competitors' options.
Hantle: Formerly known as Tranax, Hantle has a hand in more than 200,000 ATM installations throughout the U.S. The company offers scale and handles support for its expansion efforts.
Genmega: Genmega relies heavily on testing, user feedback and active customer input to develop and improve its existing ATMs. It focuses on modern ATM designs and state-of-the-art technology.
NCR: NCR handles complex and bespoke business needs, creating and recommending ATM solutions on a business-by-business basis.
Of all the things to consider when it comes to renting, leasing or buying an ATM, servicing is the most important. For every day your machine is down, you lose money and frustrate customers. Evaluate the machine model's reputation for maintenance, and ensure both standard maintenance and emergency maintenance services are covered in your warranty or service agreement.
ATM distribution and processing
ATM distribution and processing are two major components of what you need from an ATM retailer. Proper distribution includes maintenance and check-ins, and processing is all about how the transaction actually happens on the machine. When you compare costs, your prospective ATM retailer should demystify these processes immediately.
Where should you purchase an ATM?
Make sure to purchase an ATM from an authorized retailer. This helps you avoid being scammed out of money and protects the customers in your store. Thoroughly vet your ATM retailers, as many of them have very outdated-looking websites, whether they're legitimate businesses or not.
If you've worked for an enterprise organization, you know they take cybersecurity seriously. They might have a team of 50 or more dedicated to managing cybersecurity operations and GRC (governance, risk and compliancy). Many even have a Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) to lead the overall strategy. One-quarter of enterprisesspend at least 10 percent of their total IT budgets on cybersecurity initiatives.
Your company may be working on a smaller scale than a billion-dollar enterprise, but that doesn't make cybersecurity any less important. In fact, small businesses are no less of a target than larger organizations: 50 percent of all cyberattacks target small businesses, a number that is expected to keep climbing.
A recent Better Business Bureau report found that the majority of small businesses have invested in antivirus software and firewall protection (81 and 76 percent, respectively), but less than half (47 percent) focused on employee education, and 20 percent or less took steps to provide ongoing monitoring of cybersecurity intelligence or threat assessments. In fact, 11 percent said that they had no cybersecurity measures in place at all.
Small businesses are risking the livelihood of their companies by failing to adequately understand cybersecurity risk or put measures in place to safeguard against data breaches.
As a business owner or operator, you share a significant portion of the responsibility, and it's up to you to take ownership over many components of cybersecurity. But some parts of cybersecurity, especially the tech-heavy ones, often fall outside of the realm of business management and into the world of IT.
It's essential that you give your IT team – whether that's only one or two people, a large team or an external IT provider – the authority, flexibility and resources to protect your company with a strong program of comprehensive, ongoing cybersecurity. The IT role goes far beyond simply setting up firewalls and installing antivirus software – for example, here are some areas where your IT team is a valuable asset in strengthening your organization's cybersecurity posture.
1. Vulnerability scanning. Your IT teams needs a way to continually scan your network for known vulnerabilities. A vulnerability scanning solution or partner should provide recommendations for patches and countermeasures, which your IT team will prioritize and handle responsibility for managing.
2. Third-party penetration testing. Penetration testing, or "ethical hacking," refers to active attempts to breach a network security system or environment to test its strength. In other words, hiring someone to try and break in and get to the crown jewels, then providing a report on how they did it and what security measures to consider putting in place. This can include external testing (i.e., publicly available assets, such as a web application itself or company website) and internal testing (simulating an attack by a credentialed user). This critical activity should be completed at least once per year, if not more. And just like your CFO can't audit the books, this effort requires a third-party.
3. Phishing simulations. Beyond analyzing the network, your IT team should also look at how well employees are following cybersecurity protocols – a company's security is only as strong as its weakest link. They often coordinate regular phishing simulations (i.e., sending fake phishing emails to the team to see who might click through) to users throughout the company and provide up-to-date reporting on results in order to monitor effectiveness and track improvement.
4. Ongoing training. In an industry and landscape that changes almost daily, a one-time cybersecurity training session just isn't enough; cybersecurity awareness should be an ongoing part of companywide training initiatives. IT can help select, set up and report on these training modules, and may handle troubleshooting and questions from employees. Both videos and classroom style training can be useful in enabling a comprehensive cybersecurity program in the workplace.
5. Overall strategy development and management. Finally, managing cybersecurity isn't possible if you don't have an effective strategy in place and someone leading the way. Your IT team (in-house or third-party provider) plays a critical role in setting and monitoring your security goals, and managing the efforts and tools behind them. They will have insights and recommendations as you work together to develop, execute, and evolve the right holistic approach.
Does this sound like a lot to ask of an IT team? It is – especially when it comes on top of all of the traditional IT concerns, such as managing your company's equipment, infrastructure and technology stack. It's no surprise that a lot of this work doesn't receive enough attention in small businesses when it's difficult enough just to keep everything up and running, and they often lack the resources to dedicate time and budget to cybersecurity.
As we move into 2019, take some time to reassess the role of your IT team and the critical importance of cybersecurity. IT shouldn't be asked to do more with less; give them the resources, support and guidance needed to move your company in the right direction with its cybersecurity initiative. That doesn't mean IT needs to shift the focus away from their current jobs – it means enabling IT to leverage tools and solutions to complement their team and existing programs.
If you have time to kill, it's best to spend it doing something that will benefit you. With business podcasts, you soak up new information you weren't aware of previously, gain insight from experts and thought leaders in your field, and spend your time wisely and efficiently.
In a study conducted by Emma Rodero, a researcher and professor at Pompeu Fabra University, it was revealed that podcasts stimulate the creation of vivid mental images and maintain people's attention quickly and efficiently. Podcasts are a valuable way to vastly improve your day-to-day life.
If you have extra time on your hands or perhaps a long commute ahead of you, here are five business podcasts you should look into for greater insight and higher productivity.
1. HBR IdeaCast
Hosted by Sarah Green Carmichael, executive editor at Harvard Business Review, IdeaCast features lead thinkers in business and management. You hear stories from people in all corners of the business world: scientists, journalists, business professionals and more. The topics are fast and delve into such issues as how to navigate office politics, how to climb the career ladder to get where you want to be and how to effectively manage your time for ultimate success. If you're an entrepreneur learning about how to scale your business and what to do when the growing pains hit, this podcast is for you.
2. The Creative Empire
Though this podcast recently ended, there is still so much to learn from The Creative Empire, hosted by Reina Palmer and Christina Scalera. Its mission was to empower, inspire and educate the next creative entrepreneur to be a leader in their industry. The podcast focuses specifically on entrepreneurs in creative fields as well as entrepreneurs who want to take a more creative approach with their business. Palmer and Scalera want to make the business side of your creative endeavor as easy as possible and their goal is to make exclusive content available for everyone.
3. Girlboss Radio
On Girlboss Radio, Sophia Amoruso conducts interviews with women who are redefining success and what it means to be in business and be your own boss. Amoruso's interviews aspire to educate, inspire and inform listeners about how to follow your dreams and achieve your goals as well as how to recover when life throws you curveballs. You get immersed in every episode as you receive advice and learn from others' experiences and mistakes when it comes to careers and money. The conversations are such that they make you feel like you're sitting with them as they discuss different subjects.
4. The Big Payoff
Hosts Rachel Bellow and Suzanne Muchin are lead strategists and business partners who have successfully created and sold six companies together. In The Big Payoff, you get advice on life, career and business, and how to handle situations elegantly.
Topics include, for example, how to have a great conversation, standing out from the crowd and how to excel when you're an introvert. If you're looking for practical advice on being in the business world, this podcast will speak to you directly and helps you navigate life as a professional.
5. Rise and Grind
Daymond John, businessman and investor on ABC's Shark Tank, hosts this podcast focused on power, productivity and performance as a professional. John wants you to use your time wisely and as productively as you can. John interviews entrepreneurs of all different paths of life and backgrounds who shed light on how to work harder, better and stronger to outperform your competition and make it to the top. Some of his guests include Tyler the Creator, Wendy Williams, Gary Vaynerchuk and more.
If you have extra time on your hands, use it wisely by exploring some of the best business podcasts available. They'll educate you and motivate you to achieve your goals and take the steps you need to reach success. If anything, they'll be a good source of knowledge that may help you improve your sales funnel or get a fresh perspective on doing business.