Recap: New Business Owner Tips

“Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard.”

–Guy Kawasaki

Small businesses are the key to making a neighborhood special and unique. As a Boston small business owner, you know both the rewards and struggles inherent in running your own business. If you’re looking for some motivation and advice for running your business (and let’s face it – you should always be looking for advice!) then look no further than the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog from last week. There, we highlighted several tips for new business owners, such as:

  • When it comes time to bring in additional people to work in your business, make sure to look for quality employees.
  • Show others how great your business is, and then let them spread the word! Good marketing is infectious, so get the word out and let it spread – your network is a key part to bringing in new clients.
  • Focus on your business, but don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly to stay healthy.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency is always here to help you with your Massachusetts small business. We also happen to provide the best small business insurance in the area! Want a free quote, or some insurance advice? Just call 617-298-0655 and speak to one of our friendly and knowledgeable commercial insurance agents about your business’s unique needs.

Tips for First-Time Business Owners in Massachusetts

Here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we love our neighborhood, and one of our favorite things about the local area is the diversity of the businesses. Instead of shopping at huge national chains, we love to make our purchases at the local ‘mom and pop’ shops that make the area unique.

As a business owner, you are no doubt always looking for ways to make your business better (and make yourself a better business owner). In service of that, we want to share with you some of the tips that we have found useful in our journey of becoming one of the businesses that ‘makes it’ and even, dare we say it, thrives!

Build a Great Team

The vast majority of small businesses start off as a one-person operation. At some point, though, you will need (or you already have) brought on another (or several extra) sets of hands. The quality of the people that you bring in to business is a critical factor in determining your business’s success or failure. You have to realize that experienced workers will cost more, but the extra quality that they will bring to their work will help your business stand apart. So, before you hire your neighbor’s college-age kid that’s home and looking for a summer job, do a cost-benefit analysis of whether they are the right person for the job.

Networking is Critical

You can have the perfect product, but you won’t sell anything unless you have help getting the word out about it. Instead of being a lone wolf when it comes to marketing your business, use the power of networking to spread the word. Think of it like this – if you can recruit 10 raving fans, and they each recruit 10 more fans, etc., the results are exponential! It’s much more effective than one-on-one marketing.

One of the best ways to network is to meet new people and give them your ‘elevator pitch’ – it may sound like business school 101, but it really is that important. You need to know how to explain who you are and what your business does succinctly. And remember that you will need several different versions depending on your industry. You may need one for potential clients and another for referral sources, for example.

Prioritize Your Customers and Clients

As a business, you want to keep old clients while also recruiting new ones into your fold. Remember, though, that when looking for a place to shop for a product or service, many potential customers will look at reviews for the businesses that they are considering shopping at. This means that in order to bring in new customers, you need to make sure that your current customer experience is excellent, and that your satisfied clients are leaving you great reviews online to promote your business.

Carefully Evaluate Opportunities

Small businesses are given a lot of opportunities. As the new owner of your small business, it is your job to evaluate potential opportunities and to decide whether they are worth it. Remember – small businesses only have a limited amount of resources (including funds) so you need to pick and choose wisely. It is inadvisable to try and take advantage of every offer that comes along, since you could easily stretch yourself too thin and end up suffering.

Learn to Adapt to Circumstances

For a new business, things can change on a dime. You need to be prepared to roll with the punches. As famed businessman Michael Scott would say, “Adapt, react, readapt, act.” When your business is still small, you have the flexibility to make things work – unlike your bigger counterparts that are plagued with regulations and red tape. Take advantage of this to figure out what works and what doesn’t, just make sure to account for the fact that you will hopefully need to scale up your processes in the future!

Take Care of Yourself

When you’re running a fledgling business, it’s easy to get caught up in doing everything you can to make your business perfect. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, though! Make time to sleep, eat right, and exercise – that will keep you in shape so that you can continue to shape and grow your business for years to come.

Take Care of Your Employees

You can’t make your employees take care of themselves, but you can give them the tools that they need to do exactly that. Ask your Boston insurance agent about adding employee coverage to your business insurance policy – it’s a great way to show your employees how important they are to you and your business.

If you’re looking for business insurance for your new Boston business, talk to the local agents at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. There’s no better small business to use for your commercial insurance policy – we are an independent agency, so we can compare quotes from several insurance providers to find the one that’s right for you and your new business.

And if you need help with getting your new business on track, call the agency and ask to speak with Carlos Vargas about his business coaching! He is available to help you get your business running and will help you take it to the next level.

Recap: Before Buying Business Insurance

“Finance is not merely about making money. It’s about achieving our deepgoals and protecting the fruits of our labor. It’s about stewardship and,therefore, about achieving the good society.” – Robert J. Shiller

Protecting your business is something that you must take seriously. That’s why you need a great business insurance policy. If you’re getting ready to start a new business and purchase your first policy or get a quote for a new policy, read our full blog post about how you should consider some of the following factors:

  • There is a minimum amount of insurance you must carry based on Massachusetts laws.
  • Your business has unique risks that need to be accounted for.
  • You should make sure that you get a great deal on your policy without sacrificing great coverage.
  • When in doubt, get a little extra coverage – the peace of mind is well worth the cost.
  • Once you have a policy, review it with your agent and update as needed – at least once a year.
  • If you need help with your business insurance, ask a Massachusetts insurance expert from our agency.

Want a helping hand in building and choosing your next business insurance policy? Call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. One of our agents will get to know your needs and will find the perfect commercial insurance coverage for you. The process doesn’t have to keep you up at night – just get some help from your neighbors here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance!

Steps to Take Before Buying Business Insurance

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we help Boston residents with many types of insurance needs. We handle home and auto insurance, as well as renters and condo insurance. You should also know that we handle many different types of commercial insurance policies for local businesses! If you’re a business owner and you’re in search of the perfect business insurance policy (and let’s face it; who isn’t?) stop and consider the following seven factors:

Determine your insurance requirements

When purchasing insurance for your business, you should first know what types of coverage you are required to have. Every state is different,so you will need someone in your corner that is familiar with the Massachusetts requirements. In addition, there may be requirements based on your industry, or certain obligations that you have if you rent your business space. Also find out about your workers compensation requirements and stay on top of those as your business grows if you hire new workers.

Thankfully, you don’t have to sift through all the legalese on your own. A qualified Massachusetts business insurance agent can help you navigate the often-murky waters of insurance requirements.

Know the risks in your area of business

At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, we know that every business is different. We want to offer you complete protection, so we will help identify your unique risks to ensure that you get full coverage. For example, a restaurant may need coverage for food spoilage and liquor liability, where a tech-based business could require cyber liability coverage and errors and omissions insurance.

No matter what type of business you own, we’ve got you covered.We insure many types of businesses here in the Greater Boston area, and we are confident that we can craft a policy that is tailored to the special needs and risks of your business.

Focus on your amount of coverage…

Business owners know – bottom line is important, but it’snot the only thing that you should focus on when you make decisions for your business. As you talk to your business insurance agent, don’t fall into the trap of asking for only the bare minimum insurance coverage in order to save money.Your insurance coverage is critical in making sure that you are protected in all kinds of scenarios, so your coverage is not the place to skimp. Just remember – your insurance is what will protect you if there is a lawsuit or a fire or another type of huge disaster, so ask your insurance agent how much coverage they recommend. They will be able to find a coverage amount that suits your needs.

…As well as your deductible

So, we firmly stand by everything we said in the last paragraph…but we know that your bottom line is still important to your business. We want you to have the best of both worlds – a great insurance policy at a price that won’t overburden your budget. That’s why you should use an independent insurance agency when purchasing your policy. We can shop several insurance providers to find you one that will offer the best deal. We will be on the look out for discounts that you qualify for and other savings that you could use.

Err on the side of caution

If you’re faced with a decision of how much coverage to purchase for your business, we recommend that you err on the side of caution.Just remember – you never know when or why your business might be affected by something devastating, so purchase a little bit more coverage, or buy that extra bit of umbrella insurance. You’ll be glad that you did if for some reason you ever need to use it.

Become familiar with your policy

Once you have a commercial insurance policy in place, it is your responsibility to become familiar with it. If you’re brave, you can read over it yourself… if, however, that makes your eyes glaze over (and don’t worry, it happens to everyone) ask your insurance agent to go over the basics of your coverage with you. It is also important to make sure that you review your business insurance coverage at least every year so that you can refresh yourself on the protection that you have, as well as update your policy based on any changes that are happening in your business.

Ask an insurance expert for help

Owning a business is tough, but if you know the right people it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully you have Massachusetts insurance experts in your corner and ready to help with all your insurance questions, concerns, and needs.

Want to talk to a Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent about getting a commercial insurance quote for your business? Don’t put it off any longer – the process is simple. Just call 617-298-0655 to get started and we will have a free quote for you in no time.

Recap: Summer Tips for Small Businesses

“Business is about people. It’s about passion. It’s about bold ideas, bold small ideas or bold large ideas.” – Tom Peters

What are you doing to take your small business to the next level? The summertime may seem like a great time to take a break and enjoy the weather, but don’t let yourself stay stagnant! Instead, check out our full blog post from last week, including several ideas like these on how you can leverage the summertime to grow your business:

  • Try out a new social media platform or put some effort into an existing one with summertime photos of your customers or products.
  • Expand your customer database by consistently asking for email addresses. Make it more attractive by offering a discount to customers that are on your email list or a coupon to new sign-ups.
  • Attend or host an event – your next customer could be right around the corner! As a bonus, plan an event for your employees as a reward for working so hard throughout the year.
  • Never let yourself get lazy. Instead of relaxing, plan for the future of your business.

For more business marketing tips, general business advice, and business insurance expertise, stay tuned to the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog! And if you ever have a question or want to review your Massachusetts business insurance options, call our agency at 617-298-0655.

The Most Common Threats for Business Owners

It could drive a person crazy to think about the many things that might potentially go wrong over the course of any given day. And yet, sometimes failing to acknowledge what’s out there can lead to an avoidable situation. If you’re thinking about upgrading or buying commercial insurance for your new business in Dorchester, MA, it’s worth noting the following facts from your friends at Vargas & Vargas Insurance. We provide commercial insurance for hard-working business owners around the state of Massachusetts. Here are a few reasons to get protection.

Criminal Activity  

Criminal activity today doesn’t just mean a person breaking the door to your stockroom and stealing all of your available inventory. It can also mean someone breaking into your computer systems and stealing customer data or holding your files hostage for ransom. It can even be a person assaulting an employee at the end of their shift. It can also mean a group of kids just looking to cause a little mischief on a weekend night. Wherever the criminal element may come from, it’s the owner’s responsibility to take care of any physical or emotional damages that may result. 

Lawsuits, Weather, and More 

From an employee suing the company for wrongful discrimination to an odd blizzard in Dorchester, MA, there are plenty of reasons why a business owner should worry about the state of their business. It only takes a few broken windows to wipe out several days worth of income, which is just one reason why an owner could use a good backup plan.

For a better chance at handling everything that may come your way, it helps to have a commercial insurance policy that works for you. Giving Vargas & Vargas Insurance a call today can make it easier for business owners to handle it all. Reach out to our agents to discuss a policy and have your questions answered.

Recap: Insurance Mistakes

“Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” – Billy Graham

As the saying goes, “To err is human.” That doesn’t mean, however, that you should be ok with making easily avoidable mistakes. This includes the insurance mistakes that we detailed in our blog post last week! At Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency, our experienced Massachusetts insurance agents will give you advice and review your insurance policies to ensure that you don’t make common insurance mistakes like these:

  • Insuring your home for its market value instead of the cost to rebuild.
  • Not having a home inventory in the event that you suffer a major loss.
  • Skipping out on policies like flood insurance and umbrella insurance.
  • Buying only the minimum amount of liability insurance with your auto policy.
  • Forgetting to weigh in on the premium vs. deductible trade-off.
  • Paying for unnecessary business insurance policies.
  • Failing to update your insurance policies regularly.

Want a free and no-obligation insurance review? Just call our agency at 617-298-0655 to talk to a great Boston insurance agent about whether your policies will provide the necessary amount of coverage if you make a claim. Also take a minute to subscribe to our blog so that you don’t miss any of our great upcoming content, including insurance tips and tricks, summertime topics, life in Boston, and much more.

Recap: Business Disaster Plan

“One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency.” – Arnold H. Glasow

Massachusetts business owners: Did you see our post last week about business disaster plans? You never know when an emergency may strike, so the time to prepare is now. Create a disaster plan or refine your existing plan. Here are just a few tips from your Boston business insurance agency:

  • Create and practice an evacuation plan in case there is an emergency during business hours.
  • A communication plan is critical for disseminating information with employees about a disaster that has happened, and what they are expected to do during recovery.
  • Make an inventory of all of your business’s physical property in case of a loss.
  • Businesses that rely on digital data need a thorough and secure backup and recovery plan for files.
  • Having the right commercial insurance is critical – speak to your Massachusetts business insurance agent to check your policy for gaps.

If you need help with your business insurance policy, call Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency at 617-298-0655. We can get you a free business insurance quote or review your existing policy to make sure that you have coverage that will protect you thoroughly in case of an emergency. And program our 24/7 emergency line into your phone just in case you ever need to reach an agent outside of normal business hours: 617-322-5289.

Creating a Business Disaster Plan

Most people are prepared for a disaster at home, they have an evacuation plan, a point of contact for the family, an emergency kit, and a home inventory for insurance purposes. Have you ever given any thought to creating a similar plan for your business?

Businesses aren’t immune to disaster, so it is critical that you have a plan – just in case the worst happens. You will need to take a few steps to formulate your plan depending on the disaster, and make sure that you share these plans with your employees so that everyone knows how to respond in case there is an emergency.

Evacuation Plan

If there is ever an emergency during business operations, your employees should know how to evacuate safely. Post evacuation maps through the building, and practice emergency drills throughout the year. If your business hosts customers, instruct employees on how to help them evacuate in a safe and calm manner.

Communication Plan

Disasters don’t always happen during regular business hours. If a disaster happens when no one is working, you will need to inform all employees about what has happened, and the steps that they need to take, including whether they will be expected to work from home or an interim location. Your communication plan may involve an email blast or a phone tree – or both!

Physical Property

If your business were affected by a fire, would you know exactly what was destroyed? Probably not. This is why it is critical to have an inventory of the physical property in your business. List everything that your business owns. This will include things like your furniture, electronics, décor, and even inventory. Then it will be up to you to keep this inventory up to date as you upgrade or purchase new items. Ask your Massachusetts business insurance agent what details they recommend recording about each item.

Keep a copy of your business’s full inventory list in an offsite location, which could be a safe deposit box, your personal property, or even in the cloud. This ensures that you will have access even if something happens to your business’s location. You may even want to keep an updated copy on file with your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent for safe keeping!

Digital Data

Many businesses nowadays rely on digital data. If a disaster affected your computers, would you be able to recover? Make sure that all of your critical information is backed up to a secure location in the cloud so that losing your computers wouldn’t cripple your business. You can also ask your business insurance agent about digital liability insurance and equipment breakdown insurance for your digital business.

Off-Site Disaster

Your business would certainly be affected by a fire or flood, but think outside of the box: what if a disaster affected one of your suppliers, or an important client? Think about the possibility of losing each of these parties and create a back-up plan in the event that something happens. Being prepared ahead of time will greatly cut down on your response time if an issue arises.

Insurance Prep

Having the right Massachusetts business insurance is a crucial part of disaster recovery. If your business is affected by a fire, flood, theft, etc., your business insurance will help to put you back on track to getting back to normal – but only if you’re carrying the right types of coverage.

Talk to your insurance agent about whether your business is prepared to deal with the aftermath of potential disasters. A Vargas and Vargas Insurance rep can help you evaluate your commercial insurance coverage to ensure that you have all of the coverage that you need.

This means something else for every business, which is why we tailor business insurance policies to each of our clients. You may want to consider building coverage (including flood insurance), property and inventory coverage, tenant’s improvements coverage, coverage for extra expenses, and additional coverage to rebuild a damaged or destroyed building in compliance with building codes. As discussed above, digital liability insurance may also be something to consider. For added protection, our Massachusetts insurance experts may recommend an umbrella insurance policy for your business, especially if you are at an increased risk for liability issues.

Preventing a Disaster

Make sure that your business is prepared for the worst, but also take steps to minimize your risk of an emergency. For tips on how to make your business safer, stay tuned to our blogs for tips!

You never plan to be affected by an emergency – that’s what makes your disaster response plan so critical. Make sure that part of your plan is contacting your Vargas and Vargas Insurance agent. During business hours, call us at 617-298-0655. If you have an emergency outside of our normal hours, you can always call our 24/7 line at 617-322-5289. Program both of these numbers in your phone now for easy access if you ever need to reach us! We can help you get the best business insurance for your Massachusetts business.

Recap: Employee Appreciation Day

As you may remember from our blog last week, the first Friday in March is Employee Appreciation Day. So, how did your business celebrate? Did you bring in treats, or have lunch catered? More importantly, how are you going to ensure that employee appreciation becomes a regular part of your business, and integrated directly into your company’s culture?

You should show your employees that you care about them and their well-being and help them to realize that they are each important parts of the machine that is your business. Here are just a few ways to do this:

  • Occasionally (or regularly) cater lunch or treats for the office, or have a complimentary snack/drink station in the breakroom.
  • Celebrate the milestones of your employees, including birthdays, work anniversaries, and more.
  • Make “Thank you” something that you say often. Write employees a note of thanks, say “Thank you” when they go above and beyond the call of duty, and thank them in a meeting in front of their peers.

Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency cares for you, your business, and your business’s employees. Make sure all three of these are protected with the best business insurance from our agency. Call 617-298-0655 for a free business insurance quote, or to have your current insurance policy reviewed by one of our business insurance professionals.