What Small Business Owners Can Learn From the PandemicEditorial Team
Contributed by Mark Morissette – founder of Foxquilt – an insurance technology company empowering small businesses and B2B networks to save on Small Business insurance.
It goes without saying that the past year and a half has created surprises and roadblocks for business owners. Many of us have had to think quickly on our feet as our plans, revenue streams and customer bases were significantly disrupted. With this shift, we have had to reassess our company goals and growth opportunities altogether. We have also seen a wave of resilience unlike any other, along with a keen focus on future proofing.
The pandemic has brought to light the need to actively manage the risk that is within our span of control. An indisputable area of future proofing for any small business is the idea of proper insurance coverage – for the issues we see coming, but more importantly, for those that we don’t. Small business owners also need to prepare themselves, as well as their businesses, to be agile and resourceful.
There are many ways businesses have shown resilience throughout this disruption. We’ve compiled a few strategies that we have seen be successful for our clients, as well as others.
Here are a few tips to help stay resilient during times of disruption:
The most resilient of small business owners have to roll with the punches and be flexible with life’s surprises – like a global pandemic. The past year has shown small business owners that they need to be ready to adjust their business plans, as well as consider new markets, ways to innovate and how to continue to drive revenue.
A tangible way that the pandemic increased agility in businesses is by streamlining virtual communication tools. We’ve all had to leverage innovative aids to ensure alignment across teams virtually, as well as help predict potential roadblocks. Using technology, such as Slack, to replicate office chatter can help keep up day-to-day conversations and updates, and help maintain continuity of culture in light of remote working environments.
Listening to the end consumer helps businesses adapt to their changing needs and desires. This includes researching other countries, regions, or similar industries to find emerging trends and consumer behaviours that can be utilized by your business. Being agile means leading by example and continuing to reinvent and redirect the business for the future to come.
Take Advantage of Government Resources
Small business owners can and should leverage government grants and funds. In addition to COVID-19 resources, there are also often grants provided for women and minority entrepreneurs, for employing students and recent graduates, and for supporting specific industries like technology or agriculture.
There are competitions for innovative ideas that have prize money to be awarded and non-profit organizations that are there to help support small businesses. Your local Chamber of Commerce can be another great support system for small businesses that are just getting started or looking to expand into a new area.
Oftentimes, funding is specifically aligned with different stages of business development, like research and development. New and early businesses should strategically leverage government support as one of the ways of financing their growth and evolution. Grants and funding can help businesses speed up timelines and broaden their scale by allowing them to quickly hire more employees or acquire more equipment for production.
Work With an Insurance Professional That Understands Your Business
Working with an insurance provider that understands the needs of your industry is crucial to making sure that you are properly protected, while ensuring you’re not overpaying for coverages you don’t actually need. They will also be able to foresee what insurance your business needs as it grows and evolves, and can become a long-term advocate and partner for you. A brand new business has different insurance needs than those having been established long-term, and your insurance programs should reflect that.
Find an insurance professional that you trust, and that has the business’ best interests in mind. They can help with reducing the cost of your business insurance and controlling expenses, while still ensuring that you have the proper coverages to support your small business. They are the expert in placing your insurance with a partner that is best suited for your business and will continue to help you re-evaluate those needs overtime.
Additionally, consider the role technology can play in purchasing insurance, and how it can work to best serve your business. Many businesses prefer a technology-first approach, allowing them to apply, select coverage, and pay entirely online. It’s fast, efficient, and ultimately cheaper. The most forward-thinking insurance options include a seamless online experience, paired with top in-class customer service for when you have a question that is best answered by an experienced insurance professional.
Although the pandemic has been an unpredictable time for small business owners, it will undoubtedly make us stronger and prepared for the unexpected. Disruptive events help equip us with the mindset to be nimble and proactive in leveraging preventive tools like insurance. These business and insurance tips are helpful core strategies to consider and keep in mind in the long-run – pandemic or not.
Mark Morissette, CEO & Co-Founder of Foxquilt
Mark Morissette and Karim Jamal created Foxquilt – an insurance technology company empowering small businesses and B2B networks to save on Small Business insurance.
Mark’s career includes more than 15 years in various leadership roles spanning Underwriting, Operations and Sales & Distribution for some of Canada’s premier carriers and fintech organizations – including Aviva and Real Matters.