Monthly Archives: March 2014

Helping Your Small Business Grow

small business

Small Business

Every week we try to provide valuable information to help you with your small business. Today we want to give you some resources that your small business can make use of to help in continued growth and improvement.

First, one we use for resources regularly is  There is a wealth of valuable resources available at the Small Business Administration.  There are several offices throughout the state of Connecticut.  Here is the link to listings of local offices.  They offer classes online and in person, as well as a blog with helpful tips and help with creating your business plan.

Another great resource for businesses regarding social media is Social Media Today. This site has a ton of information for the small business owner when it comes to social media marketing, from great blogs to marketing tips.

Looking to do some graphics for your website or Facebook page that is not difficult to learn?  Many of us don’t have the money for fancy graphic software or even know how to use it.  Here are some great options to make excellent graphics and edit photos.  Canva and PicMonkey are both good for presentations and photo editing.

One of the best resources we have found over the years is to network with other businesses.  Whether you check out a Meetup group in your area or your local Chamber of Commerce, both are excellent resources.  You’ll have a chance to meet other business owners and discuss ideas that may help you with your small business. Also get to know your businesses in your community and build relationships with other business owners.  We all struggle with many of the same issues, and having someone to discuss these struggles with sometimes brings new light to the situation.


Regardless of the resources you use, remember to always continue to educate yourself for continued personal growth and to improve your business skills.  Small business isn’t easy, but can be very rewarding.  So keep pushing forward, it’s all worth it in the end.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance


Heavy Rains Cause Flooding

phh insurance flood insuranceWell Spring has arrived.  We will see warmer temperatures this weekend, but along with the arrival of warmer temps and spring comes rain.  This weekend in the Northeast we are expecting heavy rains Saturday into Sunday.  The National Weather Service is predicating 2 to 4 inches of rain across Southern New England, with likely a potential for flooding.

With this potential for flooding we need to make sure we are prepared.  The Travelers Insurance has some really good tips to prepare yourself and home for potential flooding issues.


  • Review your current homeowner’s insurance policy and become familiar with what is and is not covered, as damage due to flooding is typically not covered.
  • Inspect sump pumps and drains regularly to ensure proper operation.
  • If you own a generator, have a licensed electrician provide a transfer switch to your sump pump so you can operate it in the event of flooding.
  • To help prevent sewage backup, have a licensed plumber install an interior or exterior backflow valve.
  • Keep sandbags on hand to help divert unusually high water away from your foundation.
  • In snowy climates, flag drains to avoid plowing snow on top of them.
  • Learn the flood alert signals of your community.
  • Collect emergency building materials if you live in a frequently flooded area. These include plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, nails, shovels and sandbags.
  • Plan and practice an evacuation route. Designate a place for family members to meet in the event they become separated.
  • Review with all family members how to shut off utilities in an emergency.
  • Plan a survival kit with important documents, including insurance documents, medications and critical items in the event you need to leave your home.
  • Promptly report the loss to your insurance agent

For any further questions feel free to give one of our agents a call at Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance.

Protecting YOU is our Job



Poisons In Your Home

poison control

Poison Control

We all know there are many things in our homes that are considered a poison to our families and pets. Two such things were discussed in our partner Renaissance Alliance current blog really stood out to us. Honestly neither came to the top of our mind, but should have.  We always think about the cleaning chemicals or medications kept in our home.  We thought we would share these two commonly found items in everyone’s home with you.

Button batteries.  Those little batteries use in remote controls or greeting cards can be very toxic to a child.  Also single portion laundry packets.  Many of us have switched over to using these in our laundry.  Because they are so colorful they are attractive to children who could think they are a toy.

Here is the full blog for you to read yourself.  This might be a good time for you to consider going through your home to see what products may be toxic to your children and pets.

Here are some other common items found in your home that are toxic to your family.

  • Oven cleaner
  • Drain opener
  • Furniture polish
  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Nail Products
  • Mouthwash
  • Rust remover
  • Paint thinner


Here are some tips from American Association of Poison Control Centers to keep your home safe.

  • Keep potential poisons in their original containers.
  • DO NOT use food containers such as cups or bottles to store household and chemical products.
  • Store food and household chemical products in separate areas. Mistaking one for the other could cause a serious poisoning.
  • Read and follow the directions and caution labels on household chemical products before using them.
  • Never mix household chemical products together. Mixing chemicals could cause a poisonous gas.
  • Turn on fans and open windows when using household chemical products.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job


Are You Prepared for an Emergency Situation?

Emergencies can happen at anytime, are you prepared?  Whether it’s a house fire, vehicle break down, weather emergencies or natural disaster we can’t avoid them happening, but we can be better prepared if and when they do happen. As children many of our parents had a house fire drills. Do you remember having fire drills at school?  We might have thought it was crazy then, but as adults we understand the importance much more.  Do you have a fire emergency plan for your home?  Have you taught your children what to do in the event of a fire?

Here are some tips to follow for making your own Home Fire Escape Plan:

  • Draw a map of your home.  Show all doors and windows.
  • Visit each room. Find two ways out
  • All windows and doors should open easily.  You should be able to use them to get outside.
  • Make sure your home has smoke alarms. Push the test button to make sure each alarm is working.
  • Pick a meeting place outside. It should be in front of your home.
  • Make sure your house or building number can be seen from the street.
  • Talk about your plan with everyone in your home.
  • Learn the emergency phone number for your fire department
  • Practice your home fire escape drill

Another way to be prepared for any emergency that may happen is to have a emergency contact list.  This is a great way for your family to be prepared.  Keep a copy of your list in your emergency supply kit or another safe place where you can easily access in the event of an emergency.

Here is a link to a template that your family can use to get your emergency plan started. Just download and save this to your computer for your own use.

emergency plan


We hope this information will help you and your family be better prepared for an emergency situation that may happen.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance



Are you getting the most out of digital media for your business?

digital media for businessWhere is digital media headed?  Do you only use Facebook for your business?  Are there other digital media avenues you should be using?

These are all questions you should ask yourself as a business owner.  In order to stay ahead of the game, you need to know what’s coming down the pipeline and how this will benefit your business.  What can you do now to help increase your business through digital media?  Well if you are currently have a Facebook business page, than you’ve already started.  But’s there is more you can do. Have you considered blogging or pod casts?  If you have expertise in your field share them with others.  Right a blog once a month or even weekly share your expertise in your field.  Don’t use this blog to sell your business or product.  Look at it as a way to reach a wide audience who is interested in knowing more about your expertise.

Another way to promote your business is through visual marketing.  What will be most popular and trending in the next twelve months will be visual marketing. Have you been on Pinterest lately? Everything is visual.  You don’t need to be an expert graphic artist to make this happen.  There are a variety of platforms to help you with this including Canva and Picmonkey. Both of these can help you produce stunning visuals that you can use in your blog, on Facebook and Pinterest to promote your business. We personally use both and have had great success with them.  People are more apt to pay attention to a picture you post versus just text.  So make a visual presentation that will catch your audience’s attention.

Another option that many may think is in the past is Pod cast.  Yes a pod cast.  Again, another option to talk about your expertise.  Now with a blog which is always a great tool you, need to be sitting somewhere to read this.  A pod cast allows your audience to listen wherever they are.  They can take you with them anywhere they go.  So you increase your chances of gaining more followers when it becomes easy for them and doesn’t take up a lot of their time.

These are just a few of the tools you can use to help continue promoting yourself and your business.

And for all your Business Insurance needs, Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance is always here to assist you.

Protecting YOU is our Job.

Spring Equinox Finally Arrives

spring folkloreFinally tomorrow is Spring!  The season that brings increased daylight, warmer temperatures and blooming flowers.  The word equinox is derived from the Latin words meaning “equal night.” Days and night are approximately equal everywhere and the Sun rises and sets due east and west. At the equinoxes, the tilt of the Earth relative to the Sun is zero, which means that Earth’s axis neither points toward nor away from the sun.

According to folklore, you can stand a raw egg on its end on the equinox.  Is this true?

The editors at the Almanac tried this trick.  For one full workday they tested this on 24 eggs.  17 out of the 24 eggs stood standing.  They also tried this again three days later and found similar results.  Was it still too near the equinox? Give it a try yourself and let us know your results.

Other signs of spring include chirping birds, green buds and blooming flowers.  If you pay attention to animal behavior you will also notice other signs of spring.

Spring Folklore and Verse

One swallow does not make a spring.

Bluebirds are a sign of spring; warm weather and gentle south breezes they bring.

In spring, no one thinks of the snow that fell last year.

Don’t say that spring has come until you can put your foot on nine daisies.

Spring-time sweet?

The whole Earth smiles, thy coming to greet.

Regardless of the signs we follow to let us know spring is here, it’s the start to a new season and new beginnings.  A great time to do some spring cleaning of your home inside and out.  Clean out those gardens, wash some windows and check your home for any signs of wear from the winter months.  Enjoy the fact we can spend more time outdoors and help relieve those winter blues.

Happy Spring!

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

St. Patrick’s: Why Green?

irishHappy St. Patrick’s Day.  St. Patrick’s Day for over 1000 years celebrations have been taking place celebrating Saint Patrick.

Saint Patrick is the Apostle of Ireland. Saint Patrick was not Irish, but he is credited with bringing Christianity to the people of Ireland.


Wearing the color green is a St. Patrick’s Day tradition. Although Saint Patrick wore blue, the color green is recognized as a significant color for celebrations. Green is symbolic of the Shamrock and the green color of the landscape of Ireland. According to legends, Saint Patrick used the Shamrock to explain the Christian Holy Trinity.

Here is a short video with the history of why the color Green is associated with St. Patrick’s Day.

Why the Color Green?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance