Category Archives: Small Business Tips

Small Business Tips: Back to school lessons to help your business

back to school lessons for your businessAs children go back to school, what they do is a reminder for us and our business. Consider all of the things that we remind our children to do, that you might overlook in your business.

Reconnect
The start of the school year is a time to reconnect with friends. You may have lost touch with them over the summer. The same holds true for your customers. Reconnect and reach out to your customers.  Start by asking how their summer was.  Ask them if there is anything you can help them with.  You can do this through a simple email or phone call.

Learning and Discovery

You can always learn something new, provided you keep an open mind.  As our children head back to school, they too will learn new things.  This is our chance as a business to take the step to learn something new, whether it is from our customers or from our network of business relationships. Learning and discovering new things can only help you and your business.

Be available to help

As our children will struggle with certain aspects of their learning in school, we are there to coach and help them when needed.  Do the same with your customers and business networks.  Do you have a skill you can share and help someone else with?  Be open to sharing your skills with others.  You will build better relationships.

Next Steps

Always embrace the opportunity to learn and grow.  When you encounter challenges, recognize where you need help and ask.  And as we do for our children, a good night’s sleep and a healthy breakfast, can always make for a good start to your day.

 And Now You?

What ideas from back to school can help you in your business?

How Can we Help You with your Small Business needs? 

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

 

 

 

Taking Your Business to the Next Level

starting a small businessEstablish a culture of creativity with your business

It’s critical to continue to find productive ways to grow your business.  Sometimes it takes being a little more creative and innovative with ideas to help further your business.  This can be difficult for many trying to come up with more creative ideas, so we thought we would share this great article from The Hartford on how to continue growing your business.  This segment covers establish a culture of creativity.

“A small business that doesn’t continually innovate runs the risk of falling behind. So be sure to cultivate a creative organization that is encouraged—and possibly incentivized—to look for new opportunities, find ways to become more efficient, and find new ways to promote your products and services. Encourage them to stay current on your industry—and your customers—by subscribing to industry publications, attending webinars, taking continuing education courses, etc. They should understand and use best practices in your profession. Collaboration is critical. It means more than just assembling a task force, assigning responsibilities and reporting back to you. A well-assembled team should be more agile, creative, efficient and productive than the sum of its members.”

Actively seek out employees with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and whose respective talents and viewpoints, strengths and weaknesses will complement each other’s.

  • Challenge your team with projects designed to transform their knowledge into fresh business ideas.
  • Ask for feedback from employees, and remember to actively seek their opinions and insights.
  • Regularly provide access to educational seminars related to your industry through business associations or community groups.

We hope these ideas will get your creative juices flowing.  Thinking outside the box might just be what your business needs to grow, thrive and stand out in this economy. Give it a try, you have nothing to loose.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

 

 

 

Small Business Tips: Networking

phh insuranceNetworking as you know is a vital part of growing your business.  I know you’re thinking, when do I have time for this among the everyday grind of running my business.  Yes we are all very busy just trying to keep things going, but taking one hour a month out of your time can be very helpful to growing your business.  There are a variety of networking meetings in every state.  Whether you belong to a local Chamber of Commerce or a community business association, there is a meeting that will fit your needs.  Another option is to look at meetup groups in your area as well.

We have attended several types of networking meeting ourselves and have met a variety of people and businesses. Making these connections not only allows you to meet new prospects for your business, but you may find valuable services that will help your business as well.

Another option that can help in spreading the word about your business would be to make use of those business cards.  Keep a large stack of them on you at all times.  You will find many shops that have bulletin boards where you can leave a handful of business cards.  Also look for community bulletin boards where you can leave them as well. Focus on your community first, your local coffee shop, breakfast diner or restaurant.  Many times they have a place to leave business cards.  Consider doing the same in your business.  Put up a bulletin board where people can leave their business cards. Share the love.

You never know who you’ll run into in your travels, keeping those business cards with you will always allow you a chance to spread the word about your business to others.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into people and had those business cards on me and proved to be a great connection.

This may seem almost too simple, but sometimes it’s the simple things that can help grow your business best.

Remember for all your small business insurance needs give us a call.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

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 SBA.gov.  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

 

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.

Does Your Business Have a Business Plan?

small business planSince so many small businesses start in a spare bedroom or a garage, they may not have ever developed a formal business plan. But once your business begins to grow, a formal, expanded business plan is essential—especially when you apply for financing). Here are its basic components:

  • Executive Summary. The first section, typically written last, gives an overview of all other sections in the business plan.
  • Company Description. Outlines vital facts about your company, such as your location and size, what you do, and what you wish to achieve.
  • Products or Services. Describes products and/or services you’re selling, emphasizing their value to customers.
  • Market Analysis. Overviews your marketplace and industry, including statistics to support your claims.
  • Marketing Strategy. Explains where your business fits into the market and how you’ll price, market and sell your product or service.
  • Management Summary. Describes how your business is structured, your team members and external resources, and how the business is managed.
  • Financial Analysis. Shows your business’s revenues, how it’s financed, the funding you’ll need to grow, and an estimate of your operating expenses.
  • Appendix. Graphs, charts, statistics, research and other relevant data that supports statements in the other sections of your business plan

Developing a business plan is an excellent start to take your business to the next level. Your most important step, however, happens between your ears. It’s your mindset. Before crafting your business plan, start thinking big—like a company, not just an entrepreneur.

  • Set a meeting with your core team or partners to discuss your business plan.
  • Assign someone to draft it, and ensure that everyone takes the time to review it.
  • Once created, revisit your business plan often—especially as your business and opportunities grow and evolve.

Once you’ve completed your business plan, give Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance a call to help you with providing the proper Business Insurance to protect your business.

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance

Protecting YOU is our Job

source info: The Hartford

Helping Small Businesses

starting a small businessOne of our specialties is Small Business Insurance.  We work with a variety of styles of small businesses, from hairdressers, retail stores, small manufacturing companies just to mention a few. We work with small business in Connecticut and Massachusetts. When it comes to Small Businesses, there is a lot of information you need to know.  Making sense of it all can be difficult without a knowledgeable agent to discuss it with. Running a small business involves a significant investment. Business insurance protects your investment by minimizing financial risks associated with unexpected events such as a death of a partner, an injured employee, a lawsuit, or a natural disaster.

With a special focus on Small Business Insurance for businesses with less than 50 employees.  Whether you are a store owner, restaurant, wholesaler or office professional we can provide you the small business insurance you need. With our launch of our Business Partner Program in January of 2013,  this is another commitment to helping our Connecticut and Massachusetts small businesses succeed. Small businesses are the cornerstones of our communities.  Working with our small businesses on their insurance needs is just part of what we do. We make use of our social media avenues to help further promote our Small Businesses. We also build videos for our clients that they can use to help promote their business.  We also post many helpful articles and tips right here on our blog to help small businesses.

– Insurance coverage that helps protect your business

Your small business needs are important to us.  We are here to help with all your insurance needs, as well as support you in you continued growth of your business.

Protecting YOU is our Job

Penny Hanley & Howley Insurance