Insuring Your Retail Store

Commercial insurance packages are an essential part of any business’s long-term success plan. Retail stores, however, rely on specific insurance policies to protect them in some key areas. InsureUS is an expert in insurance policies for Texas businesses. How can the right commercial insurance coverage help keep your retail store in the Cypress, TX area profitable?

  • Inventory is the lifeblood of every retail outlet. If you lose a large portion of your product due to theft, accident, or natural disaster, will you be able to replace it all? Opt for a policy that includes inventory insurance coverage to prevent misfortunes from forcing you out of business. Payouts for these policies also cover the cost of supplies and equipment you need to deliver your services or products.
  • What happens if your product is the problem? If a customer is hurt or sickened by a product from your store, you may be held liable for at least part of the damages. Product liability coverage pays for any financial responsibility you incur from a case related to products sold in your store. 
  • When you need to close down for repairs, you don’t have to eat the lost profit potential. Business income coverage pays you when you can’t be open. These payments can be used to pay personal living expenses during enforced closures.
  • Customer injury is a big problem for retail outlets. With medical bills, lawsuits, and possible punitive fees, owners can find themselves dipping into their personal wealth to save their business. A commercial general liability policy helps entrepreneurs pay for court costs and medical care, so random mistakes don’t endanger your livelihood.

More than other business types, retail stores need a strong commercial insurance package to protect their inventory, property, and people. Do you have enough coverage? Contact InsureUS for personalized insurance guidance for your Cypress, TX area business.

How to be seen as an expert

You can gain more respect in your area of expertise by using a few basic strategies, according to Entrepreneur Magazine.

Start by narrowing your field of interest, then follow up by writing articles, speaking to groups, and doing podcasts and radio.

Micro-specializing is key. An interior designer might know generally about home and business design. But the idea is to become an expert in one particular type of design. Choose fitness centers or CEO offices, for example, and know everything possible about the needs in the niche.

Publish your results, observations and advice on your specialty in trade journals, or other professional media. This way you become known in the industry.

Once you’ve established yourself in an industry, you could consider taking your most popular or even controversial topics and delving deeper into them with a book focused on solving a problem or informing an audience.

Ultimately, one of the best ways to become an expert or even a celebrity in your field is to move into speaking engagements at professional conferences.

Some brick-and-mortar stores thrive

In small towns and cities all over America, malls are closing, shopping centers are vacant, and the cause is e-commerce.

But physical stores still have power and some sectors are showing resilience, according to Forbes.

Nine companies on the list of Top 10 U.S. retailers is made up entirely of players that rely on foot traffic: Wal-Mart, Kroger, Costco, Home Depot, CVS, Walgreens, Target, Lowe’s, and Albertson’s.

The principal markets for these retailers are groceries, clothing, and home improvement supplies — all more desirable when purchased in person. Consumers still want to examine fresh produce.

They would rather try on new clothes before they buy. Home improvement products such as lumber and tools are still get-it-now items.

In addition, according to a study by the CBRE Group, 70 percent of Millennials — the largest, most connected consumer base — still prefer to shop in stores.

Amazon, the big destroyer of retail, must know that too. Their recent purchase of Whole Foods for $15 billion is a dramatic example of their play in the brick-and-mortar space.

When the kids can’t come up with a down payment, parents can share equity

Parents can help with a down payment on a house for the kids, while protecting their money, with a shared-equity mortgage.

It’s not a common way to help the kids get in a home, but it can give parents some security when they loan money for a down payment.

In a shared-equity mortgage, parents pay a portion of the down payment and are promised a percentage of the profits when the kids sell the home.

The percentage depends on the agreement, according to mortgageloan.com.

Upon sale, the parents could recoup their entire investment or even make more if the value of the house rises. On the other hand, if the home isn’t well maintained or if prices drop, parents could lose their investment.

The key is frank communication between family members and an agreement that all parties understand and agree to. The agreement might require the kids to sell the home by a certain date, or it might require them to refinance. It should also spell out what will happen if the kids default on the mortgage. Will the parents take ownership of the property, or will they lose their investment?

What if real estate prices drop, leaving everyone with less money than they started with?

What are the general maintenance requirements that all parties agree to?

What say will parents have over optional remodeling?

Perhaps for these risks, this type of mortgage is unusual. Today many alternatives exist for first-time home buyers, including FHA loans and special state programs.

The One-Year Plan for better credit:

1. Go to annualcreditreport.com and get a free report. Correct any errors.

2. Pay your bills on time. You must never be late even once. Set up automatic payments.

3. Work on getting your credit balances below 30 percent of your maximum credit limit.

4. Do not apply for new credit, but if you are offered an increase in credit limits on your existing accounts, take it. This can raise your score, but remember you still need a clean record of payments.

5. Do not make new credit charges.

6. If you have unused credit accounts, don’t close them if you are planning to apply for a mortgage. That can actually make your score drop.

7. During your credit improvement year, don’t buy a car. Lenders don’t want to see buyers committed to several new, large credit accounts. Never finance a car before you apply for a mortgage. Never take out new credit card accounts before you apply for a mortgage.

8. Use caution with store accounts that offer a hefty discount on purchases if you apply for a card. Although some stores say they do not make a hard credit inquiry, a new account on your credit report is probably not what you need if you are trying to improve your score.
However, if your credit history is thin, you might take out a store account, providing you make several payments on time and then pay off the balance.

Problems with partners in a small business

Starting a small business can be a daunting task that has led about 1.6 million owners to seek out a partner to add leadership support or to help provide skills that they lack, according to Forbes magazine. While teams formed around a common business goal are likely to be well-aligned and full of trust in the beginning, there are many reasons the relationship can fill with doubt, frustration, and disrespect over time which can ruin a business quickly. According to Entrepreneur magazine, starting a business can be extremely stressful even without worrying about coexisting with a partner and differences in leadership style, skills, commitment, and even personal habits. All of these can cause tension.

Having two bosses with entirely different styles, for example, can negatively affect everyone in a company if they are sending mixed signals or spend too much time arguing. One might be a task-oriented disciplinarian that values efficiency and order over the laissez-faire, creative mindset of their partner who would rather make sure employees are happy and having fun. Perhaps the partners come from a background of management and design, respectively, and they tend to lead based on the skills they are already familiar with from their past. Each person will privately value their own perspective more than the other, leading to conflict.

As the initial stages of a startup wind down and time goes on, the commitment and personal habits of each partner become a more significant factor in maintaining a successful relationship. Two people will likely have different coping mechanisms and work-life balance priorities along with changing ideas on their role within a company. In this situation, it is incredibly easy for the 50/50 balance of a partnership to swing in one direction or another, leading to feelings of guilt or resentment as the inequality builds.

Although there is no perfect system, it is recommended that partners talk openly at all times about their expectations, feelings, and sense of progress while being careful to avoid unproductive ‘mudslinging.’ Be prepared not to find agreement on every issue, and the more willing partners are to discuss matters, the better their chances of long-term success. If an owner feels like there is an unresolvable impasse looming, they should consult with a lawyer on an exit strategy and be prepared to leave an unreasonable partner.