Tag: "featured"

Do I need insurance when I set up a business?

Do I need insurance when I set up a business?

It may seem like a laptop is all you need to start your own company, but there are important insurance issues that even the smallest businesses needs to be aware of. In some situations, having business insurance is merely advisable, but it can also be a legal necessity or a professional requirement.

There are a plethora of business insurance options available, and some of them may prove vital to protecting the future of your company. Below we have outlined a few of the insurance options you should consider for your start-up business.

Employers’ liability insurance

If you plan on taking on even a single employee (including temporary staff, apprentices and volunteers) then you are legally obligated to have employers’ liability insurance. The insurance protects your workers should an injury occur while working. The minimum protection permitted by law is £5 million and you can be fined up to £2,500 for each day you’re not covered. This is not an insurance to overlook.

Professional indemnity insurance

Professional indemnity insurance is often necessary for businesses that provide advice/expertise to clients, or are responsible for intellectual property. A professional indemnity policy protects them from claims, especially those related to negligence, made by an unsatisfied client. Some professional bodies and regulators require this insurance of their members, especially in fields such as law, accountancy, consulting, architecture, and IT.

Business premise insurance

Even if you already have home insurance, if you are going to operate a business from your residence then you will want to consider business premise insurance (or combining the two). Premise insurance will protect your building in the eventuality of damage caused by fire, flood, or other disaster. If you are leasing, or going to lease, your business location, then the premise insurance is the responsibly of the landlord. If your business maintains a shop front however, then the premise insurance is probably going to be your responsibility.

Contents insurance

Whereas premise insurance protects your building, contents insurance provides cover for the items within. It is not legally required, but is recommended if your business relies on expensive equipment. If you want to work from home then be sure to review your current policy. If it doesn’t cover your business equipment then you might need to revise or replace it.

Public liability insurance

Although not mandatory, if your business is going to have any contact with the public, including clients, then you should look closely at public liability insurance. It will protect you if a third party enters your place of business, whether home or office, and is injured in any way or their property is damaged. Consider, for example, that you run an art-studio from your home and a client trips over an easel during a portrait session and fractures a limb. You would be insured against any potential reparation claims by a public liability policy. It is also helpful to note that public liability insurance can protect you if you conduct your work events off-site.

Income protection insurance

There are a host of insurance products designed to protect your income if you fall ill, have an accident that prevents you from working, or are unemployed for a period. These are broadly split into short term and long term income protection, with the former covering your salary over a short period of time and the latter covering your salary if you were unable to ever work again. Most policies will be able to cover up to 70% of your gross salary as a maximum and pay-outs are tax free. Income protection insurance can be a very sensible option for the self-employed or small business owners, who don’t have the safety net most employees have in terms of redundancy packages and sick pay.

There are plenty of insurance options available, but your initial focus should be on the policies that are essential for protecting your business. Take the time to review the needs of your company and find an insurer that will tailor your insurance policies accordingly.

About the author: Matt Sanders is a spokesperson on insurance for Gocompare.com. He has commented extensively on a whole range of insurance and money related matters and closely follows the latest changes and trends in the sector.

Finding Your Own Au Pair Vs Using an Au Pair Agency

Finding Your Own Au Pair Vs Using an Au Pair Agency

So you’ve made the decision to get an au pair as an affordable child care option, but how do you begin the process of looking for the right person?

You can either look for someone on your own, or make use of an au pair agency.

Advantages of looking for an au-pair on your own


1.There are plenty of places you can find au-pairs

You can advertise online for an au pair, look at job board websites (such as gumtree) where au pairs may offer their services, or perhaps you can even find someone through people that you know.

2. Direct Communication

If you find someone who might be suitable, or when people respond to your advertisement, you can communicate with them directly about the au pair role. With technology such as email, Facebook and Skype, you can learn all about your prospective au pair, and you can tell them about your family and expectations.

3. Save costs

Finding an au pair on your own will obviously save you some money. You may feel that you have the capability to employ someone, and perhaps you believe that you might be able to find someone trustworthy through a friend or relative.

Advantages of finding an au pair through an agency


1. Administration

Au pair agencies are familiar with administrative and legal requirements for bringing an au pair from overseas. Depending on where your au pair comes from, she may need a visa. An agency will ensure that all the administrative requirements, including contracts and insurances, are met and done timeously.

2. Support in managing au-pair issues

When you find an au pair through an agency, you have a representative or company available to provide assistance and support should the need arise. If you face difficulties with your au pair, or are unsure about anything relating to their role and responsibilities, you can contact the agency. Your questions will be answered and they may have suggestions that you had not even thought of to solve the difficulties. Au pair agencies that have been in business for some time, are likely to have come across every situation you may encounter.

3. Applicant screening

Working through an agency provides you with greater peace of mind regarding the person that you select to live in your home than if you are to go through the process on your own.

Au pair agencies screen applicants so you will be aware of the experience that they have working with children. Agencies also commonly provide comprehensive candidate profiles, which include a police clearance from the au pair’s home country, a medical report and a minimum of two references.

Agencies are objective in this process, unlike a friend or family member who recommends someone they know, which can create complications if you are subsequently unhappy with the way the au pair is caring for your child.

Author. Smart Au-Pairs. For more information on how an agency can help you to find an au pair to help lighten your load, visit Smart Au Pairs to request a call back or email info@smartaupairs.com.

Advance preparation for your return to work

Advance preparation for your return to work

At the moment our household is in mid-exam crisis mode. With two teenagers sitting important exams, I’m supporting from the sidelines. Alongside making many cups of tea & stocking the constantly-emptying fridge, I’ve been doing what I can to help them to prepare. They’re completely focused on revision, so I’m stepping in for the practical side – finding the missing compass before the maths exam, stocking up with black biros & filling the water bottles. I’ve also been encouraging them to prepare mentally – positively channeling their adrenaline and discussing what to do if they have a crisis of confidence just before an exam or start panicking when they can’t answer the first question.

Advance preparation is similarly vital when you make the decision to get back to work: you need to start to prepare on three fronts – professional/technical, mental and practical.

Top tips:

1. Don’t wait for a job application or offer before you start to prepare

2. You may not have your mum to help you out, but do prioritise finding your own sources of emotional and practical support.

Professional/technical preparation

Bring your knowledge back up-to-date. Re-subscribe to professional journals, read related press, take update/refresher courses if you need to. Go to seminars & conferences. Meet up with ex-colleagues and talk shop again. Remind yourself of the old jargon and learn the new.

Mental preparation

For returning mothers, this is the moment to address any looming guilt feelings about leaving your children – as we’ve said many times on this blog, there is no need to feel guilty for working (see here for advice).

Remind yourself of your motivations for returning and the positive rewards for you and the family: studies have shown that if we focus on the positive aspects of combining work and family life, we’re much more likely to feel good about our work-life balance, and to overcome any challenges, than if we focus on potential work-life conflict.

Increase your energy and enthusiasm for your return by spending time with the people who are encouraging you to make this change, rather than those who are questioning or critical of your decision. Also take steps to build your confidence; don’t discount yourself and what you can offer (see here for confidence tips).

Practical preparation

Make time for your return by giving up other activities, such as volunteering work that isn’t using your professional skills. Get practiced at saying ‘no’ to free up your day. Start to delegate more to your children and encourage their independence. If you’re the default taxi driver, still ferrying your older children around, let them get used to public transport. Same with your partner, if you have one – start to hand over and share out more of the home responsibilities.

Build your practical support networks. If you need to sort childcare, it’s worth planning this as far in advance as possible. Don’t wait until you have the job offer! And start to contingency plan too – work out what will be your back-up for your back-up childcare before the inevitable problems arise – line up other mothers & local grannies/students. If you don’t have a cleaner, get recommendations now so you can avoid spending all your free time doing housework when you’re back at work.

Think carefully about how work can fit with your life. Map out a balanced work week for you. When do you want/need to be at home & what for? And critically, work out what you are not going to do any more at home. What can you let go of or delegate? Don’t be the mother sewing a fancy-dress costume at 2am when a cheap bought or borrowed one will do just as well. You’ll need to be flexible about how this might pan out once you get into job discussions, but being clearer on your non-negotiables will help you to target the right opportunities.

If you’re also a mother who tells your children the benefits of not leaving everything until the last minute, this is the moment to practice what you preach!

julianne&katerinaJulianne Miles, from the blog Women Returners: Back to Your Future aka Julianne Miles and Katerina Gould, an occupational psychologist and an executive coach who support professional women to return to work after a long career break.