Business owners consider the New Year an opportunity for growth. However, it’s hard to accomplish your goals if you can’t see your desk underneath all of the clutter. You’ll need a few hours, a couple of boxes, file folders, and some colored tags to organize your home office, but its well-worth it.
Follow these helpful tips, start your year off properly, and enjoy an amazingly successful year.
Clear Your Desk
If your desk looks like a hurricane hit it, start by sorting through the mess. Group office supplies in one pile, papers in another and separate things that shouldn’t be there way from these.
Put coffee cups and glasses in the kitchen, trash in the can, and food back in the cupboards. If you discover you have duplicate office supplies, put them in a storage box, label it, and set it aside.
Now the fun begins. Go through the pile of papers and either shred them, file them in a “file later” folder, or in an “action” folder if they require action.
Once you’ve cleared your desk, it is time to go through any other files you have laying around. Shred unnecessary documents to free up space, or file them in the appropriate folders. You will probably come across incorrectly filed papers, but don’t stop sorting. Just place them into the file later folder and continue.
Create a File Folder for Incoming Mail
Although everyone seems to say we’re moving towards a paperless society, you wouldn’t know it when you check the mail.
File every bill and piece of valuable correspondence in an incoming mail file. If it’s junk, shred it on the spot. Otherwise, go through it once a week, organize your bills, and schedule payments. This is easy to do with an online calendar with a popup reminder. Separate the remaining paperwork into the “file later” or “action” folders.
Now that you’ve pared down the volume of paper, it’s time to create a file system where you can actually find what you need. Large companies often invest in document management systems, because it reduces lost files and the time you spend finding what you need. You’re going to create your own.
Decide on categories suit your paperwork and assign a color to each. For instance, you might decide on green for invoices, white for receipts, brown for business correspondence, yellow for personal correspondence, blue for household information, orange for manuals, purple for vehicles, etc. Tag each file folder with the appropriate color and then separate them into piles. File each pile in a separate filing cabinet drawer or file stand and empty your filing folder now.
Once you’ve done this, you’ve just reduced your search time significantly. You can take this a step further and divide folders in each category by year. This is especially helpful around tax time. Now all you need to do is focus on the items that require your attention in your “action” folder.
Review Insurance Coverage
Your standard Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance policy may offer limited coverage for business property in your home, but it probably isn’t sufficient.
Additionally, if you use a laptop or tablet for business while you’re away from home, you may not have coverage at all. Policies may also exclude equipment or stock stored outside of your home, such as in a detached garage or storage shed.
Fortunately, you can buy additional coverage and many options exist. Here are a few of the most common:
Business Property Endorsement
Some companies allow you to add an endorsement to your homeowner’s insurance policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, you can often double your property coverage limit from the standard $2,500 to $5,000 for little additional cost. Other companies allow you to buy up to a $10,000 limit. This coverage protects items such as home office furniture, printers, and computers, up to the policy’s limit.
Your insurer may also allow you to increase your liability coverage, particularly important if clients visit your home. Your standard policy may not protect you from lawsuits and medical expenses, unless you have an endorsement.
Business Owners Policy (BOP)
Insurers create these policies specifically for smaller businesses. They offer broad coverage including property and equipment, increased liability, loss of income, and more.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professionals and consultants who work from home should consider professional liability insurance. It protects you from the costs associated with negligence and failed deliver claims of clients.
Doctors, IT specialists, graphic designers, architects, therapists, professional consultants or any person who advises or performs a service for a fee may face a lawsuit if they do not meet the standards of care of their industry.
Product Liability Insurance
If your business sells tangible products, you may want to consider product liability coverage. If a person’s injured by something you supplied, designed, or made, they could sue you even if the problem wasn’t your fault.
Commercial Automobile Insurance
Many home-based business owners rely on their personal vehicle for client visits, deliveries, and errands. Unfortunately, their personal auto insurance policy may not cover them if they’re in an accident when using their vehicle for business purposes.
If you register the vehicle under your business name, transport passengers, use it to regularly deliver goods, allow employees to drive your vehicle, or own a customized or large vehicle you probably need a commercial auto insurance policy.
Proper insurance coverage is always important, but especially for small home-based businesses. Few could survive a lawsuit and no one wants to discover they must bear the brunt of costs to replace lost or damaged property.
Your local independent insurance agent is your best resource for insurance information. They’re professional, knowledgeable, and can find products you’ll never see on the internet. Additionally, they work for you to uncover the ideal coverage and the most reasonable cost. Our team would be happy to review your coverage to ensure that you’re properly covered and that you’re getting the best available rates.