Business Leadership | Shield Insurance Agency

What Will Business Leadership Look Like This Year?

What Will Business Leadership Look Like This Year?

Business Leadership and Executives’ expectations for 2021 are high. Many hope to make up for everything that was lost, cancelled or postponed in 2020.

Overcoming the pandemic and political turmoil next year won’t be easy, and these challenges have a way of bleeding into the workplace. Internal leadership will be every bit as important as external needs.

Business leaders must be ready to support their teams mentally, professionally, financially and in every area in between. In 2021, the best leaders will:

Keep Their Spirits High

The events of 2020 were debilitating, distressing and downright exhausting. To keep employees not just motivated but excited to come to work, leaders have to set the tone.

Show up every day with a positive attitude. Make it a point to clock in before your team so you can greet each member as they arrive. Set calendar reminders to provide words of encouragement throughout the day.

Motivating people takes more than daily pick-me-ups, though. Set aside time with each team member to discuss their goals. Start with personal ones, and then discuss professional milestones that support both your business and their own objectives. Making progress together will be uplifting and inspiring for everyone.

Offer Radical Flexibility

One of the biggest trends to come out of 2020 is the sharp increase in remote work. Working from home allowed companies to continue operations while their employees stayed safe from COVID-19. 

The pandemic is far from over, and employees know other employers are also offering flexible scheduling. Going into 2021, radical flexibility will be required.

Some employees will feel more comfortable working from home all the time. Others may need just one day a week outside of the office. Others might want to work in the office, but only at night. Cater to as many different schedules as you can.

You can embrace flexibility in additional ways as well. Give employees freedom to decorate and rearrange their desks. Provide additional sick days to help them manage their mental health. As long as their productivity stays high, so should your willingness to be flexible.

Rethink Their Workflow

It’s one thing to let your team work a hybrid schedule or move into a home office. More difficult but just as important is revisiting their workflow.

Learn to do all that you can over digital platforms. If you have to send everyone home again in 2021, you don’t want it to be as much of a disruption as it was in 2020. 

Lean on project management systems like Asana and instant messengers like Slack to facilitate remote communication and file sharing. Look for efficiencies, such as writers self-editing their content, to reduce the number of people involved in each process.

Refine Their Culture

Company culture will be more important than ever in 2021. The economy is fluid right now, meaning that many employees are evaluating other opportunities. Make sure you give them a reason to stick with you. 

A strong culture is stickier than a larger paycheck. When a team feels like family, team members won’t want to leave simply because some other employer made them a slightly better offer.

Boost your company culture through regular activities that build relationships. Volunteer together. Sponsor an after-work activity, such as a happy hour, every once in a while. 

Take a Stand

Employees and consumers alike want to see companies take a stand on current issues. The challenge for business leaders is to know when, where and how to make a statement.

Look for worthy causes that everyone can get on board with. Nobody is going to object to a food drive. Everyone wants to see communities get access to shelter, education, food and clean water. 

Once you’ve identified a worthy cause, pause. Explain not just why you support the cause, but how it relates to your company’s mission and values. Otherwise, people might be suspicious or confused about the nature of your partnership. 

What if somebody does get upset? Welcome the discussion. Respectful communication helps teammates and customers better understand one another — and isn’t that what leadership is all about?

Business leadership has never been easy, but 2021 will put your leadership skills to the test. The good news is, you’ve already made it through 2020. Meet the new year’s challenges with grace, and you’ll cue your team to do the same.

Read More
National Bath Safety Month | Shield Insurance Agency

National Bath Safety Month

4 Tips for National Bath Safety Month

Keep the fun in the tub throughout the month of January.

Stay with her. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children 4 and under always have a parent or caregiver present when they are near water, including the tub. Accidents can happen in an instant.

Prevent slips. 

Young children do not have the coordination or strength to hold steady if they lose their balance. Affix a slip-resistant plastic mat that suctions to the bottom of the tub and make sure the throw rug outside the tub does not slide when stepped on. Consider installing a grab bar for kids to hold onto when stepping in and out of the bath.

Test the temperature. 

Always wait until the tub is finished filling up before placing your child in the water, as the temperature can change. Set your home’s water heater to deliver water no hotter than 120 degrees to lower the risk of scalding. If you don’t have control over the heater, buy an anti-scald device that attaches to the faucet.

Beware of Sharp Edges

Use a rubber cover for the faucet head and drape a towel over metal rails for shower doors when your child is in the bath. Make sure any glass shower doors are made of shatterproof glass. Avoid bath toys with hard edges or points that could be hazardous if your child falls onto them.

Read More
Dave Ramsey endorses Shield Insurance Agency

Dave Ramsey’s Easiest Money-Saving Tip

Dave’s Easiest Money-Saving Tip

4 MINUTE READ | DECEMBER 17, 2020

Dave Ramsey on his radio show.
Dave Ramsey endorses Shield Insurance Agency

Everyone loves saving money—especially after the year we’ve just come out of. 2020 was a rough one, and there’s no denying people are looking for even more ways to save a buck or two going into the new year.

You probably already know some of the usual ways to cut back on your expenses—everything from packing brown-bag lunches to having an extreme no-spend month. But here’s an easy one you might not have thought of yet. And it could save you a lot of money.

So, what’s the secret we’ve got up our sleeve here? Shopping for insurance with the help of an independent insurance agent like Shield Insurance Agency! (Didn’t see that one coming, did you?) Hear us out, though. This easy saving tip is worth your time!

The Difference Is in the Name

Why is an independent insurance agent such an easy money saver, you ask? It’s all in the word independent. They’re not limited to a single insurance provider’s options. With access to a whole network of insurers, an independent agent casts a wider net to find you the best deals on the coverage that’s right for you. It’s like having your own personal shopper . . . but for insurance. Connect with Shield Insurance Agency today and save more. 

And you can feel confident knowing your independent agent doesn’t have a stake in the game when it comes to which provider or policy you choose. They don’t get paid extra for helping you choose a specific one—so, at the end of the day, the choice is yours!

Old Policies Aren’t Always Better

The only constant in life is change, right? We all know that. But a lot of people treat their insurance policy like a bottle of wine that just gets better with age. Spoiler alert: Insurance doesn’t work like that.

Never taking a second look at your insurance policy is a mistake that could cost you. In fact, a recent survey found that one out of every three Americans with homeowner’s or car insurance have never shopped around for better coverage. Ever. That means they could be missing out on new discounts that apply to where they’re currently at in life.

Did Junior get good grades this semester? Did you get married recently? Drive a different car these days? All of that might impact your insurance rates.

After 15 years with the same auto insurance company, Zach D. decided to give an independent agent a try. Now his family is saving $1,200 a year on the exact same coverage.

It’s About More Than Your Bottom Line

You also shouldn’t have to sacrifice your coverage quality to save a buck. Saving money is awesome. But cutting costs shouldn’t mean cutting corners. A true pro takes time to walk you through your coverage options so you can make the decision that’s right for you.

Sadly, this basic level of service isn’t always part of the package. Many people don’t fully understand the details of their insurance policies at all. And if you’re confused about what’s covered and what’s not, that could really cost you. Things like floods, earthquakes, and normal wear and tear are not usually covered under a basic homeowner’s policy.2

So be sure you know what you’re paying for. No one wants to be surprised in the middle of a crisis when they’re trying to file a claim. Take our 5-Minute Coverage Checkup to make sure you have the right kind of coverage you need.

Brandi’s insurance premiums went up 10%. With help from her independent insurance agent, she cut her rate by 20% and got increased coverage with lower deductibles.

Start Saving Today

What would you do with an extra $700 or more to your name? That’s how much people save on average by having an insurance Endorsed Local Provider (ELP), like Shield Insurance Agency, check out their rates. With that kind of extra money, you could knock out your debt snowball, boost your retirement fund, or get hustling on paying off your mortgage. The possibilities are endless! So what are you waiting for?

Read More
PPP 2.0 Blog | Shield Insurance Agency

PPP 2.0: Paycheck Protection Program, Round 2

5 Things To Know About PPP 2.0

By Gerri Detweiler
December 28, 2020

PPP 2.0

Update: The President signed a stimulus bill approving the second draw PPP loans on December 27, 2020. These business loans will likely be available sometime in the first few weeks of January. 

With cash buffers of just 27 days, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are notoriously vulnerable. This year, though, the fight for business survival has been particularly difficult. 2020 saw numerous restaurants, gift shops, and salons shutter their doors—more than 100,000 businesses. That said, there are still countless business owners fighting to stay open, and this week’s headlines have brought newfound hope.

The good news? 2021 is on the horizon, and it looks like we’ll ring in more than just a fresh start—fresh funding is on its way as well. The House and Senate passed a stimulus bill that includes new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. It made its way to the Oval Office, and while the President has requested that Congress amend it, new relief could be announced any day. After digging into a draft of the proposed bill, while similar to round one, PPP 2.0 will bring some subtle changes that should benefit smaller businesses.

While slight, these changes are hugely important. This year, I saw firsthand why the first round of aid fell short for so many small businesses. At Nav, a fintech that helps SMBs secure financing, our team helped over 4,000 business owners secure loans through PPP, but we also saw many small businesses get left behind. A recent survey by Nav found that only 36% of the smallest U.S. businesses applied for PPP, as compared to 61% of mid-sized businesses. Many of these smallest businesses reported opting out of the process due to its now-famous complexities or a lack of the sheer resources required to apply.

In this article, I’ve pulled from the over 5,000 pages of legislation to distill five key points about the new round of PPP loans. This won’t be fully official until a bill is signed, but for now, here’s what you need to know:

1—This round of PPP .02 is meant to target smaller businesses impacted by COVID-19

From the top, changes to eligibility requirements make it clear that the second draw PPP loans are meant to better target smaller businesses negatively affected by the pandemic. Not only must eligible businesses qualify as a small business according to SBA industry revenue standards, but they also must employ fewer than 300 employees, and have suffered at least a 25% gross revenue reduction in at least one 2020 quarter compared to 2019, with alternative calculations for seasonal businesses and those not in business for all of 2019.

Beyond this eligibility approach, a draft of the proposed stimulus bill indicates that the use of funds will be more flexible. It’s true that both rounds are very payroll-focused, but this round adds new categories of eligible non-payroll expenses businesses have had to invest in to weather this pandemic, like PPE or delivery software. This is important for small business owners because that means they can use the money for critical operations costs to stay afloat.

2—There are some very favorable tax changes for small businesses. 

Separately, there are some very favorable tax changes. Neither PPP funds nor EIDL grants are taxable. In addition, businesses may still deduct eligible expenses paid for with PPP or EIDL funds. Before EIDL grants were taxable and businesses could not deduct expenses paid for with PPP funds. Borrowers who got an EIDL grant had to deduct this from their PPP loan for forgiveness purposes, effectively saddling them with a loan for that amount. That will be eliminated retroactively.

The ability to subtract EIDL from PPP forgiveness (combined with the fact that SMBs can still deduct qualified expenses paid for with PPP/EIDL) means business owners will avoid a bigger tax bill and ultimately gain more value from stimulus funds.

3—Even if you received funds in the first round of PPP, you may qualify for a second loan.

Of course, new applicants are welcome as well as long as they qualify, but what if you already received PPP funding? Turns out, you may be welcomed back. Businesses that got a PPP loan in the first round can apply again so long as they are eligible.

Now, what if you returned portions of your loan? If you return all or part of your PPP loan, you may apply for an “amount equal to the difference between the amount retained and the maximum amount applicable.” Or, if you did not accept the full amount you may request a modification to allow you to borrow the full amount for which your business is eligible.

4—The maximum PPP loan amount for a single business is $2 million.

Down from the $10 million maximum loan in the CARES Act, the maximum loan amount for any business getting a second draw loan is $2 million. This means fewer businesses will get large loans that crowd out smaller businesses. For context, the total budgeted amount for these new PPP loans is just over $284 billion. And, as with the first round of PPP, businesses may be eligible for full forgiveness of these loans if proceeds are spent properly within a specific time period.

5—For full forgiveness, borrowers must spend the majority of the loan on payroll. 

Similar to the first round of PPP, this program is primarily intended to keep employees (including the business owner or independent contractor) on payroll. To obtain full forgiveness, borrowers will need to spend at least 60% of loan proceeds funding on payroll, specifically, compensation of up to $100,000 per employee plus payment of a variety of other compensation expenses including the newly added group life, disability, vision, or dental insurance.

While these are key takeaways from the PPP-specific terms of this Act, it’s worth noting that other forms of relief may be authorized as well. If approved, the Act will bring another $20 billion in new EIDL grants into play, offering up to $10,000 in funds that don’t have to be repaid. That includes businesses that may not have received the full amount in round one. From here, join me in crossing your fingers for speedy approval of this legislation, and cheers to what’s looking like a brighter 2021.

Gerri Detweiler is Education Director at Nav.

Read More