Shield Referral Program
Your referral can make a difference for Roslyn. Shield Insurance is helping Roslyn by donating $25 for each non-client who gets a quote from us! No purchase necessary! CLICK HERE to get a quote and we’ll donate $25 to her! (Be sure to mention Roslyn in the comment section!) You can also call or text the office and one of our agents will take a few minutes of your time to offer up a quote. Don’t forget to mention Ros!
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How To Fund Your Start-Up Business Idea
You’ve got the idea, the drive, the know-how: how about the capital? Funding is an essential part of any business, as without the seed money you’ll be unable to fire the starting gun on your, er, start-up.
Entrepreneurs are an incredibly clever and industrious bunch, but many are in the dark about how best to fund their start-up business, preferring instead to focus their energies on a core offering. One supposes that reviewing funding options can seem like a dull, laborious task when you are devoting time and attention to your genius idea. In any case, great ideas can only fulfill their potential if they are backed by stable investment.
Read on to find out the best ways of obtaining financial backing for your start-up business idea.
1. Pursue a grant
The less monied cousin of a bank loan is a grant. While you shouldn’t expect to be cut a massive check, there are dozens of grants available, offered by national and state governments (as well as private enterprises) in the interests of stimulating the economy and growing the jobs market so it’s worth checking out your options for funding your startup.
These financial injections can help you save money on-premises and fixed rates, purchase cheaper IT or manufacturing equipment, and fund staff training. The main drawback, of course, is the fierce competitiveness of such grants, as well as the box-ticking involved: it can be a frustratingly drawn-out process, but that’s the tradeoff for retaining equity. In the US, start-up grants are offered by organizations such as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR), the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE), and Idea Cafe.
Crowdfunding is a favorite of the digital economy, and probably the quickest way of obtaining finance for a new business. You don’t even have to be massively tech-savvy to launch a crowdfunding campaign, but what you do need is a compelling pitch, one which strongly references your start-up’s potential for growth, as well as a knack for interacting with your cash-rich community. If all goes to plan, you’ll have capital you don’t need to pay back, without ceding any operational control. As a side benefit, crowdfunding is a nifty form of advertising, a way of stimulating public interest in your company before it’s even made its debut. The difficulty, needless to say, is in getting your voice heard in the vast crowdfunding landscape.
3. Family and friends
The idea of hitting friends and family for cash doesn’t sit well with some entrepreneurs, but many of the world’s top magnates readily admit to borrowing from their social network early in their careers. As such, you should have no compunction about doing the same. Soliciting short- or long-term loans from friends and family might lead to some domestic squabbles down the road, but you won’t usually have to pay them back with interest added. Indeed, you might not have to pay loans back at all, depending on the generosity of your creditor. On the other hand, it’s not easy to put together a hefty bankroll relying solely on family and friends; and you have to ask yourself whether you really want to risk straining meaningful relationships.
4. Get an angel investor on board
Don’t pray to the angels; seek angel investors. Targeting high net-worth individuals who have a track record of supporting start-ups isn’t difficult to do, but the challenge lies in convincing them you’re worthy of their investment. There are many online angel investment networks, as well as local investor groups you can pitch to in person, so do your research and start submitting your pitches. Find the right angel investor and not only will you benefit from their financial support but also their wisdom: oftentimes, they offer mentorship as a side dish alongside their capital. On the other hand, they generally offer less financial backing than banks and venture capital funds.
5. Raise money yourself
Shield Insurance Agency & Foremost Insurance Company present Insurance Terms
Every industry has its own unique language – and insurance is no exception. Here are some key insurance definitions and terms you might come across as you consider insuring yourself or your stuff.
3 ways to winterize your business
For business owners, Jack Frost can nip at more than your nose. If you don’t winterize, bitter winter temperatures can cause damages that will take a chunk out of your bottom line.
But a few preventative steps can keep your business winterized and safe from the dangers posed by the cold, ice, and snow.
1. Keep the water flowing during winter.
Frozen pipes can burst, causing major damage to any business location. Prevent this from happening by winterizing:
- Keeping your thermostats set at a minimum of 55°F when the building is empty.
- During especially cold winter situations, running a small trickle of water through your faucets to help keep pipes from freezing.
- Exposing pipes to warmer temperatures by keeping cabinet and utility room doors open.
- Making sure all pipes in difficult-to-access areas—such as crawlspaces, exterior walls, or attics—are insulated. Hardware or big box stores have foam and fiberglass insulation. The more insulated, the better!
- For unheated sprinkler control valve/fire pump rooms, using UL-approved gas or electric unit heaters to help keep temperatures warm.
- Installing a monitored electric leak detection system for the main domestic water line along with monitored electronic sensors near water sources to help you discover leaks before they cause significant damage.
2. Keep your heating bills in check.
Maintain an efficient furnace and keep energy costs under control with a few simple steps to winterize:
- Use a programmable thermostat to reduce heating costs by as much as 30%. During low-occupancy hours, set the thermostat several degrees lower for significant savings.
- Check your heating ducts to see if the insulation should be replaced. Inadequate insulation could lead to higher energy bills.
- Install energy-efficient glaze on windows and doors. Save money on your energy bills by replacing the existing glass with low-emissivity glass designed to prevent heat from escaping. As much as 20% of a facility’s heat is lost through windows and doors.
- Clogged, dirty air filters can restrict airflow and increase your energy demands. Replace or clean your furnace filters regularly to keep your heating system efficient.
- Alter your ceiling fans so they rotate in a clockwise direction, which can actually reduce heating costs by forcing warm air near the ceiling lower and warming the room.
3. Keep a roof over your head.
Your roof can take the brunt of winter’s force, whether it’s bitter cold, snow, or ice. Keep it in tip-top shape by keeping it winterized:
- Clearing your roof of all debris, dirt, and leaves, which can block gutters and downspouts, preventing snowmelt from properly draining away from the building. It can also cause ice dams and heavy snow buildup on your roof, which can cause additional damage.
- Inspect gutters and downspouts to see how securely they’re fastened to the building. Snow and ice can cause gutters to weaken and break away from the building, allowing water to seep into the wrong areas.
- If a winter storm occurs, plan to have a professional snow removal service clear the roof of excess-accumulation. This will prevent excessive loads on the roof and eliminate the possibility of structural failure.
Talk to your local independent Shield agent for complete details on our business coverage. This article is for information purposes only. For specific coverage details, always refer to your policy. If the policy coverage descriptions in this article conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy apply.
– Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
When you’re in the market for insurance, whether it’s home, auto or commercial insurance, you typically work with an agent who can help you find a policy that meets your needs. But most people don’t know that there are two different kinds of insurance agents—captive and independent agents.
So what is an independent insurance agent vs. a captive insurance agent? In short, captive insurance agents are contracted to work for one insurance company and can only sell that company’s policies. On the other hand, independent agents are contracted to work with a variety of insurance companies and can sell policies from multiple providers.
As a consumer, it’s important to understand the distinctions between captive and independent agents. Although they sound the same, some people may benefit from working with a captive agent and others with an independent agent. In this article, we’ll explain the key differences and help you decide which agent is best for you.
Most of the major insurance companies, like State Farm, Allstate and Farmers, use captive agents to sell their insurance products. Their agents are only selling policies from that one insurer, so the agents are experts at knowing the different policies available, discounts and coverage add-ons for their one carrier.
Because of that, they can be helpful for people who are buying insurance for the first time or for people who aren’t sure how much coverage to purchase.
Client satisfaction is crucial for captive agents because they get a commission for every earned sale. However, their commission rate tends to be lower than for independent agents because they are also paid a salary from the insurance company and get financial assistance with costs like advertising and hiring.
Independent agents partner with several insurance companies of their choosing to sell certain policies from each provider. For example, an independent agent might contract with Pioneer Insurance, Frankenmuth Insurance,and Citizens Insurance and sell any of their auto and home insurance policies.
Many consumers like working an independent insurance agent because an independent agent gives the customer more options. They aren’t locked into purchasing from a small number of plans that might be too expensive or not a great fit for their coverage needs. Those options help people shop around for plans before settling on one.
Which is better?
Generally speaking, there isn’t one better type of insurance agent. Whether you choose to work with a captive agent or an independent agent depends on you.
The main benefit of working with a captive agent is that they have extensive knowledge of their insurers products and policies, because they have one carrier. However, working with a captive agent tends to be more expensive, due to extra fees that the insurance company charges.
If you work with an independent agent, you’ll get more options, which also means a wider price range. But independent agents have in-depth knowledge about numerous carriers, where captives only need to learn one. Also, independent agents usually charge less because there isn’t one parent company to support.
If you’re concerned with keeping costs low, working with an independent agent will save you money. Keep in mind that you should already have a general idea of what you’re looking for before meeting with an agent.
Frequently asked questions
What type of insurance do independent and captive agents sell?
Both independent and captive agents can sell any kind of insurance they want. Some choose to sell every product that an insurer offers, while others specialize in a few areas, like home and life insurance.
Should I choose an independent or a captive agent?
There are a few main reasons why you would choose an independent vs. a captive agent. The first is cost—working with an independent agent will be cheaper than working with a captive agent. Secondly, independent agents can offer a wider variety of plans, so you have more choices and a wider price range to work from.