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What’s the best business insurance for you?

There are many different types of business insurance. What are the best options for you, your business and your staff?

Risk is an inevitable part of life. We can’t predict what’s going to happen with complete certainty but we do try to prepare for consequences. We routinely wear a coat, in anticipation of a sudden turn in the weather, while wearing our seatbelts when driving or as a passenger is standard practice.

Running a business is no different. We cannot be sure of everything that will happen, but we can take steps to offset some of the consequences of events outside our control, such as the damage caused by a flood or an injury at work sustained by an employee.

Whatever the cause, it is important to have an understanding of the different types of insurance that a business can take out to reduce the financial and business impact of something going wrong.

Your insurance company or broker will also give you advice on how to manage your business risks better, from suggestions on how to improve premises security to highlighting hidden risks for you to manage by improving your business processes.

Type of insurance

There are many different types of insurance available for businesses. The question is which ones are right for you.

It is useful to think of insurance covering three different types of eventuality:

  • Property insurance: This covers damage caused to buildings or equipment from hazards such as fire or flooding. You can also protect against the disruption that such an event could have on the business. Imagine if the premises had to shut down totally or if valuable equipment had to be replaced. Business interruption insurance would cover the cost of operating from a temporary location while your own building is under repair.
  • Liabilities: Your business faces a range of potential liabilities to members of the public, employees and customers. For example, a visitor to your premises falling over a cable, an employee being electrocuted by a faulty piece of equipment or a customer being seriously injured by a defective product. While insurance won’t protect against these events happening, liability insurance can meet the cost of compensation and the legal fees involved. Legal expenses insurance can pay for the legal costs involved in defending or pursuing a claim. If you are a professional, like an engineer or accountant, professional indemnity can cover the cost of compensation to your clients if they lose money as a result of the advice you gave them.
  • Financial risks: Your business also runs financial risks, and it is important to consider how to best protect against them. We have all read newspaper stories about trusted employees stealing large amounts of money from their employer or about small businesses that were forced to close when large customers went into liquidation unexpectedly. Fidelity insurance and credit insurance, respectively, can deal with these risks.

Compulsory insurance

In Ireland, the only legally required form of insurance that a business is obliged to take out is if your business uses a motor vehicle. In this case, like other road users, you are required to have third party motor insurance in place to cover someone getting injured, or if their property is damaged as a result of your (or an employee’s) use of a motor vehicle.

Additional cover often taken out by motorists includes third party fire and theft insurance, which covers third party motor liabilities, as well as loss or damage to your vehicle caused by fire or theft.

Comprehensive insurance, which covers third party fire and theft, as well as accidental damage to your vehicle, can also be taken out. Some comprehensive policies provide useful personal accident benefits, or cover against theft of personal belongings from the vehicle.

Make sure that if you are using a car or other vehicles in connection with your business, you have the right cover in place. Most insurers will offer policies specifically designed to meet the requirements of your type of business, be it a taxi, farm, distributor, building firm etc.

What to buy

As you can see, there are many different types of insurance. It can be difficult to work out exactly what to buy, given your business’s particular needs, not to mention your budget. Like any other purchase, it really pays to shop around and understand the different products offered by insurers, the risks covered by their policies, and the risks that are excluded.

It is important to to understand the fine print. Some policies will require you to bear more of any loss that occurs than a competing policy, so that may be one reason why the first policy looks so cheap.

Many insurance companies have put together special package policies, which contain the different types of insurance usually needed by a particular type of business. For example, insurance companies will offer a shopkeeper’s ‘combined’ policy, which covers the usual risks that retailers will wish to insure against.

Thankfully, plenty of advice is at hand to guide you through the insurance maze. This comes from the insurance companies themselves, many of whom will deal directly with businesses, by phone or via their website, or from insurance brokers, who are independent insurance professionals who advise their clients on the most suitable insurance cover for their needs.

You can check that the insurer or insurance broker that you are thinking of using is authorised, by checking the Central Bank of Ireland register.


4 Action Points


Work out what risks you most need to cover against.


Work out your sums insured accurately. Don’t waste money by over-insuring and remember that “cheapest” does not necessarily mean “best”. Be careful about what is covered and what is excluded.


Describe your business fully and accurately, including full details of any claims. You are obliged to answer any questions from an insurer honestly and to the best of your knowledge. If you don’t, your insurance company may refuse to pay a claim under the policy.


Take steps to fix any known risks e.g. defective safety guards, and to manage other risks e.g. additional security precautions for your premises. Consider how much of any claim you would be willing to bear, as a higher claims “excess” could help reduce your insurance premium.


This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/best-business-insurance-ireland/ on

How to write a great business strategy

All businesses need a strategy. Here’s how to write a great one.
The word ‘strategy’ is much used and abused. It has its origins in ancient Greek military terminology, which provides clues about its true meaning – leading and guiding. In a business context, it can be taken to mean how best a business can fulfil its purpose, and achieve its vision and objectives. 
Strategy is about determining a destination and how best to get to there. It’s also about being able to switch course because of changing economic, competitive or other circumstances. Strategy is about the long term, how you may or may not effect changes, and your appetite for risk. It’s not about day-to-day operational tasks, although they may be driven, sometimes unconsciously, by your strategy.

Well-performing small businesses have a clear sense of purpose. They put the focus on their customers and are often first to market with new offers and services. These are good indicators of a strong strategy.
Increasingly, small businesses are being required to commit their strategy to paper, for a variety of purposes, such as raising finance or securing a grant. That’s a good move as it often gives a busy entrepreneur, with a strategy that is sophisticated yet not written down, the incentive to create a long-term game plan.
DOWLOAD: A Business Model Canvas for simple business planning.

Strategy types

It’s important to realise that there are different types of strategies and different processes for strategy development which are adopted by different types of businesses, large and small. Renowned academic and strategy guru Henry Mintzberg is credited with coming up with these six broad definitions:

Planned: strategies that are formulated centrally (usually by ‘head office’)
Imposed: strategies either dictated by a parent company, or by economic or other circumstances
Opportunistic: deliberate strategies to respond to opportunities as they arise

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/what-is-business-strategy/ on

Thinking business – Liam Holland, Colourtrend

Liam Holland, sales and marketing director, Colourtrend is on a mission.

What’s your business pitch? 
Colourtrend is Ireland’s largest independent paint manufacturer with 90 people employed at our facility in Celbridge, Co. Kildare. We create technically superior paints in colour palettes inspired by the Irish landscape.
How long have you been in business?
We are a family business founded by the current managing director’s father in an old 1841 famine workhouse in May 1953.
What did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
Still working on that – haven’t grown up yet.
What’s your ambition now?
To build the Colourtrend brand into an iconic Irish brand.
What’s the most important thing you have learned so far in business?
Surround yourself with good people, listen to them and empower them. Do less but do it better.
“When you are growing as fast as we are you need good cash flow and good business systems.”
What was your biggest ‘mistake’ been, in business so far?
No show stoppers. But from a previous industry like so many others – putting content on the Internet for free.
Who inspires you in the business world?
Anyone that follows their dreams, irrespective of whether they succeed or not.
What historical figure would you choose to have dinner with? 
Well, being a golfer, Jack Nicklaus. I think he’d have some great tales to tell.
If you were ‘ruler for a day’ what would you do to change the business or social climate in this country?
Introduce a regulation to promote the production of water-based paint products. Lower VOC (volatile organic compounds), low odour and much kinder to the environment. Colourtrend has been manufacturing these type of goods for the past 12 years.
Did you receive any supports to start your business and what do you need most at this stage of your business? 
Well, we are 63 years in business, and I am only here five years,

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/liam-holland-colourtrend/ on

Thinking business – Paul Jacob, Smart Storage

Paul Jacob of Smart Storage secured Dragon’s Den investment in 2012. He has grown the business dramatically since then.

What’s your elevator pitch?
We supply modular under stairs storage units that fit under 11.5 million suburban homes across the UK and Ireland. Our units are designed to use the un-used space under your stairs by providing a modular system that slides out giving you storage for everything from shoes, school bags, and the vacuum cleaner. Simple clean and affordable storage solutions fitted in a matter of hours.
How long have you been in business?
Smart Storage is in business since 2011. I, on the other hand, have had various business ventures since 2004 (12 years).
What did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
I wanted to be an archaeologist. I ended up as an engineer on motorway construction. The only similarity was I got to dig holes with bigger cooler machines instead of a small hand trowel.
“You need to listen to your customer and provide the service and sales route the customer wants. Otherwise, it’s like trying to turn an oil tanker in a bathtub.”
What’s your ambition now?
Professionally for Smart Storage I wan to see it as a global brand & business with sales across the EU and North America.
Personally – I love the opportunity to try different things. I would love to go back to college in the future and study law.
I also want to continue to travel with my family, and try new challenges each year. Something we all enjoy.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned so far in business?
It’s hard work! So make sure you enjoy what you are doing otherwise it could be a long day. I love my job. I don’t see work as a chore. I see work as just one of the parts of my day.
What was your

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/paul-jacob-smart-storage/ on

Thinking business – Guy de Bromhead, Emojitones

What’s your elevator pitch? 
Emojitones is the world’s first sound based messenger. The usual social cues from face-to-face interaction are absent or misconstrued in text-based communication. 
How long have you been in business?
In general, ten years. However, we raised €500k seed capital for Emojitones Messenger towards the end of 2015. The iOS and Android apps are now available in the app stores. 
What did you want to be ‘when you grew up’?
A stockbroker. I then read a book while studying my masters in finance at Smurfit Business School that changed my outlook. After qualifying as an accountant, I immediately left the workplace to start my own business.
What’s your ambition now?
For Emojitones Messenger I want, in the short term, to build a highly ambitious team focused on taking the product to a global user base. 
What’s the most important thing you have learned so far in business?
Start and never give up.
What has your biggest ‘mistake’ been, in business so far?
Overworking – sometimes it’s good to take a step back and try to view your activities from an outsider’s perspective. You can get stuck “in” the business on occasion.
“The risk, effort and time entrepreneurs put into growing their businesses, in most cases come with too little reward all things considered, mainly because of the tax system.”
Who inspires you in the business world?
Elon Musk, he has incredible drive. 
What historical figure would you choose to have dinner with? 
A round table dinner with the men that built America – John D. Rockefeller, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and JP Morgan.
If you were ‘ruler for a day’ what would you do to change the business or social climate in this country?
It’s hard to say without studying the potential effects of any change. I do think entrepreneurs are the bread and butter of the economy. However, the risk, effort and

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/%EF%BB%BFguy-de-bromhead-emojitones/ on

The staff Christmas party – a survival guide

As an employer, you can be held liable for any injury or other health incident resulting from a work-related social event such as a Christmas party.

What is considered a work-related social event?

1: An event hosted on your premises.

2: An event sponsored or promoted by your business.

3: An event held during worktime, whether by your business or your employees.

4: An event organised elsewhere where an employee has been invited in their work capacity.

5: An event organised by you or your employees outside your premises.

Christmas parties

Gently remind everyone they are attending as employees

You should assess whether an event can be considered work-related and circulate details to all employees. Without being heavy-handed, you may also consider reminding everyone that they are attending such events as employees of your business. You should say that this comes under the code of conduct expected of employees and issue a reminder, if necessary, of what that means.

You should:

1: Circulate details of the venue in advance.

2: Consider whether it is best for staff that they arrive and leave an event together.

3: Organise transport to and from the venue.

4: Ensure the venue has public liability insurance if using an off-site premises.

5: Make yourself aware of local emergency numbers and distance to hospitals.

6: Check the exits and emergency routes on arrival.

7: Store all work equipment safely if using the business premises.

8: Check the hygiene standard of caterers if they bring food to the premises.

9: Drink moderately and monitor if anyone is drinking excessively.

10: Be aware if anyone is acting inappropriately.

11: Make sure staff aged under 18 are not served alcohol.

And finally, have a good time and avoid the bores and the moaners.

VIDEO: No probably about it, one of the best beers in the world is made in Wicklow.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/christmas-party-survival-guide/ on

UCC to invest €241 million in its development

‘This is the largest investment in capital projects at UCC in our history.’
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending €100 million to University College Cork. 
The investment is part of an ambitious €241 million development plan for UCC. 
More than 500 new construction sector jobs are likely to be created as a result of the development.
“This is the largest investment in capital projects at UCC in our history,” says UCC President Dr Michael Murphy.
More than €60 million will be invested in student accommodation.
The investments breakdown is as follows:

€64 million investment in student accommodation;
€37 million to build a new Cork University Dental School, Research Centre and Hospital;
€27 million to fund Western Campus Development including the Cork Science & Innovation Park (Phase 1) and outdoor sports facilities;
€90 million for a new student hub, ICT services, facilities upgrade, refurbishment, building extensions as well as flood remedial works and Western Gateway infrastructure;
€23 million to fund new clinical medical school for the Cork hospitals;
The funding will also help facilitate a €10 million University investment across University Hospital Waterford, University Hospital Kerry and South Tipperary General Hospital.

The total development programme is valued at €241 million. The EIB is lending €100 million, with the rest of the money coming from capital grants, borrowings and philanthropy.
READ MORE: The best Universities and colleges in Ireland for student entrepreneurs.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/ucc-investment-jobs/ on

A dream invention turns into a business

Declan Cosgrave is living proof that people can follow their dream and be successful.
After a career in corporate insurance and a stint running a successful web business, forty-five-year-old Declan Cosgrove (pictured below with George Hook) retired to restore his thatched cottage near Ballymitty, Co. Wexford. His new business is to inspire people to play music. He is the inventor of the world’s fastest learned piano method – DecPlayPiano.com.
How quickly can someone learn to play the piano?
Most people can play a song using both hands within the first hour, using the DecPlay method. The best way to demonstrate this is to have a look at a couple of examples. 
The video below shows Mel playing Silent Night within one hour, having never learned piano before and shows her surprise and fun of being able to play so well, so quickly.

In another video, you can see Hannah, also with no background in music, playing Fairytale of New York, from scratch in less than an hour.
Why do you want to inspire people to play the piano?
Playing music can be one of the greatest joys in life and is a powerful way to build confidence, express yourself, have fun and create deep connections with others. My passion is inspiring people to unlock their natural musical abilities. Also, contributing to the community and personal growth gives me a great sense of fulfilment. 

What’s so innovative about your method? 
DecPlay enables you to start playing fun songs within one hour, which would often take over a year of traditional tuition. This rapid progress and fun approach motivates you to practice and develop your skills further. This is the opposite of the traditional piano tuition I experienced as a child, where the focus was passing exam grades, which took years and still didn’t equip me to play fun music at parties. 

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/play-piano-in-one-hour/ on

Start a part-time business, before going full-time

When you are starting, you have to start somewhere. Most people start small and build big, writes Martin Brennan. 
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu
What a relevant quotation to kick off a guide to starting a business. It has never been as easy to make a living from what you are passionate about, but the thought of starting can seem a thousand miles away. 
Not everyone can make a living from what they enjoy. However, many others can. It is advisable to use a stepped approach when starting a new business. Once your bills and other financial commitments are covered each month (by your day job), you may feel the need to explore your passion.   
Here are some ways you can explore your dream before you commit to jumping in full-time.  
Start small
It’s the obvious first step. Starting out you don’t have to have a 100% complete service or product, all you have to do is make a start. 
There are some ways to test your products, goods or service. Friends, family and work colleges are usually a business’s first customers. If you are in the food or crafts sectors, popular options include local markets. These are an excellent way to test your goods. See this site for your nearest market. 
DOWNLOAD: A free business model canvas – the first step to business planning.
Concentrate on one thing at a time
A big mistake many startups make is that the more they talk and the more they dream, the more ideas they have. Anyone can have ideas. It’s starting one, just one, that matters. 
Start selling what you make or offer on a part-time basis. It is important to concentrate on just one thing at a time and not to get ahead of yourself. Doing too much too quickly can have

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/starting-a-part-time-business/ on thinkbusiness

Killowen Farm is dazzling the world

Killowen Farm’s yogurt is the only yogurt sold in the world’s most luxurious hotel, the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. How did this small Irish firm achieve this?

A small Wexford firm, Killowen Farm, transformed its traditional farm assets and diversified into the yogurt market.

It now successfully sells its products around the world against lots of global brands with big marketing budgets. The company is doing this with authority and conviction in the premium segment in particular. Alan O’Neill joins them to discuss how a small firm can still dazzle the world’s best.

This post was originally published here - https://www.thinkbusiness.ie/articles/killowen-yogurt-alan-oneill/ on