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It's never too late to create a business plan, whether you're just launching a start-up or have been running your business for years.
Business plans enable you to accomplish the following keys to success:
Here are crucial elements of most business plans:
The level of detail to include in each of these sections will vary, of course, depending on the size of your business and whether you need external funding.
Ready to get started?
Here are some excellent resources from the U.S. Small Business Administration:
How to Create a Business Plan (interactive course)
For many companies in the United States, workers compensation is one of the costs — literally — of doing business. And in 2013, many states will implement changes causing those costs to rise or fall, depending on how you run your business.
Why? The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), which helps most states set their workers compensation rates, will change its methods of determining an employer's "experience modification factor" — or "ex mod" — a loss experience-based multiplier used to determine workers comp insurance premiums before discounts.
In short, the NCCI's new ex mod factor changes will more precisely reflect the frequency and severity of individual employers' loss prevention and safety records.
So, if your state's workers compensation rates are affected by NCCI’s changes, and your business’ loss prevention and safety history is less than stellar compared to others in your industry sector, your workers comp insurance premiums may be higher in the New Year.
Conversely, if you have a better-than-average safety and loss prevention history, you might be rewarded with lower rates.
American Family Insurance operating states
directly affected by NCCI changes in 2013: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin.
American Family states not directly affected
by NCCI changes in 2013: North Dakota, Ohio and Washington.
Improving your business' safety and loss control practices
Regardless of whether your business will or won't be affected by the NCCI's changes, improving safety and loss control performance makes good business sense, period.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cites numerous studies and articles showing businesses with strong safety and health programs can be more productive and profitable.
Here's an overview of ways to promote safety and loss prevention at your company, no matter how small or large it is.
We’ve got you covered
Consider business insurance from American Family. Our Workers Compensation and Employers Liability Policy (not available in all states) is among our flexible business insurance options that can be tailored to your needs.
Injury and Illness Prevention Programs, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor
Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor
Workplace Safety, National Safety Council
NOTE: Fees may apply to NSC training programs.
"Making the Business Case for Safety and Health," Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor.
Cold weather can be costly for businesses! Follow these practices to help your business save money in the wintertime.
Besides American Family Insurance's Business Accelerator program, there are other great resources out there that can help your business grow.
For example, Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) offer free in-person business consulting and at-cost training on everything from writing business plans, to accessing capital, to regulatory compliance and more.
Here are a few other facts and figures to consider:
There are more than 1,000 SBDCs in rural, suburban and urban areas throughout the United States. To learn more, or to find out if an SBDC is located near you, visit the Association of Small Business Development Centers website.