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Monthly Archives: July 2016

4 Things to Consider When Creating a Terrorism-response Plan

emergency rescuersAccording to the 2015 Global Terrorism Index, which provides an overview of key trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 15 years, the impact of terrorism on Canada is relatively low. However, although terrorist attacks in Canada are rare, they do happen.

What’s more, trends suggest that terrorist attacks are targeting nightclubs, planned events and office buildings — essentially, anywhere that people gather. And, if a business is unprepared when such an attack occurs, they may face a complete halt in business or worse. To protect your employees and your business, it’s important to consider the following when developing an overall terrorism-response strategy:

    1. Crisis management. Having a good crisis management plan in place allows for a quick recovery. Crisis management plans give organizations the means to respond quickly to an attack, so they can gauge its severity and act accordingly. Essentially, crisis management involves building an ideal framework around leadership to ensure they have the power to respond quickly.
    2. Crisis communication. Following an attack, businesses should have a plan for reaching out to employees, customers and vendors. Post-attack communication is important and allows businesses to provide updates on health and safety as well as provide a report on how the company was impacted.
    3. Philanthropy. After an attack, it’s the business’s responsibility to provide emotional and financial help to its staff, as needed. This is not only a moral obligation, but it also shows an investment in your employee’s well-being.
    4. Business continuity and disaster recovery. A terrorist attack can derail an unprepared business. To account for acts of terror and other disasters, it’s important to have a business continuity plan in place. This plan should account for the recovery of management, IT systems and all other critical functions.

Keeping in mind these simple concepts when constructing a terrorism-response plan can go a long way toward ensuring the health and safety of your business and employees.

© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

5 Common Mistakes Made When Drafting a Business Plan

Man back view scratching his head, business plan drawn on a blackboard in the background

Business plans are key when it comes to putting a company together. They can help organizations review items like value propositions and marketing strategies, as well as operations, financial and staffing plans.

However, developing a strong business plan takes time, and it is likely that your organization will have to create several drafts before landing on a successful version. To aid in your drafting, avoid the following common business plan mistakes:

  1. Grammatical errors. Spelling, punctuation and other errors can destroy any credibility you have in an instant. Prior to sharing your business plan with investors or bankers, it’s crucial that you have an editor take several passes at it.
  2. Unrealistic projections. If your plan is too optimistic—or even dishonest—in terms of current and future value, it is likely that bankers and other investors will pass on your business. Do careful research when drafting the financial projection portion of your business plan. This will not only look good to those who read your plan, but it will also help you properly prepare for the future.
  3. Unclear target audiences. Businesses will appeal to different customers and markets to varying degrees depending on the company’s value proposition. Inaccurately or vaguely defining these audiences and markets can spell disaster, as you will not know how to successfully connect with customers and prospects. To avoid this, use primary and secondary market research to understand your business climate and where you fit in.
  4. Vague or complicated details. Your business plan should be thorough and contain enough detail that a person with a high school degree can understand it. At the same, your plan shouldn’t be overly focused on the details, and you should avoid sharing any proprietary information. A commonly expected business plan structure includes a three-page summary, a 10- to 20-page plan and an appendix.
  5. Poor competition assessments. Regardless of the industry, all businesses have some form of competition. A good business plan should identify your competition and their value propositions. Understanding and planning for this competition can help you better position yourself in your respective marketplace.

Remember that good business planning can help save you time in the long run. It may take more hard work up front, but thinking critically about your business, researching your competitors and getting feedback along the way will set you up for long-term success.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

How the CPP Will Impact Businesses

Happily retiredOn June 20, 2016, the federal government and the majority of Canadian provinces reached an agreement in principle regarding changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The changes will be phased in over the course of seven years, beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, and will require workers and their employers to pay higher contributions.

This new deal will mark the first significant increase in CPP benefits since the program was first launched 50 years ago. In general, the CPP aims to help Canadians enjoy a financially safe retirement and ensures a strong public pension system.

The CPP deal includes, but is not limited to, three major changes that will impact businesses:

  1. The annual payout target will increase from 25 per cent of preretirement earnings to 33 per cent.
  2. Contributions to CPP from workers and companies will increase by 1 percentage point to 5.95 per cent of wages.
  3. The maximum income that is subject to CPP contributions will increase from $54,900 to $82,700 by 2025.

Young Canadian workers are likely to be the ones benefiting most from CPP changes. This is because, to reap the full benefits of CPP, a worker would have to contribute for about 40 years. Other employees will benefit to varying degrees depending on their age.

There is some concern that the higher contributions will force small and medium-sized businesses to refrain from hiring new workers or making other important investments. However, experts have said that it is unlikely that the Canadian economy will suffer from CPP expansion.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.

15 Risk Mitigation Tips for Airbnb Hosts

Colourfull condosProperty owners have a unique opportunity to efficiently rent out their entire home, a spare bedroom or other accommodation through the online service known as Airbnb. For travellers, Airbnb is a convenient, web-based platform that provides affordable and flexible alternatives to hotels. For property owners, the tool easily connects various rental units with prospective occupants and makes collecting payments simple and secure.

Despite its convenience and the potential for profit, Airbnb is not without its risks for those who decide to list. Before renting out your home or spare room through Airbnb, keep in mind the following tips:

1. Acquire the proper insurance.

Proper insurance is key to mitigating the risks associated with Airbnb. Take the time to review your renters or homeowners policy with ALIGNED Insurance Inc. to make sure you have adequate coverage in place.

2. Complete a home safety inspection.

Safety inspections can help Airbnb hosts address risks before they balloon into bigger issues. Before listing your property on Airbnb, complete a thorough home inspection and address all of the safety hazards you identify.

3. Screen all guests.

Prior to allowing guests to stay in your home, it’s a good idea to check their background. To begin, ensure that prospective guests are verified through Airbnb. You can also review any connected social media accounts and read guest references through the site. Above all, trust your instincts.

4. Set clear rules.

Through Airbnb, you can create guidelines for guests by completing the House Rules, Home Safety Card and House Manual sections of your profile. This allows you to set clear rules for guests around etiquette and safety.

5. Establish occupancy limits.

Limiting the number of occupants that can use your property will help ensure that guests are comfortable and safe during their stay. Occupancy limits should take into account the size of the property and local regulations.

6. Add a security deposit.

Adding a security deposit to your Airbnb listings can lessen the financial blow in the event of damaged property or another incident.

7. Secure your valuables.

When you open your home to guests, there’s the potential that valuables could be damaged or stolen. To protect expensive items, consider moving them into a safety deposit box or to a secure off-site location.

8. Protect sensitive information.

Your property isn’t the only thing you need to worry about when inviting guests into your home. To help prevent identity theft, make sure that guests cannot gain access to any files (physical or electronic) that contain sensitive personal information.

9. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Safety equipment like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed around the premises to protect guests and your property. Emergency exits should be properly labelled as well.

10. Child-proof your premises.

It’s likely that some of your guests will have children. To protect younger guests, take the time to properly child-proof your home.

11. Keep your accommodations maintained.

Good housekeeping can help guests avoid common injuries such as slips and falls. Prior to each stay, examine your home for any new housekeeping issues that must be addressed.

12. Provide contact information.

Always supply your guests with information sheets that indicate local emergency numbers and the nearest hospital. Provide a clear emergency contact number for yourself, as well as backup, for easy guest reference. Also make clear how you should be contacted if the guest has questions or issues arise.

13. Supply a first-aid kit.

In addition to providing emergency contact information, having a first-aid kit readily available and fully stocked at all times is important to guest safety.

14. Verity compliance with regulations.

Regulations around Airbnb hosting can differ depending on your location and the type of accommodation you are renting out. Double-check that you are compliant with local and provincial laws before using Airbnb.

15. Notify those who could be impacted by your guests.

When you host guests through Airbnb, there is the potential that neighbours or roommates could be impacted. To avoid unnecessary conflict, let your neighbours or roommates know ahead of time that guests will be using your property.


© Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.



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