|[November 14, 2012]
Small Business Saturday: Are You Stocked, Set and Ready?
HARTFORD, Conn. --(Business Wire)--
According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday sales are
expected to increase by 4.1 percent in 2012. While this could translate
into higher profits for Main Street business owners, it also increases
the importance of preparing for increased foot traffic, higher inventory
levels, and more seasonal workers.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV),
one of the nation's largest insurers of small businesses, is helping
small business owners across America prepare for this important time of
year in an effort to ensure they are stocked, set and ready for the
holiday season, in particular for Small Business Saturday® on November
24, between Black Friday (News - Alert) and Cyber Monday.
"Small businesses comprise 27.5 million of the businesses1 in
the U.S. and employ about half of U.S. workers2," said Marc
Schmittlein, President and CEO of Travelers Small Commercial Accounts.
"Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy and it is important that
we help them manage risk, prevent business interruption and prepare for
high levels of business activity ahead of Small Business Saturday and
the holiday season. Taking these steps to prepare now is critical to
their success in a few weeks and beyond."
In the final weeks leading up to the holiday rush, Travelers is urging
business owners to take the following steps to get ready:
1. Ensure Proper Amount of Inventory Is on the Shelves
ensure that proper inventory is on store shelves, business owners need
to consider all parts of the supply chain, including the geographic area
from which their products are being distributed. For example, if a core
product shipped from another country is lost, delayed or has limited
quantities available, the bottom line can be drastically impacted.
Business owners should get to know their suppliers to better understand
where their inventory comes from, how to make special arrangements to
fulfill peak inventory needs, and create a contingency plan if the
supply chain is interrupted.
2. Protect the Products and Insure to Value
is critical that business owners know their inventory levels throughout
the year, it is even more critical during peak times, such as Small
Business Saturday and the holidays, when more stock is needed to meet
sales demands. Business owners should insure their inventory based on
peak levels, not on a standard or average. Doing so helps to ensure that
merchandise is protected and insured to full value during the most
important sales period of the year.
3. Protect the People Who Sell the Products
to the NRF, retailers will hire an estimated 585,000 to 625,000 seasonal
employees during the 2012 holiday season. While hiring seasonal workers
is necessary to help manage inventory and handle increased business,
doing so presents potential unique risks and liabilities. In order to
limit exposure, business owners should take the time necessary to
understand the insurance needs that come with new employees and to
on-oard and train seasonal workers to help avoid on-the-job accidents.
4. Decorate Wisely
During Small Business Saturday,
many businesses will likely be decorated for the holiday season. Festive
window displays and cozy interiors help bring in business, but without
the proper handling or positioning, those decorations may pose safety
risks to employees and customers. One of the easiest ways business
owners can protect their operations from damage is by making wise
decoration choices and placing them away from open flames and heat
sources, such as light bulbs and heaters.
5. Build Backups
During the peak season, small
business owners are focused on running their businesses, but what if
something unexpected happens According to a recent Travelers
survey of small business owners, more than half do not have a
documented plan to manage through an unexpected event, such as weather
or theft. At a minimum, a backup plan should include: secondary
suppliers; special delivery and discount options for customers; and a
supply chain management plan.
6. Help Prevent Cyber Risks
Cyber risk insurance
coverage is important for small business owners, particularly as many
businesses are building up sales and storage functions digitally.
Business owners should consult with their local independent insurance
agent and risk advisor when considering the following questions to be
sure they're protected both in store and online:
Does your business have an online sales component If so, are you
protected against the increasing threat of cyber risks
Is sensitive customer information stored on site If so, there's a
chance it can be compromised and it needs to be protected by keeping
it in a secure location.
Do you have adequate protection if your site or online sales tools are
Travelers also recommends speaking with an independent insurance agent
and risk management professional to help stay protected with a
comprehensive insurance and risk management program.
Travelers' support of Small Business Saturday is part of a broader
commitment to advocating for small businesses. The Travelers
Institute, the company's public policy division, conducted a
national series of small business symposia, entitled "Small
Business - Big Opportunity," to convene government, community,
business and economic leaders to identify common challenges and related
solutions to ensure small business success. The company also continues
to support major business events like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
America's Small Business Summit and the National Association of Women
Business Owners annual conference.
For information about preparing for Small Business Saturday or small
business insurance, visit the Small
Business Saturday section of the Travelers website.
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV)
is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto,
The company's diverse business lines offer its global customers a wide
range of coverage sold primarily through independent agents and brokers.
A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Travelers has more than
30,000 employees and operations in the United States and selected
international markets. The company generated revenues of approximately
$25 billion in 2011. For more information, visit www.travelers.com
1 Office of Advocacy estimates based on data from the U.S.
Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau, and trends from the U.S. Dept. of
Labor, Bureau of Labour Statistics, Business Employment Dynamics.
U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau: Statistics of U.S. Businesses,
Current Population Survey and Business Dynamics Statistics; and the
Edward Lowe Foundation (http://youreconomy.org).
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