What does (almost) every business owner need?

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Is this you? You sell benefit plans and insurance products to businesses. You also have individual clients too. Some individual clients also have home-based businesses on the side. According to ICSID, there are about 15 million home-based businesses in the US. Other estimates put the number up around 40 million. What can you provide that business owners, large and small, need?

1. Retirement plans. Although individuals might have personal plans, if they operate a business and file taxes on behalf of the business, they may be able to set up another retirement plan through the business.

2. Benefit plans. Here the business needs to be a bit bigger. If they are going to attract and retain talent, they often need to do more than compete on salary. Have you seen the new Amazon ads on TV talking about benefits that start the day they are employed? That’s compelling.

3. Key person insurance. If the business is owned by a small group of people, the owners need to have a strategy that enables the estate or heirs of a deceased business owner to cash out their share of the business. They don’t want to be short of cash when the need arises.

4. Automobile insurance. Your client might use their own car for business. It might be unkind to say, but insurance companies might try to find reasons to deny a claim where possible. If your client got into an accident while using their personal vehicle to make business deliveries, the insurance company might point out this wasn’t a permitted use of the vehicle and deny the claim. The business owner would be smart to have a separate policy covering business use of their personal vehicle.

5. Other types of insurance. Business owners have more insurance needs than you have fingers and toes. They need liability insurance, as those TV ads for attorneys handling slip and fall accidents illustrate. They need fire insurance. They might need flood insurance or earthquake insurance. Are they properly covered?

6. Where will retirement income come from? Your client may intend to pass the business to their children. They step back and the next generation runs the show. However, the business might not produce enough revenue to pay the children full salaries and keep paying the parent. The business owner might want to use their own funds to buy an annuity early on and keep adding their own money to it.

7. Someplace spare cash can earn interest. Many banks have bought insurance agencies. Your firm might have this connection. Clients need liquidity but also need to be able to park money for short periods and earn interest. You might be able to make that introduction at your firm.

8. Clients need to borrow money. Businesses need credit. They take out loans and use lines of credit to smooth out cash flow. As above, if your agency is affiliated with a bank, there may be a business referral opportunity.

9. Businesses need good accountants. You likely know a few. Even the one-person business should have a good accountant. You can probably suggest two or three, offering their business cards. They can interview each and make their selection. These accountants probably respect you for your honesty and integrity, referring people when it’s appropriate to the situation.

10. Directors and Officers Liability insurance. Regardless of whether it’s a for-profit business or a charity, directors and officers don’t want to be sued. One solution is to buy D&O insurance. Errors and omissions insurance is another type of coverage protecting professionals against lawsuits. Does your firm offer this kind of coverage?

Different businesses have different needs. This gives you many opportunities to help.

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, “Captivating the Wealthy Investor” can be found on Amazon.

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