Guide to Business Checklists – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 Are You Covered? A Small Business Checklist of Liability Insurance Coverage Mon, 20 Oct 2014 15:04:30 +0000 In addition to insurance related to employee healthcare, life and worker-related coverage required by state and federal regulations (e.g., worker’s compensation, unemployment, FICA) there are many different types of liability insurance coverage a business should consider to reduce the risk of an unintended event having an overwhelmingly negative impact on its operation. However, there are ways to cover just about anything, some of which may be unnecessary in your specific situation. That’s why it’s important for any business to establish a relationship with a trusted insurance agent or broker who can advise you on the specific needs of your business and the exact types of insurance coverage you should obtain. In general, however, here are list from the Small Business Administration of types of liability insurance that can provide a partial checklist for your review with an agent or broker.

General Liability Insurance

Business owners purchase general liability insurance to cover legal hassles due to accident, injuries and claims of negligence. These policies protect against payments as the result of bodily injury, property damage, medical expenses, libel, slander, the cost of defending lawsuits, and settlement bonds or judgments required during an appeal procedure.

Product Liability Insurance

Companies that manufacture, wholesale, distribute, and retail a product may be liable for its safety. Product liability insurance protects against financial loss as a result of a defect product that causes injury or bodily harm. The amount of insurance you should purchase depends on the products you sell or manufacture. A clothing store would have far less risk than a small appliance store, for example.

Professional Liability Insurance

Business owners providing services should consider having professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance). This type of liability coverage protects your business against malpractice, errors, and negligence in provision of services to your customers. Depending on your profession, you may be required by your state government to carry such a policy. For example, physicians are required to purchase malpractice insurance as a condition of practicing in certain states.

Commercial Property Insurance

Property insurance covers everything related to the loss and damage of company property due to a wide-variety of events such as fire, smoke, wind and hail storms, civil disobedience and vandalism. The definition of “property” is broad, and includes lost income, business interruption, buildings, computers, company papers and money.

Property insurance policies come in two basic forms:

  1. All-risk policies covering a wide-range of incidents and perils except those noted in the policy
  2. Peril-specific policies that cover losses from only those perils listed in the policy. Examples of peril-specific policies include fire, flood, crime and business interruption insurance. All-risk policies generally cover risks faced by the average small business, while peril-specific policies are usually purchased when there is high risk of peril in a certain area. Consult your insurance agent or broker about the type of business property insurance best suited for your small business.

Home-Based Business Insurance

Homeowners’ insurance policies do not generally cover home-based business losses. Depending on risks to your business, you may add riders to your homeowners’ policy to cover normal business risks such as property damage. However, homeowners’ policies only go so far in covering home-based businesses. You will probably need to purchase additional policies to cover other risks, such as general and professional liability. Again, it’s important to consult a trusted insurance agent or broker.


12074 Checklist: The Basic Office Toolbox Mon, 12 May 2014 18:00:39 +0000 Sometimes people use the expression “business toolbox” as a metaphor to suggest a set of rules and principles one needs for running a company. That’s not what we’re talking about here. This is a checklist of actual tools you need for when things break or need to be hung up—you know, those dozens of tasks you had no idea would be required when you started a business.

First, get yourself a toolbox. Then fill it the following list, which covers most of the basic items that are helpful when the task says “some assembly required.” (If more skills are required, maybe it’s best to hire another small business expert.)

Tip: Before using any of these tools, you may want to look over the checklist of items for an office safety kit.

1. Hammer


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The price of a hammer can vary. Get one that is in the middle price range. (Bonus suggestion: a box of assorted sized nails.)

2. Measuring Tape


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You will want the metal kind that  is retractable. And always remember: Measure twice, cut once.

3. Screwdriver set


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You need a set, because if you only have one or two, Murphy’s law will guarantee you won’t have the size you need. (Bonus suggestion: A box of assorted sized screws.)

4. Pliers


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You only need one set of pliers, even though the word “pliers” sounds like you’ll need several.

5. Adjustable Wrench


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In the office, you would be surprised how much you can do with an adjustable wrench. Especially if your desks, chairs and filing cabinets are as old as ours. Perhaps you can get by with an adjustable wrench, but if you don’t have one, we promise it will be the first tool you will find yourself needing after reading this.

6. Ladder


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While a 6-foot ladder won’t actually fit in the toolbox, without one you may not be able to reach where you need to use the other tools. Warning: Reading all the warning labels on a ladder may cause you to be so frightened, you’ll never want to buy one.

7. Command Strips


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If you are in rented office where you can’t drive a nail in the wall to hang a picture, you’ll figure out what these are for.

8. Electrical Tape


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It used to just come in black, but now electrical tape comes in all these colors. You can use it when wires get frayed down next to plugs. But if that happens, we suggest that a new wire would be a far better investment.

9. Hacksaw


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The next time you need to saw something in the office it won’t likely be with a hacksaw. However, the saw you will need will probably be too big to fit into a toolbox. So we’re recommending a hacksaw. However, a chainsaw is more fun.

10. Duct Tape


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If you are on a tight budget, forget everything else on this list and purchase some Duct Tape. It’s the Chuck Norris-meets-MacGyver office repair item you should never be without.

(Featured Image: woodleywonderworks via Flickr)

4561 Checklist: Essential Items for Your Office First-Aid Kit Fri, 15 Nov 2013 13:09:49 +0000 As we’ve noted before, some small businesses are truly dangerous places to work. However, for an office-bound small business, paper cuts and bruised egos are the most common ailments. Still, it’s important to always have a well-stocked first-aid kit available. Here are some suggestions.

1. Bandages and Antibiotic Ointment


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Stock these in multiple sizes—they’re an instant solution for everything from paper cuts to kitchen accidents. Add a few pair of rubber or latex gloves, just in case.

2. Ibuprofen


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Having ibuprofen on hand can keep a headache from sending an employee home for the day.

3. Antacids


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Stressing about deadlines and living on pizza are sure recipes for heartburn. Keep it at bay with antacid tablets.

4. Antibacterial soap


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This stuff kills 99.9 percent of germs, and during flu season, you’ll want to get rid of all the bugs you can.

5. Alcohol


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Rubbing alcohol is handy to clean an unexpected wound or disinfect surfaces.

6. Hydrogen Peroxide


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Also good for cleaning out cuts and injuries, hydrogen peroxide quickly disinfects wounds.

7. Gauze and Adhesive or Surgical Tape


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Like bandages, gauze has a number of handy uses, from cleaning and covering injuries to cushioning them when applying tape. Adhesive tape is useful for securing bandages or gauze, while stretchy surgical tape can be loosened and re-tightened if needed.

8. Ace Bandage


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When someone has a sprain or strain, play your ace—ace bandage that is. Ace bandages are terrific for supporting injured joints or wrapping sore ribs, and you’ll improvise hundreds of other uses.

9. Instant Ice Pack

ice it II [960]

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Available at most drugstores, you simply squeeze and pop it, and, like magic, you have an ice pack to chill a sprain, cool swellings or ease a throbbing head. In addition to these basics, we strongly advise that someone in the office be trained in office health by the Red Cross.

3869 Checklist: Essential Items for an Office Kitchen Tue, 05 Nov 2013 20:09:41 +0000 As a small business office kitchen is likely to be among its most popular meeting (or hiding) places, it’s essential that it be stocked with the basics. And yes, we were required to start off with what’s Head Helper considers the most essential of essentials.

1. Coffee (Maker & Supplies)


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Coffee is a necessity for early mornings, so you’ll want to have an easy-to-use machine, flavorful coffee and cream and sugar on hand. Also, it’s helpful to have whatever trendy sugar substitute your employees require this month. Allow some storage room for cups or mugs that suit your employee’s preferences.

2. Cutlery


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There’s no need to go all out, but make sure you’re prepared for spontaneous office celebrations for when you land the Spacely Sprokets account. Stay green with recyclable forks, knives, spoons, paper plates and cups. That way you’ll be ready wherever an afternoon calls for birthday cake.

3. Sharp knife


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Keep ’em sharp–there’s nothing worse than a dull knife. Unless, perhaps, it’s that dull client at Spacely Sprockets who just fired you.

4. Can/bottle opener


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Let’s say one of those aforementioned celebrations happens late on a Friday afternoon at the end of a really, really busy project that launched successfully. A can opener will come in handy.

5. Toaster


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Because some things just don’t work in a microwave, we need to turn to the skills we learned in college. In our dorm room. When Pop-tarts were one of the major food groups.

6. Water


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Some of us have parents who claim they once got their drinking water from a tap. If you don’t have some form of filtration system, we advise at least a Brita pitcher.

7. Paper towels


You will never regret having paper towels on hand in the kitchen and throughout the office. We have no idea who this person is, but we’re told she has something do with paper towels and that she dated  a guy named Mr. Whipple.

8. Dish soap


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No one wants to see days’ worth of dishes accumulated in the kitchen sink. You never know who will mistake it for a batch of vegetable soup.

9. Plastic wrap & plastic baggies


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You’ll have tons of uses for plastic wrap and baggies. These two items will help keep those brownies your coworker brought in fresh for days–and could be used for some great office pranks.

See all of the Checklists of Essentials.

(Special thanks to Julia Boklage who doesn’t need a checklist,
but was nice enough to provide this one.)