Stuff Happens – April Voices of Experience

I’m off to the Netherlands for my fourth Global Speakers Summit.  Wouldn’t even DREAM of missing it, but now that I’m NSA President, it should be kinda cool!  I am sooooo very honored to represent the National Speakers Association – United States!

In case you didn’t get a chance to listen to this month’s Voices of Experience, here’s the latest Presidential segment about protecting yourself against the vagaries of owning a small business:

NSA members tend to be “glass is half full” kind of people.  Believing in the power of positive thinking, we are always looking for the pony in the room of poop, the silver lining in the cloud.  But we also need to be realistic.  Stuff happens, and we should be proactive in dealing with the various maladies that can affect our businesses and our lives.

Okay, so what kind of risks are we talking about?  The most frequent risk we face as a business owner is cash flow.  You don’t have enough cash to pay your bills.  So, you either draw from your savings or from a line of credit.  Most experts suggest you put away at least 10% of your gross into savings and have a line of credit up to 25% of your annual gross revenues.  Not that you have to use it, mind you!

Then there is the operations of the business.  What happens if your business gets “interrupted” – that’s a nice word for physical catastrophe.  Hurricane Katrina is a perfect example.  Would you be able to continue your business in the aftermath?  Can you access all your client information, print your handouts, and give your speech without missing a beat?  That’s why I love cloud computing with all my files stored up someone else’s secure servers.  Some businesses even opt to carry business interruption insurance to mitigate these kind of risks.

Let’s take a look at things from the client point of view.  Could it be that your clients are depending on your advice and counsel and if you take a misstep, they could legally question your advice?  In that case, you may want to carry business liability or errors and omissions insurance – just in case.

Then there is your health.  What would happen if you can’t work anymore due to a health issue?  Yes, there is the NSA Foundation’s Professional Speakers Benefit Fund that helps members out if they encounter a tragic event.  But the PSBF is more of a last ditch safety net.  You should be carrying health and disability insurance.  Will it happen to you?  Probably not, but you just never know.

And, if you’re like most of our members, you travel a fair distance to speak to your clients.  What happens if you get ill or injured when you are far away from home?  You may already have a business travel accident policy through your credit card. I also subscribe to Medjet through NSA.  Medjet pays 100% of my “evacuation and repatriation” cost to get back home to Scottsdale, Arizona – wherever I am in the world!

Finally, consider your exit strategy.  Do you intend to retire?  Sell the business? Or just slowly fade away?  You should be positioning your company and your financial resources to be financially comfortable in retirement.  Put your max allowable in your Roth IRA or 401k.  Consider a long term care insurance policy.  My grandmother just passed away this year at the ripe old age of 104 – God bless her soul.  A long term care policy would have been really helpful in paying some of those bills in the final years.

And don’t forget to think about those you are leaving behind.  I know this is rather gruesome to talk about, but write down your funeral instructions now while you are still alive.  And you should tuck away enough money to execute those instructions and maybe leave a few scheckels behind for your family or your favorite foundation.

Did you know that you can go mynsa.org and get competitive quotes from Miquotes for life, supplemental health, critical care, accident, disability income and major medical insurance?  Whew! That’s alotta insurance, and I do not profess to be a financial advisor.  However, I do know.  Stuff will happen.

The National Speakers Association also goes through a similar risk analysis.  For example, when it comes to cash flow, NSA has built up a reserve equal to 75% of our annual operating expenses.  We carry general liability and event insurance, Directors and officers liability insurance and property insurance.  And, we just converted our entire association management up into the cloud!

Stuff will happen and I hope it doesn’t happen to you.  But if it does, please minimize the damage to you and your family by taken action now.  Who knows?  Maybe you might even live longer than my grandmother!

 

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