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500 East Absecon Blvd., Absecon, NJ 08201
Business Protection Bulletin
Can Your Business Use Pictures Of Real Customers In Promotional Materials?
For your print and online business promotional materials, you need high-quality and engaging photos. You could take pictures of your customers using your products, browsing your retail store or interacting with company employees, but understand the legal ramifications and your potential liability first.
Understand Copyright Basics
Individuals control the rights to images taken of them. You could be charged with copyright infringement if you post pictures of your customers online or in flyers without their permission.
Review Fair Use Laws
Customers have the right to know how you plan to use the pictures you take of them. To follow fair use laws, always ensure your customers know that you want to use those images for promotional purposes, and only take the picture if they sign a release that explicitly states their agreement to be featured in marketing materials.
People have the right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. While you may assume that anyone in public is fair game, show respect and avoid snapping pictures of customers during moments they consider to be private.
Ask customers for permission to both take their photo and use it. Ideally, you should ask customers to sign a consent form when you take the picture instead of waiting until you’re ready to use the photo online or in print.
Ask Customers to Submit Photos
To avoid any legal issues, you may wish to ask customers to take and submit their own photos. Create a branded display in your store, and invite customers to snap a selfie and tag your business when they post it online. You could also host a photo contest that encourages customers to submit photos that demonstrate how they use your products or services and include the contest’s branded hashtag.
If you insist on taking your customer photos for promotions, use a filter to blur faces. You could also take pictures of crowds rather than individuals, snap pictures of the back of people's heads, or use employees, family members or friends as the “face” of your company.
Rely on Objects, not People
As an alternative to images with people, consider focusing on objects or landscapes. A stylist can help you display your products and services in such a way that you don’t need to rely on individuals to create effective photos for your business promotions.
Because many parents wish to protect their children’s privacy, don’t take pictures of your customer’s kids.
Customer images give you a powerful marketing tool. However, be careful when using customer photos in your promotional materials. Reduce your liability when you follow these tips. For more details, talk to your insurance agent.
Glenn Insurance, Inc
Six Steps Reduce Your Credit Card Processing Over payment Risk
As a small business owner, you accept credit cards because it's convenient for your customers and a smart business decision. You could be overpaying for your credit card processing privilege, though, which puts your business's financial security at risk. Every month, evaluate your credit card processing statements and take six steps to avoid overpayment.
1. Check each statement carefully.
It's tempting to glance at your credit card processing statement and simply toss it on the "to be paid" pile. You must take time to review it carefully, though. Look for data entry mistakes, incorrect charges or mislabeled transactions. If you're not sure what to look for, review your merchant agreement or ask your accountant or CPA for assistance.
2. Look for details.
A statement that merely lists the amount of money you processed and the amount you owe is not detailed enough. You need to know that you're being charged according to your agreement, so you should see the number and volume of transactions and the tiered, interchange plus or interchange with membership rate for each type of card you accept.
3. Note any lowered fees.
Maybe you notice that some fees have decreased since last month. The credit card processing company could have lowered the fees because of a debit rebate on your plan or as a way to keep your business. Be aware that lowered fees could include hidden charges that outweigh the savings.
4. Know the access fee.
Visa and MasterCard charge an access fee per transaction. While it's typically less than two cents per transaction, your credit card processing company could boost the fee by several cents without notifying you. Depending on how many credit card transactions your process, even a small increase could cost you hundreds of dollars annually. Always know the access fee and ensure it's accurate on each statement.
5. Watch monthly and annual fees.
Your credit card processing company will charge various fees each month. If the statement, PCI, regulatory and other fees adds up to more than $300 per year, you could be paying too much for the service.
6. Evaluate your plan options.
Your small business may have outgrown the plan you picked when you signed your credit card processing contract. Review your credit card transaction history and sales. You may benefit from switching plans or even companies as you save money and accommodate your business's needs.
Accepting credit card payments is wise for your small business, but you must know how to read your monthly credit card processing statements to reduce your risk of overpayment. Contact the credit card processing company with questions or ask your accountant or CPA for assistance.
Glenn Insurance, Inc
Things To Consider Before Your Business Opens An Online Store
Online selling through your website, Etsy, Amazon, or eBay can give your company an additional revenue stream. Opening an online store may not be the right decision for your specific company, though. Use this checklist to decide if your business should start selling online.
Consider Square Footage
If you choose to sell a physical product, you need space to store, package and market your goods. Consider your financial resources as you decide if your company is ready to move into a larger office space or rent a storage unit.
To run a successful online store, you’ll need to purchase inventory. Then you’ll have to store, count and track that inventory plus figure out what to do with the products that don’t sell. Only open an online store if you’re prepared to deal with this reality.
A successful online store requires enough employees to handle order processing, customer service, returns, and website maintenance in a competent and efficient manner. Evaluate your current staff as you determine if you already have the right employees on board to launch an online store or if your company is ready and prepared to add more manpower to your team.
Know your Customers
Create a picture of your ideal customer based on your current customers’ needs, interests and wants. This information helps you choose the products and platform for your online store. For example, sell handmade pottery or vintage furniture on Etsy if your customers want those items, but choose a different platform if you sell flashlights or books.
Choose Complementary Products
It’s important to choose the right products for your new online store. They should match the products and services you already offer and be related to your brand. For example, sell hair care products if you operate a salon but not if you sell accounting services.
Calculate Profit Margin
Spend time with your accountant before you start selling products online. You'll want to calculate your profit margin as you ensure your online sales venture will be profitable for your company.
You may need to purchase additional commercial liability insurance to cover your new online store. Discuss your needs with your insurance agent.
Do It Well
If you’re ready to launch an online store, go for it! Just make sure you can do it well. Be sure you have enough time and resources to run your online store and support your brand well. Otherwise, hold off on launching it until you’re ready.
Selling online can boost your sales and build your small business brand. Use this checklist to decide if selling online is right for your company.
Glenn Insurance, Inc
Liability Insurance Options For Your Home-based Business
Your home-based business gives you flexibility and fulfillment. However, you’re responsible for any damages you cause and any accidents that occur because of your business activities. Without the right liability insurance, you risk losing your business, home and personal assets. Evaluate your liability insurance options as you protect yourself.
Examples of Home-Based Business Liabilities
Every day, you face general and professional liabilities your standard personal home insurance policy will not cover. Consider five scenarios.
Accidents - A client trips down your stairs after her catering consultation and injures her ankle. Your homeowners insurance policy will not cover treatment for those injuries.
Data - As an financial planner, you store sensitive information on your home computer that’s compromised by a hacker. Unfortunately, your homeowners insurance policy will not compensate you for any lost data or resulting damages.
Damage you cause - You accidentally break an expensive antique vase while leaving a client’s home, or someone trips over your computer bag as you work at a local coffee shop. Your homeowners insurance will not cover your financial liability.
Libel or Slander - A blog post you write contains inaccuracies about a local business leader, and she sues you for libel, or you share confidential information about a client at a networking event and are sued for slander. Any related expenses are your responsibility.
Economic damage - The business report you write for a local company contains inaccuracies that cause the company economic damage. You are responsible for all associated financial costs.
Negligence - You forget to include peanuts on your homemade cookie labels, and a customer has an allergic reaction. You could be sued and may have to pay any related expenses.
Home-Based Business Liability Insurance Options
To ensure your have the right liability coverage, first consider details about your home-based business. Its size, type, location and unique liability risk are all factors that determine which type and how much liability insurance coverage you need.
You are now ready to consider your liability insurance options.
Homeowners Insurance Endorsement
Add an endorsement or rider to your existing homeowners insurance policy to cover your business assets. It typically provides $2,500 to $5,000 in coverage and generally costs less than $100 per year.
Home Office Business Policy
Gain business liability coverage with a home office business insurance policy. It features protection against lawsuits from injuries, covers loss of records, and includes personal liability coverage.
Business Owners Policy
A comprehensive Business Owners Policy or BOP covers numerous liabilities, including business data, on-premises and off-premises liability, and personal and advertising injury.
Protect your business, home and personal assets with the right liability insurance. Discuss your specific business with your insurance agent today as you ensure you have adequate coverage.
Glenn Insurance, Inc
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