No one wants to deal with unexpected medical expenses, particularly if you are your own boss and do not have the benefit of company policy.
For all the exciting opportunities that come with being an entrepreneur, there are also unique challenges and responsibilities. Fortunately, there are many ways you can prepare for a medical crisis, even if you hope you never have to take advantage of them.
In this article, I will go over several ways that you should be thinking about to make sure that you are prepared for a medical emergency.
1. Have an emergency fund
This can be challenging and feel impossible if you are just getting started, but it is wise to start building up an emergency fund, even by small amounts, as soon as your business starts to turn a profit.
A little extra cash can come in handy not only for medical emergencies, but also for natural disasters, the sudden loss of a client you had counted on, or other unexpected events.
Of course, you should also be considering how to get a loan in case your fund doesn’t cover it. Think Save Retire is a good place to get ideas on this.
2. Have insurance
You may need multiple kinds of insurance if you own a business, have a brick-and-mortar establishment, or have employees.
In addition to standard health and life insurance, you may want to consider getting individual disability insurance online. This is particularly important if your role in your business is such that it cannot be performed by anyone else if you have an injury or illness that keeps you from work for an extended period of time.
Even better, look for an insurance plan management team to take care of all the paperwork in case the need arises. Additionally, you may want to have Workers Compensation in case an employee is injured or becomes sick at work.
Small businesses are not usually able to absorb the costs of paying out for an accident or an injured customer. It makes sense to be insured against a lot of unforeseen events just in case.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance is good to have in case one of your employees does something that a customer could sue your business for. If you have a restaurant and a customer gets food poisoning due to a negligent cook, for instance, you will be covered.
3. Take reasonable precautions
Though there are legal requirements to follow, it is wise to go beyond these minimums. Be proactive in thinking about scenarios that could turn ugly and what practices can be put in place to avoid them.
Make sure you are educated about possible risks so that both you and your employees use precautions to avoid them. Every business should have a safety and wellness plan.
Even an office that doesn’t seem to have a high risk of injury should have a well-detailed plan in case of injuries or illnesses.
This should include what the employees need to do in case they are sick such as not coming to work until they feel better so they don’t get the whole office sick.
Providing safety equipment is also essential. You need to not only provide safe conditions for your workers, but they also need equipment that can help them just in case. And any equipment they use to do their jobs should also be maintained and inspected for safety to ensure they can be operated safely.
4. Know your credit options
Though insurance is recommended, we understand it is not always a possibility.
If you have a medical emergency that is not sufficiently covered or you opted out of insurance, it is good to know what the best cash advance options are. You will want to look for low-interest rates, quick access, and reputable customer service.
Cash flow is a problem for just about every small business. When it is time to expand, many are held back by a lack of funds. Besides having access to cash for business needs, you should also consider how to get a quick infusion of cash in case a medical emergency strikes.
Some banks are harder to work with than others and some take too long to get you the cash.
Sometimes being part of a smaller credit union makes the most sense for a small business as they understand your needs. You may end up with faster loans than if you go to a big bank.
5. Know how to delegate properly
For some, not being able to attend to their business seems worse than physical illness. Before an emergency happens, think through how your business operates and the role you play.
In many cases, your business can temporarily run without you, if your policies are clearly outlined and you can delegate tasks to others.
If you have an employee or manager you trust, talk with them about the possibility of being a stand-in for you. Go over the expectations you would have in case you were unable to work and train them in some of your vital responsibilities.
6. Communicate plans and policies
If you have policies for workplace safety or disaster scenarios such as fire, earthquake, active shooter, make sure all the employees are aware of the policies and review them often.
Being prepared for basic safety could mean better protection for yourself, your employees, and your clients even in potentially dangerous situations. A medical emergency can come in many forms.
In addition to having documented processes in case of an emergency, it may also be a good idea to hire a specialist to come and talk to your employees about how to handle things. Having a plan written down somewhere is good, but many people will remember a demonstration much better.
You may even want to have a mock emergency once everybody is trained in the situation to give some real-life experience in how to handle the medical emergency. Quick thinking is key so practicing is a good way to make that happen.
With these tips in mind, your company should be well-positioned for any kind of medical emergency that could happen.
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