Tag Archive for 'Business Interruption'

Why you should care about the net neutrality debate

As policy battle lines are being drawn in Washington, there’s one important issue being debated that might not stay on your radar like Obamacare and immigration.

It’s called “net neutrality,” and I’m concerned it might not get the attention it deserves, even though it could have significant long-term implications. My goal here is to simplify net neutrality so you understand how it can impact your business and how to join the debate.

The term is pretty intuitive. Net neutrality means all Internet traffic gets treated the same, which is what we’ve had for over 20 years; there’s essentially no government regulation of the Internet and no Internet taxes. Also, there’s no preference for, or discrimination against any sender or receiver of email, web pages, music or movies, regardless of bandwidth used via fixed or mobile networks.

Photo credit to SavetheInternet.com

Photo credit to SavetheInternet.com

Three groups have a stake in net neutrality: carriers, content producers and a regulator.

Carriers fill two roles: 1) Local Internet service providers (ISP) connect you to the Internet; 2) national networks, like AT&T and Sprint, own the “backbone,” the physical infrastructure - fiber - that hauls digital traffic between ISPs. Carriers want to charge different rates based on content quantity and speed, which is contrary to net neutrality. Without targeted revenue for their finite bandwidth inventory, they argue, innovation and investment will stall.

Content producers include Google, NetFlix, Facebook and virtually every small business. If you have a website, sell a product online, conduct email marketing or have an instructional video on YouTube, you’re a content producer. Content producers love net neutrality because turning the Internet into a toll road increases business costs and could make small businesses less competitive.

The regulator is the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Tom Wheeler. Some content producers have asked the FCC to defend net neutrality. But here’s what that request looks like to a politician: President Obama wants the FCC to reclassify and regulate broadband Internet connection as a utility, which is not the definition of net neutrality.

Net neutrality is complicated because it’s easy to appreciate both business arguments. Plus, some even have a stake in both sides of the issue, like a cable company that owns TV stations and movie studios. But inviting the government to referee this marketplace debate is a Faustian bargain because what government regulates it also taxes, and once started, won’t stop.

Write this on a rock … A regulated and taxed Internet is not net neutrality.

Video-Are you prepared for a business interruption?

In this week’s video I list the top three business interruptions that you should focus on for your small business.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Are you prepared for a business interruption?

It’s doubtful that American small businesses have ever been impacted by as many potential business interruption events as we’ve seen in the past 20 years: beginning with the Oklahoma City bombing, the events of 9-11, and now the Boston bombings; hurricanes like Katrina and Sandy; tornados like those that wiped out Joplin, MO, and Hackleberg, AL, and many floods.

Recently we asked our online audience if they were financially prepared for an interruption with this question: “Could your business handle the financial impact of a business interruption?” Almost one-fifth said they, “… have cash and business interruption insurance if we need it,” and a little more than one-third reported they had “…cash and credit if we need it.” The other half admitted, “We would be hurting if it lasted more than a few days.”

There are three kinds of interruption preparation to focus on: operational, financial and digital. Here are examples of how to manage all three:

Operational
What would you do if your building became unavailable to you or your customers?

  1. Use laptops that allow key employees to work and connect remotely, both internally and with customers. And make sure they have high-speed Internet connections at home.
  2. Identify and become proficient with cloud-based applications that serve as an alternative for any installed programs that may be lost.

Financial
A significant part of the working capital of most small businesses is from cash flow. What would happen if your cash flow was interrupted?

  1. Purchase a “business interruption” rider on your property and casualty policy to pay you cash upon the acceptance of a claim. Read the fine print; all policies are not created equal.
  2. Maintain a close working relationship with your banker so you won’t have to introduce yourself to the person you might ask for a disaster loan.

Digital
Small businesses are increasingly using digital assets more and physical assets less. Are you prepared to protect your data as diligently as you do your building, equipment and inventory?

  1. Assign one person to be in charge of keeping all computers enabled with a proven firewall and anti-malware program, and keep them current.
  2. Regularly copy critical data from your hard drives and store it offsite. Better yet, backup your date with one of the cloud-based backup and recovery firms. Search for “online data backup.”

Business interruption – it’s a matter of when, not if.

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!




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