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March 2015 Newsletter

Business Trends

Four Trends to Watch in 2015 and Beyond
Which trends will benefit your business? Find out.

When it comes to business trends, you may wish that you had your old childhood toy, the fortune-telling Magic 8-Ball, to take the guesswork out of finding the answers to perplexing questions. Lucky for you, we've done the research. We've narrowed the list to these key business developments, which are likely to be among the top trends to surface this year.

  1. Seamless customer service – Forrester Research predicts that consumers will continue to demand effortless interactions over the web and mobile self-service channels. With more customer complaints surfacing online, businesses will also continue to focus seriously on customer satisfaction and bolster social media efforts. (If you're not involved in social, you may be missing ways to reach your target market.)
  2. Positive consumer outlook – Consumer attitudes are an important part of the country's economic outlook. In January, the Conference Board reported that U.S. consumer confidence strengthened to its highest level in more than seven years. When consumers are confident about the future, they are more likely to continue or increase spending. (That's bound to be good for business.)
  3. Millennials matter – Understanding how to reach and engage Millennials will be important to businesses. The Millennial generation, ages 18 to 34, is projected to number 75.3 million, surpassing Baby Boomers, ages 51 to 69, as the nation's largest living generation, according to the population estimates released recently by the U.S. Census Bureau.
  4. Juno lessons – The increased occurrence of severe storms is a growing worry for business owners. Winter storms Juno and Linus, for instance, forced many businesses to close in January and February. Now is the time to review disaster plans and insurance coverage so you're prepared for the next weather event. Business interruption or business income coverage could help protect you when a storm causes a covered loss or damage to your property, forcing a partial or total interruption of your business. In these circumstances, the coverage can guarantee your income continues for up to 12 consecutive months while your business is suspended due to the covered damage.


The bottom line is to set aside some time to track trends and determine what changes or initiatives make the most sense for you and your business.

Risk Management

How Safe is Your Business from Electrical Fires?
Most electrical systems have these 3 common problem areas

Most electrical fires start small, but they can spread quickly and become very large. The damage is often devastating. In fact, electrical fires consistently rank among the leading causes of commercial and residential fires, often resulting in death, injury and significant property loss to businesses.

The safety experts at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety offer the following guidelines for identifying signs of trouble with an electrical distribution system, which can vary in size and complexity depending on the business's operations. Specific areas of concern include:

  • Fuses and circuits: Frequently blown fuses or tripped circuits are usually symptoms of overloaded outlets or circuits, which can cause overheating and an electrical fire.
  • Corroded wiring: Old or defective wiring is a major source of electrical fires. While all wiring has the potential to break down, wiring exposed to the outdoor environment or corrosive substances can break down more quickly than wiring in indoor, non-corrosive environments. Additionally, wiring that has deteriorated insulating sheathing can lead to a fire and should be replaced.
  • Hot spots: Loose connections, corroded connectors or wires, overloaded circuits, short circuits, imbalanced electrical loading, and faulty fuses, breakers, and switches will create hot spots due to excessive heat in an electrical panel.

Electrical distribution equipment should be periodically thermally imaged and physically inspected, cleaned and tested by a licensed electrician. Using a hand-held thermal scanner pointed at the electrical panel is an effective way to identify hot spots before they cause an electrical breakdown that can result in a fire.

Taking care of your equipment is not expensive or complicated, but, over the long term, it's vital for keeping the lights on and your building open for business.

Workforce Planning

Adapting Your Business for an Aging Workforce
How prepared is your business?

Older workers offer employers many benefits, and there will be more of them than ever before in the coming years. People age 55 and over are projected to make up 25 percent of the workforce in this country by 2020. Learn four tips for making your workplace a welcoming place for them. Read more on eriesense.com.