You Are Not Infallible, But Your Business Foresight Can Be – Here’s How

Tony Alter

In the effort to develop and build your own firm, whether that is subcontracting services or providing some form of freelance work to an agency or regular client, you are likely to take as much work on as you can to satisfy the client. You might be tempted to take on repeat business from the same client if the process and transactions are going well.

After a while, you might feel comfortable in your operation, and it can become easy to rest on your laurels. However, as an independent contractor, you cannot afford to make a mistake, and accidentally making one, in any capacity that suggests to your client they have been financially or otherwise misled, damaged or impinged with difficulty, you are in trouble.

Now, it’s likely that if you’re an independent contractor and have developed from success to success so far, you might feel like no error could be made. This form of business confidence is useful, but it can blind you to issues that crop up you might not be expecting. If you have no form of insurance, cover, or even forethought about dealing with these events outside trying to remedy it from a personal level, you will have much difficulty navigating the inevitable sticky issue that can’t be settled as easily.

Without some form of adequate indemnity insurance such as that offered by Kingsbridge, you will be vulnerable to paying out enormous potential costs for work, both past and present, that a customer just might have an issue with. The following list will hopefully help you realise just how, with the best observation in the world, you might be betrayed by a minor missed contingency that you hadn’t planned for.

Yourself

Now, no matter how shrewd you are, and you must be to successfully build a business, you are not impervious to making mistakes. No one is. If this is your first business, you might not be one hundred percent aware of standard business conduct in your firm. If you have operated for some time, you might be unaware of some new legislation or methodology of obtaining work that is now considered the norm.

However, it needn’t be a difficult clerical error that trips you up. Sometimes, a bad week such as going through a difficult, turbulent family event can lead you to performing badly at your work, and understandably so. No matter the issue, you will find that mistakes in your work and proceedings crop up from time to time, even the largest multinational conglomerates do that, and so if you’re not covered for those little moments, you will always live in fear of making one. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you’re not careful.

Staff

Training new staff or apprentices, and generally placing the responsibility your name into the hands of another is a risk no matter how you look at it. You are never 100% realistically responsible for what your staff member does in your name, but you are 100% technically responsible from a legal, financial and insurance standpoint, so you need to plan for this. You should consider hiring employees that you have vetted thoroughly, and only hire family members if they are proven to do the job and are willing to take it with the utmost professionalism. You must also place these staff members on your insurance to protect yourself from any shoddy work they’ve done that might have originally evaded your careful close inspection when it comes to reviewing and signing off on the work done.

Materials

If you’re in some form of construction industry, you are always responsible for the materials you bill and provide for. In an effort to save costs, you might opt for cheaper materials that can still do the same job well, or so you might think at the time. The harrowing feeling you’ll retrieve when you learn from a job undertaken a few years ago that the materials bought then when your business was in its infancy and trying to save money has unfortunately affected the resident it was meant to help.

There’s no way of overcoming this issue apart from making sure that all of your materials are of stellar quality, but also being retroactively covered for jobs undertaken in the past can be of huge benefit when figuring out what insurance policy to apply.

Misunderstanding

People misunderstand each other. This happens in every social avenue you can think of, so you can be certain it happens in business transactions, sometimes even more so than usual. With the knowledge that you have accumulated that allows you to professionally run your firm, you’ll initially realise that the people who hire your services are often unaware of how to do it themselves – this is why they’re hiring you in the first place.

Sometimes, in the effort to communicate with you what they require, they might use sloppy or misleading language that gives you the wrong impression about the task to be completed. You might simply have made a mental error yourself, or even mix job requirements up at its most chaotic.

Misunderstandings happen, and they happen often. Prepare for them financial as best you can to lessen your fear of being involved with them.

Vindictive Clients

Sometimes, clients aren’t the golden prize we believe them to be. Sometimes, in an effort to get out of paying for a satisfactory job that they unfortunately aren’t happy with, or if they feel like work has overran despite you compensating them for this, they might try and take it further through the courts. The best way to overcome these issues is to keep complete, total and clear records about every business communication or transaction you undergo between yourself and  the client, to stay on top of any issues you might be experiencing.

Be forthright about work you have completed and issues you have raised from your own side of the issue. A solid defense will help you get through these problems with minimal financial cost. If you are defined as being in the wrong by a court, having a great insurance policy to help you overcome this can definitely place minimal impact on your finances. It certainly will help you avoid tanking the business thanks to this mistake.

These issues can befall any business, no matter how positive their intention. Stay mindful of these to help you prevent them with a stronger filter, and cover for them appropriately.

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