Farm Bureau Financial Services offers tips to help businesses thrive 

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa (May 18, 2012) — According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, small business goods and service are responsible for half of the entire U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) celebrates National Small Business Week, May 20-26, as a time to recognize the big contributions made by small businesses. 
 
Because business owners invest a tremendous amount of time, money and resources to make their ventures successful, investing in contingency planning may get put on the back burner. But according to SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to helping businesses, if a small business can't resume operations within 10 days following a disaster, it probably won't survive. To help small businesses thrive through good times and bad, Farm Bureau Financial Services offers these tips to help owners protect the investment they’ve made. 
 
Business Insurance: Protect the Business
The first step in protecting a business against potential risks is to make sure the right business insurance coverage for property damage and liability claims is in place. Business property insurance covers buildings, business personal property, loss of income and other protections. Business liability insurance covers claims for injuries to others or to the property of others and can include special circumstances like libel, slander or invasion of privacy. Business liability insurance also can cover claim defense costs. Coverage for vehicles used for business purposes is also a necessity ― the best coverage for depends on the use and ownership of the vehicles, so business owners should check with their insurance agent. 
 
Emergency Preparedness: Be Ready for the Unexpected
Disaster preparedness can be the key to business survival, and having a plan in place can expedite the reopening of a small business. After all, even when closed for business, owners still have to pay the bills. The SBA can help with emergency preparedness information, resources and even disaster recovery assistance. 

Risk Management: Safety First Is Good Business
Any business’ overall risk management program should include an emphasis on workplace safety. To help make safety a priority in the workplace, business owners should pick a safety officer and hold safety meetings to discuss potential risks and solutions. Federal and state guidelines are a good place to start when putting together a company safety program. 
 
Utilize Resources: Consider a Mentor
SCORE provides education and mentorship to business owners through a network of 13,000+ volunteers. Supported by the SBA, SCORE provides counseling, tools and workshops at no charge or at a very low cost.
 
Business Succession Planning: It’s Never Too Early
It’s never too early to start planning how to keep a business going. Every business scenario is unique ― owners may plan on leaving at retirement, leaving the business as a legacy to children or selling to new owners, but life is uncertain. Planning ahead can ensure all the elements of a good business transition strategy are in place.

Downtime: Good for Business
Business owners have a lot to think about ― marketing, service, fulfillment, supervision, cash flow ― the list goes on and on. It’s easy for an 8-hour day to turn into a 24-hour marathon. That’s why experts recommend finding a way to create personal time by turning off the computer and cell phone and spending time with family, friends or alone, just recharging. After all, business owners who have no time for themselves will eventually burn out, and that’s never good for business.
 
Using just a few simple tips business owners can help protect the investment they have made in their business.