Small Business Saturday: Are You Stocked, Set and Ready?

  Small Business Saturday: Are You Stocked, Set and Ready?

Travelers Provides Business Owners with Strategies to Prepare for the Holiday
                                     Rush

Business Wire

HARTFORD, Conn. -- November 14, 2012

According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), holiday sales are expected
to increase by 4.1 percent in 2012. While this could translate into higher
profits for Main Street business owners, it also increases the importance of
preparing for increased foot traffic, higher inventory levels, and more
seasonal workers.

Travelers (NYSE: TRV), one of the nation’s largest insurers of small
businesses, is helping small business owners across America prepare for this
important time of year in an effort to ensure they are stocked, set and ready
for the holiday season, in particular for Small Business Saturday® on November
24, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“Small businesses comprise 27.5 million of the businesses^1 in the U.S. and
employ about half of U.S. workers^2,” said Marc Schmittlein, President and CEO
of Travelers Small Commercial Accounts. “Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our
economy and it is important that we help them manage risk, prevent business
interruption and prepare for high levels of business activity ahead of Small
Business Saturday and the holiday season. Taking these steps to prepare now is
critical to their success in a few weeks and beyond.”

In the final weeks leading up to the holiday rush, Travelers is urging
business owners to take the following steps to get ready:

1. Ensure Proper Amount of Inventory Is on the Shelves
To ensure that proper inventory is on store shelves, business owners need to
consider all parts of the supply chain, including the geographic area from
which their products are being distributed. For example, if a core product
shipped from another country is lost, delayed or has limited quantities
available, the bottom line can be drastically impacted. Business owners should
get to know their suppliers to better understand where their inventory comes
from, how to make special arrangements to fulfill peak inventory needs, and
create a contingency plan if the supply chain is interrupted.

2. Protect the Products and Insure to Value
While it is critical that business owners know their inventory levels
throughout the year, it is even more critical during peak times, such as Small
Business Saturday and the holidays, when more stock is needed to meet sales
demands. Business owners should insure their inventory based on peak levels,
not on a standard or average. Doing so helps to ensure that merchandise is
protected and insured to full value during the most important sales period of
the year.

3. Protect the People Who Sell the Products
According to the NRF, retailers will hire an estimated 585,000 to 625,000
seasonal employees during the 2012 holiday season. While hiring seasonal
workers is necessary to help manage inventory and handle increased business,
doing so presents potential unique risks and liabilities. In order to limit
exposure, business owners should take the time necessary to understand the
insurance needs that come with new employees and to on-board and train
seasonal workers to help avoid on-the-job accidents.

4. Decorate Wisely
During Small Business Saturday, many businesses will likely be decorated for
the holiday season. Festive window displays and cozy interiors help bring in
business, but without the proper handling or positioning, those decorations
may pose safety risks to employees and customers. One of the easiest ways
business owners can protect their operations from damage is by making wise
decoration choices and placing them away from open flames and heat sources,
such as light bulbs and heaters.

5. Build Backups
During the peak season, small business owners are focused on running their
businesses, but what if something unexpected happens? According to a recent
Travelers survey of small business owners, more than half do not have a
documented plan to manage through an unexpected event, such as weather or
theft. At a minimum, a backup plan should include: secondary suppliers;
special delivery and discount options for customers; and a supply chain
management plan.

6. Help Prevent Cyber Risks
Cyber risk insurance coverage is important for small business owners,
particularly as many businesses are building up sales and storage functions
digitally. Business owners should consult with their local independent
insurance agent and risk advisor when considering the following questions to
be sure they’re protected both in store and online:

  *Does your business have an online sales component? If so, are you
    protected against the increasing threat of cyber risks?
  *Is sensitive customer information stored on site? If so, there’s a chance
    it can be compromised and it needs to be protected by keeping it in a
    secure location.
  *Do you have adequate protection if your site or online sales tools are
    comprised?

Travelers also recommends speaking with an independent insurance agent and
risk management professional to help stay protected with a comprehensive
insurance and risk management program.

Travelers’ support of Small Business Saturday is part of a broader commitment
to advocating for small businesses. The Travelers Institute, the company’s
public policy division, conducted a national series of small business
symposia, entitled “Small Business - Big Opportunity,” to convene government,
community, business and economic leaders to identify common challenges and
related solutions to ensure small business success. The company also continues
to support major business events like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce America’s
Small Business Summit and the National Association of Women Business Owners
annual conference.

For information about preparing for Small Business Saturday or small business
insurance, visit the Small Business Saturday section of the Travelers website.

About Travelers
The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV) is a leading provider of property
casualty insurance for auto, home and business. The company’s diverse business
lines offer its global customers a wide range of coverage sold primarily
through independent agents and brokers. A component of the Dow Jones
Industrial Average, Travelers has more than 30,000 employees and operations in
the United States and selected international markets. The company generated
revenues of approximately $25 billion in 2011. For more information, visit
www.travelers.com

^1 Office of Advocacy estimates based on data from the U.S. Dept. of Commerce,
Census Bureau, and trends from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labour
Statistics, Business Employment Dynamics.
^2 U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Census Bureau: Statistics of U.S. Businesses,
Current Population Survey and Business Dynamics Statistics; and the Edward
Lowe Foundation (http://youreconomy.org).

Contact:

The Travelers Companies, Inc.
Ashley Maagero, 860-277-2954
amaagero@travelers.com
 
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