Business insights arise from all sorts of situations.
For example, I changed the way I think about our company insurance after an encounter with a badger.
It was dark and I was driving along a quiet A road, minding my own business and thinking what rubbish they played on Classic FM at that time of night, when something striped appeared in the headlights.
Momentarily as I was riding along in my automobile, I thought I was having a dream about giant humbugs but then I clocked it was a badger. And he had no particular place to go.
One of us obviously had to give way and you’d think it would have been him as I was behind the wheel of a tonne or so of motorised metal. But the Highway Code is unclear about such things, so my animal-loving instinct took over and I swerved off the road.
In slow motion
In accidents, they say everything happens in slow motion but that’s not how I remember this one. It was rather a case of turning the steering wheel, careering over grass smack into a tree in under two seconds.
I was a bit shocked but, like the best action men in the movies, I stepped out of the car with barely a hair out of place. It was, however, a different story for my beloved Cadillac – I was an Americana fan in those days.
My prized motor looked like one of Dick Dastardly’s wrecks from Wacky Races. The bonnet had concertina’d, the passenger door was hanging off by the merest thread and hissing steam rose from the engine block.
On returning home and mourning the loss of a beloved car but counting my lucky stars that I’d escaped injury, I was forced to think about what would have happened to the business had things turned out otherwise. Even a brief spell in hospital would have jeopardised my then-fledgling firm.
Since Robyn joined, and we’ve expanded the business, the issue of what happens if one of us is off for a sustained period has become ever more pertinent: we each have discrete responsibilities which mean a prolonged absence would impose an impossible burden on the other one.
Which is why we have recently upgraded our insurance cover with a keyman policy, taken out with Russell Scanlan Insurance, who we’ve known for years.
It covers the financial cost to the company if either of us were to be struck by illness or, God forbid, were to die (though we don’t talk about that). The company is the named policyholder and any pay-out would go into company accounts, so helping to cover payments out, salaries and so forth.
Visiting the in-laws
Like making a will, finishing an interminable novel or arranging to visit the in-laws on Boxing Day, taking out keyman insurance is something a lot of small businesses mean to do but conveniently forget.
I recommend making it a business priority as it has given Robyn and I peace of mind so we know that, if the worst happened, one thing less to worry about would be the business’s financial stability in the short term.
Meanwhile, back on Badger Watch, you’ll be pleased to hear that no wildlife was injured during the making of this anecdote with Mr B escaping entirely unscathed.
Just imagine the opprobrium I would have received from famous Brock-botherer Brian May had I not taken such effective, evasive action . . .