Live Like A Queen And Reap The Royal Results

Let’s talk about that thing no one likes to talk about: getting older. As much as we try to make it slow down, time just keeps plowing forward and it seems we need to run faster to keep up with it. According to the World Health Organization, the average life expectancy of women is 75.6 years, but Queen Elizabeth is 96 and is the first royal to have a reign over 70 year in the UK, which is amazing. While normal people, regardless of gender, can’t have the royal treatment, there are some tips from Queen Elizabeth’s lifestyle that non-royal commoners can incorporate into their own lives to work on extending their life expectancy average.

royal guard
Queen Elizabeth celebrated 70 years on the throne with her Platinum Jubilee. which makes her the longest reigning monarch in the 1000 year history of the British monarchy.

Have a cup of tea (or coffee) in the morning   

The Queen starts her day off as many Brits do – with a nice cup of tea. No matter what your beverage choice is, waking up and relaxing with a cup nestled in your hands is just a great way to kick off your day. It helps you really slow down and smell the roses. The Queen doesn’t add sweetener or milk so if you can avoid it or wean yourself off of it, that is only going to be better for your overall health. Grab a mug, have a moment of zen, and think about what you want to accomplish in the day ahead. It’s a great ritual regardless of royal status or beverage choice.

Eat breakfast

A bowl of cereal is a great go-to breakfast option. The Queen’s choice is Special K but find one that you love and incorporate it into your daily routine.

We’ve heard it all our lives: breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Since breakfast ranges from healthy to horrible, take a page from Queen Elizabeth’s book and stick with a moderately healthy cereal to start your day off on the right foot. Her choice is a bowl of Special K.

While there are healthier breakfast options, there certainly are far worse. As long as you’re steering clear of sugary cereals, a bowl in the morning is a great way to get your day off on the right foot.

Meal plan

Her Majesty is lucky and has chefs who prepare menus for her. They present her with different options 3 days ahead of time. She can approve or change anything she might not be keen on and from there the chefs shop, prep, and cook her meals. Sigh. If only everyone had a personal chef. Since you probably don’t, what can we take away from this? The more prepared you are for meals the less likely you are to make unhealthy decisions. We’ve all been there. We’re staring at the fridge wondering what to make for dinner then just pick up the phone and order a pizza. If you start planning out your meals ahead of time you can be ready at the drop of a hat to make smart meal decisions. Maybe 3 days at a time is not feasible, so start small and try planning out the day. This can help lead to healthier and less spontaneous choices.

Drink in moderation

bar with bottles
The Queen has found ways to imbibe in moderation and you can too.

Alcohol use throughout the pandemic has spiked and whether you’re a drinker or not, it makes sense. People were stuck in their homes with nothing to do and nowhere to go. Lockdown exacerbated people’s desire to reach for the bottle and formed unhealthy habits. If you had a glass of wine once a week, perhaps it evolved into a glass of wine every night with dinner. No matter what happened throughout the pandemic with your drinking habits, it’s never too late to take a step back and change your relationship with alcohol. Be like the Queen and instead of binge drinking, enjoy a nightly cocktail. It’s rumored her favorites are martinis, gin, and champagne. You don’t need to stop drinking altogether if it’s something you enjoy but try to ease up and take notes from Queen Elizabeth, limit consumption to one per day.

While we can’t get the same attention and treatment as Queen Elizabeth, she must be doing something right. Put on your crown, act like the Queen, and try to live a little more like her. You just might be royally surprised at the results!

Are Women Running the Small Business World?

According to Beyonce, women run the world. And while women have made great strides in so many ways, and broken into so many areas that were previously closed off to them, we might not go quite that far yet. But with that being said, when it comes to the world of small business, women are actually kind of crushing it, and have been for a while, although the last few years have meant a lot of major setbacks. So what does the landscape look like for women in the small business world right now, and what kind of help is available to allow women to continue to run things? 

Women in Small Business by the Numbers

Women entrepreneurs have come a long way since the days of nineteenth-century women like Rebecca Pennock Lukens, who became “America’s first female CEO of an industrial company,” and former slave Bridget ‘Bidy’ Mason, who built a West Coast real-estate empire. Those impressive women were outliers in the country at the time, and while there can still be obstacles standing in the way of getting ahead these days, things are looking up, with a few Covid-related caveats (which we’ll look at below). Check out these numbers:women in small business infographic

  • In the last 20 years, the number of female business owners has increased by 114%.
  • According to 2019 numbers from the National Women’s Business Council, that year, women owned nearly 13 million businesses in the United States (around 42% of all companies). Compare that to 1972, when there were only 402,000 women-owned businesses, representing 4.6% of all firms.
  • In 2019, women-owned businesses employed 9.4 million workers and generated $1.9 trillion in annual revenue. 
  • According to a 2021 survey by Small Business Trends, 31% of all small business or franchise owners were women last year, up from 27% in 2020. 
  • Women launch more than 1,200 new businesses every single day in the US.
  • The growth rate of women-owned businesses is 5%.
  • In 2018, women owned 4 out of every 10 businesses in the U.S.
  • In 2017, 1,821 net new women-owned businesses were launched every day. Women of color founded 64% of those new businesses.
  • From 2007 – 2018, total employment by women-owned businesses rose 21%, while employment for all businesses declined by 0.8%. 
  • In 2018, women of color accounted for 47% of all women-owned businesses, employed 2.2 million people, and generated $386.6 billion in revenues.
  • Businesses owned by women of color grew by 163% between 2007 and 2018.
  • Women of color were responsible for 89% of newly created businesses in 2019.
  • The number of businesses owned by Latinx women has grown by 172% in the last 10 years.
  • 30% of women business owners have owned their business for 10 years or more
  • Women are slightly more likely to start a business than men, according to the SCORE report.

Turns out, these days, women are running a lot. But that’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Let’s look at two: the pandemic and funding.

Has the Pandemic Derailed Progress?

The last few years have been tough on everyone, but the pandemic seems to have hit women business owners particularly hard, probably because of the multiple roles women are expected to fulfill, even while running a business.

According to data from Goldman Sachs, almost half of all women business owners, and nearly 60% of African American women small business owners, continue to struggle financially due to the pandemic. A smaller share of men owners (39%) said this. Not only that, but:

business closed down with a sign that says "closed permanently due to covid-19"

  • At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, from February to April 2020, the number of female-owned businesses dropped 25%. 
  • 21% of women-owned businesses experienced revenue loss due to Covid. 
  • Goldman Sachs also found that around 4 in 10 female small business owners are worried the debt they’ve accumulated will hurt their ability to recover – and even more African American owners have this concern.
  • Bank of America’s 2021 Women Business Owner Spotlight found that around half of women entrepreneurs cut their own pay to keep staff members employed during the pandemic.
  • More than half of African American women small business owners said they’ll need to take out a business loan this year; only 27% of their male peers said the same.
  •  7 in 10 women business owners under 45 said they or their employees have been plagued by mental health issues during the pandemic.

But even with all of this bad news, women business owners are optimistic. Despite the challenges they’ve faced in the last few years, a full 77% of women business owners expect their business to survive through the COVID-19 pandemic, and 61% expect their revenues to grow over the next year, compared to 31% last year. Not only that, but 76% of women business owners report being somewhat or very happy, while just 14% report being very or somewhat unhappy.

So women entrepreneurs are continuing, and will continue to triumph, despite the challenges thrown at them. But there is still another issue to look at: the disparities in funding for women’s small businesses. Fortunately, there is some help in that department that women can take advantage of. 

Where Women Entrepreneurs Can Get Help

What does the landscape of funding for women’s small businesses look like now? Well, it’s complicated. While studies show that female-owned businesses are safer for investors, that businesses founded by women earn twice as much money as those founded by men, they have better loan repayment records, and they are less likely to declare bankruptcy than men, female entrepreneurs usually face greater difficulties when it comes to obtaining funds for their businesses, and are submitted to more scrutiny than their male counterparts. According to Sharon Miller, the President of Small Business at Bank of America, “Women think they have to have it perfectly right before they go to the bank. Many men come in without even having a concept.”

And consider this: piggy bank next to a gold money sign and money

  • Women receive an average loan of $39,000, while men receive an average loan of $44,000.
  • Only 25% of women seek financing for their businesses. In contrast, 34% of men look for financing from investors. 
  • Women who do seek funding are successful in 31% of cases, while 34% of men who applied for a loan said that their funding request was approved. 
  • Groupon reports that 54% of women entrepreneurs say they’re held to a different standard than their male counterparts when accessing capital. 
  • Research from the Kauffman Foundation shows women-owned startups pay higher interest rates and take on more collateral than similar businesses owned by men.
  • Of the $130 billion venture capital funds invested last year, companies with a female CEO got less than 3% of the funding. And less than 0.2% of all VC funding went to women of color.

But since around 47% of women small business owners now have less than three months’ cash reserves, having access to capital might just be a make or break thing. Without equal access to capital, women business owners do not have equal opportunities to grow, innovate, or scale, limiting their ability to succeed. 

person at the top of a bar graph grabbing the hand of someone below and helping them up

Fortunately, if you are a woman entrepreneur, there are avenues open to you to help you move forward. First of all, you need to be creative and, as Lakshmi Balachandra, Ph.D., assistant professor, entrepreneurship at Babson College, says “turn the challenges into opportunities.” She recommends networking, seeking out a mentor (and being a mentor in return), buying from women-owned businesses – and, of course, exploring all of your options for capital. 

There are various alternatives open to you for funding your business, including:

  • VC firms led by women or with a solid record of investing in women-owned businesses, like 37 Angels, Belle Capital, and the Women’s Venture Fund. There are also organizations that help connect women with investors, like Astia and Women’s Capital Connection.
  • In partnership with Seneca Women, Bank of America has launched the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory, a platform that helps educate women-owned businesses to “navigate the capital landscape and identify potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt, and grant capital.” 
  • The government’s Small Business Association offers the 8(a) Business Development program that helps small, disadvantaged businesses compete in the marketplace, as well as a Lender Match tool for finding capital. The SBA also hosts  the InnovateHER Challenge every year. Any woman-owned business that offers a product or service that has an impact on the lives of women and their families may be eligible to participate in this challenge.
  • Government-backed Women’s Business Centers offer training to help bridge the funding gap in multiple locations around the country.
  • WomenOwned is a database that allows women to have access to thousands of grants and assistance programs. These grants are all woman-owned and minority-owned small business funding options.
  • The Count-Me-In/Make Mine a Million organization offers a variety of events and grants for woman-owned businesses that are trying to expand their business to over one million dollars in revenue. 
  • KeyBank offers the Key4Women program, which aims to provide women entrepreneurs with capital and financial assistance. Since 2005, KeyBank has lent more than $6 billion with this initiative to woman-owned businesses.
  • Wells Fargo is actually one of the leading lenders for woman-owned businesses. They offer multiple financial solutions designed to support woman-owned businesses, whether they are well-established and looking to grow or just starting out. They also offer lines of credit for woman business owners.
  • The Women’s Economic Ventures Loan Program, established in 1995, works to help woman-owned businesses that do not qualify for traditional bank financing. They offer a variety of different funding options with a fixed rate of 5-10%.

The above resources are just some of the places that are helping to fill the funding gap, and that  women entrepreneurs can turn to for assistance. There are many more, including various small business loans and grants, as well as organizations that cater to specific regions. 

Women have made an enormous impact on the world of small business, despite historical obstacles and disparities in funding. Woman-owned businesses have a high success rate and tend to be a low risk for investors, so it’s time lenders caught up with the times and backed these businesses. Otherwise, they’ll be the ones left behind as women continue to move towards running the small business world. 

What Does a Pandemic Have to Do with Cyber Liability Insurance?

No matter what kind of business you run, cybercrime is always a threat. But there are some very scary statistics surrounding cybercrime attacks in regards to small businesses: according to the 2018 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, 58% of cyber attack victims were small businesses. Not only that, but studies show that 60% of small businesses who needed to suspend operations after a cyberattack were never able to reopen. 

You may be thinking that cyber security isn’t top of your list of priorities right now, but you could be making a very costly mistake. The recent focus on keeping businesses running while also keeping employees safe has actually meant a rise in cyber crime. 

Working from Home

caucasian woman sitting at a table with laptop in front of her
Nearly 35% of people who were working pre-COVID19 were working from home by April.

Face masks, social distancing, toilet paper shortages, everyone has felt the effects of the recent pandemic. One of the biggest changes to many people’s lives has been the switch from working in an office environment to working from home. In fact, according to an MIT study from early April, nearly 35% of people who were working pre-COVID19 were working from home by April. Add that to the roughly 15% of people who were already working from home and you have, by some estimates, close to 50% of the workforce working from home. 

Time will tell whether working from home is here to stay, or whether we will all eventually head back to the office. While there are many who are skeptical that we will become a fully work-from-home economy, there are many who believe that the way we work is forever changed. According to Patricia Strach, interim executive director at the Rockefeller Institute, “this forced work-from-home experience is showing us that work-from-home arrangements are a viable strategy for many businesses and that this is likely to be true even after the crisis is over.”

The Risks

While there are many advantages to working from home, there are also drawbacks. One major disadvantage is that more employees working from home seems to equal a big rise in cyberattacks. One type of attack that is on the rise seems to be directly related to the recent pandemic: phishing expeditions. Businesses have reported receiving a huge amount of phishing emails, which are used to implant malware in a computer that can give hackers an opportunity to demand a ransom or steal data. The phishing links that employees most often clicked on were ones that claimed to be information about the coronavirus. Cybercriminals have been taking advantage of people’s hunger for information on the virus to gain access to business’ data. According to Marc Rogers, head of security at the long-running hacking conference Def Con and a vice president at security company Okta Inc., “I’ve never seen this volume of phishing. I am literally seeing phishing messages in every language known to man.” cartoon os a person in all black with phishing pole tryingo to hook onto a businessman in front of a laptop

So many employees logging in from so many locations also poses a big problem. Without a strong virtual private network (VPN), or if employees are using public networks, then every time someone logs on they are exposing data to hackers. 

Workers are also more likely to click on links or visit websites they wouldn’t normally visit in the office. Not only that, they are all downloading legitimate software like Zoom for meetings – and each time they do so, a cybercriminal has a chance to hack into a company’s computer systems and steal data and passwords. According to Darren McGraw, president of Mechelsen Private Client, “all of a sudden, [so] many employees are scattering and connecting from different directions. So this creates a great deal of opportunity for cyber criminals to jump in where maybe the business hasn’t had a chance to control.

Protecting Your Business

laptops, tablets, and phones all in a circle being used by people, with padlocks all around.
“Firms that will do the best if they’re hit with a cyber attack are the firms that have a robust cybersecurity plan in place.”

It is unfortunate that there are people out there who will take advantage of a crisis to try and make a quick (and illegal!) buck. But it is something that you and your business need to be prepared for. The first line of defense, is, of course, prevention. According to Lisa Lindsay, executive director of Private Risk Management Association, “Firms that will do the best if they’re hit with a cyber attack are the firms that have a robust cybersecurity plan in place that is continually vetted, reviewed and practiced so that employees know the standard operating procedure. If they believe that a breach has occurred or that they may have been infected, they know exactly who to call and what to do in a timely fashion.” In other words, be prepared.

But, as we have seen, unusual times such as we’ve experienced recently often mean that criminals will change their tactics or become more sophisticated. It is important to have the right insurance to protect you in case the worst does happen, because your general liability insurance excludes cybercrime. In these cases, you will need cyber liability insurance, which can cover damages to your customers as well as damages to your business. 

You don’t need to go it alone when it comes to finding the right cyber liability insurance for your business. EZ.Insure is here to help, and will connect you to your own knowledgeable agent. With one of our agents, you never have to wonder if you’re going to get the right protection at the right price. To get started with us – for free – simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or you can speak to an agent by calling 888-615-4893. 

Insurance Providers Cigna, Aetna & Humana Waive Patients’ Share of COVID-19 Treatment Costs

Protecting Americans and their health is a high priority, especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to help keep Americans safe, major health insurance providers are waiving copayments and cost-sharing for patients with the coronavirus. These companies (and all other insurance providers) will also not require copays for coronavirus testing thanks to the $2 trillion CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Safety) Act passed last week. 

woman sitting in a hospital bed with an IV machine connected
Aetna is going to waive costs, but only for hospital admissions related to the coronavirus.

The medical bills that follow treatment for the virus can be astronomical, which is why these providers are stepping in. Cigna and Humana have dedicated themselves to providing the care these patients need without worrying about the cost. CVS Health announced that Aetna is going to waive costs, but only for hospital admissions related to the coronavirus.

The Waived Cost-Sharing Fees

These three insurers have decided to waive cost-sharing associated with COVID-19 treatments, which means a patient will not have to pay their full deductible before insurance takes over. This includes coinsurance as well as copayments. In other words, patients will not have to worry about paying out-of-pocket while getting treated for the coronavirus. These insurers are doing this to allow  people to seek treatment without fear of large medical bills, which may deter some from seeking treatment. This is especially true for the millions of Americans that lost their jobs and cannot afford these kinds of costs.

As of right now, Aetna and Cigna are waiving fees for qualified medical bills through June 1, 2020. Humana has not yet set an ending date for this arrangement.

These insurers have also waived telehealth service fees related to the virus.

Some Will Pay

person's hand holsing a pencil pointing at a bill with a caluculator to the right

Unfortunately, only some people will benefit from these arrangements. If a person is not insured by one of these three companies (or is not insured at all), then they may have to pay for services related to the coronavirus. 

In addition, Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, notes that even some people who are covered by these insurance companies might not be eligible to have their costs waived. “Most of the people who get insurance through employers are in what are called self-funded plans,” he explains. For people in those plans, these announcements don’t apply, since “it’s the employers who are going to be deciding whether patients get cost relief here or not.”

It is also important to note that if a person receives care outside of their health insurance network, they will be billed directly by the hospitals or doctors. The services may end up being covered, but these surprise bills are something to be aware of. 

In this time of crisis, it is important for Americans to have access to the testing for and treatment of this virus. It is the only way to get a handle on the situation, and hopefully slow the progression of the disease.

Business Interruption Insurance and the Rising Risk of Pandemic

“Pandemic” seems to be the word on every one’s lips these days. Recent events, as well as our modern world’s reliance on global travel and trade, have made many think about the risk of illness spreading quickly from country to country. While our first worry is always for the health and well-being of our loved ones and ourselves, it can also become necessary to think about such tragedy’s effect on our businesses. How do businesses protect themselves financially against catastrophic events? And is a policy such as business interruption insurance enough to protect them from the modern risk of disease?

umberella with a money sign under it being covered fromt he rain.
Business interruption insurance helps protect a business during catastrophic events.

Business Interruption Insurance

Is there a type of insurance that helps businesses recoup losses after a disaster? The answer is yes: it is called business interruption insurance. However, this type of insurance is not offered as a stand-alone policy: it can only be purchased as an add-on to property/casualty policies or included in a package plan.

As its name implies, business interruption insurance pays out if your normal operations are halted due to an event such as fire or natural disaster. It replaces income that you would have been getting had your business been up and running. 

The pay-out period usually runs from the time of the event to the time when your insurance company decides the interruption is over – usually when your business is repaired / returned to the same condition as it started. How much you get during that time will be based on your previous financial records.

What Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover?

silhouette of a business man in suit and suitcase with a red line driving downwards behind him.
Business interruption insurance will help your business recover from loss of profits, and more.

Generally, business insurance policies can cover the following:

  • Profits
  • Fixed costs such as operating expenses
  • Temporary location
  • Training costs in case employees need to be retrained on new equipment
  • Employee wages
  • Taxes
  • Loan payments
  • Civil authority ingress/egress, which covers closures and resulting loss of income due to government intervention (such as curfews or street closures because of a covered event like fire)

Are There Limitations?

Business interruption insurance can obviously be very helpful to you and your business in time of need. But now we can look at whether it might be a way to help businesses get back on their feet after a devastating pandemic, or even a pandemic scare. 

As with all insurance policies, business interruption insurance will only pay out if the cause of the loss is covered in the policy. In most policies, a business needs to suffer “direct physical loss or damage.” When most people think of damage to a business, they think of structural damage, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Let’s say, for example, that a business was directly contaminated by a pandemic virus, then you could certainly make the argument that your business was damaged and interrupted by the event.

caucasian woman with a light blue medical mask over her face.

However, the question remains whether businesses closed due to an outbreak can claim on their business interruption insurance. While they will obviously suffer income loss if they have to close their business, it seems unlikely that insurance companies will decide to pay out. They do not consider contagious diseases damage to property, and some insurance companies have even been specifically singling out viruses and bacteria as things that are not covered in their policies. The only other possibility for help might be the “civil authority ingress/egress” coverage. If the government closes all businesses, then perhaps you could argue that they are the cause of your loss.

The best thing to do when considering these uncertain situations is to contact your insurance company and ask lots of specific questions about your coverage. And remember, EZ.Insure is here to help you find the best plan to protect your business. Our services are always free and nobody will ever hound you with endless calls. You have enough to worry about! To get started simply enter your zip code in the bar above, or you can speak to an agent by calling 888-615-4893