Thursday, July 27, 2006

Key Person Insurance: Do You Need It?

Does Your Company Need Key Person Insurance? Key man insurance is simply life insurance on the key person in a business. In a small business, this is usually the owner, the founders or perhaps a key employee or two. These are the people who are crucial to a business—the ones whose absence would sink the company.
According to David Tornetto, a financial professional in St. Louis, it all depends on your company’s structure and business continuation plan, as well as the amount of financial hardship potentially faced without a key person.
Not all businesses need key person insurance. In large companies, there may be less likelihood that a single individual or small group is indispensable to a company’s continued success. In one-person firms, however, the business will almost certainly not survive without the principal, no matter how much money is available.
Some partnerships, such as a medical practice, will most likely have a greater need for key person coverage during their early years. As the partners’ pensions, profit sharing, and net worth grow, insurance may become less necessary for the practice’s survival. For businesses primarily concerned about outstanding loans, many lenders offer and even require credit insurance. In such cases, key person insurance might be redundant.
For most small- to medium-sized businesses, however, key person insurance should be considered. To determine whether your business needs this coverage, think about what would happen if an owner or key employee were no longer a part of the business. How much would you lose in revenues, goodwill or expertise? How much would it cost to replace these lost assets?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Take Out Your Computer Trash

Tis the season for a little spring cleaning. Give your PC a little tender loving care and see what a difference it makes. Technology guru and owner of St. Louis-based CIO Services, Wendy Gauntt, said start by taking out the trash.
Is your recycle bin full? Many of us use the Windows Recycle Bin, yet never empty it. And you wouldn’t believe how many temporary files Windows creates to prevent us from losing data. Your hard drive may be storing thousands of unneeded files. Fortunately, there’s a little utility program to help with that. Go to Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Disk Cleanup. The program scans your hard drive to see how much space you can reclaim. Next, it tells you what can be deleted. Generally, it’s safe to empty your Recycle Bin and delete temporary files.
After you’ve deleted all these files, defragment your hard drive. Think of this as reorganizing a bookshelf after clearing out a lot of old books—the missing books leave gaps on the shelves, which you fill when you rearrange the remaining books. A defrag does the same with empty spaces on your hard drive, helping your computer find files more quickly. Go to Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Disk Defragmenter, and let it run. It will take hours to finish, so start it just before you leave the office for the day.