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In the weeks leading up to the end of the year, American culturetakes a nostalgic turn. Magazines, newspapers and TV stationslaunch a cavalcade of stories about the top moments, movies, albumsand books, picking out the highlights and lowlights of the past 12months. Entrepreneurs can – and should – take a cue from thisannual review frenzy.

As the New Year approaches, a thorough business assessment willhelp you outline your greatest hits of the year and give you aclearer picture of where you’re starting after the ball drops inTimes Square.

For many small business owners, the past year has been a wildride. With the volatility of the economy, keeping aforward-thinking perspective is important. By examining the pastyear’s success and shortfalls, you’ll not only be better aware ofwhat went right – or wrong – but you’ll also be able to get anoverview that can spur new ideas and innovation for the comingyear.

Your assessment should necessarily include some creativethinking about how to make the most of the coming year, such as howto improve your marketing efforts, and improve products andservices. It should also include some nuts-and-bolts basics such aspreparing to pay your taxes, managing expenses in the coming yearand ensuring your business insurance meets your company’s needs.

Because an assessment helps you understand exactly how yourbusiness and its needs are changing, you can use it to find newsolutions to perennial concerns. For instance, if you’veexperienced changes in staffing or property, your business insurance needs might have changed, too. The fourtypes of business insurance you may need are generalliability/business property, worker’s compensation, commercialauto, and general business insurance.

Just as you wouldn’t consider driving without auto insurance,general liability and business property should be an essential toolof your business. This type of insurance covers certain lossesresulting from property damage, suspended operations, and liabilityfor injury or property damage to others.

If an employee gets hurt or sick on the job, worker’scompensation will cover certain medical expenses, lost income andrehabilitation expenses. This type of insurance is required inevery state.

If you or employees will be driving a company-owned vehicle,you’ll need commercial auto insurance, which covers certain legalliabilities from a company-owned vehicle injuring someone else ordamaging someone else’s property. Finally, an umbrella policysupplements other types of business insurance to cover catastrophicliability claims.

As you’re evaluating your insurance needs for the New Year, itcan be a challenge to know just which changes to make and how tomake them. Using a tool like American Express’s InsuranceEdge,provided by Bolt(sm), you can get advice and trustworthy optionswith minimal footwork.

Designed specifically for small business owners, InsuranceEdge,provided by Bolt(sm), allows you to get real-time business insurance quotes and purchase customized coverage, allin one place. After you’ve done your business assessment, you cantell a licensed Bolt agent about changes in your business. Whenthey’re armed with that information, he or she can help you find apolicy that meets your needs. You’ll also be able to reviewside-by-side quotes customized for your business by leadinginsurers.

Adjusting to changing times makes your business more nimble in acompetitive market place. When you take the step of conducting ayear-end assessment, you’ll be ready to take on whatever the NewYear brings. For more information about small business solutionsfrom American Express and how InsuranceEdge, provided by Bolt(sm),can help with your business insurance needs,

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