Archive for February 16th, 2011

Dear Danielle: Any Recommendations for E&O Insurance?

Dear Danielle:

I have my own Real Estate Transaction Coordination business and am searching for a good E&O insurance policy. Any recommendations you can give me? I have shopped around, but the prices are pretty high at $1000/yr. I cannot afford that quite yet, but do have an indemnification clause in my contracts–would that suffice at this point? I am getting more and more quotes this week and next. How do I determine the right coverage for my business? I want to make sure I’m protected. Any advice? Thanks!! –MP

Thanks for the question. $1,000 a year is pretty much the going cost for E&O insurance right now. But keep in mind, this kind of stuff isn’t an expense, it’s an investment in the protection of your business and you get to write those costs off at the end of the year come tax time.

Here’s a blog post I did awhile back on the topic of business insurance that you might find helpful: Dear Danielle: What Insurance Do I Need?

Regarding your question on the indemnification clause, only an attorney could advise you legally on that. When it comes to legal questions, you always want to refer to an attorney. Relying on the advice and opinions of those who are unqualified and unlicensed to legally answer your law-related questions is never a good idea in business.

As far as the right coverage amount for your business, that’s something that can only be determined between you and your insurance agent as every business owner’s situation is different and different insurers offer different plans and coverages. Sorry I can’t be more helpful on that; with this kind of subject, you really do need to go directly to the source to get your questions answered. But do read my blog post above as that will help give you some valuable guidance when it comes to your business insurance.

All my best!

Here’s Some Abject Stupidity

Alan Weiss, the self-styled king of consulting, tells business owners they should “do it themselves and save time.

So if an attorney emails him about a matter, is he going to say, “Tell your client to call me himself!”

Of course not. That’s patently ridiculous. He may be the absolute genius when it comes to consulting, and I definitely respect his knowledge in that, but on this point he is dead wrong.

There’s absolutely no difference between clients having their Administrative Consultant take care of certain matters on their behalf and having their attorney or accountant or any other kind of professional handle matters related to what they were hired to do.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with one person’s time being more important than another person’s.

It has everything to do with that client who works with an Administrative Consultant being a smart business person who knows that his time and energy levels are finite commodities.

That business person realizes he shouldn’t be spending his own personal time on certain details, but instead should prioritize and reserve those limited resources for taking excellent care of clients and focusing on marketing and revenue generation. He knows he is able to give more personal support and higher quality service to his clients when he doesn’t squander those things trying to do everything himself.

But Weiss’s position is that if you’re going to say you are a solo, you should be COMPLETELY solo. And that’s just ridiculous.

Solo doesn’t mean you literally do everything yourself. It just means that you are the primary brain power and craftsman in your business.

Using his logic, solos would never hire ANY professionals whatsoever to help them in their business. They wouldn’t hire an attorney, an accountant, a bookkeeper or literally anyone.

Again, patently ridiculous. No man is an island and that man’s business and clients will suffer if he tries to be. Guaranteed.

Choosing to be supported (and in some cases coached and advised) administratively by an Administrative Consultant is no different than hiring any other kind of independent professional to help in their business. We are hired for our expertise of administrative support and guidance in those matters.

However, this once again underscores the fact that the term “virtual assistant” is completely misunderstood and does us a great disservice by causing people to automatically perceive that we are “mere” assistants or lackeys.

If that person’s accountant had contacted him for the information, I really doubt he would have had the same attitude. He automatically has less professional respect because he views us as some kind of underlings—much like a maid or butler—and all because of the term “virtual assistant.”

But as business owners and professionals who are hired for our particular expertise and support, we are no more assistants to our clients any more than an accountant or attorney or bookkeeper is an assistant to their clients.

Of course, to be fair, there are some real turkeys in our industry who seemingly have no brain cells with which to think independently or critically and take initiative.

Those folks do give us a bad name. And it’s the reason why I see the smarter, more experienced people in our industry—the ones who have professional self-esteem and view themselves as true business owners and masters of the expertise of administrative support—embracing the term Administrative Consultant as a better representative and more respectful name for who we are and what we do.