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Five Reasons Bay Area Businesses Fail

Most entrepreneurs go into business thinking they are going to have a jump start, be successful and build their empire. Reality dictates that this is a rare occurrence. Even young companies require time to incubate and grow into thriving businesses, profitable or not... If you are a visionary starting your business you are likely taking time to make the right decisions. At BayRisk Insurance Brokers, we have the opportunity to see many businesses come and go; to succeed and fail. In speaking with some of our clients that have succeeded and learning from those that have failed we have concluded that most wish their hindsight was better in these areas:

  1. Doing Enough Research Before Launching- Every new business is excited to show themselves off and hit the ground running, but without the proper research you could be making a premature move. Your business has plenty of brain power, but hiring independent consultants that are experts in market research and demographics could be the best investment you could make early on. Not only will you learn how to market and to whom, when and why, but you could learn that yourr your demographic is not quite ready for your product or service. Don't be the next Apple Newton (yes, even Apple can make mistakes).
  2. Paying Enough Attention to Market Trends- So you've done your research and launched because the world is ready. All too many businesses have failed because they do not prepare themselves for market trends. If you are selling a product or providing a service, be ready to change. It's easy to get tunnel vision when times are good, but not paying attention and adapting to change is a recipe for failure. One day your widgets may be talk of the town and you go through rapid growth, but unless you plan for constant improvement or added products or features, you may be hosting a garage sale to make money with your widgets in it.
  3. Investing In the Business- Some businesses get off to a great beginning then start spending on new staff, new office space, fixtures and furniture.Before they know it there is no retained earnings and no capital toreally grow the business. They may look for private or angel investors, but then make themselves vulnerable to losing equity and possibly control of their company.
  4. Hiring Practices- Many business owners make great visionaries. However, just because they can start a company doesn't mean they make good Human Resources managers. Hiring the right people can be a science and this is a costly area to make mistakes. Consider using a staffing firm or hiring one person as your HR manager that can assist with hiring, management and firing if necessary. Employees are your most valuable assets, but sure you hire wisely and manage just as wisely.
  5. Having the Right Insurance- Come on you had to know I would throw that in the mix. Many businesses fail because they fail to protect themselves. The cost to defend your company in a lawsuit could be enough to put you out of business. Smart business owners work with smart insurance brokers to get the right coverage. A local and knowledgable insurance broker can help you avoid accidents from happening and protect you if they do.

We rarely see a Bay Area startup go from Bootstrap to Bugatti overnight, but love to see it happen. Don't let hindsight get the best of you and keep you from being the next success story! 

Professional Society Recognizes Local Insurance Agent

The Society of Insurance Counselors (CIC) recently honored Denton Christner of BayRisk Insurance Brokers, Inc., Alameda, CA for dedication and leadership in the insurance industry. 

Denton Christner was awarded a certificate of achievement, recognizing five consecutive years of active affiliation with the Society of CIC. The CIC designation carries meaningful prestige in the insurance profession as it signifies commitment to advanced knowledge and customer service. 

The Society's President, Dr. William T. Hold, CIC, CPCU, CLU, cited, "This accomplishment denotes outstanding achievement within the insurance profession. The high standards maintained by Denton Christner will reflect positively on clients, associates and the insurance profession as a whole."

The Society of CIC is the founding program of The Nation Alliance for Insurance Education & Research, the nation's leading source of continuing education programs for the insurance and risk management industries. Other members of the organization include the Society of Certified Insurance Service Representatives (CISR), the Certified Risk Manager Program (CRM), and The National Research Academy. 

We at BayRisk Insurance Brokers congratulate Mr. Christner on this achievement and his dedication professional advancement in the insurance industry.  


Technology Start-Ups Are A Reality

The television network channel, Bravo, just launched it's reality show Start-Ups Silicon ValleyThe premire was last night followed by an after party at RF80 in Potero HillThe show is gaining criticism of it's glamorous description of Silicon Valley young technology professionals. The show is a brainchild of none other than Mark Zukerburg's sister,  Randi Zuckerburg. Sure every start-up has visions of mansions, angel investors, stock options and budget less spending. However, most if not all Bay Area tech start-ups begin with work filled days and nights powered by cup-o-ramen and caffeine.

It is great to see the Bay Area featured in a television series and there is some truth to the glamour that comes with successful start-ups, but we just want to acknowledge some of the hardest working young professionals in the world who live in our backyards (sometimes literally). These technologically smart and savvy have poured their hearts into their businesses with no guarantees of payout our recognition. We happen to insure many small technology businesses and find that the founders are possibly be the most passionate business people around. 

Maybe the term "reality show" is used too loosely these days. Is it really a reality that any of us will be ever be stranded on an island fighting for a million dollars or racing around the world with cameras in our faces? I believe Zuckerburg's show is likely far from reality, but probably highly entertaining as she addressed her critics, “If you don’t like strong, beautiful women… if you don’t like watching hot people having fun in a nice house,” don’t bother tuning in. 

Blogger Savvy Spice, from Silicon Valley herself summed up a good reason to watch, "The show is about entrepreneurs and what it’s like to start and run your own company. If you’ve ever wanted to start your own biz, this show is a REAL inside look even if it is edited by Bravo!"


Rebuilding The Three Little Pigs Homes

BayRisk Insurance was recently asked by to advise on the coverage and replacement cost of the three little pigs homes.... We thought this was a great article concept and were happy to be included... In case you ever wondered about this, or even if you haven't, here is the answer:


Is There A Tech Bubble Happening?

BayRisk Insurance Brokers specializes in technology accounts. We protect software, hardware, internet and technology consultants to name a few. We have seen a recent surge in our clients adding staff, adding space, buying buildings, and an overall growth in revenue. This is great news! We love to see small technology based businesses succeed. However this raises the question of are we looking as the next technology bubble? Here is an article just on the subject...

Tech bubble? Not yet, but don’t get too excited either

There are rumblings around town about a tech bubble like the one that burst following the dot-com boom in the late 1990s. Yet while tech growth in San Francisco has unquestionably fueled the economic recovery here, there is insufficient evidence to make the case for a bubble. Nonetheless, it is not too early to start thinking about what a bust could mean for the economy.

At the annual San Francisco Chamber of Commerce ForecastSF event, Wells Fargo Securities chief economist John Silvia presented data showing that high-paying tech jobs are boosting housing prices. The last time San Francisco saw rents increase like this was during the dot-com boom, and we all remember how that ended.

But there are stark differences between the last boom and this one. For instance, Silvia noted during an interview that a lot of money was thrown at startup companies in the last tech boom, and IPOs were the norm even for businesses that had barely gotten off the ground.

This time around, they are the exception, and even high-profile IPO flops like that of Facebook tend to be connected to real companies with real revenue streams. The majority of the companies raising big money now are ones whose products are already used by large numbers of people.

Mayor Ed Lee, who has positioned tech at the forefront of his economic plans, also believes that talk of a bubble is unwarranted. He said the rush of tech jobs is filling vacancies in office space because of the economic downturn, not building new buildings for companies.

“I don’t think we are really started yet, therefore any predictions of us being in a bubble, to me, don’t even have a premise yet,” Lee said. “We still have a ways to go to fill all of the vacancies.”

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner here...


San Francisco Housing Market: Wait For The Bubble To Burst?

"Your best bet is to hunker down and wait for the imminent burst, unless you’re looking to sell. In that case we’d advise you to take advantage of the bubble." 


The market percentage of distressed properties is by far the largest problem for anyone trying to move to the city–the number has dropped so ominously low that it’s becoming impossible to find an affordable home in the city. Read more