You work hard to keep your small business afloat and to make it a success. Whether you’re a startup or you are well established, you should be doing everything you can to protect your business so that all of that time and money you’ve invested doesn’t go to waste. There are several potential hazards that could sink your business, and you need to have layers of defense to keep it secure at all times.
A defense for your business can take many forms. The primary purpose is to prevent anything that might harm your business or cause you to have to close it down. In the end, it’s all about finances. If something negative happens and you are not properly equipped to manage it financially, then your business could be in big trouble. Here are some of the most important layers of defense you can have for your small business.
Get an Attorney
This is a tough one for a lot of businesses, who might feel they don’t have the money to invest in a lawyer. However, having a good lawyer can save you a lot of difficulty down the road. For one, if you are a startup, you may have certain laws and regulations to which you need to comply. They may not be obvious, and a legal expert would be able to navigate you through everything.
Whether you are getting the right licenses, applying for zoning permissions, or having issues with employees, an attorney will provide you with the guidance and advice you need to ensure your business is protected. The last thing you want is a lawsuit or legal penalties to make it impossible to run your business.
Speaking of lawsuits, even with an attorney, there is always the chance that you will be subject to one. Someone can sue you for any number of reasons. They may think that you’ve slandered them, for example. Or, someone could get injured while on your property, or there has been a data breach that has led to a loss for a client. Whatever the reason, even if you did nothing wrong, a lawsuit can get expensive.
General liability insurance can protect you against the potentially devastating effects of a legal action brought against you. You can get compensation for legal fees, witness costs, and even the eventual damages if you are found negligent. Liability insurance will provide medical bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages, and anything else the courts find suitable to award to the complainant. Even if successful, you will still have costs if you are sued, and they can run into the hundreds of thousands, in some cases. Make sure you have the right insurance to protect your business.
Not all threats are financial. You also should be protecting the physical location of your business. You probably have locks on your doors, but it’s never a bad idea to install a camera system, depending on the nature of your business and its location. Businesses that are in visible and busy locations are less likely to be victims of theft and vandalism, so try to choose a location that is highly trafficked.
Install smoke detectors and a fire alarm, and have extinguishers throughout the building. A sprinkler system is better protection against larger fires. There should always be at least two points of exit for everyone in the building in case of emergency. A safe will not just protect any cash you have on site, but it can also protect important physical documents from theft, fire, water, or any other hazard. Do whatever you can within your budget to make your work space safe for you, your staff, and your clients.
It’s pretty much impossible nowadays to have a business that doesn’t use digital storage in some way. It could be for your purchasing solution, your customer files, or the applications that you and your employees use every day to get work done. If you are not careful, you could be the victim of a data breach. Hackers and criminals can use that data for illicit things, such as identity theft. There is also the risk of ransomware, which infects your network and prevents you from accessing anything. The perpetrators will then ask for a ransom for you to get access to it.
To protect against these threats, you must take great care to create a culture of security at your business. Make sure that you and your employees are trained to spot suspicious emails and to never download something of unknown origin. You must have complex passwords, with a different one for each account an employee uses. That way they will be more difficult to guess, and you can keep scammers from getting into your data.
Hire an Accountant
One of the most important things that a small owner can do to protect their business is to keep a close eye on spending and revenue. However, this is also a time-consuming task, and it takes something with financial expertise to do it effectively. If you struggle with the accounting side of things, or find that you don’t have the time, then hire an accountant or a bookkeeper to do it for you.
They can track things on a regular basis, and provide you with up-to-date information whether you ask. If you do it yourself, you might get behind and make mistakes as you rush to catch up when you need information. An accountant will also be able to provide you with projections and spot troubles before they become crises.
After you’ve put in your blood, sweat, tears, and funds into a small business, you certainly don’t want it to be ruined because of outside forces. Luckily for you, there are several steps you can take to protect your business both financially and physically. By adding on layers of defense, you can make sure that your business is able to survive and thrive even when trouble hits. Besides, you can never put a price on your peace of mind.