When you spend your life building up your business, you want to make sure that what you have put all your time and energy into is protected. You likely made a fair financial investment in building your business, so you have assets that you need to protect as well.
There are a number of common risks that most businesses find themselves facing at some point or another. It is always best to be proactive about protecting your business instead of waiting for the worst to happen. By mitigating risk in this way, you can save yourself a great deal of time, hassle, and money down the line.
It is important to note that depending on what type of business you run and the sort of industry you work in, there might be risks that you must plan against that are specific to the work that you do. It is always best to have a risk assessment done by an industry professional to help guide your decisions regarding risk management.
That being said, most businesses face several common risks that you should look to familiarize yourself with in order to keep your company protected. Here are just a few such ways in which you can effectively protect your business and your investment in what you have built.
1. Have a Plan to Protect Your Business
It is essential to know what sort of challenges you might face as a business owner so that you can prepare as much as possible for the various risks that might impact things. Once you know what risks you need to prepare against, you can make a plan for how to proceed should the worst occur.
Things that you should consider including in your plan might be what steps you are going to take if legal matters arise.
For instance, if you find that you are having a lawsuit brought against your company, you should know what lawyers you are going to have to represent you, and you might need in the way of an expert witness. You can find such witnesses for specific matters, such as a real estate expert witness from Segal Commercial.
In the end, having plans in place for how you are going to handle emergencies and challenges as and when they arise can help you to resolve them quickly and with as little disruption to your business as possible.
2. Be Transparent
When it comes to legal matters in general, a lot of risks can be avoided by adopting a practice of transparency with all that you do. Typically, when businesses are inadvertently or purposefully vague with their terms and conditions, problems can occur.
In order to avoid putting yourself in a difficult situation, make sure that you are as clear as can be when it comes to your terms and conditions and any other official agreements that you make with your customers. You should apply the practices to any agreements that you have with your vendors and partners as well.
It is also worth noting that you should be practicing complete transparency with your employees as well. You want to ensure that you and your employees are on the same page and understand fully what your responsibilities and obligations towards one another are. This can help to mitigate any risk that might arise regarding disagreements or misunderstandings between you and your employees down the line.
3. Don’t Take on Too Much
When you run a small business, it is vital for you to understand where your strengths lie. It can be tempting at times to try to break into other areas and bring in additional sources of revenue. However, in doing so, you might be drifting too far from your original mission.
Essentially, it is best to specialize in what you do. By focusing all of your efforts on perfecting the services and products that you currently offer, you can avoid having the quality of your work diminished. Not only will this help you to keep your current customers happy, but it can help you also to attract new customers. By making yourself the go-to business in what you specialize in, you can be seen as the authority in the market.
4. Consider Your Intellectual Property
You are probably already aware of how important it is to patent your original products. However, you might not have given much consideration to those aspects of your business that consist of intellectual property.
Intellectual property, or IP, includes all things that you have come up with for your business that are intangible, so to speak. It doesn’t encompass your product designs and the like but rather the creative ideas that you come up with for your business. Things like your branding and name fall under the umbrella of your intellectual property.
In order to avoid any issues regarding the misappropriating of your IP, you should acquire the necessary legal protections over that aspect of your business. This will help protect you from others using your brand for their benefit or for claiming credit for your ideas.
Make sure to talk to an attorney who specializes in IP so that you can ensure that your ideas and intangible concepts are safe.
5. Train Your Workers to Protect Your Business
You aren’t the only one involved in your business who should be shouldering the responsibility of protecting your company. Your employees should also have the appropriate training necessary to make sure that they aren’t inadvertently putting the business that you have built at risk.
The first things that you will want to address when training your team are all safety matters that pertain to the way that your business operates. Not only do you need to ensure the safety of your employees while on the job, but you also want to avoid leaving your business open to liability should something happen.
Other aspects of employee training should address the safety of your customers. Whether that involves the proper assembly of products or making sure that your location is safe for your customers to be in, this should be one of your top priorities.
It is also a good idea to run refresher training for your team every so often. This is particularly important to do if some aspect of running your business changes or alters in some way. Making sure that everyone is on the same page and up to date on all things related to safety is one of the best ways to avoid risk at your company.
6. Secure Digital Data
There is a reason why the cybersecurity realm has seen a massive boost in recent years. The fact of the matter is that any company that has digitally stored data then they will also need protection for that data. Moreover, there are few businesses in this day and age that don’t have digital data or servers as part of their operations.
If you haven’t updated your systems’ cybersecurity recently, now is the time to look into doing so. Keeping such data safe is incredibly important. Even information as common as names and email addresses should be treated with the utmost sensitivity.
Data pertaining to your customers isn’t the only data that you need to keep secure. Your systems also store the private and confidential information of your employees. This needs to be kept safe and secure as well.
Make sure that you are working with a reliable IT support group that will keep all aspects of your cybersecurity safe and up to date. This will help you to mitigate the risk associated with digitally storing data and information.
7. Get the Right Insurance to Protect Your Business
The insurance policy that you have for your business is one of your biggest lines of defense when it comes to protecting your business. Even if you took out an insurance policy when you first started your business, you might very well need to address any changes to your company that could have altered your insurance needs.
As your business grows, so too do your needs in regard to your insurance policy. You want to protect everything that you have developed and all of the growth that you have facilitated. If it has been some time since you have done so, make sure to have a conversation with your insurance provider about whether or not all of your bases are truly covered under your existing policy.
Running a business of any kind is no easy feat. You have to stay on top of a variety of things pertaining to the manner in which your business operates. Despite how many things you have to keep track of, though, it is vital that you do what you can to protect your business and reduce the amount of risk involved in running your company as much as possible.
Ultimately, by covering your assets from a legal standpoint, making sure that everyone under your employ is properly trained for the positions they hold, and by keeping your digital data safe and secure, you can effectively protect your business from some of the more common risks.
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.