Many companies start out as simple ideas and, because of the owner’s motivation and creative ideas, grow into great enterprises. Ironically, enterprises can become more vulnerable as they grow and become more successful.
There are several possible disasters that can affect your company, and as you expand, you must be prepared to protect yourself. However, by being informed and proactive about preventive measures, you can defend your small business from technical and financial challenges as well as risks to its image. Here are some ways to do that.
1.Protect Against Financial Threats
It’s important you protect your small business against possible lawsuits. Lawsuits can be costly, even if you’re sure it will end in your favour. Remember, you’ll still have to pay for legal services and spend a great deal of time defending your business even if you do win.
So, what should you do?
- Be careful about what you say and do. Avoid doing business with individuals with questionable reputations and history and make sure your company does not get involved in any unethical commercial activities itself.
- Look out for conflicts of interest. Avoid circumstances that could raise suspicions or cast a negative light on your brand’s reputation.
- Give your business a good, comprehensive cover. Be sure you have a comprehensive business insurance plan that will fully protect your business.
2.Evaluate Your Risk Threshold
An unforeseen catastrophe from a fire or natural disaster to something like an economic crash might ruin your business, leaving you with no cash flow or way to keep the business afloat during the recovery period.
- Speak with your insurance agent about what is appropriate for your small business. Every business has unique needs.
- Create a roadmap to resolve any potential situation. When a tragedy happens, you should know exactly what to do with your staff, your clients and yourself. Include any inventory and technology plans in your strategy, as well as how you will inform and deal with your clients.
- Keep your staff, clients, stakeholders and customers well informed about how your business is operating in through the tough time.
3.Keep a Keen Eye on Your Revenue and Profits
Sep any necessary policies, software and other controls that will help to protect your business’ finances.
- Recruit carefully. Conduct background checks and screen all employees and contractors, especially those with access to corporate finances.
- Do a finance audit at least every quarter.
- Request timely payments for goods or services by clients and customers. Payment delays can create issues with cash flow. Insist on payment on delivery within a fair period of time, such as 30 days and have a strategy in place for following up on defaulters.
- Work with a qualified tax or financial advisor. Small companies are qualified for certain tax cuts. Make sure your business can benefit from them.
4.Protect Against Technological Threats
- Understand cybercrimes and the vulnerability of your company. Hackers often target small businesses as they often don’t invest much in digital security.
- Keep all of your intellectual property and data security. Use antivirus software and install a network firewall.
- Recruit an IT expert to conduct a risk assessment and advise on any extra actions required. A data breach could spell disaster for your small business, especially if a hacker can breach your financial information or that of your clients or customers.
- Keep your intellectual property safe and close at hand. Don’t forget to file for Intellectual Property (IP) rights through your government’s department for patents and trademarks.
5.Protecting Against Threats to Your Reputation
- Use social media responsibly. Although most small companies will benefit from Facebook accounts and Twitter profiles, don’t forget that the digital conversation space may include people who are unhappy with your business.
- Promote your goods and services through online conversations and encourage your clients and consumers to share what they like about working with you.
- Don’t overreact to offensive comments. Deleting something that casts a negative light on your small company might only further damage your image. Stay transparent. Have a trusted client or supportive partner respond with a positive story or testimonial to any attacks against your business.
6.Develop a Crisis Communications Plan
You need to be prepared for anything that may damage your reputation. Have a strategic plan in place to respond to clients, media and other interested parties.
You may also consider engaging PR experts. Keeping a PR team on retainer may be expensive for your small business. However, you can explore the option of hiring a professional on a per-project basis.
Having a plan for protecting your business is critical and something that every business should have. By following the steps outlined in this article, you will be well on your way to having a comprehensive plan for your business’ security.