How to Best Protect Your Small Business

For many hopeful entrepreneurs, the opportunity to transform their fledgling idea into an inspirational success story for the ages is all the motivation they need to chase their dream. 

Starting a business and watching it grow from humble beginnings can be an immensely rewarding journey, but it is not without its trials. No matter how steep the incline of your profit margins looks on paper, without a reliable security infrastructure to support it, there is a likelihood your enterprise will fall victim to damage from external elements, such as property theft or natural disasters, like fires and floods, or possibly even tornados. 

To avoid the tragedy of having your vision unfairly compromised by criminal activity or having your processes come to a grinding halt as a result of poor optimization, steps must be taken to ensure you protect your small business. 

Running a business is no small effort whatsoever, but once you find your feet and put sufficient measures in place, you may be able to open the path to success. 

Business Insurance

To hopefully let your enterprise thrive, it is important to think about one of the most fundamental ways to prepare your business for the modern world, finding insurance. 

There are many different types of business insurance, so finding the right policies for you is essential when striving to cover yourself against any potentially damaging occurrences. 

Some states will require you to possess certain types of business insurance by law, so in order to avoid a nasty fine, or worse, legal troubles and a nasty fine, checking out the protocol in your local area is vital. 

Your insurance requirements are subject to change depending on the nature of the company you run. For example, if you run a construction business, you may need to find an employer that can cater their policies for the specific type of projects you intend to carry out. 

Even if you work on a self-employed basis, finding an insurer that can account for your individual needs can save you a great deal of money and time in the long run. For a fantastic example of where to turn in this regard, you might want to check out business insurance, as this might be able to give you some extra insight into what to expect from a reliable provider. Plus, the vast range of insurance policies available are designed to help people in a similar position to you who wish to make an exciting start for themselves.

Some important types of insurance to consider might include:

  • Product Liability Insurance
  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance
  • Property Insurance
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Professional Liability Insurance

This is in no way an exhaustive list, but it may help you get some idea of what to go for, even if you do not currently have a need for it. 

Caring for the Safety of Your Employees

Everyone should have the right to feel safe at work, so no matter who they are or which industry they operate in, steps should always be taken by the business owner to make sure that they are well looked after, with a solid workplace design being crucial. 

In the unfortunate event that your employees suffer from an injury at work, there are a few extremely important steps you need to address if you aim to keep your small business safe on the whole.

First and foremost, if your employee is injured on the job, their wellbeing should be your primary concern. Only after their injuries are dealt with, and the area is secured should you start to think about taking the next steps towards recording the situation. 

The more information you can note down about the event, the better, as this can greatly help you out should you need to deal with insurance companies, or maybe even a negligence claim against you. With the right insurance, however, you may be able to rest easy in the knowledge that you and your company will be safe from a potentially damaging lawsuit. 

Negligence Claims

Putting measures in place to protect yourself against negligence claims is exceptionally important if you wish to keep your brand image (and your wallet) safe. Negligence claims can be devasting to a small business, particularly when they are just starting out in the world, as the legal processes involved can be highly expensive and time-consuming. 

Along with ensuring that you make an effort to put an emphasis on the value of health and safety in the workplace, informing your employees of protocol and creating a detailed policy can help operations flow smoothly. 

Obtaining errors and omissions insurance is a must if you wish to make sure you get the best defense possible should any clients decide to make a claim against you. 

Getting Organized

As many a successful business-savvy individual will know, one of the worst kept secrets to running a sustainable company somewhat hinges on management’s ability to remain organized. 

A sprawling mess of assets can prove to be disastrous for any company, particularly when considering its potential consequences, such as loss of inventory and a huge dip in productivity and efficiency. 

If you feel as though your organizational skills could use some work, it is worth bearing in mind the many online tools to help you get used to working in a streamlined manner. Some options worth looking at include Trello, Evernote, Google Docs, and even Pinterest. 

It might also be useful to take a trip down to the realm of the internet of things, especially if you need to track the efficiency of your daily processes and collect data to then use in your decision-making processes. 

For example, wearable, smart technology that can relay information back to a network is a good way to develop an idea of where your business is flourishing and where it needs to be improved. These wearables might come in the form of watches, bracelets, or cameras.

Protecting your small business pertains to protecting your profit margins, and perhaps one of the best ways to do that is by collecting as much data as you possibly can. Data-driven solutions can be made easily once you can visualize the statistics, which can sometimes be done with the help of completely free software applications, such as Google Analytics. 

Hire the Right Candidates

Although you are likely not going out of your way to hire the wrong candidates, it is important to put as much effort into finding as close to the ideal candidate as possible, as a new hiring has the potential to make a huge impact on a small business. 

Hiring candidates can be a daunting process for any small business owner, particularly if you are hiring for a management position. Speaking of which, it is usually best to hire managers first and build up your team from there. This is partly because it gives you a chance to truly utilize the skills an experienced management candidate should possess while capitalizing on their talents to create the perfect team. 

To make sure that you narrow the search down extensively, it is worth searching for candidates whose values align with your own or who represent your desired company culture and emanate a sense of drive and ambition. 

This is not only a good way to protect your business from stagnation, but it can help to secure your brand, particularly if your new employees act as a great ambassadors for the image you hope to put across to the public. 

You may want to think about implementing techniques into your hiring process such as:

  • Multiple Interviews – In some cases, it can be difficult to cram every question or to get a well-rounded idea of somebody’s skill set and personality over the course of a single interview. Moreover, adding extra stages to the process can help assess their willingness to commit to the position. This is not always necessary, however, as sometimes, you can tell fairly quickly whether or not the candidate is suited to your company.
  • Enlisting the Help of Recruitment Services – You may not have the time to conduct a lengthy interview process, so if this happens to be the case, reaching out to recruitment specialists to aid you might be the best way to go. Many fantastic services will have a wonderful amount of experience under their belt and will strive to make sure they find you the best possible people for the job. 
  • Write Down Your Core Values – By showing potential candidates what kind of person you are, which values your company represents, and what you hope to achieve in the future, you can start to draft a job advert that appeals to like-minded individuals. You might find that applications start to look more desirable once candidates know what to expect from the owner. 

If, for any reason, your efforts send you completely astray and you hire a dreadful candidate, this is another area in which insurance cover should be able to help you out. Hiring a new employee might not always be the next logical step as your company begins to grow, however, as the cost of their wages and the hiring process can take a toll on the small business’s financial reserves.

To protect the quality of your company’s products or services during an expansion, seeking out a business partner could be the ideal alternative. This often means offering them a much greater amount of responsibility, but if you find the right person, perhaps a close friend even, it might pay off in the long term. 

Nurturing the Customer Experience

If your brand is not well-received in the eyes of your target audience, or you do not make an effort to appeal to their values, needs, and sensibilities, you could greatly hinder your opportunity to not only expand but make any sales in the first place. 

Protecting your small business means protecting the integrity of your brand. This is a crucial point to remember on your journey to the top, as many companies neglect to nurture the customer experience and usually end up paying a high price. 

This is, in many ways, great news for you and your company, as it gives you a real chance to stand out among your competitors and make a name for yourself as someone who delivers exceptional customer service. This can be a wonderful selling point while at the same time helping your employees feel good about the kind of work they are doing. 

Depending on your line of work, and if your business operates well within the public eye, it might even be worth thinking about adopting a PR crisis control strategy, as this could save your brand from any lasting damage. 

There are many elements to nurturing the customer experience, a number of which can relate directly to positive sales figures. You may want to think about such methods as:

  • A Well-Functioning, Well-Maintained Website – An outdated website can spell disaster for your brand and your products, so taking steps to improve your digital storefront is a must.
  • Followup Emails – The customer experience does not end the second that they buy from you. In fact, in many ways, their journey has only just begun. Follow-up emails can be a good way to gain feedback, learn about your audience’s purchasing behavior, and countless other benefits. 
  • Just Be Kind – For some reason, people find this rather difficult, yet kindness can travel a great distance, in and out of the world of business. 
  • Make Yourself Available – If you have ever had to wait on hold for an extended period of time, there is a chance you will have become fairly disappointed (putting it mildly) with the company in question. Making yourself available and accessible to customers with queries can help your own enterprise avoid this dilemma.

Build a Financial Buffer

Businesses can, unfortunately, have a nasty habit of being unpredictable. This could be down to a multitude of factors, such as a market crash, a faulty or dangerous product, a PR meltdown, or fierce competition. 

Making sure you have a financial buffer can help protect your company from unforeseen, expensive events while hopefully allowing you the peace of mind you deserve to realize your ultimate goal of running a successful, profitable business.
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