Being an entrepreneur or small business owner is tough enough. However, being a female business owner stacks the deck against you just a little bit more. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to keep your business a little safer. The majority of businesses may fail, but that doesn’t mean you have to be another statistic. In fact, it’s often overlooking some very basic and easy details that cause these businesses to go under.
While CNBC outlines the many reasons businesses fail, focus on what you can do to prevent that. From protecting your brick and mortar establishment from break-ins and burglaries to choosing the right web host to ensure optimal uptime, there are many approaches to take. Here are a few ways to secure your business no matter what your industry:
1. Get a business attorney on your side
There may come a time when you’ll need a business attorney on retainer, but in the early stages of your business at least build a relationship with an expert. Shop around, schedule meet and greets, and choose an attorney who specializes in your industry (and perhaps in working with female business owners). If you run into a legal snafu, you want to have an established relationship with an attorney, not scrambling to get the first one who answers your email.
2. Rely on the services of a business CPA
There’s no reason you should be filing your own taxes. A CPA can help you with quarterly taxes year-round, is always on hand to answer questions (so you know if hiring a new employee is a good idea from a tax perspective), and will get you as many deductions and write-offs as possible. Check out Chron’s list of business taxes to get a sneak peek at what you can expect this tax season.
3. Don’t skimp on brick and mortar security
What would happen if a natural disaster occurred, a break-in happened while you were on vacation, or another worst case scenario? Make sure you have an SOP to safeguard any cash you have on hand, the highest end inventory, and work regularly with an alarm company to make sure you’re covered. Cameras, quality roll-up doors, and a system linked to the local emergency dispatch is crucial.
4. Use the right software and tech to protect sensitive information
Data and security breaches don’t just happen to big companies; they just happen to get the most media coverage. In fact, 2014 may as well have been called the year of the data breaches. Take a look at ZDNet’s list of the biggest hacks and breaches in the past 12 months, and you’ll see why it’s critical to stay on top of your tech security. Even if nothing “really” happens to your customer’s data, you won’t be seen as trustworthy if a breach happens, which can ruin your reputation.
5. Add riders to your insurance policy
Now that you have a business attorney in place, have them take a look at your business insurance policies. You’d be surprised by how many things aren’t covered, such as floods and earthquakes (unless you add them on separately). You’re not required to carry flood insurance unless you do business in a high-risk flood zone as determined by FEMA, and yet the majority of serious floods happen outside these zones. Make sure your protection is up to snuff.
It’s one thing to get your business thriving and quite another to protect it well. However, all it takes is one accident or a little bad luck to take your startup from thriving to dying. You wouldn’t go into the boxing ring without training and protective gear, so why do the equivalent with your business?
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