In a fragile economy, any business is at risk but this is no more so the case than with small, independently run companies. There are therefore a number of important measures you should take in order to protect each aspect of your business to maximise its chances of survival in tough times.
A business should never just be bringing in enough money to scrape by as this fragile state not only leaves no room for profit but also means that in the event of a sudden slump in sales, loss of a contract or such like, there is nothing to fall back on. Your business should always have savings to help tide you over when the market slows and these should not simply be your own private savings, as both you and the business have to be able to operate independently of the other: You cannot sacrifice your ability to meet your own bills for the sake of your business’ survival.
Paying a monthly bill for insurance may not sound appealing but it is more than worth it if you ever find yourself in need of a claim. Liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance will help protect you, as will contents insurance if you have an office or work premises with a lot of expensive equipment and materials. Insuring yourself is also important in case of accident or injury, particularly if your business requires you to be physically active.
Aside from monetary insurance, there are other ways to help formally protect your business, such as granting someone general power of attorney. Chances are if you are a small business, you won’t have a lot of managers and employees to keep things ticking over if you were to fall ill or be unable to work for some reason. The general power of attorney allows someone to handle business, financial or personal matters on your behalf, giving you the peace of mind that your business can survive without you in an emergency. Though it can sometimes feel daunting organising legal matters, there are services online to help and guide you through the process and you can seek out free legal advice or practice forms before you actually formally begin any proceedings; it is worth taking the time to make sure everything is done correctly.
Technology has helped business hugely in terms of connectivity, communication and speed of work but it also comes with risks. Aside from insuring your equipment against damage or theft, you should always be sure to install proper anti-virus protection and implement password protection for all accounts and files. It is also wise to have back up files on an external hard drive or disc in case of infection or other unforeseen problems. Even smartphones which are commonly used to send and receive business emails are at risk so protection is more important than ever.
When you are a small business, reputation is everything. With fewer clients to rely on, one bad public incident involving you or the company and everything is at risk. Networking locally is great as is the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to reach further afield but always remember that your personal accounts may well be traceable back to the company and since you therefore represent your business at all times, make sure the image you present is one that is both likeable and approachable.
Infographic created by Clover Network, a retail POS system company