5.8.2021

How To Protect Your Business

Written by Aine Hendron

protect

Within the hustle and bustle of daily operations, it can be easy to push elements like safety and protecting your business to the back of your mind. Whether you’re a startup or an established business, or a startup, it’s always a good time to lay the groundwork for an all-around safe business.

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to ensure that employees and customers have a safe working environment. However, knowing how to protect your business goes beyond health and safety. This guide covers five essential pillars for a secure business: legal protection, brick-and-mortar building protection, financial protection, staff safety, and data security. 

Legal Protection

Legal protection for your business can seem like an unnecessary expense while budgeting your business. However, it’s crucial for when something does go wrong with either customers or staff, or simply for if you need some advice.

Hire a solicitor (attorney)

When setting up a business, it’s a good idea to consult a solicitor for advice on the legal side of things. They can advise you on the right type of business entity for your company idea, whether it be a sole proprietorship, franchise, or limited liability company. They can also help you acquire the correct licenses, make sure you are legally registered with the appropriate bodies, as well as help you finalize agreements about your building premises [1]. 

Expert legal advice is also useful if your business is expanding, changing ownership, or seeking investment.

Try to find a solicitor specializing in small business issues, preferably through recommendations from other entrepreneurs or thorough research.

Legal protection and expense insurance

There are countless insurance policies available for small businesses; however, legal protection insurance (LPI) or legal expense insurance (LEI) is something that you’ll not want to skip. If hiring a solicitor doesn’t seem financially feasible for your business, you should consider taking our insurance to cover legal protection costs. 

Typically, LPIs can provide cover for unforeseen legal expenses relating to employment or property. They can also help you access expert legal advice for more serious issues, such as commercial contract disputes, employment tribunals, or claims [2].

Property protection

If your company operates from brick-and-mortar premises, many of your valuable assets will be tied to the building. 

Commercial property insurance 

Commercial property insurance offers cover for two essential elements: building insurance and business contents insurance. 

Contents insurance protects things like stock and equipment. This proves the importance of having an accurate stock count, and a detailed record of all inventory and devices kept at your business at all times. 

Buildings insurance includes the cost of repairs or damage to the actual building itself. As you might expect, this will cover subsidence, flooding, fire, and acts of God. You should seek an insurance policy that also protects against theft damage or issues that could be deemed as ‘preventable’, such as burst pipes or severely damaged flooring. Some insurance companies include riot damage in their premium, too. 

Security equipment and CCTV

First of all, choosing a good location for your business is vital for your company’s success and security. For the building itself, make sure to schedule annual building inspections to prevent minor problems escalating into costly repairs down the line. There are some great pieces of safety equipment you should invest in to protect your building, regardless of business type or geographical location. 

External and internal security cameras are highly recommended. Having these in place will make the legal element of resolving a theft or property damage a lot easier and reduce the price you pay for building insurance. 

Choose appropriate security equipment for your business. This includes proper locks, shutters, hammer glass, safes, and motion-triggered lights, and sensors that automatically send a warning if triggered at a set time of night. You’ll also want emergency equipment readily accessible, such as fire extinguishers.

Financial protection

Your finances are probably deemed the most important aspect of your business, especially if your personal assets are tied in. Secure your bottom line and income by taking adequate financial protection measures.

Bookkeeping and accounting

You’ll want an accurate overview of your finances at all times. The best way to do this is to undertake daily or weekly bookkeeping. While this seems like an arduous task, simply hiring a bookkeeper can save you hours of receipt collection and reflection. 

The more affordable solution is to invest in point of sale (POS) software with bookkeeping and accounting integration. Your invoices and sales data will feed into bookkeeping records, ensuring accuracy down to the penny on where exactly money is being spent and where it’s coming from.

This will also streamline end-of-year taxes and provide a more precise overview of how to proceed with business spending. Accountants can advise on small business loans or other ways to finance expansion, ways to improve cash flow, how much to pay yourself, and how to budget your overall finances.

Contracts and payment agreements

It’s important to conduct a credit check if you offer long-term services to a customer or take on a new business-to-business (B2B) customer. This will help you assess your proposed payment plan with your customer and protect your business against unpaid invoices.

It’s essential to draw a contract before getting into business, regardless of whether you’ve worked with the client in the past or if they have a history of positive references. If things turn sour or payments are late, a written contract will keep both parties safe, and may be the only thing that ensures you are paid for your time and resources. 

Employees

It’s the business owner’s duty to keep employees safe while they are working. At the same time, you should also consider ways to keep yourself and your business safe if something goes wrong during your staff’s employment. 

Health and safety

You have a duty of care while staff are working. While providing initial training, show staff emergency exit routes, and conduct a rundown on fire and emergency procedures. Fire and theft drills should also be carried out regularly.

While it’s not always a legal requirement, you should consider taking a first aid course and offering first aid training to staff members. If you have a larger workforce or you’re not always present during opening hours, you should appoint designated first aiders and fire wardens.

Have a standard customer complaint procedure to emotionally protect staff from difficult customers. A zero-tolerance policy will also demonstrate that your company puts staff safety and comfort first and will never accept abuse or attacks from customers or members of the general public. 

Human resources (HR)

The size and nature of your company will determine whether or not you need an HR person or department. HR handles employee contacts and policies, payroll, training, promotion, and paid leave. 

An HR manager can make sure you’re up to date with all the latest changes to employment law. As well as this, employee disputes and complaints sometimes require HR intervention. The consequences of handling disputes poorly could result in you being sued or reputational damage [3].

Business data

Your data is one of the most important assets of your business. Unfortunately, many companies ignore data backups until it’s too late. Your data contains vital information such as staff details, customer payment information, and internal business accounts. The price of losing this information in a data breach is unthinkable.

Secure software

Securely save your business data in the cloud, an online encrypted database. The benefits of using the cloud include giving business owners more control over their data and information. For example, in a break-in, you can withdraw access to the data saved on your computer or POS. Cloud data can also be accessed remotely, meaning that you can check on your business outside of working hours.

Since data is stored online, abnormalities in spending are automatically detected, or at the very least, will be shown on your POS reports. This protects against shrinkage and loss of valuable assets, as well as better financial protection. 

Antivirus

52% of businesses admit that employees are their biggest weakness in IT security [4]. Make sure to use strong passwords and have reliable antivirus software in place. This will mitigate the risk of a data breach even further.

Secure equipment and data

Epos Now offers industry-leading point of sale software and hardware to businesses in the hospitality and retail sector. Our hardware is PCI 5 compliant, meaning it’s been proven to protect against security breaches and payment card data theft. 

  • Powered by cloud POS software.
  • Automate routine tasks and deliver innovative business insights, saving hours while granting business owners unrivaled flexibility and control. 
  • Equipped with advanced inventory management software, providing owners and employees with complete visibility over stock levels.
  • Automate purchase orders and stock level warnings so you never run out of what you need.
  • Increase sales, boost efficiency and satisfy even more customers with detailed business insights. 
  • Use intelligent sales reports to identify your best and worst-sellers and high-margin items, or view sales trends by time.
  • Connect with over 100 leading integrations.

Get in touch with Epos Now today to request a callback.

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