Having peace of mind when it comes to you and your business is certainly something welcomed. Running a business has many more risks to it than having a typical 9-5 week, working for another company. So with that in mind, what steps can you take as a business owner to protect yourself and your company going forward. Here are some tips on how to protect you and your business.
Separate Yourself From The Business
It’s a great feeling to be part of the business and for people to think of you as the owner when they think about the company. However, as a company grows, the risk of going bankrupt never goes away. It’s always possible, and therefore, if you land yourself in financial or legal trouble you become part of the collateral damage. Ideally, it’s good to separate yourself from the business by getting a DBA. What is a DBA exactly? Well, it stands for ‘doing business as’ and you effectively do your work under a fictitious business name. A lot of business owners will do this to remain a separate entity, rather than using their own name. It’s a stepping stone before potentially setting your company up as a trust or some legal way that helps protect your personal assets from being counted in if the business was to ever get into trouble.
It’s really important to put some distance between yourself and your business. At the end of the day, no one can predict what happens to an industry or market in particular. You could be fine one day, but the next could be when something terrible happens. Perhaps an ex-employee files a legal claim, or a big campaign falls flat. It’s always good to give yourself some space.
Protect Yourself Online
Protecting yourself online is now just as important as in the real world. There are so many dangers on the internet where businesses are falling to scams or hackers who end up stealing or destroying confidential information that can be detrimental to the business, often holding it for ransom. This can break even the biggest companies, so it’s important to protect you and your staff when it comes to using your business online. Whether that’s using complex passwords as a common practice or engaging your staff in training to help spot potential phishing scams via e-mail or spotting a dodgy website. Having the right anti-malware to protect your computers and ensuring you encrypt and back up data is always important.
An Emergency Fund Is Crucial
Having a savings account comes in handy for most people, both personal and in business. An emergency fund is something that can be crucial for a business to have in the event that financial trouble comes your way. As the company grows, so too does the staff; perhaps you purchase a bigger office, get more equipment, etc. There’s just much more to lose and it all costs money. When it comes to the business budget, you should be allocating some percentage of profit into this emergency fund. It should be an account that is not touched under any circumstances and only used when needed — in an emergency. Let’s hope that you never have to use it, but the weight it lifts off your shoulders will certainly be noticeable. No amount is really enough, but you want to aim for enough that can end up paying off your debts, including your staff’s wages. Every business has bad days, so it’s very wise to have an emergency fund.
Be Wise With Risk-Taking
Without risk, it’s likely that you remain in the same position. Being slightly out of your comfort zone is where you can find success. But a risk is just that, and it can be very easy to make the wrong decisions in business that can end up having a negative impact on the company’s growth and future. So when it comes to risk-taking, be wise and assess the pros and cons. If it’s something you can afford to do right now, knowing you have the money in the bank to cover yourself if it fails, then take it. If you believe that it can only help boost your company in some way, it’s worth doing. However, if there are any doubts, then you should trust your gut and speak to your team or look elsewhere.
Opportunities will always come around, but there are certain ones that may pose a risk but are still not worth missing. Remember, any doubts should be discussed with the relevant team members of your organisation.
Make Sure That You’re Fully Insured
There are a number of insurances that you need to take out on your business to operate safely and within the right side of the law. This may, of course, differ depending on what type of business you run. However, there are a few basics that most companies will have. They are:
Public Liability Insurance — If your business comes into contact with members of the public, no matter how frequent, public liability insurance is a must. It can protect you against compensation claims that may be made by clients, suppliers or customers for injury or damage. A lot of companies do have this insurance, so make sure to check if it’s something you need.
Employer’s Liability Insurance — This one is pretty much the same but in the case of your staff. If you have any number of staff members, you’ll be expected to have this insurance. It covers costs, should your staff members get injured or sick as a result of their work. Certain companies can be exempt from this insurance, so again, check to see if it relates to your business and staff in particular.
Buildings and Contents Insurance — Your office is probably quite a pricey purchase, and the same goes for its contents. So, to cover yourself in the event of a burglary or fire, for example, buildings and contents insurance is a must buy.
Legal Insurance — This covers the business for commercial legal expenses and provides the protection you need should legal action be brought against yourself or your business.
Have Solicitors On Speed Dial
Legal representation is pretty much expected from the moment you’re business starts making money. The same goes for when you start hiring people, you become responsible for other people, and again, the risks are much greater when you’re a company. So, having solicitors on speed dial is important. You want a solicitor who is an expert in your industry when it comes to legal information. You want to build a solid relationship with them so that you can understand how they work and how you can work with them to get the best results in any situation that requires legal aid. They can be good to have even if there are no problems. It can be handy to have prior discussions regarding upcoming decisions that might be made but need to be checked in with a legal expert. Set up a few meetings and find the best one that suits your company’s needs the most.
Hopefully, this has provided you with some useful tips on how to protect you and your business going forward. Remember to separate yourself from the business if necessary and to have legal representation available for if and when you need it. Be wise with your risk-taking and always have an emergency fund to use in emergencies. Lastly, keep your wits about you when working online to avoid falling victim to cyber attacks.