When you start running a business from the ground up, it can be very easy to get attached to your work like it's an extension of your life. In many ways, it is - after all, it probably takes up the main bulk of your time, and it could well be your whole life's work. That's why it is so important to protect it once you know you have a good thing going. Business can be fickle, and sometimes all it takes is one small slip-up for the rug to be pulled from within your feet. The last thing you want is for the thing you worked so hard on for to become ruined all because of one minor mistake, so taking the time to back yourself up can be integral to your business interests. Here are a few ways in which you can protect your company from various common threats, so you can continue to see it thrive.
Hire a legal professional
Even if you watch what you do and say right down to the letter, you never know when you could end up in a spot of legal bother regarding your company. You should familiarize yourself with the area of law that your business operates within. Of course, you won't have the time to learn all the ins and outs, but you could end up saving yourself a lot of hassle if you take the time to educate yourself on the basics. A common example of this is a patent, in case your business is based on something you have invented. If you don't take out a patent on your product, there is nothing to stop someone else from taking the idea and using it for profit themselves.
So always apply for a patent if you have an original product on your hands. Equally, you and your employees need to be extremely mindful of what you do and say while representing the company. Slander and libel cases are more common than you might think in business, so give your staff a friendly reminder that anything they say in a public space (and that includes on the internet!) could end up reflecting badly on the business. If you end up getting hit with a lawsuit or if your business is put in a compromising position, you will need to make sure you have a trusted legal professional on your side. Ideally, you should interview for attorneys right as you launch your startup, so you can have a strong legal team on hand if anything should go wrong
Protect your physical premises
As your business has grown, you have most likely moved into official premises, rather than working out of your spare room at home. Every small business needs staff at some point, and whether you have three or thirty on your books, having an office can be great for productivity. It means that your team can gel together and communicate in a more efficient manner, and enables you to keep a watchful eye over everything that's going on. However, with any business premises comes a certain level of responsibility that you need to take hold of. There are likely to be a lot of important documents, files, and equipment in your office space - so it is important that you take the essential measures to protect them. Plenty of criminals will specifically target offices and company buildings due to the fact that they know there are valuables in there. In order to deter them (and to catch them if you do become a victim of crime) invest in some outdoor and indoor security cameras for your premises.
You also want to protect against unsavory characters gaining access to your office by way of deception, so consider installing an intercom system to use on your doors. That way, you can speak to any visitors in person before you let them in. As far as valuables go, we can all agree that it is pretty impractical to hide all your computers, scanners and printers overnight. You will just have to take the risk of leaving them out, but make sure any physical money you have in the office, and any company bank cards are all hidden securely in a safe.
Many startups go into business with a reckless kind of approach and don't really look into any kind of insurance. However, you can be sure that if you don't get the right kind of insurance coverage, it will come back to bite you at some point. There are a few different types of business insurance that you may want to look into depending on your needs. Public liability insurance is the most common one you will come across, as it protects your business in the event of someone (usually a member of the public) damaging themselves on your property. A similar type of insurance is provided on an internal basis, for members of staff who injure themselves while at work - this is known as employer's liability insurance. It can also be worth looking into a type of insurance known as professional indemnity, which stops you having to pay defense costs and compensation in a customer dispute.
This is also known as 'errors and omissions coverage,' depending on who your provider is. Worried about your own assets? Directors and officers liability (D&O) insurance is something many CEOs and directors take out to secure their personal assets in the event of a lawsuit being opened against the company as a whole. Additionally, you may want to work business protection into your various contracts, to protect against liability - and this could also reduce your need for a lawyer at a later date if something goes wrong in the contract. Insurance for your company sure doesn't come cheap, and you may find yourself wondering if it is merely nothing more than an unnecessary expenditure. However, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
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