The world will forever be a different place after the pandemic took everyone by surprise. COVID-19 devastated some industries, while barely impacting others. Though it remains a prime example of what can happen when the unexpected hits, there are also various other scenarios that could unexpectedly wreak havoc in your business.
Whether it be cyber crime, employee theft and fraud, a recession or even a lawsuit, it is a good idea to expect the unexpected and protect your business as far as possible. This article takes a look at 10 ways to make sure you’re prepared for anything that may impact the success of your business.
1. Evaluate Your Business
The first step to protect your business income from unexpected threats is to consider where potential issues may arise from. Natural disasters, power failures, theft and vandalism are possibilities. Lawsuits and data breaches also pose a significant threat to businesses today.
Think carefully about the type of business you have, the location, your leadership team and the key factors critical to your business’s operations. Brick-and-mortar businesses will face different threats to online businesses, for example. Some things to consider:
- Do customers visit your physical location?
- Is your inventory kept on-site or elsewhere?
- Is your business premises exposed to harsh weather conditions, or at greater risk of crime?
- Do employees work on-site or remotely?
- Who are your suppliers and what kind of threats might they be exposed to?
- Do you rely on data servers?
- Where do you store customer information?
- How do you process payments?
These are all important questions to ask as you examine what might halt your business operations and result in a loss of income.
Businesses can also use a SWOT analysis to assess their current situation and determine a strategy to move forward. A SWOT analysis will help identify areas of your business that are performing well and those that aren’t. These areas are your critical success factors and give your business its competitive advantage. Identifying strengths, acknowledging weaknesses and foreseeing threats will help you maintain your competitive advantage. But remember that things are constantly changing, and you’ll want to reassess your strategy every six to 12 months.
2. Create a Business Continuity Plan
Now that you have an idea of potential threats to your vital assets, it’s time to implement a business continuity plan. Identify the key resources and business functions you would need to get up and running quickly, perhaps in a limited capacity, as well as who will carry out each activity.
A good first step is to compile a contact list of everyone you’ll need to reach in an emergency, including management and staff, and any customers, suppliers, insurers and emergency workers. Compile a list of service providers whose assistance might be needed in an emergency situation, such as plumbers, utility companies, electricians and IT specialists. This information should be posted in a prominent location and given to all staff members.
Then, build a set of procedures to be followed to keep your business operational during a disaster or setback. For example, create a checklist for what to do in the event of fire or in the event of a data breach. These will vary depending on the type of business you run, but safety should always come first. Then focus on staff, customers and how your business can operate more efficiently.
3. Insure Your Business Against the Unexpected
Insurance helps protect your company from different risks that can come up during normal operations. Choosing what business insurance you need can seem overwhelming, but we’re here to help.
Generally, these are the things most businesses require cover for:
- Business assets
- Loss of revenue
- Legal liabilities
- Liability to third parties
With Deposita’s end-to-end cash management solution, your device and its contents are fully insured. We give our customers complete peace of mind.
4. Install Surveillance Systems
Security threats and vulnerabilities are constantly evolving, and small businesses are especially vulnerable to attack. Unfortunately, many business owners don’t think they need security measures in place until it’s too late. Installing a surveillance system is one of the best ways to protect your business from the unexpected, as they can provide you with warnings and allow you to take preventative action.
There’s a variety of preventative strategies you could employ:
- Test your alarm system
- Check the response time of your armed response team
- Ensure that all safety measures have been implemented (avoid negative results on insurance claims)
5. Protect Your Business By Securing Your Data
Businesses used to only worry about physical threats such as theft, but unfortunately this is no longer the case. In the age of information, the interconnected nature of commerce can leave businesses very vulnerable to online data theft.
It’s very important for businesses nowadays to have some cybersecurity awareness because any business regardless of size can easily be a target. If you’re accepting credit cards or any other digital payment, as well as storing confidential customer information, it’s crucial to create a comprehensive plan to prevent and detect potential risks.
6. Be Clear About Your Terms and Conditions
While it’s an absolute must to have terms and conditions on your website, it’s very important that the customer can easily find these and read them. Whenever a customer purchases a service or product from you, they’re essentially entering into a contract with you. Be sure that the language used in your terms and conditions is easy to understand; that way your business will have a more user-friendly approach.
7. Keep an Eye on Your Marketing
When a business is in a tough spot, marketing is often one of the first budgets to be cut. This can hurt the company in the long run. All departments play a significant role in the success of a business, and each one needs both attention and funding. Instead of cutting budgets, listen to what the customer needs and what would be best for the customer experience.
Ideally, what would be better is to cut extra expenses rather than an entire department. These can be small things such as checking that your lights and air conditioners are turned off at night, or making sure that software subscriptions are actually necessary. Depending on what your business is, just ask yourself and your employees whether something is nice to have or if it’s needed for the business.
8. Protect Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual property can cover an array of things from the production process of a product to countries where patents are licensed. While it can cover just about anything, it’s very important for businesses to at least have the basics of intellectual property rights covered such as their products, services, logos, and everything else a business sees fit.
Companies, especially small businesses, are strongly at risk of facing losses if their concepts are being used without permission. A trademark legally stops competitors from using similar names and designs as your business. So the protection of intellectual property is one of the most important things to do after starting a business.
9. Future-proof Your Income By Networking
Former Yahoo chief solutions officer Tim Sanders’ infamous adage goes: “Networking is your net worth.” The people you know (and how much they are invested in you) help you rise through the ranks in every conceivable way – including with regards to income.
Just remember that networking is its own job. It requires a fair amount of attention and effort. Done right, it creates a consistent stream of fresh ideas, business connections and job opportunities – without having to go out on a limb for a cold call.
Fostering meaningful business ties is something that Deposita holds in very high regard:
Cultivate relationships with people where the connection feels natural, having zero self-serving agendas in the background. When they next need help, you’ll be at the top of their list. Don't be afraid to be yourself. Building genuine business relationships always pays off in the long run.
10. Keep Accurate Records
It’s important to keep accurate records to help you out in the case of a potential lawsuit or even requesting financial assistance for your company. There are multiple methods you can use to stay organised, from hiring a bookkeeper to backing up your files through a cloud, or even the old-fashioned way with neatly labelled folders and binders. Figure out a method that you’re most comfortable using.
The work hours that your trusted staff members spend on the tedious job of counting and sorting takings, as well as travelling to and waiting at the bank, could be better devoted to your customers.
To automate the process of keeping records of your cash transactions, consider implementing an end-to-end cash management solution, such as one offered by Deposita, for better accuracy and security.
Deposita Can Help You Protect Your Business
To find out how Deposita can help protect your business, get in touch for a free consultation today.