Protecting your business: 4 Key steps for success
Photo by Tyler Franta on Unsplash
Operating a successful business goes beyond the thrills and excitement of being a startup founder or an entrepreneur. Of course, you deserve every accolade and should be proud of yourself for setting up a business. However, the business terrain can get quickly challenging that if you do not have a proper plan, you could shut down operations sooner than expected.
According to reported data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 20% of businesses survive in the first two years, and by the end of the decade, more than 50% would have closed shop.
Unfortunately, there is no specific reason for the high failure rate. The issue is multi-thronged, so it's crucial to safeguard your investment by taking measures to protect your business from various potential threats.
So let’s discuss measures for protecting a business that you can adapt to ensure success.
Why you need to protect your business
No business is exactly risk-free; hence protecting your business is essential to ensuring its long-term success and sustainability. And since businesses in his day and age face numerous challenges from various directions, protecting your business is a critical aspect of ownership.
It is important to safeguard your business, ranging from financial security to legal compliance; let’s delve into the reasons why.
Maintaining financial security is one of the most important reasons to protect your business. If your business is not properly protected, you could risk losing money due to theft, fraud, or other financial crime. By implementing secure payment processing systems, regular audits, and cyber security measures, you can protect your brands from financial threats and ensure your finances remain stable.
Another reason to protect your business is to ensure you comply with applicable laws and regulations. Depending on the nature of your business, there may be a wide range of legal requirements that you need to comply with, such as data privacy regulations, labor laws, and environmental regulations. Failure to comply with these laws can result in serious sanctions and reputational damage. You can protect your business from legal risks by staying informed about changing legal requirements and implementing policies and procedures to ensure compliance.
Intellectual property protection
If your business relies on intellectual property such as patents, trademarks, or copyrights, it is essential to protect these assets. Without proper protection, your intellectual property could be stolen or used by competitors, hurting your business. By obtaining legal protection for your intellectual property and implementing policies and procedures to safeguard it, you can protect your business from infringement and theft.
Your brand reputation is crucial to the success of your business. If your brand is associated with negative experiences or reputational damage, it can be challenging to attract new users and retain existing ones. Protecting your business can help you maintain a positive reputation by ensuring that you comply with ethical standards and provide high-quality products or services. Additionally, implementing measures to protect your customers' data and privacy can help build trust and confidence in your brand.
Four steps to protect your business
Nobody willingly wants to let their business fail because owning and managing a business is a big responsibility. You put your time, money, and energy into creating something that you hope will be successful and profitable. But sometimes, lack of knowledge and due diligence can become a cog that affects your business. So our Workee experts have put together four critical points that will help you protect your business, whether a startup, a small business, a freelance brand, or an organization.
1. Secure your digital infrastructure with strong cybersecurity measures
In a highly digital-centric society, the chances you’ll deploy tech and digital tools in your business operations are almost 100%. We cannot do without digitalization in today’s world. However, you should also know that digitalization comes with the risk of a cyber attack which is often devastating and sometimes enough to kill a business. According to reports, over 40% of cyber-attacks are targeted at SMBs’, and even scarier is that cyber-attacks are projected to cost businesses a whopping $10.5 trillion by 2025.
And no, It’s not just the businesses that invest heavily in tech at risk; as little as engaging in email correspondences is enough to make your business a target.
By securing your digital infrastructure with strong cybersecurity measures, you protect your business from potential cyber threats such as hacking, phishing, malware, ransomware, and other forms of cybercrime. This involves implementing various security measures such as firewalls, anti-virus software, encryption, multi-factor authentication, data backup, and staff training to ensure your company's data and assets remain secure.
2. Properly document and update every agreement
Industrial litigations are littered all over the courts, and most emanate from business owners not being diligent enough to write, document, and update every agreement and paperwork. No matter how trivial an agreement or term is, as long as It concerns your business, ensure that you review and properly document it. This would save you from possible future litigations; trust me, court cases are not cheap. And as a startup or small business owner trying to scale and become profitable, the last thing you want is to start funding litigations.
Besides, properly documenting and updating every agreement is important to protect your business. Essentially, it means ensuring you have a clear record of all the agreements you've made with customers, partners, or suppliers and keeping them up-to-date as things change over time. By doing this, you can avoid misunderstandings or disputes and ensure that everyone involved is on the same page.
3. Have a robust and viable business continuity strategy in place
Unplanned and unexpected occurrences have cost many businesses enormous losses; a good example was the Covid pandemic. The report states that nearly 200,000 US businesses permanently shut down operations due to covid.
While some of these things are not envisaged, it leaves us with a lesson always to have a plan and strategy for unexpected events.
Developing a robust business continuity plan means creating a strategy to ensure your business can continue operating despite unexpected events or disruptions. Essentially, it's a plan to keep your business running smoothly no matter what happens.
Many different kinds of events could disrupt your business, such as natural disasters, cyber-attacks, supply chain disruptions, or even something as simple as a power outage. By developing a business continuity plan, you can identify potential risks and implement measures to mitigate them.
For example, your plan might include the following:
Backup power sources, such as generators or batteries, to keep your business running in case of a power outage.
A remote work plan so employees can continue working even if they can't come into the office.
Alternate systems and backups to ensure that you can keep operating even if your primary systems fail.
A plan for communication with employees, customers, and vendors so that everyone knows what's going on and how to stay in touch.
Insurance coverage protects your organization against unexpected events like natural disasters, accidents, and lawsuits. You may need to purchase multiple types of insurance coverage depending on the nature of your business.
4. Stay compliant with laws and regulations
Every jurisdiction has laws guiding business operations ranging from tax, registration, license, etc., and some businesses also have specific regulations that must be adhered to. For instance, if you access or request peoples’ data, you must abide by various data residency laws concerning your operation areas. Failure to follow these regulations can lead to sanctions, lawsuits, and penalties.
Compliance also helps protect your business from the reputational damage that could arise from negative publicity, and it can also help build trust with your customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders. In some cases, non-compliance could even result in losing licenses or permits, impacting your ability to operate your business.
Therefore, staying compliant is essential to protecting your business and ensuring its long-term success.
Business tips for freelancers
The nature of freelancing may sometimes require quite a different approach to protecting your business. Here are a few key steps to ensure you operate safely and securely.
Use contracts: When working with clients, it's important to have a written agreement outlining the terms of your work. This can help protect you in case of disputes or misunderstandings.
Set clear boundaries: As a freelancer, it's easy to blur the lines between work and personal life. However, setting clear boundaries around when you're available and when you're not can help prevent burnout and ensure you're giving your clients your best work.
Keep your finances in order: Carefully track your income and expenses. This will help you with tax filings and ensure that you're paid accurately for your work. Consider deploying Workee for your freelance business to ensure seamless and automated financial management, including automated invoicing, tax calculations, etc. Workee also integrates payment processors like PayPal and Stripe to enable you to receive and track client payments.
The good part is that Workee is not just for finance management; it’s a versatile tool for freelancers and independent professionals who work by appointment. Other critical functions Workee software provides include a booking and scheduling function, a free website builder, CRM, a video call function, etc.
Sign-up on Workee for free and start managing your brand better.
Protecting your business is critical to its long-term success and sustainability. By safeguarding your finances, complying with applicable laws, developing a continuity plan, and maintaining a positive brand reputation, you can ensure that your business is well-protected from a wide range of risks and threats. Ultimately, investing in protecting your business is an investment in its future.
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