A small business owner has a lot of things in their mind. From keeping their business in good shape to expanding for the future, it’s a business owner’s responsibility to cover all bases. This includes minimizing potential risks and hazards, be it workplace-related or connected to legalities.
An aspect that many business owners often overlook is protecting the business from lawsuits. It’s understandable why it’s rather easy to neglect, though. Running a company can be very time- and attention-consuming, beginning from the launch and continuing to everyday operations. Especially for those starting out, it can be easy to disregard this small little detail. However, it can mean the difference between making your business flourish and closing because of a preventable disaster.
As your small business grows and becomes more successful, it also opens a ton of vulnerabilities. Solving issues that arise is one thing, but knowing how to protect yourself from one is another thing entirely. It’s wiser to ‘future-proof’ your business to ensure its longevity, and here are a few ways to do it.
Lawyer up with the Right Lawyers
Legal counsel is invaluable to your business. This allows you to know what your rights as a business owner are, and if trouble ever stirs up, you won’t be caught like a deer in headlights. In a situation where you find yourself in a legal pinch, no action should be done before a legal consultation to save you the pain of having to deal with more.
The type of lawyer you hire is also a necessary consideration. There are a wide variety of lawyers, from civil lawyers dealing with divorce to lawyers specializing in car accidents—having a legal professional knowledgeable with the local business laws will prove highly beneficial in this scenario. It’s not hard to get a hold of one as well, as there are many possible resources to look from. Another idea is to get the referral of another business owner as their lawyer would be familiar with how small businesses can resolve legal issues.
Ideally, however, you should have consulted a lawyer before starting your business, as there are quite a several constitutional matters to keep in mind before your business even begins to exist. Federal and state identification numbers, zoning permits, professional licenses, health permits, etc., are things that a good business lawyer can help you set up.
Get Your Company Insured
There’s insurance for everything, and that’s good. This means you can protect your business from unforeseen circumstances, whether they be orchestrated or accidental. For example, in the rare event that a client or customer meets an untimely accident in your business, liability insurance will prove more than useful to you.
Unlike other common forms of insurance, a liability insured doesn’t pay you (the policyholder), but instead pays the third party involved- should they be found legally liable. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to utilize liability insurance, but in a situation where you find yourself needing one, you’ll regret it when you don’t have it. Getting your business insured is among the top things you need to take care of if you intend to bring your business farther.
It’s wise to look at the wide catalog of insurance available for small businesses. They can help you offset unanticipated events and makes your company a bit more future-proof. Consider acquiring property insurance, most especially if you have a considerable size of business property. If your industry is eligible, it’s wise to get a business owner’s policy insurance, or BOP, as it covers a bunch of services while being around the same price as specific insurance policies.
Protect Yourself Against Virtual Crimes
We are in an era where crimes can happen not just in the physical world, but in a virtual space as well. Your company may be protected from physical and legal threats, but have you stopped to wonder if you and your company information (and your clients’ too) are protected online as well?
Hacking is becoming more prevalent, and will only do so as our reliance on technology increases. Understand that your company’s information is fair game for those with malicious intent and technological prowess to access it. To keep this from happening, keep sensitive and confidential information protected through firewalls. It helps to get an IT professional to see if your system has any vulnerabilities as well.
Now, this might seem like an overreaction to some unseen threat, but a data breach is terribly dangerous and damaging for small businesses, especially if an unauthorized person gains access to your company’s financial information, or worse, you’re customer’s personal information. Protecting yourself virtually is becoming more and more a need nowadays, as cybercriminals are beginning to target small businesses.