It’s an age-old expression: “Fortune favors the prepared.” So then, can we also assume, by the transitive property of addition, that “Misfortune favors the unprepared”? Seems pretty logical to me. Protect yourself and your small business by being as prepared as possible, using our best tips.
Don’t roll your eyes at me! Can you cross your heart and look me in the eye and tell me that you are doing everything, from your finances and taxes to your employees to your business processes, 100% by the book? And you clicked on this article? Exactly. The devil is in the details, as we all know. Just save yourself the headache, and do things the right way. Please.
Hire a Good Attorney
And do it before you need one! In fact, I’d recommend interviewing and researching business attorneys as soon as you open your doors. You want to have that relationship and history with them before you’re sued (notice I didn’t say “if”). Plus, a trustworthy and confident attorney in your field can also provide valuable advice and counsel along the way. It can be a hard sell to convince a business owner to hire an attorney when things are great, especially if they’ve never had one in their toolkit before. Just please, take my word for it. You’ll never need an amazing attorney more than when you don’t have one.
Know Your Employees
And I’m not talking about their interests and hobbies (although that’s good too, but it’s a whole different article). I mean you should be super informed on who your employees really are, and how much you can trust them. To be safe, you should be running all your applicants through criminal background checks for employment before you sign the dotted line. ShareAble for Hires searches millions of criminal records so you can have total confidence in the results, and place your trust in your new hires with a clear conscience.
Make Insurance a Priority
I mean financially, physically, and electronically. You should have the best liability insurance you can possibly afford, in addition to your standard-issue vanilla business insurance packages. Brick-and-mortar businesses will also need all the associated physical insurance coverage. Financially, you would be wise to diversify your assets, and even wiser to distance yourself from the company’s income as far as creating a trust to own the business, instead of you personally. Doing so will keep your personal investments safe, even if you lose the business in a lawsuit (heaven forbid).
Lastly, so much sensitive information is handled over the internet now, we hardly think about it. But we should. Make sure you have the best electronic security you can, and keep your antivirus software up-to-date.
Routinely back up your important files, and even print the most important ones, just in case. Avoid conducting business in coffee shops or anywhere there’s free public WiFi, tempting as it is. If you’re a sucker for the cafe ambiance, always bring your own private hotspot so you never risk encountering pirates on the public server.
Abide by the Golden Rule
As a small business owner, you have to be hyper-aware of the way you act and the things you say. Sometimes you can be your own worst enemy. I know it sounds silly and obvious, but you would be amazed at how many small businesses get in trouble because of something thoughtless the owner said. You’ve got to watch your actions and your words, to your clients as well as your employees. Have you heard the expression, “How you treat your employees is how your employees will treat your customers?” Take it to heart. No slander, no discrimination, no negativity as much as you can help it.
The major trend to these tips is that, ultimately, you’re responsible for your own protection. That can work to your advantage if you take precaution and safeguard yourself, or it can work to your disadvantage if you aren’t careful. Work smart, and do the grunt work to make absolutely sure your business is as protected as if it had a moat and a drawbridge around it.
Start Your U.S. Business Confidently
Join 3,000+ Entrepreneurs Who Have Successfully Started Their U.S. Business