If you’re a business owner, your top priority should be to protect your business. The goal of any business is to sell products or services to make a profit. This makes companies like yours a tempting target for security breaches and even fraud. If any of these scenarios happen to you, you can find yourself in a sticky situation trying to recover lost money, files, and confidential information. To ensure your business is fully protected, take a look at these five protection tips below. (Image Credit: Shutterstock)
1. Hire the right team
Your employees are the backbone of your business. They show up every day ready to work and help your company prosper. However, one bad employee can ruin your business. After all, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. To ensure your team has your back, make sure you take the time to thoroughly vet each member before they become an official employee.
This starts at the job description you post. Make sure your job description clearly outlines the role, duties, and qualifications the candidate can expect to be successful in their position. From there, host a phone or video interview, and then go on to an in-person interview.
Hosting interviews is a great way to get to know an applicant before you let them join your team. It also gives your current employees a chance to meet potential coworkers and provide input on whether they think they’d be a good addition to the company. However, not everyone is who they say they are. A candidate may sound perfect on paper when in reality, they have a questionable past that can hurt your business.
Conducting a background check for employment can ensure a person is who they say they are. Background checks will give you:
- Criminal history
- Social Security verification
- Credit history
- Employment history
- Previous addresses
- Education history
Conducting background checks will ensure you and your current employees will be safe at work. For example, you don’t want to hire a financial planner who has a poor credit score filled with debt and missed payments.
Most companies today have business websites where their customers and leads can find information, book appointments, and pay for products or services. This means customers are going to have to put in confidential information such as their name, address, phone number, email address, and credit or debit card information. If your website isn’t secure, it can be easy for hackers to gain access to your customers’ information and steal their identities and their money, which can hurt your business.
To ensure your website is secure, install SSL, or secure sockets layer, which encrypts information that is passed between your company’s website and your visitors, use anti-malware software, and make sure your passwords are strong and safely stored.
Furthermore, make sure you re aware of all policies of other companies you do business with. For example, Amazon just slashed commission rates on affiliate programs. This is vital information for any online business who works with the retail giant. Always stay plugged in to your industry to be prepared for any sudden changes.
3. Client contracts
When you on board a new client, you want to make sure you create a contract that clearly outlines what’s expected from both parties, such as when payments are due, what services will be offered, and so forth. While you may be tempted to create a contract through email or even text, it’s best to keep this practice old-school with pen and paper. You can then digitize your contract if needed and securely store it on the cloud. Doing so will ensure everything is being followed correctly should anything pop up.
4. Separate personal and business assets
Being a business owner, especially a startup owner and small business owner, can be risky if you don’t separate your personal life from your business life. Not only can you get in some serious trouble with the IRS if you don’t clearly document your finances, you can end up losing your personal property, too. To prevent this from happening, limit your personal liability by forming or incorporating an LLC. This will ensure your personal property, like your home, car, and assets, aren’t at risk.
5. Apply for copyrights, trademarks, and patents
Whether you’re selling services or products, if you’re in business, you’re most likely bringing new things to this world. If those things, whether physical objects or ideas are valuable, someone may try to take ownership of your hard work. To protect your brand, ideas, products, and services, make sure to apply for copyrights, trademarks, and patents. This will help protect your business and ensure no one profits off of what you’re selling.
The bottom line
Whether you’re a new business or have been a business owner for decades, security should always be top of mind. With these five tips on how to protect your business, you’ll have peace of mind knowing nothing will go awry.