Whether you’re just starting your SMB (small-to-medium-sized business) or you’re a veteran, it’s a good idea to establish proper safeguards that protect all your hard work and investments. We are all familiar with the unsettling statistics about small businesses failing within the first five years. The top reasons for SMBs going belly-up typically deal with failure to listen to customer feedback or inability to change with consumer demands. Other reasons include ineffective marketing or mismanagement of resources.
Because these are the main stumbling blocks for SMBs, you’re probably already aware of these common pitfalls. However, you might not be as mindful about underlying safety measures that can help stabilize your business even during the rockiest of times. Here are some fundamental ways to cover your assets for your SMB that can help keep your business thriving into that 6th-year mark and beyond.
Tips to Safeguard Your Business
B2B (Business to Business) Background Checks: Picture it..you’ve got a brilliant idea for a new product line and reach out to (what seems like) a reliable source for materials. Yet you find yourself left holding the bag and unable to fill orders because your source has failed to deliver. It’s a common and tragic tale told among small business owners. Save yourself, your customers, and your business a ton of heartache by doing intense background checks on businesses you’re considering working with to supply services or materials for your products or services. Doing this will save your bacon in the long run.
Bank Accounts: If you’ve been running your SMB for a while, you probably already have a separate bank account devoted to your business. However, it’s common for many startups to keep everything in a personal account at the beginning of their endeavors for various reasons. If this is you, and you’re starting to see an influx of business income, it’s time to make distinctions between personal and professional bank accounts. Take steps to separate credit cards and bank accounts into specific business products at your bank. Establishing a business bank account can also give you extra security for your finances, and other perks such as automatic alerts, online bill payments, flexible overdraft protection, and even the potential to receive a line of credit. The benefits to a business bank account are contingent upon your bank’s policies, but segregating your personal money from business income is crucial to staying successful.
Business Insurance: This is a polarizing security option when it comes to small business protection. Some startups feel they don’t have enough money to pay for insurance when they’re taking all precautions to avoid incidents to begin with. After all…that monthly insurance payment feels like a lot to part with if you never use it. That’s an understandable viewpoint, however, what if something does go wrong? Then what? If you don’t have enough money for business insurance, then delay opening your doors until you do. Insurance for your company can be a godsend in terms of protecting your assets, your customers, and your investments. It’s true, nothing is foolproof and insurance won’t keep your business in an impenetrable bubble, but it can protect you from fraud, theft, and much more.
Cybersecurity: Perhaps the most critical and integral precaution you can take for your SMB is ensuring your tech is safe. These days, this might seem like an obvious security measure, but the life of a small business owner is hectic, and sometimes these essential details might escape our busy minds. Do yourself and your business a huge favor by dropping everything and do a business cybersecurity check on your computers and networks now. Be sure you have a top-notch firewall installed and it’s updated to protect your business information. Also make sure your antivirus software is current, functioning correctly, and able to detect security breaches at the drop of a hat. Change passwords often and make sure these passwords are hard to crack. As an extra measure of protection, consider getting an external data storage system and backing up all your business’s information on this backup drive. You may not ever have a hacker crisis or a system shutdown, but if you do, these steps can save you and your business from tremendous trauma.
Employee: If you have employees, you’re probably hyper-vigilant about their safety and wellbeing. You also need to get serious about protecting your SMB assets from accidental or purposeful theft or damage. You can gain peace of mind for your small business by providing digital badges to your employees. This gives you the control over who has access to various areas. You can also adjust permissions in the event of an employee termination. This protects your company’s equipment and data from all manner of pitfalls and security breaches.
Furthermore, you’ve got to protect your employees from harm in order to protect your business from litigious actions. Nothing can slam an SMB down faster than an employee injury (or worse, death) while on the job at your business. Even if an injury is minor, there may still be a threat of lawsuits. That’s why your best course of action is to check for hazards around the office and/or warehouse facilities. You can double your efforts to protect yourself and your employees by getting an OSHA certification. Occupational Safety and Health Awareness courses provide you with vital training and resources that enhance your awareness about job-site safety. This, in turn, protects your employees and your assets. It also paves the way to a happier, safer work environment and long-term business success.
Hire an Accountant: If you’re great with numbers, or even have an accounting background, doing your own small business taxes might seem the most ideal solution for you. However, running your business can be consuming, and big details can get missed while filing company taxes. Plus, are you up-to-date with all the new regulations and codes? Do you know what kind of write-offs and deductions you can take for your SMB? Whether you are a crackerjack at crunching numbers or not, consider getting a CPA who is devoted to your business’s success. This will save you loads of time and give you peace of mind. While we’re on the subject, think about investing in accounting software to make your life easier too. The extra money to hire an accountant or get accounting software may give you pause, but please remember, one false accounting entry can get the IRS sniffing up your assets which means audits and potential troubles for your SMB.
Cover Your Assets and Leave Nothing to Chance
At the end of the day, preparedness is the best way to assure success. Think about all the long hours, hard work, and money you’ve poured into your SMB. And then think about one small twist of fate flushing that all down the drain. Now consider these preventative tips that are solid steps towards keeping your business, customers, and employees safe and preventing disasters on your company’s upward trajectory. When it comes to staying on top, you can’t leave anything to chance, that’s why taking precautions is essential to your growth and sealing your SMB success for many years to come.