Use this Small Business Checklist to Protect Yourself
Building your own company is challenging. It takes time, effort and money to get your business profitable and look forward to expanding in the future. Naturally, the last thing you need is for something to happen that will jeopardize all of your hard work. As seasoned business insurance experts, Grand Mutual Insurance has put together this small business checklist. Protecting your company starts here.
- Separate your business from your personal affairs. Are you operating your business as a sole proprietorship? If so, your personal assets might be at risk in the event you get sued. That’s why Investopedia advises incorporating your company, as it will protect your home, car, and finances in the event your business runs into legal issues. Incorporating might come with some additional paperwork, but the protection is well worth it.
- Insure your company. You should always obtain liability insurance in case one of your customers is injured on your premises. In addition, you’re best advised to consider other types of insurance, such as errors and omissions insurance, business interruption insurance, property insurance and cyber insurance. This is one of the most important parts of your small business checklist.
- Have an attorney on standby. It’s wise to interview lawyers when you first go into business. That way, you’ll know who to reach out to in the event of a legal matter.
- Safeguard your data. Make sure your files are secured — both physical and digitally — and backed up to the cloud. If you allow your employees to remotely access your files or network, establish and implement a solid cybersecurity policy. Note that you can easily hire a cybersecurity firm to advise you about this.
- Consider your words carefully. As a business owner, you might become a public figure. As such, you should be careful about the things you say. You don’t want to be sued for libel or slander. At the same time, if you say something — no matter how true — that upsets someone or a group of people, it can harm your reputation.
- Protect your intellectual property. Experian reports that IP theft costs the economy approximately $250 million each year. Even if you don’t have sufficient funds to patent or copyright an idea or piece of IP, it’s smart to have all employees and others who know about your ideas sign a non-disclosure, non-compete agreement.
- Background check your employees. This must be a top priority when running through your small business checklist. Run criminal background checks on all potential hires to minimize the chances of employee theft or fraud. You can also run credit checks and other background checks, but always keep in mind that you have to comply with federal anti-discrimination laws, as the EEOC points out. Moreover, keep in mind that background checks can become outdated, so it’s wise to discuss with your attorney whether or not you should periodically perform re-checks.
- Investigate potential business partners. Before aligning yourself with another company, look into its background. Pay attention to things like reputation, news stories, and lawsuits. By only partnering with reputable companies, you can protect your business’s reputation — and your bottom line.
Small Business Insurance Services
In today’s society, you need to protect your small business from a variety of different threats. Fortunately, if you adhere to this small business checklist, you can greatly enhance the chances of running your company without any major headaches. Get in touch with Grand Mutual Insurance today to learn more about how you can protect your bottom line.