A business is more than just its name, image, and product. It’s also about the different people in the background tirelessly working night and day to ensure that the company is up and working.
As an owner or a high-level manager, you have a responsibility to protect the interests of both the company and its employees. Your main goal, on top of running the company, is to limit the possibility of risk. Here are six ways that will help you do just that.
Avoid Making Brash Statements
A company’s reputation is as important as the kind and quality of work the company does. How people and other companies perceive you affects your business in more ways than one. Both owners and their employees should, therefore, refrain from making unverified public pronouncements or undertaking shady business practices.
This can be best achieved through orientation on how to properly handle contentious issues or sensitive information when dealing with the public. Getting sued for libel or slander will take a toll on your public image.
This also means that you shouldn’t do business with individuals or companies with a history of questionable ethics. When they get into hot water, you’ll be dragged down with them just by association.
Hire Competent Legal Counsel
A company should always have an attorney on call for when legal disputes arise in the future. It is important that the person is more than competent and knowledgeable in dealing with a range of cases. An attorney will inform your decisions and actions in the unlikely case that you get sued or plan to sue another party.
As an owner, this is something that you shouldn’t take lightly. Companies rise and fall because of legal technicalities. When businesses do shut down, it is ultimately the employees who pay the steeper price.
So interview your attorney or legal firm representative well. Dig deep into their previous cases and how efficiently they have done their job. This goes without saying that an attorney who is familiar with the local business climate or who has expertise in the field where you have a case is always preferred.
Thorough Background Check of Applicants
Hiring a person to work for your company is a lot like inviting a stranger into your house. In both cases, as the owner or the head of the family, you have to make sure that everyone’s safety is not compromised by the introduction of a new face.
Businesses typically fulfill their due diligence when sifting through applicants to fill a vacant position, and this is done for a good reason. For example, if your company deals with safety-critical occupations, such as operating machinery and transportation and handling with health-care concerns, you may require your employees to pass workplace drug tests as a precautionary measure. Neglecting to do background checks before hiring a person potentially opens up the business to unwanted legal exposure.
Get Liability Insurance
Businesses typically get some sort of liability insurance as a financial safety net in case the company finds itself on the receiving end of claims of injury or damage to people or property. In the off chance that a fire has razed your workplace, you’ll be reimbursed by your insurance company.
Another way of insuring the business from liabilities is by incorporating protection into your contracts. For example, you can insert a clause that, in instances you are unable to complete the work because of uncontrollable factors like extreme weather conditions or the inefficiency of one your suppliers, you will not be liable.
Separate Personal Assets from the Business
Small businesses or burgeoning start-ups are usually sole proprietorships. When the company is sued, the court of law can easily attack or seize the owner’s personal assets like his car or home.
One way to limit this exposure is form a trust to own the business. A trust is a legal entity that can own diverse assets and file its own income tax returns. When a trust-owned company is sued, the court of law can only come after assets that are in the trust itself. The only downside to incorporating is keeping up with regulations and the hoard of reports and tax returns imposed and required by the state.
Check the Physical Security of Your Office
The physical workplace itself must also be protected from invaders and other malicious persons. One way to do this is to test your office locks with a set of lockpicking tools to see if your premises can be easily breached. If you discover that you can easily bump the door locks, it’s time to change your office locks or switch to keyless locks.
You can also restrict employee access to certain parts of the office by enforcing different levels of security clearance. You may base an employee’s access on the function this employee performs. It shouldn’t be easy or possible at all for just anyone to stroll casually in areas where you keep sensitive information.
Invest in Security Software and Other Safety Tools
Since most companies work on computers and store data on a cloud database, you have to put up measures or invest in software that will keep the company’s files, the client’s information, and computers safe from viruses, outside hacks, or any other cyberattack.
Having an updated security software lessens the risk of a company-wide shut down when software systems bog down because of a virus. This also means that you should have a backup of all your files both offline or in a premium cloud service.
Offsite backups are also highly recommended. If a fire occurs at your place of business or gets flooded, you’ll be assured that you’ll still have a working copy of all your files.