When it comes to safeguarding your small business, there are a number of assets you need to consider. First, there is the solvency of the business itself (not to mention your personal finances). Then there are the employees in your care. And finally, you need to think about the materials and data that are required to run your operations. That can be a lot for the average entrepreneur to think about, especially since the day-to-day demands of actually running the business probably take priority. But there are some simple solutions for enterprising individuals trying to make their professional dreams a reality. Here are a few methods of protecting your business and its assets.
For starters, you need to protect yourself. If your personal finances are tied to your business, then you could come under personal attack should your business face financial failure or lawsuit. So before you think about safeguarding your business you need to shield yourself from potential attacks. To do this you’ll simply have to undergo the legal process to become an LLC (limited liability company) or some other type of corporation (S corporation, for example), set up finances for your business that are separate from your personal accounts, and draw a salary. This is a lot safer for you personally than comingling the financial assets of the business with your own.
Protect Your Employees
You also need to protect your employees from harm. Although there are laws pertaining to workman’s compensation that will protect these individuals in case of accident or injury on the clock, it’s probably best to avoid these situations entirely if possible (which will also help to protect your company). To do this, you should institute policies for workers, such as sticking to work hours (to hopefully avoid accidents relat*ed to fatigue), using proper safety measures when carrying out physical tasks (using ladders to remove boxes from high shelves, for example), and even employing a buddy system when going to cars after dark.
Protect Your Property
Once your human assets are secure you should address the issue of safeguarding the products, equipment, and data used in your business. If you run a store of some sort, it’s easy enough to install locks, an alarm system, and even security cameras to prevent theft and catch intruders. And when it comes to monitoring the flow of data in and out of your company you can install any number of controls, from a firewall to keep out hackers and viruses, to spyware meant to ensure that employees aren’t wasting work time on personal pursuits, to copyrighting software that will corrupt any copies made of sensitive files (to prevent corporate espionage).
Protecting Physical Assets
As for physical assets in your office, like furniture, equipment, and supplies, you may want to set up an inventory system that allows for tracking of assets. Small items like paper and pens can be under the charge of a facilities director while more valuable items (computer equipment and so on) can be managed via asset tracking labels that are scanned by barcode (or entered numerically) into a computer database, along with the name of the person responsible for them.
Data visualisation can be a great way to display this information and make it all seem easily accessible and immediately understandable. A quick look through the principles of data storytelling should help you understand enough to be able to map out your whole business visually.