As a small business owner, you have poured your heart and soul into your work. Building your own business venture takes drive and passion. Protecting what you have built requires you to spend smart and plan carefully for any unexpected bumps along the way.
Investing some time and money into things like legal aid, thorough hiring practises and the right insurance will be worth it in the long run.
1. Hire smart
Hiring the wrong person for the job can end up costing you much more than just their wages and benefits. Someone who is the wrong fit for your business could prove to be liability, and getting rid of them can turn into a legal nightmare.
Do your due diligence before hiring. Vet your candidates carefully and always check their background and references. Take time to familiarize yourself with your federal and provincial employment legislation. Draw up a contract to clearly outline expectations for you and your new employees.
Keep in mind that the true cost of an employee will also include overtime wages, sick pay, vacation pay, possible maternity leave — be prepared to incur these extra costs with each staff member you add to your team.
2. Lawyer up
Find a lawyer you trust, and do it before you really need one. In the unfortunate case where someone takes legal action against your company, you will want to have someone in your corner with the right know-how.
Aside from more serious suits, it is a good idea to have legal counsel to advise you for smaller matters too. A good lawyer can prevent you from making business mistakes before they happen.
Small Business BC recommends that you chat with a legal professional well before your business is established. They will be able to advise you on matters of licensing, incorporation and all other legal processes involved in starting your own business.
3. Safe data storage
Protect yourself and your customers by finding a secure data storage solution. Whether you keep your records locked in a filing cabinet or on a private server, that information should never fall into the wrong hands. Ensure that you are complying with legal guidelines around the storage of confidential information, including how long you are meant to store it and how to properly dispose of it.
Your records, ideas and your customers’ private information are invaluable. Make sure you are putting security measures in place and backing up your data regularly. Here is a list of Cloud-based storage services tailored to meet the needs of businesses.
4. Get the right insurance
This one is a no-brainer — purchasing insurance that properly covers your business, its products and its people is absolutely necessary. You wouldn’t drive a vehicle without insurance — you shouldn’t operate a business without it either.
Business insurance protects you, your staff and your customers or clients from injury. This covers you if one of your workers misses a rung on the ladder, or a client slips on a newly mopped floor.
Say you have an after-hours break-in at your place of business — the right business insurance policy will protect you against the loss or damage to any of your equipment or products. It can also guard you against civil suits and accusations of negligence which could cost thousands of dollars, regardless of whether or not they are true.