When you start and build a small business, you put everything into its success, your time, talent, and financial resources. With that in mind, a surprising fact is that often entrepreneurs don’t take the steps needed to protect their companies. Think your business is immune to disasters? Think again. Disasters can strike without warning and, when they do, your business stands to lose the time and money you’ll have to spend on bookkeeping data recovery and compensation. You could lose years of hard-earned reputation and trust of loyal clients. These two major losses could theoretically put an end to your business altogether. It’s important to protect your business from disaster before it happens. When it comes to recovery planning, you must take action to minimize the damage and further risk.
Security Measures to Protect Your Business
Crimes against people and property can significantly add to the cost of doing business for different small businesses. Shoplifting and theft of business property are all too common and expensive. Crimes against business owners, employees, customers, and others who enter the premises are less common but can be more tragic and traumatic when they occur.
Create a Written Security Policy
As part of your security platform, you may choose to compose your security rules and give them to your workers. Security is a comprehensive subject; you may choose to keep the focus of your policy narrow, or you may decide to address many different aspects of security in your policy. Consider including the following:
- Guards and security
- Your security program/committee
- Areas of limited access
- Restrictions on visitors
- Statements regarding the removal of company property
- Escort services to cars, if you provide it
Establishing Internal Controls
If you suspect there’s a problem with employee theft, there are basic activities to help you. Activities like, screening applicants before they are hired, periodically examining bank accounts to see if there is anything unusual going on, and taking precautions in preparing payroll that can be implemented.
Taking Steps to Recognize and Prevent Employee Theft
Embezzlement or employee theft is an equal opportunity issue for businesses of all extents. The best way to prevent embezzlement is to identify the warning signs and implementing an internal system of controls. Embezzlement doesn’t occur only in larger money-making businesses that you read about in the news. It happens every day to small business owners. Small companies are also less likely to take the safety measures necessary to prevent embezzlement.
Know your Employees
Even if you have an in-house auditing system that makes embezzlement difficult, the danger of collusion still exists. Subsequently, some corporations protect themselves from employee dishonesty by bonding with their employees and taking the time to know them.
Developing a Contingency Plan for Emergencies
Think of your contingency plan as a fire drill. While you may never have a fire, it’s good to know what to do if there is one. Approach general emergency planning and use these steps to get started:
- Get organized
- Assume the worst
- Try to prevent the loss
- Keep duplicate records at a different site
- Keep backup equipment necessary to continue basic operations at a location other than the work site
- Store critical information in a safe and secure place such as a bank vault
Developing Emergency Procedures
If you have any employees, paste guidelines in the work areas regarding what to do in case of a fire, earthquake, or other disaster and make sure that your employees are familiar with those instructions.
Even the best-laid plans should have provisions for when all else fails. The most important thing to remember is that you don’t have to go through the recovery process alone. Review all of your business operations and identify areas that are crucial for your organization’s survival. Establish a procedure for managing those functions during a disaster of any kind.