Running a business, small, medium or large, is no easy task. It takes an exceptional person to break the walls of employment to business ownership. Between dealing with clients, marketing your products and services, running your taskforce, and also making sure that your business is profitable, it gets hectic very easily. Over the year, legality and making sure that the community and customers are happy with your practices has added another set of headaches.
According to the Small Business Administration organization, 3 to 6 businesses out of 10 are involved into some type of litigation every year. Large corporations usually have the legal resources to defend themselves properly, but small businesses often suffer the turbulence created by lawsuits.
As a business owner, while your intentions are probably to do your best by your clients and members of staff, it’s important to have precautions in place so that you’re protected. Take a look at these smart ways to protect yourself as a business owner so that you’re not wrongly accused.
Create a handbook
If you’ve held any type of job at an established corporation, you’ve most likely received on your first day an employee handbook. Being a small business, creating a similar handbook will be very time consuming but very effective. A great way of making sure that rules and regulations are noticed by staff and customers alike is by creating a handbook that’s available for anyone to read. Your handbook should contain instructions on how to behave within your establishment and also solutions for any dilemmas that might crop up. So, if you were to say, experience a fire breaking out on a regular work day, your staff and customers will know what to do and how to act. Not having this information in place could land you in a sticky situation, so make sure you’ve got all safety information in an easily accessible place. On your website and on site in your establishment is the safest route to go down.
Keep two copies of everything
If you are careful in keeping your personal documents safe at home, you should do the same for your business and even double them. A massive mistake that many new entrepreneurs make is not keeping a copy of every document that could be used legally or fiscally. Storing communication with clients and vendors is also important. While an email thread with a disgruntled customer might not seem like it’s going to be important in the future, you could end up wishing that you’d have kept a copy of it. If you receive an official document via email, print a copy so that you’ve got two versions of the document. Likewise, if you receive something by mail, scan it onto your PC so that you’ve got a digitized version too. You’ll thank yourself one day!
Get yourself some insurance
Car insurance, home insurance, property insurance, electronics insurance, we are all familiar with those and we don’t negotiate their importance. In a business environment, having insurance is as much crucial, if not more. Small businesses often neglect this precaution and unfortunately, dreams and aspirations get destroyed because of the lack of due diligence.
Often, businesses are sued by their own employees. If you plan on going in business for yourself, consider some EPLI coverage (employment practices liability insurance) so that if a situation arises affecting your staff, your business is covered and you can deal with the matter in a professional manner.
Have the right measures and equipment in place
Finally, every business needs to make sure that their safety procedures follow guidelines set by your government. So, if you and your staff members have to operate heavy machinery for example, make sure that you’ve got safety equipment and clothing available so that if and when your business is inspected, you’re taking the right precautions and are protecting your business from unnecessary trouble.
***This article is in partnership with a guest writer, or a brand, or a company and may contain affiliate links. Nonetheless, these are my experiences and my opinion. For questions, contact me directly here.