As a small business owner, you wear several hats and are the entire backbone of the company. This is a lot to put on yourself, but if you believe in the business you’re running, then it is a burden you are willing to bear. This means that you need to take a step back, delegate, and ensure that your business is protected from liabilities.
To lose something you have dedicated yourself to and put your blood and sweat into building would be a devastating blow. Get a commercial law auditor if you operate an office or a personal injury lawyer if you run a workshop or cafe, and have them evaluate your business for possible risks.
This is a one-time expenditure that will save you from possible lawsuits and losing business in the future. Other ways to protect your business can easily be done by yourself.
Change the Type of Ownership
If you are the only owner, a sole proprietorship might have made sense. It is the default business structure for a single-person company, but it is risky to link yourself to your business in this way.
As a sole proprietorship does not protect your personal assets, a freak market crash or a debt issue could leave you personally bankrupt in addition to losing your business. Look into changing the business structure to a trust or a limited liability company.
Having Insurance Is Very Important
This is an undeniably important asset to have when you operate a business. Most businesses make do with general liability insurance, and this is enough for most cases. If your business requires customer interaction with staff, then consider protecting your employees with professional liability insurance as well.
This will be useful if your employees are agents or assayers who have to give quotes and use their judgment for evaluations. With the current crisis affecting the world, it has also become important to cover your company with business interruption insurance, which protects income if the company has to close due to outside forces.
Get an Accountant as Soon as Possible
It might have been sufficient to do the bookkeeping yourself, but it is a good idea to hire an accountant as soon as you can afford one. If you do not want an in-house accountant, then consider putting a local accounting firm on retainer. They will provide a degree of visibility for your finances, which will help you deal with the IRS when applying for state or federal benefits. Accountants are also more up to date than you have time to be about tax benefits or business incentives for which your business could be eligible.
Get Everything in Writing
You can go paperless for every other type of business interaction but when it comes to contracts and agreements, always keep a few paper copies. Never do business with a client, a supplier, or a business partner without a written agreement outlining the expectations.
A written contract helps retain your business’s integrity in any disputes as it clearly outlines the terms that both parties agreed upon. You might feel that you can trust someone, but the time of handshake agreements is past, and it is your responsibility to do what is right for your business.
Regularly Update Your Paperwork
For paperwork that is not strictly contracts or legal agreements, consider investing in a business server or a dedicated cloud storage service. Have your accountants update the information and upload a copy of your financial information to a secure cloud storage service as well.
Detailed and well-maintained paper trails are incredibly important. They can make the difference between losing your business and receiving government grants to help your business keep going in times of distress. Investors and possible business partners will take your company more seriously and be more willing to invest if they can see how business is being conducted.
In business, integrity is everything. Make sure to conduct yourself online and in-person with dignity keeping in mind that you represent your business to those you come in contact with both professionally and personally.
Train your employees with this same mentality. Make sure that you are appropriately valuing your employees, as this can make a huge difference. Happy employees guarantee happy customers, so rewarding hard work and dedication goes a long way in helping your business sustainability.
Always treat your customers and your employees as you would want to be treated yourself. This is sure to engender a positive result, and you will be the one to reap the benefits when your business grows and expands.