Planning, purchasing, hiring, and marketing are all intensive processes that entrepreneurs need to get right for achieving success. With all this to worry about, you also have to take measures for protecting your property, your data, and your reputation. Here are some of the critical steps you should take to safeguard your new company.
Protect Your Credit
Good credit enables you to borrow more money when you need it at lower interest rates. That includes leasing space, renting equipment, or expanding your operations. With poor credit, you won’t be borrowing much of anything. Identity theft and credit fraud mean big paydays for today’s digital criminal. In 2015, over 48 percent of worldwide credit fraud took place in the US (http://www.businessknowhow.com/money/credit-card-fraud.htm). Be sure to regularly check your credit report and investigate anything that looks suspicious.
Most companies now live by their data, whether it’s accounting records, customer information, or sales and ordering history. Hackers are getting increasingly clever and resourceful. Those using ransomware can take your data hostage even if they can’t use it themselves. Firewalls and anti-malware protection should always be up to date. All sensitive data and communications should be encrypted, user access restricted, and frequent backups done so you have recent copies that can be restored. Data security is not only important, in many cases it’s a legal or industry requirement to protect customer information.
Guard Intellectual Property
Your next great idea, whether it’s product designs, logos, bold marketing strategies, proprietary apps, or business methods need protecting so someone else can’t profit from your hard work. Make sure your intellectual property is patented, licensed, copyrighted, or trademarked where possible. This way you at least have legal recourse for putting a stop to copy-cats, collecting due royalties, or even suing for damages. You could also have employees sign non-disclosure and non-competition agreements so they don’t bring your ideas to rivals.
Focus on Branding
One of the best ways to protect your company is by building its visibility through branding. Take care to develop the right logo, images, and slogans. You want something that clearly identifies your company yet fits with the principles and character you want. Get the legal protection you need and stay true to your own brand. The better your brand recognition, the easier it is to build consumer trust and the harder it is for rivals to get away with imitating you.
Insure Your Property
This is critical for any business with money tied up in inventory or equipment. Think about what a blow it would be to lose all your assets in a fire, storm, or theft. Insurance premiums may seem like a tedious monthly expense, but losing essential assets could cost you far more in lost revenue and replacement costs. Uninsured losses could even put your new company out of business, regardless of profits. The one thing that can save you if the worst happens is insurance, for your premises as well as all the goods and equipment you need.
Research Your Partners
You should also do some research into any parties you deal with, whether it’s supply chains, contractors, or tenants. Draw up contracts specifying things like terms and timeframes for payments and delivery, expected service levels, warranties, limitations on use, and so on. If you company is involved with leasing space or managing real estate, be sure to contract with a good tenant screening service. They can also see to it that the tenant obtains insurance to cover your physical property.
These tips should serve to better protect you company’s image and profitability while you focus on growth. Building a successful company is hard enough without taking needless risks.