You have finally reached a point in your life when you feel the time is ripe to start your own business. You have gained a level of experience and expertise in your industry, and you have ideas that you feel will sell in your market. Unfortunately, it only took appraising the competition to know that you have something better to offer. And while it’s an exciting time in your life, it can be just as frightening at the same time.
Not knowing what to expect, you imagine the best as well as the worst. Since you can’t predict everything that could put a stumbling block in your path, there are some things you can do to mitigate risk. What you need now is a look at a few key ways to protect your startup.
1. How You Register Your Business Matters
Before you can do any business at all, you need to register with the Secretary of State in which you live. This is an essential step. You should know that registering as a sole proprietorship can be risky from the start. It’s the default registration for a business that will have no employees, and even if you have no intentions of hiring any, there are risks involved in this business structure.
All it would take is one lawsuit to bankrupt you, and all your hard work goes down the drain. As a sole proprietor, unfortunately, you are granted no personal protections. So if you can’t pay a bill or get sued, all your personal property is at risk and business property.
2. Don’t Skim on Insurance
One of the best ways to protect your startup is to get the best coverage on insurance you can possibly manage. The point is, you are looking for key ways to protect your startup, and that’s what insurance is there for – to mitigate the risk that could cost you your business. Whether you work from home or have a separate location, hazard insurance for small business startups is one of the coverages you need to carry. Sometimes referred to as business property insurance, this policy would cover the cost of replacing or repairing:
- Equipment and tools
- Personal property
- Computers and office equipment
- Valuable documents
- Landscaping property – i.e., fences
However, hazard insurance for small business coverage is just one of several kinds of insurance you should be prepared to carry, some of which may not be required by your state.
Once again, bear in mind that you are looking to protect your startup, and insurance offers you the best protection possible. Other types of coverage would include:
- Workers’ compensation – if applicable
- General liability
- Personal liability
- Directors’ and officers’ liability
Sadly, we live in a suit-happy society, so there will always be attempts to sue you on both a business and personal level. The same holds true for your directors and officers should there be any. So get the best coverage you can afford in every single policy you carry. It really is the best way to protect your startup.
3. Business Data Protection
Few businesses don’t access the internet, and this is why it is so very critical that you put safeguards in place to protect any and all data on all your devices. Sadly, altogether too many small businesses believe that they will be immune from cyber-attacks simply because they are small businesses. Hackers are out there in full force, and even the personal or financial information breached on just a handful of clients or employees could have devastating effects. Even NASA has been hacked and other government bodies and corporations, so invest in the best cyber-security programs. Get those firewalls up and running, and if you have computer/internet access employees, take the time to train them well in cyber-security.
4. Modern Tech
Although you may have everything insured, why leave yourself open to theft or vandalism? For that reason a security system may be one of the first pieces of technology to acquire for your new business. Take the time to find a business security system that offers the highest security level possible. Many small business owners prefer systems with remote access. This way, they can stay connected to those cameras from home or when working in a small building. Smart CCTV business security systems are a wise investment – no pun intended.
There are many other ways to use tech to protect your business besides a security system. Check out your app store for low-cost tools, like mileage tracking apps to keep track of your driver or time clocks to keep everyone’s hours in order. Modern technology has given us solutions to problems we did not even know we had.
The point in all this is that there are various ways to protect your startup from loss of any kind. It is far better to prevent loss if at all possible. Just one cyber-attack or vandalism could set you back days, if not weeks, while repairing or replacing anything necessary for work to continue. Prevention helps avoid operations delays, but that isn’t always possible. That’s what business insurance is for. If you can’t prevent the loss, at least get the insurance necessary to spare you the expense of repairing or replacing anything affected. That is your first and best line of defense.