Owning and running a business brings a lot of responsibility. Long, busy schedules and a seemingly endless to-do list are common enough to be expected. However, you may not realize that owning a business can also leave you vulnerable to certain types of threats. If you are unprepared, they could take you by surprise and jeopardize your security. Here are six threats that every business should be prepared to face.
1. Cyber Crimes
Almost every business now has a web presence. Even if you do not have an online storefront, you might store customer data on a server. Employees also probably have email accounts that are accessed over the internet. Each of these presents an opening for cybercriminals to exploit.
Hiring a dedicated IT team might be overkill for most small businesses. However, each one remains vulnerable and must protect against cyber attacks. Using integrated threat response solutions is an effective strategy that does not require adding tech staff to the payroll.
2. Customer Lawsuits
Many businesses have more assets and deeper pockets than individuals. Plus, business insurance policies tend to be more robust than personal ones. That is why there is a risk of legal suits whenever you deal with the public. For example, if a customer slips and falls in your store, they could sue for negligence.
In most cases, you do not need to have a legal team or even an attorney on retainer. However, there are some steps you can take to minimize the threat of lawsuits. First, review all of your insurance policies to ensure they offer adequate protection. Then, develop a good working relationship with an attorney. This is where you can turn for advice with potential problems.
3. Lack of Compliance With Regulations
Running afoul of regulatory compliance can land you in hot water. Often, this is the result of a mistake or oversight. In that case, double-checking all decisions that are covered by regulations can lower your risk. Here are some areas that are prone to mistakes:
- Labor laws govern everything including employee age restrictions, required breaks, and how you handle overtime pay. Additionally, labor laws mandate what rules you must post for employees to see.
- Marketing guidelines restrict the types of claims you can make when promoting products or services. They also limit who you can market to in some cases.
- Manufacturing best practices are established to ensure products are safe. These are enforced by various agencies depending on your industry.
4. Harm To Your Reputation
This has historically been a risk posed by other businesses. However, the rise of social media has made harm to reputation more difficult to manage. A single attack by an influence could do irreparable harm to your business and potentially lead to threats against you and your employees. Try to keep on top of reviews or other posts about your business so you can enact damage control early. It’s a good idea to seek the advice of an attorney if things start to spiral out of control.
5. Economic Changes
A souring economy can ruin many businesses unless owners are prepared to weather a downturn. Unfortunately, individual businesses have little control over the economy. What you do have control over is how you prepare for and respond to a slowing economy.
Having sufficient liquid reserves to support operations is a critical first step. Ideally, this should be established when the economy is doing well. Noticing early indicators of a downturn, such as slow sales or a decrease in new customer interest is also important. It allows you to react quickly and adjust before things become problematic.
6. Damage to Property
Natural disasters, theft, and vandalism can all make damage to company property a major operational risk. You may be unable to stop these events, but you can reduce their impact on business operations. Proper insurance and data backups offer a limited solution to a smooth recovery.
There will always be risks to running a business. However, knowing what they are and having a plan in place can make them manageable.