When starting out on a new business venture, it can often seem like you’re taking a deep dive into the middle of the darkest part of the ocean. You’ll be awash with horror stories of people who have fallen foul of business practices and have had everything taken from them for some minor accounting mishap or for a typo in a contract. But, fear not, protecting yourself should be the first thing you do when starting out. Once you’ve given yourself as much protection as possible, you’ll be able to rest easy. Here are five ways to ensure your business is protected.
General Liability Insurance
The first thing you should do when starting out in business is to ensure that you have the correct insurance. While equipment and vehicles may come down the line, general liability business insurance should be your first priority in order to protect you personally – and the business – should any accidents or mistakes happen. Legal fees against you could bankrupt you and the business if you aren’t insured for things that are out of your control, but you could be deemed liable for.
One of the main ways people are caught out in business is that their personal finances and business finances get tangled up. To protect yourself and your business, have a clear demarcation of these finances. Some even opt for a different bank for their business dealings, so that there is a clear separation both legally and symbolically. There are many different business banking options available, such as those that exist solely online.
Depending on your business type, you’ll need to ensure that you have accreditation from the correct organizations. Those at risk are businesses that deal with consumables, which need the correct food hygiene accreditation, allergy checks, and general protections when it comes to selling things for ingestion. At the very least, these accreditations ensure that you have done things correctly, even if something goes awry that is out of your control.
Social Media Sweep
A more abstract way of protecting your business is to check through your social media. Even something as small as badmouthing an actor or throwing abuse at a sports team could be misconstrued to reflect badly on your business. A generic sweep of your social media accounts and removal of all content that could be flagged as inappropriate should do the trick. Personal accounts should also be kept on private to create necessary distance between you and the business entity.
Sometimes businesses are undermined by negative reviews online. Usually, these reviews aren’t justified or are easily explained away. Most take them with a pinch of salt anyway. But, a negative review from a fellow business, client, or distributor could get you informally blacklisted or leave a negative opinion that takes years to shift. Writing simple non-disparagement clauses into any contracts that prevent discussion with others of any negative aspects they perceived of your service could be a simple sentence that protects your reputation.
Protecting your business is the perfect example of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ and enables you to have peace of mind as you conduct your business. You’ll be able to focus on making a success of your idea, rather than worrying about any weak points that could leave you vulnerable.