3 Ways to Protect Your Small Business #protecting #your #online #reputation


How to Protect Your Small Business

Most small businesses are begun as simple ideas, and grow into successful enterprises because of the motivation and entrepreneurial enthusiasm of their owners. As your small business becomes more successful, it also becomes more vulnerable. There are many potential disasters that can harm your business, and you need to be prepared to defend yourself as you grow. Protect your small business from technological and financial threats as well as threats to its reputation by being prepared and vigilant about prevention strategies.

Steps Edit

Method One of Three:
Protecting Against Financial Threats Edit

Protect your small business from potential lawsuits. Lawsuits can be expensive, even if you are confident that you will win. You will still have to pay for legal representation and spend a lot of time defending your company.

  • Watch your actions and words. Avoid doing business with people who have a reputation for unscrupulous behavior and do not engage in questionable business practices.

  • Be careful of conflicts of interest. Avoid situations that could be perceived as suspicious as well.

  • Insure your small business. Make sure you have enough liability insurance and consider additional coverage such as errors and omissions insurance or a directors and officers (D O) policy if you operate under a board of directors.

    Assess your ability to withstand a catastrophe. An unexpected disaster such as a fire or a hurricane could destroy your business, leaving you without income or a plan to rebuild.

    • Talk to your insurance agent about what is appropriate for your small business. Each business has different needs.

  • Develop a crisis plan. If disaster strikes, you and your employees should know exactly what to do. Include plans for any inventory, technology and how you will communicate with your customers.

    Watch your cash and profits. Keep checks and balances and other controls in place to avoid being robbed or losing your hard-earned profits.

    • Be careful who you hire. Conduct background checks and screen all employees and consultants, especially those with access to company finances.

  • Audit your business finances at least every quarter.

  • Require timely payments from clients and customers. Waiting for payments can cause cash flow problems. Insist on payment for services and goods within a reasonable amount of time, such as 30 days.

    Work with a good tax attorney or financial advisor. Small businesses are eligible for many tax breaks. Make sure you are taking advantage of all of them.

    Method Three of Three:
    Protecting Against Threats to Your Reputation Edit

    Use social media responsibly. While most small businesses can benefit from Facebook pages and Twitter profiles, remember that the digital dialogue can include people unhappy with your business.

    • Use online conversations to promote your products and services, and invite your customers and clients to discuss what they like about working with you.
    • Do not overreact to negative comments. Deleting anything that sheds unfavorable light on your small business might damage your reputation even more. You want to be transparent. Have a trusted customer or supportive partner respond to any attacks against your business with a positive story or testimonial.

    Develop a crisis communications plan. If something happens that can damage your reputation, you need to be prepared. Prepare a plan to respond to customers, the media and any other stakeholders.

    Consider working with a public relations professional. Keeping a PR team on retainer might be prohibitive for your small business. However, talk to PR professionals about engaging their services on a per-project basis.

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