Protection for your business is essential. And it doesn’t matter if your business is selling pastries and cakes or dealing with high-level investments – it is a must.
You, your money and your clients deserve the best that you can provide. Some forms of protection will come under legal protection, others are insurances, and there are general tips too.
True protection for your business will actually start in the early days of formation and then be maintained and improved over many years of trading.
There are so many new businesses popping up, and many of them have similar names. But once you have you chosen yours, you should consider protecting the name so others can’t use it. You’ll need to register it with your country’s version of Companies House, incorporations don’t usually take a long and will help you begin to lay the foundations of protection.
Then, depending on your name and/or mark, you can take it one step further and apply to Trademark it. If you decide to use a mark, then make sure that you:
- Capitalize the first letter
- Note on all of your branding and marketing materials that you own the mark
- Use the R in a circle adjacent to the mark or word
- Use the ™ only if you have registered in specific states or countries
Your disclaimer will tell people who you are, what you do, and how you are qualified in that area – it should also mention if you host content that wasn’t written by you.
Conditions of use will cover how people are allowed to use your website, which is particularly crucial if you have forums.
If you have been completing client work after a short facebook chat, tweet, or even an email agreement basis. But, suddenly someone backs out, and you end up making a loss for work you completed without a contract. The fault sadly lays with you.
Every time you have come to an agreement on work to be done, cost and dealing, get a contract written up and share it with the potential client.
Ensure that you have covered all of your basis. When is the work due, what are the payment terms, what happens if they default or you fail to deliver? And what is and isn’t included in the work.
You might feel like this is too formal, but in the long run, it will keep you protected.
If you want people to share your work, you need to explicitly tell them how and what they can share. For example, on Unsplash you can use the photos, and do anything you like with them as they have a CC0 license. They simply ask if you would like to give credit. And that is it. You will need to decide what you are comfortable with when it comes to your work. If you add a plugin with sharing options, then most of the time, it will automatically tag you when shared on social media. But if someone wants to use a chunk of your written work for something else? Would you like them to email to ask you, or simply credit you?
Make sure that you have this written out clearly in your terms and conditions.
If you are running a company that deals with a lot of private information, financial or medical (and everything in between) then the chances are you are going to need extra security measures. As a minimum, you will need to work with a company that will be able to scope any weaknesses or potential threats to your network like Darktrace Network Monitoring can.
You are probably sending a lot of information back and forth between yourself, your clients, and other people who are working with you on the projects. That information all needs to be guarded well. There are a few ways in which you can take measures to protect the information of your clients:
- Encrypt data – You pretty much have the option to send everything encrypted, so you should do so. Read more about what encryption is
- Shred – anything that is printed and won’t be used, should be shredded. Anything you need to keep should be digitized.
- Wiping program – You are looking to remove files from your hard drive permanently. And if you have anything saved on an external HDD, then that will also need to be given the once over. Summit Hard Disk Scrubber, KillDisk, Blanco are just a few options that will work for this purpose.
If you skimp on insurance and a client is really unhappy with you, to the point you get sued, then you are going to be facing bankruptcy. You should make sure that you have professional indemnity insurance, insurance for the building that you rent or own, and for all of the machinery or technology that you use too.
If you have customers entering the property, then you should consider extra types of cover. And if you have workers, then workers compensation insurance is going to help massively if they have an accident. It will help you cover things like medical bills, illness coverage, and more. But because every business is different – what works for one might not work for another, so always seek professional recommendations.
Once you have all of the groundwork laid, you are in the position where what you will be looking after will be your brand, income, and reputation. Which is not a bad position to be in.