When you start your own business, it becomes something that you care for and want to protect. There are all sorts of threats against businesses and you want to do what you can to make sure that you keep your own above water and in good shape. This will help you to put your brand and products above and ahead of the competition, can help to ensure that you make sales, and can generally help you to be a success. This is increasingly important during these trying times as more and more businesses are suffering and collapsing all around us. Here are just a few different areas to focus on that will help you to achieve this.
Your Intellectual Property
When you run a business, you spend a whole lot of time coming up with all sorts of original ideas to help your business stand out from the crowd. You come up with a brand name. You come up with brand aesthetics. You have branded fonts created. You may come up with taglines. You come up with unique and innovative products. You don’t want someone else to come along and steal all of these things you’ve worked so hard on, taking them as their own and benefiting from all of your hard work. This is where protecting your intellectual property comes into play. Chances are you’ve heard of intellectual property before. This is a term that refers to the theft of legally protected ideas. You can protect your intellectual property in three different ways – copyright, trademark, or patent.
- Copyrighting – You can generally copyright your ideas through your home nation’s regulating authorities. Simply submit your ideas and the professionals working in these spaces will be able to check whether anyone else has already copyrighted them and, if not, you can then legally lay claim to them. If people do attempt to steal your ideas, you can show that you have copyrights and then have an official cease and desist sent out to them, which will advise that they stop using copyrighted material. If they carry on, you can then take legal action against them.
- Trademarking – trademarking is similar to copyrighting. However, its main goal is to protect our brand identity rather than the products that you produce. You can trademark things like your brand name and phrases or slogans.
- Patenting – if you have actually invented something completely new, you can temporarily protect it through a patent. This will give you the rights to the thing you have invented (often granted by the government) and it will officially prevent others from profiting from your invention for a set period of time. Sure, you may have to allow others to use your formula or ideas eventually. But being the first to release it allows you to become the household name in the field and can see you dominate its market.
Your Networks and Data
Cybercriminals are on the prowl for vulnerable small businesses who don’t have the measures in place to prevent their attacks. The number of these kinds of businesses are on the rise due to many companies switching to working on a remote basis during the pandemic. Cybercriminals can call all sorts of havoc for your business, including stealing data which can lead to data breaches, identity theft, financial theft and much more. Plus, breaches can ruin your business’ reputation, which you should avoid at all costs. Whether you’re running things remotely or on site, you need to make sure that your cybersecurity is up to date. This includes training your staff to recognise phishing attacks, installing a virtual private network (or “VPN”) and making sure that all of your machines and devices have good firewalls. These are just a few suggestions, but each will provide you with a good place to start out.
As well as your intangible property, you want to protect your tangible property. Without bricks and mortar, stock, gadgets, and more, your business would really struggle to operate. This is why you need insurance to protect these things. If they were to come to harm, you may suffer inconvenience, but at least you won’t suffer the financial loss of them too. When choosing policies, make sure to shop around and use price comparison sites. This will help you to get the best offer for your money. Also make sure to fully check all policy details, terms and conditions to make sure that you’re getting the coverage you’re expecting. Some policies to consider taking out include:
- Commercial premises insurance – do you own your commercial premises or are you buying your commercial premises? If so, you need to cover the building itself. You don’t want to find yourself without a roof above your business if you ever fall prone to fire, flooding, external damage or other issues.
- Commercial contents – whether you own your commercial premises, are buying your commercial premises or are simply renting your commercial premises, you need to make sure that you have commercial premises insurance. This will protect everything that you have in your store or commercial space, including things like stock, till points, computer systems and more.
- Gadget insurance – make sure that your gadgets are all covered. You and your staff will struggle to get on with your work without them – whether that’s replying to emails, updating listings on your website, responding to customer social media messages or anything else! Gadget insurance can make sure that everything is fixed or replaced if anything happens to it.
Of course, there are many more aspects of your business that you’ll find yourself having to protect at some point or another. But these are some of the most important, so make sure they top your list of priorities. Take action sooner rather than later to protect yourself before anything can happen! It’s of the utmost importance, so avoid putting it off!