So you’re a start-up? Congrats.
You’ve officially gone from being a dreamer to doer. Now the hard part starts! If you are at the stage of your company lifecycle that you are beginning to bring in clients, customers and revenue, you will probably begin thinking about office space, employees, and meeting goals. It is time to produce something with your business and at the same time protect the business you love.
There are three things that every start-up must have in place to protect themselves from risk. Before we jump into the list, it is important to establish WHY it is important to protect your company at all. We tell all our clients that a start-up must take certain steps at certain stages of their growth. A brand new firm with nothing more than a business plan will not have much risk to protect against. A company that has officially opened for business does. Your entire future can be hampered by an unexpected and sudden event – whether that is a fire in the office, a customer injuring themselves on your product or the theft of all your company funds by a disgruntled employee.
Risks that go unprotected and ignored can stop your business before it even has a chance to start. This is why every owner and manager of a new venture must care about the risks they face. Here are three ways to reduce and protect your firm:
- Internal Controls. What a firm does in the back offices is as important as what is done on the showroom floor. The back-end of a firm directly impacts what the client sees and the image that is portrayed. It is vital to have internal controls, policies and procedures in place that maintain the highest level of professionalism and protection for your company. From the handling of money, to regular password changing, each item of a business can be systemized to elevate the protection around that business function.
- Insurance. Insurance will be required at some point in every business’ life. Most of the time it is a legal requirement (such as hiring your first employee) or contractual requirement (such as leasing office space) that makes a business buy their first policy. With basic coverage starting under $500 a year, firms should look into this quickly upon launching. Depending on the type of business you are engaged in, network security policies, professional liability policies or management liability policies should be researched.
- Team of Experts. Having a team of experts on speed dial is something every firm should consider. We generally recommend that a business form a relationship with a lawyer, an accountant and an insurance broker at minimum. These relationships should be ongoing so that a quick phone call will answer questions that a firm may encounter in their everyday operations.
This list is thorough and adaptable to every firm – from manufacturing to nail care to internet firms. Reach out to us to discuss how these principles can be adapted to your unique situation and how your start-up can be protected.