Starting your own business can be an exciting, yet daunting, journey. As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to do whatever you can to keep your business running smoothly, whilst also limiting any risk. A lot of small business owners find that they set up their businesses with big dreams and grand ideas, with visions of a thriving business and potential early retirement.
But, good management and protection of your business are key to making those dreams a reality and these stages are somewhat overlooked in those early stages of owning a business. Business owners can’t control every eventuality, but there are some steps you can take to protect your business, especially in those uncertain early days. Some mistakes and overlooks are common for first-time business owners and ensuring that you avoid these can help with protecting your business against those first-year struggles. Let’s take a look at 3 easy ways to protect your small business.
Protect Your Intellectual Property
Intellectual property (IP) includes anything which you may have created with your mind’s vision, such as logos, branding or business name. Whilst your office and goods are considered “tangible property”, but your branding, name and logo are ‘intangible property’, because they do not have a physical substance. Protecting your IP stops others from using others without your prior permission, which could be harmful to your business. Some common ways in which you can protect your IP are through the use of trademarks and copyrights.
Copyrights are typically used to protect creative works, such as videos or books, and using a copyright means you can have exclusivity to use these. Trademarks are words and symbols which represent your service or product, allowing it to stand out from others in the market. They also help to protect the more recognisable features of your business. Trademarks are used to legally stop competitors from using similar designs or names to those used in your business. If you have any IP which is valuable to your brand and business, then it’s vital you make sure it’s protected.
Insure Your Business
It’s important to thoroughly understand the different risks that your business may face and what would be at the most risk should something happen. There are many different types of business insurance available to cover almost all eventualities, from property insurance to business life insurance. Whether you want to protect your business from physical damage or ensure its longevity should something happen to you or a key person in your business, it’s important to know what types of insurance apply to your small business. Some are a legal requirement, whereas others are a choice you make based on your own risk assessments.
Organisation Is Key
Keeping accurate records for every part of your business can help with general day-to-day management, as well as ensuring that you have everything to hand if you need financial records or legal documents at short notice. Organisation is vital when it comes to running a business as, if done incorrectly or if the information is not recorded, then this can cause serious issues with tax, insurance or employee documents.
Try to avoid over-reliance on digital copies of information as technology can sometimes be hugely unreliable, especially if needed in a hurry. Use clearly labelled folders and binders to keep copies of documents that are important and always back up your digital files. It’s important that you keep files on your computer well organised and clearly labelled, too. As a first-time business owner, you may not have had to previously deal with keeping accounts or filing your own tax returns, so look to hire a trusted bookkeeper that can help with this aspect of your business.