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Business risk

Simple ways to help protect your small business

ANZ Financially Ready

2023-04-26 04:30

Key Points

  • Read our ten simple steps on how to protect your business from common threats

Small businesses face a variety of risks that can have a big impact on their assets and operations. You might consider taking different precautions to help protect your business from cyberattacks, natural disasters, theft, and other potentially costly events.  

Here are ten simple ways to help keep your business safe from common unwanted challenges that life might throw your way:

1. Have a plan

An emergency plan can help your business bounce back from an unfortunate event with minimal disruption to business as usual. Your plan may cover strategies for handling emergencies, ensuring business continuity, and recovering from incidents. This might include:

  • How to respond to injuries, accidents, and other emergency events
  • Who to notify or contact when an event happens
  • Documentation and evidence that must be gathered

2. Run emergency drills 

Practising your emergency plan helps minimise the risk of confusion if an event does occur. It can also help you and your staff remember what needs to happen and who is responsible for each step. Emergency drills are also less likely to be ignored than asking employees to simply read the plan. Your business may run scenarios such as:

  • Evacuation drills for fire or natural disasters
  • Customer or staff injuries
  • Medical emergencies
  • Theft or a hostage situation

3. Consider your location

Before you lease or buy a premises for your business, you may want to do a risk assessment on the location. This can help you avoid some potential hazards and find the best place for your business to call home. Things to consider include:

  • The neighbourhood – Talk to other business owners in the area to hear their experiences working there. You might also want to look up the local crime rate and research recent criminal activity in the area if any.
  • Building layout – A building or office’s layout could create or help you avoid potential risks. For example, increased visibility from the street may make your business less enticing to thieves.
  • Natural disasters – Wild weather may be more likely to impact your business if there are lots of overhanging trees and branches close to your building or if you’re located in or near a flood plain.

4. Install alarms

Security measures for your business premises are important, even if you work from home. Fire and security alarms help protect your business from two common threats.

There are many fire alarm and security systems on the market, so you will need to do some research to find an option that suits your needs. A security expert may be able to advise you on available systems and any laws you might need to follow regarding sprinkler systems and smoke detectors. After these systems have been installed, schedule regular testing and maintenance to help ensure they work when you need them to.

5. Install a safe

A safe is a secure place to store important business documents and cash. Even if your business is run out of your home, installing a safe could still be a wise precaution to take.

Multiple employees may need access to the safe, but you should limit entry to only essential staff. Keeping the combination code confidential can help prevent an internal robbery (or at least narrow down the list of potential suspects). You should also change the combination on a regular basis or after an employee with access leaves the business for added security.

6. Secure your premises every night

This may seem like a basic step, but it’s easy to leave a door or window unlocked at the end of the day! Simply walking the premises each night and checking that every entry point is closed and locked could help prevent burglaries. Make this part of the nightly procedures so whoever is responsible for closing up remembers to always check each door and window.

Depending on where your business is located, you may want to add extra security features to your building. These may include window grills and door cages to make it harder to get into the building.

7. Mix up your routine

Criminals often watch businesses for days or even weeks before they strike. If your routine is too predictable, it could make it easier to know when cash is taken to the bank, deliveries are made, and when the premises will be empty.

Changing your routine from time to time could throw thieves off their game. For example, if you always take cash to the bank on Monday mornings, consider making deposits more frequently or during your lunch break every few weeks.

8. Be cyber aware

Cybercrime is a growing issue for businesses of all sizes. Hackers and cybercriminals don’t discriminate when it comes to choosing a target. Any business that uses online services or internet-connected devices is vulnerable to an attack. Measures you might consider to increase your online security include:

  • Password protecting your modem and using a VPN
  • Installing anti-virus software and downloading updates as soon as they are available
  • Back up your files to the cloud and an external hard drive
  • Hire an IT expert to help secure your systems

9. Training and education

Having policies and procedures in place could help your business avoid many risks, but only if they are followed! Everyone in your business needs to contribute to workplace safety and security, and this starts with training and education.

Company policies and procedures should be covered during new employee training and refreshed regularly to ensure everyone remembers what is expected of them. You should also update your training when updates are made to your risk management plan or if a relevant law is passed or changed.

10. Consider business insurance

The steps outlined above, along with others, can do a lot to help you avoid many potential risks. But you may not be able to prevent every accident, mistake, or negative event that could impact your operations. Insurance policies could help protect your small business when other measures fail.

There are many types of insurance designed to protect businesses from a variety of risks. Depending on your business’ needs, you might consider coverages like Public Liability, Professional Indemnity, and Cyber Liability, among many others. Visit BizCover to read more about the different types of insurances available to small businesses.

Keeping your business safe and sound

There are many ways for small business owners to keep their businesses safe in the face of potential risk. From running emergency drills to buying insurance, you may be able to plan for and prevent many worst-case scenarios. And if you can’t avoid them, there are ways to help you bounce back as quickly as possible.

Next Steps

Simple ways to help protect your small business
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