Owning a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SME) is a dream come true for a host of American entrepreneurs. There is nothing quite like being your own boss and controlling your own destiny. If you are a business owner, good for you. What are you doing to protect your business?
Making it in the modern world of business requires more than just building something. You also have to protect what you've built against an array of outside influences that could ultimately wreck everything you worked so hard for. What many SME owners do not know is just how to do that.
Pay Attention to Ethics
A good place to start is ethics. In this day and age, doing or saying the wrong thing can destroy your reputation overnight. Do not take any chances. Make the effort to understand what constitutes good ethics in your business and then make sure the company is adhering to them.
You might want to check your employee handbook and the company's official policies to ensure ethical standards are clearly outlined. Any glaring holes should be plugged immediately. And while you're at it, review how your company does business and with whom it transacts. If you find any conflicts of interest or business relationships involving organizations with checkered histories, address those issues.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Every business in America should have at least a minimal amount of liability coverage. For most SMEs though, basic liability is not enough. Your liability policy should include errors and omissions coverage to protect against mistakes made by employees. If your company is run by a management team, consider additional insurance to protect the business in the event one of your executives runs off the rails.
Check Privacy and Security
What are your company's official policies for protecting customer privacy and securing data? Furthermore, does your company follow its policies as written? Both privacy and data security are paramount in the information age, and you cannot afford to allow your company to be lax about either one. Make sure your company is doing everything possible to prevent data breaches and invasions of privacy.
Pay Attention to Cash Flow
As a company specializing in payroll and benefits administration, we have seen our fair share of clients running into payroll trouble because of insufficient cash flow. And unfortunately, cash flow is almost always a thorny issue for SMEs. Pay attention to it at all times.
If your company is having cash flow issues, it is time to step back and figure out why. You may need to pay more attention to accounts receivables. You may need to cut costs. You might even need to raise your prices. At any rate, not having sufficient cash flow affects everything from payroll to payables.
Run a Regulatory Compliance Audit
Finally, federal and state regulations change nearly every calendar year. The changes in some years are more profound than in others, but rest assured they are coming every January. How is your company doing? This is a great time of year to run a regulatory compliance audit just to make sure.
In terms of payroll, 2019 will be an interesting year for tax withholding, W-2 and W-4 forms, business taxes, and payroll deductions. The end of the ACA mandate is also in play this year. There is a lot to keep up with.
You have worked long and hard to build a successful business. Now make sure you and your staff are doing what you can to protect your company. The harder you work to protect your business, the better off it will be in the long-term.