All businesses are vulnerable to a crisis, and more than 50 percent will fail within two years after a major negative event. However, preparation is the key to successfully handling crises that may affect your business while minimizing potential fallout. Consider the following tips to ensure that your business is prepared, should adversity hit, and is best-equipped to emerge successfully after a crisis.
1. Assess potential risks. Review your business practices to anticipate potential crises that could affect business operation, safety or reputation. These risks can range from damage to your brand’s reputation to a security breach.
2. Provide safety training. Make safety training mandatory to help ensure a safe workplace so your business operates incident free. Ensure that your workplace is in accordance with all current OSHA regulations if applicable.
3. Have a backup plan. Create a disaster recovery plan that includes data backup, as well as an emergency alert system to notify employees of crises in the event that an unforeseen event, such as a fire or safety threat, causes the business to relocate or close.
4. Test out your plan. It’s one thing to have a plan in place, it’s another to know that it works. Schedule an annual crisis drill to practice what your company will do in the face of a natural disaster or safety threat.
5. Secure your WiFi. Be sure to create a separate WiFi network for your customers. Allowing guests to access your corporate WiFi can open up your network to risks like malware.
6. Protect your IP. Intellectual property spans anywhere from your business logo to product inventions. Look into nondisclosure and non-competition agreements for employees and business partners to sign in order to protect your company’s ideas.
7. Set up surveillance. Ensure your business is secure even while you are away with indoor and outdoor video surveillance.
8. Secure your website. Hackers are invisible and fast, and can be detrimental, especially if your website houses customer details and credit card information. Ensure your website is protected by a web application firewall or security applications.
9. Write the fine print. Don’t forget to clearly communicate your company’s terms and conditions on your website, receipts and promotional copy.
10. Legal has your back. Investing in legal advice and small-business insurance early on is a smart move to protect yourself from issues down the line, such as copyright, theft and contractual concerns.
Larry Silver is the director for Cox Business mid-market and security sales in Arizona. To learn more about Cox Business Solutions, visit www.cox.com/business.