Setting up a business can be just as daunting as it is exciting, primarily because of the sheer amount of organisation that goes into things such as making sure your new company is secure from issues like theft, fraud and crime. Here’s a list of some things you should definitely consider as you begin your startup.
Research business laws
As a business owner, it is your responsibility to make sure you are successful. Even as a small company, you must remember that you’re not exempt from the law and you must know how to appropriately handle any legal issues that you may encounter along the way. Read up on the latest business laws so that you know how to legally run your operation. Some of the areas you should look at include:
- Financial laws
- Employment and labour law
- Intellectual property
- Marketing and advertising law
Display terms and conditions
On your website, you should always ensure that your terms and conditions are clearly displayed. Your clients will not only need to be aware of what you do, but they’ll need to know how you operate before they commit to entering into an agreement with you. Within your terms and conditions, you need to inform your clients of your payment and returns options in language that is clear and easy to follow. By knowing how to make your business appear user-friendly, you’ll be able to create strong and long-lasting relationships with your clients.
Once you understand the risks that your business faces you’ll know how important it is to get it properly insured. You are legally obliged to have some types of insurance including public liability insurance and employer’s liability insurance but many companies opt for further types including professional indemnity insurance and business vehicle insurance if their company requires it.
- Public liability insurance: This insurance will cover you if a member of the public suffers an injury while on your premises. It also covers you if their property is damaged because of a fault with your business. Finances for compensation claims, legal expenses, cost of repairs and medical fees will all be covered once this insurance is put in place.
- Employer’s liability insurance: This will cover you for the cost of any compensation claims that arise from an illness or injury that one of your employees has sustained while at work.
- Professional indemnity insurance: If a customer claims that your business failed to provide adequate services, this insurance will cover for any legal costs you may need to pay to defend the claim and the cost of any compensation that may need to be paid to the customer. You are not legally obliged to have professional indemnity insurance, but it can cover you in the case of professional negligence, loss of data or documents, unintentional breach of copyright or confidentiality, defamation and libel and the loss of goods or money.
- Business vehicle insurance: If you run a business that requires vehicles you will need to have vehicle insurance. It will protect you if your vehicle is stolen, damaged or vandalised and will cover the cost of any issues to get you back on the road.
Be Wiser Business Insurance offers insurance for a wide range of companies such as retail, offices, tradespeople and even surgeries.
Protect your intellectual property
Intellectual Property (IP) refers to anything that you’ve created with your mind. For a business, this usually involves their name and logo which are referred to as ‘intangible property’. Protecting your IP with Copyrights and Trademarks means that no one can use it without direct permission from you. Copyrights protect physical, creative works (an innovative product, for example) whereas Trademarks protect words and symbols that represent your product or service and make it stand out from others. If your intellectual property is something that makes your business different from the rest, it’s definitely worth protecting. As a small business, this is sometimes the only thing stopping others from stealing your hard work.
Keep on top of your paperwork
Ensuring your paperwork is all done, dusted and kept up to date will protect you from any incidences of fraud. Being charged with fraud is expensive, and many reputable businesses have been hit because they simply did not keep on top of the required paperwork. When it comes to handling things like the payroll, taxes and other important documents its best to hire a professional who can sort it out for you. Don’t be put off by the price because in the long-term, hiring someone to take care of your accounts will be a lot cheaper than hiring a lawyer to defend you in court.
Be good at what you do
While it’s not easy for smaller companies to take the lead in what they do, this doesn’t mean you don’t have to be great at it. It’s incredibly rare for a company to be completely unique but by focusing your attention on providing the best quality product teamed with an outstanding service you’ll be sure to stay in business. Think about the following:
- What is your unique selling point?
- What makes you stand out from your competitors?
- How can you improve your customer service?
- Is your product better than your competitors?
- Are you cheaper than your competitors?