Your business is important.
You have probably plowed months and months of work, maybe even longer, into building up your idea and your business model. Maybe you are an established business and have spent time creating a new product or service that you are incredibly proud of and know will be a success with your customers.
What would happen, then, if someone came along and ruined it for you??
Perhaps they take your idea and try to pass it off as their own? Perhaps they go about trying to damage the reputation of your business by stirring up trouble or making false accusations? Maybe they get into your computer systems and get their hands on confidential data. Maybe they launch legal action against you for something.
There are all sorts of things that shouldn’t, but can and do go wrong, and when you have spent so much time and energy and money, it can be devastating.
While you cannot protect your business against every possible threat, there are steps that you can take to reduce the risk, and should the worst happen, mitigate the impact that it has on you and your business. Here, we look at some of those things. Read on to find out more.
Make sure your business is a legal entity
The first step in ensuring your company’s security is to register your company’s name. This entails double-checking that the company name is not already taken and registered. Taking ownership also involves securing the company’s domain name.
Make sure that you have registered with all of the appropriate authorities and departments and have filled in all of the necessary paperwork – licenses, taxes, and so on. Not only are these legal requirements, but it also makes you look and act a lot more professional.
Protect your website
The internet is powerful, and it can make or break your business. If you have a website, it is important that you are completely aware of all the legalities and responsibilities that you have, as well as making sure it is secure against cyber attacks.
Ideally, your website should have terms and conditions, privacy notice, and information about the collection of cookies and other data, While it is good practice anyway, in some parts of the world, it is a legal requirement.
By having all of the required legal information on there, people can make a decision as to whether they want to engage with your web page and leave any details on there, or click away.
Ensure you have watertight contracts
While social media and cell phones have made it much easier to get in touch with people and have informal chats when it comes to important and legally binding contracts and agreements, do not be tempted to do it over social media. A good old-fashioned physically signed contract or a digitally signed one holds much more weight in the eyes of the law. If there are any queries, you can refer back to the contract, whereas it is much more difficult to prove anything on social media or text messages.
Your contracts should be watertight and explicitly lay out everything, from dates and deadlines to payment methods and what will happen if either party breaks the terms of the contract. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney for anything like this, as they will have the most up-to-date information and be able to tell you whether something is legally binding or not.
Keep an eye on your online affiliations and actions
Reputation is everything, and if you or any of your employees are seen to be affiliated with anything or anyone harmful or criminal, or are visibly doing anything at odds with your business ethos, it can be very damaging. Look at how big brands swiftly end sponsorships and agreements with celebrities who have been caught up to no good – they do not want that association, and the same should go for you.
If you are unable to rectify any damage caused by affiliations such as these, online reputation management can work with you to reduce the impact this can have on you and improve your branding and reputation.
You may also want to consider having a social media policy in place for your employees as part of their employment contracts. You do not want them visibly representing your company in their profile pictures or bios and then doing things and saying things that could be damaging. Either have a blanket ban on them sharing their employment on social media, or make sure they are aware that if they bring the name of the company into disrepute in any way, action will be taken.