As the owner of a business, your name and reputation become synonymous with your work. Even though every business owner accepts some measure of risk, you can take actions to protect your livelihood. These four steps will help to protect your business and the work you do.
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Separate Yourself from Your Business
If you are operating your business as a sole proprietorship, then your finances and assets are intertwined with your business’ debts and obligations. If someone were to file a lawsuit against your business, your assets could be liquidated in order to fulfill the judgment or settlement of the lawsuit. You can protect your business by having an attorney assist you in setting up a limited liability corporation. If you choose to incorporate, it is important to understand that your business will have additional laws and obligations to meet. You could also set up a trust to manage the business. This helps to protect your assets in case your business goes bankrupt or is sued by another party. If you are a part of a board of directors, consider purchasing directors and officer’s liability insurance. If you write contracts, you may need to insure yourself against errors and omissions through a personal insurance policy.
Vendor Credentialing Services
When you deal with third-party service providers, making sure that the vendors are on the up-and-up are essential to your profitability. Vendor credentialing services provide you with protection against sub-contractors who perform shoddy work or who do not show up. The services make sure that vendors are insured for liability, failure to comply and for safety. The credentialing services also protect you by making sure that the vendors who work for you are properly licensed and insured to perform a specific type of service. A credentialing service also ensures that any vendor on your property has been background checked.
A non-disclosure agreement can be written up for your business by a corporate lawyer. This type of an agreement protects your business against any other party divulging your confidential business information. You can apply the non-disclosure agreement to current staff members so that they do not leak proprietary or confidential information to a client or a competitor of yours. If you do not include an expiration date on your non-disclosure agreement, then it will not expire. This means that any confidential business information of yours will be protected indefinitely. The agreement can also be applied to vendors who make products for your business or who provide sub-contracted services on your behalf. You may also wish to include a non-compete clause in the agreement. A non-compete clause prevents an individual from starting a business that provides the same product or service as yours within a specific time frame.
Every business has a collection of data. If your customer files, banking statements, reports and other information is printed and you have physical copies of them, you will need to protect them against damage such as fires and floods. A waterproof fire safe is an efficient way to do so. You will also need to protect them from theft and unauthorized access by locking them and physically securing them. Most businesses also have a plethora of digital data. From customer databases to finances, orders and marketing information, this also needs to be protected. Information security measures such as encryption, anti-virus software, user authentication, password protection and cloud storage help to protect your data.
Your business is your livelihood. Protecting it not only helps you to maintain your good reputation, but keeps your finances and career as safe as possible. Working with attorneys and credentialing professionals makes it easier to protect your company.