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Small Business

 

Your Small Business May Be At Risk Unless You Have A Security and Recovery Plan

Taking the time now to at least put together an informal security and business recovery plan will go a long way in the event of a real disaster or other loss. Learn what your small business should think about before the unexpected happens.

business recovery, business security, backup, disaster recovery, business insurance, stolen laptop, stolen client information, confidential information

Don’t think your small business is at risk? Think again. Whether you realize it or not, your business has valuable information and assets that probably are not protected right now. Your business likely has confidential client information, proprietary business knowledge or just internal knowledge that you wouldn’t want to be exposed to criminals or competitors. The loss of this information could have a devastating impact to your business. While business insurance is an important part of your protection, it cannot protect clients from identity theft or your business from unscrupulous employees or competitors.

No matter how big or small, your business needs to have a security and recovery plan in place that determines what risks you have, helps protect against those risks and sets plans in place to handle the most likely types of losses you may experience. Your plan should also look at the both the ‘physical’ and the ‘virtual’ aspects of your business.

Start by considering the types of risks to which your business may be vulnerable. What if your business information was lost or stolen? Do you have customer files or records, tax receipts, bank statements, business plans, customer work products?

Next, consider the physical aspects of your business that may be vulnerable. Do you have unique office equipment, inventory, computers or trade specific tools?

Finally, look at how you do business. Do you rely on technology, the internet or employees with unique skills? Does your business model depend on repeatable processes that are unique to your business?

Now, consider what would happen to your business if these parts of your business were lost, destroyed or stolen. Could you continue operating if you lost your client files? Could you be sued by customers if their personal information was exposed? Could you be the target of negative publicity? Could your competitors benefit if they gained access to the information? What if you lost email access for a day? What if that key employee suddenly left for another job? What if your office space caught fire or was flooded?

Your security and recovery plan should put in place the safeguards and policies and procedures to prevent some of these risks and the potential to negatively impact your business. Physical access to buildings is relatively easy to control although most small business have little more than a lock on the front door. Should you consider locking file drawers? Is inventory controlled? Does every employee have access, even to things that are not part of his or her job? Could a disgruntled or fired employee return to the workspace after hours with an extra key copy?

Your plan should consider how to protect the ‘virtual’ parts of your business also. Do you have backups of any important files? Do you have passwords, account numbers and other ‘keys’ securely guarded? Do your computers have virus and firewall protection and is it up-to-date? Do you have internet and email usage policies in place to protect your employees form harassment charges?

What about remote employees or workers who ‘take work home?’ In today’s highly mobile environment vital business information can now be easily accessed outside of your physical controls? Do your employees know how to safeguard laptops, cell phones, flash drives or even print outs of business information once they leave your workspace? What if a laptop is stolen from a worker’s car or home or hotel room? Do you have a backup of the data that was on the laptop? What if your employees are accessing your information from a coffee shop Wi-Fi? How do you know if your clients and business are protected?

Lastly, your security and recovery plan should consider how you would handle the most likely losses. For instance, if the computer that holds all your sales information crashes, you should probably have a plan to immediately restore that information from a backup. Where is the backup tape or disk kept? Who has access to it and most importantly, who knows how to restore a backup? If you office is flooded, how quickly can you relocate? Can some employees work from home or other remote locations temporarily? If client information is stolen, do you have a way to contact them?

Most small business owners likely have taken first steps like purchasing insurance and putting locks on the front door. Unfortunately, few have taken the time to really understand the potential risks to their business.

Taking the time now to at least put together an informal plan will go a long way in the event of a real disaster or other loss. Even the best planning obviously won’t protect against all disasters but it can certainly lessen the impact to your business once one occurs.

Aubrey Jones is President and founder of Riverbank Consulting, Inc. Since 1996 he has worked to protect internet banking clients for one of the top US financial institutions including serving as a Risk Manager.

 

Shopping For Small Business Services

Should you be in the early stages of a business start-up then there are elements to your personal business banking service which you should be looking for – and if you haven’t yet set up an account now is the time to take a deep breath and go shopping!

It’s a competitive market, and it’s often hard to be sure which services you should be looking for to provide the best service for your small business. Certainly the basics such as a business current account, savings account...

Small Business, Start-up, Financial Services, Online Business Support, Online Services, 24 Hour Bank

Should you be in the early stages of a business start-up then there are elements to your personal business banking service which you should be looking for – and if you haven’t yet set up an account now is the time to take a deep breath and go shopping!

It’s a competitive market, and it’s often hard to be sure which services you should be looking for to provide the best service for your small business. Certainly the basics such as a business current account, savings account, and loan facilities should be there, but nowadays the upcoming business manager should be looking for more from their financial provider.

Often you are looking for support from your financial services outside of traditional office hours and it’s for this reason that today’s small business owners should look for online access as a vital service for the building of their company. Not only does this provide true 24 hour banking support, but it enables complete transparency and allows you to pull up your small business’s financial details whenever you need them.

Having the information to hand is one thing, of course, but it’s also useful to have a dedicated team at the end of a phone line to run through the figure with you. Shopping around shows there are a few businesses who offer this service, Barclays (http://www.business.barclays.co.uk/BRC1/jsp/brccontrol?site=bbb&task=channelFWvi2&value=5793&target=_self ) being one of them. Typically you are looking for most of the services also available online, such as account checking and money transfer services, allied with the opportunity to chat with a living, breathing, business manager who is local to your branch.

Interestingly, some companies also offer specialised software designed to integrate with their services and make your time management more efficient. This is surely a good sign, and indicative of the pro-active approach many banks now take to integrate online services with more traditional hands-on approaches.

Of course yours might not be a start-up waiting to happen, but instead a small business with a good track record and the ambition to grow your business within your market. Maybe you are unhappy with your current financial provider – perhaps the service is good but limited, or you feel you could get a better financial package more suited to your small business. In either case you should be seriously thinking of switching your business account to a provider who can cover all your needs as a unique, small business. Additionally, and this might seem a minor point but it is surprisingly important, you should be looking for a banking service that will handle the transfer of your business account details with the minimum of fuss.

So there is plenty to consider when shopping for your financial provider but, assuming you are looking for a long term financial partner, perhaps the most important element is scalability: after all, you are looking for a financial provider that can grow with your business. Aren’t you?

Disclaimer

All information contained in this article is for general information purpose only and should not be construed as advice under the financial Services act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

Additional Information
http://www.business.barclays.co.uk/BRC1/jsp/brccontrol?site=bbb&task=channelFWvi2&value=5793&target=_self

Disclaimer

All information contained in this article is for general information purpose only and should not be construed as advice under the financial Services act 1986. You are strongly advised to take appropriate professional and legal advice before entering into any binding contracts.

 

Skills Required To Run A Small Business

Would you like to run your own small business? Have you an idea for a small business but do not think that you could make it work? Are you bored of being an employee and yearn to become your own boss? Have you the required skills to run a small business? In this article I look at the type of skills that people need to possess to be able to successfully run a small business.

small business, skills, discipline, work, hard, lazy, bed, self belief, positive, attitude, speech

Would you like to run your own small business? Have you an idea for a small business but do not think that you could make it work? Are you bored of being an employee and yearn to become your own boss? Have you the required skills to run a small business? In this article I look at the type of skills that people need to possess to be able to successfully run a small business.

My name is Stephen Hill and I have been running my own business for around nine years now. Previously I had been employed by a major insurance company and even though I progressed well during my time there, I always wanted to run my own business, to choose my own hours of work and basically have no one to answer to etc.

I am now a speech coach helping people who stammer/stutter to achieve fluency and I also help people to promote their websites as a form of web marketer or web promoter.

I love what I do as it allows me to to take my children to school as well as to pick them up from school. I am able to watch their football and netball matches and attend their school plays and other functions.

I am not bound by what hours I work, for example nine to five. I sometimes work late at night when I do the web promotion work but have the day free to relax. This is not to say that I do not work hard, because I think that I do work very hard.

Self belief is an important skill required to be your own boss. If you have an inner belief and self confidence that you will make the business succeed, then you will have a great chance to make it work. There will be times when during a month you only earn a small amount of money but in other months you should earn quite a lot. Some people prefer to know exactly what their income will be each month and these people may struggle to be their own boss.

Discipline is another requirement if you are to be a success at running your own small business. It is very easy to become lazy and to watch too much television or to have an extra couple of hours in bed in the morning. Even though you may have nobody to answer to, you have to be of the character to ensure you put in the required amount of hours and work.

I also think it is important to have a positive attitude. There will be periods when business is slow, this is where you may start to think in a negative way. This can lead people into becoming very stressed and even depressed. By thinking in a positive way and by working even harder to attract more work is the only way to react in this situation. This of course is not that easy to do but in my opinion there is not enough time in the day to get depressed.

Lastly is the ability to always try and improve your own self and to learn from any mistakes you make. We all make mistakes which is fine and natural. There is again not enough time to beat ourselves up over these errors, all we need to do is to learn from them and to then move on. We should always be looking at ways of improving the business as well as our own knowledge. Standing still and treading water is no way to continue.




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