I have had several questions lately about business safety.
Not safety- OSHA. Safety- overall in doing business and with whom and where you do business.
There are many things to consider when you are doing business: protection of assets, technology safety, breach of confidentiality, breach of trust… anything which could be detrimental to the health and well-being of your business. Here are a few things to consider.
Security System. Again- so broad, depending on what the security is for. If you’re protecting records, personal information, and the like, look into your industry’s compliance regulations. Attorneys and accountants can help with this. If you are looking for something to protect physical property, ask your network of business people who they use and recommend. Regulations vary greatly by industry and business, so I won’t go into this more.
Malware Protection. It’s the IT Buzz word and if you don’t know what this word means- call your IT support today. If you don’t have IT support. Get some. We have several Chamber members who can help you protect your business’ electronic information.
Policies and Contracts. Policies, even for small businesses can help direct decision making when it comes to employees, vendors, etc. How you work with them, including expectation of payment and functions/roles. Written contracts can prove beneficial and also very functional when working with anyone, in any capacity. Contracts should be reviewed by your attorney. An insurance professional can help you determine what insurance coverage you need. Make no assumptions when it comes to legal and insurance needs.
Due Diligence. If you are working with someone new or are looking for a new service; do some follow-up work. Ask for references, call some of the resources I have listed below. Many businesses, including the chamber, receive emails, calls and walk-ins from businesses and people we do not know. This can create some anxiety or concern. If something seems too good to be true…. It usually is. If you think someone is trying to scam you, or others, call the police, call us… get some kind of concrete information before you engage in business activity. Some businesses are required, or choose, to do background checks on employees, vendors, and/or potential business partners. Some businesses aren’t able to manage the cost, and simply using search engines to investigate can be helpful.
Network of Business People. Huge asset. I’ve seen first-hand the network of Hutchinson businesses work together to help each other when implementing new services, doing business with someone new, hiring new services, etc. Use your network. If you don’t have a network, see me after class.
Your gut. 9.9 times out of 10, your gut is your best tool, so says “everybody.”
Oh yes, having a business is an amazing adventure! Having some policies and safe-guards in place can be very helpful. Do note however, not everything is fool-proof, but being well aware is the first line of defense.
Not only can you use these resources on a per need basis, many have email lists you can sign up for, which will send you newsletters with great business information.
Better Business Bureau www.bb.org/minnesota 1-800-646-6222
MN Secretary of State www.sos.state.mn Office of Steve Simon 651-296-2803
MN Department of Revenue www.revenue.state.mn.us 651-556-3000
MN Department of Employment and Economic Development www.mn.gov/deed
Southwest Initiative Foundation www.swifoundation.org 320-587-4848
Hutchinson Police Services 320-587-2242