Someone being injured as a result of your products, services, staff or premises
It’s every company owner’s worst nightmare- someone becoming ill or injured as a result of their business. You might have been very careful and this happened as a freak accident, or it could have been a result of negligence or your health and safety standards slipping. It could have been a result of under trained staff or a myriad of other reasons. Of course, you should have the correct insurances in place to protect you against this- employee liability insurance and public liability insurance will prevent you from ending up out of pocket if a lawsuit is made. But you will also need to speak to a good commercial law firm who will help you through the process and make sure everything is handed correctly. A claim against you could be anything from an employee getting injured on the job to someone slipping on a wet floor inside or outside of your premises. It could be a customer getting ill or injured as a result of one of your products. Make sure staff have the right training, this could involve them attending regular top up training days. Ensure that proper health and safety methods are being used throughout your business at all times.
Data being stolen from your company due to fraud or theft
Lost data is something that can seriously affect your business, not only is it inconvenient but it could destroy your reputation. If data is stolen you are legally required to inform your customers, and once they feel they’re not safe shopping with you chances are they’ll never return. If you’re still using outdated methods you’re particularly at risk of this, keeping information on hard drives or even using paper files could result in the lot being taken if a burglar breaks in. Your best bet these days is to get your head in the cloud- the cloud is an online data storage system which encrypts your information for safety and stores it on servers. Nothing is stored on your computers or hard drives so if these are taken from your office, no information can be taken from them. Cloud storage allows you to securely access your data from any computer too, meaning it’s easy if you or your staff ever work remotely or from home. As well as theft from criminals, fraud and other criminal activity could be happening right under your nose from your own staff. Be very careful with who has access to pin numbers, passwords and other sensitive information. Set up an anonymous reporting system so that other staff members can say something if they notice anything out of the ordinary,
Your business being hit by a natural disaster
As well as your company being targeted by crime, another thing that could cause serious issues is a natural disaster hitting your premises. Lightning, fire or flood are three examples, this could cause extreme damage to your building as well as equipment and data inside. Again, cloud storage could protect your information. In terms of your building and contents, ensure you have the right insurances in place (always read the fine print so you know exactly what you’re protected against) just in case the worst were to happen.
Business slowing down and not picking back up
For most businesses, there are times in the year that are naturally a little slower. For example, retail businesses will experience a surge in sales around public holidays (such as Christmas) with a decline afterwards where people have spent their money. This will pick back up again, and then another sharp drop is usually seen around April since this is tax season with lots of people and businesses paying up their tax. If business has slowed and isn’t picking back up however it could be a cause for concern. Read your reviews, social media comments and complaints to see if there’s anywhere you’re failing. Consider putting out new marketing materials to interest new customers, or observe your staff to see if productivity is an issue.
Falling too far into the red and have to declare bankrupt
Businesses can sometimes fall into the red. When times are slower or if something happens to your business such as a natural disaster or burglary, you might need to borrow money or even shut your doors for a while resulting in lost profits. In most cases you will be able to catch up again once things have been sorted, however if things haven’t been going well for a while (or something huge happens which you’re unable to come back from) you could be forced to admit defeat. Spending more than you’re making will eventually lead to failure, of course you have to wait a while to see if things pick up- but leave it too long and you fall further and further into debt. This can be extremely disappointing for any business owner as chances are you put everything you had- both financially and emotionally into your business. But in time you will learn to see the silver lining. Many successful companies have owners who have failed at one time or another, these people have learned from their mistakes and tried again making sure not to make the same errors. Once you’re paid up and have emotionally recovered from your defeat, get back out there with this new knowledge and make it work. In the meantime, sell off as many of your assets as you can- from office furniture to manufacturing equipment to trademarks. This will help you to raise cash to pay your creditors meaning you can reduce these debts and get everything paid up as quickly as possible.