Owning and running a business – regardless of the industry you operate in – is not for the faint of heart. There are numerous risks that can adversely affect your business, but with a little planning, you can make sure that should the worst happen, your livelihood will remain protected.
1. Cyber Attacks
Cyber attacks are on the rise. In particular, phishing scams and the compromised security of IT networks due to insufficiently trained staff are becoming more and more of a threat to businesses big and small. Data breaches are also becoming more and more commonplace. Mimecast’s The State of Email Security 2019 found that almost half of South African businesses reported “an increase in targeted spear-phishing attacks using malicious links or attachments over the past year.” Small and medium businesses are most at risk, as they have less capital to invest in robust IT security and cyber-fraud prevention training for staff.
How to protect your business from cyber attacks: Invest in robust paid-for anti-virus and anti-malware protection, and share passwords with as few employees as possible. Lastly, spend time educating yourself and employees who use internet-dependent technology on best-practice when it comes to detecting and preventing cyber fraud.
2. Liability Claims
A liability lawsuit can put the health of your business in jeopardy overnight. Common liability claims include the accidental injury or death of staff members or customers while on your property. In addition, if someone incurs damages to their possessions – for example, a tree in your parking lot falls over and crushes a customer’s car – you will be liable to pay for the repairs. Costly lawsuits that arise from liability claims can be astronomically expensive to settle. In fact, many SMEs simply do not have the capital should they be sued, and as a result, risk having their property and other assets seized.
How to protect your business against liability claims: Put safety measures in place – such as non-slip paint on stairs and walkways,a handrail next to stairs and visible signs that alert people to potential hazard – that aid in mitigating against slips and falls (the most common type of public liability claim). Lastly, invest in business insurance that includes public liability insurance.
3. Damage to business property
There are numerous threats that can put your business property – both the brick and mortar structure, like a store or warehouse, as well as the contents thereof – at risk. Without proper buildings cover in place, replacing or repairing property can be financially crippling. If you operate your business from your house, your home office counts as business property, as does your laptop, mobile phone and any other equipment that you rely on to conduct business. What many business owners don’t know, however, is that these are not covered by your household insurance and require a separate business buildings policy.
How to protect your business property: Conduct regular maintenance, and have adequate security measures in place. Invest in buildings insurance from a reputable provider.
4. Business interruption
Load shedding and the threat of Day Zero (plus the stringent water restrictions that came with it) put many South African businesses under immense pressure, with thousands of small businesses seeing their earnings plummet. Loss of stock and loss of sales – even for a few hours of the day, can quickly render small businesses insolvent. Unfortunately, many businesses who are forced to temporarily stop operating often end up permanently closed due to limited capital to cover recurring expenses. Other factors that may cause an interruption to daily operations, such as a fire or a flood, can also have dire consequences. Repairs can take weeks or even months, while ongoing expenses, such as rent and salaries, continue to add up. For small and medium enterprises, business interruption of this magnitude can be financially crippling.
How to protect your business from business interruption: Have an emergency savings account in place, with enough money to cover your business expenses for a minimum of three months, as well as a business insurance policy that protects you against any form of business interruption.
Running a business is that much easier when you know that your assets are protected. Secure your livelihood today by getting a quote from leading business insurance providers who offer tailor-made policies for businesses big and small.
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