It almost comes on a regular basis that there’s always something to worry about these days with a business, and surprisingly I don’t ever see a specific line item called “safety” but rather there are various elements of it attributed to various accounts. The usual expenses I see include insurance, alarm, repairs and maintenance for fixing broken doors or windows, but what about the items that are not so identifiable that we often take for granted?
- I still come across business owners who have used “specially designed software” that a single person developed just for them, but then they need to consistently go back to that same person asking them to fix it instead of going to a software that’s recognized universally. How much can you trust that this one person will be able to help your business if something happens with your data or what do you do if they’re no longer available? You’re putting all of your eggs in one basket, in one person, and can you honestly feel safe with that knowledge?
- Do you have a plan of action (POA) in the event of workplace violence, natural disasters, man-made disasters? Yes, it happens more-often-than-not, and so many people fail to get any traction until it affects them. Where do you keep your insurance information, your business data, your employee information off-site so you can access it if there’s a problem at your business that it’s not readily available?
- Is the equipment that you’re using in your business reliable, stuck together with duct tape and binder twine (yes, I’ve seen that once), and how often does it get inspected by a qualified professional? Anything can happen and may be considered “an act of God,” but with how quick people are to call up a lawyer can you afford that chance?
- Workers compensation – you’re on the hook regardless if you have it or not. Yes, Texas is still the ONLY state that doesn’t require the insurance however it doesn’t matter if someone gets hurt because you could ultimately lose everything because you were trying to save a few dollars and hoping that you wouldn’t have any problems. That also includes you, as the business owner, for which if you do get hurt then who’s going to pay your bills when you can’t work?
- Ransomware – what happens to small business’ data when it’s held hostage without any choice but too often pay a substantial amount of money, usually through cryptocurrency which is virtually untraceable (just ask the IRS). If it’s not been backed up offsite to another server that is not directly connected to your business, then chances are it’s gone for good unless you pay the ransom and then you hope that you get it back. It’s estimated that it was traced back to starting in 1989, so for the past 30 years it’s not only grown in popularity for criminals but a factor in every-day life. It’s currently estimated that in 2019, the cost of damage for businesses will be an estimated $11.5 billion.
If it was so easy to keep a business alive, everyone would be doing it. In order to continue thriving, we all need to maintain vigilance and remember that safety has a price tag and not something we can overlook.
Dwayne J. Briscoe