‘Safety’ can mean a number of things to a small business owner. Safety from a data breach, safety from an intrusion, and creating a safe, inclusive environment to work in are just some of the concerns constantly in the back of an entrepreneur’s mind.
We asked our small business experts how they interpret the word ‘safety,’ and the ways in which they strive to keep their businesses safe.
“We keep our business safe from competitors by hiring great recruiters (primarily from ties with Johns Hopkins University) and continuing to innovate our recruitment process with new technology.” –Ahmed Elsayyad, Elsayyad Medical Group, LLC
“I set up email accounts that both the contractor and I have access to and we’re the only ones that can access certain information. I keep my business accounts separate and only my accountant and bookkeeper are privy to the information.
My bank accounts are set up so that we can’t transfer money out of the account it can only transfer money between bank accounts.
When I use my business visa or MasterCard out in public I always cover my transactions with my hands to prevent anyone from viewing my transaction.
These are a few of the ways I’ve kept my business safe.” –Maria Rekrut, Niagara in the Lake Cottage Rental
“The first line of defense in any business should be the locks and hardware on your doors.
Make sure your locks are high quality. That means you need something that is Pick resistant, Drill resistant, and Bump proof. Most High security locks also offer key control so only the owner of the lock system can get duplicate keys and not worry about employees getting copies without authorization.
A few brands to consider are Mul-T-Lock, Medeco, and ASSA. All these brands are top of the line and can offer you a great deal of security for your business and give you peace of mind.
These locks cannot be bought off the shelf. Contact your local locksmith or security professional and ask about High security locks.” –Teddy Poulos, A-Access Lock & Key
“As a small business owner, all of the usual applies (data security, disaster recovery plans, security cameras, etc.) but, in addition, it’s the trust of customers and employees that protects us from financial danger and internal disaster. That means caring about and for them.” –Carl Mazzanti, eMazzanti Technologies
“What’s one thing that’s an absolute must for small businesses today? Computer security. Small businesses don’t have the luxury of resources, as Fortune 500 companies do. But their data is just as valuable and needs proper protection. In today’s cyber threat environment, just installing anti-virus on your computer isn’t enough. Simply running an outdated version of an application gives hackers the ammo they need to get into your computer and access all your data, credit cards, photos, you name it.” –Chana Kalai, mypcwatchdog.com
“You can protect your small business by having proper and adequate insurance in place for when the inevitable accident occurs. Accidents happen, even to the most secure businesses. When they do happen, businesses that have adequate insurance in place survive. A good example of this is what happens to a company after a data breach occurs. According to the Ponemon Institute, a leading independent research group, 2 out of 5 businesses do not survive after a data breach. If they have proper insurance in place they typically do survive.” –Mitchell Sharp, Insurance Shop LLC
“I keep my business safe with checks and balances along the way, so that no matter how big we become we don’t lose our competitive advantage in diversity. We used our divisified group as an asset, not an impediment to our progress and ultimate success.” –Catherine Delcin, Delcin Consulting Group
“I run a very small business as I’m the only one who oversees the day to day operations. I keep it safe by working with a select few people I trust. I have two amazing assistants and two amazing makeup artists that I vetted pretty hardcore. I also ensure a fair price point for clients across the board and keep rates the same for everyone. I try to keep a very cohesive and professional standard for the work I do.” –Rich Storm, nyphotony.com
“Insurance is one of the biggest ways we keep our business safe. That includes required forms of insurance, such as workers’ comp, as well as general liability insurance for workplace injuries and other coverage for areas like errors & omissions.
Many people undervalue insurance. It actually has two big benefits. The obvious one is protections against damages, in case someone sues you and wins. The second benefit is at least as important. As many small business owners know, you don’t have to do anything wrong to get sued. Even if someone doesn’t have a real claim against you, legal expenses can be potentially staggering. The great thing about insurance is that it protects from both situations where you are and where you aren’t liable.” –Marc Prosser, Fit Small Business
“As a small business we always have the fear of someone ruining all of our hard work whether digitally or physically. If it can happen to Big Name stores such as Target then why not us? To protect ourselves, our locations are secured inside malls. There is 24 hour security along with a sense of relief that we are safe from physical intrusion. We never keep large amounts of cash on hand, and no one but the owner is responsible for depositing money at the bank. As far as digital protection, we use only secure servers, and the markets most top of the line credit card readers. We understand the cost is more however in doing this we offer protection to not just ourselves but our customers as well. We change any passwords we have monthly to insure security. When it comes to HR related issues, we consider ourselves an open door policy. Since this is a family operated business, we have never had any issues related to racism/sexism, or anything like that. While we do have employees here that are not blood-related, they were hired based on skill sets, personality, and personal references from someone already working hear. By keeping our employees close like this, everyone is able to work together in a tension-free zone.” –Rachel Mueller, KISS Keep It Simply Stylish
“As someone who grew up dealing with with racism on a daily basis it was very important for me to insure that my small business was a safe environment for all of my employees. Before I hire any employees I always show them my anti-discrimination policy that specifically states zero tolerance for sexism and racism. The consequence of racism in my workplace is termination. I like to encourage my employees for a team building session every few months to give them a chance to develop a relationship. When my employees understand each other the chances of racism or sexism become very slim.” –Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco Kid’s Clothing
“With identity theft at an all-time high, our firm places a high priority on protecting our client’s personal data through the use of premier antivirus software on our computers and a secure firewall for our network. Also, we have a solid client engagement plan to prevent potential tax fraud by verifying the validity of personal identification and tax documents presented by new customers at our office.” –Yvette D. Best, Best Services Unlimited LLC
“We keep our business safe from the start by hiring the right people to work for our company. We take our interviewing processes very seriously in order to guarantee the below:
Hiring people that live and breathe our core values, hiring talented folks to protect our company assets (like IT and data security) & our people (HR staff). Outside of hiring internally, we are focused on partnering with a network of service provides (lawyers and accountants) to keep us legal and safe. For me, it is all about the people that we work with on a daily basis. Having a network of team members and partners that you can trust to have your back makes a huge difference!” –Angie Stocklin, One Click
“I like to think I keep my business, Accessibility Partners, safe from exclusion. While it’s idealistic to assume I can include everyone, I do try to promote inclusionary practices. Many of our staff members have a disability, and I’ve made sure that our online file sharing system is accessible to those who are blind, low vision, have mobility impairments, or are Deaf. We use an accessible accounting software that works with a range of assistive technologies and accommodations that promote usage by people with disabilities.
Our inclusion isn’t just limited internally. Our public-facing website has been tested for accessibility, and we welcome inquiries from people of all abilities interested in our services and publications. We impart wisdom about disability sensitivity, and smash through negative stereotypes about people with disabilities in the workforce.
In my humble opinion, a safe workplace is one where everyone can contribute fairly without discrimination. Using accessible technology and having a welcoming attitude is how I ensure that.” –Dana Marlowe, Accessibility Partners
“Since moving from a physical office to half of my team working virtually, we needed a way to protect our files and documents while sharing them over the Internet. We opted for Box.com as a virtual server. All of our team members are required to upload working files and finished work regularly so that content that belongs to the company is safe and secured. We also use secured links when sharing files so that our information isn’t floating in cyber space with no protection. This was a really important transition for us since we were used to having all of our information stored on a physical computer in our office before.” –Stacia Pierce, Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises