Small Business Check Up

Small Business Check-Up: Protecting your business

In the aftermath of the tragedy at W.C. Franks in Wayne, I am left wondering how many entrepreneurs are protected from the many risks associated with running a business. Below I have some listed some ideas to consider as the new-year commences.

Are copies of your business documents stored in a secured, off-site location? In the event of an emergency or catastrophic event, having access to documents such as leases, articles of incorporation, human resource and payroll documentation, financial records including passwords, and insurance documentation will be critical . Included should also be contact information for vendors, staff and subcontractors.

Have you developed a succession plan for the business to plan for retirement, or worse an unforeseen tragedy?  According to the Small Business Administration, 90 percent of U.S. businesses are family owned, but only 30 percent of such companies succeed in the second generation. Just 15 percent make it to the third.

Is your data backed up regularly and securely and is it accessible offsite? Do you store cash in your establishment? Are your policies and procedures vulnerable to extenuating circumstances? Home based business as well as brick and mortar establishments should consider these questions.

Is your establishment up to code and has it been inspected in the past 12 months by a private inspector who can put a fresh perspective on your property and offer valid suggestions?  Check to see if your building is structurally sound.  Assess your property frequently to look for downed power lines, faulty wiring or water damage. If you enter through the back of the building, you may not notice a lingering problem in the front of the building, including cracked sidewalks, overgrown trees, bushes or other hazards.

Taking time to create an emergency action plan will help minimize the downtime of your business and mitigate damages. Emergencies can include fire, water, natural disasters or theft. Each business and organization is unique and should be treated as such. When you create this plan, make sure it is communicated to key constituents and revisit the plan every 12 months to adjust for growth, changes in scope of services, operations or the staffing model.  If you need assistance creating this plan, please call the Dearborn Chamber of Commerce.

Preparedness is the only answer to protecting your business. Take time in the new year to plan for these extraordinary occurrences.

Jennifer Giering, President

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