Dealing With Disaster: When Things Go Wrong In Your Small Business

When you start your own business, it becomes your life- when it’s you who’s responsible for its success it’s easy to pour your heart and soul into it. If you’ve quit your day job and your business is your primary source of income, there’s an awful lot on the line and so you need to do whatever you can to make it a success. So when things start to go wrong it can cause significant stress, and there might be times where you’re unsure what’s caused the issue or how to put it right. Here are some examples, along with ideas for how to solve these problems.

Business Has Slowed Down

As a business owner you need to be prepared for slower times of the year. For example, if you work in retail you’ll often find a surge in orders around public holidays like Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day and more, with a decline during other times- April for example is tax month and people often have less to spend after paying a hefty bill. This is normal, and these fluctuations can be observed with most businesses. However if things have been slow for a while and don’t seem to be picking back up then this can be a cause for concern, and really there are so many things that could be the cause here. Try to identify what the issue is. The first thing you could try is adjusting your marketing methods, the issue might be that people just aren’t hearing about your businesses. Social media marketing is one of the most effective, and so it could be worth pouring in some extra resources here. Another thing you could look into is what your competitors are doing. You might have been priced out of the market by cheaper competitors, or they might have even made changes to their own businesses that have rendered yours obsolete. Keep an eye on what they’re doing, and adjust accordingly. You might need to change your unique selling point to appeal to new customers, switch out your stock and products or change your price point. Another thing you could do is check is your business reviews, see what people are saying about your company. Is something going wrong that’s putting people off? Perhaps shipping errors are resulting in wrong items being sent or long delivery times. Maybe you need to improve your materials and manufacturing for better products? See what it is that customers are unhappy about, and make the necessary changes.

Fraud and Theft

People stealing from your company or it becoming a victim of fraud can be a serious problem, and result in massive lost profits. One of the first ways to protect against theft is to improve your workplace- whether you’re a shop, office, factory or any other kind of industry you need to keep your premises secure. It needs to be well lit at night, have a professional burglar alarm fitted along with high-quality CCTV. Window shutters might be useful in some cases, and a good safe (which is hidden and bolted down) is always a good option. Avoid keeping lots of cash on your premises; regular cash collections means that if you are targeted the thieves will only get away with a limited amount. As well as burglars and intruders, stealing can also happen from your own employees. You can minimize risk by being careful during the recruitment process. Run background checks on all employees, and check their references. CCTV inside the building, and a good reporting system for employees who spot any issues can also be effective. When it comes to fraud, one thing that has been shown to be effective is switching around people’s jobs within the company. This is because a second employee is following up the work of the first, and can spot if something isn’t right. It can happen in large or small companies you really need to stay on top of things and be aware that it can happen to you.

Accident or Injury

Accident or injury in the workplace could lead to lawsuits that effectively mean the end your business. If a member of the public, their property or one of your employees is harmed on your premises or as a result of your business, you could end up massively out of pocket. It could be as simple as someone slipping on ice outside, or on a wet floor which hasn’t had a warning sign put up. Always make sure you have good liability insurance, it’s up to date and you’ve read the fine print so you know what you’re protected against. It’s not just your premises and products you need to think about too, if you have your own fleet of vehicles then you need to ensure they’re safe on the roads. According to most truck accidents result in fatalities so you need to be so careful. Your vehicles need to be up to scratch when it comes to their safety, and drivers should regularly be tested for drugs and alcohol. Always check your driver’s license when hiring new employees as well as their work history. Better to be safe than sorry, as if they cause a crash it could be the end for your business.

Lost Data

Most businesses now use online data storage, which is much more effective. It allows information to be backed up to the cloud (and encrypted for safety) so if anything happens to your computer or office, your data is still safe. Previously, paper files or disks could be stolen or damaged by fire or flood. If you still keep your data in this way then you could be putting your company at serious risk. Look into cloud based storage which is far safer and more efficient. Lost data and customer records, invoices and other information can be a serious problem, for tax purposes as well as other reasons. Get your business into the twenty first century, even if you’re only running a small operation use technology to your advantage.

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