You could write an entire book about what keeps business owners up all night. In fact, there are most likely many on the market. In our past blog post on this subject, we outlined a few including lack of cash flow, keeping sales and revenue growing, staying on top of current trends and other concerns. If you don’t have time to read an entire book, we got you covered here at American Profit Recovery as we have been summarizing these top issues you face.
And as you might imagine, collection agencies that serve small business hear quite a bit from business owners and management about the ups and downs of business. Especially when it comes to matters surrounding money. First of course is cash flow or lack of it. Which as you probably know, effects just about every aspect of your business.
Money is the deciding factor when it comes to so many issues that you might face. Here are a few more concerns that you should always be keeping a close eye on in your business.
Never in our lifetime have we seen such a wild ride when it comes to medical and health insurance costs. And as a collection agency specializing in medical collections, we see some of this firsthand. Many have difficulty in meeting their obligations for medical costs or in some cases, there has been some confusion as to who is paying for what service. At any rate, if you are offering any kind of health insurance benefits in your business, then you need to pay attention to the ever-changing rules, regulations and costs that seem to change all the time.
Don’t go it alone. There are many resources out there including your local chamber of commerce, your own insurance agent for your business and even the Small Business Administration. It is best to review anything you are offering to your employees and of course yourself, on an annual basis. In fact, it is not even a matter of “if you should.” It needs to be, “you have to.”
Just like the health insurance benefits you offer your staff, which is a benefit, there are many more you are probably offering to your team. Make sure you are managing your time off policies to ensure there is not only adequate time off but no abuse. As retirement plans such as 401K Plans can change from time to time, and take a tremendous amount of resources to manage, make sure you review this at least on an annual basis. You may want to offer life insurance or dental and vision plans. But again, make sure your staff knows what is covered. Once again, as a company that handles dental collections, we see confusion some times in what is covered.
Review other benefits you offer such as gym memberships, employee assistance programs and other benefits packages. Pricing and terms can change so keep a close eye on these.
Getting hacked doesn’t just happen to the big boys. Any size business can get hacked. It only takes one click in an email by a staff member and your data could get locked down or worse, lost and stolen. Cyber security should be a top priority for the one-person business and the large corporation. Make sure all your files are in a safe password protected location. Especially if they are client files. If your clients have trusted you with information, it better be safe. Change your passwords often and don’t use the same password for everything.
It’s also a very good idea to have a reputable and knowledgeable computer consultant regularly go through your computer systems for a thorough check up. You can have a virus or malware on your computer system and not even know it was there. A good computer or network consulting firm can find those quickly and get rid of them. Also, train your staff not to click on any email links that are out of the ordinary or suspicious. If it looks strange or unfamiliar, delete it. Most times a company is infected, it was the result of a staff member clicking on an email link.
Like our tax code, laws can change all the time as well. And this means even a small business needs to be up to date on any laws that govern your business. But it’s even more than that. It is proactively protecting your business. Have contracts or agreements in place with your clients that outline your relationship. Have those agreements reviewed by an attorney including any changes.
And keep this in mind. You can be dragged into a lawsuit at any time when you are in business. Remember our reference to client files above? Lose the files of your client and you could be on the fast-track to getting into a lawsuit. A customer thinks you didn’t do what you said you were going to do? They can bring about a lawsuit. Sometimes you see these coming and other times, you get blindsided.
It’s always a good idea to have a relationship with a business attorney. While some businesses may need to keep an attorney on retainer, others may not need as much support. But the last thing you want to do is post on Facebook to all your friends that you are looking for a referral for an attorney. Have an attorney that you trust that you can call on when needed.
Running a business can be the thrill of a lifetime. The benefits clearly outweigh the things that can wrong. But as we say in debt collections, if you are going to be in business, you are going to have people who owe you money. The same goes running a business. If you are going to grow as a company, you are going to have to deal with the many matters that come with the territory of being in business.