Summer is here, which means we are in the midst of one of the most dangerous times of the year. With the summer holidays comes the opportunity to relax and enjoy time with friends and family. But there is a level of responsibility that comes with the fun and festivities of the season so that everyone can enjoy themselves without fear of injury. The same can be said of businesses, not only in summer but year-round. Taking steps to make sure your company is secure is vital to allowing your business the freedom to create and innovate without having to fret over potential risks. Here are some of the most important measures you can take to keep your business protected.
Protect Your Assets
Regardless of the field or industry, a company’s most important possession is its intangible assets. The difference between your company and others in your field is your particular innovation and know-how. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you have your intellectual property (IP) protected. If you have creations that can be patented, trademarked, or copyrighted, make sure that you do so in order to keep others from swooping in and taking advantage of your hard work and creativity.
Or maybe you have things like secret processes or formulas, or a customer list that sets your product or service apart. That valuable knowledge and expertise can be protected as a trade secret, rather than risk reporting it as part of the application for other protection. As the name suggests, the most important aspect of a trade secret is its secrecy, which means restricting access to that information as well as ensuring any employment or contractor agreements address disclosure of any trade secrets after leaving the company.
Protect Your Business
At the risk of sounding paranoid, sometimes the greatest threat to a business comes from within. That’s not to suggest malice on the part of those working for you, but rather the unintended consequences that can arise from a lack of planning. When you’re hiring, make sure that you have agreements drawn up for employees or contractors to sign that have you have worked with an attorney to craft. A poorly-written employment agreement can lead to issues of IP ownership or miss important areas such as non-compete clauses. And a lack of co-founder agreements could result in a long and costly ownership battle.
That’s not to say that there aren’t external threats to your business. Having data security policies in place and making sure they’re adhered to can help minimize the risk of a security breach. In addition to your digital information, keeping physical records as well as things like prototypes or even drawings or sketches under lock and key can help discourage theft.
Before starting your business, make sure that you’ve done the necessary work to protect your personal assets in case of professional misfortune. Having a business entity will keep your personal assets safe should your business fail (knock on wood.) And having key-person insurance for yourself as well as crucial members of your executive team will help ease the difficulty should the unthinkable occur.