By Eileen O’Shanassy

There are many areas to think about when contemplating starting and maintaining a business. You have to think about everything from your clients, customers, and employees to thing like accounts and finances. All businesses that have physical locations need to concern themselves with their employees’ safety and well-being as well. They also need to have good building and asset security. It is vitally important that businesses large and small have an accurate business continuity plan in place.

Online businesses have another set of concerns that are unique to them. They don’t need to concern themselves too much with physical assets or labor costs. However, they do need to have data security, especially when dealing with customers’ sensitive information. Because they are completely online, maintenance of networks and communication is critical to their continued success.

All businesses, whether they are completely online or have physical locations must examine their company’s protection plan at regular intervals. To examine what is missing in your company’s protection plan, you should ask the following questions:

How Secure is My Company’s Data?

It is becoming increasingly important to monitor and update your data protection plan. This means you need to have a good understanding of how your data is being handled, how frequently your data is being backed up to a secure network, and how accessible (vulnerable) it is to data breaches. What will you do to protect your company’s reputation in a crisis? Make sure you know you have emergency backup on hand and that big problems are prevented before they start. Crisis comes in all shapes and sizes. How your company reacts to a crisis speaks volumes to your customers. Reputation management is only a small part of your company’s ongoing commitment to its customers. It is however a very important part of maintaining and growing your business.

Being proactive instead of reactive is a good start when dealing with a crisis. Crisis management should be a part of your company’s protection plan even if your company is completely online. Make sure you are also protecting business reputation online through services that look at your reviews and site statistics.  Businesses with physical locations and employees need to be accountable to them as well. It is important to examine at least once a year the business continuity plan and go over disaster plans with employees.

Do I Need Liability Insurance for My Business?

You should definitely be thinking about liability insurance for your business. This is true even if your business is completely online. Liability insurance protects an individual and business entities from risks associated with negligence, injury, and malpractice. Your company’s protection plan should include worker’s compensation, medical, automotive, property, and asset protection policies as well.

What is Asset Protection and Why Do I Need It?

Your assets are anything that is of value to you and can be used. Your property is probably the most valuable asset you own. Asset protection provides the means to protect your assets from seizure. This type of protection should be included in estate planning to ensure that if you unexpectedly die your beneficiaries will be able to claim your property as well.

Product Protection Plans: Do You Need Them?

Equipment breaks down. Your customer has an issue with one of your products. You want to satisfy your customers’ needs. For both you and your customer, you need product protection plans that detail what parts and services will be provided. Product protection plans also help create a sense of confidence in your products and services. Offering a warranty is one way to garner repeat business.

Your company’s protection plan should have a way to protect your data, your property, and your assets from unwelcome obstacles. Good product protection plans can include a warranty to fix or replace worn-out parts. Providing incentives to utilize your business makes prudent sense and can bolster your company’s reputation. Product protection can make the difference between growing your business and seeing it go to your competition.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.