Don’t Let Small Business Saturday Become Big Loss Monday

Topics: Small Business

This Saturday, consumers everywhere will be shopping “small” in support of America’s small businesses. Having drummed up nearly $13 billion in sales in 2017, Small Business Saturday (SBS) promises to be just as popular in 2018.

As you await the big day, it’s important to prepare your business for the unexpected. A little planning can help you avoid everything from a costly insurance claim to a devastating data breach.

Here are three must-dos that could save your small business from a big loss.

1. Make safety a priority. While creating a satisfying shopping experience is key for any business, safety should always be top of mind. According to a small business claims study published in Insurance Journal, four out of 10 small businesses are likely to experience a property or general liability claim by 2025. Two of the most common are customer slips and falls, and customer injury and damage claims.

To help reduce the likelihood of an accident, consider these precautions:
  • Clear walkways leading to your storefront of clutter, leaves and snow, and secure all handrails. If it’s icy outside, generously salt the areas in front of your business.
  • Be sure merchandise displayed on higher shelves is accompanied by a “Let us get that for you!” sign to prevent customers from overreaching, which could result in falling merchandise.
  • Post “Wet Floor” signs in recently mopped areas.
  • Secure all floor mats on uncarpeted flooring with double-sided tape to prevent slipping. And make sure your power cords don’t double as tripping hazards.

If an accident occurs, you could be on the hook for medical expenses, lost wages or legal costs in the event of a lawsuit.

2. Safeguard your data. Cyberattacks are becoming as common as shoplifting. Adding another layer of scariness is the notion that the worst is yet to come. According to a comprehensive 2017 report on the state of cybersecurity, 60 percent of small businesses polled say cyberattacks are becoming more severe and more sophisticated.

While having any data fleeced is bad for business, unintentionally exposing your customers’ sensitive information can put you at risk for a costly lawsuit.

Here are a few things you can do to help combat this very real threat:
Arm your employees – Make sure your employees are trained on the importance and methods of data security. Hackers like to target uninformed employees, so keep in mind your security is only as strong as your weakest link.

Secure your network – Creating strong passwords helps create a better defense against cyberattacks. Plus, make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure by regularly changing its password. Also, do not allow your employees to use public, unsecured Wi-Fi networks while using company-issued laptops and smartphones.

Keep a watchful eye on your systems – If you detect malware, or a user reports opening a suspicious file, don’t take any chances. Assume that the malware has affected something, and don’t stop investigating until you find out what, if anything, was breached. Keep anti-virus and anti-malware programs up-to-date.

For more tips, check out our cybersecurity checklist for the holiday season.

3. Protect your reputation. Fueling the growth of every small business is a good reputation. Unfortunately, just a few negative tweets and unflattering Facebook posts can tarnish even a sterling reputation.

As you prep for SBS – and throughout the holiday shopping season – be sure to not only promote your business on social media platforms, but also monitor your accounts regularly for customer feedback. In the days leading up to SBS, take the time to engage with customers using the hashtag #SmallBusinesSaturday or #ShopSmall. Respond to all customer questions – and complaints – in a timely manner.

Visit American Express’s site for everything you need to spread to the word about your business and its participation in Small Business Saturday.

This material is for informational purposes only and is not legal or business advice. Neither AmTrust Financial Services, Inc., nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, represents or warrants that the information contained herein is appropriate or suitable for any specific business or legal purpose. Readers seeking resolution of specific questions should consult their business and/or legal advisors.

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