5 Ways to Protect Your Business over the Holidays
The month of December can be an exciting time for your business, whether you’re expecting an influx of holiday shoppers to your store or are planning to celebrate a year of success with your team. However,in the midst of a hectic holiday season, there are also increased risks to your business. Here are five ways you can protect your business and prevent a Christmastime catastrophe.
Clear the sidewalk.
Your customers might love walking in a winter wonderland while they’re doing their holiday shopping, but you’ll want to clear any of the snow that’s glistening in the lane outside your store before someone slips and falls. Unless you have an agreement with your landlord that they will clear the way, you’re expected to clear the sidewalks in front of your place of business and could be held legally responsible if you don’t and someone gets injured as a result.
If it’s snowing regularly, make sure you are shoveling and salting the sidewalk throughout the day. If it’s particularly bad outside, you might want to station an employee at the door to manage the traffic out front.
Identify online threats.
You might think your business is too small to be targeted by cybercriminals, but the scary truth is that 43 percent of cyber attacks are on small businesses. Over the past few years, data has shown that more and more people are shopping online, despite the fact that they are concerned about internet security.
In addition to securing your payment process, educate yourself on the type of activity that you should be flagged as a potentially fraudulent purchase. If you’re operating out of a storefront, isolate your payment system from other programs and work closely with your bank to make sure you are using the most up-to-date and secure payment processes.
Host a safe holiday party.
It’s the end of the year and you probably want to take some time to look back on everything you’ve accomplished in your business and celebrate your successes with your team. Hosting a holiday party is a great way to bond outside of work, but you’ll want to make sure everyone enjoys the festivities safely and responsibly, or else you could be on the hook if something goes wrong.
In Ontario, for example, employees can file a lawsuit if they were to get in trouble (like a car accident) after drinking at a work function, claiming it was the company’s fault for serving them too much alcohol or letting them drive home. You could avoid the risks that come with a boozy affair by hosting a brunch or a lunch, rather than an after-hours rager. If you’re doing something at night, make sure that you arrange safe rides home for everyone attending.
Hire additional staff to deal with a busy store.
If you’re expecting a Christmas rush of shoppers in your store over the holidays, make sure you have enough staff to support the increased business. From a customer service standpoint, you’ll be able to handle the increased demand in your store, but it serves another purpose too: more eyes on the floor will help deter theft.
Rather than being suspicious of customers, train your staff to approach everyone to regularly provide them with top-notch customer service. As an added bonus, it will be harder for potential shoplifters to pocket merchandise. You can also store pricey items behind the cash register and, if you’re experiencing more customers than you can handle, limit the number of people in the store at one time.
Close your store properly.
After weeks of busy shopping, you’ll hopefully be able to close your doors for a few days to spend some much needed time to recharge with your family. When you do, take the time to close your store properly so that it’s safe and secure in your absence. A few ways you can protect your store from theft include locking up with deadbolts and padlocks, removing items from window displays, storing valuable items in a safe, keeping a limited amount of cash in the store, and installing visible cameras out front of your location. To protect from fire, you’ll want to inspect your sprinkler system to make sure it’s in working order, and unplug any unnecessary appliances or equipment.
Regardless of how busy you and your business are this holiday season, it’s worth your time to evaluate potential threats to your business and make a plan to mitigate as much risk as possible. Of course, you can never completely prevent problems from arising, so an important part of your risk management plan is to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage for your business. Shopping around for insurance will give you the opportunity to compare plans and quotes from multiple providers, allowing you to choose the right coverage at the right price – and providing you with a safety net if all else fails.