Running a business is by no means easy work. There are countless different things you’re going to have to focus on to keep everything up and running. From product development to market research, manufacturing, packaging, marketing, fulfillment, advertising and much more. It’s not all too surprising that mistakes can be made every now and then.
Of course, when your business begins to expand, you have to bring other people on board to keep things ticking over smoothly. This means two things. Firstly, more responsibility on your shoulders, as you become responsible for the health, safety and general wellbeing of your staff while they’re working. Secondly, more chances for mistakes, as others can slip up and cause errors too.
Something that should always be at the forefront of your mind, and that should always be seen as a priority when it comes to ensuring your business’ success, is making sure that your business abides by the rules at all times. This will prevent issues, protect your reputation and secure your ability to operate.
Here are some things you can do, as well as some areas you’ll need to focus on, in order to achieve this!
Making Sure You Work With the Right Professionals
Of course, when it comes to keeping your business out of trouble, there are a few professionals you can collaborate with to make your job easier. These specialists are specially trained to prevent or resolve issues that your company may face. Some include:
• HR – by taking on an HR department, or by using a third-party HR service, you can often be made aware of situations that could potentially end up with legal repercussions before they become a legal problem. HR can put a stop to unacceptable practices in the workplace as soon as they begin to establish themselves.
• Lawyers – every business should have a lawyer at hand for legal advice. No matter what legal advice you need, a lawyer will be able to guide you in the right direction. Whether that’s a legal case against your business or a case you want to create against another party or business. Make sure to use a professional with great reviews like Leinart Law Firm.
• Accountants – all businesses need to file taxes on time and to the right amount. This will prevent legal action from being taken against your business for tax evasion or tax fraud. Accountants are professionals who can deal with your business’ accounts on your behalf, ensuring you pay the right amount at the right time on every single occasion.
Areas to Focus On
Here are just a few of the different areas you’ll need to focus on so that you can ensure that your business abides by the rules!
Health and Safety
• Following Covid Guidelines – these are strange times we’re living in and you’re going to have to manage your business properly to get through them with a successful company still afloat. Right now, you need to make sure that your business is abiding by coronavirus and Covid-19 guidelines.
To slow and prevent the spread of the virus, as well as outbreaks in your workplace, you should be making sure that all staff who can work from home do work from home. For on-site staff, you should ensure that all staff can work two metres away from one another, implement the necessary wearing of face masks for all non-exempt staff and provide plenty of hand sanitiser in key locations.
• Fire Safety – fire safety is essential in any commercial premises. There are four main areas you should focus on to start with – fire safety signs, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire curtains. All commercial premises should have fire exits, which need to be clearly highlighted with fire exit signs. These should be illuminated and, as briefly touched upon earlier, should ideally glow in the dark.
It’s also your responsibility to make sure that your commercial property has suitable and sufficient fire extinguishers. The most common types of fire extinguishers used include water, AFFF foam, carbon dioxide, ABC powder, water mist and wet chemical.
If your workplace has a kitchen, fire blankets are another essential. These can help to resolve pan fires. Finally, fire curtains should be purchased for any warehouse or other large open space. This helps to prevent fire from spreading as quickly.
• Safety signage – if you’re running commercial premises, you’ll also have to ensure that safety signage is in place. Every business should have some sort of permanent safety signage to highlight fire exits (ideally this should be a sign that glows in the dark in case of a power outage) and to highlight permanent hazards.
These permanent hazards should include things like a “mind your head” sign for low ceilings or a “mind your step” sign for unexpected steps or sets of stairs. Then you should have temporary safety signage for temporary issues, such as a wet floor sign to be placed over spills or floors that are drying.
• PAT Testing – if you require that your staff use electricals to complete their work (such as computers, laptops, tablets or phones), you need to make sure that these electricals are safe to use. This can be assured through a series of checks known as PAT testing. This will see a professional checking that all of these devices and their chargers are working as they should. Make sure to keep certificates of your PAT results, just in case.
• Ergonomic Furniture and Equipment – immediate threats to health and wellbeing aren’t the only ones your business will face. You also need to prevent chronic conditions. This is where ergonomic furniture and equipment can come in useful.
This is specially designed equipment that can ensure good employee posture and can prevent chronic conditions such as repetitive strain injury. Ergonomic furniture – like ergonomic chairs and desks – as well as ergonomic equipment – such as ergonomic keyboards, mice footrests – should all be deemed essential investments.
When you run a business, you take a whole lot of data. This could be any fact, word, number, figure, observation or measurement that your business takes.
On a day-to-day basis, your business will take a whole lot of data pertaining to numerous different individuals. It could be anything from a customer’s name, address, email address, phone number or payment information. It could be employees’ personal details. It could be the details of people who sign up to your mailing list. It could be the details of partners, contractors, freelancers and more.
It’s absolutely essential that you store all of this data safely, as in the wrong hands, it could be used to carry out pretty harmful activities. This could include cases of identity theft, financial theft, fraud and more.
Now, there are rules and laws in place to ensure that you are accountable and liable for storing people’s data safely. These are often referred to as “data protection laws”. Make sure that you are familiar with them and that your business operates in a manner that ensures the safe storage of data at all times and in all situations.
All businesses that generate a profit need to pay taxes. This is a legal requirement. But corporate or business taxes can often feel complex and complicated.
On top of that, organising and filing them can be time-consuming and you may feel that your time would be better spent elsewhere. This is where an accountant can come in useful. Finding the right accountant may take a little time, but once you’ve found the right one for you, chances are, you’ll stick with them for years.
Something to bear in mind is making sure that you get a genuinely qualified accountant to help with your financial records and commitments. Generally speaking, accountants have to be professionally qualified to officially deal with your accounts, seeing as tax is a legal matter.
Different areas require different qualifications, so see which ones your accountant should have and only entertain options who can prove that they have these qualifications. Next, focus on experience. You want an accountant who has a happy customer base behind them. Check their reviews and ensure that they are reliable, trustworthy and generally good at their job!
No business should be prejudiced. There are rules in place to prevent this, so it’s important that you are aware of them and up to date with them.
You need to make sure that your business isn’t prejudiced against anyone based on their age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, marital or civil partnership status, pregnancy, or being or becoming a transgender person. This is relevant from the first stages of the recruitment process until a person leaves your company of their own free will.
Of course, there are countless rules that your business will have to abide by to operate in a legal, safe and ethical manner. Hopefully, some of the options highlighted above will help you to get things started out in the right direction!