What is your greatest concern in running a small business? Do you worry about hiring the best talent? Is keeping your advertising and marketing on budget an issue? What about staying ahead of your competition when it comes to rounding up more customers? These are all certainly legitimate concerns that many small business owners have, but one often overlooked concern is security, specifically the security of the business from both inside and outside intrusions.
Don’t assume all is well
One area of security protection that should never be overlooked is the integrity of your employees. While many small business owners would like to think each and every person they hire is not a security threat, evidence and events nationwide have shown that to not be the case. All too often, it is the one you least suspect that causes the most problems in the office.
Related Article: Top 5 Ways to Improve Your Business Security
According to a report from the University of Cincinnati, a mere 16 percent of small business owners who have fallen victim to employee theft in turn report the crime to local police. That’s right, less than one-fifth of small business owners get law enforcement involved when all is said and done. The report also notes that 64 percent of those small companies who took part in the survey reported being victims of employee theft. Lastly, stolen money was the most reported crime, with some 40 percent of thefts for small businesses involving cash. The reported amounts of cash that employees swiped ranged from a mere $5 to a whopping $2 million.
Don’t Become the Next Victim
So, how can your small business steer clear of becoming the next victim? Among the things to remember:
- Know who you hire – Most importantly, do background checks on each and every person you are considering bringing on. If someone is a little uneasy about providing you with information, look at it as a red flag. While many business folks like giving someone a second chance, hiring someone that was suspected and/or convicted of stealing in the past should leave you with much hesitation;
- Secure your office – Employee theft incidents happen in big and small offices nationwide. You may think that because you run a small office, you know everyone really well. In actuality, you might become too close to and to trusting of an employee, thereby impacting your judgment of what you allow them to do for the business. While you certainly do not want any inside thefts, also be cognizant of the fact that outsiders may target your office for money, computers, and other items. Whether you run a small business out of a rented/leased office site or right from your own residence, having a security system from companies like ADT for Florida or any number of others nationwide gives your small business added protection. You likely have a home security system to protect you and your family, so having one for any small business you run in or out of your residence makes sense too;
- Back up your work – Lastly, many small businesses are limited in the number of people they can hire. If you find yourself in that situation, make sure that you have a second person (maybe even yourself if possible) to go over things like financial records, the purchase of office supplies etc. Unfortunately, one too many small business owners have been burned over time with someone in finances stealing from them. Also make sure that all office purchases from paper supplies to technology items are documented and receipts can be shown for the exact amounts.
You have plenty on your plate as a small business owner to worry about; don’t make employee theft one more thing to lose time over.
As a small business owner, how do you go about securing your office?
Author: Dave Thomas writes for a variety of websites on topics such as safety and small business.
Published: January 21, 2015