[This article was written by Lizzie Weakley.]
Running a small business can be tough. Competition can be fierce and profit margins can be slim at best. However, those slim profit margins can be wiped out completely by theft.
Theft is a huge factor businesses of any size that costs them billions a year. Unlike huge corporations, small businesses often lack the resources to bounce back from such losses. With that in mind, below are five ways to protect your business from theft.
Closely Monitor Employees
While small business owners would hope they would be able to trust employees, this isn’t always the case. If employees are left unsupervised, you can assume they will steal from you. Even if these thefts are small in nature, say eating food and not paying for it, it can quickly add up over time and put your balance sheet into the red.
Install Security Cameras
This supervision should also extend to customers as well. Shoplifters are a big threat to small businesses. One way to deter them is to make sure evidence is produced of their crimes. The simple existence of security cameras in a store may be enough to ward off most shoplifters.
Hire Security Personnel
In certain cases, it’s hard for you to maintain security over your entire store, factory or grounds at all times. If your business includes a large amount of real estate, you may want to hire security personnel trained to secure large areas. Consider working with a contractor to find security jobs in your area.
Track Your Inventory
As a business, your physical assets, such as products or building materials, are very important to your survival. You need to do what you can to prevent inventory theft. This should include instituting a sophisticated inventory control system. If you don’t know what you have in inventory, you won’t even know you’re being stolen from.
Focus on Cyber Security
Of course not all theft these days is done in the physical realm. It is, instead, sometimes done in cyber space. If hackers can enter your computer systems and retrieve certain records, you and your customers could be defrauded for thousands of dollars. Make cyber security a priority for your business. Most businesses end up being hacked at some point or another. It’s only a matter of time.
Being a small business owner is tough enough already without factoring in crime. Theft can make staying profitable impossible. Make sure you are pre-emptive about preventing all kinds of theft from your business. If you aren’t, you’ll end up regretting it.
Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball.