Building an online business is easier than ever.
All a potential online business owner needs to do to get started is build a website from a pre-designed template and purchase a domain name. This is why 543,000 small businesses are started each month.
Although the initial steps of opening up an online shop are simple enough to encourage hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs to start a business each month, business owners who are serious about building a profitable company must also take steps to protect themselves and their businesses from potential threats.
Here are the four most pressing areas business owners should look to when protecting their online business.
If you’re looking to kick off a brand new online business in the New Year, there are several important steps you should take first to secure your new investment against potential threats.
1. Invest in business insurance
Many online business owners who run their businesses from their homes are unaware that their homeowner’s insurance won’t cover any damages that occur while they’re working to fulfill orders from their homes.
This is why signing up for business insurance is an important step online business owners should take to protect not only their companies but their homes and personal items.
Although this will be an additional cost to factor into your profit margins, it is well worth the investment as it covers potential liability issues that might come up as you get your business up and running.
If you need a little help finding the right provider and plan, Inc. offers up an excellent guide to selecting the right business insurance to meet your needs.
2. File for an LLC
An LLC, or a limited liability company, is a flexible business structure that protects business owners.
Some of the benefits of filing for an LLC include:
- The separation of your personal assets from your business
- Limited liability for business debts
- Increased credibility
- Name protection
LLC holders also have more tax flexibility, perpetual existence regardless of ownership, and deductible expenses.
Filing for an LLC will take a little work on your end, but it will be well worth the effort once you are able to add LLC to your name.
Look online for resources on filing LLC forms for your state; reviewing the forms required for business owners in your area will help you get prepared to gather the information and materials you need to file for an LLC.
3. Secure your online business against attacks
Cyber security was brought to the forefront of mainstream media multiple times throughout the past year. Cisco even reported a 221 percent increase in compromised WordPress sites for the year.
Naturally, this had many site owners feeling a little uneasy about the rise of online threats. Although the major hacks of 2016 were a bit scary for site owners to witness, they did highlight the importance of implementing systems for protecting your site against hacks as well as creating a plan for getting your site back up should an attack occur.
4. Identify where you need help
One of the hardest things for an entrepreneur to admit is that they need help with something involving their business.
It is important for new online business owners to identify where and how they will need help from a specialist or two as they build and grow their businesses.
Identify the areas of your business where you might not be knowledgeable enough to effectively address your needs, like …
- Filing taxes for your business
- Drafting contracts for employees or 1099s
Even basic SEO and digital marketing often require help from experienced professionals.
If your budget is a little tight, hiring a team of freelancers to help you in these areas might be the best idea until you build your budget. Freelancer.com and Upwork are both great resources that can help you find and hire freelance workers whose fees fit within your budget.
Starting your first online business involves a lot of trial and error as you learn the ropes. Business ownership means there will always be a bit of uncertainty but following the tips listed above will help you reduce potential risk and liability as you build a profitable site.
What tips can you share to help other business owners protect their online properties? Let us know in the comments section below!