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Small Business Vulnerabilites

Initial concerns in the life of a small business are usually centered around the creation of cash flow. Planning is concentrated on the allocation of resources, money and time, to produce the maximum immediate results.

Eventually every small business goes in one of two directions: either a slow decline (sometimes a fast decline) or a growth process. How to deal with a declining business will be the subject of a future article. Today we will look at issues that must be addressed early in the growth stage of a business.

Business growth, in many instances, requires the addition of employees. Unfortunately many “first” employees are hired with the hope that they can fill a specific need with little thought given to the operational process needed for building a solid foundation for future growth.

Let’s look at a few items that need to be addressed:

  • How to hire and properly integrate new employees into the business culture.
  • Is there a need for the new hires to sign a confidentiality agreement?
  • Is there an operating policy in place so that all new employees know their obligations and responsibilities?
  • Do you mentor your new employees so that they understand your philosophy and values? (Remember that values must never be compromised for a business position).
  • In a small business with limited staff there is a risk when employees are out of the office because of vacation or illness. Have you planned for such a situation?
  • The internet has brought a new set of issues to be considered:
    • Security and data protection
    • Taking measures to keep staff from accessing inappropriate sites
    • Using the office for business e-mails only
    • Questionable photographs and jokes

When should these issues be addressed?  A Value Based Strategic Focus Plan is the first building block in a small business. These internal vulnerabilities are not usually detailed in the initial planning process. They should be part of the “working on the business” process once the initial plan has been completed and the implementation process started.

It’s never too early or too late to start eliminating small business vulnerabilities.

If you think education is expensive, wait till you see what ignorance costs you.

Nick J. Petra CFP      Helping you grow your business is our only business©

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