Taking care of the future is the sort of thing that insurance companies talk about quite a lot. An insurance policy is after all in essence a prospective request for financial assistance in case something in the future goes wrong. However, whereas we might be quite comfortable thinking about possible futures, a lot of people clearly do not and you are not alone if you consider insurance to be unnecessary or at the least non-urgent. As tempting as it is to label these nay-sayers as stupid and clock off early, they consider it unnecessary for entirely understandable reasons.
Thinking about the past is easy. Nostalgia is almost a relaxing hobby as we cherry pick the best parts of the past to reminisce. Even the present is easy to think about because it is right in front of you and it is where most of your energies will be spent thanks to our inherent tendency to live moment to moment.
Whenever you think of a problem that could hit you in the future however, your first instinct is to dismiss it by saying “well, that’s a problem for my future self to deal with” because our energies are normally always spent in maintaining the status quo and keeping our daily routine ticking over. Everyone is aware of the “it will never happen to me” mentality that keeps people doing things that will be detrimental to their future so when this is applied to a business situation there will be dangerous oversights and shortcuts that cause issues further down the line.
So what sort of things do you need to be thinking of to avoid giving your future self headaches when it comes to your small business? What do you need to be thinking about to protect the future of your company? Here are a few things you should think about and at least plan for early on to avoid jeopardising your future.
Your company might be doing just fine in your small cubby-hole above a takeaway, or even from your kitchen table, but if all of your plans go well, which they might, then do you have a plan for moving to a larger office? Too many people in too small an office is not only damaging to morale and productivity, but it can also earn you a stern talking to from health and safety types and could even land you with a fine.
Having your eye on a few other premises is always a good idea. You never know what will happen with your current space and even if you haven’t outgrown it, the landlord may not wish to renew the lease or may have other plans for their property.
Appropriate business insurance
Business insurance is so very rarely the first thing on any small business’ list to arrange for reasons mentioned above. Some think it will be too expensive and some think it just isn’t appropriate for the scale of operations that they run. However, arranging insurance sooner rather than later means that this won’t be something overlooked further down the line. Not only this, but business insurance tends to scale in relation to the size of the business too, so it’s not even always an outrageous sum of money to pay.
All forms of insurance are future proofing in some way. You’re paying to mitigate the cost of a disaster striking you in the future, but getting into the mindset itself early on is a good habit to develop.
A good lawyer
You might have managed to avoid any sort of legal expenses whilst starting up your company. Incorporating itself doesn’t require the intervention of any legal professionals, so you can go for quite a long time before needing to call on the services of a lawyer unless you work in some specific legislation-heavy markets. It is however worth investigating your options as once your company starts to expand, you might have need for one sooner than you would think. From simple employment disputes through to contract issues, someone with an eye for legal jargon and experience in company law will become more than a simple good-to-have and an absolute necessity once you expand to a certain size and inevitably start treading on a few toes.
You can only get by on your five-year-old laptop and a copy of Microsoft Office for so long. As your operation scales, your technological backup will need to as well. This might be a simple case of upgrading your web server to manage more traffic, or it might require the integration of a new CRM system, regardless, you should be keeping an eye out on solutions that would manage higher volumes of leads or would be able to automate tasks that you currently perform manually but would be unable to sustain if you trade began to boom. Investing some time into researching your options could also save you several headaches as many a new IT system will in fact produce more work than less.
Engage your inner pessimist
Most healthy people constantly have that little voice that says everything is going to be fine. For the most part it is right, but for your business to have a future you need to be taking a few risks. Thinking about what happens if some of those risks don’t entirely pan out is easily the best thing you can do to safeguard the future of your business.
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Category: Startup Advice