There are many businesses currently operating without making much effort to ensure their companies are protected or to find ways of running them better. As a result, some are not doing as well as they could be and others are vulnerable to the unexpected. We’ve put together a list of seven products that are essential to a successful business, but are nearly always neglected.
Office data backups
Office data backups are important and are an effective insurance policy against the unknown. Your office could be either flooded or burnt down. Important files could accidentally be wiped from your servers. Data can become corrupted and your hardware can break. Regularly backing up your data would mean that in the event of an emergency, your business would be up and running again quickly.
However, many companies neglect to regularly back-up their data. According to a survey conducted by Information Week, test system restores are not performed by more than half of the companies they questioned. They exclude many office systems from nightly and weekly back up. 43 per cent do not back-up data from remote or branch offices.
Some respondents said that their reasons for not safeguarding their data was because “backing up the server was too difficult” (14 per cent) or “the application owner didn’t ask us to back it up,” (9 per cent).
Securing property with correct hardware
Fire and security alarms are as important to your office as they are for your home. Intruders can break into your office, stealing important documents, petty cash and computer hardware, amongst other things. A fire can do untold damage to your premises, incurring huge damages to the building and its contents. Therefore reliable security and fire alarm systems are a solid and necessary investment.
According to the Association of British Insurers, most single-site businesses that suffer a major blaze will shut down within 18 months and one in every 100 UK companies will be making a claim for fire loss or damage over the next year. Yet despite the consequences of a fire or a break-in, many companies do not take these threats seriously. In fact, almost 500,000 UK businesses still do not realise they have a legal requirement to regularly carry out a fire risk assessment. Many also see undertaking this procedure, company risk assessments and system upgrade as more red tape to cut through.
Data & Fire Safes
As we’ve mentioned earlier in the article, keeping your data safe is important. Physical documents and cash should also be kept in a safe place. Fire and data safes are currently available on the market to safeguard your items. Yet many companies fail to do so either through lack of appreciation of the risks involved or through lack of time/money.
Investing in safes will see you in good stead should an accident or burglary occur. Storage location and safe type are important. Data back-up discs and tapes should be stored in a safe off-site to be used in case of emergency. Sensitive company documents and cash should be stored in a fire safe. By keeping these documents and other important items out of harms reach, your business can recover quickly in the event of a fire or break in.
Solid business planning is often lacking in many businesses. In fact, according the Allianz’s ‘Risky Business Report’, two-thirds of UK businesses have experienced an unexpected event that had a substantial negative impact on their company, and half of those had no plan in place at the time to deal with the fall-out.
According to the report, common problems for companies are: non-payment from customers or clients (23%), fire or stock damage (17%), suppliers not providing goods on time (16%), weather disasters (16%) and faulty stock (13%).
A well-though-out plan keeps a company running well and following its objectives. It will also help troubled firms turnaround their fortunes by anticipating and dealing with problems such as those above.
Trademark business name/brand
Trademarking your company name or brand protects your firm and the products/services it offers. This makes it easier for you to take legal action against anyone who uses the trademark without permission. If counterfeiters use your registered trademark, Trading Standards Officers or Police to bring criminal charges against them.
Invest in a solid CRM
CRM’s or Customer Relations Management platforms manage a firm’s interactions with current and future customers. This centralized system manages and optimises customer relationships, marketing and sales. The benefits of a CRM platform are improved workflow, business task automation, more sales leads and increased productivity.
Many smaller companies do not have such platforms in place simply because they were once the preserve of big businesses and were very expensive. However, with more cost-effective packages now on the market such as Sugar CRM or Microsoft CRM, many firms would do well to take advantage of what these systems have to offer.
Sensible VOIP system that integrates into CRM
VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) is highly useful for a firm because it cuts telecommunication costs and can be a unified communication tool for the company. It also makes interacting with foreign clients much easier and cheaper. Acquiring a CRM with VOIP capability will allow companies to merge data and voice networks, further streamlining their companies operating costs.
Once again, the reason for many companies failing to adopt such systems is mainly due to the assumption that they were too expensive for smaller outfits. As open-source platforms such as SugarCRM offer VOIP features, more companies may take the decision to adopt them.