It's springtime, and spring cleaning isn't just for your house. Once you've cleaned out the garage and gotten your warm weather clothes from the attic, it's time to do the same for your business.
As a continually evolving business, it's important to take time each year to clean out the cobwebs. A simple and quick check of your business's assets and processes will be just what you need to prepare for summer.
Double-Check Your Insurance
Whether you've purchased your various types of insurances separately or bundled them together in a Business Owners Policy, now is the time to double-check both your current premiums and your coverage limits. Any changes you've made to your business, premises, equipment, or staff can have an effect on your insurance coverage -- and may result in your business being drastically under-insured.
- Shop around to other insurance companies to determine whether your current premium is competitive, or if you're paying too much.
- Look for group rates and other discounts that you can apply to your current plan. For example, you may be eligible for a lower rate if you've made safety improvements to your building.
- Consider increasing your deductible (within affordable limit) in order to lower your premiums.
Audit Your Software
Once a year, you should assess your current business software to determine if it is still fully functional. Glitches, upgrades, and changes to your business can make your software less effective or obsolete after a given period of time. Audit your POS, time and attendance, CRM, and other business software to ensure that it is still working well for you. Double-check that add-ons, plugins, and integration between programs are all still connected and transmitting data.
- Consider transferring some of your software to the cloud. This enables you to access your business systems from anywhere, as well as reducing your IT costs and power usage.
Check Your Tech
Although it's easy to forget sometimes, your office technology is comprised of more than just software. From your computers to your lighting system, you need to check your tech for problems on a regular basis. This includes making a visual inspection of: computers, cords, wiring, power plugs, and lighting. Reconnect loose connections and replace or repair damaged items.
- Purchase a watt-hour meter and use it to measure the power consumption of your computers, printers, and other electronic equipment. Power usage that exceeds the limits on the label can indicate equipment that needs repair or replacement. Ensuring that your tech is within acceptable energy usage parameters can help you keep your utilities costs low.
Regulations that apply to your business can change frequently. You are responsible for making sure that you are in compliance with taxation, employment, and any industry-specific regulations that apply to your business.
- Medical practices should check that their computer systems, office practices, and interactions with patients conform to The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). Pay special attention to how the Security Rule pertains to electronic protected health records.
- Tax regulations change yearly! Make sure your payroll software is using the most recent tax tables.
- Check over your POS system's security. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard sets guidelines for how your business protects the confidential information of your credit card customers.
While you're working on preparing your home and office for the spring and summer, remember that some vacuuming and dusting isn't quite enough. Now is the time to double-check your regulatory compliance, go over your insurance policy and rates, and ensure the functionality of your software and hardware systems. These are chores that can help make sure that your business is running smoothly going into the summer season.
Photo credit: deluxejanitorial.com