There are a lot of things that can ruin a business. In some cases, you may not have a lot of control over whether your business fails. That’s definitely the case in the age of COVID-19, where many stores will simply be unable to open after being closed for so long.
Fortunately, for every thing that’s out of your control, there are at least two things you can do to prolong the life of your business. One of the best is to prevent your business from future litigation.
Make Sure All Drivers Are Qualified and Legal to Drive
All truck driving companies rely on their drivers, and with over 55,000 accidents reported in a single year that involve trucks, it’s important to make sure every driver is fully qualified to avoid serious legal ramifications.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s just trucking companies that have to keep a close eye on their drivers. If your business utilizes drivers in any capacity, it is important to make sure they are qualified and legal to drive.
All drivers should be insured with your company to drive company vehicles, even if they don’t drive very often. Other ways to ensure your drivers are qualified to include requiring them to:
- Take regular vision tests
- Maintain an updated driver’s license
- Be transparent about their driving record
- Take a driving test
Keep Accurate Records
There are a lot of things to keep track of when you run a business. One of the last things you want to do is keep accurate records of employee and customer interactions, but it’s extremely important if you want to avoid litigation.
You’ll want to document everything and anything that could come back to bite you later. That includes the date and time of any agreements that are signed, as well as the things that are discussed at meetings that pertain to that agreement.
Phone calls, emails, and transactions should be documented properly. The more documentation you have, the more you can build a robust case in your favor, should the details ever be needed.
Have your HR department work on keeping accurate records so you don’t have to. You can also use systems that keep track of information automatically. For example, email providers catalog past messages without you having to do a thing.
Maintain Clear Company Policies and Procedures
Expectations are extremely important when it comes to the potential for future litigation. If there’s any gray area at all, you can bet that someone will want to take advantage of it.
There are many policies and procedures your small business should put into writing so there is no confusion about their expectations. A few includes:
- Workplace safety policies
- Disciplinary policies
- Device use policies
- Work hours and deadline expectations
- Late payment policies
- Return and refund policies
Other policies may be more specific to your particular business. For example, if you are an online business that ships items, you’ll want to have a robust shipping policy.
Get the Right Insurance
Insurance is important in many areas of life. It’s obvious that it’s important to business too, but it can be complicated. There are a lot of different kinds of insurance policies out there. Knowing which one your business needs can be difficult!
By all means, make sure you have property insurance, as well as auto insurance if employees drive during business hours, but you should also consider professional liability insurance. It can help in your defense should your professional services ever be questioned. Mistakes happen, and when they do, this special insurance will make sure you’re covered.
Realize Your Employees Are Your Biggest Asset
It’s true that you have a lot to worry about when it comes to your customers, but you should focus on your employees. They really are your biggest asset.
First, by taking care of your employees, you can keep them happy. Care about their health and safety, and be transparent, moral, and honest. They’ll be a lot more likely to assume you made a mistake instead of going straight to a lawyer when there’s a problem.
Second, when properly trained, they can take care of your customers. They can deal with a disgruntled customer without it turning into a legal problem.
The last thing you want to deal with is a letter in the mail from an attorney saying that you’re being sued. When you follow these tips, you can rest easier at night knowing it’s something you probably won’t ever have to deal with.