4 Things You Need to Do to Protect Your Business

If you're like most interior designers, you have been going 100 miles a minute in the last year, just barely keeping your nose above water. It's been absolutely crazy. And when you're going so fast and furious, a lot of things can be left by the wayside. That is not a smart way to run your business. If we have learned anything during the pandemic, it's that challenges can pop up at any moment - and where you least expect them! So here are 4 things you should have in place right now to protect your business!

1. Insurance

You probably have basic liability insurance for your company (RIGHT?!), and that's great! But some things you may not have thought about several other types that can keep you out of trouble! Like:

  • Errors & omissions insurance - covers you if mistakes are made and your clients decide to sue. This one has actually saved many interior designers' businesses!
  • "Key man" or business income insurance - what happens to your business if you're out of commission for a while? This isn't disability (although you should have short-term for yourself)! That covers your household income. This insurance is meant to keep your business afloat so your employees get paid, projects keep moving, and you still have a business to come back to.
  • Worker's comp - this one should be obvious if you have employees. But interestingly, this could become even more important because of the pandemic. Courts and decision makers haven't worked out who is liable if and when employees get Covid, so keep your eye on this one.
  • Data breach insurance - even if you do not have any products sold online, this insurance is important. Do you have client information stored on Dropbox, like addresses, emails, and bank account details? If your files are hacked, you could be liable. 

The most important thing is to talk to an insurance agent and decide what you need to add to your existing policy.

2. Employee Agreements

Do you have defined roles for your employees? Or have you defined what your employees can post (or not) about your clients and their projects on social media? Do you have employees sign non-disclosures and/or non-compete agreements? While you want to think that your employees would never harm your business, that isn't always the case. Being prepared with the right signed documents - including an employee handbook of expectations - is just smart business.

3. Client Contract

I'm sure you have a client contract or agreement, but when is the last time you looked at it?? YIKES! Whenever any sort of "blip" or issue comes up with a client, that's the perfect time to add something to your contract to avoid having that happen again. You don't necessarily want to hand your client a 50-page contract, but work with your attorney to create one that covers what you need in an easy-to-read way. And be SURE that you go over, line by line, with prospective clients!

4. Online Data

I recently heard of a designer who had her website hacked - and she had NO idea! Her home page looked amazing, but if you clicked on any other page, there were horrible ads for prescription drugs! YUP. So how often do you review your website? What is your policy for regularly changing your passwords for your site and your social media? A lot of designers have had their Instagram pages hiked AND held hostage. UGH. And how do you store your digital files? Are they organized and up to date? Or do you have. a lot of unnecessary clutter? It's critical to clean those up just as often as you would clean up and reorganize your desk and physical files.

Wow - that's a lot to think about! But if you schedule quarterly or yearly reviews, you'll be able to stay on top of it. And to give you an extra boost, download my FREE Guide to Digital File Organization! It will help you stay on top of all of those documents!

xoxo,

Kathleen

 

Check out more design business tips and tricks

Selling Your Design: The First Critical Touchpoints

Making the Most of Client Touchpoints

How Communication Can Solve Any Project Challenge

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