Halloween is right around the corner and there are lots of things to scare us this year. Stephen King’s “It” and “Tyler Perry’s Boo 2!” are dominating the box office and spooky decorations adorn homes and stores. Halloween is a fun time to be scared … but there are real things in the life of a business owner that are truly frightening!
- Cybersecurity and Hacking. If this happens to your business, are you ready? Even credit bureaus have become vulnerable so that means you are too. The best course of action is to have an IT specialist review your system for possible vulnerabilities and stay up-to-date with software. Do everything you can to protect your system and any private information you may have about your customers. From a PR perspective, have a plan in place that outlines what to do if your company gets hacked. This should address how you will inform your customers, what remedies you’ll provide, what your staff will do, and how you will communicate the issue to authorities, vendors, outside consultants, and the media.
- Bad Weather and Bad People. We’ve all seen the images of people trying to put their lives back together after hurricanes and fires wreaked havoc on their homes and businesses. Insurance is a must. Make sure you review your coverage with a trusted insurance specialist as well as your financial advisor. Then, prepare a plan for your business. Begin with how you will keep your employees and customers safe. Hopefully, there will be enough time for evacuations if needed. There are also instances when your business could become the target of a person with bad intentions. Your business crisis plan should have critical contact information available to whomever is in charge at the time of a sudden crisis. Local authorities, first responders, and key staff need to be alerted if there is an emergency. First, know how to be safe and then determine how you will communicate in the aftermath.
- Social Media. While on the surface it may not sound as scary as computer hacks and hurricanes, but social media can negatively impact a business in a very short period of time. First, always monitor your social media accounts. Messages you post should be positive, helpful, and not controversial. If you have a special promotion running, think it through first and ask trusted advisors if it could have any negative connotations. Offending someone on social media only takes a few seconds but the impact can take a long time to repair. The old adage still holds true: think before you speak (or tweet).
Stay safe out there this Halloween and throughout the year. Remember, the better prepared you are the better off you’ll be in avoiding tricks and dangers.