Starting a business can be a daunting experience, even without the threat of competition, considering risks businesses face and customer complaints.
That’s why we have collected this list of different ways you can protect your small business.
Clearly display your terms and conditions
It’s important that your website displays the terms of how you operate and what is involved. When customers purchase your product or service, they are entering into a contract with you, so it’s important that you clearly detail how you do business.
From your payment information to returns, make the language easy to follow and understand so your customers feel the business is user-friendly. This will also help you build a strong customer relationship.
Specialise in what you do
It’s impossible for a small business to do everything, and by concentrating your efforts on what you do best and specialising, you are able to provide better quality. Very few businesses are truly unique, but you need to find your unique selling point (USP).
What sets you apart from the competition? The more unique your offering is, the fewer competitors your business will have. If the product or service you provide is nothing new to the market, how can you differentiate it from the others? What will make customers purchase from your business over competitors? Is it excellent customer service? Does your product taste better than competitors? Are you cheaper than your competitors?
Create a strong brand
Your brand is about what your company stands for, and can include unique features (such as logo, colours, names, designs) that make your business stand out to customers. It’s important to think about what your business stands for, and what its values are. Is it fun and engaging, is your product of a high quality, or do you provide great customer service?
Your brand allows you to communicate these values. When a customer identifies with your values, brand loyalty is created and customers become repeat purchasers from your business. A strong brand is an effective way to protect your business from the competition, and can help you to command a higher price for your product or service.
Protect your intellectual property
Intellectual property (IP) involves anything that you have created with your mind e.g. your business logo and business name. While your office is ‘tangible property’, your business name and logo are ‘intangible property’ as they do not have a physical substance.
By protecting your IP, this stops others from using it without your permission, and this could be harmful to your business. Common ways to protect the IP of your business are copyrights and trademarks.
Copyrights are used to protect creative works, including books and videos, and will grant you exclusivity to use these. Trademarks are words and symbols that represent your product or service, and make it stand out from others in the market, and allow you to protect the recognisable features of your business. A trademark legally stops competitors using similar names and designs to your business. If you have any IP that is valuable to your business and brand, make sure it’s protected.
Insure your business
It’s important to understand the risks that your business faces. Are your customers, employees or property at risk? If something goes wrong, insurance can stop your business from losing lots of money.
There are many types of insurance available, and it’s important to know what type applies to your small business as some are a legal requirement. Our blog from Simply Business offers a simple explanation to the different types of insurance available for small businesses and examples of when they would be needed.
Be good at what you do
If you want to avoid customer complaints, there is no better defence than providing a great customer service. This means being easily contactable to customers, providing a fast response to any queries or questions, and making sure that the product or service you provide is of a good quality.
Thinking of starting a business? Check out our free online courses in partnership with the Open University on being an entrepreneur.
Our free Learn with Start Up Loans courses opens in new window include:
- Entrepreneurship – from ideas to reality
- First steps in innovation and entrepreneurship opens in new window
- Entrepreneurial behaviour opens in new window
Plus free courses on finance and accounting, project management, and leadership.
Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.