No matter how big or small, every business needs to take steps to protect their financial future. Even handicraft businesses have to worry about things like business insurance and carefully managing their assets. While there’s a creative side to what you do, there’s also a business side.
Business insurance for online digital retailers is a must, but it may not be something you’ve given much thought to. But it is essential to protect your business, as well as your customers’ sensitive data. You’ll also need to learn the strategies that will go into protecting your assets.
Much of becoming a top seller on Etsy will revolve around your ability to treat your business more like a legitimate enterprise. Don’t worry — we’re going to help you with that in this article.
Do I Need Business Insurance?
You likely gave more thought to how to organize your Etsy shop than you have on business insurance, and this may be a big mistake.
Business insurance can help protect you against claims of lawsuits, bodily injury and property damage. Even online retailers can reap the benefits of business insurance.
However, for those people who meet the two criteria below, business insurance is even more important, as noted by The Hartford:
- You operate from a physical location that you own or rent
- You have a physical inventory that can be damaged or stolen
There are three types of insurance a handicraft retailer may consider useful: data breach insurance, professional liability insurance, and a business owner policy.
If you’re concerned about your website going down for an extended period of time or getting hacked, data breach insurance can help alleviate that concern. Professional liability protects against advertising injury claims, and a business owner policy will help protect your physical inventory.
All businesses are vulnerable to certain risks. Understanding those risks and insuring yourself against them will be critical for growth and success.
How to Better Protect Digital Assets
Digital assets can mean many things. From business photos and websites to business documents and customer lists, there are many items that need protecting. Also consider any intellectual property you might own, like copyrighted material, trademarks, or patents, and don’t forget about online store products.
As a professional crafter, you probably have your creative space all taken care of, but what about your digital files? If they have value, then they likely need better protection from loss, damage, or thieves.
Just consider your customer list and how much value it provides in terms of revenue. Imagine suddenly discovering that it was stolen. Your business will take a big hit while you try and rebuild that list.
Make a list of everything in your craft business that has value. Look for things with proprietary value, meaning items that no one else has. Look at it like this: If you were buying your business, what would you find valuable?
Next, you’ll want to establish ownership and value for each item. The value of digital assets tends to change, so you may have to update this occasionally. Imagine the value of a customer list of 1,000 subscribers versus one with 5,000 subscribers.
Consider your other assets, including copyrights. You can copyright websites and blogs. Logos and designs can be trademarked. And you can get patents for any unique processes you might own the rights to. Each of these should be protected.
Establishing ownership can be tricky, which is why you may need the assistance of an attorney, or the protection of an NDA. NDAs will help protect you against employees, contractors, and others who are intimately involved in your business, as can register ownership of your digital assets.
It’s also important to have a digital backup of all those assets. You may even want to double-up by putting these assets onto a siloed external drive. Planning for recovery is one of the most critical factors in planning successful cyber security for a business.
Protecting Your Business Against Hackers
The importance of inoculating yourself against identity thieves and hackers, especially as the owner of an online business, cannot be overstated. Keeping your electronic records safe through document redaction, access control lists, and file encryption can protect both your company’s and your clients’ information safe.
Hackers steal credit card information from e-commerce sites frequently, but according to CIO.com, there are 15 more steps you can take to protect your customers’ important data.
- Choose a secure e-commerce platform.
- Use a secure connection for online checkout and use strong SSL authentication.
- Don’t store sensitive data; purge database of old records regularly.
- Use a card verification service for all credit card transactions.
- Require your customers to use stronger passwords.
- Set up alerts for suspicious activity, like multiple orders from the same person but with different credit cards.
- Layer your security, from firewalls to additional layers for contact forms, login boxes, etc..
- Train employees better on the importance of keeping information safe and the protocols to do so.
- Provide tracking numbers for all orders.
- Make sure your web host is monitoring your site’s activity.
- Perform regular system scans to reduce hacking vulnerabilities.
- Install system updates and patches immediately.
- Get DDoS protection, a cloud-based approach to protecting data.
- Consider employing a fraud management service to reduce the risk of fraud.
- Make sure your web host is backing up your site.
There are many other areas that will affect the growth of your craft business, such as SEO strategies and marketing tips. However, to ward off the disaster before it strikes, you’ll also want a system in place to protect your customers’ data and your own assets.
While your craft business no doubt depends on your creative abilities, it may be your business savvy, including how you protect your business assets, which provides the most benefit.