Operating a small business may require you to meet many strangers. While this is generally accepted as part of business – and often an enjoyable part of it – how can you protect yourself if you operate your business from home?
Most people we will encounter will be genuine, sincere people who wouldn’t even contemplate doing any harm. Unfortunately, it is difficult to pick the tiniest percentage who do not mean us well. Here are some precautions you can take:
1. Be wary of inviting strangers into your home. To avoid this, perhaps you could offer a free pick-up and delivery service (this can include the use of a courier). If you go to a client’s home to pick-up or deliver work/goods, avoid entering their home. This can be a courtesy issue as well as a safety issue.
2. Consider meeting with prospective clients/new business associates in a local cafe.
3. Ensure that you can see your front door from your office. If not, it is imperitive that you keep the front and back doors locked (this is a good idea even if you can see the door). Ideally, security doors and windows offer protection without you becoming a prisoner in your home. Time and time again you hear of homes/offices being burgled while someone was in another room, and all to often this could have been avoided.
4. Avoid giving out your home-office address on general advertising, stationery, etc. Get a Post Office Box for all business mail.
5. If your workplace is not a part of the main house, ensure that it is adequately secure when you’re not there (even if you just popped up to the house for a bite to eat).
6. Don’t leave any money or valuables on the premises. Bank taking regularly to minimise loss if you are burgled.
7. Consider installing a burglar alarm and smoke detectors (smoke detectors are compulsory in some cities) and make sure you have all your business asssets adequately covered through insurance. Remember, not all home contents insurance policies will cover your home office/business assets.