More than half of small and medium-sized businesses in the UK have been targeted by crime, costing owners up to £25m.[i] The disruption of a break in or damage to property can bring with it unexpected costs and lost time, so it’s important to know how to protect your small business.

When you run a small business there are many elements of your day-to-day which can develop issues unexpectedly, resulting in you losing time or money. Taking steps to avoid, or minimise, the damage and protect your livelihood is important. Joe Brown is a Chief Underwriting Officer, Broker Channel Operations at Hiscox UK, he advises making sure you have the right level of cover if something should happen.

“Once you’ve taken on premises for your business – whether a high-street shop or an office space – there are two types of coverage to consider: comercial building insurance and office contents insurance. If you rent your space, it should be your landlord’s responsibility to get building insurance but make sure to check that they do have it. If you own your premises, this will cover the cost of any repairs or even rebuilding.

Office contents insurance, on the other hand, is relevant for just about every business. It covers everything that’s inside your premises, including stock, equipment and furniture, and can also cover goods in transit. Also think about getting cover for any profits that you might lose in the period after an incident. Remember that if, for example, your restaurant burnt down, you wouldn’t only face the financial burden of replacing fittings and stock, you’d also lose several weeks or months of business.”

How to protect your small business

It’s not only getting the correct insurance that will help protect your business, having a business security strategy is important as well. Simple things, like double checking the locks on your building, can make a big difference. Below is some business security advice to follow to ensure your livelihood is as safe as it can be.

Looking after the bricks and mortar

Taking on premises of any kind – workshop, store front or rented, owned or shared office space – is exciting and often fairly key to your business’s success. It’s also an extra responsibility to add to the pile. So once you’ve found a great spot, decorated it and decked it out with the tech and equipment you need, make sure to protect it.

Stay secure: Scrutinise your building’s safety

Regardless of what your landlord says, double-check that your windows and doors are secure, install a burglar alarm and smoke detector, and, if your business is based in an area with a high crime rate, or likely to show up on a thief’s radar, think about adding CCTV. Consider your employees’ safety, too – if possible, don’t rent a space in the dodgy part of town.

So once you’ve found a great spot, decorated it and decked it out with the tech and equipment you need, make sure to protect it.
In this video, produced with Courier, we outline some tips on how to safeguard your premises.

Use good judgement: Don’t forget the obvious measures

Keep the office or workspace tidy and free from hazards. Back up your stuff – saving duplicates of any crucial documents and data – and keep expensive equipment out of sight. If you deal with money on-site get a safe and set up clear practices to ensure that there’s never too much cash left in there.

Set some rules: Be sure your staff take responsibility

Everybody makes mistakes but putting routines and rules in place can help us avoid them. Teach staff how best to use equipment and machinery as soon as they join. Consider limiting who has access to the premises, keep an eye on who comes and goes and make it clear what equipment can and can’t be taken off-site.

Get covered: Cover yourself against the unpreventable

It’s not just thieves or fire and water damage that might mess things up for your business – should a client or member of the public be injured while on your premises, you could be held responsible. Find a good insurance policy with a sensible excess to help your business get back on track if you have an unlucky week or two.


[i] : Victim Support study of 500 small to medium business owners, 2015


To find out more, read the full guide to managing business risks