Starting a small business is expensive, and you'll need to spread your capital around to many different areas in order to get your business off the ground. Security needs can easily be overlooked with all the other things that you're spending money on, but protecting your small business is just as important as advertising it. When your money is limited but you need the best protection possible, what's the best way to prioritize your security budget? Take a look at some things that can help you make the most of what you've got to work with to ensure that your property, employees, and customers stay safe.
Your employees may be your number-one tool for preventing theft if they're properly trained. Your employees can deter thefts by keeping your merchandise neat and orderly, so that it's immediately obvious if something is missing, and by keeping an eye on customers and visitors. Guests should be greeted upon entering and then again when they leave, and politely offering to assist customers can be enough to deter shoplifters. Teach your employees to observe closely and follow their instincts by keeping a close watch on anyone who seems suspicious.
During an armed robbery, employees should stay calm and obey the robber. They should not attempt any heroics. Train them to observe the robber's characteristics, like age, race, height, weight, hair and eye color, and identifying marks. They should also make a mental note of things the robber touches. This can help the police lift prints later.
Security cameras are typically a cost-effective way to deter theft and other crime. IP-based video surveillance systems can be set up without the need to pay for 24-hour monitoring services. This type of system requires cameras, a USB receiver, software installed on a computer, and a DVR or network-attached storage device.
The average cost for an IP-based video surveillance system with two cameras is between $870 and $1000. Once it's installed, you should be able to monitor your business from anywhere that you have a computer and an Internet connection. Make sure that your cameras are pointed at the spots where they're most likely to record crime, like your entrance and your point-of-sale system. It's also a good idea to make sure that the cameras are visible. Criminals prefer not to be caught on camera, so the sight of surveillance cameras, or signs that let guests know they're being recorded, can often function as deterrents.
Access control is anything that keeps people out of places where they shouldn't be. These places can include the safe, a store room, or a computer. Require employees operating a computer to use strong passwords. That means using letters, numbers, and characters in the password and avoiding easily-guessed passwords like birth dates or even employee ID numbers. Changing passwords once a month is a good rule of thumb. You may also want to set up your system to prevent an employee from re-using a password that they've used before.
Keypad door locks are affordable and more secure than keys that can be lost, stolen, or handed over to an unauthorized person. Make sure that you change the pass code when employees quit or are fired. If you can afford a more advanced keypad system, you might go with one that allows each user to have their own code. That way you can track who goes in and out, and you can also simply deactivate the one pass code when an employee leaves rather than having everyone memorize new codes each time.
It's well worth consulting a commercial security provider in your area for suggestions to help keep your specific business safe. A local security provider like Point 2 Point Systems will be aware of the crime statistics in your area and can help tailor a security plan that meets your needs and fits your budget.