6th April 2020
With many small or independent businesses having to close their doors to the public, those in the leisure industry or ‘non-essential’ shops are currently sat empty.
If you own a small café, shop or business then there are few things that you should consider doing to protect your business from further risk.
It is important that your insurance company knows when your business is closed so that if anything happens you have peace of mind that you are covered. Not keeping your insurance company updated could result in your insurance being invalid which would be catastrophic should you need to make a claim.
It is likely that your business premises still contains a lot of your equipment, stocks or fittings, so you still need to ensure that your security is up to scratch. Empty properties can sometimes be a sitting duck for opportunist criminals, so ensure that you have locked your doors, windows and shutters and that your alarms and cameras are tested. If your business premises is in a high-risk area or prone to break-ins then you may want to take some extra security measures such as changing locks, sealing letterboxes, putting extra padlocks on your doors or installing more security alarms.
If it is safe for you to do so whilst adhering to the latest social-distancing rules, then make regular visits to your business premises to ensure that it is secure and as you left it. Use this time to carry out any simple maintenance such as watering plants or cleaning and also pick up your mail. Your post could contain valuable or sensitive information that you don’t want to get into the wrong hands.
If you haven’t already done so, then remove any valuables from your work premises for extra peace of mind. Items such as computers, petty cash, stock and sensitive information such as client records or accounts.
Take meter readings for your gas, water and electric if you are responsible for your own utilities. It may be sensible to shut off supplies if not required. Inform your providers so that you are only charged for what is used. In these challenging times businesses need to be as frugal as possible and make savings wherever they can.
If you are closed for business at the moment or your staff are working from home, then let your landlord know. Small business should consider if they can afford to keep up with their commercial property payments during this downturn in business and have a conversation with their landlord about breaks, rent reductions or any help they may be entitled to.
When you re-open your doors, you (your staff and your customers) don’t want to be greeted by any nasty surprises! Remove food and milk from your work fridges and check for any stock that will perish before your re-open. Make sure that bins are emptied and that your drains are clear.
Check that your workplace is clear of any fire hazards, ensure that heaters are turned off, unplug lamps and chargers and check that your fire alarms are working. Check every time you visit your premises.
There shouldn’t be too many people walking by now due to current social-distancing rules, however you should make it clear that you are closed to your potential customers to save them a wasted journey. If you are offering services online or remotely then ensure you are letting customers know how to reach you. Update your social media, your website and your Google My Business account to reflect your opening times and services.
We wish you all the best in keeping your business ticking over during the challenging times that Covid-19 is putting on the business market and the economy.
If you require any legal advice for your business during this time then please get in touch with our Business Team who can provide guidance on employment matters, company & commercial law, dispute resolution and commercial property advice.
We continue to work and are contactable on 01256 844888, via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or by speaking to our online chat assistant on our website.
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The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published. Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.
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