This post is sponsored byTyco Integrated Security.
Managing a business is hard enough without having to worry about break-ins and theft. It’s important to be proactive about security, rather than regret all those things you didn’t take care of after it’s already too late.
But overhauling a company’s security plan or implementing new technology, while necessary, can take time. Want to know how to make your business safer in the meantime? Here are 11 simple, day-to-day steps a business can take to improve security — both now and in the long run.
1. Maintain eye contact. Steve Sell, director of marketing for North American retail at Tyco Integrated Security, says, “Customer service is the most valuable resource retailers have.” Any business with walk-in traffic should acknowledge the customer — not just because it’s polite behaviour, but because it conveys organisation. Potential criminals can see what you’re doing and realise that your business would be difficult to rob. Make sure all customers are greeted and looked in the eye.
2. Clean house (literally). Your building’s exterior should be clean. If your lot doubles as a storage site for equipment, don’t let things get sloppy. Anything you’re storing should be at least eight feet from the perimeter walls and fences, because you don’t want to give criminals a place to hide. Also, put a fence around that lot, but make sure it’s see-through.
3. Use marked cash. You can seed your cash register with marked money you only use during robberies. Right after anything happens, tell the police what you’ve done and give them the numbers.
4. Bolt down the racks. If you run a clothing shop, make it harder for someone to grab your stock and run. Clothing should be hung on bolted-down racks with hangers alternating in different directions.
5. Move the cash register. If your business has walk-in traffic, make sure customers have to keep their backs to the door when they’re at the register or reception desk. Your cash register should be visible from the street, but not so close to the window that someone could easily smash the glass, grab the register, and run.
6. Put in double doors. If you like fancy gadgets, you can install remote-control double doors in your entryway. When the criminal tries to leave, he or she can be trapped in the double-doors until the police arrive.
7. Update and organise your employee records. Hank Monaco, vice president of marketing at Tyco Integrated Security, says, “The human element is what counts the most.” That means you need an alert and honest staff. Check references. Also, you should always keep records of present and former employees on file (with pictures).
8. Create contingency plans. Clearly lay out how employees should react to intruders, theft, or suspicious behaviour. Inform everyone of the best procedures for communicating with the staff if something should go wrong, such as using an intercom or pushing a panic button. Also, have a Plan B, in case you need one.
9. Be part of the community. Never criticise an employee for being overly cautious about security. Join local neighbourhood watch groups. Ask the businesses next door to help you keep a lookout for suspicious activities, such as loitering strangers who seem to be checking out your shop for signs of security weaknesses.
10. Don’t be afraid to go old-school … Simple, old-fashioned devices like security mirrors can work. So do signs on the doors and windows that let people know your business is alarmed and protected. All exterior points of entry should be well-lit, with fixtures that are too hard to reach or tamper with.
11. But be sure to update your technology. While everything in your toolkit doesn’t have to be super-modern, you might want to think about installing a managed security system with cameras and professionals who monitor your business around the clock. If you have the right options, the video guard can even communicate with the potential thief — or in different circumstances, let delivery people into your business, and watch them while they do their work.
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