As someone who has had the privilege of being the first person to establish a book shop in the location which I chose, I’ve heard many suggestions from people, including total strangers
People that I have never met before would often pop into my shop to give me what they assumed was sound business advice. Many amongst them acted like it was their money I had used to establish my business and to some of them my business would definitely fail because they thought it wasn’t well situated.
I came across folks who even asked me how much profit I was making and where I purchased the books. Initially, I was overwhelmed by this show of interest and concern by others towards my business but I began to notice some strange happenings around me.
Similar businesses like mine began to spring up around the area and the similarities were too close to be ignored. I also noticed that some of these new book shops/libraries and business centres were being managed by people who had entered my shop pretending to give me business advice, some of them had even asked me about my profit margin and other such private questions
Then everything became clear to me as to why I was getting so many business advice from random strangers, I’m sure you’ve figured it out already.
I’m also guilty of this, but not in the same way. When I think my business is not doing as much as it should, I begin to look around for my competitors. I visit their shops like a client would do, ask normal questions about the prices of their products but that’s not my true intention. I go there to see what’s working for them and what I can add to my business to improve it. But some other competitors may not be so nice, they might have other evil intent like giving you wrong advice so that you can close down, move on and let them reign supreme. Let’s all be wise small business owners by anticipating what our competitors are capable of doing to ruin our businesses and how they go about doing this.
Most of your competitors don’t have good intentions towards your business and many will want to ruin it if they get the chance. What some do is to use any data they can collect about your business to device ways to reduce your profit, take your customers, and minimize your business chance of succeeding. The following are a few tips, i personally think will help you in protecting your business against data theft by competitors:
- Take note of questions and suggestions by strangers and respond professionally
- Don’t give out company secrets to customers/clients
- Handle your mails effectively
- Dispose all sensitive and used business related documents adequately
- Keep business receipts and invoices safe
- Use effective data storage devices
- Password all computer systems to protect data
- Use good antivirus to protect your computer systems
- Train your staffs on data protection
As a small business owner, it is necessary to prepare, plan and effectively deal with threat from data thieves, as keeping your business adequately protected is capable of ensuring it’s sustainability