When you’re a small retailer responsible for your building, stock and cash on premises, security can become a bit mind boggling, especially if you only have a couple of staff to hand. Being safe however, isn’t about numbers; it’s about smart choices and being organised. Here are some top ways to boost your security without, as it were, breaking the bank.
Safeguard your shopfront
The most obvious way to safeguard your shop is by installing an alarm that’s motion sensored. Make the alarm obvious and visible to any potential intruder as this make you a less appealing target, and choose alarms with remote signals so the police are informed. Combine this alarm with a panic button under your counter in case you’re on the premises and need instant protection and also consider investing in a CCTV style system.
These measures shouldn’t be shocking or scary to think about; they’re important to give you peace of mind and options should the worst happen. With video evidence, any prosecution case is strengthened.
Get the help of your community
When you own a local store you become integral to the community, complete with regular customers and other social shop owners. Engage with this sense of loyalty and see if there are any neighbourhood watch schemes or similar. If not, set up a meeting with your surrounding business owners and see how you can all help each other with security and vigilance. A successful outcome for example, would be one owner highlighting a negative incident with an identified individual who you can then be aware of in the future.
Protect your website from online attacks
If you’re in the business of selling, it’s likely you connect with a wider audience online. Cyber crime is worrying, but not if you take the right precautions. First off, choose a secure platform, such as WordPress and ensure you’re hosted on a server with a good security record to reduce the likelihood of hacking.
For the customer, ensure their payment details are encrypted and are completed over a secure connection, that their account is only accepted with a strong enough password and that you don’t store their details in an online database for too long; they should be cleared every few months.
If this seems complicated, it’s because it can be! If business rather than technology and online development is your strong suit, seek the advice of an agency or freelance expert. As it’s a must for ecommerce sites these days, you can find rates within your budget to future-proof your company.
Secure your finances
Chances are, you’re still getting a lot of payments made with cash, in addition to debit or credit card transactions. Cash in your retail space is the most vulnerable security risk and shouldn’t be overlooked. Start by getting an under counter safe so you can regularly move money from your locked cash register to somewhere hidden and more secure. Great if you have a busy sales morning, it can then be easily removed from the premises to your bank. Amongst your staff, provide training so all the profits are accounted for and you have individuals at hand whom you trust.
Once the money safe in your bank, keep a note of your transactions – outgoings and deposits – so if you see anything unfamiliar in your monthly account summary, you can query it in confidence.
Organise security into a daily routine
One of the most useful tips about business security is to understand it’s a daily part of your role in retail; it’s not enough to put all the measures in place and then leave the systems to go unattended. Always be vigilant and take time each day to check-in with how each part of your security is functioning and if your staff are confident with the procedures.
Also remember that most days, you’ll enjoy a safe environment without any incidents, but securing your premises and finances means that you’re in the best position should anything negative occur. If you ever find yourself doubting your approach, review it and seek even more advice from your nearby business owners, as well as online.
Written by Fred, owner of Cash Tills Direct, offering secure cash registers, safes and retail accessories for small to medium sized businesses.