It’s every small business owner’s nightmare. A masked man bursts in the door, brandishing a weapon—terrifying your employees and your customers—demands money or merchandise, and makes his getaway before authorities can arrive. Of course, not every small business robbery is quite so dramatic, but they do happen. Preliminary FBI statistics show a 1.9 percent increase in violent crime in the U.S. in 2014 over the previous year, including a 2 percent increase in robbery.
Robbery, armed or otherwise, threatens a small business owner’s investment in more ways than one. Besides the loss of inventory or money, robbery rattles employees and makes potential customers think twice about entering a business. As a small business owner, what should you be doing to prevent your business from being robbed and prepare your business in case it is robbed? Here are a few tips:
Train Employees in Business Security Best Practices
Well-trained employees can be the best business security system there is. Employees should know the procedure for locking up and putting away valuables. Create a robbery response plan and review it periodically with employees. This plan should include how to behave during a robbery and how to contact authorities.
Teach your employees to stay calm during a robbery and cooperate with the robbers’ demands. Help them understand that attempts at heroism during a robbery often make the situation even more dangerous; criminals are just as nervous as they are.
Also encourage your employees to greet anyone who enters your business and ask if they can help them. This is not only a good practice from a customer service standpoint, but the personal attention tends to dissuade potential robbers.
Stay Alert and Keep Your Business Secure
Robbers are more likely to go after a business with only one employee on duty. Have at least two employees on duty as often as possible, especially during opening and closing. Keep a low balance in the cash register and keep valuable merchandise under lock and key and out of view from the outside. Check all your locks to make sure they’re secure and replace old ones.
Call in the Pros: Install a Business Security System
Your business, your employees, and your customers are too valuable to take risks with security, especially if it’s located in a high-crime area. Professional business security experts can help you understand your business’s security weaknesses and recommend a business security system that fits your needs and your budget. A business security system can include elements like:
Modern business security systems go beyond security. Remote access and email or text alerts allow business owners to keep tabs on their businesses even when they’re not on premises. Besides helping you manage your business, this provides added peace of mind against robbery and other catastrophes.