Business Development & Conflict Resolution

We assist individuals with starting their own businesses because small business is key to economic independence and community sustainability.

7 Risks that the 21st Century Entrepreneur Faces!

Being an entrepreneur in the 21st Century has many advantages and disadvantages at the same time.  Many entrepreneurs today are not afraid to take the risk of going out on their own to start a new business.  Many small business owners have made many personal sacrifices, in order, to start their own business.  But, at the same token there have been many individuals who have decided not to start a business because of fear of failure.  The most successful business owners understand the risks of starting a business in this day and age, but they go for it.  Many successful entrepreneurs understand that are some serious risks with starting a business, but they do it anyway.  Many small business owners will prepare themselves for the possible risks they may face with becoming their “own boss”.

Here are seven risks that the 21st Century Entrepreneur deals with on a daily basis:

  • Risk #1: Having to establish a good cybersecurity system to protect their business. Cybercrimes have become a major problem for small businesses, big companies, and governmental agencies.  There are always computer criminals who make it their personal mission to destroy and disrupt our everyday lives.  Major companies like Target and Home Depot have recently faced issues with computer criminals hacking into their major computer systems.  In turn, stealing their customers’ personal information like credit card numbers.  But, cybersecurity corporations are trying to stay ahead of these cybercriminals by improving the security systems of companies both large and small.  Many cybersecurity companies are hiring the very same criminals who have committed cybercrimes to teach them how to stay a few steps ahead of the criminals.  Many small businesses are starting to realize the importance of setting up good security precautions to protect their business computers, personal information of customers, and their products or services.
  • Risk #2: Many small businesses have a major problem of their identity being stolen and copied by someone else. Many small businesses are starting to see a great increase of others stealing their identity and acting like them.  One major problem that entrepreneurs may face with social media is individuals pretending to be them on social media.  Some people will pretend to be another person to commit criminal activities or just to be a pain.  But, many small business owners are starting to see the importance of protecting their personal image by trademarking their brand.  You have many imposters out there who have no problem with pretending to be someone else.  That is why it is extremely important for entrepreneurs to protect their personal brand and market brand by trademarking their business names, business brands, company products and services, and company logo.
  • Risk #3: Many entrepreneurs fail to understand the importance of protecting their intellectual property. The small business owner must ensure that they protect all of their business ideas, materials, products, services, and goods from infringement by other businesses.  Trademarking, patenting, and copyrighting will protect all of your hard work from being ripped off by someone else.

Trademarking involves protecting the following: any name, word, symbol, or device used by a business to identify their goods and differentiate those goods from goods being sold by other businesses.  The trademark will indicate the origin of the goods or services.  It is always good to register your trademark with the Patent and Trademark Office in your country.  In the US, the trademark is only recognized by the US government and not in other countries.  Trademark registrations are good for about ten years and you have to renew the trademark during the ninth and tenth year of the trademark.

Copyright is a form of protection for authors and writers of their original writings whether it is literary, musical, artistic, or other types of intellectual works.  A copyright is secured automatically upon creation.  You have to register your copyright with the US Copyright Office and the copyright is valid up to 70 years after the author’s death.

Patent: This is the grant that the US Patent and Trademark Office gives to an inventor for a particular invention which gives him or her certain rights concerning the invented item.  The patent is good for about 17 years from the date the patent application was approved.

  • Risk #4: Many big corporations are taking their business overseas. Many big corporations are starting to take their business overseas to save money and lower tax brackets.  Also, many big corporations are starting to take their business overseas for cheap labor costs.  Also, many big corporations do not like the fact that many small businesses are starting to steal their customers because of their small size and small companies provide better customer service.  Many big corporations are being forced by government agencies and societal changes to start partnering with smaller companies to bid on certain types of contracts.  It has become a little easier for small businesses to do business in the 21st Century because many customers are starting to see the importance of going small.
  • Risk #5: Some entrepreneurs find it difficult to maintain health insurance, life insurance, and retirement plans when first starting their business. Many entrepreneurs see the importance of maintaining health insurance and life insurance when starting a small business.  But, the irony of this is that many small business owners, find it hard to pay for health insurance and life insurance because of the major costs.  Also, health insurance is a major expense that many individuals cannot afford.  Life insurance is not that expensive to maintain, but many people find that it is not that important to have life insurance.  Many small business owners in the beginning stages cannot afford to set-up a retirement plan in the beginning. But, many small business owners are preparing for retirement by starting small savings account. When the business starts making money, the owner will open a retirement account.
  • Risk #6: Many female entrepreneurs are finding it difficult to start their own business due to custom and beliefs concerning women, family, and children. Many countries have customs and beliefs that make it very difficult for women to start their own businesses.  In some countries, they see women as property only and baby makers.  Many developing countries may want to improve the life of women, but due to societal customs and beliefs it is hard to do so.  But, many countries are starting to find ways to improve the lives of the poor by educating the family on the benefits of starting a small business.  Also, improving the lives of the poor by assisting the women with starting their own business.  Many female entrepreneurs are starting to find a balance between running a business and maintaining their family obligations.
  • Risk #7: Many small business owners run the risk of being sued by disgruntle customers and disgruntle employees. Many entrepreneurs face the risk of hiring the wrong employee who may cause them to get sued by a customer for negligent actions.  Also, the employee may steal money from the small business or embezzle money from the company.  Also, small businesses have a major issue with disgruntle customers because the disgruntle customer may refuse to pay for services rendered, pay for products, sue for dissatisfied services, or sue for being injured on the business property.  But, small businesses can protect themselves by ensuring that they have insurance like liability or errors and omissions.   The entrepreneur can set-up policies and procedures concerning employees that can protect the business from negligent actions caused by the employees.

Many entrepreneurs are starting to see the importance of taking precautions to protect their business from these seven risks that can hurt their small business.

Donya Zimmerman is a business consultant, mediator, and legal professional with over ten years of experience.  Donya is also a public speaker and aspiring author.  She has a few books in the works that will be published and released in the latter part of 2015. The books will focus on entrepreneurship, small business, and daily devotionals.  She is owner of Family & Community Mediation and Business Consulting (FACMBC) and Powerful Biz Woman (subsidiary of FACMBC). Both are based in Baltimore, Maryland and were established in 2013. Services provided by FACMBC:  Mediation and Conflict Resolution Services; Business Registration Assistance (Limited Liability Company, Corporation, S-Corp, Limited Liability Partnership, etc.); Business Plan Drafting Assistance; Business Certification Assistance (MBE, WOSB, 8A, 501(c) (3), Hub Zone, etc.); and Business Organization Assistance.  She is also a contributing writer to the Maryland Daily Examiner Newspaper. Donya Zimmerman has made article contributions to the Simply Inspirational Women in Business Journal for 2014 published by Dr. Cheryl Cottle. 

If you are thinking about starting your own small business or non-profit organization do not hesitate to contact me because I can show you how to do so. Contact information: dzimmerman36@gmail.com; www.facebook.com/FACMBC; www.twitter.com/FACMBC; https://dzimmerman36.wordpress.com; www.linkedin.com/in/dzbusconsultantandmediator

Image courtesy of iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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