You have just got a letter informing you are being sued. Your stomach in unsettled and your mind goes into overdrive. It’s a horrific scenario but one you can easily find yourself in if you are not careful. Besides the extra stress and cost of all the legal services, there is also the huge distraction is poses. You now have to focus on defending yourself in court rather than run and expand your small business. I am talking about small businesses, the big companies have armies of lawyers at their disposals and they don’t even blink.

If you are sued by an existing customer it is even worse as in addition to all the headache, it also sends out the wrong message about your business. What will your prospects and leads think when they read or find out that you are being sued about an existing customer? Well, they won’t be “sold”, I can tell you that.
You just don’t want to find yourself in that position.

So, what can you do?

Well, cover with your lawyer all the legal aspects required to operate a business in your jurisdiction. That’s the obvious advice. But you need to go further. You need the sort of discipline to keep records on all your interactions with your customers, suppliers, resellers, partners and so on. And I mean, written contracts, emails, meeting notes, phone call transcripts and so on.

This is very important to ensure all your communications and interactions are consistent in terms of the high quality standards you want for your business. In time, you are also building a legal and business intelligence repository that you can use not just to protect yourself, but to sell more, cross-sell and convert more leads into customers.

If you hire employees, the above points hold even more weight and that’s because your employees represent your company in what they do, they say, their interactions with leads, customers and other businesses you normally interact with.

Not only they can make you liable by saying the wrong thing, but they can affect your brand, they can land you with PR disaster that take years to unfold.
Training is essential, of course, but it’s not easy, especially if you’re an over-stretched small business with more work than people. It just doesn’t happen over night and it takes its toll on your other employees as the newcomer needs to tap into their knowledge and, therefore, decrease their productivity.
When a new employee joins your company, how long does it take until you are comfortable they will represent your business in the same way you and your other employees do?

A CRM system can help with all of the above. CRM stands for customer relationship management and it is a model of dealing with your customers and leads but it can also include your other type of businesses in your supply chain. The lighter version of CRM is a contact management system that allows you to keep all your notes, relevant emails and files in one place, giving you a 360 degrees view of your customers. For small businesses, web based CRM applications make most sense as they combine zero upfront investment with a low risk as you can pull out any time.

One intuitive and simple but powerful web CRM that I used in the past is Clevertim CRM. It is very easy to learn and use and it is designed as a CRM for small businesses. It is very responsive and it is does away with all the constant refreshing of pages that can kill productivity. It is more like a desktop application on the web. Give it a try today and se if it’s the right application for your small business.

Categories: Legal

Leave a Reply