small business precautionsThe small business world is always changing. With the constant updates in management practices, health care fronts, and basic business marketing trends, small business owners need to make sure that they are staying ahead.

The following are four simple steps that business owners can take right now to make sure they are staying as up to date as possible.

1. Join Google+. Google+ is now one of the top social media marketing avenues available to business owners. Since social media is proving to be one of the most cost-efficient and easiest ways to advertise, businesses would be wise to enlist in Google+. Not only does it allow owners to a chance to connect with customers and promote their services, but having a Google+ account will also increase the business’s SEO ranking as well.  

2. Understand your Financials. While most businesses have accountants or other advisors to aid with the financial aspect of their company, owners need to understand first-hand where their business stands financially. Owners should ask their accountants to teach them how to read cash-flow statements. The more an owner knows about his or her company, the better able he or she will be able to care for it. It will also serve as a safety precaution.

3. Know the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act becomes effective on January 1, 2015. The act, which aims to lower premium costs so that decent, affordable health insurance may become more accessible, may prove to be difficult for smaller businesses due to their lack of the resources that many large companies have. Owners would be wise to take advantage of the webinars offered by the Small Business Administration in order to learn all that that is available regarding the act before its launch, as well as to prepare and make adjustments if necessary. 

4. Have a Disaster Plan. Natural disasters have been occurring more than ever, and all over the country. Owners need to be prepared in the dreadful event that they should fall victim to one of the unavoidable storms. Ensure your business has a good general liability insurance policy that covers equipment and lost time, as well as employees that can’t make it to work and vendors that, if anything should happen to their ability to manufacture, might damage your own supply chain. An inventory of assets and IT equipment should be kept up-to-date at all times.