Securing Your Small Business From Internal And External Theft

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For large multinational corporations, a few million dollars per year in stolen revenue or inventory shrink is expected, average, and altogether a blip on the radar. For startups and small businesses, theft can be a catastrophic event. It is difficult enough to grow in this competitive marketplace already, even worse when you are faced with security threats that could cost you everything.

Small businesses countrywide lose between $25,000 and $30,000 every minute to shoplifters. What’s worse, it’s not only burglars and thieves that steal. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, roughly 75% of employees steal (yes, those office supplies count). The fact is, small businesses don’t have the money to lose.

Meanwhile, Walmart does have the money to lose. Well, in a way at least. Every year Walmart loses about $1.5 billion to shrinkage. This is not just shoplifting, mind you — shinkage includes theft from employees, shoplifting, cashier errors, and damaged goods. The problem is, since the additional infrastructure needed to reduce this problem would cost over $3 billion to implement, Walmart executives simply shrug it off as the cost of doing business.

One thing to note is that Walmart already has security features that they deemed economically viable and necessary to prevent further theft. Security cameras and guards are essential for product loss prevention. Think about any successful store you have gone to lately. Are there security cameras? Yes, pretty much invariably.

Surveillance cameras are one essential security feature common to almost all successful commercial enterprises.

How Security Cameras Reduce Problems For Small Businesses

Security cameras can prevent more than just shoplifting. There are a number of uses for cameras in your business.

  • Catching shoplifters and employees is an important way to reduce further losses. If a shoplifter steals from your store once and gets away with it, they very well could do it again, emboldened by their past success. This is true of employee theft as well. Introduce a security camera (or many depending on the size of your business) and you will either find the source of the disappearing product, or the camera will act as a deterrent from further losses. Catching an employee stealing gives you reason to terminate their employment, stopping the loss at the source.
  • Employee safety is also a concern. Say two employees have a disagreement and one of them turns violent. With security cameras, there is always evidence to help a victim of workplace violence or sexual harassment, which makes reporting it to the police much easier.
  • Slip and fall scam artists don’t even fall into the shrinkage category. Lawsuits from con artists who live to sue businesses for being ‘injured’ on the premises are actually no joke at all. That is, unless you have a security camera. Any wrongful accusations levied at your business, from workers or scammers, can be proven false when caught on camera. This liability protection is one more reason that many insurance companies will offer lower premiums to commercial properties with security cameras in place.

Small businesses have it rough. In a globalized, capitalist world, the little guy can have a hard time competing. This is especially true where inventory shrinkage is concerned. If you own a small business, it might be time to consider security cameras as a first step toward guarding your assets.

About Sean Nolan
Sean Nolan is the founder and operations director of Streamline Telecom.  Prior to starting the company in 2006, he spent nearly two decades working as an electrical contractor, including 12 years at G-Systems Inc.  He has a BS in math and statistics from SUNY, and has achieved the BICSI RDD certification (he is certified as a Registered Communications Distribution Designer by the Building Industry Consulting Service International).  What Sean enjoys most about his work is finding creative solutions to his client’s problems by offering suggestions that they might not have considered on their own.
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