Starting a new business can be daunting. If you have never owned or helped to manage a business, trying to be successful with your own company is an uphill struggle. There are many things to keep track of, so it can feel like failure is always waiting around the corner. A young business is indeed at greater risk of folding than established industry leaders
One of the biggest headaches is the legal side of a business. Owners of new startups mainly want to focus on growing their brand, engaging with their customers, and turning a profit. It is admirable to care about customer and staff satisfaction, but legality is something that a CEO can never neglect.
Many legal potholes can slow new startups down. Worse still, most new businesses have neither the time nor the legal or financial backing to win court cases. Talented and enthusiastic entrepreneurs can be shut down by innocent errors before they get a chance to thrive.
Background: The Internet, Data & Increasingly Strict Laws
Companies have had to move online in this digital age to stay competitive and to reach more people with their products and services. This, by and large, has changed the nature of how customers and businesses interact. By being online, people and their activities are more exposed than in the past.
Websites collect data about user presence and activity. This applies whenever somebody browses for information, makes a purchase, or fills out an application. These data can include country of origin, time spent on different web pages, and even bank details. Such information is dangerous in the wrong hands.
Of course, customer data can be gold dust for organisations hoping to better understand their clients. Gaining an insight into customer behaviour is key to improving customer experience. Through optimizing your website and advertising campaigns, you could multiply conversion rates. That said, every website has a vital responsibility to protect any sensitive data it collects.
There are several ways to gather data about people visiting a website. The most obvious is when a user voluntarily enters relevant details while ordering/booking something or when filling out a form. Another method is through “cookies”. Many websites give people the right to opt out of certain tracking cookies and thereby hide some of their information.
If a business website exists as an information source, then the owner may only wish to track the number of visitors and where they are from. These purposes only need a simple declaration for clarity. If a website uses visitor data to inform marketing decisions, that is a much more thorough use of the data and should be spelt out transparently.
The most critical case is when users have to enter personal details on a business site. When people entrust a website with their sensitive information, they have the right to know how it is protected from hackers and misuse. A business should also reassure clients about the data’s safe storage and disposal.
How Can You Get One?
If you wish to try yourself, online tools exist to help you craft your personal policy. If you do attempt this, it is still worth asking a lawyer to check it.