Guest Post – Can Crime Really Affect a Business’ Long-Term Growth Projections?

A guest post by Maxwell Donovan

Editor’s comment: I spend a lot of time writing about cyber-crime.  This article reminds us that there are other very physical and personal crimes that we need to guard against as well.

They say that crime doesn’t pay, but in the end, does it? You are at risk from crime when you’re running a business. This could include an employee stealing from you, a bookkeeping error, or even neighborhood kids nicking into your products when everyone’s backs are turned.

The problem with being a crime victim is that crime can make us feel rather defenseless.  On the other hand, engaging in criminal activity can even be tempting. The question for business owners is whether or not the results of criminal activity can have a long term impact.

Whether you may think you have nothing to worry about or you have deep-seated concerns about crime-related loss to your business, it’s important to learn about and understand the long-term effects your business could face. Since crime costs small businesses of the United States up to $50 billion each year, you need to know what level of threat you’re facing.

Consider the Intensity

It’s crucial to highlight right away that not all crime is on the same footing. While no level of crime is going to help a business in the long run, you aren’t going to need to worry about every single crime having the same level of impact on the institution. For instance, a child sneaking out with a single candy bar isn’t good but it isn’t going to cause the same problems as a high-ranking managerial member partaking in a chargeable, white-collar criminal offense or an employee doing something to endanger workplace safety.

That being said, remember that crime isn’t neutral. There are always drawbacks to someone taking legal shortcuts. It’s just necessary to assess the scope of the situation to assess and judge the short-term and long-term effects.

Changes In Operation

At the end of the day, crime isn’t an activity that takes place and immediately ends. For businesses, there is a certain level of fall out.

Take a series of thefts, as an example. If a product continues to get stolen from a small store, that store will need to make operational changes to fix the problem. This could include changing the packaging, updating theft alarms, adding more employees to a shift, or a number of other measures. This means that it will cost the business more to continue on its path of exponential growth than it would have originally.

Shifts In Trust

Crime has a psychological effect as well as a physical one. In other words, not all of the long-term effects are ones that you’ll be able to see when reviewing the books over the years. Instead, it can also affect the way you think about a business.

If criminal activity, especially crime that seems preventable, occurs, it’s easy and rather common to blame yourself. However, this often leads to poor or overly guarded decisions. For instance, if you’re a victim of employee theft, you might be more cautious to hire on more employees after that. Without hiring more people to help you, you’re limiting the amount of growth that your company can handle in the future. In this area, it’s critical to keep in mind that all the preventative steps you take to keep your business safe shouldn’t come at the cost of future growth.

Crime can affect businesses long term. Even further, it disproportionality damages small businesses more than it does larger businesses because they don’t always have the funds to come up with a swift and permanent solution. As a business owner, you should take the time to be proactive with your security measures and keep an eye out for anything suspicious so that you can handle any crime that slips through the cracks before it gets out of hand.

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About the Author:

Cybersecurity analyst, pen-tester, trainer, and speaker. Owner of the WyzCo Group Inc. In addition to consulting on security products and services, Bob also conducts security audits, compliance audits, vulnerability assessments and penetration tests. Bob also teaches Cybersecurity Awareness Training classes. Bob works as an information technology and cybersecurity instructor for several training and certification organizations. Bob has worked in corporate, military, government, and workforce development training environments Bob is a frequent speaker at professional conferences such as the Minnesota Bloggers Conference, Secure360 Security Conference in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the (ISC)2 World Congress 2016, and the ISSA International Conference 2017, and many local community organizations, including Chambers of Commerce, SCORE, and several school districts. Bob has been blogging on cybersecurity since 2006 at http://wyzguyscybersecurity.com

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