Man seated with perplexed express looking at laptop hold his chin. Introducing policies to an online business will bring clarity.

5 Policies for an Online Business

Key policies to have in your online business will help you grow with purpose.  Firstly, let’s recap what a policy is (because small business owners don’t believe this applies to them).  Also, it makes up one of the three core elements of The Ethical Strategist’s HouseRules (along with Internal Community and Ethics).  Going through the basics will encourage you to keep reading these short but valuable interruptions, collectively known as Ethical Insights.

Policy 101 Recap

A policy is a set of rules or principles that a business or organisation adopts to govern its operations and behaviour.  Policies help to ensure consistency and fairness in decision-making, and they can play a critical role in protecting the interests of the business and its employees.  This is usually accompanied by procedures, which are the guidelines for achieving the outcomes laid out in the policy.

In an online business in the UK, several policies are essential to have in place to ensure compliance with the law and best practices. Here are the top policies to consider:

1. Data Protection and Privacy Policy

The Data Protection Policy outlines how the business will handle, process, and store personal data in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The policy should cover topics such as:

  • data security (where and how the information will be stored),
  • data retention (what information will you keep and for how long), and
  • the rights of individuals in relation to their personal data (common practice is to provide contact details so that they can request all the information you hold and/or have the information deleted).

The Privacy Policy outlines how your business collects, uses, and stores personal information from customers and employees. The policy should include information about:

  • cookies (not edible but little files saved on the device of the person browsing),
  • data analytics, and
  • the use of third-party services (if you are counting the clicks on your site, then you are at liberty to disclose). 

If you haven’t already, it might be worth taking a look at the ICO website to ensure you don’t have to register.

There are three ways we can work together to address the troubling concerns without further delay.

Click the button below to have an audit done on what you already have in place.

If you don’t have any policies, book a Humming session, or you can arrange for a Refund Policy package.

2. Services Policies

These would be your cancellation, returns, refund and delivery policies depending on the nature of your business.  Again, be as straightforward as possible.  It is better to have someone leave because they don’t like your offer rather than them being left uncertain and confused.

3. IT Security Policy

This policy in your online business will formulate the measures it will take to protect its information technology systems and data from cyber-attacks and other security risks.

The policy should cover topics such as password management, data encryption, and the use of firewalls.  On a more day-to-day basis, you may want to ensure team members lock their machines when they are not present and do not share passwords.

HouseRules needn't be complex and complicated. But, when they are, there is less chance of remembering them and an even remoter chance of putting them into practice.

4. Social Media Policy

This policy outlines the expectations and guidelines for professional social media employees.  The policy should cover topics such as confidentiality, data protection, and the use of social media for business purposes. 

Consider this one carefully, especially after coming through the other side of the pandemic.  Individuals are more expressive with their personal opinions.  Great for building authentic businesses but not so great if your views don’t align.

5. Health and Safety Policy

This policy outlines the measures the business will take to ensure its employees’ and customers’ health and safety.  The policy should include information about workplace hazards, risk assessments, and emergency procedures.  You have a legal obligation to have this policy once you have five or more workers.  That’s not to say that you have to wait because you can never start a good practice too early.

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Put just as much thought, if not more, into your policies as you have your logo or brand colour.  There is room to be creative.  Speak in a language that will put your clients and employees at ease.  As long as you comply with legal obligations, make your policies something people will want to read. 

Having the right policies in place is essential for the success of any online business in the UK.  By investing in the development of robust policies, online businesses can minimise risks and maximise opportunities for growth and success.

It was a longer one than usual, but hopefully, you will see how vital HouseRules are for your business.  I’ll finish by saying don’t ignore the symptoms, as delaying will only worsen matters.  Start as you mean to go on.

In the meantime, if you would like to talk more, book a Sip & Chat.

With the right rules for your business we can identify and address signs of a toxic workplace. Build a business with difference when you partner with CAS Ltd and incorporate your own HouseRules

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