Business leaders invest well when they build effective and well-organized record-keeping systems. In the startup phase of a business, the organizational structure may exist in the founder’s head. All too often that structure remains with the founder, even though the company would benefit by documenting the corporate policies and procedures. By investing to build exceptional record-keeping systems, an company simultaneously invests in risk management against government investigations.
As the company grows, leaders of business should take time to document strategies and procedures. To the extent that they tell the company’s story well, they build a protective mechanism. Clear records will help them run the company better, and also minimize disruptions in the event of litigation—assuming there’s a solid commitment to building an honest and ethical organization.
When the company has sufficient resources, the best step would be to build an effective Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Some examples of CRM companies include Salesforce, Zoho, and Pipedrive. Those companies charge a per-user fee that may range from $30 a month to more than $200 a month, per seat. Great companies use CRMs for many reasons, including:
An investment in a CRM can protect against government investigations. It can also help the business track the customer journey and more effectively communicate the company’s value proposition to consumers.
A CRM becomes especially effective for business leaders that invest the time and energy to document their company’s workflows. Regardless of whether the company invests in a CRM, the company should definitely invest in a system to organize and secure files—especially when it comes to storing data on customers. A data breach of customer information can lead to civil investigations with severe penalties—especially if the company is later determined to have acted recklessly with consumer information.
Remember that the destruction of company records during a government investigation can lead to criminal charges for obstruction of justice, or other crimes. The more leadership teams understand how much time, energy, and resources that government investigators will invest to build a case, the more they appreciate the need for caution.
Under the ostensible guise of furthering their agency’s mission, unethical government attorneys may suborn perjury or hide evidence that could prove favorable to an individual or business they want to target. Good leaders will invest in transparency, knowing that at any time, government investigators may be listening or monitoring a business’s activities.