World Cup – stay on the ball to protect your business

The World Cup brings both good and bad news for British business owners. Despite England’s disappointing performance, the world’s biggest sporting event can be a significant boon to retailers, publicans, and other business owners.

But the tournament also poses some significant risks. In offices, employees are easily distracted. In pubs, customers often become more rowdy than normal. Across the country, thefts and other crimes increase.

Business owners need to be alert to these risks – but also sufficiently well prepared to enjoy the benefits that the tournament can bring. So what does your business need to consider if it is to find the winning World Cup formula?

Employee concerns – to watch, or not to watch?

For many business owners, the biggest conundrum posed by the World Cup is whether or not to allow employees to watch key games at work. Some do not want to lose an afternoon’s worth of productivity while the match is on, while others believe that allowing workers to watch the games will be good for morale.

The prevailing feeling amongst business groups and unions seems to be that employers should allow workers to watch the big matches. In reality, a large proportion of employees that work at computers will do so anyway, regardless of whether or not it is officially sanctioned. Giving full or tacit support to workers that wish to do so is likely to raise the mood in your workplace – and actually increase productivity for the rest of the day.

Remember, though, that not everyone is interested in the travils of the world’s football teams. Those who wish to work should be able to do so. You should also make sure that you treat employees equally, regardless of nationality. If you allowed your employees to watch the (rather ill-fated) England matches, you should consider offering non-English staff members the opportunity to watch their own teams too.

Protect your premises

Businesses also face a range of other risks and concerns during the World Cup. Police forces across the country reported significant spikes in crime during the England’s first outing, against the USA, and it is thought that a similar phenomenon will occur during other key games.

Small business owners should take particular care to ensure that their premises are safe and secure during these periods. Buildings close to busy roads or easily accessible by pedestrians are deemed to be particularly at risk. Similarly, if you work from home, make sure that your doors are locked and windows are secured in rooms that you are not in during the match.

Extra steps for publicans

Pub owners must, by the nature of their business, take extra steps to make sure the World Cup period goes off without a hitch. There is a range of concerns you need to address, beyond those with which other business owners must contend.

To begin with, you should consider taking on extra door staff to help you deal with the inevitable increased footfall. High profile matches always mean a spike in violence and other related problems. You should therefore make sure that staff members are properly trained, and prepared for a busy shift.

You may also need to consider increasing your alcohol stocks during the World Cup period. You will probably have a higher number of punters – and they will probably drink more than usual. Your ordering should reflect this.

Finally, pub owners also need to think carefully about the promotional material they use to advertise World Cup events. Fifa, football’s governing body, has warned small businesses that they will be in breach of intellectual property law if they use any protected images or phrases. As such, pubs cannot display images of the trophy or the World Cup logo. You also risk falling foul of the law if you use phrases like “South Africa 2010” or “Fifa World Cup”.

Pub owners are in a position to enjoy the most acute benefits that the World Cup brings – but they are also vulnerable to some of the worst risks. It is vital that you plan ahead to ensure that you mitigate these risks.

The World Cup is a spectacular event, bringing together teams and individuals from across the world – many of whom would never otherwise meet. Businesses can turn the tournament to their advantage, while enjoying it at the same time. With a bit of forethought you can make this a World Cup to remember.